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.