Archive for June, 2011

Hot Night At Camp

I don’t rest well in a dorm room with 11 boys when the air conditioner stops working and the ambient temperature for the majority of the night is 87 degrees.  It was miserable.  I finally figured out that one of the boys had moved the thermostat on the window unit to 60.  Of course, when one does that, the only thing that gets cold is the coil as it freezes over.  Once that happens, nothing gets cold.  The AC continues to blow but all it pushes into the room is warm air.

I think every believer should take kids to camp at least once.  It will certainly make you more appreciative of home!

But even though my one night in the dorm at camp left me longing for home, my two days with the 11 students we took was priceless!  I am so glad I had the opportunity to be there with those boys.  As I drove away last night and left them there – my heart longed just as strongly to stay as it had to be at home just 17 hours before.

They will be there another 2 ½ days.  My prayer is that God will move in each of their lives.  And if I might, I would request that you pray for them as well.

I look forward to hearing all about their experiences when they return.

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Off to Youth Camp

This morning we are off to camp.  We have 11 boys ranging from 12 to 14 – all headed to youth camp.  I can remember the days of my youth and the trips to camp.  They were always one of the highlights of my summer.  And looking back, those days still hold wonderful memories.  It was at youth camp that I first played guitar and sang for an audience.  It was at another youth camp that my buddy and I took the competition in a talent show where we showcased one of our original songs.  Unfortunately, the world of the 80’s just wasn’t interested in reviving Simon and Garfunkel with a Christian twist (for those of you born after 1975, Google them, I am sure they were cool at some point before I could walk).

It was also at camp that I felt God speaking to me – telling me I needed to pursue ministry as a vocation.

Yep, some really good memories from church camp.

So today, we load up 11 boys and head to camp where they will mingle with 400 others students they won’t know – at least not at first.  We will all claim a bunk and settle in (nothing like trying to sleep when you have 11 boys their age all in the same room).  I pray there is air conditioning!

But despite the heat and the possible frustrations of dealing with junior high boys, I am really excited about all of this; because at this camp, God’s word will be taught.  At this camp, relationships will be mended and strengthened.  At this camp, lives will be changed.  At this camp God will move as never before experienced by some of these students.  And I have to tell you – I am pumped!

Now, where did I put those earplugs?!

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Last night we tried something a little different with our Wednesday night crowd and prayer time.  My talk was on praise.  We dialogued about why we should praise and how we should offer our praise to God.  We even discussed when we should praise God.

But after we had our time of study and discussion, we entered into a concert of praise.  I instructed those present to bow their heads and simply focus on how God has blessed them.  Then, as they felt lead, they were encouraged to offer up a statement of praise to God out loud.  I then sat down and began to reflect on how God has blessed me.

Over the next 20 minutes or so, one after another offered up praise and thanks for all the ways God has blessed them – things like, “God, I praise you for my family.”  And, “Father, I praise you for loving me even when I am not very lovable.”

It was a moving experience for many – it certainly was for me.  To sit and hear God’s people take time out of their day to stop and reflect on all God has done for them and then to turn their hearts to God in praise was inspirational!

So often, our prayer life is more about “me” than about God and others.  We need to remember to stop and reflect on who God is and how our lives are different because of God’s work in us.  When we do that, we will be drawn to praise.

Stop and praise God today!

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This past Sunday was Father’s Day.  The plan for my family was to gather together at lunch.  I had some steaks marinating and ready for the grill and so the plan was to cook out and eat lunch together.  When I entered the church building on Sunday, it was a beautiful day.  When we exited a couple of hours later, the dirt was blowing so hard that it was difficult to see the car in front of me on the highway home – in fact, I am not so sure that I didn’t see a cow fly across the road in front of me at one point (OK, maybe that’s a stretch – but it was a nasty day).

So we altered our plan.  We all met at a local restaurant for lunch and we had the best time!  I don’t remember laughing that hard in a long time.  We sat there for over an hour just enjoying being together.  I am sure we created quite a stir in that place.  At one point I began to feel sorry for those around us because of the noise we were making and then someone said something else that brought more laughter and that feeling went away.

Thanks Jared, Ethan, Bryson (and Kristi) for making my Father’s Day grand – and memorable!

I love you all – and I cherish every minute God gives me with each of you!  I am so proud of each of you and humbled to by your dad!

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Some days we catch every light on the way to work . . . and some days every light catches us.

Some days we have our To Do list done by lunch . . . and some days our To Do list has doubled by then.

Some days it’s easy to follow Jesus . . . and some days – not so much.

Some days are better than others – that is a reality of the world in which we live and not the result of a God with a sick sense of humor.

Our approach to our day dictates its outcome – not what happens to us along the way.  Make up your mind right now that God is in control and that no matter what comes your way today, you will stay true to your faith and follow Jesus no matter what.

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It’s Monday and we have the whole week ahead of us!  What will you do with this week?  What will you do with this day?  Everyday is a blessing – a gift from God.  We are not guaranteed a tomorrow but as followers of the Way, we are guaranteed that God will always be with us.  We don’t know if there will be a tomorrow, but there is a now.  As believers we should strive to make the most of the time we have – not for our own satisfaction but for God’s glory.

So ask yourself this question today:  What would I do to make a difference in someone else’s life  if I knew God would be right beside me to help me, to guide me and make my efforts successful?  

Now, put your faith in the Father of all life and go do it!

Be a blessing today and make it count!


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Thank a Hero

As I drove to work this morning, Skillet was on the radio singing about needing a hero.  As I listened to that song, I thought about heros.  The first ones that came to mind were all the volunteers that helped us out with Vacation Bible School this week.  We had over 50 people donate their time and energy to be involved in the evenings this week, working with kids from pre-K to 5th grade.  We were over run with kids and all the volunteers just stepped in and made it work.

This week, all of you are my heros!  I believe every child had a lot of fun and I know they heard about Jesus, but more importantly, I know beyond a shadow of any possible doubt that they saw Jesus this week in you!

Whether you live here in Littlefield or somewhere else around the world, when you see a volunteer who serves out of compassion and love this week – tell them thanks – they are all heros!


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One Committed Kid

This week, the church has been teaming with little voices and the sounds of laughter and singing.  We are hosting our annual Vacation Bible School in the evenings this week and it has been amazing!  The kids are fun and they tell you exactly what they are thinking.  They aren’t afraid to ask hard questions and they soak up the answers like sponges.  It is so refreshing to witness their openness.  I have also learned from them this week.

One little girl who came with a friend wanted to talk to me the other night.  I was sitting on the edge of the stage as we waited for parents to arrive to pick up their kids.  She came up to me to ask a question.  She asked, “Would it be OK if I brought my Bible tomorrow night?”  I smiled and told her I could not think of anything better for her to bring to church.  I asked her if she read her Bible often and she gave me a big smile and a full body nod – yes.  Then she sat down beside me and told me that she attends Mass with her mother but everything is in Spanish so she doesn’t understand what is being said.  But then she smiled again and said, “I write down the verses when they say them so that when I get home, I can read them in my Bible.”

I was floored by the heart and the initiative of this little girl.  She is faithful to attend her mother’s church even when she doesn’t understand what is going on and then committed enough to read for herself the passages that are used during the service.  I have been wondering since, “how many adults would go that extra step?”  I even have to ask myself, “Am I that committed?”

Something to think about.

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I had to stop for gas when I got to town today.  As I pulled up next to the gas pump, I noticed a lady beginning to fill her car on the other side of the set of pumps I was about to use.  As I got out of the car, I could not see her, but I heard her say, “Good morning, how are you today?”  I looked around and there was no one else to receive her greeting so I knew she was talking to me.  So I responded, “I am good.  How about you?”

She replied, “I am blessed.  I guess I could complain but no one would listen.”

I told her, “I would listen – might not could do anything about it – but I would listen.”  She laughed and I laughed and that was about it for our exchange until she finished and I told her to have  a wonderful day and she told me to be blessed.

I finished putting gas in the car, retrieved my receipt and headed to the office.  But as I drove, I wondered, if she had not taken the first step to say “Hi,” would I have taken the initiative?  I had a multitude of things swimming around my head (and those of you who know me know that if it was more than two thoughts that things were getting pretty crowded in there).  Striking up a conversation with a stranger was not on my To Do list.

But I was reminded that it should be a standing item on that list.  My day was brightened because a stranger at a gas pump took the time and energy to say “good morning.”  Nothing fancy or elaborate.  It didn’t take any additional time – just additional effort.

As a Jesus follower, shouldn’t we make it a point to brighten someone else’s day – everyday?

Maybe that is an answer to my question yesterday – you can read that post here.

Be a blessing today!

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We are working through a sermon series right now on the focus of our church.  We began with setting the foundation that our focus should be God’s mission.  We looked to Matthew 28:19-20 as a foundation for understanding that mission.  We need to remember that God’s mission has a church, not the other way around.

Yesterday, we talked about being an apprentice of Jesus – making it a life passion to learn who he is and not just learn about him.  It is about a relationship not religion.  This week will take that a step farther and talk about how we should live in that relationship and how knowing Jesus should affect our choices and the way we live.  Lecrae (@lecrae) is a Christian rap artist who has always inspired me (yes, I like all kinds of music).  He does a song entitled, Go Hard.  In that song, he asks the question, “If you didn’t know him, would your life look the same?  Can they tell you value Jesus by the way you rep his name?”

Does your life reflect a relationship?  Does the fact that you know Jesus really matter?

I need your help this week.  I would love to use your examples in the sermon this week.  I have a question I would like you to consider and get back to me.  You can comment here or send me a message on Facebook or just email me.  Either way – I would love to hear from you.

Here is the question:  How does having a relationship with Jesus affect the way you live each day?

I look forward to your responses!

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