Saturday, July 29, 2006

Back From NYC

I'm back from my first week of Nebraska Youth Camp (got ya, didn't I?!)
I'm always amazed about church camps. It doesn't matter about your impression of the camp, because there are always people who LOVE their camp!!!
The best thing about NYC (and any church camp) is the people. Following are some memorable moments/sayings from Senior Session at camp...
  • "Prayer is like brocolli ice-cream. Ice-cream tastes good, but brocolli is good for you in the long run. Prayer is great when you're doing it, but it's also good for you in the long run." (from a devo by Cory Adrian, a camper.)
  • "At camp I didn't really make many new friends for a couple of years because I thought my circle of friends was already too big. But then I realized that my circle of friends should NEVER be 'too big!'" (devo by Jared Leinen, co-director.)
  • "If we can't go to our brothers and sisters in Christ for mercy and help when we sin, then why would we need church?" (devo by John M.)
  • Campfire singing is sweet!
  • For those who tried to "get me" with Owa Tagu Siam...sorry, I already know that language!
  • I LOVE being a teacher and "seeing the lightbulbs go off."
  • I thoroughly enjoyed extra time to just sit back and read. I went throught Come To The Table while at camp. Very thought-provoking.
  • Wish we didn't have to go to camp to feel like we are close to God.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The Biggest Hypocrite

Lately, I have been feeling like the biggest hypocrite ever...

Last night, I gave the campfire devotional at Nebraska Youth Camp. This is nothing new for me...I have done tons of devotionals. I enjoy doing them! The subject was God and His power to produce change in our lives. As the devo ended, I challenged the kids to think about/talk about/pray about the things in their lives that they needed God's power to change.

Guess who still hasn't done that homework?! (ME!)

And, the sad thing is...this happens all the time! When I speak, I give a challenge...I want people's lives to be more holy! I wonder why I don't hear more stories of great things happening as people take up the challenge to live like Jesus! And then, looking at myself, I realize that I don't take the challenges seriously either! When others give devotionals or sermons, I listen and nod my head and say, "Amen!" but then do nothing the rest of the week to live out that challenge! (Sometimes I wonder if I am the only youth minister/minister that experiences this feeling?)

But, should I stop challenging God's people? Should I stop challenging myself? Should I stop listening to lessons until I'm ready to act upon them?

No...I will continue to listen and be challenged...and ask God to give me the courage to live more like Jesus. I will ask God to come in and change my own hypocritical heart.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

A Sense of Wonder

Our first trip to the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha brought out a real sense of wonder in my son's eyes. Looking at this picture brings a thrill because I can see he is soaking in new things, and enjoying every minute of it! If he could talk, I wonder if he would say something like this...

Psa 104:16 Our LORD, your trees always have water, and so do the cedars you planted in Lebanon.
Psa 104:17 Birds nest in those trees, and storks make their home in the fir trees.
Psa 104:18 Wild goats find a home in the tall mountains, and small animals can hide between the rocks.
Psa 104:19 You created the moon to tell us the seasons. The sun knows when to set,
Psa 104:20 and you made the darkness, so the animals in the forest could come out at night.
Psa 104:21 Lions roar as they hunt for the food you provide.
Psa 104:22 But when morning comes, they return to their dens,
Psa 104:23 then we go out to work until the end of day.
Psa 104:24 Our LORD, by your wisdom you made so many things; the whole earth is covered with your living creatures.
Psa 104:27 All of these depend on you to provide them with food,
Psa 104:28 and you feed each one with your own hand, until they are full.
Psa 104:30 You created all of them by your Spirit, and you give new life to the earth.
Psa 104:31 Our LORD, we pray that your glory will last forever and that you will be pleased with what you have done.
Psa 104:32 You look at the earth, and it trembles. You touch the mountains, and smoke goes up.
Psa 104:33 As long as I live, I will sing and praise you, the LORD God.
Psa 104:34 I hope my thoughts will please you, because you are the one who makes me glad.

I hope I will always have a sense of wonder about God. That is part of the coolness of being a youth minister....I get to work with people who see God in new ways! Just when God becomes "old hat" to me, someone else will invariably remind me of how awesome God really is!
When (and if) I turn 75, I hope I can still be thrilled by a monkey at a zoo, or amazed by a beautiful flower. God is awesome!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Dog Lover!

I think we have a dog lover on our hands! Although this pic was taken a couple of months ago, it is something that happens every day...
I take Fischer into the backyard and his eyes immediately scan for dogs in the two yards that back up to ours. He especially likes the little white fluffy dog that barks and runs to greet us at the fence.
Fischer will watch him for a few minutes and then tentatively stick a little finger out to touch him. The dog replies with a lick-attack on Fischer's finger which brings squeals of delight!
I've had some great dogs through the years...
  • Penny Puppy was our first as kids. A beatiful Beagle who loved to run!
  • Rocky was the most powerful Irish Setter I've ever known. He dragged my brother and I on the leash! We were never sure who was taking who for a walk!
  • Lucky (a Rhodesian Ridgeback) So named because he lived when several other of our dogs in Africa died before a year of age. Protected a friend of ours from a spitting cobra.
  • Mason, another first. Our first dog after Tracy and I got married. He was a pretty Cocker Spaniel with attitude! He was our first child before we had Fischer.

Hopefully, Fischer will follow in this tradition...learning to love our wonderful canine companions!

Feel free to share your dog stories!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Independence Day??

How "independent" are you?

We celebrated our "independence" yesterday, and it got me thinking, "Am I really independent? Do I WANT to be independent?"

Think about it, what kinds of things are you dependent on?
  • Internet?
  • Phones?
  • Transportation?
  • Money? A job?
  • A friend? Family member? A boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse?

Don't get me wrong, I love celebrating the Fourth of July!

But maybe it's time I get honest and celebrate "Dependence Day!" I NEED friends! I NEED family! I NEED relationships! And most of all, I NEED a relationship with God! Without Him, there is no "color" in joy. There is no hope or enjoyment of other blessings. If I don't have a relationship with Him, I have nothing!

I think I'm going to declare EVERY Sunday "Dependence Day!" What do you say...wanna do it with me?

I love this verse...
Lam 3:24 Deep in my heart I say, "The LORD is all I need; I can depend on him!" (CEV)