Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Don't Let Anyone Look Down On You Because You Are Young

I often tell our teenagers 1 Timothy 4:12 which says "Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity." I challenge them to set the pace and be an example not only for their peers but also for adults.
I LOVED this article on teenagers and what they did. Awesome!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Axis Wrap Up 5-19-10: Life Lessons from the Prom

We had a great night at axis Wednesday. This is the time of year for prom 'round these parts, so I thought I'd take on the challenge of teaching lessons that we can all learn from the prom. It was a fun challenge and hopefully enlightening to our kids. In case you're wondering ... here's what we talked about:

1. Don't Compare Yourself
We can get all dressed up for prom and feel great when we look in the mirror, but all to often when we get to the dance, instead of focusing on how great we look and feel, we all too often start looking at other people and comparing dresses or tuxes or dates or cars or whatever it may be. The more we compare ourselves with others, the less we'll feel like we measure up. Instead, try focusing on our strengths and the specific gifts that God has given us. Ephesians 2:10 talks about God planning good things for us to do. He has gifted us to do those good things. Instead of worrying about another person's gifts or abilities, focus on what God has given you and the opportunities He's placed before you.

2. It's OK Not to Know How to Dance
When I went to my prom, it was the first and only high school dance I went too. I'm an awful dancer and usually pull a hamstring when I try to do any dancing. But, while I was at my prom, I didn't worry about how I looked dancing. I just went out and did it and had fun while doing it. The idea behind this was to not feel like we HAVE to know how to do something before we do it. Be willing to fail. Take risks and challenges and don't just do the things that you know you can do. Allow God to stretch you. Sometimes you'll have great victories and other times you'll fail. But, if you fail, at least you tried.

3. Be in the Picture
Pictures are HUGE at prom. My prom picture was probably the worst prom picture ever taken. Not necessarily my prom picture (because I actually looked pretty good in the tux). But, my post prom picture was awful! I wore a peach colored polo, torquoise shorts, white socks, and black tennis shoes! My date must have been so embarrassed! :) But, being in the picture means to be there for the "big" moments in the lives of the people that are closest to you. If someone were to take a picture of a big life moment of one of your friends or family members ... would you be in the picture? Would they see you in the background? Be there for the people you're closest with.

4. You Can Look Good but Not Have a Good Time
Chances are your prom night is the one night in high school that you look your best. But, looking good isn't what determines whether or not you'll have a good time. You can look great, but if you have a lousy date, you're going to have a lousy time. If your date is great, you'll have a great time! Who your with is more important than how you look. The idea behind this was to not focus so much on what we have or what we accomplish, but to think about having God in our life. As long as we are with Him, we can learn to be content in any and all circumstances (see Philippians 4). We can have all the best stuff, but without God still be miserable (Ecclesiastes 12:13).

Overall it was a fun night with some fun applications from prom. Next week, I'm planning a year review and really challenging our kids to be doers and not just listeners.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Awesome News

I spoke this past Sunday on the idea of doing something that's going to outlast you ... that we need to give ourselves away to something bigger than we are ... a cause, a purpose, a reason. I used the illustration that the Bible describes our lives as a vapor or mist. I had a can of Fabreeze Air Freshner. I sprayed it and, as we watched the mist disappear, I said that's how the Bible describes our lives ... here for a minute and then gone ... BUT, it sure smells a lot better where I sprayed the Fabreeze. Our job ... to make our world smell better.

Anyway, I walked in to my office this morning and found a letter from Compassion International. We help sponsor a little girl in Thailand named Suphawan. The letter said:

"I have important information about your sponsor child. Suphawan is no longer in Compassion's sponsorship program. We have learned that Suphawan's family has improved. Thanks to your support, Suphawan's life has been positively impacted."

It was so cool to receive that letter and know that one little girl's life across the world ... a little girl I have never met but have corresponded with many times ... is in a better situation. Because we have been blessed, we were able to bless someone else! I just loved receiving that letter, especially off the heals of what was talked about Sunday at Grace.

Great Article on a Girl in Our Youth Ministry

This is an article in our local paper on Allison, a girl in our youth ministry. She's pictured above, in the orange shirt, talking to an international student at U.C. Berkeley on a mission trip we took to Los Angeles in 2008. The article says it all.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Monday Miscellaneous

- Feeling a bit tired today. Long, but very good weekend. I had the opportunity to preach at Grace Community on Sunday. We wrapped up our Bucket List series with I Want to See the World. It was a very challenging week of study for me because I continually had to ask myself the question, "What am I doing that will outlast me?" I continue to be challenged to make a lasting impact on the people around me that I know and the people around me in the world that I don't know.

- After preaching 3 services yesterday, I went to a Cancer Survivor's Celebration at Goshen College. It was put on by the Goshen Cancer Center. Really special time and very cool to see so many other cancer survivors there! Pro Football Hall of Famer and former Chicago Bears running back, Gail Sayers, was the guest speaker. Here's a picture of me with him below.

- Quick story behind the picture ... I was invited to be at the Celebration early in order to have my picture taken with Gail Sayers, but because of our church services, I was not able to be there early. So, Carol and I actually arrived just as things were getting started. Anyway, after everything was finished, I mentioned to Carol that I was bummed that I wasn't able to get a picture with Gail Sayers because I've always admired him as a football player. I saw him in the crowd, but he was surrounded by people and I just felt a little awkward going up to him and asking him for a picture because he was just being hounded by so many other people. Seriously, right after that Carol and I are getting ready to leave the building and one of the leaders of the Survivor's Celebratioin sees us and says, "Hey, you weren't able to get your picture taken with Gail were you." I said, "No, we couldn't get here in time." He said, "Well, let me introduce you to him." So, he parts the crowd like Moses parting the Red Sea, takes me up to Gail Sayers and introduces us and then has his professional photographer take a picture of us together. The picture you see is the one Carol took with my phone ... at a bad angle because there we so many other people around us and she couldn't get anywhere near Gail and me.
- Even at age 67, I'm pretty sure that Gail Sayers could still out run me.
- After the Celebration, Carol and I were able to have a nice dinner and then we went to see a movie. It was a great afternoon with my beautiful wife!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Axis Wrap Up 5-12-10: 3D

Topic: Music Choices

Fun Stuff: A fun game in our gym called Knight, Mount, Carry

Attendance: 4 first time visitors

Bible Verses: Proverbs 18:15, Philippians 4:8, Colossians 3:5b - 8

Night Review: 3D seems to be pretty big these days so we took a look at the 3 D's of discernment when it comes to media. I try to do this twice a year with our kids. We'll take a look music or movies and I'll give our kids the tools to make a decision as to whether or not something is healthy or unhealthy for us to allow in to our minds. That's the big thing I push when it comes to media ... is it healthy or unhealthy ... because what we focus our minds on will eventually play out in our lives in some way. So, we took a look at 3 D's:
Discover the theme of the song.
Discern the difference between what the song teaches about life/relationships/etc and what the Bible teaches.
Decide whether or not this is something healthy or unhealthy for me to focus on.

That's pretty much the process I go through and the process I wanted to talk to our kids about. I then provided lyrics to 3 of the top 10 most played songs in America last week (Nothin' on You by B.o.B, Rude Boy by Rihanna, and Your Love is My Drug by Kesha). We listened to the songs and looked at the lyrics and I then gave our kids the opportunity to Discover, Discern, and Decide with each other.

It was a very interactive night for us and seemed to go really well. I believe all of our kids walked out of axis that night with good tools to use when it comes to media.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Cool Article on a Senior From Our Youth Ministry

This is a GREAT ARTICLE on one of our graduating seniors from axis. Josh has been a part of axis since 6th grade and has been a really solid student leader for us. It's been great to see him grow in to a Godly young man. Can't wait to see what lies ahead for him. Proud of you, Josh!

I'm Back

I'm back from a "working" vacation over the past few days. I left town on Thursday and made it back Sunday evening. I was able to do the wedding for my niece in Oklahoma. It was good to be with family for a few days and good to be at the wedding. Above is a pic from the wedding. Below is a pic of me, my mom, and my brother Dale.

This was the third wedding I've been able to do this year. Although it was a little busy because of wedding stuff, I still had quite a bit of time to relax. That was nice. Nearly made it threw two books and was actually able to catch a nap or two. Fun times, but it's definitely nice to be home.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Happy Birthday, Ezra!

Three years ago today, our son Ezra was born. The picture above is when we brought him home from the hospital. Here's a small sample of what I wrote in his journal on the day he was born:

"I fell in love again today at 4:38pm with a 7lb, 9oz, 21 inch long baby boy named Ezra. Seeing you born was an absolutely amazing experience and I cried tears of joy and laughed uncontrollably. I feel like I'm walking on air right now even though I'm totally exhausted."

A lot has happened in these 3 years, but one thing I'm sure of ... our lives are better because Ezra is in them. The name "Ezra" means "helper" and that has been our prayer for him since before he was born ... that he would be a helper to other people, someone who encourages, someone who makes others better simply because he is around them. That prayer has already been answered because I am a better person because Ezra is in my life. I can't wait to see the influence he continues to have on others.

I've posted some pics of his first year below:

He was NOT a fan of his first bath!

We could not get over how BLUE his eyes are. They are always full of life!

Here he is having a GREAT time at some friends.

While most kids are wanting to go to McDonald's ... Ezra prefers Starbucks. That's probably my fault. :)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Ezra! I am totally in love with you!

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