Thursday, January 31, 2008


In early December I did something I've never done before: I sent in a submission to a public writing contest. The Writer's Digest Short, Short Story Contest requires you to write your best fiction in 1,500 words or less, and there's a lot of good competition. The magazine is an informative, understanding magazine that helps and inspires authors and wanna-be authors.

But, alas...the deadline (to find out if I'm a winner) looms. Feb. 11th is coming up and I've not received any promising mail yet (and hopefully my beautiful wife didn't throw it out thinking it was junk mail!)

First through third place are to receive cash prizes, while fourth through tenth receive Writer's Digest gift certificates. Down through 25th place will ALL get their articles published in the June 2008 issue! Are you telling me I'm not even good enough to get 25th place??! You think I'm a loser?


I'm a writer who's just gone through his first rejection. I'm told it happens quite a lot.
But you know what? I now have a pretty cool short, short story that I never had before! I actually wrote something instead of fearing that I had no ability! I refused to let that fear disable me.

What is fear disabling YOU from doing? Don't let that little voice call you a "loser" any more! It's better to DO something while trembling nervously than to be paralyzed with fear. Add discipline to your growing confidence and you will be well on your way toward a breakthrough!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

My Next 30 Hour Fast

Dear Loved Ones,
This is just Franklin! I hope your year is going well and that you are following through on those New Year’s resolutions!
Next month (on Feb. 22-23) I will be fasting (NO food for Franklin!) to raise money for children who are dying of starvation.
Did you know that 29,000 people per day STILL die of hunger and hunger-related diseases?
When I think of our technology and how far we have come in the last 100 years, that boggles my mind! When I look at my home, my car and other ways I am blessed, I struggle to think that there are hundreds of thousands that do NOT have those blessings.

Would you help me provide food for kids who are still starving?

As I said, I will be fasting for 30 hours. This number is significant because $30 will feed, clothe, and provide medical care for a child for an entire month. Any amount will help, but please consider sponsoring (by your financial support) one or two children (or more) for several months!

If you can help, please make a check out to “World Vision” and send it to me at my home address by February 20th (just reply to this message for the address or call me!)

Then, from Feb. 23-24 I will go without food from Friday after lunch until 6:00 PM on Saturday. By the way, I am doing this with our teenagers from church as well (a lock-in with teenagers on TOP of starving myself? What am I thinking?)

Feel free to e-mail or call if you have questions. I love you all! Feel free to share this opportunity with others who might be looking for a charitable event to support.

By the way, if any teenager raises more than I do, I have promised to run a 5K race later this year, so PLEASE HELP ME!! :)

Standing Up for Starving Kids,

Franklin Wood

Friday, January 25, 2008

Random Thought

Wealth breeds greed; poverty breeds need.

This is another one of those thoughts that has been jumping around in my brain.

The statement hits me on two levels:
First of all, in the physical world. I'm already blessed, but still seem to notice things I DON'T have! Those who are in poverty are in great need. Oh, sure they can be greedy, too, but for the most part are just happy to have enough to get by.

Spiritually, this phrase rings true as well. I think our wealthy culture is becoming "turned off" of God because we don't need Him any more...we have everything we need! In December, I attended a church in downtown Omaha for the homeless and near-homeless. Guess what their worship was like!! Those who do not have things seem to appreciate their need for God to meet their needs. They NEED God more than those who have the ability to meet their own needs.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Sharing Tag

I was tagged by Carrie.

The Rules: Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.
Share 5 random and/or weird facts about yourself on your blog, OR
Share the 5 top places on your “want to see or want to see again” list, OR
Share 5 things you never pictured being in your future when your were 25 years old.

Tag a minimum of 5, maximum of 10 random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.The tagees have a choice of which they want to do.

I'm doing "Five Top Places I've Seen or Want To See Again."
1. Hawaii - I've been to Waikiki beach before, but I would love to go again. It's one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen.
2. Brazil - Oh, how I long to sip a Guarana once again while hanging out with some of the friendliest people on earth!
3. Germany - Never been, would love to go.
4. Italy - I would like to travel the waterways, see the beaches, walk through the narrow streets, and see some ancient sites as well as old church buildings.
5. Holy Lands - If it ever got somewhat "safe" to go, and I had the money, I would go. And I would love to be able to take my parents...if I ever had the money!

OK, I'm tagging Jim, Mom, Shane, and Jeremy.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Fight

He sighs audibly and takes the first step down to "the dungeon." When they fight, his reaction is to go to his room, his big screen TV, his lair, his space where he can escape.
"Where are YOU going?" she asks without even glancing his way.
"Why do you care? It's obvious you don't want me around right now. Just go back to watching your show..."
She's been in a bad mood all day. He has misread her signals all day... her desire for his attention and some kind words. He moved a little too slow in getting some chores done.
She knows that her mood hasn't been the best. She acknowledges that she's been somewhat snippy. But she doesn't want him to leave!
"So, you would rather watch TV by yourself than be with me?"
His answer is meant to hurt, to try to correct her behavior: "Right now? Yes."

How many households have this conversation (or something similar) every night across our country? How many times have YOU been tempted to fight this way?
I cannot help but think that after the man has had the last word, Jesus hangs his head in disappointment and thinks, "Don't treat her like that. I ALWAYS want to be with you...even when you're being a jerk."
I wish I thought more like Jesus when I had a fight. I wish that my concern would stay for the other person instead of dramatically shifting to ME, and the damage done to ME. I wish I would remember that the other person still craves LOVE and ATTENTION, even if they are angry with me.
Jesus, help me to fight like You.

Monday, January 14, 2008

My Weight in 2008

OK, so around this time last year, I blogged about losing weight. And, it is still on my mind as I begin this year.
The Bad News - I gained back 10 pounds over the holidays, bringing my weight back up to (gulp!) 235 pounds.
The Good News - Last year, I started the year at 245 pounds, so I'm still 10 pounds lighter than last year! (And my heart and lungs are in MUCH better shape!)

Yes, the sweet temptations of the holidays were too much for me to bear. But, I AM proud of the fact that I did not gain back ALL of the weight. If I repeat last year and lose 20 pounds, and gain 10 back during holidays, then in 4 years I'll be 50 pounds lighter than I was last year!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

NCYM: Part Two

January 5, 2008

In the background of jaw-dropping worship, I lose myself. This is one of the reasons I LOVE coming to NCYM every year!

Today was an interesting day. This evening, we decided to have an adventure, so we rode on the MARTA (Metropolitan Atlanta Rail Transit Authority.)

Atlanta is just a different place than what we are used to. Omaha is VERY tame compared to what we saw…

Graffiti was plastered over so many buildings. But there was some graffiti that was beautiful; you could tell that it had once been an unkind message, but someone took the time to paint over it and make it look nice.

We passed a scraggly looking older man when we got off the train. He asked us for money. We all walked as fast as we could in the other direction.

As we hustled away, I told the other youth ministers I was with, “You know what? We should have at least stopped to talk to that guy. You never know…he could have been an angel that we were supposed to help!”

Adam said, “Alright, if another opportunity comes up, we stop.”

Not 20 minutes later, we arrived to eat at The Varsity, one of Atlanta’s best known restaurants (the slaw dogs are AWESOME, by the way!) The other guys went inside, while I waited near the exit for Tracy, who was in the restroom.

I noticed a man outside, dressed in several layers to stay warm. His bag had all sorts of flags and cloth hanging from it. He wore a beard and gloves to keep his exposed flesh warm.

He sauntered over, but looked afraid of someone inside the restaurant, possibly the owner. Instead of entering, he stopped at a trash can just outside the front door and started picking through the refuse, looking for some leftover scraps.

My eyes burned with tears and anger flooded inside of me that this sort of thing could happen. My first instinct was to bring him inside and buy him a meal, but I didn’t want to create a scene, or get the owner angry with me.

By this time, Tracy was done and we joined the others at the counter. I said, “We need to buy this guy some food. He’s hungry!”

But I went back to check on him a few minutes later, and he was long gone…probably chased off. All I could do was pray for him.

After our meal, we were walking back toward the train when another man stepped out in front of us and asked for money. God was giving us another chance!

“What’s your name?” I asked while others were digging out some money.

“My name is Rick, man. Please help me.”

“Sure thing, Rick. What do you need?”

“I just need some food right now.”

We stuffed the money into his hands, and I put my hand on his shoulder.

“Can we pray for you, Rick? What do you need us to pray about?”

His eyes lowered to the money in his hand as he answered, “Well, right now I need to pray that I get off the streets. Also, you can pray for my leg. A car hit me a while back and it’s all banged up.”

He rolled up his pants to show us his scars. His right leg was swollen bigger than his left.

We prayed with him. He never said, “Thank you.” But that’s OK. He smelled like alcohol. But that’s OK.

We hope he didn’t use the money for anything other than food, but I’m sure God will watch over all that.

I just pray that Rick saw and felt a little bit of God’s love today.

And I pray that those occurrences will be normal for me instead of “every once in a while.” I think our churches would have more God stories to tell if this was the norm instead of the anomaly.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

NCYM: Part One

My apologies to those of you who have been waiting SO patiently for my next blog!! The next two were actually written during NCYM, but I will post them now. Enjoy!

January 3, 2008

NCYM 2008 has been fantastically uplifting so far. Last night carried the challenge to be thankful in ministry instead of dwelling on the negatives. Buddy Bell said that the Bible talks to much about thankfulness that it MUST hurt God when we fail to be thankful in our lives.

Shane Claiborne (whose book “Irresistible Revolution” I finished reading a week ago) had a fantastic lesson about “what if we really took Jesus’ words seriously?” He talked about getting down and dirty with the people that are rejected by society and showing a new kind of love to the world.

Probably the funniest moment so far was earlier when Jeff Walling asked for volunteers from each Christian college represented. He wanted them to text a message (which was a Bible verse) to his cell phone and see who could do it the fastest.

Our friend Tom Dahlman went to Freed-Hardeman, so when Jeff asked if he had left out any college, we yelled out, “Freed!”

Now, for those who don’t know, Freed is a pretty conservative college.

So, Tom went up and they were given a verse (from the New International Version) to text. When Jeff asked what was taking them all so long, Tom replied with a dead-serious look on his face, “It’s because I’m texting the verse in the King James Version!!”

The whole crowd erupted in laughter.

Later, I told my buddy, “Hey, Tom, do you realize that you now have Jeff Walling’s cell phone number?” (He LOVES listening to Jeff Walling speak, so he was thrilled!)

Wednesday, January 02, 2008


Tomorrow morning, Tracy and I will head off to the National Conference on Youth Ministries. This year, it's in Atlanta, Georgia... a place I've never visited!

NCYM is always refreshing to me. Sometimes it's the classes. We learn about teens and what makes them tick, current trends, counseling skills, and we get practical ideas on the "how-to's" of youth ministry.

Sometimes (like last year) it is the periods of worship that are refreshing to me. Chris Seidman has the ability to make you see something in scripture (which you have read thousands of times) that you never saw before. The singing is always fantastic, and it's so liberating to worship with other free-spirited folks.

Sometimes it's the networking. There have been a few of these things where I've met SO many youth ministers that I did not know! Sadly, there are also times when I meet people, only to miss them a year or two later because they got out of youth ministry. But it is always good to meet the new guys, young and idealistic, and still able to relate to the kids (since they are only a few years older than their youth groups!) And it's good to meet other old pros that are out there as well.

But the family aspect is ALWAYS refreshing for me. These guys and gals KNOW youth ministry! They know about the joys and the difficulties; the moments of clarity as well as the times of questioning; the successes as well as personal failures. They know what it means to doubt yourself, and also how to defend yourself. They know how it feels when they support so many families and kids, but sometimes don't feel supported. They give high-fives and smile when you talk about the baptisms and spiritual growth of your teens, but they can also throw an arm around you when you discuss the suicide attempts, runaways, rebellious, smart alecs, difficult parents, apathy, and other things that sometimes pop up.

I go to NCYM for all these things, but I also pray that God uses me for someone else while I'm there. God filled my life with support during some difficult years. Now I am in a good place (not perfect, but good!) and maybe I can be an encouragement for someone who has been walking through dark places this past year.