Tuesday, May 31, 2005

spinning . . .

The earth spins at around 750 miles per hour at the latitude of Iowa. I get motion sickness a lot on rollercoasters, so it is not surprising that sometimes I get sick just chilling on this blue marble we call earth. Life seems to spin faster the more I travel. In the last 2 weeks, I've been to Chicago once, Cedar Rapids Twice, and all the cities in between. It's been wild.

On my way back from a very challenging Pastors' Conference at the Moody Bible Institute, my father-in-law and I had to divert our intended travel plans in order to help my stranded sister-in-law. A quick 5 hour trip home, quickly turned into a 10 hour trip. It was wild, frustrating, but also a very special blessing to be there to help Carmen. I was so tired at the end of the trip. The whole week in Chicago was fast and busy. I stayed up too late, slept too little, and had all kinds of fun. I learned more about being a pastor and enjoyed the sweet presence of God with over 1200 other pastors.

In Cedar Rapids, I celebrated another sister-in-law's graduation from Kennedy High School. We had a blast! She rocks!

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

moody

I am at teh Moody Pastor's Conference. It is not a conference for pastors who are irritated, but rather a conference held in the Mooday (named after Pastor D.L. Moody) Bible Institute. About 1000 pastors are being challenged by other pastors and Christ-laborers. I have had the joy of rooming with one of my bestest of friends. He is a pastor in Michigan and love Jesus deeply. I am being convicted of lots of things, missing my wife desperately, and enjoying the fellowship of several pastors. My body aches (basketball), it's tired (several late nights; one a trip to see Star Wars in downtown Chicago till 1AM one night), and it's elated to be here.


God is good.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

my return to blogging

It's been a week since my last blog, sorry.

Last Friday my little sister's surgery went well. We had to get up at 4AM to make it down to the hospital to see her before she went in. I think I was the most nervous person, well, at least as much as my mom. She did experience lots of pain in recovery the first day, but she's better now. She has a lot on her plate for a 17 year old. She may have to have a hysterectomy at a very young age. My whole family needs prayers.

Friday night my wife and I drove up to Hubbard for a family dinner. Carrie’s sister graduated from the University of Iowa on Saturday so on Friday we ate together with part of the family, and then Saturday we all went to Carver Hawkeye Arena to watch our graduate walk across the stage. I had a blast the rest of the day talking to family, eating too much, and playing ping pong and pool (even though Jeff beat me in pool 2 games to none, a rematch is in the making.)

Sunday morning was very neat. We had 4 couples in our church come in and share about the Visitation Ministry. People on this team visit members of our church and community who are shut up in their homes, in hospitals, and in nursing homes. They shared the blessing they have received ministering and also several very humorous stories from over the years. Sunday night was fun too. Our junior highers seemed to really enjoy being together on Sunday night; it was very cool! We talked about heaven and what the bible says is necessary to be allowed into heaven.

On Monday morning, my wife and I played some golf, only 5 holes because of weather. My wife was going out for her 5th time. She’s never scored better than a triple bogey on a hole, but on the third hole, a par 3, that was 115 yards downhill into the wind, she recorded a birdie-2. She hit a beautiful tee shot with her driver. It was a slight draw that ended up 2 feet from the cup. She sank the putt and the trees went wild; it was a windy day. She also recorded a bogey on the next whole. Without the other three holes, which were in double digits each, she would have shot even par. We ate a quick lunch and then traveled down to a cabin just of Interstate 80 to celebrate our 2nd wedding anniversary. We had a great evening; the lake was gorgeous. On Tuesday night I played in my first golf men’s league. The pressure got to me at the end and I ended with a not so impressive score.

Our youth ministry had a BBQ party Wednesday night. It was supposed to be out in the country at the home of one of our students, but the weather changed the location to the church. We still grilled outside, but all other activities were in the church. We had a good showing from parents, a few other family members, and a score of students. The games were fun, the food was great, the worship was heartfelt, the student testimony of coming back to Christ after a hiatus into alcohol and smoking was encouraging, and my message was so-so. All in all, a good night.

For my interested friends (John, Pete, and whoever) I believe the experiment suggests that the earlier event could have been skewed in its results. There is definitely a dangerous trend among certain families, but I’d say about 65% have a similar understanding as I do.

And now it’s Thursday . . . and life goes on.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

too much

This week has been hard to take in. I have had a hard time trusting God and calling out to Him. It's been a bit overwhelming. On Monday my grandma had an unexpected surgery. She cracked her pelvis 2 weeks ago, but all of a sudden the doctor decided it was time for her to go under the knife. My mom drove (a very fatigued) 3 hours to be at her side. On Monday night, my wife and I continued to labor on our bathroom remodeling project. On Tuesday, a cop friend of mine had a coworker take some bullets in a drug bust. I was relieved that the guy was okay, but frightened to think that that (I love it when you have 2 thats back to back in a sentence) could have been my friend. On that same night, a transient broke into my office to steal my laptop computer and pda. He was arrested for trespassing in a town 40 miles to the west and my stuff was confiscated. It is not in my possession yet, but hopefully soon. I pray that this guy calls out to God. He must feel so lonely, afraid, and hungry for something. Let him see his deep need for God. On Wednesday I prepared a message on power. I realized that I am very much like the first murderer in the bible, Cain. Cain liked to ignore God's voice, let sin fester, and take matters into his own hands. For me and others (I think) power is often believed doing what we want, when we want. This often leads to pain in our lives and in others. I need to listen to God's Word and voice, let Jesus save me from my sin, and call out for the Holy Spirit to take over my life and all my decisions. Then real power is possible. My little sister needs prayer; she goes into surgery tomorrow. Life is hard. The Lord gives and takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Yep here we go

Monday morning was a hard one. I did not want to get up. I was tired, frustrated, and thinking a few more hours of sleep were just the ticket. Luckily, I have a wife who loves me enough to get me out of bed even when I'd rather rest. This weekend was a hard one. We drove a lot. We worked a lot. And then on Sunday night for "Parent's Night" at junior high youth group, not one parent came. Those things break my heart. I was expecting a good showing, but instead my pride and heart got ripped out and placed on a nice little platter. I am glad that one day I will be ushered into God's presence where there is no weeping nor pain. Until then, I just pray that God increses my faith.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

C.S. Lewis thought this was the purpose of pain:

“God whispers in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

putting others before myself . . .

Phil 2:3-4 "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others." NIV

"There's only one way to consider other people as better than yourself and that is to truly believe that they are." Fischer (italics added)

Monday, May 02, 2005

expectant

As the new week starts, I am excited for the future. I had a fabulous weekend. Friday I worked with my wife on our home, a project that will never end :) Friday night we traveled to watch a middle school play, starring my wife's little brother. It was hilarious, fun, and delightful. To close off the evening, we watched "The Day After Tomorrow" with the family. It was a thought-provoking movie. An uncle of my wife's is a meterologist and he let us know that it is mostly sensational science (sigh of relief.)

Saturday started with a cold tennis meet. We watched my wife's sister's doubles' match. She kicked butt. Then my wife and I spent the remainder of Saturday resting in the Lord. We took a nap, read to each other, and spent some time in prayer. Very refreshing.

Sunday was a wild ride. Church was great. Sunday school was challenging. We spent time listening to God's Word through an ancient Christian discipline called Lectio Divina. Sunday night was filled with students. Junior high youth group was challenging. These students are really sharp, and together we tried to answer the question, "Why/How did Adam and Eve commit the First Sin?" We closed the night off with a small group gathering of students investigating what the "basics" are of the Christian faith.

My morning today was awesome. I picked up a little devotional yesterday that my wife recommended. It has some sample prayers, reading selections, and scripture passages. I met my Lord this morning. God rocks!