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?


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.


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.


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!


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 if you love _____ 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,

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!


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. :-)


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!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

what can you do to save a life?


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 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.