I’m giving a talk at a youth rally tomorrow to a couple hundred high school students. More than anything, I want to encourage them to pursue wisdom and knowledge — much like the writer of Proverbs counsels us all. I believe there are too many Christians who are content to think and reason poorly.
Along those lines, I like the following thought from the German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
“It is the nature, and the advantage, of strong people that they can bring out the crucial questions and form a clear opinion about them. The weak always have to decide between alternatives that are not their own.”
So it’s already Thursday and I’ve barely had a chance to stop and think.
The depressing part of that is that now, when I want to post something to the blog, there’s nothing in my head to say. Too much doing and not enough thinking this week.
It reminds me of a story about Howard Hendricks who is an author and Professor at Dallas Seminary… he was once in a funk and had a friend come down to help him analyze things. The friend quickly diagnosed the problem. He told Hendricks that he was behind on “think time.”
I plan to catch up at the beginning of this week when I drive down with three others to Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley to meet about eduction etc.
So that’s what’s on the horizon… In N’ Out Burger and plenty of “think time” on I-5!!
I just had a friend recommend this blog to me: Stuff Christians Like.
I really like it :)
Check it out… this guy has a great writing style and is pretty straight forward and funny.
Here are some pictures of the Matsiko Ugandan Kids Choir that will be singing at Antioch this Sunday.
I read a great book on the concept of sin a ways back by Cornelius Plantinga called, Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be.
Plantinga did a great job of talking about the Hebrew concept of “Shalom,” which we translate as “peace.” He argues that our word peace connotes the absence of conflict and doesn’t really convey what shalom means… unity or the way things are supposed to be.
So, in this life where things are broken and messy, there is no shalom. Or, in other words, it’s not the way it’s supposed to be.
I’ve been bumping into a lot of difficult things lately. It is pretty evident that most problems stem from somebody’s sin along the way and result in things not being the way they are supposed to be.
Here’s the thought… we know what things ought to be like, but we’re faced with things the way they are. There’s a horrible tension in that. The ought and are difference creates a ton of frustration and stress. How come life is so hard? How come that person is like that? Why can’t we all just get along? Why did he do that to his wife? Why is she so selfish?
Do you ever deal with that frustration and stress?
I used to cope with that kind of stuff by getting out into nature… nature has such an amazing calming effect (probably because there are no other messy people around :) Lately, though, it’s harder and harder to find the emotional free space needed to hit the reset button on life and refresh my perspective.
Maybe I need to follow the sabbath principle more? Maybe I need to go for a long hike by myself? Maybe I need to stay up all night and just read my bible and pray? Maybe I should start journaling again? Maybe I need to spend more time in healthy environments rather than all the messy ones (ministry)? Maybe I need to take more Vitamin B…
I don’t have answers to my own questions right now, but I do know that solitude looks pretty darn attractive, and the desire for God to bring shalom burns pretty hot.
The Matsiko Ugandan Kids Choir is joining Antioch this Sunday for a short performance at the beginning of the service. After singing for the main church service, the choir will perform for the older kids in the Antioch Kids Ministry as well as answer questions and interact.
The choir was featured in the Bend Bulletin on Monday and are singing throughout Oregon this week.
We were blessed to have the opportunity fall into our laps and are excited to host them this Sunday!!
I came across this statistic today from pollster George Barna.
Barna writes that “only one out of every five senior pastors considers their church’s ministry to children to be one of its most important efforts.”
Sounds pretty crazy, right?
Anyway, one of the things I think the world can use a lot more of is self awareness. So the challenge for me in this is to realize that we often resemble in real life a lot of things that look shocking on paper.
I want to make sure that I don’t simply assume that kids are a big priority… I want to make sure that they are.
This quote will give me lots to think and pray about, and I hope I don’t ever find myself on the wrong side of the statistic.
This morning Dennis Keating preached on Psalm 42 at Antioch.
It was hands down one of the best sermons I’ve ever heard on suffering, doubt and waiting on God.
I thought I’d pass along the link to the webcast… just click here.
So here are some random Friday morning thoughts:
- I wish I could still sleep like I did when I was in high school… I’ve had way too many sleepless nights lately.
- I had a great talk with Dennis Keating yesterday. Dennis is the pastor of a large church in Southern California and is speaking at Antioch on Sunday. Something Dennis said really resonated with me… he said that it seems like the best thing to do in Bend is “teach on Ephesians chapter 4 like seventeen times in a row.” Ephesians 4 talks about the church. I think there was a lot of truth in the overstatement. There is so much confusion out there about the BIBLICAL picture of church and if we don’t catch the same vision for church then it’ll be hard to stick together. Clarity is necessary for unity.
- Does anyone else think that there aren’t that many good movies out right now?
- Mentors: In the last couple of days I’ve connected with several of my mentors for various reasons. It’s nice to have guys out there to bounce ideas off of and to get advice from. The guys that I consider mentors are Luke Hendrix who lives in Vancouver and is the Executive Pastor at Imago Dei, Tim Kizziar who is the Lead Pastor at Sisters Church about a half hour north of Bend, Dennis Baker who is a church consultant and part time Bend resident (when the weather is good!) and Rick Gerhardt who is an elder at Antioch and helps me remember to think biblically and to trust God rather than always trying to fix my own problems. At the top of the list would also by my dad, but his title is “Pops” not “mentor.”
- Tamara is moving into her second trimester with baby #4 (sure to be a girl).
- I’ve always wanted to do a thorough study on heaven and the afterlife and kind of think its time to start. If I could just get some better sleep maybe I’d actually be able to read one more book a week :)
- This Sunday we’re beginning to take sign ups for Family Camp. Family Camp is probably one of the top three events of my year!! Which reminds me, last year some lady left the church because we had paintball (people shooting each other) in the Family Camp video. Anyway, we’re still going to have paintball.
- Lastly, it’s Friday… pretty sweet!!
Antioch is having a church wide worship night tonight at Summers Hardwood Flooring.
So here’s the truth… I wasn’t too stoked on going, but the more I’ve been hearing the tough stuff going on in people’s lives over the last two days (life is messy), the more I’ve begun to really look forward to just spending some time with people worshipping God. Sorry if that sounds cliche…
To me, something like this is a success if people walk out having connected with God. In other words, I define worship as successful if it becomes prayer.
One of the best things I do is meet for coffee with people.
There’s nothing like sitting down 1 on 1 with someone and connecting, discerning what the Holy Spirit is up to, dreaming about ministry and possibilities, getting things done (always a favorite of mine), networking and sometimes just listening to each others stories.
The one part I don’t like about it is too much coffee.
Today, I had four amazing coffee meetings that got me amped about being in ministry, but pushed me way over my coffee limit!!
Nothing like having to snap out of a caffeine hangover to meet the energy of 3 kids under the age of 7!!
Sometimes things are better when they are said simply.
I love this from Saint Ignatius:
“It is not hard to obey when we love the one whom we obey.“
Last night we got to hear a presentation from KK Lee.
KK is the technical director for HIV/Aids in Asia for World Relief.
It’s been a while since I’ve listened to a good testimony and last night I was blown away. KK lived for 21 years in Malasia with an unrepaired cleft palate and couldn’t even speak. At age 21 he received a surgery, learned how to talk and then embarked on an 11 year backpacking trip around the world. During that time he learned to speak, read and write four different languages and obtained a college degree in Florida in just 2 1/2 years while working two jobs.
Dan Brose introduced KK as a real life “Forrest Gump” because of all the amazing things that he’s simply stumbled into in his life.
Anyway, it sure was nice to hear a story that puts my own problems (I just mailed my taxes off) into perspective. It was also an amazing reminder that little things like a surgery for someone in a poor country can make such a huge difference.
So Linda Janney is at Moody Bible College repping the intern program with Moody students all week.
This morning I got this snazzy little pic with Caitlin Walsh in it (Caitlin was our first intern last summer). Tons of fun :)
We’re blessed to have the World Relief Regional Director for HIV/AIDS in Asia joining us this Monday for a talk and Q & A. Anyone is welcome to come!
Below is the little event blurb:
Join us Monday evening, April 14th from 7-9 pm at Summers Hardwood Flooring to hear KK Lee the Asian Regional HIV/AIDS Technical Advisor for World Relief. Lee has a BA in Entomology and Horticulture and a Masters of Divinity.
Prior to joining World Relief, KK was a Project Supervisor for Cedarfund (HK) based in Xishuangbanna and Kunming, Yunnan, China. As the Project Supervisor, he managed integrated community development projects and led HIV/AIDS prevention education projects in high schools.
Come out and listen to him share his experiences in Asia.
We normally take staff out to lunch when it is their birthday.
I wasn’t too excited that we were going to Kip’s favorite (El Caporal) today, but I was glad that I got to see the Mexican Happy Birthday sung to both Kip & Courtney.
The hat really made it for me :)
Another church in town graciously gave us a van that they no longer needed.
Kip and the High School group are breaking it in this weekend with a trip to Seattle.
Here she is in all her glory!!