Saturday, February 23, 2008

Another 30 Hour Famine...

It is done.
The 30 Hour Famine has come to an end! I am sorry to inform you that I will have to keep you in suspense for a while about the challenge I issued to my youth group. I challenged them that if ONE of them could raise more than me, I would commit to run a 5K race. Well, one of our young ladies worked really hard, but is out of town so I haven't heard her final numbers yet. I've heard rumors, though, and let me just say...I think I'd better start training.

We met up with the Angels On Wheels on Friday night at the Sienna Francis house (a local shelter.) We served food, drink, and clothing to about 150 homeless men.
Most of the men in line looked the part...tattered clothing, beard, and rough, unsmiling face. But as I watched, something incredible happened...
Several of our teen girls were cooking and serving popcorn. They took one look at these downtrodden men, but treated them like they were kings. The popcorn was not the only thing emanating warmth that chilly evening. Smiles from the ladies ignited smiles on the faces of those haggard men. For a moment, just ONE moment, at least they felt like someone truly cared about them.

I secretly smiled as I made my way to one of the Angels' buses. Onboard, several men had surrounded a man named Russell who had just returned to the shelter.
Russell once had everything like you and I, but fell prey to the clutches of alcohol. He lost all those wonderful things that we take for granted: family, friends, and his job. He had been doing well, and even launched out on his own for four months until temptation struck once again. And once again, Russell fell.
We prayed that Russell would get up and face his roadblock once again. We put our hands on him, prayed and hugged him. We commissioned him to serve God even while in rehab and while sleeping at the shelter.

We learned about the 2nd Sudan civil war (1983-2005, though fighting continues today.) Our hearts broke when we learned about the 27,000 "Lost Boys" whose families were murdered or separated from them. They made their way to Ethiopia for three years in a refugee camp until that country could no longer support them. Making their way back through Sudan to a refugee camp in Kenya, they arrived with only 12,000.
A great documentary on this is "God Grew Tired Of Us," which I hope to review in another blog entry. But don't watch it if you're looking for a popcorn flick, it's not that kind of film.

For some reason, after fasting and sleeping on the gym floor with teenagers, I get very emotional at the end of our 30 Hour Famine. Probably a mixture of lack of food and lack of sleep, but I also like to think that it is the result of the Holy Spirit breaking the walls around my hardened heart.
Why don't I fast more often?
Maybe God would break my heart more.
Maybe He would make me see the good things that He is doing.
Maybe He would show me where He wants me.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

In the Mood for Benevolence

"Everyone feels benevolent if nothing happens to be annoying him at the moment." The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis.

I would also add that I feel benevolent when I'm not depressed or lonely. With Tracy and Fischer gone, I've not felt very benevolent lately. When they are gone, it's almost like a piece of my goodness goes with them. I can truly say they bring out the best in me.
Oh, to be more like Christ, pouring myself out for others even when I don't want to.
Even when I'm lonely.
Even when I'm annoyed.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Favorite Albums

Have you ever bought or listened to an album that you played the WHOLE way through, and LOVED EVERY song? You know, there's something about the music or the just seems like the musicians understand you!
Here are my top picks:
6. "Heaven Is In My Heart" by Acappella (I think it's the Praise and Worship)
5. "Short Term Memories" by Chris Rice
4. "Let Go" by Watershed Worship
3. "A Rush of Blood to the Head" by Coldplay (I wrote many words listening to this album during National Novel Writing Month!)
2. "Coming Up To Breathe" by Mercy Me
1. "Melt" by Rascal Flatts

What are your favorite albums that you can let play the whole way through?

Wednesday, February 06, 2008


I am currently sitting by a beautiful, calm swimming pool. Ten palm trees that surround the pool are gently swaying in the breeze. It is a very comfortable 68 degrees as I write this.
It is amazing that different parts of the world are so...different! Back home it's cold and snowy. In some parts of the world it's the rainy season.
Florida is gorgeous in February, no doubt about that! I have really enjoyed our trip, aside from Tracy getting sick and eventually heading to the emergency room after two days of 102 degree fever. (It was bronchitis, by the way.)
I'm feeling a little under the weather, but it might just be dehydration and allergies. I wonder how athletes can travel and play like they do in such varying climates.
Golf has been fun as well. I've played three rounds this week. 74, 111, and 107. Oh yeah, the 74 was shot on a par 60 course, so don't be too impressed! but, hey at least I've improved! I have one last shot on Friday.
Tomorrow we head to Magic Kingdom. I can't wait to see it through Fischer's eyes. I'm sure it will be new and fresh and wondrous and magical for him. I hope a little of that magic makes it through into my thick skull as well.
Sometimes we all need a little magic and wonder in our lives.