Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thankful for...

Thought I'd throw together a short list of what I'm thankful for this year....
  • my wife, who loves me and supports me everyday - even when I probably don't deserve it
  • my family, who supports me through everything
  • God - for grace, mercy, forgiveness, waiting for me, and everything else...
  • Walter, my dog - who greets me at the door every time I come home
  • my friends, who put up with me and still call me friend
  • a calling to serve in Youth Ministry
  • a boss who supports me in this calling
  • the youth who challenge me on a regular basis and allow me to have some part in their lives
  • good food - to eat it and to cook/bake it
  • Oscar & Kennedy - my two 'kids' in Columbia & Kenya
  • great music
  • a roof over my head (even if it isn't quite a house)
  • the experiences (some bad, mostly good) over the past year....
  • OCM's
  • a good book
  • a good book read with someone and then discussed...
  • green tea
  • coffee (by coffee I mean mocha, right now a Seattle Mocha)
  • laughter
  • and so much more....
Take some time to list what you are thankful for (leave them in the comments if you'd like) and remember what this time of year should really be about. Have a Happy Thanksgiving - and for you "slow" folks get that Christmas music out now!


Monday, November 24, 2008

Seriously Ridiculous

Seriously Ridiculous is a small aspect of my experience at NYWC these past few days in Nashville. At this point it's really difficult to completely put into words 'where I'm at' after this weekend. It was a time of worship, reflections, healing, conversations and discussions, laughter, and so much more - on top of that just re-focusing on The seriously ridiculous God that I follow.

I'm looking forward to the coming weeks - as I can continue to process and 'chew' on what God has laid before me - what God is calling me to do with my ministry. One thing is for certain - it's time for CHANGE in the American church - so, I will honor where God is leading me in my part of that change - hang on tight - it'll be a life-ruining experience - that is if you're in it for real - in it for JESUS! Cuz my God and my Jesus can not be put into a nice little pretty box that we can open when it's convenient for us - He will ruin your life - but it's worth it - I tell ya it's really worth it!

His Child,

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Day 4 (for me)

It's Sunday - it feels like, heck - I don't know what it feels like. I feel a bit tired - yet near-completely refreshed. Good I suppose looking at what I had hoped to get out of this weekend. I'm excited to return home and have several days to really begin to process some of what has been put in front of me.

Today's high point so far was Mike during Gen. Session - bringing greetings from the Queen he reminded us that sometimes youth might not be good at something the first time (or even the 15th) - but we must give it over to them to experience. We must do this "thing" with them - not "to" them. He spoke of the example of Jesus and His youth group - it took him 3 years with 12 "youth" and we all know how that played out - it wasn't always "good" - but the bottom line is that they learned.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

your cross

So, if Jesus walked into "this room" (insert wherever you are right now) and said - 'come on, all who want to follow me we're going out that door over there...and we'll see what happens. Some of you may never see your family (spouse, child, parents) again' - are you really okay with that?

Sure, we'd all love to say - 'yea, no problem, for Jesus I'll do anything.' Really? What if in asking you to go out that door, there were some crosses and He said - "Pick one up, we're going to walk up that hill over there, and we're going to be crucified." Would you really go? It's a tough one - give up everything - He says everything - to follow Him.

Take a look at the books of Acts - is our church today like that of Acts? That church was unstoppable - the gates of Hell couldn't touch it - what about today?

I don't think the gates of hell are even a concern - here's why:
  • We get upset with someone (maybe the pastor) and we leave
  • The worship band sucks - so we leave
  • Someone challenges us - so we leave
  • YOU don't get your way and you get mad - so you leave
The gates of Hell have nothing to worry about - we're stopping the church ourselves.

I think it's time we take a real hard look at what we're doing. I'm not trying to sound all 'high and mighty' as if I have it all together - cuz I know I don't - I know there are changes I need to make, that my wife and I need to make - in order to run after our Savior - what about you? Are you willing to make some hard change in your life? I hope so - cuz Jesus doesn't like crowds - He says his two cents and that's it - we must RUN after Him, with a desire to live more, lose it all and understand just a bit of what He has to offer.

Change is coming - are you going to be the fertile soil, the rocky soil or what?

Running to the RED Letters,

Jesus & Red Hats

It's day 2 (full, 3 if you came in on Th) here in Nashville!

Yesterday was AMAZING - two general sessions with 4 outstanding speakers. Francis Chan really gets you thinking when he takes the stage. I think I'll join him in "loving the church too much to leave it that way." Okay, well I paraphrased what he said - but that was the essence of his message. Start by taking a look at the book of Acts - we need to start modeling what we "the church" are doing by this.

Last night at session 2 we heard from three speakers - speakers who are well known for what they talked on....the bottom line (idea) I took from this was becoming a RED LETTER CHRISTIAN! What does that mean you might ask? Well, open up your Bible to the New Testament - you see all those RED letters? Well, a Red Letter Christian is essentially someone who follows what Christ said. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, I say we give it a shot.

Now, keeping with the RED theme - I came down to the hotel lobby this morning to check some email and post this blog - and to my surprise was a lobby full of two colors - PURPLE & RED - all worn by women - you guessed it - there is some Red Hat Society gathering going on - they seem to be out-numbering the youth workers staying at our hotel.....I'm not sure of the connection here - but couldn't pass up mentioning the RED SEA in our lobby.

Well, time to go see if my roommates are out of bed yet - lazy I tell ya!


Thursday, November 20, 2008


So, I'm here in Nash-vegas....really tryin to figure that one out...

Anyway - picking up in Denver (where we left off)

The next flight was not as "entertaining" and really I can't think of much to say about on to the shuttle (way to go YS - you dropped the ball on that one) how do you expect several hundred youth leaders to get into two 10-passenger vans??? We are not clowns and this is not the circus - I know it may confuse some at times - but really it's no circus we are all professionals here. I have to say I'm severely disappointed with YS on this!

Other than that bit of mess things this evening went pretty well - the YS Store had the big sale - the exhibit hall welcome session was good - lots of new connections and lastly we're finally in our room...wish us the best as things really get underway tomorrow - we're going to start walking back to the Convention center now so we can be in time for Crowder at Gen Session 1.


feng shui & potholes

Headed out early this morning to catch my flight to Nashville (or Nash-vegas to some of you). My travel experiences so far today have been interesting to say the least...

First at the ticket counter - here is a bit how the conversation went:
Both: standard early morning pleasantries
Ticket Agent (TA): Last name?
Me: Hansen (while handing him my ID)
TA: Ok, here we go - your final destination is Denver?
Me: Ummm, no! Try Nashville!
TA: Hmmm, you must be on a different airline - we don't serve Nashville.
Me: (in my head - wow this is a great start)
Me: (noticing he has printed boarding passes and baggage tickets for J. Hanson) - Ummm, that's the wrong person.
TA: Oh, do you have a copy of your itinerary - cuz you're not in the computer....

To save you the rest of this boring conversation - I was in the computer and I did get on my flight - YES! I'm still on track to get to NYWC.

Now, we actually board the flight - to Denver - (I know it's the wrong direction, get over it!) I get settled for take-off and the Flight Attendant is doing the nice little here is what to do in a water landing (where would that happen between Omaha and Denver anyway?) - so after all the instructions she informs us: "As always we try to make each flight an educational experience for our passengers and this morning will be no different. Following take off there will be a guided discussion (by someone named Meridith) in the rear galley on the feng shui of turkeys."

I kid you not - feng shui of turkeys! She then mentioned that while in our seats during the flight to keep our seat belts on as potholes can unexectantly come up.

Wow - she even went on later to talk about Barbie - but I'll save that for later - or maybe not - I'll spare you. So, here I sit in Denver with 1.5 hours to go before my next departure. It's not much, but it's been my day so far....check back later for more once I get to Nashville.


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Clear as day...

Last night Stephanie and I spent some time putting up plastic - you know, that window insulation plastic they sell at the hardware store. Well, she decided we should put some on the windows in our living room - to make it a bit warmer this winter. My suggestion was to move - somewhere either warmer (think California) or to a place with better insulated windows. Guess who won?

Anyway - as I returned home from worship this morning I approached our building and you know what? You can't even tell the plastic is there. Whoever invented this stuff must be brilliant - and probably a Christian. It kind of reminds me of God, and Christ, and well the Holy Spirit too.

Let me explain...just like the plastic - that you can see is there (at least from up close) God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are always there for us - even when we cannot see or feel, or hear, or touch....One in Three they are always there to insulate us with God's Love, Mercy and Grace.

As I listened to Bart Millard (of MercyMe) talk the other night, he talked about how God was over ALL - even in the pain and hurt of our lives - cancer; God is there, financial worries; God is there, relationship troubles; God is there, feeling depressed, lonely, sad, left out; God is there. You see regardless of good or bad times - God IS! So, as mercyme puts it - Bring The Rain!

Even when you can't see the plastic insulation (God) know that It is there! Rest in that promise today!

Insulated by Him,

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Good Life...

Good 'ole Nebraska has made the YSMarko blog....check it out!


Thursday, November 13, 2008

"Burning Bush?"

Howdy Youth!

I'm excited to let you know that for those of you who have your June calendar open - waiting for dates for our next trip - they are here! Get your pen out and block out June 12-19 for the 2009 Summer Missions Camp.

Registration information will be available THIS Sunday at WAVE.

Start working on getting your friends/peers to sign up with you. Lookin' forward to a great trip and the change God will work in each of your lives.


Missing It...

I just wanted to point you in the direction of some Spiritual Junk Food - check out this blog posted this morning....


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Reflections on "The Calling"

So, it's time to look back, but more importantly to look forward!

I have to say that the one thing I hope anyone who was on the trip will remember one thing - the fact that you found a support family - a support system. I've heard it from most all of you in the past week and a half, you came into this trip all from a different place in your journey - the commonality for all of you is your FAMILY of support to help you in each step of the journey.

Please don't forget what you found on this trip.

check out Jeff's reflections on the trip over at his blog...

Now, whether you were on The Calling or not - it's time to look forward...get out your calendars and open up to June leave it there, watch in the next several days for a registration form for our 2009 Summer Missions Camp! We hope each of you will be able to attend this life-impacting and changing experience for all Jr & Sr High youth!


Tuesday Thoughts

Yes, it's been a few days....yes, I've heard the complaints that it's been a few days...

So, today - Blindness....Sunday night at YG we talked about the blind man healed by Jesus...I can help but wonder what kind of healing Christ has and is doing in the lives of our youth.

There are things that get in our way each step we take - my prayer is that each of you will stop, take a breath and take a look around. What do you see - or not see? What or who is getting in your line of sight?

As you start to look for answers to these important questions - now ask yourself what you're going to do about it. Remember only YOU can stand up - go against the flow and be the person God has Called you to be. You don't have to go it alone - but you do have to be the one to reach out and ask for the help you'll need on the journey.

So, it's up to you (youth & adults) are you reaching out and asking for the help you need at this point in your walk?


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Are YOU Serious?

As we get ready for a new series at WAVE - "He Did What?" I can't help but think back on a song I've heard (a lot) recently....

"Salt and Light" - many of you have sung it, several in the last week on the Mission I you really mean what you're singing?

You make me want to be like You
Your holiness I will pursue
I want the heart of Jesus
Show me the meaning of Your grace
I want to give the world a taste
Of the love of Jesus

So, are you serious? do you really want God to make you like Him? Are you pursuing Holiness? Do you really, I mean REALLY want The Heart of Jesus? Are you really looking for the meaning of His Grace? And lastly, do you want to give the world a taste of the love of Jesus?

If so, what are you really doing about it? Are you sharing your faith? Does that seem too much or too hard for you? Here's an idea - bring a friend, just one friend to WAVE for the next 3 weeks - let the leaders do the hard work of sharing the GOSPEL....remember I challenged you to do that and then just follow up with them after WAVE - head over to Scooters and chat with them.

If you were at WAVE last time (3 Sunday's ago) you wrote down 5 names of friends - pull that out - keep praying for them and then call one up and invite them to WAVE Sunday night - after all if you sing the song you should mean what you're singing...praying for each of you.

Your Bro In HIM,

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Votes aren't even in...

We have a President and regardless of who you voted for as an American you must respect our leader.

Not that I agree with the choice - not that I would have agreed with either choice - but still...I've heard some people want to move to Mexico and some just think the country is going down the toilet.

Either way - I think it's time for reform in our election process - away with the Electoral College and in with majority vote! And when that happens we need to limit the media's coverage of the election until ALL polls have closed - so that all votes can count.


How is your breathing?

Howdy Mission Team....

It's coming upon 72 hours since we returned to Lincoln from the Mission Trip...I just wanted to remind you to pause and check your breathing - not literally, as I'm sure you've all adjusted to the lower altitude again and are physically breathing fine. Rather, how are you doing on return to "life?" How has the first two days back to classes been? Are you following through on whatever you felt Called TO or FROM?

Take some time today and tomorrow to check in with each other and maybe even your leaders to see how things are going and to share where you're at. Every time you experience a "mountain-top" trip/retreat you've got to come down sooner or later - that however doesn't mean you have to come crashing down - take it one step at a time and make the changes necessary to improve your walk with Him.

I'm praying for you and hope you'll continue to be open and excited for the One who has Called you.


Pray Vote Pray

I have to admit, I'm a bit worried about what will begin to happen as a result of today!

It's not that I don't have faith that God can do what God needs to do - I just have a smaller faith in human-kind than I do in God and I'm afraid we're going to screw it up again.

I don't think everyone will honestly stop and pray before voting and those who do - I'm not sure that those who do pray have really listened - or even given God the chance to really answer. Or maybe the answer is no answer at all - maybe both of our choices are not the choice God would have. I'm not even 100% sure that I've prayed about it enough.

I guess when it all comes to the closing polls tonight - we just have to give it up to God and pray that whoever will become our next President will be someone that will allow God to use them.


Saturday, November 1, 2008

Home at last, home at last...

We're back in Lincoln - safely!

Hope you'll join us in worship at Nov 2 at 10:30 or either of the services at First Pres on Nov 9th. The youth have a great worship service put together.

Hope you get a chance to hear some stories and experience from any of our 25 youth from the Mission Team.

I'm off to do laundry and get things in order for worship tomorrow - thank you everyone for your support and prayers - I really appreciate.

His Servant,