Baby King

Tis almost the season.  The anticipation has kind of been hard for me this year in particular.  It seems that with all the hustle and bustle of working in a church hasn't given me much time to really reflect on what a miracle this season brings forth.  As I think about this King that was foretold before time itself and with all the passages talking about this King.  Such as Isaiah 9:6 as is read every year:

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."

When I read this, I think of this all-powerful supreme being who is going to come and make everything right and all the wrong doers are going to be trumped by this King.  I was fully prepared to read about this King descending down from Heaven in all His splendor.  And then I find out that it was a baby...

Maybe this is sac-relig but I can totally picture Family Guy doing a spoof on the Christmas story.  Mainly because it is so unexpected!  But the greatest thing is, God works best outside of our expectations!  Here is this baby born of this 14 year old virgin girl and we all know how babies are.  They are kind of dependent upon their parents for everything.  I wonder what was going through Mary's mind when she was feeding God.  Like God probably could have fed His own Son if He wanted to.  However, that is the greatest part!

Though Jesus was utterly dependent upon Mary and Joseph, and being able to prevent all other people who threatened Jesus' life from taking it is truly the Christmas miracle!

So as we prepare for this Christmas season, all praise be to baby Jesus, the perfect King of the World!

It's a Love Story, Baby I said Yes!

Our Engagement: As told by Kristi....

I knew Adam was planning on visiting me over Thanksgiving break. He had not told me what time he was planning on arriving but I received a phone call from him around 6:30pm and he said
 “Come to the place where you go in-between classes”
and then he hung up. Slightly confused I went first to the Pearson Commons and then to the Campus Ministry Center (CMC) only to find Adam dressed in suit and tie. Out of his inside coat pocket he pulled out a small slip of white paper that said
“This is the beginning of a wonderful adventure to which our life together will begin. Your first clue will be found at a place with the sparkly sign and food with fun board games. Let us start this journey together as we reflect on how much we’ve been through”

 I knew that this clue led to the Chatterbox Pub (http://www.chatterboxpub.net/) in St. Paul. We got in the car and drove to the Chatterbox on Cleveland Ave. Once there we were seated and played a game of battleship while waiting for our food to arrive. Upon receiving our check the waiter handed another slip of paper and revealed a second clue!
“The next clue is located at a place in which the luck flows. It is here that you found out how much I truly love you as we rolled balls down the alley. I let you win J

 
     I knew that it was at a bowling alley and I didn’t figure it was at the one back home or in Hutchinson. Since I had only been to one bowling alley in the twin cities we quickly got in the car and drove to Flaherty's Bowl in Arden Hills. Upon arrival I had no idea where to go to look for a clue. After some guidance from Adam I found a clue tapped under a table near the gumball machine it read
 “It was this night in which I attempted to make your favorite meal and I failed. You will find the next clue at the properly made part of the meal”
I immediately flashed back to the night that Adam attempted to make me homemade fettuccini Alfredo. The Alfredo sauce was the part of the meal that Adam did not successfully accomplish but that night was amazing as I saw how much work he had put into this one meal. After recalling that night I knew that the clue would be somewhere near Alfredo sauce perhaps a grocery store of some sort. Adam had to give me a little more guidance for me to discover which grocery store and we got on the road and drove to Cub Foods located in the Midway. 

I found the proper isle where canned Alfredo sauce was and looked real hard. I could not find the clue. After some slight direction I spotted it tapped underneath the Alfredo sauce shelf. I was amazed that some Cub Foods worker had not spotted it and ripped the clue off to thrown in the garbage. In amazement I read the next clue…
“It was here in which I first spotted you and fell in love without knowing any better. As we sang songs, I could always pick out your voice in this room”
The choir room! Back to Concordia campus we drove and upon reaching the choir room doors the next clue was spotted
“It was in this place that we spent the evening dancing and having fun. You even go leid in this place!”
I thought of spring fling earlier that year and the Hawaiian Luau theme where I received a purple lei. It was held on campus in the Buenger Education Center (BEC). Sure enough after reaching the BEC was yet another clue!

“I spent a lot of time here that which you may not know. I would talk to God about our relationship and pray that He would always be the center of our relationship.”
Perhaps the chapel I thought. As we began to walk toward the chapel Adam stopped me and said “guess again”. I thought maybe at a church of some sort, but after informing me that this place was on campus I realized that it must be in the prayer chapel. 

I got to the prayer chapel and went inside. I looked around but could not find anything. I went over to the alter and sure enough, under the bible was the next clue...
“It is here we take our rest and you will finish the adventure in the morning. I hope that you can find some sleep. The clue for tomorrow is found at a place in which we had lunch one time. To give you a hint, cluck, cluck, cluck, we were late to our next class.”
I was confused! You can’t seriously expect me to wait to finish this adventure until the morning?! No, Adam was serious. I had anticipation for what was to come. I had an inkling but was not sure of what was coming. Miraculously I was far too excited for Adam’s visit that I was able to take my mind of the scavenger hunt by catching up with Adam and after talking into the early morning hours I dozed off into sleep.
The next morning I awoke at around 10:30am. I went out into the living room to find Adam already awake and awaiting my presence.
“Ready to go?” he asked
After getting dressed in “real clothing” we headed to the Midway Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC). We ordered lunch and ate at one of the high stool tables that Adam had specially picked out for us. After we finished our meal Adam asked me if I knew where the clue was at. I had no idea. He informed me that I would not have to move to find it. 

I looked around and felt under the table to which I found a ducted taped paper that read...
“The next clue is found near the place that we huddled to keep warm in the howling wind and rain. It was built recently, and we went on this day to witness something very special. The clue is located under the nearest bench”
I had no idea, quite honestly. The clue was very vague from my point of view. Adam gave me a hint that we went here to watch one of my sisters. I thought of Kayli and her marching band competitions but none that I could remember were in the rain.
“Baseball!” Adam exclaimed
I then realized the clue was at the new Twins Stadium and the “something special” that we witnessed was when my younger sister Kayli went to sing the National Anthem at the Twins game earlier in the spring.
Pictures from the day that the clue is referencing. 
 I found the next clue and it read
"This is both a park and a zoo and it is a place where I came to first rescue you"

I knew it was at Como Lake since that is where we had been times before. Upon arrival at Como Lake I had a pretty good idea of where to look since there was always one bench in particular that we had been to many times before and sure enough under the bench I saw the clue and it said:
“The next clue is found where we enjoyed a special picnic. Follow the trail to the shoreline and go right. You will find there what you are looking for.”
I was shaking with excitement. Is this going to be what I think it is?! We drove to a trail that Adam had previously taken me on a picnic. Walking through the snow I could hear my heart in my head pounding. After going down a steep embankment toward the partially frozen Mississippi River Adam stopped walking.

“This is it” he said
I looked around and saw nothing; after turning me slightly I saw it. There it was carved in the rock it read “Will you marry me?”
“You did that? You did that. You did that!” I exclaimed
Then Adam got down on one knee and said
“Here I am down on one knee to submit to you, and one knee up to support you, Kristi Kay Kuhl will you make me the happiest man alive and marry me?”
“Yes! Yes! Yes I will!”
It was perfect, the whole thing was perfect. The half frozen Mississippi River, the rock, the crisp cold earth beneath my feet, and then…it began to snow!! How absolutely perfect!




Salmon Slayer 2.0

Today was another day of fishing and I head out to the Rock dam and cast in and to my luck, I caught two! One smaller one, and one large one. Unfortunately, I was fishing catch and release...


This was the beauty that I caught.  :)  

I don't have much more to say about that, except that I have my season fishing license and my own pole so now I can go whenever I want within the season regulations.  


Competency vs. Reliance?

I was in a ministry meeting this morning and there was a Licensed Professional Counselor invited to talk about Counseling and Consultation Services for Northern Michigan University and the time was very eye-opening and shocking.

The one thing that rubbed me the wrong way is when the counselor stated that we as ministers need to help the students realize that they are competent to get through any problem. It was in the context of co-dependency on a certain person. The counselor made it sound like there is nothing that can help an individual more than being aware of their own strengths. And that goes against everything that I have ever learned as a child of God.

In my understanding, our competency is found in Christ alone. If it is found in anything else it has a self-glorification effect involved. "I know what I need more than God does" This is just the kind of behavior that Christ got upset about! I mean look at all of the pharisees who thought they knew everything and they were the only competent Jews. Christ told them what for!

In a respectful manner, I do see a valid point that the counselor was bringing up. There are people in the world who need to feel a sense of ownership of their own problems. However, it is my hope that people will attribute that ownership to the grace of God.

God has rescued us from every evil grasp and He gives us the power to defend ourselves through His Word. The competency is found by the Spirit and the Word of God. This competency is being competent in the only thing that matters. God has given us all things and to Him be the glory, for ever and ever.

Pastoral Conference

As some of you may know, I have spent the past couple days experiencing my very first pastoral conference. And I have a few comments that are not offensive but constructive.

The first of which is what a fantastic opportunity to reunite with all of the pastors in the district! To have fellowship with that many men is truly awe-inspiring. Made me even more sure of a call to seminary. When you have 200 men singing the doxology in various parts it is just incredible. And enjoying a social hour while meeting and catching up with pastors of the district is a great way for pastors to realize that they are not alone at their congregations.

Secondly, the worship is fantastic. I cannot imagine being a pastor full time and never really having a chance to relax and worship the Lord without worrying about organizing a service and making sure all the ducks are in a row for everyone else. So what a unique opportunity to gather under one church roof and praise the Lord in one form. And receive the sacrament together as brothers in Christ rather than the divisions of various congregations and different ways that pastors lead worship in their congregations.

Last and certainly not least, is the opportunity to hear from a speaker. Most often people get stuck in their own pattern of thinking of things and it is very nice to have another viewpoint able to share things in a way you never have thought them before.

Overall, I had a great experience with the North Wisconsin District Pastoral Conference. There are a lot of great men in the church and I had the wonderful privilege to have fellowship with them.

Don't Shoot the Messenger!

Looking at the choosing of the 12 disciples and Jesus ministry really makes me think. You would think that an all powerful God that created it all would be able to influence the entire world to believe just by proclamation! But God doesn't do that does he?

Jesus calls disciples to carry the message not because He can't carry it on His own. But because Jesus wants us to realize that it is more than just the message. It's about the messenger combined with the message.

Deciphering my call to be a Pastor is a difficult journey because I want God to simply place me where I can be the most effective fisher of men. Being a Pastor makes it difficult for me to be a fisher of men. Mainly because people expect it and are put off by it. But then I realize that just because I am a Pastor doesn't mean I should be put off by not being effective as a fisher of men, but rather remain trust in God and the Holy Spirit to use even me as a fisher of men.

I can simply provide the message of God's love and of Christ's suffering and death and resurrection, teach about the Bible and just leave it at that. But will that make you believe? The Word is already there, the Bible is already written and taught, it doesn't need to be retaught exactly as it is written. For this very reason, Christ called disciples who's lives will impact the message in others. The lives and stories of the disciples will work in conjunction with the Word of God to make them fishers of men.

Therefore, we cannot simply preach the Bible, but we need to use our lives and our stories to be a fisher of men. Therefore, you have the message to provide to everyone you build relationships with and you have the life that lines up directly with the life of another to be the perfect messenger with the perfect message.

So don't shoot the messenger! Because the message they may provide may be the very thing you need to hear.

New Diet

Today I waltzed into church with a gallon of water. Many made odd looks but none really questioned. Well, I'm sure you all would have questioned it if you saw me because I had my suit coat on and my backpack slung over one shoulder and this water jug. I was not a normal person this morning.

I didn't get the chance to explain except to one who I admire. A sir John Fegan. I explained to him that I was attempting to start a new diet. I am attempting to start a small portion diet. That is my creative name for it and I am sure it is already invented somewhere on the internet. But my goal is to eat 5-6 smaller portioned meals during the day while consuming at least 1 gallon if not 2 gallons of water per day.

This is in effort to cut some lbs and also maintain a healthy physique. There are heart issues in my family history as well as diabetes and I don't want to become susceptible to those things!


Nails Away!

Today I had the wonderful opportunity of helping a family in need of affordable housing with Habitat For Humanity. We got onsite at 8:30am and things were slow starting. Everyone there was sort of just waking up and disoriented. We worked on two houses, one had the entire outer shell done and the other had the foundation set with the floor trusses in place. We worked on the floor boards on the main level of the one house.

I got to use a nail gun! It was terrifying after the first shot, but then I got used to it and was breezing through the floorboards. We had a set of people laying glue down on the trusses and a set of people lining up the boards and two people nailing them in place. It was pretty intense!

Here are some pictures!



Salmon Slayer

The past several days have been jam packed with things that are both fun and rewarding and tiring at the same time. On Thursday, I went out fishing on Big Shag lake and caught about 17 bluegill fish :) Then on Friday (my day off), I woke up early and went out to fish for some salmon. I went without expecting to catch anything but then within the first 10 minutes I had a salmon on the line. Then after that one came in, another hit the hook and I had a second one within 20 minutes. The second one was bigger than the first and ended up being a female full of eggs :)

Here's a picture!




Lone Ranger

"It is not good for the man to be alone." Genesis 2:18

God knows our hearts better than we know ourselves. He created us to be in companionship. And after this verse in Genesis, God continues to create animals to find a suitable companion, but as they are presented before Adam to be named; none of them are like Adam. Adam is roaming around on two legs with all these animals on four. It is quite understandable when you think about it.

Therefore, God created another human, not in the same fashion as he made every other living creature, but directly from the rib of man and formed with dust and breathed into just. Like. Adam. Was.

When God presented the newest creation before Adam, it is recorded: "At Last!" Someone who is exactly like me! Adam was ecstatic! We can't even begin to imagine the feelings that Adam felt right at that moment. Because none of us have ever been the only man on earth stuck with all the animals.

After this, the author makes reference to marriage and how the man will leave his father's household to be united with his wife. This is very clear throughout scripture and is practiced by the Jewish community and has been until a man named Paul comes on stage as the lone ranger.

Paul writes, "...I wish everyone were single, just as I am. But God gives to some the gift of marriage, and to others the gift of singleness." I Corinthians 7:7

What does Paul mean here? We can see very clearly in Genesis that man is meant to be united with woman and yet Paul is telling those in Corinth that it is better to be single. This is one of the great paradoxes of the Bible. Should we be married or should we not be married?

Yes.

God knows that we were created for companionship with one another.

Paul is writing to the sexual immorality issues happening in Corinth.

Context is key. Later on, Paul says that it is better for man to unite a woman in marriage than to burn with lust.

There was no sin in the time of Genesis.

There was much sin in the time of Paul's letter to the Corinthians.

To wrap it all up, Paul was the greatest lone ranger in all of history and we can all live by his example in terms of Christianity and being a witness to the ends of the world.

Presence

In this day and age ministry is fluctuating a ton. There are things that often times keep us so busy in the world that we forget that we are not of the world. It is really hard to work in youth ministry now-a-days because youth are kept so busy with sports and other extra curricular activities that they can't even have dinner with their families.

Maybe there is a way to combine ministry with athletic training or drama practice? I'm not sure. I think it may be time for the Church to rethink programming and emphasize relationship building through presence. I'm starting to look at going to athletic events and drama performances and having open lunch with the high school students to build relationships and show them that there really is interest in what they are doing.

We don't need to take the high school students away from their activities, we need to take the presence of Christ to their activities.

I get depressed whenever there are two or three or four kids at events that I take time to plan. But maybe I'm expecting too much in just having the event available and rather I should go where they are.

Fish Galore!

So it was time that I got something to keep me company over the next year as I live in a three bedroom house all alone. So I decided to purchase an aquarium and several fish to go with it. I have 9 danios of differing varieties and each one has its own personality (chase the other fish!)

Here is a video that I took of them.

video

God as a Child

So in memory of Rooted, which is a college Bible study group that meets weekly, I am going to tell you the oh so obviously fictitious story of God as a child.

One day as the sun rose on God's creation called earth, God decided to play a little game. God would take one thing and place it in two places at once and show His creation: "Look what I can do!" and He spun the electrons of a quark in San Fransisco and while the other quark in New York spun its electrons the same way at the same time. This had God's creation whirling with excitement and awe!
Then God got bored and as He heard His mother calling Him for dinner, He left earth spinning awaiting the next big happening.
After God finished dinner (and yes, God eats His vegetables!), He came back to earth and began playing with His creation again. This time He created an exotic meson that appeared in New York for a trillionth of a trillionth of a second and then disappeared. God made sure that only the highest authority of His creation knew of the appearance, however, everyone heard about the mysterious appearance and grew very wary.
God's mother came up to Him after He released the meson and put Him into a time-out for teasing His creation.

The End.


This story is not meant to offend anybody and is merely a fictitious story. I believe in an all-powerful God of grace and mercy who would never be portrayed like this in reality.

Here's to you Amy! (if you in fact are reading this post)

Dear John...

So we had our very first Redeemer Campus Ministry Movie Night and guess who all came? Women... And guess what movie they all wanted to watch? Dear John. A movie based on the book by Nicholas Sparks. We got to talking after the movie and wondered what kind of guy Nicholas must be in real life... And we unanimously said "a jerk" It was pretty classic.

But anyway, this movie wasn't half bad. It really hit home for me because I am away from my loved one for two years, granted, she's not in the army, but still. I get to write her letters every day telling her everything.

I hope that someday I don't come back and find that Kristi has gotten engaged with another man. That is the only thing that I took away from that movie. The funny thing is, the man couldn't do anything about it! That's just like a woman I tell ya! (Just kidding, I am in love with a woman who could never leave me).

That's the end!

Geo-Caching FTW!

Last week, I started the wonderful art of Geo-Caching. Geo-Caching is a worldwide community of hide and seekers. People hide caches all around the world and tag them with GPS coordinates. Then anyone can use a GPS to try and find the caches and log that they found it.

There are hundreds in Marquette alone and my goal is to find them all before I leave in a year. I know that it is crazy, but I figure, if I find at least 5 a week; I will have found them all.

During one of the cache hunts, Samantha and I came across a buck. We were within 30 yards of it. I tried to take a picture of it, but my phone was not that good of quality... Here is the picture:



Here are some more pictures from some of the caches we found:





Goin' out to find some more caches!

Waves Are Rollin' In!

On Friday, there was a storm brewing over the town of Marquette, MI. And with this storm there came very strong winds and very little rains. Being on the shoreline of Lake Superior, the largest fresh water lake in the nation, strong winds = high waves and choppy waters.

There are two harbors in Marquette, and both of them have their own break wall. A large cement and rock wall that goes out a quarter mile into the harbor in order to block the waves to prevent damage to boats and shoreline. And needless to say, it actually works!

Here is a video clip that I caught:

video

This video was in the early afternoon when the waves were just starting to pick up. I couldn't get a video of the maximum height of the waves at 18 feet! It was too dark. :(

Fried Egg & Cheese

So today for lunch, I decided to go a little homemade. I fried up an egg, put some cheese on it, in an attempt at making an omelet. I have never made an omelet before so this was going to be experimental. It just so turns out, that I NEARLY had it! It was a dilapidated pile of egg and cheese that just so happened to fit perfectly in between two slices of bread. Not just any bread mind you, 12-grain wheat bread :)

I felt so good after eating this egg and cheese sandwich that I made from scratch that it gave me the satisfaction to make possibly the biggest decision I have made in quite a while. I, hereforth, solemnly swear to make meals at my house until I manage to shed 40 lbs. This home cooking will consist of balanced meals (including breakfast!), at least one meal a day will have something green in it. And I will watch my portions and eat only until I am no longer hungry and not stuff until I want to collapse on the couch.

This change of heart is not only to shed the unappealing weight, it is also in effort to remain healthy and take care of the body that God has given me. If what the Bible says about your body being a temple of the Holy Spirit, then there isn't much room for the Holy Spirit amidst all the crap that I put into my body.

Jumpin' Jiblets!

I know, Jiblets is spelled Giblets, but it didn't work with the title! I just thought that I would give an update as today was the first major event for the NMU college students. Yesterday I was kind of nervous, but God gave me confidence when students started showing up early!

Thus when it was said, plan the feast and they shall come. Was proven accurate for me. And my nerves were eased instantly. We even had two new students come! We prayed before we left and then went for a hike and ended at an island where we jumped off the rocks!



After a little while jumping, we started climbing around on the rocks which was fun in itself. Then all 12 of us crammed into a suburban, it was very interesting and I wish I had a picture of it, but I don't :(

Oh, and when we first got there, a dude who had been drinking came up to me and asked if we were a church group. It was an opportunity to share what we do and witness to Jesus' love and also to invite him to our Bible studies in the future!

Overall it was a very exciting day and I look forward for more to come!

Living Presence of Jesus

In the past few weeks, I have been swamped with work. Planning, organizing, implementing. I have had more meetings in one week than I have ever had in my lifetime. I cannot do this if this is what it is really all about. I cannot just walk through this experience without knowing what it is really all about.

Last night I had a very strong realization. It began yesterday morning when I started planning things to do for a campfire night with the college students. I had s'mores, but I HAD to fill the time with something more than s'mores. Because otherwise it would be a very awkward evening. My mindset was that you cannot do ministry without doing something more than being present. Boy were my eyes opened...

There is a movie that Rob Bell made called Everything is Spiritual, and towards the end of the movie he talks about the day of rest. And he talks about how the Israelites were enslaved in Egypt and they would work to make bricks. And their value as human was measured by how many bricks they made. He says that God rescued the Israelites out of that slavery to teach them about the day of rest. God wanted the Israelites to be human beings, not human doings. This is when it hit me...

Ministry is not about what you do, it is about how you be. Presence is everything. Rob also told a story about his little son. He would be playing legos with his son and his son would say "dad, dad, dad" over and over. And Rob thought that his son had a studder. But then it hit him too. He was there with his son playing but he wasn't really there... And his son had grown accustomed to saying "dad, dad, dad" because he knew that by the third time, his dad would finally be there.

There is good news, even though I do not understand that the greatest thing in any persons life is authentic presence, God gets it. When God told Moses to climb Mt Sinai, the word in Hebrew that is written is translated as "be." Basically, God was telling Moses to come up on top of the mountain, and when you get on top of the mountain, be on top of the mountain. God gets human nature.

As I am planning and organizing and implementing ministry events, I must realize that it is not about doing things, but its about being that living presence of Jesus.

My Toilet Leaks

Ha! Just kidding! I dunno what I would do if that were true! But this is a wonderful metaphor to my internship. I found out today that there are some things that end up slipping through the cracks if the nuts are screwed tight. I have a chronic case of - oh look! shiny!

The other day, I was in Wal-mart and I had a very short list of three items in my head. And as I was going towards the section that had one of the items, I veered off into the electronics section to take a look at what was new. This would have been just fine normally, but I was on a time crunch. I ended up getting two items because I couldn't remember the third until AFTER I walked out the front doors.

And today in the office, I totally forgot to include the Youth Ministry events in the article for the monthly church newsletter. I panicked until I spoke with Pastor Weber and he said that I should just write an article that says more information is coming because I realize that I hadn't even planned weekly events for September! Ahhhh!!

Youth Ministers are saints. I don't know if I would be able to handle this without the wonderful support of several people in my life. The supportive staff at Redeemer Lutheran Church, my mother, and my girlfriend have all helped me the past month to come up with children's messages and youth activities as well as names for youth nights. I appreciate you all!

S.M.A.R.T.

Welcome to quite possibly the most tidiest tasks some corporate big shot came up with: S.M.A.R.T. Objectives.

Specific
Measurable
Attainable
Realistic
Timely

Now don't get me wrong... It is a very useful thing to have when somebody else creates the objectives. But when you are forced to look at a full year of ministry and map out dates and objectives, it is a daunting and tidiest task that I'm sure most of the professional world does not perform.

After finishing the majority of my S.M.A.R.T. Objectives for my DCE Intern job description it came out to be 11 pages of goodness. I am certain that this document will prove useful later on in the year it was just very difficult to complete this early on in the internship especially with only three weeks until college starts up.

I feel like I will end up using the S.M.A.R.T. Objective document and adapting it to what works best with the way my mind processes information. In a list :)

In conclusion, lets remember to be S.M.A.R.T. about the things we do in life because there is no such thing as over-planning.

Fall Fest

On a day with clear skies and bright sunshine, universities across the nation begin their first day of classes. And what typically comes with the first day of classes? An opportunity for clubs and organizations to get their name out in some way or another. Northern Michigan University, which is the university that I do ministry for, has an annual Fall Fest. They open up the center knoll area on campus to student organizations and even some local businesses for the day. As students are walking to and fro going to class or going to lunch or just roaming around actually looking for student organizations to get involved with, I was there with my Redeemer Campus Ministry booth and cookies meeting people as they walked by.

It was an interesting experience to say the least. It was great to have a presence there on campus and that is essential, however, in the setting that it was it wasn't very effective. There were some things that I could have done to make it more effective, but there are also just places and times that you can't really reach in a relational manner. Soliciting at a festival where a hundred other people were soliciting their group is not helpful. However, it wasn't a complete loss. I did have the chance to meet some new folk and let them know about upcoming things and some of them did show relative interest. The best I can do is plant the seed and pray.

Yooper

It's official! After jumping off of the black rocks on Presque Isle into the vast and frigged Lake Superior, I am a participating Yooper. I was hoping for the officialism of being a native Yooper, but I guess only the people born and raised here get that title. There are so many great things about being UP here (haha, Upper Peninsula):

I get to enjoy the best of every climate. Cooler summers, warmer autumn and winter and no spring=no allergies! I can't believe I have never discovered such a place before! Yesterday, the 6th of August, the temperature was 65 degrees all day and that night, it got down to 56 degrees! This is my kind of summer :)

I am only five minutes away from national forest! In the summer and fall, this is a perfect opportunity to enjoy hikes and camping. Also, for being in the midwest, there is a big elevation difference here. There are also bike trails all over the place!

There is a ski mountain within city limits! I love downhill skiing, I just never got around to driving to the nearest hill. This winter, I will be downhill skiing more often than I ever have in a season before. :)

Anyway, enough about that stuff, the most important part is the great church that I have the opportunity to serve at this year. Ever since I arrived this past Saturday, I have felt a part of the family here. I don't know if it is the region or if its the church, but everyone, and I mean everyone, is very friendly and welcoming.

I can't wait to start meeting all the college kids and the high school and jr high youth this next month here. It was something that I was incredibly nervous about, but now it is something that I can't wait to happen.

There will be more to come later!

Man of God

Becoming a Man of God. This is bigger than anything else in a young boys life. This is something that I have not fully faced yet. There are certain temptations that a man has that is different than a woman. But men are expected to triumph over those temptations for the sake of their family.

It is very important that men take the lead spiritually with their family. This is a responsibility that I look forward to both in fear and in excitement. As a man, as a father, expectations are high spiritually. The bible talks about men being the "faith-bearers" of the world. That is the biggest and most terrifying responsibility for a father.

To think that I will be that "faith-bearer" to an up-and-coming child terrifies me. I am not ready for that. There is a song called "Lead Me" By Sanctus Real. Here are some of the lyrics:

Lead me with strong hands
Stand up when I can't
Don't leave me hungry for love
Chasing dreams, but what about us

Show me you're willing to fight
That I'm still the love of your life
I know we call this our home
But I still feel alone

I see their faces, look in their innocent eyes
They're just children from the outside
I'm working hard, I tell myself they'll be fine
They're independent
But on the inside, I can hear them saying

So Father, give me the strength
To be everything Im called to be
Oh, Father, show me the way
To lead them
Won't You lead me?

To lead them with strong hands
To stand up when they can't
Don't want to leave them hungry for love
Chasing dreams that I could give up

I'll show them I'm willing to fight
And give them the best of my life
So we can call this our home
Lead me, 'cause I can't do this alone

Sorry, that's basically the whole song, but I had to because it is such a great song. It is a song about a father and husband who is struggling to lead his family. In the end he talks about where the strength comes from. The symbolism in this song is beautiful. He starts out talking about his wife asking for leading, then his children who need leading as he is the father and husband. However, in the end, God is his father and he is asking Him for leading because he can't do it alone.

So as I ponder the future man of God that I will be, I will always remember that I am nothing more than a child and God is my Father. God will guide me and help me be the best father and husband I can ever be!

Amen.

Bike Ride

So last night turned out to be a very adventurous night. Brandon wanted to get my bike fixed up because I left it in the snow last season and the chain was all rusted up. We put a new chain on it and then decided to take it for a test ride. So Justin, Brandon and myself went down to the river and then biked along the river to University and then took the longest uphill climb I have ever done in my life and I haven't been in shape since freshmen year of college. It was really difficult and my lungs were screaming at me to stop, but I kept on pushing. By the time I got back to the house, I was ready to collapse.

This little experience gave me the most restful nights sleep I think that I have had in a long time. Not to make a cheesy parallel, but this bike ride was a lot like my faith the past couple days. The only difference is that once I got back "in shape," I wasn't ready to collapse, I was ready to run a marathon. I was ready to stand up for my beliefs. Against all odds. It makes me think that every once in a while it's okay to be a little "out of shape" with faith, because if you aren't, we can become to be nostalgic. We begin to make it routine and not at all extravagant like it is.

Tonight I was supposed to go on a leisurely bike ride with a friend, but sky is looking dark and rain is beginning to pour. Maybe we should go riding anyways, just like faith, we shouldn't throw down the towel when it gets dark and glim. Okay, I'm done with the cheesy parallels.

Off to another day, oh, and ironically the verse that God threw at my face this morning was Isaiah 40:31: "But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will sore on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, walk and not faint." Maybe the next time I get on my bike to go for a ride, God will give me the strength to not grow weary; however, I might still come up winded...

New Look - New Life

As some of my followers may have noticed, I recently made a change to the look and feel of my blog. This is in effort to rejuvenate and spice up something that was old and now will be new. :)

I have spent the last several weeks rather distant from God. I didn't go to church, I didn't read much of the Bible, I tried to find God without that. I tried to notice God in the everyday parts of my life. Little to my surprise, I failed at that. The truth is, I couldn't have found God if I wouldn't of had the mindset (or the heartset) to see Him. I am not saying that we as Christians have to make an effort to find God because God found us. But I am saying that we must have the appropriate mindset to receive God.

The reason I did not find God is that I was not open to Him. I didn't think that I needed Him because I already knew everything about what it means to be a Christian. Truth is, I was wrong. I will always be wrong. The odd thing is that while I was distant from God, I also became distant from my relationship with my girlfriend, Kristi. She is at camp this summer and I talk to her on the phone every once in a while and when I am apart from God, I can't help but be cynical about the relationship that I have with her.

This is the old Adam, the separation from God. The sinfulness that eats away at relationships in the world today. The new life the newness that is found in the power of the Holy Spirit through the sufferings death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is what I want to spend my time on. Yesterday I went to church for the first time in three weeks and actually got something out of it. I got home and immediately felt the longing desire to open my Bible. This desire that I have missed for so long...

I began to think back to the times that I would find myself drawn to scripture and the study of God's grace for me. For all of mankind. This grace is the opportunity for all of mankind to start a new life. God forgets all of our sins the moment we commit them and this gives us the merciful chance to start over. How can I keep from proclaiming this with my every word and deed? My sin lately has been more of what I have failed to do than what I have done.

I am in an amazing relationship with the love of my life and when I say this you may be thinking God, but I am talking about Kristi. It is very ironic that God is also the love of my life and I see Him through her. But lately I have been so ravished by her that I have forgotten how great God is for giving her to me in the first place!

I have been so excited and can't even help but talk about my relationship with Kristi, why can't I be equally and more excited to talk about my relationship with Christ? Isn't God so much more than one human? Then I realized that the relationship that I have with God is reflective of the relationship I have with Kristi.

This is a bit of a tangent, but here is the imagery that I am looking at:



Bear with me, it is a diagram made from paint. I am not much of an artist but let me explain this the best that I can. This diagram was shown to me as a demonstration of a Christ-centered relationship. What happens is God "shines" His love down through Christ and it splits into two fragments much like a prism. Both Kristi and I receive God's love through Christ and Kristi and I are mirrors in this demonstration. God's love reflects off of us onto one another. Then the love of God reflects back onto Himself as we give all glory back to Him.

This is an incredible tangent, but I can make the connection to a new life because I cannot on my own accord accomplish this idea of a Christ-centered relationship. Not in the place that I was in, the old Adam cannot do this. Therefore, I have started a habit of dying to my old self every day through the words of the Lord's Prayer and contemplative silence to begin my day. This is the first day of that and all of my cynical thoughts of the love that Kristi has for me and the horrible self-deprecating doubts of messing things up with the perfect relationship have disappeared. All that I am left with is the love that God has shown to me. I don't deserve it in the least but that doesn't mean that I should question it. I should cherish it with every action.

Book

Well, for the next couple days I will be without internet so what a better time to begin to write the book I have always wanted to write? I am not quite sure what the plot will be but I plan on it being an action/adventure type of book.

Be sure to look for my book on the shelves 10 years from now because I am not a very consistent writer!

Life on the Kuhl Farm - Day 4

Today I woke up at the crack of dawn, if not before, to say goodbye for now to my princess. She was headed up the road to Menaga, MN to do some staff training for summer camp. The next few days will be interesting without her here...

Woke up at 8:20am to King Burdell tapping awkwardly on my knee saying "king, its time to get up for church!" This startled me a little and then I rolled back to sleep. Then the princess' sister Kayli came to the door and stood there and hollered to get up and get dressed for church. This is when I woke up and got dressed for church. I threw on some black slacks and a bright red shirt and novelty tie with books of the bible on it that I got from the Kuhl family just the previous Christmas.

That was when I walked into the bathroom to tie the tie and saw my hair and gasped! I needed the new P.C. that King Burdell gave me for my birthday! I swept the P.C. through my hair until it laid nice and greasily flat. I didn't have near enough time to shower. I brushed my teeth and then walked downstairs to grab my Sunday shoes. (Yes, I own Sunday shoes...) We hopped in the pickup and away to church we went.

King Burdell and I had some small talk in the pickup on the way to church and then arrived and the talking came to a halt so they could try and find a place at the senior breakfast to put me as I am not a part of the Kuhl family...yet. Once I got settled into the chair I continued my usual silence while everyone talked about old times around me, I occasionally will insert my two cents here and there. Then Burdell will mention me and my connection with her daughter and my upcoming internship in Marquette, MI. Then I would feel welcomed into the conversation only for the moment until they continued talking farm talk. :)

Breakfast had a few speakers who spoke about the post high school adventures and safe decisions yadda-yadda-yadda. Most of the monologue was concluded with some sort of statement of encouragement in Christ and staying connected with God in college and life beyond. After breakfast we went up to the sanctuary.

We sat through the service and watched Mindy receive her senior quilt from the congregation as well as Mindy play viola as Jolene accompanied her. After the church service Burdell and I went out to Subway to have some quality man bonding time. We had some great conversation regarding his church and the general situation of the church of this century.

We got back to home base and immediately went to work on changing the oil in my car. This was some more fun man bonding time. I heard old time stories of old friends of Burdell's. While we were waiting for the oil to drain we began taking my passenger door apart. We did this because my window didn't stay shut due to a mechanism failure.

This was the most difficult part of the project. We got the door apart successfully and now we had to try and figure out how to block the window up so it stays shut. We toyed with several different ideas from a bolt to a 2x4, we ended up using a small lathe. We got it in successfully and now we had to figure out how it will stay secure. We were on a farm so we grabbed some wire. All there and secured, we began to put the door back together.

Once we cleaned up the shop, we slowly made our way over to the Morten shed to help the ladies with whatever setup needs to be done. Turns out they had quilts that needed hanging. This was a task. It would have been really easy if we all agreed on one way to get the job done. We had two 18 ft long 2x2 bars that we would place the quilts between and then we c-clamped them together. Easy right? Try again, this project alone took nearly two hours to complete. Once we got it c-clamped we got it hung up on pullies attached to the rafters of the shed.

Once this was done I was ready for a nap. I went inside only to find more work to be done. It was nearly 5pm and the Kuhls' were headed to a graduation party of a person I did not know so I just as well stayed at home base. I then hopped on the kabota lawn mower and finished up some lawn that Burdell had yet to do. This was good because it kept me busy.

I finished with that in about an hour and then I came inside and made some mac'n'cheese for dinner. I walked upstairs and ate food while watching House. After this, I got ready for bed and then a certain princess called me up. :)

This was the perfect end to a day of work. Stay tuned for the next update!

Life on the Kuhl Farm - Day 3

Today was an early morning for my princess, but she let me sleep in. Kristi was in the shed all morning listening to orders from the Queen. She ended up falling off of a 7' ladder that was sitting on a flatbed pickup truck. Don't worry, she was fine and the Queen didn't even flinch seeing her princess fall.

The shed is coming together, we got the trailer in with all the displays up, we got the main tables up, got the chairs all power washed and wiped and ready. We rode to the snowmobile club to get the rest of the chairs. Thankfully those were clean already.

I'm starting to realize the relationship between the king and queen and how to work with both. Hopefully I am making a good enough impression with the king because that's the important part.

The afternoon seemed to fly right by. Getting ready for a late night drive-in movie in Luverne with the crew got me pumped. Kristi and I went and saw Mindy at KFC and ate there for dinner. Then we came back home and got ready for the drive-in. Packed all the blankets we could see which are now currently laying strewn on the floor of the bedroom I am using and pillows to lay on. We saw Shrek 3 and Iron Man 2. I dozed during Shrek to be sure to be wide awake for Iron Man 2. We had some cranky neighbors in a Hummer and I just wanted to ask them why they purchased a Hummer. (they aren't nearly as efficient as the Chevy pickup we were driving).

We drove back home after the drive-in and crashed for the night. Tomorrow we will get to sleep in :) Today will be the day that we celebrate 6 months of dating (the date isn't until the 28th but we will be apart so this is an early celebration). The plan is to take her to the Falling Waters Grille in Souix Falls. She has the entertainment aspect of the evening :)

That's all for now, stay tuned for the next update!

Life on the Kuhl Farm - Day 2

This morning started late, slept in till about 11am. My princess and I woke up to make some stew for lunch and then we got ready for the day. We hopped on the horse to ride into the field and pick rock. It was very windy, we nearly got blown away. Kristi found the largest rock and won that competition. Apparently this meant that I had to make dinner for us. I was okay with it. :)

After we got back from picking rock, we took a nap while we waited for King Kuhl to arrive back from planting for his friend. We eventually got up and decided it was time to play with the new litter of kittens we found the day before.



When King Kuhl arrived back at the cottage we immediately were put to work. We had to clean out the biggest shed on the Kuhl Farm. The Morten shed was full of all sorts of machinery and dust and dirt and we had to clean it up for Kristi's sister's graduation party. We began by moving the machinery out and then started sweepin'! This was a chore and the Morten shed seemed to be bigger after we began this task.

After we finished sweeping, King Kuhl ran through the shed with an air compressor hose. Once all the dust was out and gone, we fired up the power washer. I was the water transportation engineer, as you can see:



Later that evening we had a lovely bonfire with the friends. Activities included star tipping (which I had never done before) and a few rounds of sardines. This was a great end to a long day.

Stay tuned for the next update!

Life on the Kuhl Farm - Day 1

So after school got out, I went home and looked forward to visiting the magical land of the Kuhl Farm. Mainly I was excited to meet the princess of the Kuhl Farm, Miss Kristi Kuhl herself :). On Tuesday morning I took off driving to Worthington, it was quite the trek. 3 hours later, I arrived at the magical land of the Kuhl Farm and lo to my surprise, the princess was not there :(. I met the queen, Mrs. Jolene Kuhl, and man did she have work for me. It was like I had to serve the queen to be graced with the presence of the princess.

The princess arrived!! As I was watering the flowers all dirty and grimy, the princess arrives in her beautiful outfit. She runs up to me and gives me a wonderful hug and says that she has an issue. I asked her what it was and she said that she could not tell me. I began to ask her if it was life or death and she said maybe, if it doesn't get fixed in two hours. I immediately insisted that she tell me what was wrong and then she told me the story of how an evil man was after her. As much as she remembers he was after her with a lustful glare. And I told her that I'd protect her from this evil man. And that we needed to go fight him off immediately because I cannot stand to see my princess in such turmoil.

We ran inside the cottage and I stood by the door to protect my princess from such an evil man. Then my princess ran up to me and hugged me from behind and gave me a huge kiss on the cheek and told me that the man had been ceased in the courtyard after the armed guardsmen saw him chase after a woman. It was a happy ending to an even happier stay.

I just happened to come to the magical land of the Kuhl Farm on the day of my birth and oh did my princess have surprises for me. First she pulls out a binder full of hand typed recipes that I would be wise to use. "This is just the beginning" my princess says. After that she throws a bag of mints at me and says "happy birthday surprise number 2!" The night is getting better and better. Before we take off to the city to watch her sisters sing and play in a concert performance at Worthington Senior High, she takes me outside, blindfolds me and makes me think that I am getting something named Daniel. Turns out that Daniel is a poster board used to store a custom made photo collage of our first 5 months of dating. :)

Later in the evening we made four cakes to be eaten at the celebration of birth the following evening. The best part was when we were done with the chocolate batter, King Burdell offered to clean off the spoon and the bowl. Baking cakes was an experience that I hope to relive in the future with my princess.

The close of the night we packed up the wagon with blankets and pillows and went out past the farm and into one of the fields to watch the night sky and saw several shooting stars as well as the edge of the Milky Way. After this we rode the wagon back to the cottage and said goodnight for the evening.

Stay tuned for tomorrow's grand adventure at the magical land of the Kuhl Farm!

Graduation

Congratulations to the graduates of Concordia University - St Paul! I hope God's blessings on all of your future endeavors and that God will give you guidance in this ever-changing economic times. Remember to hold God's love close to your every move and don't ever forget about the differences that your collegiate career has made on your lives.

Finals

Just thought that I would throw a shout out to Kevin Hall this day for my appreciation of his final examination process. I am all for testing learnings, but when it falls under such stressful conditions, I would much rather demonstrate my learnings in a way that is less stressing.

I personally had no experience with final exams until I first came to college. Let me tell you, they were the death of me. The way that I went through high school was turning in final presentations to demonstrate my learnings throughout the course. I feel it is more recall than recognition processing. And most people learn and retain more information when it is recall and applicable than just plain recognition.

This begs the question, how much am I actually learning from my courses that do have final exams that I tend to cram for no matter how hard I try not to? There are a few professors that understand the importance of recall memory and application and emphasize it in their class. I appreciate these professors.

Overall, I look back at the courses that I have taken and remembered the most from and none of them had final examination tests at the end. Let's look into life application learning and recall presenting.

WoW

This is a confessional post. I, Adam David Ave-Lallemant, a soon-to-be 22 year old male, play World of Warcraft. I am NOT addicted. I KNOW the importance of real life. I am in a committed relationship and I DO hold my girlfriend in higher priority than World of Warcraft. And finally, my mother does NOT pay for my World of Warcraft subscription.

Whew. Now that I got that off my chest. People can criticize and judge all they want, I'm a gamer and I love my life AND my girlfriend.

Controversy

There seems to be a lot of controversy over some of my posts. I'd like to remind people that I am merely stating my outlook on things and I am not a perfect individual. A personal blog is meant to be a personal reflection and reaction. There should be no room for personal attacks on a personal blog. I have tried my hardest not to personally attack anyone in any of my posts and I hope the readers would do the same. I respectfully post my viewpoint and opinion with all the love that Christ has given me and sometimes it may come off as a personal attack but I'd like to point you to the several times in which Christ called out the pharisees and sadducees. He did it because He loved them, and I hope to portray the same.

College Transitions

The new FYS program is shifting here at college and it doesn't seem like it is shifting for the better...

Rather than mingling incoming students with current students and even to other majors, we will be dividing the freshmen class by major and interest. We already have the cliques happening, now the university will be supporting this model. Great.

This wouldn't bother me so much if we didn't already have the cliques formed. We are now encouraging and even supporting college students to be more exclusive in their peer groups.

Cliques naturally occur over time; however, the big difference now is that the university is supporting them. Now peer groups or cliques can have their benefits. It is right that it will help the college transition for incoming freshmen. However, how well are we sticking to the mission of the university that states "...to prepare students for thoughtful and informed living..."

The best way, in my opinion to prepare students for thoughtful and informed living would be to integrate them amongst different peer groups. Otherwise you will have church workers who graduate and go into the real world and are shocked into remission because of all the partying and drugs there are in the world. If the university wants students to be informed about living after graduation, let's not try to create this utopia of people who think just like us while in college.

Granted this whole thing isn't at the fault of the new FYS direction, it has been something that has happened at this university since my second year here. And granted this isn't something that can be fixed overnight or even potentially fixed at all, I am merely voicing my opinion.

Post-denominational-ism

Hey! Are you Lutheran? What's a Lutheran?

Exactly.

We are entering a generation in which denominations are not predominately known by young adults. People no longer find denominations significant for belief in Jesus Christ; in fact, some find denominations restricting to their faith.

It isn't even that strong to say that this generation is post-church. I've been talking to Pastor Weber and he was saying that people who are considered "regular attenders" are now only attending church once a month! What has happened to cause this extreme?

When churches see that word they are scared. They are afraid that the more and more people don't attend church the less people they will be able to reach. Well, there are two things flawed, 1. You mostly reach people outside the church walls and 2. There are more people today that consider themselves spiritual and even believe in God than there will ever be in the pews on Sunday morning.

Why is it so difficult to get people who believe in God and who are spiritual into the church doors? I think we are asking the wrong question. Maybe we should be asking how can we as Church (capital "C") reach to those who are spiritual and believe in God but don't have a firm community of believers?

This is what stems from the Acts 2 Church post I made earlier, we have people who believe in God and want more, but they don't have that sense of community. We are called to be a fellowship of believers. Let's not close our doors to those who may not think like us.

I have grown very fond of the idea of post-denominational-ism and post-church because it means that people are finally finding true deep meaning in their faith rather than spouting what everyone else is saying. The one difference however is the support network that we have in the church buildings. This extends outside the church building as well. I have a hard time believing that if Jesus came back tomorrow, that He would be happy at how exclusive some of our church bodies are. We may not claim to be exclusive, in fact, I know that we don't claim to be exclusive; but it is through our actions that people will come to know Christ.

Jesus put it best in saying that "you are the light of the world, a city on a hill" let us let God's light shine through to those people who are at the point of abandoning church and show them what true community is.

Acts 2 Church

This has become a great passion of mine throughout the past few months. I have felt a call to start a movement along the lines of the Acts 2 Church. This demonstration of Church is something that has grown into this post-modern world. In today's world we need to have a greater sense of community and sharing, the dog-eat-dog world doesn't work anymore and people are starting to understand that.

I have seen more and more people who are willing to give up what they have to help those who need. This is the exact community that is happening in the second chapter of Acts.

"All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord's Supper), and to prayer. A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord's Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity--all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved." Acts 2:42-47

This form of utopia can only happen in Scripture, or so we think. I'd like to point out that before any of this came about, the Holy Spirit was present in a very real way. It was through the power of the Holy Spirit only that the believers were able to have this sense of community.

I know and can tell you with full confidence that the Holy Spirit still works in people today. This gets rid of our excuse of being "sinful" people and unable to even attempt this sort of community. God worked a miracle within that community and He hasn't stop performing miracles to this day.

Here is my grand vision to start this movement. I will attempt to implement a communal offering at Redeemer in Marquette, MI. The premise of this communal offering would be for youth to give in what they do not need for the week and then on Wednesday youth night, it will be divided amongst youth that do need it. This will be a process led by me and discerned by myself as well as a youth board.

I will try this for a few weeks maybe even a month, if it doesn't work too well, or if I see that the youth don't need the money that they share; then I will see about having the youth share with the college kids that are in need. This would be a good way for inter-generational ministry.

Speaking of inter-generational ministry, another big part of the ministry that I hope to implement is involving the college kids with the Sr High Youth. A way to give them sort of a hope for faith life when they graduate. This would also be sort of a mentor program so that the college kids have a chance to give back to the support that the Sr High Youth had given to them.

That is the very tip of the iceberg for me, many years to go and many ways to transform this ministry of the Acts 2 Church.

Community of Exclusivity

I must be very careful with this next post because it is a very sensitive topic. I want to be crystal clear from the beginning that I am not being accusatory; I am merely expressing the concerns that I have for this campus community. This concern is not only a personal concern but it is a concern that I have heard expressed by other students of the campus community so this is not a personal attack. I hope and pray that God will speak through me with love and gentleness as I continue on.

I have witnessed this community from freshmen year shift from being all-inclusive to very much exclusive. As a new freshmen, I was warmly welcomed just as I was and I didn't feel like a freshmen; but a part of the greater campus community. I didn't have to do anything to be accepted. There were no conditions to the friendships that I was making and it was the greatest thing and the thing that I needed especially coming from my high school experience.

Since then, I have been shut out from most of the campus community. I used to be invited to do all sorts of things, the first week of freshmen year, we played ultimate frisbee every night and things were great. I now have to invite myself to things if I want to go, and when I do invite myself I get this uncomfortable awkward feeling from everyone there. Not only that, but I don't feel safe being myself because I get shot down by a number of the people who claim to be my friends.

I am not saying that I am this perfect person, high and mighty, I have moments in which I am mean to others, condescending, etc. I admit that I am a sinner and I recognize that. I make a conscious effort to be nice to everyone that I meet, without prejudice. It seems like that concept is lost on the part of the campus community.

I am all for being comfortable around the people you are close friends with, but if someone new comes along and really tries to be a part of your friendship group; don't reject them because they aren't like you.

We are no better than a public high school with the amount of cliques that we have and the sad thing is, we tell others that we don't even like cliques! We have church worker cliques, drama cliques, athletics cliques, cliques who don't believe in cliques, the list can go on forever.

The limited grasp of community that we have is with our own exclusive group of people. I am guilty of this as well, granted, I am not part of the church worker clique; I am still kind of my own clique. I don't spend much time reaching out to other people.

The problem doesn't lie with any particular group of people or person, it is a community, a group effort. God calls us into community to prevent against this separation. I hope that as I continue to work on branching out and making new friends who might not put me down as much; I pray that my readers do as well.

I want to share my congratulations and blessings on our new Campus Ministry Associate Shelly Schwalm. I pray for guidance given unto her as we as a community work towards being all-inclusive rather than exclusive.

I really want to stress that we are not an exclusive club, God doesn't work with exclusive members. God is all-inclusive so I wish that we could demonstrate that to people, especially the new incoming class of 2015.