Friday, December 24, 2010

Goodbye, Angels

What did He say before He left heaven? Were there tears in his eyes?
"Goodbye, Michael. Goodbye, Gabriel. I won't be able to see you soon, but I know you'll be around."
One last look at his heavenly home. Brilliant colors danced before him. Sights that humans have never even dreamed. Sounds unimaginable floated all around him. To leave this place was to leave joy.
Turning, he saw the earth, the people, crying for a savior. Lost in their lives, many of them only lived to serve themselves. His sad eyes saw death there, but also hope.
Did he smile? Was there a fist pump as he embarked on this mission?
What was it like when He opened his eyes and found himself enclosed in human flesh? Did it feel odd to Him?

Thank you, Jesus, for leaving your heavenly home. You left a place where you were constantly praised, and came to earth, where a King immediately tried to have you killed. You left the support of scores of angels, and placed yourself in the hands of a mother and a father. You gave up a great throne for a feeding trough.
All this you did, not for you, but for us.
You understand us.
You know what it is to be human.
Thank you.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Ignite 2010

So, we changed our youth rally up this, service projects instead of football game or ice skating, and more of a faith-sharing training conference than a regular youth rally.
The teens, some of them unsure of the change, jumped on board and helped make it an amazing weekend!
The worship times brought us right into God's throne room (thanks Tim Hall!) and Kerry Cox challenged us to not be so focused on ourselves and rely on God's power to change lives.
The service projects were awesome! We received so many good comments...
We collected 431 lbs. of food from the neighborhood around our church (delivered to a local food pantry); we decorated cookies and took them to a local nursing home, a fire station (where they ASSURED us they would be eaten quickly!), and the teachers at Cody Elementary school.
Teens got to see the wonderful work happening at Open Door Mission and Hope Center. The teens helped out in both places with high commendations.
Overall, teens were encouraged to share their faith with their friends and try something dangerous for God. I think that is a success!

P.S. I have not forgotten about my "Why I Miss Jim" series. Here's why I missed Jim during our youth rally...he is my "pick up the youth rally speaker" person!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Why I'm GLAD Jim Is Gone

In case you didn't read my last post, our minister, Jim, is taking a 6 week sabbatical.
Today, one reason I'm GLAD Jim is gone...


Happy Sabbatical, big guy!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Why I Will Miss Jim

Our pulpit minister will be taking a much needed sabbatical for the next 40 days or so. It will really be odd around the office without him there. Therefore, in honor of his absence, I will be posting the reasons I miss him around the office, some serious, and some not!
Reason #1: I can't fake like I'm busy so that he will have to take the "weird" phone calls! ;)

Have a great time, Jim! Praying for God to refresh your spirit!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Birth and Brain Cells

They say that women lose significant brain cells when a child is born, which has spawned many jokes and given my wife an excuse when she "forgets something."
Men don't seem to obtain this particular problem...or do they?
This morning, after taking a shower, I realized that I had forgotten to bring my underwear in the bathroom with me. I asked my wife to check the bag I had brought with me to the hospital. She and her mother quickly discovered that I has forgotten to pack any underwear at all!
Within moments I found out that I also failed to pack socks and my pair of shorts were missing the button. (Luckily I had a belt to hold them together!)
Cursing myself, I reached down to grab my deodorant and instead sprayed under my arms with cologne!
I don't remember being this "out of it" when the other kids were born. I think men must lose their brain cells after the THIRD child is born!!!

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Finally, I am coming to the realization that you just can't do it yourself in youth ministry.
This was the first year I had two interns. Do I regret it? No way!
But I would be lying if I told you that I wasn't a little worried. Worried that the interns would slack off on the job? Worried that they would be insufficient?
NO! I was worried that they would SUCCEED!
And succeed they did.
I witnessed them in action. Their classes were fantastic. They were funnier than me. They were up on all the latest trends! And above all, I watched them have some deep spiritual conversations with teens...without me!
This disturbed me at first. It made me think that I was losing touch and declining in effectiveness. It really made me wrestle with my ego.
So what's my conclusion?
The teens ought to thank God that I'm not their only hope, their only contact, and their only adult friend! God knew what He was doing when he sent those interns our way!
Why should God only do His work through me? It makes WAY more sense to use a lot of people!
More interns, more contacts for lost and hurting teenagers, more godly people, more God...and less of me. Thank you for teaching me, Father!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Next Wood Baby...

My wife is due September 19th.
She went in for an ultrasound and doctor visit today. Our son is already like 6 and 1/2 pounds!!!
The doctor told my wife he thinks we will be spending some time in the NICU. Her blood sugars have been high (gestational diabetes) which means her body does not break down sugars very well, and so she has been sharing a high sugar blood concoction with our son. That must be why he is so huge!
Because of this, he will probably be born and then tank as far as blood sugars are concerned. Until his body straightens itself out. Doctor also says we will probably need to have him early. So instead of September 19th, it will probably be in between September 5th and 12th.

I've had enough of NICU. I hate it. Especially when I'm watching my own kids in there.
I told my wife we're done. I know she would love to have a baby girl. I would too!
I just don't know if my heart can take another tough pregnancy and possibly another baby in NICU.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Is That Your Final Answer?

Have you ever been asked a question, and later regretted your answer?

Perhaps you regretted it because you told the truth...but the truth hurt someone. Or maybe you regretted your answer because it highlighted a weakness in your life.

Take a moment to answer these two questions... (and DO NOT read further down until you have answered!!!!!)
1. What made you into the person you are today?
2. Who are/were your favorite teachers?

If you are anything like me, here is how you may have answered:
1. My parents, my family, my experiences, my travels, my friends, my wife and kids.
2. Mrs. Perkins, Mrs. Moonga, Mr. Mwanza, my dad, Stafford North, Jim Baird.

Those are not bad answers. However, could my answers be better?

I have been challenged recently to rethink my answers to a lot of questions.
In the Bible, Paul answered the first question by saying, "By the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace on me was not without effect..." (1 Corinthians 15:10.)
How come "the grace of God" was not in my answer? Seems like God's grace ought to be a changing, driving force in my life! My wish now is to answer more questions with God in mind. I hope He becomes more and more a part of my everyday answers! (Thank you, Jim, for sharing this insight!)

As far as the second question, this was one I asked in a recent class to the teens. Then I made the point that Jesus was referred to as "teacher," and that if the teens were anything like me, they probably would not list him in their top list of teachers. This, too, needs to change! I hope in the future I would say, "Jesus is one of my favorite teachers...I could listen to Him all day!"

My prayer is that you will find "God" appearing in more of your answers when people ask about your life.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The summer sun warmed our car as we waited at the car repair shop. We had turned in our van, and my wife had run inside to see if it was ready yet.
"Dad?" came the small voice from the back seat. It was my four year old. "You have to buckle my seat belt again!"
"WHAT? Why?"
I turned around to confirm what he had said. It was true. Now, this particular buckle was manufactured by an evil person, because I could not do it from my front seat. It would require me to climb out of my seat, open the door, lean over my other son, and buckle the seat belt. I would have to stand in the hot sun!
The anger rising inside me, I threw open the door, yellin...I mean, speaking very loudly, "FISCHER! WHY is it that one minute you can be SO sweet, and the next you are being SO NAUGHTY!!!!"

The next millisecond slowed to an eternity, my words ringing in my head: "WHY is it that one minute you can be SO sweet, and the next you are being SO NAUGHTY!"

I imagine God laughed during my moment of self-realization.

"Well," I thought, "he IS MY son! Here I am calm one moment, and yelling the next! I'm pretty sure God would love to say this to me...over and over again!"

Kinda reminds me of this passage in Romans 7:
15I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
21So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22For in my inner being I delight in God's law; 23but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. 24What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!
So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Freaking Out!!

I imagine the disciples of Jesus were really FREAKING OUT right about this time of the day (a couple thousand years ago.)
Mary had run to Peter and John (first thing earlier that morning) and, breathless, blurted to them that the tombstone had been rolled away. They had followed her and verified that, indeed, the stone had been removed and the body was not there.
Peter and John went home, but Mary SAW Jesus.
I imagine it was later in the day, perhaps around supper time, that the disciples were together...probably getting ready to eat a meal together. I imagine they were spooked, because they had been announcing the arrival of the Messiah, and now he was dead. I imagine they were extremely sad, because their friend, mentor, Lord, and traveling companion was gone. I imagine they were coming up with conspiracy theories as to who had stolen the body. I imagine they were afraid for their lives, as they had been the leaders of a new religious movement, but their movement was not stalled.

All that changed in a second.

ALL OF A SUDDEN, there He was calming their fears and their pain. "Peace be with you!"

I honestly can't imagine how I would have reacted. Cry? Laugh nervously? Faint? Hug Him? Refrain from hugging with uncertainty? Touched Him to make sure He was real?

But, that was a changing moment for those men. They changed the world starting at that moment. They all died for Jesus, so they must have believed that His resurrection was absolutely real.
And they had no concept that this would be the first of many celebrations about the resurrection!


Thursday, April 01, 2010

Lazarus' View on the Resurrection of Jesus

Well, I really can't say much about the resurrection of Jesus...but, I CAN tell you about my own resurrection experience!
I was dead...totally, completely, in-the-ground, dead for four days.

My sisters tell me that when my good friend Jesus heard, he came. He was a little late, but he still came. He talked to my sister about resurrection. Spooky stuff, right?

He told some folks to roll the stone away from my grave. They objected at first. "He'll stink by now!"

All I can say is this: The first voice I remember hearing was that of Jesus. He told me to come out of my grave. I had a burial cloth on my face, and linen wrapped around my body, so I just got up and followed the voice as best I could. Soon, friends were taking off my burial clothes and replacing them with the clothes of the living.

I will die again one day.

But this time, I'm not scared. I'm not scared because I KNOW the first voice I'll hear after I "fall asleep" is that of Jesus. And, like last time, he will tell me to get up and leave my grave.
He raised me from the dead, and later on, he raised himself.

One day, His will be the first voice YOU will hear, if you believe...

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Awesome Youth Group Parents

Recently, a parent came to my office to share some concerns. First of all, this person wasn't belligerent or rude. He brought some concerns before me, and let me just say, I could listen to his complaints/critiques ALL DAY! I respect people who can help you examine yourself without feeling belittled.
One of the things I was told is that we were doing TOO much in our youth ministry! As we spoke, I realized that I have a major problem. Our teens LOVE being together (a good thing), but I have a problem saying "No" when they want to hang out. I've been saying "Yes" to too many things over the past 4-5 months.
I always tell the teens they don't need me to hang out, but somehow I've been sucked back in. Probably because I love them so much!
But every once in a while, it's a TRUE BLESSING to have a parent tell you that you're doing too much, and that "It's OK to say NO!"

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Starfield Reign In Us

Another brilliant song by Starfield. Oh, how much better life would be if I let God reign in my life instead of me! Need to learn to let go of more things...let God handle it.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

I Will Go by Starfield

This song has now landed in my top 10, and now I know who Starfield is!
After attending a Dare2Share conference, where we were inspired to share our faith, this was the final song that was sung before we left to return to our homes, our schools...the world.
Listen to this song and see if you can say these lyrics to God (and mean them)...I DARE YOU!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Speak Your Mind

Let me start out by saying that I usually don't watch shows like The Bachelor. I tease my wife about watching this show where the people "dating" are in a hot tub 50% of their dates.
Last night's show had a sentiment that seems to be becoming fairly mainstream. I saw this thought echoed in a kid's show this morning: If you are thinking about something, you should speak your mind. Just say what's on your heart...say what you are thinking!
Is this really a character trait that should be at the top of our charts? If you think about it, there's a lot of potential for danger! If I were to say "everything that I was thinking," what are the implications of that? If I "spoke my mind" all the time, I may:
- damage long-term relationships.
- ruin someone's first impression.
- cause a fight.

If I spoke my mind, people might find out that I don't like them. Is that a good thing? Or should I keep my mouth shut and love them no matter what?
If I spoke my mind, people might find out that I'm jealous of them and their possessions. That would make for strained relationships, don't you think?
If I spoke my mind, there are many other thoughts, sinful thoughts, that would probably be better kept to myself.
Here's what the Bible says, "The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time." (Gen. 6:5)
Now, I realize that this was written when God destroyed the earth by flood. Do I think that EVERY inclination of EVERY person's heart is evil? No.
It just seems like there are sometimes when "speaking your mind" is NOT the best thing to do.
Oh sure, there are times when speaking your mind is necessary. There are times when people need to be confronted. There are times when fighting is needed. There are times to stand up and let your voice be heard.
But, "there is a time to be silent, and a time to speak." (Ecclesiastes 3:7)
If you're going to speak your mind, make sure it's for the right reasons. Make sure you're going to say something that will build people up in the long run, and not tear them down. Make sure your comments are critical for the right reason. Speak the truth, but speak the truth IN LOVE!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Lord, help me today to realize that you will be speaking to me through the events of the day, through people, through things, and through all creation.

Give me ears, eyes and heart to perceive you, however veiled your presence may be.

Give me insight to see through the exterior of things to the interior truth.

Give me your Spirit of discernment.

O Lord, you know how busy I must be this day.
If I forget you, do not forget me.

Jacob Astley (1579-1652)

*From "The Book of a Thousand Prayers" compiled by Angela Ashwin.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Theology of a 4 Year Old

Conversation with my 4 year old son the other night after a Bible story...

"Daddy, why can't I see God?"

"Uhhh. Well, maybe one day you WILL see God, buddy!"

"Yeah, but I can't fly to where God lives...I don't have wings."

"Don't worry, God will give you wings."


"Yeah, maybe He will make you like an angel and give you wings."

"NO! I don't wanna be an angel...I wanna be a Power Ranger!"

Well, at least he wants to be a good guy!