Friday, December 3, 2010

1:1

What would living out Mark 12:31 this Christmas season really look like?

How would our world, your neighborhood - be impacted?

How could the perception of Christ's Church be changed if we took this passage seriously?

What it for every dollar you spent on yourself, your family, & your friends this Christmas you also spent a dollar on a neighbor*?

* neighbor being, the poor, homeless, hungry, naked, widowed, elderly, children...those who are in more need than us

Let's round down to the nearest hundred billion and say that American's will spend only $400 Billion this Christmas. If we took this 1:1 seriously one of two things would happen:
- We would spend $400 Billion on ourselves & $400 Billion on our neighbors
- or We would spend $200 Billion on ourselves & $200 Billion on our neighbors

either way we probably still have more than we need and the world would be changed forever, and that's just talking about 1:1 during Christmas 2010. What if we did this every year, or even better - what if we did this every day?

Don't be afraid to ask "what if" this Christmas - I think Christ would be pleased with our response.

His,
~C

Thursday, December 2, 2010

It's coming - only 22 shopping days left!

Isn't it great that we have all the big-box retailers to remind us every year that it's Christmas time (or in reality that Christmas time is within 5-6 weeks from beginning). Some offer a count-down as you walk into their store (this many shopping days/weeks until Christmas), some put out Christmas decorations, toys, gifts, etc the day before Halloween, many start playing Christmas music (disclosure: I believe Christmas music is some of the greatest music in the world and to limit that to only 4 weeks a year is a joke - so this is the exception that can come out Nov 1st). The point is - they never forget to remind us what season is upon us.

Anyway - it seems earlier and earlier every year we begin to get those reminders about the coming Christmas season. Even with all of these fun reminders, I still hear so many people say "I can't believe there are only 23 days left until Christmas - how am I ever going to get all my shopping done and all those gifts wrapped? It baffles me. We can already predict that it's 55 weeks & 1 day until Christmas 2011, and another 52 weeks to that if you need to know when it will be here in 2012. It's really not that hard to figure out.

But, we find ourselves in a similar position to people during the first Christmas - yes there was a bright shinning star, the angels announcement, and even Moses had a heads up that Christ would be coming. Yet, it still snuck up on them....maybe it was because there was no holiday section set up 8 weeks in advance at the local Shepherd-Mart? Who knows?

God was and is The One who is never caught off guard - by the first Christmas or this Christmas. It was no accident, twist of fate, or some random last-minute decision. Christmas, and Christ's coming have always been a part of God's grand plan. All in the works since before the creation of the universe.

We often may feel like Christmas crept in while we were not looking, but the first Christmas and the Christmas of 2010 did and will come at the perfect time - precisely when God wanted.

Don't let the rush of retail, the glamor of un-needed gifts, the frustration of family, or anything else steal away the true reason God sent us such an amazing Gift on Christmas day. After all, it would be tragic if we, who know the true meaning of Christmas, celebrate the holiday without acknowledging the Messiah.

His,
~C

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

What Should I Give?

In following my last post - I thought I'd throw some suggestions out there of some organizations that you might prayerfully consider giving to this Christmas.

Remember what you give is between you & God - just ask Him what you should give and chances are He'll give you an amount that you're gonna think is too much...but if it's from God - trust Him, when has He ever let you down...Worship Fully!

Living Water International


People's City Mission
(Lincoln)

Heifer International
(give some animals)

Compassion (the gift that will keep on giving - Sponsor a child this Christmas)

Yellow Ribbon (yes, I have a bias here - but I know the support they receive will continue to save lives from suicide)

Or here are a few other random ideas: each time you pass a Red Kettle this month (Salvation Army) drop in all the change you have in your pocket/purse. Next time you pass a homeless person (you know, the one holding the sign, or walking through downtown) take 30 minutes and buy them a meal or cup of coffee...don't just buy and run, break bread with them - share Christ's Love by sharing with & getting to know them. Or, just ask God to move your heart and when you get out of bed each morning say "God I'm available today" - allow Him to show you how He wants you to give this season...trust me - you'll see opportunities cross your path!

Merry Christmas!
~C

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My Christmas List...

At 28 years old, I think I'm quite content with all that I have. This past month I posted various things I was thankful for - falling in with the theme of Thanksgiving! But, when I look at all that I have, I feel blessed. Then, when I look at all I have compared to what many in our world do not - I still feel blessed, but I feel a stir within me.

I have known since I was much younger that I enjoyed giving more than receiving. I think most of this is credit to The God who has blessed me thus far in my life. I know that when I give to the least of these, I am giving to Christ. And let's face it; Christ came into this world to GIVE for you and me - so shouldn't I, as I strive to be like Christ always desire to give whatever I can to others...thus showing them The Christ that I claim to follow.

What good is it if I get one more un-needed trinket or gift certificate or the latest electronic gadget or......?



Every time I here about Advent Conspiracy it opens my eyes to how crazy we've made this entire Christmas season....we see stress levels increase, debt increase, and we seem to lose focus of what Advent & Christmas are really supposed to be about...Him, born in a manger. Honestly, let's just start with the clean water...one place says American's spend over $400 billion on Christmas every year....and it would only cost around $10 billion to provide clean water to those around the world who don't have it.

So, for Christmas this year - instead of more stuff that I don't really need (yes, I am human and there are things I want....but need - no, not really) I wish we could all

- Worship Fully (like those who came to see Christ at His birth) we get more excited at our birthday's - let's actually get a bit excited and really celebrate and worship The King!
- Spend Less
- Give More
- Love All

I think it's what He would want!

Start a new tradition this year,
Celebrating Him,
~C

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A new home?

Looking for a place to live? Have a small family? Want to be nice to the environment and not have a lot of vacuuming to do?

Then check out this tiny house!

If you need something a bit bigger, call my friend Mary at HOME she'll hook you up!

~C

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Lookin' like the world?

Do you look more like the world - or - like Christ?

You know when they compare those who claim to be Christians to the rest of the world both groups look an awful lot alike. Making the same kind of money, spending it in the same ways, similar educations, hobbies, desires, dreams, divorce rates...what I'm trying to say is that if you put a Christian & a non-Christian in a room together most of the times the look, act and respond the same to the world around them....

As I drove to work this morning thoughts of my tea encounter yesterday, a friends blog that I read and what the dj was sayin on the radio made me think...are we more like the world we're living in, or the world of our Savior? Do we care more about the rules of the world or the 'rules' of Christ?

We're commanded to 'love your neighbor as yourself' and I think we as individual Christian's and as the Church we often times fail. How many homeless guy's need a cup of tea or coffee in the morning and we just walk right on by. Or what if we pause and throw some spare change their direction but never stop to have a conversation?

How many times could the church open it's doors both literally and figuratively to our 'neighbor'? What kind of example are we setting for the rising generation? How many out there are the 'least of these' that we should feed, clothe, shelter, pray for/with, and just do something about. Yet, we sit by, and on a good day think - I really wish I could do something - but...

And we maybe hope that someone else will come along and do something about it. It's always easier to think 'someone else' will/should do something...the problem is each of us is a "someone else" - we need to stop looking like the world around us and start acting like Christ - it's then that we will begin to look like Him.

Today I hope to look a little less like the world and a little more like Christ! What about you?

Someone else for Him,
~C

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Tea, almost a missed opportunity!

In most ways it's a typical Wednesday morning for me. I'm out of the house a bit earlier than other days, and I enjoy a nice, for the most part - drive downtown. I'm headed to one of my favorite coffee shops. Pulling into the parking garage (cuz the first hours free) I grab my bag and head down the steps - for what I think will be a bit of quite time before my 8am meeting.

Each Wednesday I meet with a small group of college-age guys for some fellowship and whatever else happens - usually some riveting discussion about something pertinent to life.

Some weeks when I hit the ground level of the parking garage and walk towards the street I see anywhere from one to three guys, I'm assuming homeless, sitting near the entrance. They usually don't even look up from their conversations - but on occasion we exchange hellos, or good mornings. Today was a bit different - there was no one sitting there, but I saw one of them walking down the sidewalk. as we passed he asked if I could spare fifty cents.

I said, no, but I thought I could spare a dollar - you see most times I know how much cash I'm carrying - I could have swore there was one dollar left in my wallet. As I pulled it out I was a bit embarrassed, as I had just gotten his hopes up...now I had nothing. He said, that's okay, told me to have a good day and I did the good Christian thing and said sorry and God bless.

I was halfway across the street - coffee shop and quite time within reach, and something stopped me dead in my tracks, before I could even think I heard the words leaving my mouth as I turned back towards the man - "do you want a cup of coffee?" I knew I didn't have any cash, but I did have a form of plastic in my wallet. He perked up and said, "no - but can I have tea, I'm more of a tea guy."

Hey, whatever you want. He joined me in the middle of the street and we made our way into the coffee shop. And he got a cup of green tea!

Who will you stop and buy a cup of tea for today?

His,
~C

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Fancy Halloween...

This must be the week of re-posts...

Just read an interesting article (somewhat humorous)by Jon Acuff

When Did Halloween Get So Fancy?

Enjoy!
~C

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

In -or- For, this is the Question...

Whether you're married, engaged, single and planning to marry someday, single and your just not sure if you wanna get married, dreaming about the perfect spouse or something else....you need to check out this series.

Man vs. Wife

This is the first in a multi-part series - but it's got some great wisdom, and some good music if you don't skip ahead to the message portion. Pastor Perry delivers a great sermon from Philippians 2 - check it out and then come on back here and share your thoughts.

His,
~C

have you talked to The Father today?

Came across this cool video from Willow Creek this morning:

The Lord's Prayer from blaine hogan on Vimeo.



~C

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Do you have the courage?

A friend passed on an amazing blog post to me this morning...I couldn't continue in my morning without sharing it will all of you...please take five minutes and read it, and then take another minute to share it with those you know - do you have the courage to change a life?

Single Dad Laughing

~C

Thursday, September 30, 2010

My Sun Stand Still prayer

As I mentioned in an earlier blog post I was just finishing up Steven Furtick's book "Sun Stand Still." If you haven't yet you should really go pick up a copy or two (one for a friend). Anyway as I've worked through the book and done some thinking - I've come to my first 'Sun Stand Still' prayer...

Many of you know I've been working with Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention to help launch a new campaign (Restore Hope, RHC) - well it's been on the drawing board long enough - it's time to launch this thing and get ready to hit the road with the national tour. In order to launch the project they need to hire a Project Coordinator, and a few other minor things that bring with it a price tag. The 'tag' for the first year is $50k (salary, taxes, equipment, Coordinator's travel...)

I want to ask two things of you:

1. What can you do to spread the word?
(who might you tell about Yellow Ribbon?)
you might consider joining the YR Cause on FaceBook and then inviting all of your friends to join us, or talk with your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, classmates, random dude on the street, etc...

2. What can you give? Yes, I'm talking your hard earned $$$. Believe me - every dollar helps reach that goal. If just 5,000 youth across the nation got a hold of this and each gave $10 - we'd be there. Or a handful of churches got on board and chose to support YR as a mission of their church.

The bottom line is that too many people out there are taking their own lives...Yellow Ribbon wants to bring more awareness to this subject and continue to help save lives. Joshua had the faith and persistence to ask God to do the impossible. Will you be a part of a 'sun stand still prayer' or will you sit on the sidelines and watch?

~C

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

What if we're praying wrong?

What - you're telling me there is a right & a wrong way to pray?

Well, yes as a matter of fact I am - other than the obvious - that you probably shouldn't pray that you will never suffer physical or emotional pain again, or that you would have a billion dollars just appear in your bank account - there can be a wrong way to pray!

My thoughts on this center around the book I'm finishing up "Sun Stand Still" (What Happens When You Dare to Ask God For The Impossible) by Pastor Steven Furtick. You should run - not walk to go get a copy of this book (on sale wherever books are sold...or at least most places books are sold!)

There are so many great thoughts in Pastor Steven's book - and I'm only going to talk about the "praying wrong" part here - because I don't want to ruin your experience in reading this for yourself....seriously, Go Get The Book!!!

So, what about praying wrong? Steven says that he realized he was praying some pretty dumb prayers:
- 'God, just be with me today.' - what we mean is we want to experience God's presence in our lives...but it's just a filler, you see God fills heaven and earth....every inch of all creation - do we really need to make sure He's "going to be with us?"

- 'God, if it's your will.' - does God need an opt-out clause in the contract before He's willing to sign on? We do this because we're scared - it makes the prayer seem 'safer'. So it's a cop-out! (read more in the book)

What about praying a 'Sun Stand Still' prayer? It takes us to a new territory. it's wrapped with urgency, filled with possibility & for most of us it's a whole new way to pray!

Steven says "The tragedy of our time is that we have taken what was meant to be ordinary (a Sun Stand Still prayer) and made it exceptional. We've put audacity on the highest shelf, out of reach, and declared it off limits." Check out James 5:17 for example. And reread that first part, about Elijah being a man just like us!
Get the picture?

"Prayer is the arena where our faith meets God's abilities. And there is never going to be a moment when the audacity of our faith surpasses God's capacity to respond."

How are you praying today? Go check out the book & then check out The Book - and let me know.

His,
~C

Friday, September 24, 2010

Your kid's an All Star? Wow! Someday he'll be average like the rest of us!

Alright, whether you have a 6 year old, a 16 year old, or a young adult - bottom line if you've filled the role of parent - or are thinking about it someday -- this blog post from a fellow Youth/Young Adults Pastor is for you. Yes, it's likely to tick you off - but promise me you'll read it all the way through. Even if your kids have grown and gone, read it and then figure out how you can encourage those who have kids at home now.

Alright - check it out -- Your kid's an All Star? Wow! Someday he'll be average like the rest of us.

And please - share your thoughts here in the comments of on this Pastors blog.

~C

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Scissors, Straight Talk, & Wisdom

Have you ever sat in a church committee meeting and been threatened with a pair of scissors? Well, I had that pleasure a few years back as part of the Christian Ed. Committee at GS. Now, to give full credit to Ruth I probably deserved it and she was just joking around. However I still give her a hard time about that particular meeting! :-)

Have you ever walked into a room full of quilters at a church only to leave thinking - what just happened? On many occasions I would stop in to visit the quilters on Monday mornings at GS and folks like Ruth & Jackie would, in their words "straighten me out." If I had preached a sermon I was sure to get an honest review from them. If there was something on their mind, I was sure to hear about it. If there was a problem in the world - they would "do their part" to talk about fixing it.

I learned quickly after starting work for Good Shepherd that it was people like this that would never admit it in public, but were some of my strongest supporters. Sure, if they disagreed with something I was doing, I'd hear about it. And maybe they didn't understand youth culture - but I think they trusted that I was doing the right thing for our youth and children. And for that they supported me.

Sadly, this week our church family learned that Ruth was going home under hospice care. This bright, vibrant, full-of-energy, involved in everything at church young lady got notice this week that she get's to go Home. Soon she will face her Creator. I know Ruth supported our youth ministry when she was one of only two "elderly" in our church to respond to my invite/request for them to join us at one of our last lessons for the year - our topic - Legacy. She (and others) were invited because we were talking about the importance of the Legacy that has been laid before us (as younger generations) - I can only hope the youth really paid attention and connected with that idea - because it's the faithful like Ruth who have paved the way for those younger to follow behind.

Hearing the news that Ruth will be joining her husband, her friends that have gone before her and God, gives me a slight sense of joy - for her - joy of what she is about to experience. Death sucks, for us left here....but death is only a new beginning for those in Christ.

I know this about Ruth:
- She wasn't the type to sit around and talk about what needed done in and through the church - she got up and made it happen (everything from quilting, to keeping the library in order, to cleaning) it seemed nothing was off-limits for Ruth!
- She will be missed around the halls of GS, but I have a feeling her presences will remain.
- She kept me in line - and I'm sure the memories of things like the scissors, the wisdom shared in the quilt room and more will continue to do so
- She is leaving a great Legacy - for the youth and children of GS and her family
- She will hear "well done good and faithful servant"

Ruth - we'll miss you, but we look forward to the day we can be reunited in Heaven!

~C

Friday, September 17, 2010

What If His People Tithed!

Stick with me here - this ones about money - but read through and see what could happen if His people tithed!

Matthew 6:24 says we cannot serve two masters! you will hate one and love the other...so if you love money...you _____ God, yup that's right hate!

Malachi 3:10 - bring the whole tithe into the house (hint: house is The Church) - God says test me in this - and He will open up the floodgates of Heaven. Anyone know what one other time God opened the floodgates of Heaven? That's correct - the Flood! You remember Noah....that's how much blessings God will pour out on you if you put Him first! You cannot out-give God - try it!

John 3:16 - (come one say it with me....we all know it) God so loved the world that he gave His only son -- God gave Jesus as His tithe - and even God couldn't out-give Himself...He gave Jesus and received millions (& counting) of souls in return

So what if, what if The Church (in America) those who claim to be Christian (according to a 2008 ARIS survey) numbering somewhere around 173,402,000 of the U.S. population were to tithe. Now, I know what you're saying how can you figure what each of those persons makes in order to figure what their tithe would be? Well, we can't - but we can figure it based on the poverty guidelines.

Let's for a moment assume every one of those 173+million U.S. Christian's only made $10,830/year (poverty for 1 person household) and each of them gave just 10% to the church (doesn't matter which one - just open the phone book and pick one) we would see $187,794,366,000 in one year! That's 187 Billion dollars.

What if we did the same math with a 4 person household ($22,050) at poverty level tithing? $382,351,410,000

This is just poverty level. Sure there are some Christian's that may make less (college students, teenagers, unemployed, etc.) but there are also many that make much much more. So, what if? What could The church accomplish if everyone of us let go of what we've been holding onto and gave to God just a tiny bit of what He has already given us? It's not our money anyway - you can't take it with you. What if we stopped robbing God?

My point it that even in a down economy - if every single one of us (Christian's) were only making poverty level - and still faithfully giving to God out of a willing and blessed heart - The Church would be able to feed for the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, and so much more. Think about how we could impact The Kingdom. We could do what we were originally called to do - what we've turned over to the government (welfare) to do, people would be happier, cared for, loved & we wouldn't have to complain about crummy gov't management of the welfare program - cuz there would no longer be a need - Christ will have met the need through us - His church!

Are you tithing? I hope so, cause it's an amazing blessing to be a giver. And that part about testing God (Malachi 3) - let me let you in on a secret - it's true...just trust God!

Giving - because He first gave,
~C

Thursday, September 16, 2010

7 practicle things we can do to grow in our faith!

1. Read your Bible - not to figure out what to do with your life, but read to know God. Ps 119:105 Someone who follows Christ on a daily basis is likely in God's word on a daily basis.

2. Baptism - check out Mt 28:18-20. The first thing after salvation! (I know that goes against my Presbyterian upbringing - but no denomination gets it all right!)

3. Regular Church Attendance - Heb 10:25 - when a limb is detached from it's body it will eventually die

4. Confession & Repentance - Ez 14:1-5 - what's in your life between you and Jesus? Confess = admitting what you have done, Repent = to turn from the lifestyle and go the other way!

5. Giving - God or Money? you cannot pull for both teams, Mt 6:21, 24

6. Sharing Christ - Philemon 1:6. If you're following Christ you will naturally desire to share Him with those around you!

7. Serving - attendance does not = active involvement. How can we look at a God who sent His Son to die for us and say "I can't give you an hour per month." I Peter 4:10

Thanks Pastor Perry for sharing these thoughts - they were so good I had to pass them on!

~C

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

New Pen!

Also mentioned while out with Max (& others) was my pen.

If you know me well, you know I've always (99.9% of the time) got a pen in my pocket.

If you now me really well you know that for the past several (lost count) years I've only carried a Zebra F-301 pen (black).

Well it came time a few weeks ago for the Zebra to be taken out back and shot. So, Max says for someone like me who carries the same pen all the time that it's 'blog-worthy' and important for me to inform the world that I've changed pens.

I am no longer happy with the service (or lack there of through drying up pens) that Zebra provides - so I've been 'test driving' a Pilot G-2. It has the ever important clicker (cuz I can't have a pen without a clicker - gives me something to do - usually annoys those around me?!?) and it's got the grip to comfort your fingers while in use. and it's got to bonus points not found on my old Zebra pen. 1. it has a .38 point (vs. the .7 on the Zebra) & 2. It works ALL the time.

The final test will be if I am able to buy it in bulk at SAMS Club. And even better would be if they also made a pencil - I hate pencils - but you've got to always have at least one around. So, if anyone from the Pilot company is reading and you'd like to send me some of your really great pens for free - that would be amazing - and I'd continue to talk about them on my blog. :-)

~C

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Who should Blog...

This past weekend I spent a few hours with some friends in celebration of someones birthday. I had the privilege of sitting next to Max Porter. If you don't know Max, well, you're missing out! Max and I had a conversation (initiated by him) about my blog. After a while I said "you know Max, I think you should have a blog, I think people would really enjoy reading what you have to say!"

So, I've been thinking about a few people in addition to Max that I think (if they could find or make the time) should probably have a blog - I think they would have something interesting, or at least worth a momentary pause in my normal routine to check out their thoughts.

The first obviously is Max - if you know Max and have his email or Facebook - I would encourage you to send him a message this week and tel him why you'd like to see him on a blog. Max has such a wild sense of creativity and a great way of looking at things that I feel the world is missing out on some of this...what better way to share than through a blog. Maybe a few of you could suggest a name for his blog too.

The next one that came to mind was Joani Szudlo. As I ponder this thought I wonder how she would have time and if it would be as funny to the rest of the world as I thought it might be?? I've solved the time problem - she can write it from work - it will take less time than she used to have to spend on the phone helping out this Youth Worker with ministry stuff. As for the funny part - yea, if you don't find humor in a lot of what Joani says - you need your head checked...seriously!

Dave Hilligoss has some thoughts that might intrigue as well. But it would have to be the Dave 'beneath the surface' - like the Dave that sits playing a game (Apples-2-Apples) with some family/friends....there ya go Dave an Apples blog by Dave!

I think it might be important for Dustin Hastings (aka Dustin-tables, Glitford, etc...) to have a blog so those of us not on the range, driving a tractor, etc can know what's going on out there!

Since he's so far away from us - and he's absolutely hilarious I think Big Papa (aka Josh Ellen) would be an excellent candidate for a blog author...what do you say Big Papa?

It would have to be a video-blog (vlog) but if she could pull it off some great wisdom and humor could come regularly from none other than Di Crouch! Someone hook her up with a FlipCam.

And as a tag team I think Nick & Sam (Wensel, Pierce) should co-author a blog...not only can they bring humor to the table - but they've got some amazing thoughts on the church and they're gonna change the world for Him.

Last but not least - maybe you - the one reading this could blog....what do you have to offer the rest of us? Yea, you're right maybe nothing - but you'll never know until you try. Give it a shot - it's free, it can be relaxing and you might learn something.

Until next time - get to blogging!
~C

Thursday, September 2, 2010

what can you do to save a life?

Friends,

Most of you know by know that I have a passion for working with Yellow Ribbon to help prevent teen suicide. Many of you know that in a strange twist of odd events I've been offered a 'job' with Yellow Ribbon. I put job in '' because it is a real job - it's just that it's a new position with a non-profit...so before the offer is official they want to have funding in place to be able to pay me for the first year. This is where the $50,000 comes in.

Now, just to clarify I'm not taking a $50k paycheck when this job becomes a reality. They arrived at this figure because it would include my pay, taxes, and some start-up expenses for creating a new position - I'd have to have a laptop you know. Because I would be doing some traveling for this job they've also included funds to get me where I would need to be to do my job.

Here is the problem - no, the challenge; we've been at this for many months and we're only about 10% of the way to this first goal. Needless to say it's a tad frustrating. The staff, the board, myself, YR supporters - everyone sees the potential for YR and it's mission in adding another full-time staff. Being an International program I can't for the life of me figure out why with contacts in all 50 states, and a handful of countries we cannot come up with $50k to jump start this thing.

Youth are needlessly ending their lives every day in our country - they need to know they can ask for help. What if $50,000 would save just one life? would it be worth it? When YR gets this donation goal met it will mean a nation-wide awareness campaign & tour of all 50 states, new trainings brought to faith-communities and so much more. I'm guessing $50k is going to help save more than one - either way, it's worth it to get the message of hope to those who are hurting.

Now, I know some of you are thinking $50,000 is a lot of money - but look at it this way:
- It's 5,000 kids (nationwide) giving just $10 each
- It's 20 churches (nationwide) investing in YR as a mission @ $2,500 each
- It's 1,000 couples (nationwide) skipping a $50 date night and donating to YR
- It's 10 business' or business owners becoming a sponsor with a commitment of $5,000
- It's 50,000 people (nationwide) each giving $1 (there are 310,152,403 people in the U.S - I think we could do this one!)

Bottom line it's each of us giving what we can. Together we can help save lives.
Yes, I'm asking you to think about what you can afford to donate to this worthy cause - I'm asking because I care, because I believe in Yellow Ribbon, because I want to see lives saved, and because Stephanie & I have also donated.

I know it's a lofty goal - but if you know me I like to reach for the sky - next week (Sept 5-11) is the 15th Annual Yellow Ribbon Suicide Awareness & Prevention Week - and I think it would be cool to present Dale & Dar, and YR with $50,000 by the end of YR week this year. What a way to launch into the next 15 years.

Will you help? Will you tell your friends, neighbors, co-workers, classmates, the checker at the grocery store, whoever you see in the next week? Today's youth are counting on you! Donations can be made online via the YR website, the YR Facebook Cause, by mailing them in, or if you see me in the next week I'd be happy to get yours sent in with the others I'm collecting. Remember it's a tax deductible donation!

Please don't make the mistake of thinking "Someone else" will step up - we are ALL "Someone else" - so now what can you do?

Thanks for listening and for supporting this cause.
~C

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Back to School

Read this in the LJS this morning: Grade/attendance notification

Wondering what some students as well as parents think about this new system? Feel free to share some thoughts here!

~C

Sunday, August 8, 2010

No more D's!

I came across this article and as school is just around the corner for many I thought I'd share and see if anyone had thoughts or feedback on the topic.

What if this came to your school district?

http://www.youthspecialties.com/blog/no-ds-allowed/


Prayin' for all who are already in or headed back to classes soon (myself included!)

His,
~C

Friday, July 23, 2010

It'll make you think...

I follow several blogs during a given week and Pastor Perry Noble from Newspring church tops my list - especially this week. Both in his writing and his preaching Perry holds nothing back - as long as it's from God - he's not afraid to talk about a topic because it's 'taboo' in the church.

That being said he's had a couple of great posts on things this week and I wanted to share just a handful. Check out Perry's blog if you want the full lists and even more writings by this great leader.

From his post titled: "8 Reasons Some Churches Do Not Grow" ~

- #1 – The Vision Is Not Clear - If people don’t know where a church is supposed to be going…then it will attempt to go everywhere and eventually wind up nowhere.

- #6 – Unwillingness To Take Risks – When our focus becomes to play it safe rather than to do whatever it takes to reach people far from God…it’s over. NOWHERE in the Scriptures did God ever ask anyone to do anything that didn’t involved an “oh crap” moment. We’ve GOT to be willing to embrace the uncertain if we want to see the unbelievable.

- #7 – Disobedience To The Scriptures – Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:15, Luke 24:48, John 20:21, Acts 1:8, II Corinthians 5:16-21, Luke 19:10…I could go on and on…but we MUST understand that Jesus didn’t come to earth, live here for 33 years years, give HIS life for us and then return back to heaven to intercede for us so that we could get in really little circles and talk about ourselves and condemn those who are not as good as us. We are called to REACH PEOPLE FOR GOD–PERIOD!

From his post "12 Things Leaders Need To Realize" ~

- #1 – As long as we are listening to God…we will always have a word to speak! STOP worrying about the sermon!

- #7 – We should learn to rest and catch our breath instead of being compulsive and controlling…for in resting in Him our strength is renewed! (See Isaiah 30:15)

- #12 – We’ve GOT to have people around us who WILL speak TRUTH into our lives…even if it hurts. (Proverbs 27:6) We can’t listen to EVERYBODY…but if we listen to NOBODY then we (and the people we lead) are in trouble!


So there you have it - some inspiring thoughts from Perry - I really hope you'll go check out the rest of his lists!

Blessings this Friday,
~C

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Happy Anniversary

4 Years ago today I married the most beautiful, loving, caring woman I know!
Someone asked me the other day if I would do it all over again and without even thinking I said absolutely!! No doubt whatsoever, especially considering we had the best wedding reception to celebrate afterward.



Not a day goes by that I'm not thankful for having Stephanie to share my life with. Yes, we've had our share of ups and downs - just like everyone else - but if it were all easy - what fun would it be? I know we've both given each other our fair share of headaches - and I know we'll continue to as the years pass - but - life is an adventure and I'm so glad I get to experience it with my best friend.

My downfall is I do not tell her often enough that I love her and that I really think she is the most beautiful, loving, caring, and sexy woman on the planet. Yes, God did a pretty great job with all of His creation - but I am fortunate to be married to the best of it. Sorry for those of you that disagree but I'm entitled to my perception and to me my perception is dead on right!

So, 4 year down and I can only hope for many many more! If you happen to see my beautiful, loving, caring and sexy wife today - do me a favor and tell her Happy Anniversary, and then tell her you'll pray for her as she continues to be married to me! :-)

Love you Mostest!
~PB

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Naturally unnatural

Which are you? Natural or Unnatural

It's not a trick question - I promise. Take a look at Luke 6:33 (I could link you to the verse here - but if I don't some of you may actually open up your Bible and take a look)

Do we follow the voice of our Creator to the exclusion of all other voices?

Are you uncompromising in your stance of right/wrong?

God expects us to stand out from the crowd - our high calling is to stand out - to be unnatural! Nope, it's not easy - the easy way is to just roll with it, to go with the flow, to be a part of what's popular and easy. Yes, unnatural - but where in Scripture does God ask us to act naturally? It feels strange at first, but it's what we must do - if we're truly a God-filled person!

We must be radical in our behavior and display the radical nature of our God -- "We are to do acts of kindness to those that least of all deserve it."

Hope today you can be unnatural in the way God has asked you to be!

~C

Early on a Tuesday

So, I was checking out several sites/blogs that I usually read daily (news, youth workers, ministry, life, etc...) and came across an amazing post by Perry Noble over on his blog....he talked about the relationship between the iPhone 4 issue and the church...very interesting comparison - hope you'll check it out.

HERE

Have a great day,
~C

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Has porn taken over?

If you've spent anytime around me in ministry over the past 5 years you know that one of the topics I am most passionate about is PORN!

Why? Cause I hate it! I hate what it is doing to men and women, old and young, to marriages and to our society in general. It sucks! And I want the youth/young people I work with to know loud and clear what my opinion is on the subject and that there is a way to overcome the addiction....yes addiction - you can say it.

It's awkward for someone to talk about especial in terms of "hey, I'm struggling with an addition to porn" - but it gets just a tiny bit easier after you've talked to someone....one more reason I preach about having a trusted mentor in your life.

So, has porn taken over your life? (note: even if you're looking at it once a week or once a month - it's taken over) God desires so much more for you.

And my experience shows that about 99% of those struggling with it can NOT face this battle alone - so, go talk to someone today! It will be hard, uncomfortable and a bit weird for you - but you need to do this...you need to put your foot down and say enough is enough...I want out of this slavery. I want what God desires for me. With God's help you can do it!

A resource out there you might consider is called X3 Watch - a great ministry provides this on-line accountability program for your computer, iPhone, and Droids - it will send an email to two accountability partners (of your choice) every 2 weeks with a list of any 'questionable sites' you have visited...this in turn gives them the opportunity to come talk to you about it - and help hold you to your plan. (note: for a small - but worthwhile fee you can get X3 Watch Pro - if you need to make this investment)

Whatever you do - take ALL of the steps you need to to overcome this addiction. You are not the only one out there with this challenge and there are plenty of godly men & women who will walk with you to overcome this. You owe it to yourself, your family, spouse/kids, & to God to have complete purity in this area of your life.
This is one of those "we can't talk about it in church topics" - but I say forget that - it's part of our world and if we can't talk about it in church and bring it before God - then we've got some serious issues...so step up and ask for the help you need...the Church is supposed to help in times like these.

His,
~C

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Letter to my youth...past & present

Yes, it's true - in the near future I will be stepping down as your Youth Director. I wanted to share some thoughts with those I will miss most in this time of transition...first of all, you need to know I've started conversations with the Session and will be working with Pastor Jeff, & representatives from the Personnel and CE committees to work on a transition plan for when the time comes for me to move on.

My journey to Good Shepherd was a colorful one - prior to making the decision to attend GSPC, I was actually angry at the idea of leaving the church I grew up in - but what I found was a loving God who was gently calling me to a new venture. I still remember the first Sunday I sat in worship at GS. I was welcomed with the open arms and hearts by my GS family.

The great thing is that now, over six years later you can still sense that warm family feel in the halls of Good Shep. I was just a young Youth Ministry guy when Good Shepherd took a risk in bringing me on staff as the Youth Director. Honestly, I don't think either GS or I really knew what we were in for. It's been such a great ride!

Most of this 'great-ride' can be attributed to you. Yes, there were often times when you drove me nuts (some would argue that was your job!) - but don't tell the adults, you didn't drive me as nuts as they did! :-) Each of you helped me to become the person I am today. I've learned so much from having the opportunity to be your Youth Director.

Just as Good Shepherd took a risk, so have you. Many of you trusted me enough to let me enter into your world. You've allowed me to celebrate with you in the times of joy and to be there for you when the pain of your world seemed too much. Some of you listened to my words of advice, and a few of you may have even taken that advice! :-) I am humbled and honored that you gave me permission to be a part of your journey.

The hardest part of accepting the decision to move on from Good Shepherd has been so many of you. It makes me sad that I won't get to have the great conversations with you. What has eased this for me is, knowing that if God has Called me to something new then He has something in store for each of you - and Good Shepherd. I don't know what that is - but knowing the God I know - He will take care of you!

My next step, as God has called is to continue working with youth/teens - but in a new area - suicide prevention. There are too many teens out there who are depressed, self-injurious, and/or suicidal - they need the message that this is not the solution to their challenges, the message of God's Love, and that It's Ok To Ask 4 Help! I would covet your prayers and support as I move into this new role - God knows you all have some of the best ideas on how to help each others - so feel free to send them my way.

If you only take one thing from having me as your Youth Director, I hope and pray that it is a deeper love and understanding of God. I pray that Christ will be the central part of your lives as you continue this journey called life. Remember there is nothing too big or small for God -He is always awake and always listening.

Be good, stay outta trouble and live out what I Timothy 4:12 says!

With Love,
Your Bro In Him,
~C, Chi, Tina, or just Chris!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

time to get Serious

We're back to Lincoln!

We had a great experience with nearly 30 youth in the mountains of Colorado for a week of mission work, worship and so much more!

Please join us for a youth-led worship service (in the park) at 10AM on Sun July 11th. There will be food & fellowship to follow. Join us at Antelope Park here in Lincoln.

Please continue to pray for each of the youth - that they will continue to be grounded in and challenged by Christ to 'Do Hard Things.'

Good Night,
~C

That's A Wrap - Seriously!

We're on our way home after a week in Estes.

As I mentioned earlier - over 600 hours of service provided to the community of Estes.

Yesterday we had a free day for the youth to hangout and relax. We headed into Downtown Estes for part of the afternoon so the youth could shop/walk around and visit Laura's (a fudge shop); and the Shirt Shack. Then we took them out to Poppy's for dinner - seems to be our tradition.

Well, after a long week I think the youth are ready to head home and get a good nights sleep in their own beds. We're all looking forward to watching the youth continue to grown and be challenged as they return to their lives at home. Continue to pray for them as they step out in faith to do the hard things God has called each of them to.

His,
~C

Friday, July 2, 2010

It's my Free Day and I'll do what I want to!

The youth are all out enjoying their free day. Many are hiking or playing volleyball. They'll have one final small group this afternoon and we'll head to town for some hang time.

Meanwhile the youth leaders are beginning to wrap things up and get what we can packed and prepared for tomorrow's departure.

At this time we're planning to be on the road no later than 8:30 mountain time. We're shooting to be back to Lincoln between 6 & 7 PM -- BUT PLEASE FOLLOW US ON TWITTER/FACEBOOK for up-to-date ETA's from the road tomorrow.

Have a fantastic Friday and we'll see you all soon!

Seriously His,
~C

Final work day

We finished our work week this afternoon with three different work sites - 1/2 the group worked at a Habitat for Humanity neighborhood while the other 1/2 worked on various tasks at the fair grounds. After lunch we all headed to Wind River Ranch - a Christian Dude Ranch and helped them get several projects finished and some started.

The team put in over 600 man-hours this week at work sites - believe me the community of Estes is thankful for all of the hard work and service done this week.

We closed out our night with some awesome worship planning (join us 10am on July 11th for worship in the park at Antelope Park). & an amazing campfire! Great sharing and worship once again.

Tomorrow is our free day - a time for the youth to relax, celebrate and have some fun before heading home. We'll be hanging out at the Y-camp until mid-afternoon and then we'll hit up downtown Estes for some shopping, and dinner at Poppy's.

Have a great night & we'll talk again soon!

~C

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

'Seriously..." behind the scene part 3

behind the scenes - Campfires!

there are two things that many don't realize about campfire:
  • it's probably the most spiritually transforming aspect of the trip
  • they are not planned before the trip
So much happens in such a little amount of time around the campfire each night of our trip. There is always a time of worship with music (led this year by Josh) and then a message that come from our theme/daily theme - and something that often happens is a time of sharing.

Over the past few trips we've in some capacity opened the fire up for the youth to share. This year the parameters we gave the youth for sharing was that it had to be something that in some way fit back into what we were talking about with our themes this year. Boy have we had some amazing times of sharing - the youth know this is a safe environment and have opened up and as Jeff would say 'shared out of their brokenness.'

As for the planning - well it goes without saying that God is in charge of all of the trip - however the amount of planning & preparation that goes into every other hour of the day does not compare. One might think that if this is the most transformational time that we would put a majority of our pre-trip planning into this time frame. However, we've found it doesn't work.

What does work is Jeff and I sitting down sometime late afternoon and start with a blank piece of paper. We write the daily theme across the top along with the Scripture and we start talking and writing. Sometimes it takes 20 minutes sometimes it's closer to an hour --but either way whatever is said at campfire was not planned more than 5 hours prior.

The fun part is when we plan a bit in the afternoon and then God comes in before 'showtime' and changes it up a bit. This process of planning one of our favorite parts of the trip allows us to 'feel' the mood of the trip, to adjust things as needed for what's happening within our group and to allow God a lot of room (and help us build our dependence & trust in Him) to make it work!

So, there you have it - behind the scenes on how we make campfires work here on the trip. As I type this it's about time to go get to planning for tonight.

Seriously His,
~C

'Seriously..." behind the scene part 2

...a day in the life of us..

5:55am wake up
6:00 am wake up call for the youth rooms
7:00 am breakfast
8:00 am All Team Devo, Morning Report, make lunches
8:45-9 am Depart for work site
9-3 work sites (break at noon for lunch, if there is errands to run - ie food to shop for, forgotten things to pick up we usually leave the work site a bit before the youth and get those picked up and back to camp0
3-5pm Free Time for the youth! For us it's time to plan campfire (see behind the scene part 3)
5:15 Dinner
6:00 pm Small Groups
7:00 pm Evening Activity (Volleyball, Kickball, Game night, Basketball, Worship planning, Talent Share)
8:45 pm Campfire
10:30 pm Head back to rooms/ready for bed
11:00 pm Lights Out (for the youth)
(often times there is something to do for us - a challenge to work through, conversation with a youth following campfire, or whatever else gets thrown our way!)

And that's a day (as typical as it can get) in the life of a leader on the Mission Trip.

Stay tuned for part 3 - how campfire comes together.

& remember if there is something you'd like to know a question answered, etc. just post in the comment and we'll be happy to respond.

~C

A new saying...

A handful of the youth went hiking yesterday for their Sabbath - when they returned they brought a few things back with them -- two of which were
  • A new saying "Man Stuff"
  • & this picture:

I'm not quite sure how the phrase came up 'man stuff' but they asked if I'd post about it an put their picture on the blog. You'll have to ask some of the guys about this one - but from what we've heard so far here is a few examples of man stuff:
  • picking flowers
  • crafts
  • scrap booking
  • poetry reading
  • using fruity scented shampoo
for all it's worth - they're all having a good time and laughing quite often

~C

Wed Seriously Update

It's been a great day here in Estes!

We headed over to the local middle school this morning for day 3 of work projects. We helped do a lot of 'end-of-year' and deep cleaning of classrooms, lockers and the auditorium.

After our lunch break we got to spend about 45 mins with a PIO (Public Information Officer) from the Incident Command Center. The middle school is the staging ground/HQ for the Cow Creek Fire - currently burning at over 900 acres. They have taken over the entire first floor of the school and have a very smooth running operation.

There is a special catering company from Arizona that has several trailers, refrigeration units and other support to fee the nearly 300 staff fighting this fire. The firefighters on the line have to have a minimum of 9,000 calories/day - so this operation comes in with all they need to stay nourished.

The Cache has all the supplies they could need for their job - tools, tents, sleeping bags, clothes, you name it they probably have it. What I found really interesting was when an incident occurs a team can be on the ground and completely operational within 24-48 hours. There is a primary cache located in Boise ID that orders are placed and needed supplies/equipment can be put on a plane for an emergency flight into the impacted area.

These guys & gals mean business - I hope you'll take the time to ask the youth about their experience learning about the fire operations. Oh, and next time you think prices are high on printer ink - try $1,500 for the six cartridges it takes to print the maps the teams need for briefings and getting things under control.

The kids are off at free time and then to dinner - we'll then have some small group time, a basketball tournament and our campfire.

More later...

~

Seriously...Happy Birthday!


Happy Birthday to Garrett (6/30) & Dustin (7/4). We surprised the two birthday boys with a cake and ice cream last night before our evening activity.


After the bday celebration we moved to our evening activity - Volleyball Tournament - the kids played well and had a great time.

Another evening of great sharing (as Jeff says: out of their brokenness) at campfire. We talked about the twine that is holding us back from what God has called us. After a restful Sabbath day the youth are ready to hit the work sites again today.

See you this afternoon!
~C

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

'Seriously..." behind the scene part 1

I'm not sure why, but I love behind the scenes types of things. How big productions work, what goes into making something happen, become a success etc.

So, I thought a few 'behind the scenes' points on this mission trip might be of interest to a few. (Feel free to comment on the post with any questions you might have on how a trip like this comes together.)

THEME: Our theme this year is 'Seriously...' and was taken from Micah 6:8 (The Message translation). The theme was actually selected even before the 2009 trip departed - I think it was close to 2 months before the trip. Jeff and I had been in a planning session for last years trip when God just handed us the theme - the fun part is we had scheduled a meeting to work on planning the theme for 2010 about 3 weeks later. God definitely works in amazing ways.

...stay tuned for Part 2 - with more behind the scenes of our trip!

~C

Walkin' humbly

We talked tonight about 'walking humbly with your God.'

The analogy we used was that of a car dash (Temp gauge, Fuel gauge & the RPMs) and how those are really gauges in our lives. We tackled the fact that all of us are told by society to live in the red (think RPMs) eventually going at that pace we are going to burn out our engine.

We had some good sharing at campfire and are really looking forward to a great nights sleep and our Sabbath (day of rest) tomorrow. Pray that the youth will have a time of rest and true connection with God during this time.

Seriously His,
~C

Monday, June 28, 2010

catchin' up

the Internet is back up and running, so here is a bit of a recap:

Yesterday (Sun) we headed out early to the Victim's Advocacy center - an emergency shelter for women and children. Over the past year they've been very busy with serving over 30 clients/families and have had to turn some away. The youth managed to knock out an entire to-do list provided by the staff. Together they managed to clean the inside of the house (vacuum, scrub floors, etc.) and stained a fence and handicap walkway as well as a lot of landscaping work.

The shelter staff was amazed at how quickly the list was checked off and we even had to get more supplies to keep everyone busy. Although we're tight on our budget we felt we needed to purchase and donate the supplies - they were more than appreciative for our generosity.

Campfire last night was indoors due to the rain - but it was probably one of the most moving campfires I've ever been a part of. At the end of the fire we felt led to present the Gospel and we were completely amazed at the response by many of the youth.

Today we headed to the area fair grounds to work on some projects there. Once again our group nailed the projects even though there was some rough patches in getting through the day. The youth got back to camp and are now out having their free time - some are down the hall playing games, some at the crafts center painting and still more are getting a nap in.

Tonight we'll be playing a game of Ultimate Frisbee before we head to our third campfire.

Please continue to pray for:
  • fire/firefighters
  • relationships being built
  • a few 'minor' challenges being faced within the group
  • rest for all - tomorrow (Tue) is our Sabbath day - a time for the youth to rest and reflect on God.
Until next time,
~C

Day 2

we just checked and we now have internet....not much time we're headed out the door to our second day of work.

more later on how yesterday went...but overall things are rockin' away!

~C

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Show Time

We've safely arrived in Estes, unloaded, checked in, had dinner, gone to a concert and just wrapped our opening campfire. an amazing campfire - Josh's first time leading worship with us and it was, well amazing - a great time of worship.

Everyone is settling in well. There is only about 50 minutes until lights out - and I can't wait. I am looking forward to a full nights sleep.

FIRE UPDATE: we passed several emergency responders on our trip through Estes Valley this afternoon. word is that as of earlier today the fire had spread from 200 acres last night to at least 1500. The winds today didn't help the situation much. Please continue to pray for rain, and for safety for the firefighters.

lastly for tonight in all my years bringing groups to the YMCA camp this was the best year for check in - everything went smoothly.

stay tuned tomorrow for more updates - we have our first day of work beginning at 9am.

~C

'Seriously...' the wheels on the bus...

And we're off.

The bags have been packed & loaded. All the final touches (those that we thought of) have been added and we're headed West.

We'll open our week and theme 'Seriously...' based on Micah 6:8 tonight at campfire and really dive into things Sunday with our first day of work.

We ask that you keep our team in your prayers & also continue to pray for those working the active fire in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Keep tuned here for all the insider look at our trip this week.

~C

Friday, June 25, 2010

'Seriously...' Pray for Rain!

Usually my first blog post about the mission trip goes live as the bus pulls out of the parking lot. However - something different this year.

It's 11:30 the night before departure and as we put some final touches on things (aka packing) some news has come our way about the Estes Valley area.

Remember this evening when I said to pray for no rain this week - well I take that back. We learned this evening of a wildfire burning in Rocky Mountain National Park. The picture in this article is taken from the golf course in Estes Park.

Word from our point person at YMCA Camp says that there isn't danger of the fire coming towards the camp - but it's close enough to see and smell.

Before we even depart we're asking you to pray for:
  • the firefighters working the fire
  • Park Rangers & staff
  • all those impacted by this fire
  • those impacted by the additional fire in Southern CO (near Royal Gorge)
His,
~C

Thursday, May 27, 2010

G90X - 8

Just finished reading for day 8! Still loving the discipline of reading daily and doing so from Gen 1 to the end of Rev.

a favorite verse from today's reading:

"When a man has lost his hair and is bald, he is clean. If he has lost his hair from the front of his scalp and has a bald forehead, he is clean." Lev 13:40

:-)

In all seriousness - just in the past week or so God has really revealed some great things to me during this time of reading, prayer and just a different focus about my days.

Anyone else want to join the 90-day journey???

His,
~C

Friday, May 21, 2010

G90X - 3

3 days down and I love it!

I haven't started on my 90 mins of prayer for this first week - but the first days of reading have been a blessing.

Still waiting to hear if any others are joining the challenge???

~C

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

G90X - 1

Here we go - I've jumped in and I'm starting this 90 day journey - Ready, Set, Go!

We start in Genesis 1 and end with 16.

I've long found it fascinating that in Gen 1 at the 'separation' of each step of creation that is says 'there was evening, and there was morning - the _____ day.' We begin a new with evening/night and wake in the morning to see what God has done - even to this day!

~C

G90X

A fellow youth leader posted on his blog the other day a challenge of sorts to other youth leaders. He said he was starting what he called G90X (from the P90X extreme 90 day work out). He's changed the 'P' to a 'G' for God. He said he was going to start an extreme 90 day spiritual workout.

I'm hoping to stick to a few of his goals for his 90 days and set my own G90X workout for the next 3 months. Here is my plan:

  1. Go Through the Bible in 90 Days ~ I've printed out the Bible in 90 Days guide from this site (if you want to also print one and join in too!) I hope to journal/blog some thoughts as I go through the next 90 days - so feel free to stay tuned and add your thoughts or join me in the challenge.
  2. Spend 90 minutes of concentrated prayer per week ~ not your typical "Good morning Lord" or "thanks for the food" quickie prayers, but concentrated, passionate and intensive worship, supplication and intercession where I spend time in PRAYer (Praising Him, Requesting stuff, Admitting sins, and Yielding to His Spirit). *I totally ripped off #2 word-for-word from this youth leaders blog...bonus points to the one who can track down this other youth leaders blog post
  3. Memorize Verses ~ This other youth leader has decided to memorize 90 verses - he's challenged others to do 90, or 9 or whatever works for you personally - I haven't decided how many - but I'll start with the goal of just memorizing more verses...if I come to a # goal I'll post it in a later blog.
So, that's my plan for now - for my Spiritual goal(s) for the summer. Join me (us actually - since this was another leaders challenge to a much broader group) if you so desire - you can start today, tomorrow or in two weeks - just do something, set yourself a goal to grow stronger spiritually this summer - increase your understanding of God!

If you decide to participate in some fashion (note: you don't have to have the same goals) post a comment here, or shoot me a message and let me know - I'd love to pray for you during your G90X and hope that you would pray for me.

His,
~C

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Coming To A Church Near You...

saw this video posted on another youth leaders page - thought I'd share and see what thoughts you might have:

"Sunday's Coming" Movie Trailer from North Point Media on Vimeo.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Health Care $$$

We can all agree on at least one thing when it comes to health care in the U.S. It's expensive!
With or without insurance, medicaid or medicare, a full bank account or just barley getting by.

Bottom line - someone - somewhere will have a pretty hefty bill for health care!

So, I ask - how much would you be willing to pay?

Your best friend is in need - what would you pay to save their life?

What would you pay to save all of your friends lives?

What if, all things considered you could save thousands of lives with just a 'drop in the bucket'? Would you do it? Has God called you to save a life? Are you willing to endure the cost?

Whether it's physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually - are you prepared to use what God has given you to save the life of your friend? or the life of a complete stranger?

What will you do today - to save lives?

Just askin',
~C

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Oh How He Loves Us...

My heart breaks as I watch this video - it's the story, or a version of the story of most of today's teens.



A fellow youth leader posted this video from their youth group last weekend. I know many say "our kid(s) would never do that" - but I know there is pain in a lot of teens lives today.

If you're a youth: know that He loves you and do whatever you can to run back to His arms!

If you're an adult: pray for the youth you know and do everything in your power for them to know they are loved by The God of the universe.

~C

Friday, April 16, 2010

God has given!

I read the story of the Prodigal Son today in my devo. The devotion said maybe it's more the story of the Compassionate Father. I wonder how many of us have ever looked at it from this perspective?

Sometimes we (I know I've been there) think that getting gifts from God is like pulling teeth. Face it, we pray and plead and beg God for a specific blessing or gift, or whatever it is we think we need in that moment.

What happens if we stop trying to pull teeth and look around our lives - God has already given to each of us abundantly! Sure it might not be the best day of our lives, but God's given us another day. My prayer is that I (and I hope you too) can pause today and stop asking God for 'the next thing on my list' and I can just be thankful for what He has already given me.

It's The Father's nature to give - He always has and always will give us what we really need. Thank God!

~C

A note about something...

I've never just posted someones material, at least other than quotes on my blog before. I read this bit from one of my former youth the other day and asked him if I could re-post it on my blog. I hope it makes you think - have a great day - and feel free to comment on it, he's an occasional reader on Chris' Corner and I'm sure would love to hear your thoughts.

~C


I really like to think of God as a romantic. It fits, He loves us so much, and He just wants to be with us. It makes me feel happy inside to know that He loves me enough to leave heaven and go to this earth, and then to hell, just so I could someday come to Him. Amazing grace!

So, here is a thought. Jesus just wants to be close to you. Now just try and tell me that that isn't romantic, and I will disagree with you. Haha I just think that is great. It makes me feel so loved, it brings me joy to think of His love. There are lots of commands in the Bible about walking with God and obeying His commands and not straying away from them. Many seem to think these are rules to live by and make life boring, I admit that I have thought that, and I have thought that I don't need those rules, that I know what I am doing better than God does. But what if we take a different look at those 'rules.' Now, instead of them being rules to live by, they are ways that God can stay close to us. By us daily giving a sacrifice or time of prayer to Him, we are staying connected to the Lord. By giving praise, we are reminding ourselves of how good He is, and how much we need Him. And in turn, He gets to be close to us, which is what God wants. God wants us! How absolutely ridiculous is that?! Suddenly those rules take a different meaning, suddenly, they are ways that this God who actively pursues us, can get closer to us. Maybe even close enough to whisper some bit of Truth to us, so that we may be joyful in Him.

Maybe God is pursuing us each day, trying to get us to see Him. Just imagine being with the person that is that 'significant other' in your life. If you don't have a significant other, like me, just pretend. Haha it will work just fine :) Now don't you think it would just be super rewarding to just whisper some sort of 'I love you' to that person, and have them hear you, understand you, turn to you, and respond? I think that would make my day, and I wonder if God feels the same way. I think God is like the little kid who has a crush on that girl in his math class, and all he wants is to just sit by her and hold her hand. Only, Jesus wants to just walk with His church, His bride, and hold our hands and walk with us.

Detour!!! Seeing the church as a bride may seem weird to us guys, and it probably should. But, we have a different perspective on it. Women may see themselves as the bride of Christ (as the church) and know that they are deeply desired by Him. For us men, we get a glimpse of how Christ feels towards His bride(the church). We get to experience (merely a shadow, or the wisp of smoke, compared to the real thing) the love, sacrifice, determination, and desire to be with the bride. We get to see just a part of how God (may) feel towards us. Please keep in mind these are just my thoughts, so I could be totally wrong, it has happened before and will happen again. Quite often actually.

Back on track...
Jesus is just trying to scoot next to us. He just wants the seat that is next to us in the 'class of life' as it were. He is trying to reach to us with the blessings in our lives: weather, animals, plants, flowers, sunsets, friends, music, running, whatever it may be that touches your heart. God wants to be with you, and He is reaching out towards you. I don't know if you have thought about it before, but God really does pursue us. I never realized it until I thought about all of the things He has had me go through in this life. I think of the church events I didn't want to go to but was forced to, just so He could show me a little bit of His love and mercy and tenderness and grace. Until, one night, I finally understood. Or at least began to finally understand, I do not think I will ever understand how fully God loves us.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

My Shoes!

Stephanie tells me I have more shoes than she does - I'm not sure I believe it, maybe I should count and really see -- but if I did that I might have to live with the fact that I might actually have more shoes than my wife. Either way, the only 'shoes' that matter are the ones in which Christ has walked in for me!

"I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself."
- John 12:32

There is nothing higher or greater than our Savior!

Jesus came, willingly put Himself in "my shoes" and lived like I live - except for one thing - He was and is perfect, lacking sin - but in lacking sin He gave me the opportunity to look upon Him and have an eternal worship experience with The One who created me.

Jesus came, willingly put Himself in "my shoes" and allowed me to kill Him. I put Him on the Cross, the most cruel way to murder someone. Yes I, murdered Christ - with my disobedience, my lies, my sin! How could I kill The only One who came to save me?

Thankfully, Jesus put Himself in "my shoes" so I could be restored to Him, to The Father. Jesus, thank you for taking such a horrible burden for me so I can be safe in Your arms.

Jesus put Himself in your shoes too - have you stepped aside and let Him walk the walk of death for you? Have you allowed Him and Him alone to be the ruler of your life?

If so, tell someone about it - today!
If not, take some time to get to know Him, let Him walk in your shoes so your life that leads to death will lead to eternity with your Creator! Give Him all of your life!

His,
~C

Friday, March 26, 2010

In Memory...

I received word yesterday that Warren Negley had gone home!

What sad, yet great news. I'm so happy that Warren is now sitting before The Throne of God!

Warren was my boss for a short time while I worked on full-time staff at Calvin Crest. With the transition out of two former staff members Warren and I kind of "arrived on the scene" about the same time. Some thought I was the wrong person for the job....Warren called on me and personally told me he had faith in me and wanted me for the job - pretty humbling experience seeing as how Warren and I had barley met before this.

Over the year or so I would spend working with Warren I was privileged to learn so much from such a wise man. He had such a gentle spirit - but when he spoke you knew he was on the right track. He always had a way of helping you - helping when you needed suggestions or advice, helping you see something from a different perspective, and giving you the nudge in the right direction even when you didn't think you needed or wanted it.

I remember only one instance where I was angry at Warren - he in the way he always did gently suggested I make a change in my life. My anger lasted only about an hour and it was then that God showed me I should take the advice of such a wise man. As it turns out - Warren was giving some of the greatest advice I needed in that time of my life...had I stayed angry I can honestly say I would not be where or who I am today!

Warren taught me about generosity - he gave from his heart - every time! I think he knew deep down that his time, gifts, and even his finances were not his - but his Creators - and he gave like God wanted. He gave so others would experience the God he was deeply in love with.

Warren taught me how to be encouraging - not directly but in the way that someone in ministry should - he modeled it in his daily life. He took a young-punk youth worker and gave me freedom. He not once stepped in my office and told me how to do my job - he let me try new and different things, (I think even when he knew they wouldn't work) he let me try and experience and learn from both my failures and successes.

Warren was a true godly man that we should all be so lucky to have in our lives. I pray all those who have been impacted by the ministry Warren lived on a daily basis will carry on his legacy by giving to others in the way Warren gave to us. Thank you Warren for all that you gave on this side of eternity. I cannot wait to see you again when God calls me home.

~C

Friday, March 19, 2010

Why does the church fail...

Okay, so that could be a very open-ended and general question....but what I'm focused on now is specific to accountability, or mentoring, or adhering to what we're called to do in Christian love when one of our brothers or sisters in Christ is struggling.

Why is it that a healthy youth ministry is building relationships between it's leadership and it's youth (in a mentoring sense) and then they graduate and "big church" doesn't continue to carry the baton? Big church doesn't ask the same questions of them that their youth ministry has.

How is it that we can have conversations with our youth about their struggles with life, their addictions (to drinking, drugs, pornography, sex, cheating, lying, and so much more) but we dare not mention any of those things from the pulpit, or for that matter in close relationships beyond high school and college?

I once heard a Pastor say "if the Bible talks about it we're going to talk about it."

So, why do we encourage and even build relationships to a point with our youth so that they'll be open and hopefully held accountable to living a Christian life and then we don't do the same to their parents, grandparents and other adults in the church?

I know I'm just rambling off questions - but honestly it ticks me off that we're living a double standard in the church. Youth leaders (good ones anyway) hold their teens "feet to the fire" but the Leaders of the church (elders, deacons, pastors, whatever you call them in your denomination) don't do the same for their adults.

If we were honest with each other I think we'd all agree that there are people sharing the pew with us on Sunday mornings that are struggling with the same things (and more) that our kids are - there are people who are cheating on their spouse, shacking up with their significant other (non-married), porn addicts, alcoholics and the list goes on. Why do we do a disservice to our Christian family by not loving them the way Christ has called us to - in accountable relationships???

A good friend and colleague of mine asked me a few months ago how my marriage was. That is the first time in over three and a half years of being married that someone has cared enough to ask. Why is the church not asking me this question? The divorce rate is the same inside the church as outside - so what are we doing about it? The porn industry is a multi-billion dollar a year industry - what are we doing about it? Every day people are moving in with their boy/girl friends, what are we doing about it? Why are my adult counterparts in church not asking and being asked the same questions I ask of the youth?

I say it's time for The Church to be what Christ has called us to be, and let's start setting a better example for our younger generations. After all - their youth leaders expect honesty and accountability from them, shouldn't they expect us to be held to at least the same standards?
Just check out Proverbs 27:5-6, & 17

Just sayin',
~C

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Jacob's Well

Well it's been a bit too long since I last posted here...and I just had a great meeting with a new friend and partner in ministry.

I met Mark through a mutual friend and the three of us sat down to talk about Jacob's Well over lunch today.

Mark has a great passion and a call from God to do ministry in Lincoln - I'd love to tell you all about it - but first you should check out the ministry's web page.

I especially would love to direct any youth workers (paid or volunteer) who might live outside of Lincoln who might be looking for an amazing mission trip opportunity this summer. Mark and his team will be hosting a day-camp all summer long and they've designed a really sweet mission trip program to bring in youth groups to help run the day camp and minister to the neighborhood they're living in.

Seriously, if you're a youth worker or if you know of one - check out Jacob's Well and give Mark a call or drop me a line - I'd love to give you a reference for both Mark and the ministry God has laid on his heart.

His,
~C

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Forgotten God?

Forgotten God - Reversing our Tragic Neglect of The Holy Spirit
by Francis Chan
Wow! Talk about eye opening and challenging words from Chan. Just as good as his first "Crazy Love."

The introduction offers a glimpse into what is to come in the following chapters...

"There is a gap between what we read in Scripture about the Holy Spirit and how most believers and churches operate today."
Chan dares to say - The light of the American Church is flickering and nearly extinguished, having largely sold out to the kingdoms and values of this world. Hmmm, interesting thoughts. I think he's on to something.

Here is a short 'lesson' from his seminary days:
Exegsis: an attempt to discover the meaning of the text objectively, starting with the text and moving out from there.
Eisegesis: to import a subjective, preconceived meaning into the text.

He says we can easily pursue just about any lifestyle and then find Scripture to show it's right...But, what would it look like to live exegetically? If we always start with Scripture and allow it to dictate our actions - how would we live? How would we represent His church?

Bottom Line -- you need to check out this book - it's a great read and will push you to examine how you're allowing the Spirit to work and live in your life - scary yes, but necessary to this Christian walk!

One example I want to leave with you (and it's something I'm focusing on too):

"This may be a silly illustration, but if I told you I had an encounter with God where He entered my body and gave me a supernatural ability to play basketball, wouldn't you expect to see an amazing improvement in my jump shot, my defense, and my speed on the court? After all, this is God we're talking about. And if you saw no change in my athleticism, wouldn't you question the validity of my 'encounter'?
Churchgoers all across the nation say the Holy Spirit has entered them. They claim that God has given them a supernatural ability to follow Christ, put their sin to death, and serve the church. Christians talk about being born again and say that they were dead but now have come to life. We have become hardened to those words, but they are powerful words that have significant meaning. Yet when those outside the church see no difference in our lives, they begin to question our integrity, our sanity, or even worse, our God. And can you blame them?"

In The Spirit,
~C

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Parking spot...

Interesting....wonder when we can get this in Lincoln?

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Friday, January 29, 2010

Getting Fired For The Glory of God

"Getting Fired for the Glory of God" by Mike Yaconelli is a book full of truth. Truth that we all likely need to be reminded of ~ especially if you have any connection to youth ministry.

This is a collection of Mike's words for youth workers - but may I recommend that any youth leader, Sr. Pastor, elder board, parent or heck maybe even the youth themselves pick up this book.

It's a bunch of short stories with words of wisdom from a man who has "walked the halls of youth ministry." If it were not for Mike Yaconelli and the work God did through him, youth ministry would not be what it is today

Some 'nuggets' of wisdom from a few of his writings:
  • 'our ministry staff meetings are more like management meetings than prayer meetings...'
  • today's youth ministry culture is consumed with 'doing' rather than 'being'
  • we've forgotten the real bottom line: Our Souls
  • the trouble with modern Christianity is that we've tried to de-fang the truth.
  • discipleship is a lifelong process, not a youth activity.
  • '...ministry is dangerous. when you and I are trying to follow Jesus, we're going to get into trouble.'
  • Youth group is the perfect place for young people when their schedules permit, and when nothing else more important is going on.
  • why is it that youth groups never go to the opera, art museums, jazz festivals, ballet...poetry readings, or lectures?
  • why do so many youth ministries spend all their time talking about god instead of helping young people experience God?
  • Real ministry isn't what you do but who you are!
  • (& one of my favorites) My relationship with Jesus was assumed.

Please, pick this book up and give it a shot - parents, pastors, youth, congregation members, church leaders & of course Youth Leaders!

~C

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

"The Last Lecture"

I just finished reading 'The Last Lecture' by Randy Paush. I'm so thankful to my friend Dave who recommended this reading. It's a fairly quick read - but one that you could spread out over time to let some of Randy's thoughts/teachings marinate a bit.

The last section is what really got to me when Randy described his wife coming on stage at the end of his last lecture and whispering to him 'please don't die.' The thing is we're all going to die - it's what we're going to do with our eternity. Randy had a chance to 'be purposeful' in his last months. He took his cancer diagnosis and made the best of it - saying at least this way he could have some closure and do/say the things he wanted to with his family and loved ones.

He asks; "What wisdom would we impart to the world if we knew it was our last chance?" So, how about it - what would you say?


Here is some of what Randy says 'he knows:'
  • Time must be explicitly managed, like money
  • You can always change your plan, but only if you have one.
  • Ask yourself: 'are you spending your time on the right things?'
  • Develop a good filing system
  • Rethink the telephone (you'll have to read the book for more on this one!)
  • Never make a decision until you have to
  • If you have a question - then find the answer
  • Just because you're in the drivers seat doesn't man you have to run people over
  • Don't complain, just work harder
  • Don't obsess over what people think
  • Look for the best in everybody (and I would add - everything)
  • Tell the truth
  • Get in touch with your crayon box
  • No job is beneath you
  • Never give up
  • Make a Decision: Tigger or Eeyore

I think this will be a book I'll have to pick up on occasion and re-read. Yes, it's that good!
~C

Monday, January 18, 2010

'The Most Loving Place In Town'

book review...

I've decided one of my goals this year is to read 50 books...about one/week. One of the first I've tackled this month is "The Most Loving Place In Town" by Blanchard & Hodges.

Labeled as a 'modern day parable for the church' I think it's dead on! Generally speaking 'the church' has lost it's first love and that is what this book is about. A quick read, we follow Elder Tim and Pastor Mike on a journey (led by God and the Holy Spirit) to help them reclaim the first love in their lives and in their church.

Several bullet points and Scripture references make this a book that has a take away message for any Christian and hopefully for every church.

A great read I would recommend. Here are a few thoughts/quotes from the book:

  • Get out and about. Learn as you listen. Ask the H.S. to help you fall in love with God's people again.
  • Living with the unconditional love of God means surrendering your life to Him with the trust and joy of a child.
  • It is never too late to turn a wayward heart back to God.
  • Forgiven Much, Love More.
  • Daily habits of solitude, prayer, and application of Scripture help you stay focused on being a true servant leader.
  • Without love, nothing's going to work, no matter how brilliant we think our ideas might be. Love is the common denominator...
  • Jesus modeled servant leadership in four dimensions - the heart - the head - the hands - the habits.
  • EGO = Edge God Out ~ have you checked your ego today
  • All lasting change starts with clear vision and direction
Hope you'll check it out - and let me know your thoughts after you've read!
~C