Christmas Comes Too Soon

This year more than any year before, Christmas snuck up on me.

I was found at the stores with all the other men doing some last minute Christmas shopping. 

Why does Christmas always seem to sneak up on people?  We believers know that we celebrate Christ-Mass.  The birth of our Savior.  The answer to our questions.  The hope amidst hopelessness.  The good paying job during recession.  The beauty of it all is that Jesus Christ was born to save the entire world, not just believers.  God wants the whole world to be saved. 

However, the season before Christmas is Advent, which is the anticipation of both Christ's first birth, but also Christ's promised second coming.  This second coming will sneak up like a thief in the night. 

This is very much how I feel about Christmas this year, it snuck up on me and I bet it snuck up on others as well.  I hope that when Christ really does come for the second time, that we all are ready for it.

You Cannot Take the 'Inter' out of the Internet

I have spent the past several hours reading over the bogus bill called SOPA or Stop Online Piracy Act.  As I was looking through it, several sources identified that the bill will not only threaten to shut down any websites that are distributing pirated goods, but will ultimately shut down any website that links to another website that distributes the pirated goods. 

I would cite the sources but I do not want to be put on the White House's blacklist for linking to another copyright source.  This is where the bill crashes into the fundamental purpose of the internet. 

The reason the internet is so huge and provides the everyday user with such ease of access to current information and news is because it is all inter-connected.  If some of the supporters of SOPA were to publish an article that had an embedded Youtube video of Lady Gaga, well then Lady Gaga could get said supporter's website shut down for piracy. 

I do not think that the legislature or the supporters of SOPA even understand the rammafications of passing such an act.  Like for instance, how many people use Google to find information on the internet?  Well, unfortunately for Google, they fall under the "rogue site" clause in the act and will be shut down. 

If SOPA gets passed, it will cripple the infrastructure of the internet.  Users will have to know exactly where they want to go and type in the exact URL into the address bar, otherwise they will not find the news article about their 98 year old grandmother that was published in some local newspaper. 

The internet will revert back to the rotary telephone.  A device that if you did not know the number or had a phonebook, you could not contact the individual.  It may seem a little extreme, but the fact remains.  Reddit users have already begun creating a "phonebook" for internet websites that will likely be shut down if SOPA passes. 

Read more about SOPA and prepare a letter to send to your representative!

Next Stop...MIT

Okay, maybe not the exact next stop, but I have been looking into MIT's small business courses that are offered online for free. 

Currently, I am studying for my A+ certification exam.  This exam is on basic computer hardware and software as well as customer service in the computer related field.  This is the first step on my road to starting up my own computer support and repair service company.  It will be called something more catchy than that not to worry. :)

Those being set as my overall ambitions, I need to strive to attain some knowledge and experience in the small business field.  As I start out this journey, I need some certifications.  As I am not a Computer Science major, I need some formal achievements that can be found in certification programs through CompTIA.  Once I have those, I hope to start out with some side work at Backpack Tactics while I continue to learn more from MIT's online courses. 

After a few years in the lower 48, my fiance, soon to be wife, wants to start a family up in Alaska.  Now Alaska is a very difficult place to start up a computer repair business, however, there is only one official business located in Anchorage that offers its services, so the location is prime.  The only difficulty with the location is shipping the parts from the lower 48.  Thereby, I will start small with freelance projects and then set up a home base to do hardware repairs at a relatively affordable rate. 

It has always been my passion to help people.  That is why I started out in ministry education.  However, God has now given me insight into my gifts and talents as a technician and taught me that I can help people with their earthly technology to build the relationship to eventually help people with heavenly matters. 

So onto the next stop on my journey!

What happens on earth, stays on earth.

Ever heard of the saying "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas"?  Well this is a play on that for all believers.

Matthew 6:19-21 says,

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

This is a very challenging passage for me.  Especially as I sit in front of a tablet computer, a laptop computer, a desktop computer, and my iPhone.  I am forced to ask myself, is my heart found in these things?

Being in a car accident in which my laptop, Amazon Kindle and desktop computer were destroyed and yet I walked away with just a scratch.  I was put in a very bad place.  I swear the EMTs and police thought that I was insane as I kept asking "what's going to happen with my stuff?"  "I need to get my stuff."  I think it forced the EMTs to put me on a board and carry me into the ambulance and to the hospital because I must have had a mental disorder.  As I sat in the hospital receiving stitches for my cut and calling my family and friends telling them the news, it was surreal to hear all of them thanking God that I was alive and alright.  All I could think about was my stuff, I worked so hard to get the stuff... 

Oh how much I have learned to put my treasures into heavenly things.  I did not even know what that meant until after God destroyed all of it.  My eyes were opened to the family I had, the friends that cared about me.  These are heavenly things.  The memories, the moments in your life that can never be materialized.  When someone says "you had to be there" when looking at pictures from a visit to the grand canyon. 

So after chewing on the slogan some more it should be more of a "what stuff you own on earth, stays on earth."  It isn't as catchy but it reveals more truth.  God never tells us that we will lose our memories upon going to heaven, so put down your iPhone or shut down your computer and go make a memory with someone you love today!

Real Reason for the Season

Today I have been thinking about the saying "Jesus is the reason for the season" in reference to Christmas.  And I feel like we believers focus on that in order to deter from the normal shopping frenzy and santa clause syndrome that so much of our culture resides. 

I would challenge believers to embrace the shopping frenzy in an attitude of giving.  Let's not focus piously on Jesus for piety's sake.  Let's embrace Jesus for His wonderful giving attribute.  I am not saying that we should give in to the temptation to buy tons of gifts for everyone we know.  I am not saying that we should not give gifts at all either.  I am merely pondering what God gave to us in Jesus Christ and the mission for us to pass that on. 

Do you give Christmas gifts in order to get some in return?  What is the point of that? 

I want to give the gift of time and fellowship, something that will be cherished forever.  My grandmother is slowly losing life and I want to give her nothing more than my presence (and a cute sweatshirt) to show how much I appreciate her.  Through this gift I am also passing on the gift that God has given us.  The gift that we celebrate every year around this time. 

I want to give to people who cannot give back to me.  This is true to the gift that God has given to us: there is no way for us to ever repay Him.

If Only...

If only I could work for Google.  This will definitely put "Work for Google" on my bucket list.  But then again, how will I ever pass their stringent programming tests?  Looks like I will be a life-long learner!

SlashGear: Google hands out custom Galaxy Nexus to workers

Happy browsing!

A New Day Has Dawn

A new day has dawn within me.  All the motivation that I have had for college has shifted to a motivation towards work and the unlimited potential of starting a small business.  Is it wrong to feel this way?  I certainly hope not as it seems the nation needs this kind of motivation if we are to climb out of this depression.  Higher education has become the new High School, a basic standard for attaining a job.  The nation has grown quite successful at brainwashing individuals into the very standard career ambitions and have sucked the innovation out of the common person. 

I am glad to say that I will be graduating in May with a Christian Worldview Major that will be used as basic life training towards my ambitions of starting my own technology business.  The purpose of this business will be to provide tech support and improvements to individuals and companies who do not want technology to prevent them from attaining the highest customer service. 

Once I graduate in May I will find work with a small technology business to earn income and pay off student loan debt while I study entrepreneurship and small business with a free program provided by one of the ivy league colleges. 

Until that new day has come, I pray for the best in the nation's future.

Counting Your Blessings

Sunday evening at 5:18pm it was a beautiful day, sun was shining but little did I know, things were going to change drastically. 

I knew that I should pull over to rest.  I was fatigued and blinking slower and slower as I drove down the interstate at 75 mph.  Five miles over posted limit does make a difference.

In the blink of an eye, I saw I was headed off the road, I swerved to miss a mile post but that wasn't the end of it.  I began to fishtail on the road, two or three times I cannot remember.  The whole time, my cruise control was active.  I am very blessed that I did not roll my very top heavy car.  I knew that I could not regain control of the vehicle so I decided the best way to crash was to go into the ditch. 

I went into the ditch at 70 mph, striking a drainage input that stuck up in the ground, and landing just a single tree shy of the river below.  All of this I was not aware of until after I was told about it.

In the vehicle with me were some of my personal belongings that I had worked hard to obtain.  Some of which are a desktop computer, laptop computer, kindle, and iPod touch.  Along with other belongings it was just shy of $5,000 worth of stuff. 

It was a slap in the face at first.  I was so concerned about my stuff, as the emergency personnel were looking over my injuries, I kept asking what was going to happen to my stuff.  My car.  It was all I had, all I worked hard for. It was very important to me. 

God knew how important it was to me.  And I have a new perspective on things now.  Sometimes it takes something severe to happen for God to change your priorities.  But I now understand that this accident was probably the best thing that God could have ever had happen to me. 

Here are some pictures.  I will add pictures of the NEW (old) car that my future father-in-law Burdell Kuhl gave me after we learned that mine was totaled.  What a blessing he has been in my life.  My mom as been all that and more, she was paying my car insurance and it always was a joke of "when are you going to start paying for your own car insurance".  Well, thanks for paying for collision coverage mom!  I now have a chance of getting at least $1,000 for the car.  Maybe I will now pay for my own insurance. 

Just so you all know, the flames of the engine were close to 20 ft above the car.  It was a big fire and praise the Lord I got out of there safely!

The cluster on the windshield is my engine block.  When I hit the drainage intake, it knocked my engine loose when they tried to tow it out of the ditch.      
Close up on the engine block.
If you can tell right behind the drivers seat are the remains of my desktop computer and monitor.

There they are up close, the cluster of cables are my keyboard, mouse, and 50' ethernet cable.

This is the back end.  Apparently my bike rack broke off the trunk and flew into my back window.  They had to tear open my trunk to clear any fires that may have been there.

Passenger side front, my front fender is in there, and in the bottom right if you can make it out is my Concordia laptop.  I pulled it out and it was mostly intact with some glass shards forced into the metal bottom cover.  And of course, charred to a crisp.  Wonder if I'll be charged?

Sorry for the graphic nature of this, but I had to put it on to display just how little damage I walked away with. 

All in all it was a great lesson in counting your blessings...  Thanks God :)

Sleeping in Heaven

So I had the third lock-in for the year at Redeemer Lutheran Church and it was something else!

It was not a bad night, on the contrary it was a very reflective night.  We started the evening at 9pm and got the 7th and 8th grade students engaged in a game of four square, only to realize 20 minutes later that they were bored with it.  Then we entered into the "rules" part of the evening and that took maybe two minutes before they were bored with it.  And then we dove into baking cookies.

We made a game out of it, split into three teams and whoever got the batch mixed and the first tray in the oven first won.  Just won.  No prize here.  Once all the batter was mixed, the students got bored and then invaded the gym area.  Some went to grab the wheel chairs from the narthex, others raided the basketball closet to shoot hoops and others just ran around and did what kids do best.

I was glad to have some helpers to keep an eye on folks cause I cannot be every place at once.  This craziness is how the first three hours of the evening went.  There were some organized activities but for the most part it was hard to keep their attention for more than 20 minutes.  Then I put in Star Wars.  And that was a good transition because it got the kids calmed down and focused.  Again, ten minutes later kids were roaming.  But at least they weren't going crazy and had great respect towards the giant glowing screen.

As I got closer to the morning, I could see the end.  I was super tired and my feet were really sore (no thanks to breaking in a new pair of shoes).  It got me thinking... life is a lot like a lock-in.  We are super excited and ready to do everything when we are younger.  Then later on, we are ready to settle down and watch a movie.  In the life analogy, the movie is middle ages when your kids are starting to become independent and even moving out of the house.

And then as it gets closer to the end you get more and more tired and weary.  Things that happen tend to irritate you with more ease.  That is the one scenario if you do not have the hope that we have in eternal life.  If the lock-in has a Christ-centered focus then those leading it will never grow irritated but always live grace-filled lives.  If your life has a Christ-centered focus, you will never grow irritated or tired or weary when you grow old.  Christ will give you strength and He will carry you up on wings like eagles.

My last analogy, eternal life is a lot like the day after a lock-in.  Sleep.  It is so glorious after a lock-in and you can never have enough of it.  The only difference is that in Heaven we will not be sleeping, we will be praising God for ever and ever and it will be so glorious after this long stretch of night on earth.

Pray you all have glorious sleep someday!

Fire and Brimstone

"You will go to Hell if you continue in your sinful ways and not turn to God!"  Is that statement true?

Well, yes.  I don't think its a question of whether or not it is true, but whether or not it is right.

Jesus words in John 14:6-7: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

Jesus is the only way to God.  Look at the life of Jesus and see how lovingly effective He is at serving the Kingdom.  It is through the loving deeds of Jesus that people come to believe.

Now don't get me wrong, Jesus had moments when He spoke fire and brimstone, but that was mainly to the church leaders who never did come to believe.  Jesus knew that they would not believe.  Is that a sign that "fire and brimstone" evangelism is only effective at driving people away?

These are questions that I have, I do not have any answers but the book of Job has taught me to keep asking the questions and God will provide the answers.

There is a church in the south that has an annual haunted house showing at Halloween.  The theme every year is essentially, "this is what Hell will be like if you do not repent and believe in God."  They bring people through a "living Hell" and at the end present them with Gospel tracks.  Now I have not heard how successful they have been at serving the Kingdom, but something tells me that more people turn away than plead for mercy.

Does God desire us to plead for mercy?  I would say that God desires us to be on our knees giving all we have to Him in worship to give Him glory, but does that constitute pleading?  I don't think so.

In Jesus' words, He is the only way to the Father and since we know and believe in Jesus we know and have seen the Father.  No fire and brimstone.  Just love.

Black and White Faith

Ever since color television came out it seems that the world is flying by with no real standard configuration.  I do not mean that humans can configure to something standard, but taking the parallel, we as Christians live in a standard and absolute "configuration"

Faith is a black and white matter.  You either believe that Jesus Christ died and rose forgiving all your sins so that you can no longer fear death but live in eternal life, or you don't.

I wonder at times if we haven't re-written our own Bible with all the commentaries and denominations that have very different viewpoints.  If God is up in heaven looking down at His people probably shaking His head at how complex we have made salvation.

I can just imagine Him saying, "I told you that whoever believed in my Son will have eternal life."

Does this mean that we should keep on sinning because God forgives all of our sins?  I think this is an issue that Paul dealt with in Rome.  Again, I think it was God's people complicating the matter of faith and trying to weasel their way into getting their own desires out of it.

Is faith complex?  When you put it into the hands of a sinful human race, then yes it would appear to be complex.  If you listen and hear God alone, believe in what He says and admit that you are a sinful person in need of a Savior, then no.  Faith is as simple as black and white.

Jesus Wireless: Now with improved mobility.

The question that I would like to tackle tonight is:  Can church professionals utilize technology to improve their proclamation of the Gospel?

The short answer: Of course!

Long answer: First let us delve into proclaiming the Gospel.  God calls every one of us to proclaim the Good News He brings.

"And he said, “Yes, it was written long ago that the Messiah would suffer and die and rise from the dead on the third day. It was also written that this message would be proclaimed in the authority of his name to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem: ‘There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent.’ You are witnesses of all these things."  Luke 24:46-48 NLT

So we have the task.  What about the method?  In the words of Paul:

"Pray for us, too, that God will give us many opportunities to speak about his mysterious plan concerning Christ. That is why I am here in chains. Pray that I will proclaim this message as clearly as I should. Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity."  
Colossians 4:3-5 NLT

Paul is a very wise man because he knew very well that people of all different cultures are going to be reading his words.  The method is that God provides the opportunities wherever we are at.  Paul is calling us to make the most of every opportunity to proclaim the Good News.  Paul himself was proclaiming from a prison cell!  If he can do that, then we can proclaim anywhere God provides.  

God has provided us with amazing resources in this the 21st century.  If we should not use them then we would be neglecting the words of Paul.  We can send a message across the world in a millisecond, we can fly anywhere we want to, reach the entire globe through the internet and God has given us these great gifts, it would be a shame not to use them!

In conclusion, there is truly something significant about the trends of the 21st century that Christians everywhere can make the most of sharing this magnificent news--that those who believe that Jesus Christ defeated death and rose again to erase their sins and grant eternal life--in every possible circumstance.  

Death Brings Forth Life

Here I sit, it is the end of May.  I've been in Marquette and a part of Redeemer Lutheran Church for the better part of ten months.  And in that time I have had the privilege to get to know plenty of people.  But there were two ladies that stuck out in particular.  They were best friends and they both underwent some severe medical trauma while I have been here.  The thing that I remember most is always being able to see a smile on their faces tagged with a hearty greeting every Saturday evening worship service.

They began to show signs of aging about six months into my internship and I never put much thought into it.  But there came a time when they both were in the hospital at the same time.  In the same room.  What a blessing they thought it was to be roommates during this time.  I can tell you one thing, when I went to the hospital to visit them, they always were optimistic.  They always showed God's love and were tough till the end.

And now it is that they both have passed away.  They have gone to be with their Heavenly Father.  Death no longer is in their future.  It is through their death that they received life eternal.

It makes me think of death as the cumulation of all sin.  Once we die, there is nothing holding us back from being in Perfect fellowship with God.  Do we have to wait until our earthly life is through to experience this?  Some would say so.  But I understand the words of Paul the Apostle in Romans chapter 6.  The entire chapter speaks to this act of being dead to sin and alive to Christ as if it happens right now, at baptism.

"The death [Christ] died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God." Romans 6:10  Christ did away with death and sin that we shall have life and life to God.  Praise and Glory be to God forever and ever for this great and wonderful act of grace.

This post is in honor and remembrance of Laverne Morris and Joyce Mills who are truly friends forevermore. 

Pyramid Scheme of Ministry

We often look at pyramid schemes as a negative thing.  Something that will take away and cheat you out of the things you want.  Well, in ministry I have learned that pyramid schemes may be effective.  I have spent the past several months beating myself up because I can't make it to everything the students are involved in.  I feel like I'm cheating them out of a quality youth minister.  I've been reading through Doug Fields' book Your First Two Years in Ministry and he talks about the art of multiplication as opposed to addition.

He sets this example:

"If I set aside one hour a day to spend with two students Wednesday through Friday, I can meet with six students each week--24 per month.  But if, during those same days, I spend 30 minutes a day training a leader to spend time with students and 30 minutes a day with a student, at the end of the week I've connected with three students and three leaders.  If each of those three leaders spend time with three students during the week, together we'll have ministered to 48 students a month, which is 100 percent more than I could have met with by myself."

Does this mean that me as a youth minister am ignoring the students?  I used to think so, but in fact, I am giving the students someone better to connect with.  I believe what a teenager needs today is to know that someone cares.  Then that student has someone to connect with, someone to look forward to going to church with.  This adult who would mentor the student and be available more often than I would make a larger impact in that students life.  It is simply stated that I am looking out for the greater good of the student.  I still connect with every student, I'm still there for every student; every student simply has a closer mentor to connect with on a regular basis.

I'm diving into a new territory here and I pray that the Lord guide me as He has to this point.  And I also pray for the students of Redeemer Lutheran Church, that they continue to walk in faith and are encouraged in everything they do.

Individual Spirituality - Oxymoron?

We live in America.  We have grown accustomed to a certain type of living.  It isn't a bad thing, it is just different; counter-cultural to the way the Bible and Christianity is presented in Scripture.

I am struggling through how to relate Christianity and Scripture which is so focused on community and the body of believers working as one to a society in which people strive to earn their own way of life.

I know for a fact that God's Word speaks to all people no matter who you are or what you do so it isn't a matter of God being selective in who He's writing to.  I also know for a fact that God loves the entire world and sent His Son for the entire world.

The thing that I think is causing me to stumble is individual spirituality.  You have your Jesus and I have mine.  My Jesus provides water for the crops that I'm planting, and your Jesus gives you opportunity to earn money to buy the things you need.  Are they not the same Jesus?

The God of the Universe knows each individual person's needs and cares for them in that way.  This is whether you are a believer or not a believer.  For in Matthew chapter 5:45, "[God] causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous."  That passage is within the context of loving your enemies and praying for them.  God loves and provides for all people.  Where does individualism come in?

Picture a garden.  What do we do with a garden?  We plant the seed, till the soil, pick weeds, maybe prune bushes.  Do we make the plants grow?  Our Heavenly Father is the one who grows the plant, we take care of the soil.  Now if the world is the soil, and faith is the plant, do you see the picture?  God grows faith through the work of the Holy Spirit, but we as humans need to nurture the soil.  Plant the seed.  Can we do this alone?

In our individualistic society how does the soil get nurtured?  Maybe you can take care of your own garden soil, but what good is a huge garden full of soil for one plant to grow in?  God wants us to share our gardens! Don't get me wrong, God works miracles in those who have individual spirituality, but let's share these miracles with the greater community of believers!

This is not meant to be a legalistic thing, it brings me such great joy to be a part of a community who supports each other and builds each others gardens up and helps to nurture soil that God uses to produce bountiful fruit.  Fruit that can be shared throughout the community: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

If God had meant for us to be alone in our faith, the Bible wouldn't have so much language about working together as believers and a community of faith.  The Body of Christ is full of great news of working together to bring glory and honor to God above all else.  God knows exactly what we as humans need, and that is a support network, people to trust, to share joys and sorrows with.  That is how the Church today can bring the Good News to an individualistic society.

So to wrap it all up, is individual spirituality an oxymoron?  I'll let you answer that one.

Christian Pharisees

I have been going through some major struggle in the past couple months.  The big thing that I am struggling with is church involvement on the part of God's people.  Thanks to some words from Doug Fields' book Your First Two Years In Youth Ministry I have found some comfort.

When I examine the Christians of today, I see the Pharisees.  I see people who are outwardly Christian and say they are Christian but there is no involvement in the Church at large.  Now do not get me wrong, I am not intending to be judgmental because I am in the same vein.  There are times when I feel like I'm putting in my time and doing the things that people can see in order to proclaim the Good News of Jesus.  Doug admits in his book that Christianity and spirituality is an inward thing.

Faith is a heart thing.  We cannot look into other people's hearts.  But does that mean when we see lack of involvement in Church activities and service that are produced by good faith that we should just ignore it because we cannot see their hearts?  By no means!  The Church needs God's people!  The Spirit works through God's people and if God's people do not have time for Church are they being Spiritually fed?

So here is my dilemma: How do we as God's called servants who work for the Church instill this faith in action to God's loved children?

What if we weren't afraid to show the satisfaction and joy that God gives us when we serve Him in love?  There is another book that I have started reading called The Pleasure of God written by John Piper.  He calls this feeling of satisfaction and joy, Christian Hedonism.  Hedonism is traditionally the concept that happiness is the sole good in life.  When there is a Christian spin on it, Jesus and our salvation found in Him is the sole good in our life.  Let's live by it!

Glitter In My Hair...

You better hope that you get invited to the wedding so that you can see the wonderful work that Kristi and I slaved over this past week.  Over 30 hours of work to produce 250 wedding invitations.  And as we winded down we kept thinking about when our kids grow up and get married how we will look back and give them the best advice ever: do not bother trying to make your own wedding invitations just order them.

But seriously, I had a good time making our wedding invitations this week.  It gave Kristi and I lots of time to talk and dream about future endeavors.  The more we made invitations the more I thought about how many people we were going to invite and quite possibly how many left over invitations we will have.  And then the big news came about the end of the world and that took the invitations into a metaphorical spiral.  Was I invited to heaven?  Well, at the time it was in question, but after that I felt stupid.  Of course I'm invited to heaven.  Jesus Christ gave me the invitation and RSVP'd for me!

Sometimes we get so caught up in who we're inviting rather than who will come.  Let me try and break this down.  Rather than inviting a few family and friends, what if we invited everyone we knew and then whoever came came.  It's kind of like God's Kingdom in my eyes.  God has invited everyone into the Kingdom, it is now down to who will accept the invitation and believe in the Way.

Anyway, back to the concrete.  I had so much glitter everywhere.  The invitations that we made were a wet emboss so we stamped a clear "glue" and then poured glitter on it and then heated it with a tool and it was embossed.  Well, Kristi is not a huge fan of glitter so I had the job of stamper and glitterer while she ran the heating gun.  So the entire week I had glitter all over my face and in my hair.  To this day, I probably have glitter in my hair...

Oh the things we do for love.  :)

Technological Analogies to Life

This is how I feel lately...

I'm all full up and am running slower than usual.  If only I could use the "disk cleanup" on my life.  So now the analogies* come.

I can "compress" my life by creating a to do list and organizing what needs to be done.

I can "defragment" my life by taking the to do list and prioritizing it and knock things out one by one.

I can "delete" parts of the things on my to do list, but then again what if I need to do them again and now their gone...

I can "archive" some of the items, put them on other peoples' disks.

I can "format" my life, but that would be baaaaaad.....

I can "scan" my life with anti-virus but that just wouldn't do anything.

But then again, I could just move some things in my life to another area like I would move some items to an external hard drive.

Or... I could get rid of my 20 gigabyte partition of Ubuntu that I still have installed and haven't used for ages.  But that's just crazy talk!

*Remember as you read this that all analogies tend to fall short of what is actually meant.

Back in the Races!

It has been a very very busy few months.  As things wind down to the spring break mission trip to Tennessee, and the possibility of a summer trip for high school students; things are gearing up!

I have not made a blog post in a number of months and it makes me quite sad.  (Among other folks)  I like the way that writing a blog post calms a person down.  It provides a release of some pressure from the day in and day out of leading two very prominent ministry groups.

I thought I would make this a little personal and share some of the joys and sorrows thus far being on internship.

I will start with the sorrows because it is always good to end on a joyful note :)

The single most difficult sorrow that I have had for the past several months is the long distance relationship that I have with my fiancĂ©e Kristi.  We connect briefly every day but there seems to be a need for more.  She provides a sense of balance in my chaotic world in Marquette, MI and that is the joyful side of things.

The other sorrow that I have is the lingering question of am I providing an effective and active ministry on both campus and high school fronts for the congregation?  This sense of insecurity has followed me for my entire life.  But I continue to study God's Word and practice the Spiritual Disciplines and things tend to look up.  I may not have a large following, but that isn't really what it is all about now is it?  The quality of the relationships that I have with folks is evidence that God is still working through me.

Joys.  There is nothing greater than hearing from a high school students mother that her kid really looks forward to youth nights.  All the stressful planning sort of pays off when you realize that the students really like it and have a good time.

One of the other biggest joys that I have is the campus ministry crew.  These are college students who aren't being forced to do something.  Nobody is putting a gun to their head saying they must attend a weekly bible study.  And yet.  They do!  To see people so passionate about their faith and learning more about God has been the light in the dark alley for me.

Overall, internship has been a joyous experience thus far.  Even the sorrows that I have listed were overcome with joys.  The Lord has blessed me greatly with a supportive staff and a great number of members in the congregation who love me dearly.

Back to the races!