Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Ministry Blog

I have not been active here at all even though that I have had intentions to be. I am going to try to focus on blogging for a month but do it with a purpose - ministry. So, I decided to create a new blog with that purpose. With it being new and intentional on what I will be writing about, maybe I can do it. We will see. If you stop by here and see this, maybe you wanna check out what is happening there:

Thoughts On Ministry

Monday, July 25, 2011

Free Ice Water --- NOW !!!

A few days ago, I was on a mission trip with our pre-teens. We joined four other churches and overall it was a grerat experience. Here is a picture of our team:

The group is not what I first expected. I thought that we would be taking 15-20 students from our 5-6 grade ministry. But, that did not happen. However, what did occur was that we took three families and having three families do a trip together was awesome.

Now, onto the free water.

On Wednesday, we decided to go and get some ice cream at the local place to get the best ice cream intown. When we went in to the store, we were the only ones there. We were ordering for us and we were also treating the 4 staff members back at the church, so we had 11 ice cream orders to fill. There was one teenage worker in the store and she did fantastic putting all 11 orders together. We decided to make life easy on her to put it all on one ticket. Honestly, I think it was the obvious church.

While we were in there, another church group came in. They all had their money out individually and was very apprehensive while we were in there. As soon as our oder was complete, we exited the store and went back to the church.

Thirty minutes later, I hear an adult minister complain about the teenager who was working the same store. He was upset because he wanted a free water and she would not give it to him (store policy). Now, I will also remind you that he was the one leading the group that was paying individually, he did not order a thing and they sold water bottles for .69 cents (I do believe). It was hot out and he could not believe they would not give out free water and he let her know about it.

As I listened to the story from a distance, my heart broke. A minister lamblasted a teenager for following store policy. I could not let it go. I went to worship time with my group and after the worship experience, I excused myself.

I went down to the ice cream store where she was still working and the store was still hopping. I waited in line and when it was my turn, I said to her:

Thank-you for serving us so graciously earlier. I heard about what happended after we left with the water, is it true. She confirmed. I said, I want to apologize on their behalf and for the trouble that they gave you, I want to give you a tip.

She was speechless and grateful.

I am amazed at times how rude we can be to others and it breaks my heart that it is fellow ministers who are the cause of pain at times; to me it is unexcuseable.

I did not spend time with her to hear her story because of how busy she was. I am not sure if she is a followe of Christ or not. But, I cannot imagine what her thoughts may be when she got a rude awakening from a minister.

Think before you speak and act ---- anytime. Not to mention when you are on a mission trip.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


Here is our "fun" group picture on the church steps of Unity Lutheran Church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 18 youth and 4 adults converged on the city to team up with YouthWorks and 2 more churches.

More pictures and stories to come.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

The New House

We have recently moved into a new town and a new house. We moved to Fishers where I currently serve at a local church. Below are four pictures of our new house:

The Front Lawn and House

Our Basketball Hoop / House from the Street

Our Side Yard: Swing / Patio

Inside Front Door

Friday, May 27, 2011

Steel Curtain

Here is my favorite piece of sports memorabilia, it is up for sale. Message me !!

Jacob: I Refuse

Jacob sings I Refuse at the school talent show. I am so proud of him that he had the courage to enter the talent show and then to enter the talent show with such a powerful meaning song.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Confirmation Sunday

This past Sunday (May 22nd), we had confirmation Sunday. We had a great group of students, peer guides, and adult leaders. Here is a picture of the confirmation class:

This year, I moved the confirmation service to the worship service and it went really well and the church seemed to appreciate the fact that we were there together.

Monday, April 18, 2011

This Past Weekend

We had our "weekend" ministry in Indianapolis this weekend.

On Saturday, we went down to the Women Shelter to do a recreational night with the women and children. Then, on Sunday, we did our Meet Me Under The Bridge (feeding the homeless).

With everything that goes on at church and life in general; these make the weekends very busy. However, at the same time, it is so refreshing and it is so great to serve and it is so wonderful to see students willing to serve as well.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Rollercoaster: Serving In Indy

One of the things that I committed to doing when we moved to indianapolis was serving the city. My family lives in the city (technicaaly). We have an Indianapolis address and live in one of the townships but we live outside the belt.

Our church is in the NE suburb of Indianapolis. Thus, I have tried to connect our students to the city and help meet the needs of the city.

Well, this week was an interesting week and to me, it was a rollercoast experience. Unfortunately, it is the end of the week and I flew down the hill after a few "high" experiences.

Monday: i went to the Men's shelter with a few of my 6th graders and we served a meal and helped clean up. I also had the opportunity to listen to Shawn share his story.

Tuesday: My family went down to one of the local churches downtown who runs an afterschool program for one of the Indianapolis Public School. They only had a few kids there but it was great to read to them, eat with them, play uno and just share with them. I have been there a few times and there are two students there that I think that I am connecting with.

Wednesday: I met with the volunteer coordinator for our local refugee organization. I think that this will be a great opportunity for us as a church to connect and "adopt" a family. We should really know more about how we will connect early next month.

Today: We have been "kicked off" the volunteer list at the women's shelter because we did not meet our commitment today and they can no longer count on us. This makes me sad. We should be able to make the commitment.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Rob Bell & Eugene Peterson

I purchased the book the first day that it came out. I bought the Kindle version. I had to start loading up my Kindle (a present from my parents). I enjoyed the book. I do not think that I agreed with everything that it said and what he believes but that is okay because I do not think that I have read an author where I have agreed 100% with that person.

I am thinking about doing a reread and doing a write-up on all 8 chapters for my thought process. Maybe if I did that (committed to it), it will/would jump start my blogging again.

I have read 50 +/- reviews/blogs from individuals and most of them are from people that did not like the book. I have read a few from those who have enjoyed it and wrote some great reviews. I should have book,marked all of them for references but that would be another fail on my part. However, today, I wanted to share with you an interview that was on churchleaders.com. It is an interview from Eugene Peterson on Rob Bell and the book:

What are your thoughts regarding Rob Bell’s book and the controversy it ignited? What inspired you to endorse the book?

Rob Bell and anyone else who is baptized is my brother or my sister. We have different ways of looking at things, but we are all a part of the kingdom of God. And I don’t think that brothers and sisters in the kingdom of God should fight. I think that’s bad family manners.

I don’t agree with everything Rob Bell says. But I think they’re worth saying. I think he puts a voice into the whole evangelical world which, if people will listen to it, will put you on your guard against judging people too quickly, making rapid dogmatic judgments on people. I don’t like it when people use hell and the wrath of God as weaponry against one another.

I knew that people would jump on me for writing the endorsement. I wrote the endorsement because I would like people to listen to him. He may not be right. But he’s doing something worth doing. There’s so much polarization in the evangelical church that it’s a true scandal. We’ve got to learn how to talk to each other and listen to each other in a civil way

I really wish that we could have civil conversation in all manners.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Words from A Confirmand

Recently, we came back from our confirmation retreat. This is the first year that I have led the students at CTS in the retreat. I made some tweaks in their standard program and I was a little nervous. I changed up the location and I changed the format of the curriculum. When we got back, our communication director asked me to get a student to write a summary of the weekend. I want to share it with you. These words are from a 8th grade girl who is on a wonderful spiritual journey:

March 4th through 6th was one of the most meaningful weekends of my life. Cliché, I know, but it's true. The retreat that us 8th grade youth took that weekend changed me and the way I view God. I learned so much about myself and my faith and so did 25 of my peers, peers of mine that I have been with for –what seems like- my whole life. Some of the kids that joined me on this trip played in the nursery with me when I was just a baby, but until that weekend I was never this close with any of these people, even the one who I call some my best friends. For example my small group and I stayed up all hours of the night and told each other our secrets and all about our lives then went on to talk about how our small group and our weekend at Lake Luther had impacted our lives in such tremendous ways. Over the weekend we played games in our “fruit groups”, we took long walks in Narnia-what we named the woods of Lake Luther for its remarkable resemblance to the fictional land-, we played games like screaming toes and ninja for what seemed like hours, we spent time puddle jumping and playing in the rain-turn-snow, everyone there loved playing with baby Paige, we watched hilarious skits put on by our peer guides and even just hung around in our cabins during our free time but our fun is besides the point.

I know that I personally grew so much in my faith and learned more about myself and my walk in one weekend then I have in weeks of church camp, two weekends at Springhill, and in all 14 years of going to church. It seemed like this retreat made it all just clicks. I owe that to so many things: Jeff’s lessons, our seemingly endless quizzes, the songs we all sang, the prayers we all prayed, the communion we took part in Sunday, the time by the fire with my small group, watching my peers give their banner presentations and the beautiful landscape God provided to us, among some of top things that attributed to such growth. This retreat provided me with a jump start to the rest of my walk with the Lord and a weekend of fun that I will never forget.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Celebrated # 17

Over the weekend, I celebrated being married to Stacey for 17 years. We did so up at Lake Luther in separate cabins. We were up there with our friends (church family) from Christ the Savior.

We had 26-8th graders there along with 14 high schoolers (their peer guides) and 8 other adults. The weekend was a fantastic weekend.

No, we did not do anything flashing but we were doing what we loved. I was teaching and leading and she was in the kitchen cooking and serving.

It has been a journey and I look forward to many more.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Ministry Weekend

This week, the students at Christ The Savior are going to be involved in two separate ministries this weekend.

On Saturday night, we will be going to the Women's Shelter and setting up a recreation night for the women and children that live at the shelter. It really is about the beginning of building relationships. We are down there 1x a month. I am not sure how much we can do with it being once a month, but it is a beginning. We go there and set up a movie and board games and have snacks and we just hang out with them for two hours and let them know that they are not forgotten.

On Sunday, we are headed down to the "garage" by the over passes and serve a meal to the homeless population. We partner with an organization called Meet Me Under The Bridge. This will be our fourth time down there and we also go there once a month. We prepare and cook a meal and take it down there and serve. Last month, we served over 130 individuals.

We do not take a large number of students down there but we are beginning to open up to the community around us and serve and show that serving is a very important aspect of who we are. I am looking forward to the partnerships and working with the students to step out of our comfort zone and realize that there are people around us hurting and we can help.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Help Needed: MMUTB

If you are in the Indianapolis area ...

Hashbrown and Ham Casserole (We need at least 15 of these)

2 lbs. frozen hash browns, Southern style (thawed)
1 stick melted butter
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 pt. sour cream
1/2 c. chopped onions
10 oz. pkg. shredded cheddar cheese
2 packages of cubed (not diced) ham

Mix all ingredients. Pour into 9 X 13 disposable aluminum pan. DO NOT BAKE…we will bake at the church.

Please bring to kitchen on Sunday, February 20th prior to the beginning of the 10:45 am service.

Please email Stacey Greathouse @ thesogmom@yahoo.com, if you will be bringing one.

Food Items

Six HUGE cans of green beans
Six HUGE bags of corn
150 rolls
Two big tubs of country crock

If you can bring the items, please email Stacey @ thesogmom@yahoo.com

Last month, we served 130 individuals. Our event is now held in a garage. We do not go out to them, they now come to us. However, many of them do live under the bridges of Indianapolis.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Serving: Men's Shelter

Today, I am picking up Isaiah and Jacob and we will be going down to the Men's Shelter and we will be helping out in the kitchen.

Our student ministry is "assigned" to help out once a month down there.

Wheeler has a history of over 100 years helping out Indianapolis. The link will give you their history page/timeline.

Here is a video about their ministry:

One of the things that I strive for is to try to make a difference. I think that one of the greatest and easiest way to do this is to find organizations in your community doing work and partner with them. I also love to invite people along to join the process.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Bishop Bruce Burnside: Bullying

A message on "bullying". We need to help make it "get better"

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Building Renovation & Human Sexuality

Now, those are two interesting themes especially when they are put together.

Yesterday, I was driving back from Wooster to Indianapolis and I was thinking about the past 18 months and these are the two phrases that came to my mind. It made me a little sad and frustrated that these two words popped into my head. But, they came into my head because that is what I think of when I think of the last 18 months of ministry.

do not take that the wrong way. There are many great things that have and are occurring at both Zion & Christ Lutheran but these seem to be the "dominant" conversation pieces over the last 18 months of ministry. Building Renovation at Zion and Human Sexuality at Christ.

Maybe those conversations needed to be "dominant" to move into the next stage of ministry life. It is my hope and prayer that 18 months from now that there will be different words that come to my head.

Zion in Wooster has a great opportunity to reach/serve the downtown community. I hope and pray that they can/will continue serving meals and running a food pantry. There are many other areas where they could make an impact ----- including partnering with Cornerstone Elementary.

At Christ, we have unbelievable talent in many areas and fantastic resources that we can tap into. We have the capability of strengthening our families dynamics and because of the resources that we have and the passion folks have for mission, we can make an impact in downtown Indianapolis. There are many things that I would like to see us do and expand.

Maybe, I should not put this out there, but as I made the drive and was thinking of ministry in two areas that I really feel connected to, this is what came to my mind.

More Later ....

Monday, January 24, 2011

Meet Me Under The Bridge

Helpers Helping Others Outreach Team

They were at the Meet Me Under The Bridge last week while we were down there serving and they did a picture/video shoot to promote their ministry. They are looking to "expand" their ministry and want more volunteers and this will be one piece that they will show/display so individuals can get an idea of what occurs down there.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

You Can't Hurt Me

Gandhi once said: “Nobody can hurt me without my permission.” Friends, don't let them hurt you ----- no matter what they are doing/saying ------- DO NOT GIVE THEM PERMISSION

There are a lot of things occurring and happening in my life and the lives of some of my friends. I think that the above quote is very applicable to me and to them.

It is extremely tough not to take some things personally and to internalize it but we must not let it happen; we cannot allow ourselves to be hurt.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Partnering With Others

This past weekend was a "ministry weekend" for our student ministry at the church. On the 3rd Saturday and the 3rd Sunday of each month, we partner with an organization in Indianapolis. On Saturday, we partner with Wheeler. We actually partner with them in three areas. But, On the 3rd Saturday, we go to the Women & Children Shelter and host a Recreational Night. On the 3rd Sunday, we go to MMUTB and serve a meal for the homeless. Below is a link to each ministry and a small write up about our experiences this weekend.

Wheeler Mission Ministries

We took 16 students and 4 adults down to the shelter. This was our first time to go down there and "host" a Recreation Night. Thus, we did not really know what to expect. For most of us, it was "better" than we thought. We took down a movie and snacks as the "background" for the night. We also took down many board games and decks of cards. There were probably 25 women and 15-20 kids who were down there at some point. Some relationships were built and our students did a great job playing with the kids and numerous of them connected with the women as they played card games and board games; it was great to see.

Meet Me Under The Bridge

This was our third time to be down at MMUTB. Our church family did a great job bringing in crock pots, food and supplies. We had a kitchen crew who cooked the meals and also prepared take away food for them. We had 12 students and 5 adults who went down - set up the meal and served it. There were many more there this week than in the past. We served approximatively 130 individuals.

It is great helping out and serving. Also, for me, it is great not to "re-invent" the wheel. Instead, we are watching and seeing where God is working through existing organizations and helping them by providing resources and people. I really think that we need to partner with each other more.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Meeting A Need

Shawn Spradling wrote a great note. i want to include everything for you and then for me. The reason: I need this as a reminder as we begin to make a few changes in ministry style/philosophy.

I'm in day 2 of the New Thru 30 challenge. Today's passages are Matthew 13 thru Matthew 23. Reading large chunks of scripture like this gives greater continuity to the story. I was gripped today by Matthew 14:14-16:

14 "Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.15 That evening the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away so they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves.”16 But Jesus said, “That isn’t necessary—you feed them.”

The context here is that is that Jesus was going to a remote area to be alone. Yes, Jesus needed some space. Yes, Jesus needed some downtime. Yes, Jesus needed a break from people. I can relate. I heard Bill Hybel's once say, "Don't get so busy doing the work of God that you neglect the work of God in you." If the Son of God needs time alone, certainly I need it no less. Rest and work is a healthy rhythm.

But of course, Jesus is interrupted. The crowds followed him. He doesn't send them away. He doesn't tell them to come back later. He doesn't tell them to schedule an appointment. No. He has compassion on them. Compassion. This is a word that God is pressing on my heart. I don't think the Church (capital C) has done a very good job at showing compassion to the world. In fact, I believe we've done a pretty good job at sending the crowds away. That's what the disciples wanted to do. "We don't have the resources, Jesus. We can't meet their needs. Send them somewhere else. We're tired. We're hungry. Let them go."

I think we're pretty good at showing compassion to our own. But we have some work to do at showing compassion to those are not like us. How are we at loving the lonely? How are we at clothing the naked? How are we at healing the hurting? How are we at feeding the hungry? How are we at caring for the outcast?

Jesus said, "You feed them." "Me? Us? But how? We don't have enough?" And then Jesus says in verse 18, "Bring them here." The answer to the question is always Jesus! God equips us with everything we need in order to do what he calls us to do. And if we, the Church, believed that, I'm naive enough to believe that we could make a dent in this world by feeding people with the love of the Father.

Compassion. That's what we need to be about. And when we're not sure how we're going to meet the needs of people, I pray that we will have enough faith to "bring them to Jesus." Center Pointe is in the research phase of creating a special needs ministry. This is about compassion. This is about meeting the needs of the families that God is bringing to our church. I'm ashamed to say that we've had to send some away. We didn't have the resources...or, maybe we lacked faith in the Resource Giver.

Ministry is not about creating momentum where none exists. It's about responding to the needs right in front of you. It's about joining the momentum that God has already created. We have families with special needs children. We have children with no families. We have impoverished people within 5 minutes of our church. Who will feed them? Who will meet their needs? I think Jesus is saying to us, "You feed them."

Let's be faithful to the mission in front of us. Let's be a church that doesn't send people away, but shows compassion to broken people. I hope that when our work is done here that Jesus could say of Center Pointe what he said of the Church in Philadelphia in Revelation 3:8..."See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name." I pray that Jesus could say about Center Pointe that we were faithful. That we cared more about compassion than crowds...that we cared more about ministry than marketing...that we cared more about people than programs.

Can we do that? Jesus believes we can. In fact, he expects it. Let's not send people away. Let's feed them the daily bread of the Living Word.


speaking up

came across this organization today and wanted to lift them up

Speak Up For The Poor

Are We Missing Something ?

Alan Knox has written an excellent piece called:
didn't know something was missing?

So many times, we think that we are experiencing community, fellowship, discipleship or ...... but, we really are not. We have not been "exposed" to the "true" thing.

Thinking through this and the ramifications that it could have on our ministry.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Bethany: Up & Moving

On Wednesday, Bethany went to her post-surgery appointment with her surgeon. She walked into the appointment with her walker. The appointment went excellent. The surgeon gave a great report. He also showed us the before/after xrays of the back. I wish that I would have taken a pic of them with my phone. The difference in the curve is unbelievable and there is no wonder why she is 1.5 - 2 inches taller post-surgery.

He also gave her the news that she did not need to use the walker if she did not want to. So, when she came home, she walked all over the house w/o the walker. She will still use the walker for awhile in "crowded" places. The walker will be more of a "buffer" for her.

Yesterday, she took the walker out and about as a "buffer" as she went to the children's museum. It is great to see her up and going. Soon, she will be making trips to the Y for swimming. She is limited in some things that she can do but swimming is one item that she can do.

Monday, January 03, 2011


I have been thinking of this word a lot recently. It seems that apathy is all around me. I do not mean to say that in a judgmental way. The dictionary defines apathy in this manner:

an absence or suppression of passion, emotion, or excitement or a lack of interest or concern

However, I do not think that the apathy is intentional. I think that apathy is the byproduct of our lives. We have our plates full. Our agendas are full and our lives our extremely busy and we do not have "time" carved out to serve or show the care that we have in our heart.

I think that because of our "business", we are isolated from our community and those around us and because of that business, we become less and less obvious to those who are hurting and what it is that they need.

More on apathy later ...

It Is 2011 .....

I cannot believe that it is 2011, time has flown.

When I look back at 2010, one word comes to mind to describe it: CRAZY.

We lived in Ohio for the first 6 months and we lived in Indiana the last 6 months.

While in Ohio, live was relatively calmed. I was working two jobs. My main job was working at Zion Lutheran as their children/youth/family pastor. My second job was working as the Transportation Coordinator at Goodwill industries. My wife would content that I had "three" jobs as I was doing the children's position at Zion.

there were so many great things about Wooster and our lives there. I had a very hard time making the decision to leave. When it came down to it, there were three main reasons for the transition:

1. I wanted to "solely" focus on youth and family ministry. I did not feel like that I could do that at Zion because of the children role and that seemed to take up more of my time than "youth". That may be because I dreamed of the possibility of Sunday Night Live and what it could have become.

2. I was not having the "right" attitude at Zion. The perception that I had was one of them (the church) caring more (making the switch) about the building then about the people that lived in the community surrounding the building. I also felt that I was living in uncertainty with the future retirement of the senior pastor and the finances of the church.

3. I was "running" to a challenging ministry. The church that I was going to CTS, was a church where I could focus on 5-12 grade ministry and also "hopefully" help them in some transitional points in ministry.

The six months that we have been In Indiana have been very challenging both from a professional standpoint and a family standpoint.

In the church, we were wrestling with whether we would remain in the ELCA or the NALC. We have also been wrestling with "what is our end in mind". We have made some subtle shifts in each of the three ministries that i oversee as well.

In the family, we have been gearing up for Bethany's surgery (which has occurred), going through foster-to-adopt classes (possibility of adopting a sibling group0 and then adjusting to a new neighborhood and school system.

However, we are still standing. One of the reasons that we are standing firm and strong is that the love and support that we are receiving from our church family is IMMENSE. We are blessed to serve a church community that cares so deeply for us and we have only been here a short time.

The school community has been very supportive to Bee as well. It is amazing to see the principal writing letters to her, teachers stopping by the hospital and house. Them asking for prayers at school for Bee and more.

There are many things that we miss about Wooster. We have left some tremendous friends. I miss the community that we ministered to in Wooster. I miss DZ, movie nights, Sunday Night Live and Starbucks with the youth. I miss my work/partnership with Goodwill. The job was simple - picking up people at their house and getting them into Goodwill and getting them to training, doctors appointments and taking them on job interviews. But, in the simplicity, it was getting to know people and trying to help them get to the next level.

I am looking forward to 2011. I am hoping and praying that our friendships will continue to grow. I hope and pray that my own personal connections and the churches connections will continue to grow that help people.

I am looking forward to helping students connect to God and connect to others by serving. It will start tonight as I take 2 teenage guys down to the Men's shelter. We simply will be there to help in the kitchen. But, in that simplicity, men will have a meal and know that they are loved.