Thursday, August 28, 2008

Out of the Habit

I slide in front of the keyboard and run my fingers along it's unfamiliar edges. It's been way too long...
My mind draws a blank. Words dash away into the darkness before I can grab them and make them into a complete thought. New material? First of all, I can't even conjure up an idea for a good story or blog entry. And even if I could, who would want to read it?
What about experiences? Maybe something from a long time ago, or even from this afternoon! But, no, my mind brings up nothing. Or, if it does, the little voice inside me warns that nobody will be interested in my old boring stories.
This is why PRACTICE is SO important to writing! The more you write, the more words you will use. The more words you use, the less you will forget them when you try to write! Practicing helps keep your mind open to ideas, and it quiets that ugly voice that tells you how terrible your writing is. Practice keeps you sharp. I need to practice more. I know! I'm going to do better at blogging!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Angels On Wheels, Part 3

Last Friday, around 6:15 PM, I huddled up with 5 adults and 10 teenagers. We were about to head out to do a service project with some old friends...

"Alright, guys, we're about to head downtown and do some street ministry with the Angels On Wheels. Before we leave, I want you to know that they might worship differently than we do and teach some different things than us, but we are not going to fight about those differences. Our purpose tonight is to work alongside other people who believe in Jesus, and help out those who are less fortunate."

When we met, everyone introduced themselves. Probably 5 different churches were represented that night. A brief period of worship ensued. Guitars came out, we sang songs like "Indescribable" and "I Am A Friend of God" and "I Am Free." We may not have swayed as much as they did, or clapped and jumped for joy, but our hearts connected because we were worshipping the same glorious God.

We divided into teams:
The first team went to 11th and Farnam, which is directly across the street from the Old Market. It was odd seeing the homeless folks RIGHT next to the very rich.
One of the Angels, Gayle, asked Dillon (a red-haired teen from my group) to go with her. They approached some very large and very gangsterly-dressed men, and proceeded to talk with them about Jesus.
Dillon claims that he was pretty scared at first until one of the guys said, "Alright, well I gotta go. I'm supposed to play Halo with some other guys..."
"You play Halo?" Dillon lit up.
Before you knew it, they had exchanged screen names, and prayed with each other, and Dillon was playing Halo for Jesus the other night...

Meanwhile, at the other location (24th and Leavenworth) the teens were scared out of their minds as they stood adjacent to a Liquor Store and a Go-Go Place.
Several stories came from there, but I'll tell just one...
Sharon Thomsen (Sam's mom) was helping set up a table with donuts, cookies, water and lemonade. A man stood watching for a bit and walked up to her.
"You giving away condoms?" he asked.
Surprised, Sharon gave the best answer possible, "Uhhh, no. Just giving away the gospel tonight!"
(She later found out there IS a group who goes down there to give out condoms.)

It's always a blessing to serve with Angels On Wheels. I wish more Christ-followers would gather together for a common purpose.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Sam Thomsen Part 3

Yesterday, I went to visit Sam Thomsen's mother and sisters. Stories continue to pour in that something about his death has brought meaning and inspiration to others.
Larry and Sharon got to meet President Bush last week and speak to several scout families who lost their sons, or whose sons were at the camp and survived the vicious tornado. In their typical, soft-spoken yet bursting-with-faith way, they had been praying for opportunities to share their faith or comfort someone during this trip.
Sharon shared a great story with me. She told me that at one point, a woman approached her.
"Are you Larry and Sharon Thomsen?"
"I just wanted you to know something. Our son was at the camp, and really wanted to attend the Celebration of Life that your church held before the funeral. Afterwards, as we were walking to the car, he turned to me and said, 'Mom, I felt the Holy Spirit in that place...'"
"Oh," said Sharon, "well thank you for sharing that."
"No, no, you don't understand," smiled the other woman, "we're Lutheran. We don't normally talk about the Holy Spirit in that way! My son has really been thinking about spiritual things lately, and he was very impressed with that service."

Is that an inspirational story, or what? It's amazing that tragic death ignites God-questions in each of us. It washes away denominational differences, and makes us focus on relationships instead of rightness. Sometimes it squelches faith, but more often than not, faith is intensified. When we have no answers left and nowhere else to turn, we finally realize or remember that we are left with God as THE answer.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Help Not Wanted

Earlier this evening our church gathered to do service projects. Some of it was for us (cleaning around the building, etc.) and some was meant as outreach (writing notes to visitors, etc.)
One of the projects we came up with was to send 5 or 6 people down to Center Street (the very busy street that our church sides up to) put up signs and offer people free drinks of canned pop.

My youth intern headed up this project with several teens.

"Out of 50 cars, probably only 8 accepted free drinks," he laughed. "Then, this security car pulls up and a guard walks over to us.
'You're on someone else's property.'
'I know, we're with this church right behind us.'
'No, someone else owns this property. If you move about ten feet up, you're on city property.'

And so we laughed. We laughed that we "got in trouble" with a security guard for giving out free drinks. And we laughed that we live in a doubting, mistrusting, lawsuit-laden, snooty, stuck up society that won't even accept free drinks!!
But behind the laughter lies an even greater determination...a determination to somehow reach our neighbors and show them the love of Christ. Looks like it will take some time for them to trust us. I pray that God will open those doors in time.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008


This summer has had a lot of "firsts" for me.

First time to deal with death within our church's youth group.
First time having an intern. Ugh! Why did I sign up for THAT?! Just kidding, Brent!
First time where my wife's pregnancy is going pretty well. (Last time she was bedridden at this point! Go Tracy!)
First time to shoot under 100 in golf! (Unless you count those par 3 courses!)
First signs of the "terrible twos" in Fischer. Grrrrr...

But, I'll tell you what's NOT a first time experience...I'm TIRED at the end of this summer! Summers are the most INCREDIBLE times of youth ministry, filled with fun moments and times of extreme spiritual growth. The teens have free time to actually spend with their ole youth minister! Rock band, summer blockbusters, church camp, late nights where you stay up laughing...
But it's tiring as well. So, thanks for being patient with me during my little hiatus. I'll try to post a little more regularly in coming weeks.
Love you all.