Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Pics of the New Home

Here are some pics of the home. Someone else is currently living in the home. We will be redecorating and when we get it redecorated and moved in; we will put pictures up.

We are super-excited about the home.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Ministry Transition

For those of you that have not heard, we are making a ministry change. The decision to uproot our family and move was not an easy one. It was a decision that we struggled and wrestled with. However, as I talked to ministry colleagues, friends and had many talks with God; it seemed that the door to transition and to "end" one chapter of our life and begin a "new" chapter in our life was abundantly clear.

I am extremely excited to be heading over to Fishers, Indiana (Greater Indianapolis) and begin working/partnering with Christ The Savior Lutheran Church.

The vision / mission / ministry of CTS is extremely exciting and something that resonates with my heart. Here it is:

Our Vision
It is the vision of Christ the Savior Lutheran Church to be AWAKENed, united and growing in Christ

Awaken to Serve Christ
I will seek to serve Christ personally in the following ways:

A lways serve
W orship Christ
A bundantly give
K now scripture
E ncourage other and
N ever cease praying

Our Mission
Reaching people to know, love and serve Christ.

Our Ministry
We gather peoplel to magnify our Lord.
We welcome people to membership in God's family.
We disciple people to maturity in Christ.
We equip people for ministry in the Church.
We empower people for mission in the world.

Later on in the week, I am going to "break-down" what these three mean to me and why they resonate with me so much and what I believe that they will mean for me as I am working with the Youth and Families of the church.

I will also be putting up some pics of our new home and then as it is painted and Stacey puts her decorative touches to it; those will definitely be shared.

The Move

My last Sunday will be June 27th. I will then pick up a 26-ft van on Monday morning (28th) and we will toss the bulky stuff into it and I will drive it over / unload it / drive the van back - 4.5 hours each way. Then on Tuesday, we will pack everything else into the van and crash at our friends (family) home. We will then get up on the 30th and drive over and unpack the van. I will then be in the office the next day.

That week is going to be long, but the 5 weeks leading up to it with packing, prepping for the move, making sure transitions are in place, mission trip to Virginia, family reunion in West Virginia, and two trips to Indy for prep work on that side, will make it a very long month.

But we are looking forward to it. To my Woo friends, you have meant the world to me over the last 3 years. I look forward to continuing our friendship through social media and jaunts - both ways - with us only being 4 hours away; you rock.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Acceptance ???

Mother Theresa said,“The biggest disease today is not leprosy or tuberculosis but rather the feeling of being unwanted, uncared for and deserted by everybody”

This morning, I read the quote above from Mother Theresa and it definitely got me thinking. I made it as my status on facebook with the following addition:

So, my fb friends, I challenge you today, to make sure that those who come across your path do not have this tragic disease.

Then, I was thinking of it later this morning about the ramifications of the statement in the context of the local church and the local youth ministry setting and I sighed.

For you see, relationships: feeling wanted, feeling loved and feeling accepted; are crucial for individuals and too often, we are too busy with things that don't really matter and the folks who are coming through the door looking for love, acceptance and a sense of belonging leave ....

They leave and when they leave, the feel unwanted, uncared for and deserted and they grab a hold of this feeling and insert it at the end of the sentence; like this:

The church makes me feel unwanted, uncared for and deserted.

They then leave.

We, as a church, need to change this. We, as individuals, also need to have our eyes, ears and hearts open to reach out and love those individuals. In our world today, we should not have folks feeling this way.

Now for me to chew on what ramigications this could have on "ministry".

Thursday, May 20, 2010

missions over money

"focus on mission not money: as assets rise over time, risk taking declines. managers of the church find themselves making decisions weighted toward protecting their resources rather than investing them in mission. mission is sacrificed on the alter of wealth, under the banner of "good stewardship"

read this yesterday and this really hit home

I think that too many times, the institutional church makes decisions and the decisions are made through the funnel of $$$. They then "spin" the fact that we can not spend money on missions/ministry/people ------ because we need to be good stewards.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

What They Want ....

This is tough for alot of folks in ministry ....

Not every decision you make will be family friendly, but it does put the family first. Your job is not to give parents what they want, it’s your job to give parents what they need.

Is "it" Safe

I found this article from YMToday and wanted to share it. It has to do with safety/mission and life in the trenches:

"Is an urban mission a safe place?"

I cannot begin to count how many times I have had to answer this question or a question related to safety. It makes sense that parents and youth workers are concerned. When given a chance, I try to answer their questions by sharing my "safety faith journey."

It was the late 1980s. I was in seminary trying to figure out if I was called into ministry. One weekend, Rita (my wife) and I decided to visit some family friends living in Watts, Calif. This couple and their two children had moved from a small farming village in Southern Manitoba, Canada to what was, from my perspective, the extreme opposite: inner-city Los Angeles, Watts. After class on a Friday, we made the four-hour journey from Fresno, Calif., to Watts. Twenty years later, what stands out to me about this visit was a conversation we had in the backyard.

My question was simple, "Is this a safe place to live and raise a family?" Their response was both simple and profound. "The safest place to be is in the middle of God's will."

I do not recall any other parts of that weekend, but the idea of safety in the middle of God's will has stuck with me. I have been inspired and frustrated by this thought.

Ever since that afternoon, I having been trying to figure out God's will for my life. Some things have been made clear. I have been called to love God and to love my neighbor. Feeding the hungry and caring about the needs of others fits in as well.

However, I have never been able to fully answer the "where" question. God, where do you want me to serve you? Should I move back to Canada or stay here in the U.S.? Is it OK for me to work among people who look like me, think like me, and talk like me? Questions like these have been driven by my need to answer the "safety" question. I want to be a responsible husband and father. I want my family to be safe. I want my children to go to schools where they can grow and mature without having to experience fear.

After seminary, we moved to Denver to work in a nice safe suburban church. I worked with the students who attended schools like Chatfield, Bear Creek, and Columbine. During the three years I spent at this church, I learned two important lessons. First, safety is mostly an illusion. Bad stuff happens. Second, the call of God very rarely settles the safety question.

In the fall of 1994, I began my work at DOOR. Two years later, we sold our house in the suburbs and moved into the heart of the city. At the time, we had well-meaning friends and neighbors who at best thought we were crazy and at worst thought we had become irresponsible parents for moving from a "safe" neighborhood into "that" neighborhood.

Our new neighbors (and friends), for the most part, did not look like us. They saw the world from a completely different context and they were still learning English. We were, and still are, a long way from talking the same! I still struggle with the safety question, but my 15-year journey from the suburbs to the city has yielded some unexpected fruit: contentment with where I live and the feeling of being where God wants me to be.

As the National Director of DOOR, it is my responsibility to do everything humanly possible to ensure a safe experience for the participants that enter our program. I had friends who worked at Columbine High School the day the shooters came in. They were concerned about safety as well.

So this brings me back to the question, is an urban mission trip always safe? The honest answer is no—vans get stolen and iPods go missing. But the good far outweighs the bad. Because of an experience during an urban mission trip, many young people have met Jesus for the first time, committed themselves to vocational ministry, fed the hungry, clothed the naked, and have been forever changed because they met God in the city.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Dealing With Conflict

Peter Scazzero mention five unhealthy ways church and people deal with the conflict that they encounter. Here are the five:

- escalation
- withdrawl
- attack
- assuming things are worse than reality
- triagulating (talking through a third person)

Conflict can destroy. We need to do it in a healthy manner.

The Positive

Focusing on the negative gets more negative, while focusing on the positive retsults in a much more positive climate.

I am looking to diving into this more later.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Reach Out & Dance

On Monday, May 10th, the 4th & 5th grade classes from the Wooster City Schools did a performance and this was the closing song. I will give more information on the program and the songs when I grab the "program" from the house later. But, this is the closing song. I apologize that it is not zoomed in, but I did it on my camera and after you start; you can't zoom and I wanted the whole song.

Monday, May 10, 2010

One of the aspects that I enjoy doing in the morning is picking topics and reading quotes on the topics. Here is one of them from today:

“Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires courage.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Now, there were many who did not like Ralph and here was one of the main reasons:

Critics believed that Emerson was removing the central God figure

The reason they believe that was because of the following reason:

He believed that all things are connected to God and, therefore, all things are divine.

There are probably many things that I would disagree with him on, but the more I read about him and his life journey, the more intrigued I become. With knowing more of his history and life, the more the quote that I mentioned makes sense.

We need to have courage. We need to know where we are at and where we want to go and map out the journey and follow it. There may be many who will try to derail it but we must stay focused and we must have the courage to keep taking the steps necessary.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

XP3: Teen Strategy

I am created to pursue an authentic relationship with my Creator

I belong to Christ and define who I am by what He says

I exist every day to demonstrate God’s love to a broken world

Wonder ..... Discovery ..... Passion

I agree with "Orange" that if we could get each student "tuned" into these three "dials"; their lives would be changed forever.

But remember, no one has more potential to influence a child or student more than a parent.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Family Pic

We do not have many pics of us as a family unit; we (for whatever reason) do not hand a camera over to someone and say, "will you take a picture of all 5 of us" Well, here is one of all five of us and I LOVE IT. I think that it shows the personality of our kids, so wonderfully.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Theology of Pooh

“If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together.. there is something you must always remember. you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. but the most important thing is, even if we're apart.. i'll always be with you.”

I posted this quote this morning and my good friend Tom, mentioned how similar those words are to the words that Jesus spoke to his disciples and he is absolutely right.

Jesus left his disciples and he promised them that he would leave them, that he would be there with him through the helper that he had sent. They did not know what to do; they had just previously been locking themselves in the upper room.

The quote can also be about friendships. I have met some amazing people that need to hear these words. They are braver than they realize and they are much stronger than they give themselves credit for and they are definitely smarter than they think. And no matter what occurs, I am there for you, my friends.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Jacob & Blood

In the soccer game Saturday, Jacob was trying to make a defensive stop. The offensive guy from Northwestern was about 6 feet away from him and gave a powerful kick. The ball connected on Jacob's face. A great defensive play, but Jacob was hoping for a chest block stop, not a face :) There are two pics below, one of the impring of his glasses and another of us at the house after the game with his blood stains. He was proud of the battle scars.

Imprint of the Glasses

Blood Stained Clothes

Btw, they lost 2-1 in a hard faught game.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Decisions ...

Theodore Hesburgh once said, "My basic principle is that you don't make decisions because they are easy; you don't make them because they are cheap; you don't make them because they're popular; you make them because they're right.”

Many times in life, we have to make decisions and sometimes those decisions are very difficult. Many times, individuals may disagree with you and they definitely will not understand why you made that decision. However, you must stand firm because you know that the decision that you are making is the right one and you are not going to allow other factors override your decision; especially when you are making the decision through the lens of vission, mission and values.