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Monday, March 31, 2008

Cubbies first day bummer...

Well...

I waited through the initial rain delay and then enjoyed an hour or so of good baseball before the second. Steve and I watched a bit this afternoon while we worked on the new student ministry website (fvcc.com/students) which will be launched later this week!!!

But then, because of Dinner for 5, I had to head out. When I left the church building, it was 0-0. By the time I got to the car, it was 3-0!!! But then Fuko hit the homerun in the bottom of the 9th to tie it up, I almost wrecked my car. So, I hurried into the apartment only to be disappointed in the bottom of the 10th.

Struggle.

Jim

Dinner for 5

A little Life at Dinner for 5!!

Edit: Elisabeth went on to win... Ugh! Another Dinner for 5 without a win in Life for me.

Jim

Sunday, March 30, 2008

31...!

Well, it's official.

As of 10:00 pm, I'm officially 31 years old. Today was my birthday... and it's really lame to have your birthday on Sunday when you work in the church, but oh well...

It was a good birthday. Jackie made me a cake. We went out for dinner Thursday night. Many students left love on my Facebook page. Will and Clayton brought me a card to church tonight with some M&M's.

Overall... not too bad for 31.

Jim

Cubbies opening day!!!


Tomorrow is the day that the Cubs begin the end of the 100 year drought. Tomorrow is opening day!!!

I've been watching a lot of the spring training. It should be a great home opener... if the weather doesn't ruin it.

But I'll be sporting my Cubbies gear tomorrow! And listening to the opener at 1:20 pm (CT)!!!

Go Cubs!!!

Jim

Kittens in their little red bed...







Zoe and Zelda were enjoying their little red bed tonight. I just thought I'd share.


Jim

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Spring Break Snow...

We had snow this afternoon and quite a bit of it. Did someone forget to tell the weather man that it's Spring Break? March 27?? I like winter, but this is a bit ridiculous...

Ugh!

Jim

First LIVE podcast...

I just finished watching my first Live Simply Youth Ministry Podcast... It was excellent... Until it came to a sudden and abrupt stop. But it was great. I'll be looking forward to the next one.

Jim

Panera Bread and Personal Space...

I've been making it a pretty regular habit that after my Thursday morning mens' Bible study that I stay at Panera Bread and do some work. For a couple of reasons: first, because they have pretty decent hazelnut coffee. But second because it's usually pretty quiet and third, I usually have reading to catch up on.

Well, I should have known better this morning. It's Spring Break here... so there were more people coming through the doors of Panera Bread and actually staying. And I've never been great at being able to concentrate and read when there is significant distraction.

But this morning was a different story.

We meet in a little conference room for our group. When our group is over, I typically stay in there but I leave the doors open. Most of the time, a couple of people have come in and pulled up a table and proceeded to do computer work, read or even take an occasional phone call.

This morning I was reading for class on Saturday (of which I have 15 pages left!!! Yay!!!). And this fellow walks in, looks at me, recognizes that I am reading, then plops down about 10 feet away. No big deal. But then another guy joins him and they begin to have a very loud (and I'm not shooting for exaggeration... I mean so loud that people outside of this little room were looking to see what was happening).

Now, I'm thinking: "You see someone reading... You know that you're loud... You know that you're going to be having a meeting. Why not pick a table AWAY FROM THE READER!!!!" But it's almost like he chose the opposite. Intentionally placing himself near the reader.

I read about 500 words and then left.

So I'm thinking about asking Panera Bread to put up a little sign that says... "Please be respectful of others... we're all trying to use this space together." Unbelievable!!!

Jim

Thursday morning group...

This morning we had a great, great discussion about Boice's chapter 32 on "Temptation."

It was a small group... only 5 were here this morning... but it was a great conversation on temptation, the nature of temptation and more importantly, the nature of Jesus Christ. It was one of those days when as a Church History/Historical Theology major at LCS, I felt a little more equipped from my understanding of church history and the Bible, to have an intelligent part of the conversation (which is rare... usually the word intelligent doesn't appear in the same sentence with my name).

But it was a good discussion. In fact, we went over about 25 minutes this morning, which is rare in my experience.

It was NOT however a good morning getting up. Yesterday I was up early reading... and I still have some of that reading left (which I'm about to jump in on in a few). So, I was dragging quite a bit this morning when I got up. But I'm glad that I did. (And no Chris... it is NOT getting any easier!!!!)

Jim

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Our cats are crazy...

So...

We've had Zoe and Zelda for about two weeks now. And I've noticed something unusual about them. We (my wife and I) both have laptops. And since we are in school and often working on schoolwork at the same time, we have our printer set up at home for wireless printing. Which is great!!! It's awesome to be able to sit on the couch and send a document to print without getting up, carrying the laptop into the den, plugging in and then waiting for the print (I know, I'm lazy... but get over it).

But I've noticed something about our cats. And I just noticed this again because it just happened... and it happens every time... every time they hear the printer engage to print, they both take off tearing through the apartment and dive onto the desk to see "the magical machine that makes noise and spits out paper" (I'm assuming that in their little cat-brains that's what they are thinking). But it's hilarious.

In fact over the weekend, Zoe jumped from so far out from the desk where the printer is at and she obviously forgot about not having front claws (which she doesn't), that she went flying into the window and almost fell behind the desk.

It's an usual trait... maybe I'll try to get it on video sometime and upload it to YouTube or something. Oh the humor of having two kittens in the house...

Jim

Ugh!!! Reading speed??!!

I am wrapping up a book for class on Saturday... that I have to write a response paper to...

This morning I got up after Jackie left for work at 4 am and read for 3 hours. And I only got 50 pages done!!!??? That's a measly 16.6 pages an hour or 3.5 minutes per page...

Gugh!

Jim

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Master Mentor #16

Chapter 15 (Book 3, Chapter 5)
CS and I were having a great conversation about sex until the end of the chapter. Often, in reading this book, I find myself curious about the direction of CS’s conversation until the last couple of paragraphs and then it suddenly becomes clear what he is driving at.
This chapter was different. The whole course of the chapter, I found myself getting what he was saying and agreeing as we went along. He discussed sex in this chapter. And more importantly, he discussed the Christian virtue of chastity (of waiting for sex until marriage and then faithfulness to that person throughout life).
Part of what I liked about this chapter is that he was discussing one of the topics that bothers most people in the church. Most Christians have the idea that sex is “dirty” and “not something to be taught in church.” And on both accounts, in my opinion and from what I’ve seen in the Bible, they would be wrong. The Bible talks about sex, how it should be handled and what is the right way to view sex and sexuality. And I love to teach on this subject to students. Mostly because students also share that opinion that sex isn’t something to be talked about in church.
Then CS said something that I really disagree with. In the very last paragraph of this chapter, CS seems to make the case that although sex and sexual sins are bad, they aren’t the worst of sins. On one side, I agree with what he is saying. Most people have the idea that if they mess up sexually, they have messed up completely and beyond all repair. That simply isn’t true. Sexual sin like all other sin is capable of forgiveness. God can and will forgive you, even if you mess up sexually. That shouldn’t give you license to do so, but it should give you hope that if you have tried and failed, it’s not over for you.
But in my experience with people… both students in the church, those I have had conversations with and my own experience… sexual sin can be some of the most damaging and long-lasting of any sin. The ghosts and memories that linger can be extremely difficult to eliminate. CS even goes so far as to say that sins of pride, patronizing and hatred are worse sins than sexual mistakes and I simply don’t agree with that.
Sexual sins, like other sins, can be forgiven. But they also leave deep and lasting scars that don’t heal as easily and in many cases, remain with you for your entire life.

One thing that I did find interesting about this chapter, was in CS’s discussion of his culture and it’s obsession with sex and sexuality on its posters, movies and advertisements. If he thought his culture was saturated with sex, he should see our culture in 2008!!!

Jim

Master Mentor #15

Chapter 14 (Book 3, Chapter 4)
CS begins this chapter by turning to a discussion of what the “Christian idea of a good man (or woman I would assume) is – the Christian specification for the human machine.” And he has a discussion of the choices that we make and how that affects who we are as people. Then he says this:
“People often think of Christian morality as the kind of bargain in which God says, ‘If you keep a lot of rules I’ll reward you, and if you don’t I’ll do the other thing.’ I do not think that is the best way of looking at it. I would much rather say that every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different from what it was before. And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing either into a heavenly creature or into a hellish creature: either into a creature that is in harmony with God, and with other creatures, and with itself, or else into one that is in a state of war and hatred with God, and with its fellow creatures, and with itself.”

In my estimation, CS is right on with this. Many people do have the notion that being a Christian or a follower and lover of Christ, means that you have to do this and that and that other thing (i.e. go to church, be nice, give your money at the church when they pass the plate, hat or bag depending on where you go and an assortment of other things). But it would seem to me that each decision that I make either turns me a little bit more and more toward God or away from God.
When I get up the morning, I am faced with however many hundreds or thousands of decisions. Brush my teeth or not? Shower or not? Breakfast or not? And then I leave for work and I have a hundred more decisions. Which way to work? Randall? Peck? What kind of music? Should I listen to a podcast? And each of those decisions while trivial may bring me closer to God or further away from God. Even a simple decision like brushing my teeth means that I am taking care of the body that God has given me so that it can continue to serve me and I can continue to serve God with it long into my life. A simple decision like listening to music or a podcast could have a huge impact on my day. Maybe I would listen to a daily devotional podcast that at some point come up in my day and prepare me to handle it better. Or maybe by listening to a specific type of music, I am more prepared for the day.
And I realize that in the midst of all of these things, it’s easy to get lost. It’s easy to drive yourself with all the possibilities. My hope and prayer is that God is somehow leading my decisions and helping direct me into a path that leads me to making decisions that bring me a little bit closer to Him. That I would make decisions that would bring me into more harmony with the Creator of the universe, my fellow man (and women) and with myself.

Good stuff.

Jim

Busy...

Yesterday was a busy day...

  • Easter weekend was great... especially hanging with the Pauley's and the Reffett's which is always excellent.
  • I led Staff Meeting yesterday... unexpectantly.
  • I pounded out a small group lesson... that we didn't need because it's Spring Break.
  • I had a meeting with a lady about a potential mortgage... Jackie and I are thinking about buying/building a house this summer.
  • I spent the night last night working on an assignment for today... which I completed.
  • I had class today... which was good as usual.
  • I'm catching up on some blogging... always good.
I don't know if it's guilt... but I just felt the need to share what I've been up to over the last little bit. I think that I saw that my last post was Sunday morning and I felt like you might think I was mad at you. But I'm not. It's just been busy.

Jim

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Master Mentor #14

Chapter 13 (Book 3, Chapter 3)
In this chapter, CS begins to talk about “social morality.” And he begins to talk about it in the sense of giving to the needy… or charity. He talks about how if we were to see a community that was totally doing what we were supposed to be doing as a Christian community, we would all like some of it and not other parts.
Towards the end of the chapter, he turns directly to giving. And he sets down an interesting rule. CS’s rule is that we should give more than we can spare. When was the last time that we gave that way? Maybe… never.
Most of the time, when a request comes from someone that we know, we ask the question… “What can we afford to give?” And then we give that amount. CS is saying that we should ask that question and then maybe double it. That’s a scary thought because he is saying that we should do without something in order to meet the need. And then he goes on to hit exactly why we don’t give that way… “For many of us the great obstacle to charity lies not in our luxurious living or desire for more money, but in our fear – fear of insecurity” (page 82). And he’s right. We’re afraid that we won’t be able to pay our bills. We’re afraid that we won’t be able to have all the things that we want that we think will make us feel successful and better in life.
That’s why most of us like the idea of a tithe. We like the idea that once we have given our “10%”… then we’re done and nothing else is required of you. And that was fine for the legalism of the Old Testament. But doesn’t seem to be carried over to the New Testament lifestyle. Jesus never commanded a 10%. Paul never commanded a 10%. But we like the 10% because it’s clean, easy and achievable and when I get done I can feel good about myself. But CS’s idea of giving more than I can spare scares me a bit. And maybe that’s good.

Jim

His Ways... Day 14... Kathi Colton

Today is the final day for the "His Ways" Journal. Today's devotion... by Kathi Colton is from 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14:

"Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. 14We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him."

Today, Kathi shared a very personal story of her grandson's unexpected death. She shared about the happenings and the aftermath in a very revealing way. She said that Joshua's brother reminded her of a very important truth at the hospital shortly after his death... that "Joshua got to see God."

Death is a painful thing. An incredibly painful thing.
But it is also an incredible thing for the Christian. Today is Easter. And that is the best of days for the Christian. Today is the day that Jesus proved that death had no claim on those who trust in Jesus. After 3 days in the tomb, Jesus powerfully came out and showed himself to his disciples. That proof gives us hope that one day soon we will be with him for eternity.

Kathi shared the dream that she had about Joshua's casket being lifted to heaven. That's a dream that we can all share... although probably without the casket. Someday... for those who believe in Jesus Christ and what he did so many years ago on that first Easter morning... we will be raised to new life to worship God forever in eternity. So, while death may still be painful here... it's "sting" is gone. Thankfully...

Jim

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Easter thoughts...

I'm sitting here on the couch watching "The Passion of the Christ." And I'm thinking about communion tomorrow as I've been asked to give the meditation.

Whatever you think about the Passion... like it or hate it... I personally like it. As a movie, there are parts in the movie that I can't watch... because it's just too real. One of those parts is the scene where they are whipping Him in preparation for crucifixion.

And as I'm watching this... I'm reading these words from The prophet Isaiah...
"2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. 3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. 6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. "

The reality is that most movies aren't based in reality. They are based in fiction. But the Passion... the Passion is based on the reality of what Jesus endured because I had gone astray. And tomorrow... Tomorrow I have the opportunity to honor Him in his resurrection!!!

Thanks Jesus for what you endured for me.

Jim

Master Mentor #13

Chapter 12 (Book 3 – Chapter 2)
I found out in this chapter, that the previous chapter was so full of examples and illustrations because it was part of a 10-minute radio talk. CS attempted to make his discussion as quick and to the point as he could possibly be so that folks would understand him.
In this chapter… he follows up by talking about the same principles as the previous chapter, but instead, he begins to talk about them in terms of seven virtues. Four of which, he classifies as “Cardinal” (meaning all people recognize) and the final three of which, we calls “Theological” (meaning those that would be recognized by Christians only). In this chapter, he then goes on to talk about these four cardinal virtues of “Prudence,” “Temperance,” “Justice,” and “Fortitude.”
It’s interesting that the words that he chooses here in this chapter may have been words from a more classical meaning. But these words also don’t carry much significance in this day and age. In fact, they would likely need to be renamed with other markers for more clear understand. Prudence would be more likely understood as wisdom or common sense. Temperance would be better understood as balance. Justice would be that notion of fairness and Fortitude better understood as courage.
He then goes on to say that these are the things that should characterize our lives if we want to be the kind of people that God is calling us to be. God isn’t asking for these things to simply show up, but that we would be people who would be known in our character for these. Which leads me to think… Is my life a life that is characterized by wisdom, balance, fairness and courage?

Jim

Master Mentor #12

Yes...
I am way behind on my Master Mentor reading... about 6 weeks behind. But I am catching up and will likely be posting double until I catch up in time to turn in this project near the end of next month.

-----------------
Chapter 11 (Book 3, Chapter 1)
CS begins to talk about morality in this chapter. And he lays out three things that must be agreed upon for the “human machine” to operate properly. The first is that as individuals we must agree on mutual behavior between us as humans. The second is that we must agree on behavior that is proper for within each of us as individuals. And the third is acting in accordance with the general purpose of life as a whole as defined by the One who created it.
CS does a great job of laying out multiple examples in this chapter that help illustrate his point… that of a gearshifter in a car, ships sailing in a formation and a band playing a tune. And this does a great job of driving home his point… which is well-taken. Then he says this at the end of the chapter:
“It seems, then, that if we are to think about morality, we must think of all three departments: relations between man and man: things inside of each man: and relations between man and the power that made him. We can all co-operate in the first one. Disagreements begin with the second and become serious with the third” (page 73).
It is interesting to me how the breakdown of number three affects all the others. We are living in a different day and age from when CS wrote this. I’m not sure that CS could have imagined the world that we live in with the vastly different ideas about number 3. I think that CS has quite a bit to say about postmodernism… but I’m not sure he could have seen how incredibly skewed it would become… but maybe he did. Mostly because CS seems to be somewhat ideal about agreements on the first one.
I don’t think we have it easy enough to decide how we should act between man and man. To use CS’s terminology from this chapter, we have some people who have decided that it’s okay to drive their ship in whatever direction they want and they don’t care what anyone else thinks about it. Whereas in CS’s day, people generally still cared what others thought about them and whether or not they were going in a socially acceptable direction.
I think we are living in a day and age in which all three of this tenants of morality are up for discussion. It is also a great day for Christians to begin to set the table for a discussion on those three tenants.

Jim

Kittens for a week!!!



We've had the kittens for a whole week!!!

It's hard for us to imagine the apartment without these two little furballs running around, playing, getting into things and onto the table. But it's only been a week.

But it's been a great week.
Especially with cute moments like these (Zoe is hanging out in her little, red bed).

Jim

His Ways... Day 13... Michelle Diamond

Today's devotion... by Michelle Diamond (who put this devotion together!!!)... is from Romans 8:28:

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

Michelle had a good thought today about God being in control. She points out... and I think this is true for most Protestants... is that even though in our minds we realize that God is in control, most of us still try to do it on our own. We are good little Armenians who believe that somehow we can still affect the outcome of our salvation. And to some degree, I'm still there.

But then there are verses like Romans 8:28... Paul says that GOD works things together. That's something that only He can do. One for instance was last night's Good Friday service. Steve put the music together. I wrote the message. We talked briefly about the direction of the night. But GOD tied together the pieces in a way that neither of us could have even if we would have written the whole night together in a room. There were strands of the message that showed up in the songs... in the video... there were strands of the video and the songs in the message. Something that wasn't intentional on either of our parts.

It always makes me wonder what GOD might be tying together even right now that I don't even begin to realize. And what is HE doing with it to impact HIS kingdom in a way that I may never realize.

Jim

Good Friday last night!!!

We had a great Good Friday service last night.

Steve Osborne (our worship guy) did an incredible job of picking some songs that led us straight to the cross. And he arranged them in a great way that made worship easy. It was quiet and thoughtful. It was a really great experience.

I taught last night briefly...
Here's the basis of that talk:
  • We have all made mistakes (sin) in the past.
  • We will all continue to miss the mark in the present and the future.
  • When Paul told us those two things in Romans 3:23, he included everyone in those two categories (not just some... but all).
  • Those mistakes are a debt that couldn't have been paid any other way than through Jesus' death on the cross.
I'm so glad that Jesus came to pay my debt. Thanks Jesus for doing that. I hope that my life honors you and what you've done for me.

Jim

Friday, March 21, 2008

Book #3... kinda... James Montgomery Boice "The Sermon on the Mount"


I'm going to go with a 1/2 book here.

I'm officially caught up on reading with my Thursday morning guys group. We've been reading this book by Boice... "The Sermon on the Mount" and actually I started it HERE.

Today I finally caught up with the rest of the reading. We are officially about 2/3 of the way through the book, but I'm going to count it for now as 1/2 a book. (I'm reading Kurt Johnston's new Junior High Ministry Book right now and it's about 80 pages... most of which aren't that tough reading... that will likely pick up the other half of this book.) So... just so my reading is up-to-date here as to what I have completed... even though I'm about 2 books behind on the year. School reading has been taking a bit of an effect... plus just general laziness.

Now, onto the next book... whatever that might be... probably "Speaking to Teenagers" by Doug Fields.

Jim

His Ways... Day 12... Mark Batts

Today's devotion... by Mark Batts... is from John 13:21:

"After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, "I tell you the truth, one of you is going to betray me.""

Mark gave us some great thoughts about betrayal today. I especially enjoyed Mark's stories about his children. But his conclusion really got me.

Most of the time, when we do something sinful... whether its premeditated or not... we often feel like no one will know. But that simply isn't true... as Mark reminded me today. God knows. And he sees that betrayal in a similar fashion to the betrayal that Jesus felt from Peter and Judas... two guys that I have often drawn comparisons between. The actions of both were similar (betrayal of Jesus... one to authorities... one to bystanders... but both betrayals). The difference was in the outcome.

But I guess I don't think often of my sinfulness in terms of betrayal. But it is. Mark says this, "When we sin, we are betraying God's grace and sacrifice. Whether it is a huge glaring betrayal like Judas' or a little white lie to protect ourselves like Peter, we have not lived up to the example set by Christ."

Thanks for the thoughts Mark.

Jim

Good Friday Fun!!!

I realize as I type that that doesn't sound very religious... and I'm not referring to the cross. I will post a more serious reflection on the day later on.

But today is going to be an interesting day...
  • I slept in this morning... That was nice.I'm teaching tonight at our Good Friday Service at church (Romans 3:23-24 and Romans 5:8) .
  • Chris Genders and his family are coming over before the GF Service for pizza and hanging out and check out out new kitties...
  • Steve Osborne (our worship guy) and his wife are coming over after the GF service for coffee and/or ice cream and hanging out with our new kitties...
  • I've got a bunch of phone calls to make.
  • I still have to read about 75 pages of "Culture and Conflict" by Cohen for my Ministry to Muslims class next weekend.
  • And I need to write a communion meditation for Easter.
  • It's snowing today (even though it's the 2nd day of Spring). But hopefully it's done for today... and we got a couple of inches... and it won't affect tonight's Good Friday Service.
So... It's going to be a busy day!



Jim

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Buckeyes draft Pryor!!!


The Buckeyes signed a winner... Awesome! And maybe the best part of it (sorry Joel), but he picked the Buckeyes of "Gagigan" (Michigan). Way to go Pryor!!!

It will be great to have a young talent like Pryor learning the ropes this season and be ready to step in as needed (I've never been a big fan of Boeckman. But this kid is pretty talented.

Here are a few of his stats from this ESPN article:
"Pryor, the No. 4-rated player in the ESPN 150, has left a legacy:

• In football, he became the first Pennsylvania player to pass and rush for more than 4,000 yards.

• He helped the Jayhawks win back-to-back WPIAL football championships, advancing to the last two PIAA Class AA title games, triumphing this season.

• The football team went 30-2 over the last two seasons, including 16-0 this season.

Pryor, a rare 6-6, 230-pound physical specimen, will concentrate on football at Ohio State.

"Everyone says he's a can't-miss player," Jeannette coach Ray Reitz said. "Not too many 6-foot-6 athletes can run a sub 4.3 40[-yard dash]."


I almost can't wait until August!!! Go Bucks!



Jim

His Ways... Day 11... Ken Hempel

Today's devotion... written by Ken Hempel... is from Mark 14:12-17:

"12On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb, Jesus' disciples asked him, "Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover?"

13So he sent two of his disciples, telling them, "Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him. 14Say to the owner of the house he enters, 'The Teacher asks: Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?' 15He will show you a large upper room, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there."

16The disciples left, went into the city and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.

17When evening came, Jesus arrived with the Twelve."

I have often wondered about the people in the Bible who don't get names and faces. With all the people in the Bible, if we were to know their whole story, we could never carry it around... we would need a box truck. But I wonder about some of the people from time to time.

Like this guy... this guy who had an upper room that was prepared and ready to go when Jesus showed up. What was his story? When he put the upper room together, did he have any idea of what was going to happen up there? When he began to build it, did people think he was crazy? Did they look at him weird (you're going to build a "what")?

Similarly, what did he think when these two disciples showed up and wanted to use it? Did he think that was strange? Did he wonder what they might do up there? Could he hear them from below in the rest of the house? Did he have any idea of what might be happening above?

I've often thought of people like this and wondered what happened to them. Did he ever become a believer? Did he hear Peter preach? Did he weep when Jesus was crucified? Or did he chant "Crucify, crucify" with the rest of the croud?

Here is a nameless, faceless person who had huge impact on the story of Christ. He provided the upper room... the room where Jesus ate the meal with his disciples... where he washed their feet... where he prayed for them... where the instituted the "Lord's Supper"... where he called them "friends." And yet, we know nothing about him. Maybe that's God's way of doing things. We think we need to be in the spotlight. Rather, we should just serve where we're at and with what God puts in front of us today.


Jim

And... we're back...

Sorry...

I feel like I have to apologize. The last couple of days I had to make a quick trip to Ohio. My grandpa built a "coffeebar" for the Warehouse at FVCC and I needed to swing down and pick it up. It's beautiful and I can't wait to get it painted and get into use. But the trip was quick... down on Tuesday... back on Wednesday... Monday I was sick...

So that's why I haven't been on here the last couple of days...
And I know that I have several days of "His Ways" to catch up on and will be catching up this morning.

But the trip was good aside from picking up the coffeebar. I had the chance to hang out with my parents a little bit and catch up with them.

I also caught up on about 6 hours of podcasts that I had been needing to listen to (Chris Genders at Great Oaks and SYM Podcast). I still have a few more podcasts to listen to... but I'll catch up.

I just thought that I would give you a little update as to why there haven't been any posts for the last couple of days. So... there you go.

Jim

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

His Ways... Day 10... Jennifer Waltermire

Today's devotion... written by Jenn Waltermire... is from Exodus 13:8(NIV):

"On that day tell your son, 'I do this because of what the LORD did for me when I came out of Egypt.'"

I need to be reminded of important things often.

I am a to-do-list person... I also leave piles of work on my desk... on the couch at home where I watch TV (when I should be doing work)... on the "to-do-list" of my iCal calendar... just about everywhere I can think of. Because, for me, out of sight is out of mind. And I need to be reminded. Reminded to stay 'on-task' and to get done what needs to be done. Even my wife knows this about me... In fact, when we got married almost 5 years ago, my wife knew that I would forget the date. So she had it engraved inside the band of my wedding ring (now... I can't wear it because I lost too much weight last year... and need to get it resized).

But I forget things easily. Even my Bible reading plan falls behind if I'm not careful. It's just part of who I am.

But I am grateful for what Jenn shared today. That God gave the Israelites a built in way to remember what God had done for them (the Passover) and that he has given me a built in reminder for what he has done for me and for you (Easter). What a great opportunity to go back and remember... remember again... what God has done for me on the cross.

Thanks God for knowing me... and us... so well as to know that we would need to be reminded often.

Jim

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

His Ways... Day 9... Alex Glass

Today's devotion... by Alex Glass... is from Psalm 23:

"1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. 4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever."

These verses are quite possibly the most familiar to most people. I can't think of a funeral that I have been to when these words have been used or printed somewhere. Most years at VBS growing up as a kid, I was asked to memorize these words. Most people, regardless of their familiarity with church, will recognize these words.

And yet... the picture behind him is so powerful. God as a protecting shepherd carrying caring for His sheep.

Jim


Monday, March 17, 2008

Logos finally goes Mac!!! YAY!!!


Ever since switching over to the Mac platform a year and a half ago, I have never regretted it. The only frustrating thing was that I couldn't have one program that I was beginning to get used to using on a regular basis... a program called "Logos" from Libronix.

Basically it is a library that you can install on your computer that features a searchable nature to allow you to cross-reference different aspects of Bible study. It's a pretty big deal down at Lincoln... Basically if you aren't using it or don't have it, you can't get around down at Lincoln... Which is fine. Expect they didn't have a Mac version.

Instead, they have been claiming for the last 2 years that they are "working" on a version for Mac. Every time I would check, they would say that it was coming out in the "next" quarter... then the "next quarter" would come and go and still... no Logos.

Today... I've been sick... and was doing some work at home (in between sniffles... sneezes... and cough drops) and I see an email saying the "Alpha" version is ready to go!!! I was pumped!!! I just got done downloading it and checking it out a bit.

At first glance, it looks pretty cool. The "Exegetical Guide" isn't available yet... but hopefully it will be soon. Looks like it will be cool. I would like to put it up against a regular Windows version on a computer that can actually keep up with a Mac (do those things really exist???) and see what is lacking and what isn't running just right. Since I don't use the program all that often... or at least I didn't before downloading it today... I'm not real sure how to put it through the paces to see what's there and what isn't. But I would be interested in trying that.

I wonder how long it will test before they release the full-blown version??? Hopefully not long.

Jim

Sick day...

I almost made it through the winter without getting sick... my regular habit of vitamins and oranges was doing well... until Saturday. Saturday I started coming down with what everyone else had been dealing with. I managed to make it through Sunday (mostly on adrenaline I think).

But today I'm home sick. Ugh!

I made it for a brief staff meeting and a quick lunch with Steve and Mel. Then I came home and crashed on the couch for a hour long nap with Zoe. Now, I've got to get the one task done that I have to do today... then back to the couch... writing small group material.

I hate being sick. Hate it!

Jim

2 year old drumming - Rohan Marr

Here's our Family Time Director's 2 year old son Rohan drumming... He's actually pretty good.

Jim

Check it out HERE.

His Ways... Day 8... Julie Brooks

Today's devotion... written by Julie Brooks... is from Matthew 6:27:

"Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?"

Julie focuses part of her devotion on a really, really big word (that seems really small): the word 'IF'. God can take care of us if we let him... God can handle our problems if we give them to Him... If is a big word... and a word that many of us don't like. Because it isn't very certain.

Then she said something that caught me off guard a bit. She says, "If Jesus could trust God to take care of Him through his death and resurrection, why shouldn't I trust Him to take care of me?" Wow.

Often I think about the resurrection and Easter in terms of the end of the story. I know that when Jesus goes to the Garden on Thursday night that he is going to end up crucified and nailed to a cross and then on Sunday he is going to raise from the dead. But imagine staring down that notion from the first person side of things. Knowing that I am going to be betrayed, crucified and killed. And that I am going to put my trust in God to take care of me and carrying me through. Why? Because He is the only one who can. Wow! Imagine the faith that Jesus must have had in his Father. Obviously Jesus is God and is confident in the outcome. But he is still man and he still must have been crazy with fear.

One of the scenes that just came to mind... and I will likely watch it over the next couple of days is from the Mel Gibson "Passion" where Jesus is in the Garden at the very opening of the movie. One of the things that the movie did for me was to paint some "fresh" pictures of the crucifixion for me (which I needed). But the scene that popped to mind is where Jesus is wrestling with whether to go through with it and Satan, the tempter, is right there with him, almost whispering in his ear. But yet, Jesus trusted God.

Incredible.

Jim

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Chilling and playing with the cats

I got in some needed play time with Zelda and Zoe!!! Fun stuff.

His Ways... Day 7... The Alford Family

Today's devotion is actually written by a whole family... that's pretty cool... the Alfords (they have a 6th grade daughter who is AWESOME!!!)... and it's from Revelation 21:5:

"He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.""

The Alford family all had a part in writing a part of today's devotion.

In thinking about all things "new"... if you're a regular reader of my blog, you'll know that we adopted a couple of kittens yesterday... Zoe and Zelda... I wasn't sure if after we had to put Spot down that I would want another cat. Now, as I listen to them play under the couch and attack each other and run around the apartment, I'm glad that that's something "new" in my life. I can't wait to be "new" in heaven when God does what only God can do in the way that only God can do it... and everything is new... Wow!

Jim

Saturday, March 15, 2008

His Ways... Day 6... Suzy Gerber

Today's devotion... written by Suzy Gerber... is from Exodus 13:17-18a:

"17 When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, "If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt." 18 So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea."

Suzy does a great job of pointing out that some times, God leads us through the difficult things rather than the easy things for a specific reason. She shares some of her and Steve's story.

It's a good reminder. The tough part is the questioning in the midst of the journey. It was always easier to stand on the other side and think "Wow... God DID that." And that is incredible. But it can be insanely frustrating to walk through the "wilderness" having no idea where you are going.

If that's you... I hope and pray that you keep following God... keep trusting Him... and allowing Him to lead you where he wants you to go.

Jim

Fun with Zelda and Zoe


Zelda and Zoe arrived home this afternoon.

We picked them up around 11 am this morning. They have been a pretty constance source of entertainment around here this afternoon.

Right off the bat, they love the new laser pointer that we picked up last night. Here they are trying to catch it.







Zoe seems to have a little meerkat in them. Zoe likes the fish tank too. Earlier she took a little "trip" onto the treadmill as she tried to get closer to the fish tank.











We even managed to grab an "All Family Nap" this afternoon. Zelda seemed to enjoy it the most. She spent most of her nap upside down and purring.















They are pretty crazy. They lay down for about 5 minutes and then they want to go exploring or they want to play. They don't know what do with themselves.

And just in case you're wondering, it's very difficult to tell them apart. Zelda has a little white patch of furr under her chin. Zoe has a little patch of white furr... but it's further down. That's the only way to tell. It's tough.









They seem to be making themselves at home.




Jim

Friday, March 14, 2008

great weather!!!

The last couple of days in the Chicagoland area have been awesome weatherwise.

Yesterday was the first day that I had my sunroof open. It was truly a great thing. I had it open again today and actually got the Cruiser washed. Jackie and I just got back from a walk... it's about 55 degrees outside. A far cry from last year's 73 record on March 13th... but still great none the less!!! Bring on the spring!

Jim

His Ways... Days 5... Hollie Sloss

Today's devotion... written by Hollie Sloss... is from Mark 6:34:

"When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things."

Today, Hollie gave a good reminder when things get busy. She is asking us to look at the verses from Mark 6 where Jesus has just heard the news of John the Baptist's death and the disciples are returning from missionary work. Things are crazy and loud and he wants to mourn and he wants to catch up with the disciples and there are the crowds. And what is Jesus' reaction: compassion.

She says... "Its usually about that time the phone will ring from someone in need, an email will arrive with some sad news or my children need a kind word or a teaching moment. Its in this moment I am reminded of Jesus and his circumstances of sorrow, weariness and desire for solitude and his choice to forgo that and reach out to those reaching out to him in need."

I need to be reminded of that often as well. It seems that I get into my day writing a lesson... making plans... putting together a newsletter... and I really get into a groove and then someone calls me on the phone with a request. Or the other direction, I would really like to have a quiet day to myself and there's an email there waiting for me. Often in those times, I confess, I want to avoid it and skip it and do what I want to do. But I too need to remember that that wasn't Jesus' habit. His habit was compassion.

Good thoughts.

Jim

Shawn McDonald - Roots!!!


Last night I happened to be browsing the iTunes store on my phone and noticed that Shawn McDonald has a new album out called "Roots." (Click here to visit iTunes and have a sample listen.)

I got hooked on Shawn McDonald back when he released "Live from Seattle." So when I saw that, I had to grab it. I love to be able to download music directly over the Internet (through iTunes... legally of course) with the touch of a couple of keys. That's so great.

This morning while I've been catching up on my blog (HERE and HERE), I've been giving it a listen. So far, what I've heard I like! Check it out for yourself.

Zelda and Zoe

Tomorrow we are getting our new kittens!!!

As some of you know, we have been in the process for a little while now of adopting a couple of black kittens. Well... they go to the vet for their final check up today and if everything is okay with them, then we will pick them up tomorrow!!!

They were scheduled last week to get spayed and "front paw" declawed, which happened on Saturday. The vet wanted them to stay for 4 or 5 days. Then Zoe began to favor one of her paws, which led the foster mom to talk to the vet and keep a watchful eye on her. After a couple of days, she talked with the vet who thought that maybe it was some phantom pain (the kind that amputees have sometimes). But then Tuesday night, Jackie was talking to her on the phone and Zoe was holding up the other paw. So, either both are hurting or she's faking. (My money's on the faking).

So, they are scheduled to visit the vet today. And if everything is cool, we will pick them up at 11 am tomorrow. We're pretty excited. In fact, I would have to say that Jackie is about to go out of her mind. (Every time I talk to her, she gets this crazed look in her eyes and says "Kitties!" It's actually kinda creepy...) But it will be good.

Yesterday we got out the container with all of Spot's stuff in it. We're going to go through it this afternoon and see what we should keep and what we should get rid of. That will more than likely be a painful process... but it won't be long before that pain is turned to joy.

Jim

Hair today... Gone tomorrow...


So...

As many of you know, I've been growing out my hair lately. Actually, since last September with a couple of trims here and there.

I've always had it short, but I wanted to see what would happen if I just let it go. So, I did.

But I hated it.






So, last night I grabbed the clippers and took care of the problem. It just didn't do what I was hoping it would do.

I've always had my hair pretty short, except for Jackie and I's wedding (close to 5 years ago). I was hoping that it would grow long. But it didn't. as Jackie put it, instead of it growing long, "it just grew out and then grew fat."

So, since spring is coming... it was time. Jackie thought that I looked kinda like Brittney Spears in this picture.







So, for those of you who liked the "bald Jim," you got your wish. For those of you who liked the hair, sorry.













It's all gone. In fact, this is the pile of what was left after the clippers got done. (It kinda looks like someone skinned a Yak in our kitchen.... gross!!!)


(the bald) Jim




Thursday, March 13, 2008

His Ways... Day 4... Suzy Sitarski

Today's devotion... written by Suzy Sitarski... is from 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18...

"16Be joyful always; 17pray continually; 18give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

She also references a couple of other helpful verses on prayer... John 16:23 and Philippians 4:6-7...

Man did Suzy's devotion connect with me today. If you are keeping up, then you'll know that she talked about how when she prays, many times her mind immediately goes to things that she needs to do... call her husband to remind him of something... sign a permission slip for her children and drive it to school... etc... etc...

I think all of us have had that happen. That's a particular struggle of mine in terms of prayer. I am praying and suddenly I think of something that needs to be done... a phone call that needs to be made... plans that need to be finalized... etc... etc...

One of Suzy's suggestions was to pray continually throughout the day for whatever it is that you are working on or whoever you are talking to at the moment. That's good advice.

I would like to add one more idea. When I pray, one thing that I have found helpful is having an index card nearby. When I have a thought of something that I need to do, I write it down. I do this when I read my Bible and have my personal quiet time. Then if I think of something, I write it down. Then I don't have to think to myself... "Now what was it that I was thinking about???" and I'm off somewhere else. Quickly jotting the idea down gets it quickly from my mind to paper so I can remember it later and back to prayer or Scripture reading. Plus, I find that the more often I do that, the more I try to focus so that that list doesn't get longer.

Just a thought.

Hope your day goes well!!

Jim

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Fresh Frontline News!!!

I just posted some fresh frontline news to our high school students, parents and leaders. It's packed with information about:
  • CIY Summer Conference (Sign up by March 30... June 22 - 29)
  • Rock River Retreat (April 11-12)
  • Last weekend of the TRL Series (March 17)
  • No High Voltage on March 23rd for Easter
Good stuff!!! I wish I could post it here... but alas... I can't.

Jim

FIREPROOF Teaser Trailer

This is the trailer for the new movie from the folks who put together "Facing the Giants." It looks like it will be cool.

Jim

Check it out HERE.

Group's Simply Junior High Newsletter... awesome!!!


I picked up a free copy of this newsletter this past weekend at Believe. I had actually signed up to receive it via mail when I was the NYMC in Cincinnati a couple of weekends ago.

But then I sat down to read it yesterday and I have to say that it was incredible!!! I read it cover to cover in one sitting (which isn't saying much... it's only 8 pages... but 8 totally packed with great information pages).

If you work at all with middle school (or as those boys like to call them... junior high) students, this should be a must for you. It's a little pricey ($39.99), but hopefully the price will come down if enough of us subscribe. But it's worth the money for the ideas.

HERE's where you can get a hold of some copies for you and your team. Enjoy!!

[The author was NOT compensated for his endorsement... but he would like to be... ;-)]

Jim

His Ways... Day 3... Harold Sechrest

Today's devotion is from one of our elders... Harold Sechrest... on Galatians 5:22-26.

"22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other."

Harold does a great job of sharing that these verses seem to sum up all of the many words of the Bible.

We are currently asking our middle and high school students to memorize these words. They are currently studying through the book of Galatians and these words for Paul are the bottom line for this book. In a couple of weeks, we'll see how many of them have them memorized.

But the funny thing about fruit... it takes time to grow. You don't just plop a seed in the ground on Wednesday (today) and go out tomorrow and expect to see an apple (or orange or banana or whatever fruit you want... the type of fruit is unimportant in this case... just the illustration). It takes time for the plant to grow to maturity and then begin to produce fruit that you can see and eat. And too many times in our "instant... now/now/now" society, I think we we get frustrated when the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, etc) isn't available in high speed, wireless and available through the drive-thru with my Skinny Vanilla Latte from Starbucks.

Rather, it is slow. It's in God's timing. And many times, God's timing isn't Jim's timing. So I have to wait. But that can be tough. But like my dad said... and I'm sure many of your dads and moms said... "Good things come to those who wait." And the Fruit of the Spirit are an example of that.

Jim

Fireproof... YouTube not posting again...

Hey all...

YouTube is acting up again for me. Every once in a while, it goes through a time when it won't post any videos. I don't know what the problem is... and then all of sudden, they all arrive.

There is a trailer out for the new movie "Fireproof." It's by the same people who made "Facing the Giants." It looks pretty cool. Hopefully YouTube will get it's act straightened out.

Click HERE to check it out.

Jim

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

A Few Believe pics...


Here are a few pictures from the Believe weekend...

I didn't take too many. I forgot to grab my camera both days and only had my phone to take pictures with. My phone doesn't do a bad job... in fact, the pictures that it does take are pretty good. The only problem is that it doesn't have a zoom lens of any kind, so they are really far away. But here's what I've got...

This picture was of the main stage from our Friday night seats...





Laura and Shelby enjoyed the first night... They were all smiles...












Our seats on Saturday were off to one side. They were actually better seats than the first night for a couple of reasons... First, we were closer. Second, the seats were more comfortable to sit in.











There were about 3000 middle school students there over the weekend. When they turned the "crowd lights" on, it was a pretty incredible sight.







It was indeed an incredible weekend. I can't wait until Summer Conference in June and then Believe next year will be in April!!!

Jim


His Ways... Day 2... Ruth Anne Boone

Today's devotion by an elder's wife... Ruth Anne... begins with a Scripture from Matthew 9:12...

"On hearing this, Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick."

When I first read the Scripture today, I found myself instantly thinking of my life recently. As I posted yesterday, I recently visited my doctor. This doctor has been my doctor for over a year now and this was the first time that I had visited him. In sharing my recent visit, several people have asked why I waited so long. My response was simple: "I wasn't sick... Healthy people don't go to the doctor unless your doctor specifically asks you to come."

I am thankful that God looked down and recognized that even though we may think we're "okay" and "healthy," we really aren't. And he sent His Son... the "doctor"... who could help us and fix us in a way that we couldn't do ourselves.

Ruth Anne today talked about all the imperfections in our lives and how great it would be if we could have some of those peaceful and quiet moments of meditation and I must admit, it would be great to have those times. But I'm just like the rest of you... my schedule is way too full and I have way too little margin in my life. But I am grateful to have a God who loves me in spite of my mistakes and who made a way for me to be "healthy" before I ever knew that I was sick.

Jim

Monday, March 10, 2008

His Ways... Day 1... Daryl Johnson

Today's first devotion is from a former elder Daryl Johnson and focused around Hebrews 8:12...

"For I will forgive their wickedness
and will remember their sins no more."

This devotion centered around the idea of washing out the stains in our lives and trying to do it by ourselves. Daryl talked about a time in the Navy when he was picked for a duty based on some stains in his uniform.

As I was reading it, it made me think about a recent trip to the laser tag arena nearby. We took a bunch of high schoolers who were doing the 30 hour famine together. As we were standing there waiting to go in, the place is totally covered in "black light." And if you've ever been around black light, you know that you can see where the laundry detergent was when it was on your clothes in the washer. In regular light, you can't see it, but in black light, it's very plain.

That got me thinking about what Daryl was saying. He asked a couple of questions in making the application.
1. Has God washed stains in your life white as snow?
2. What stains are you currently trying to wash out by yourself? What is keeping you from giving them to God? Pray that he will wash you today.

In regular light, you can't see those invisible stains on your clothes. But they are still there. Just as looking at me as a person, you can't see the sin that's there in my life. But God can see it. And it's a stain that only he can wash away. And boy am I glad that he has??!!!

Thanks Daryl for the thoughts today.
Jim

His Ways... FVCC Devotion Leading to Easter

FVCC is beginning a 14 day devotion leading up to Easter. It's called "His Ways."

Part of the thinking behind this was building on the success of the 40 days of Community campaign back in the fall and how great it was that the whole church was doing devotions together on the same day and on the same topic. So we thought we'd try it again.

One of our staff members, Michelle Diamond, organized some people in the church to write a devotion. She collected 14 of them and put them in a little booklet that was handed out this past weekend following the services. One of the great things about this effort is that she is the only staff member who wrote a devotion... and only one of our current elders wrote a devotion...

Instead, this devotion was written almost entirely by people and families in our church family. It wasn't dependent on the staff or on the leaders... but instead on the people of FVCC.

I had planned to blog about it previous to today... as today is the first day... but being gone over the weekend with Believe, I forgot to pick up my copy of the devotion before I left. So I thought I would put a little preliminary post and then post about the first day. Since I'm the ONLY staff member who runs an active blog and I do have a considerable amount of traffic of FVCC folks, I thought I would post my thoughts about the devotion for the day.

So... without further adieu... on to the first day.

Jim

Congratulations... I'm "normal"!!!

So...

I visited my doctor a week or so ago. This was the first time that I have visited this particular doctor. So as part of my visit, he asked me to get some bloodwork done. He wanted to see how I was doing and if there was anything wrong in my body that I wasn't aware of. I told him that would be fine but secretly (I guess until I hit "post") I was worried that there was something "wrong" with me that I wasn't aware of... but don't most of us worry that most of the time???

Today, I got an envelope from my doctor. When I opened it, it was a letter from my doctor and the rundown of my test results. At the bottom of the results written by hand were these words: "You are normal... everything looks good."

So... to all of you out there who think that I am weird or that something is wrong with me (see HERE, HERE and HERE), we now have irrefutable proof that there is nothing wrong with me. I am normal!

Jim

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Believe was great!!!

I got back from CIY Believe this afternoon. Jackie and I returned the vans and then we both absolutely crashed on the couch and took a nap. We were both absolutely exhausted. In fact, right now, I am still currently exhausted. But we had an incredible trip!!!

Here a few highlights from the trip in my opinion:
  • 18 incredible students who made the trip...
  • 3 awesome adults... two of which had never been on a trip with me... but gave up their weekends to help our middle schoolers have a great time...
  • several times of having conversations with students... maybe not memorable conversations... but "available" conversations...
  • several memorable conversations that I will follow up on this week.
  • hearing Kurt Johnston speak... Kurt always serves up the good stuff and keeps me wanting more...
  • the worship was incredible... especially the painter... more on him later...
  • we got through the entire weekend without having any major hotel issues... I always get a bit concerned putting students up overnight in a hotel. when we don't have a choice, it's one thing (like if we broke down), but with this kind of event, I'm always a little bit concerned that someone will sneak out or someone will break something or whatever...
  • no major road problems... broken down vans, flat tires, etc, etc...
  • great times of relationship building that will be remembered for years to come.
One of the best things about an event like this... and it happened several times this weekend... is the next year hearing students saying "Remember when..." this happened... or "Remember what ..." that guy did. That's one of the best parts of doing a trip like this where go do a similiar type thing every year.

I find myself already looking forward to next year... but especially to Summer Conference with our high schoolers in late June. More on that later.

Jim