Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I Triple-Dog Dare You to Listen...


I just heard this in the car...and finished it at my desk. Alistair Begg nailed it! (Well, God did, but He used Alistair...)

On Being "Content"...

10I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

14Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. 15Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; 16for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid again and again when I was in need. 17Not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what may be credited to your account. 18I have received full payment and even more; I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. 19And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
20To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Philippians 4:10-20 (New International Version) http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Philippians%204:10-20;&version=31;

The word "content" (as in, "I am content...I have contentment") is a word I've been wrestling with a lot lately. For some reason, there have been areas of life that I just don't seem to be very content with. In some areas, like, say, my personal private time with God, a lack of contentment can be a good thing that hopefully motivates us to higher things. Or maybe some area of life where you just aren't pleased with "mediocre" anymore...at least when it directly involves personal action, attitude or decision. But what about the "external" stuff, situations, and those things that we aren't in control of and only God is? (I know, I know, some would argue that God is even involved in things that "I" control...I know...but I think you know what I mean here).

Well, I am praying that myself and my family will be seeking this "content in all things" attitude that Paul had in the above passage. And while I don't truly believe it is a "formula" or anything, I have noticed at times in my life that God really opens up exciting things after we finally, truly surrender ourselves to him and are just content with the "current". So, here are some things I need to confess and surrender to the Lord...my prayer is that you too will take a time-out and make a similar list...and rejoice in all that God HAS given!

Lord, I surrender...

...my desire for a new car. You have provided us with a vehicle that works, isn't in horrible shape, etc. I am grateful.

...my worries over financial stuff/Missy's lack of a full-time job (and forgive me for seeming to struggle with this way too often). We may have had plans for some of the "extra" money we had, but since we have it, we can still pay bills, etc. That's all we should ask for, and not expect "extra" (and thus not be bitter when extra doesn't exist). Do we eat? YES. Do we have a home? YES. Does Jax have toys, nice clothes, and a place to go to school? YES. God, you DO provide...and I am grateful. Forgive me for my fear...even in these uncertain financial times, both personally and as a nation.

...my sinful feelings of "entitlement" at times. I too often feel like I am "owed" blessings, or praise, or whatever. I am grateful for when they happen...but I need humility and need to not "expect" those things. You are Faithful and you are Love. Let me set an example to this culture of not feeling so entitled to the freedom we have, to the blessings we have, to the forgiveness you offer...

...my fear of the unknown when if comes to your plan for our family. I surrender my desire for concrete messages from you. I know you offer them at times...but you have us in your Hand...and ultimately that is the best place to be!

Paul was content in ALL things. And he certainly (by human criteria) deserved to worry, grumble, or have confusion and bitterness as he was often mistreated, bounced around from town-to-town, was jailed, etc. But he knew his true Source had him in His hand... And when Paul was in need, God provided, often using those around him. So Lord, thank you for providing. Thank you for family that loves. Thank you for friends that care. And help me to be content...Amen.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Real World Parents Training Re-Cap

Wow, am I excited to be a part of this thing...

I won't give away too many "content details", but let's just say that I think this really could start something good in parents (specifically, parents claiming allegiance to Christ). It is not really a bunch of "magic rocks" as Mark Matlock says, aka, "a bunch of tools so I can fix my kids", but instead it is meant to be a catalyst for families to ponder their place in truly answering God's call to make our families true ambassadors for Christ and our homes true embassies for God's Kingdom. The seminars are designed to be a "starting point" for a future discussion among families in the given community, whether through follow-up groups, studies, or just personal accountability. A website is even being designed for parents to be able to visit post-seminar so they can get more of the strategies to assist them in this endeavour.

We spent day one essentially being presented the material (in a somewhat raw form) by one of its' developers, Mark Matlock (with occasional embellishment from its' other developer, Jim Hancock, who mostly ran the media but was also present...both very cool guys). After each session, we'd spend quite a bit of time debriefing, critiquing, etc. It was a full day (9 am-4ish pm), but very much worth it. It was fun to connect with others who share this passion, especially a very nice surprise of coming back from a coffee-run pre-session to discover my first boss as a ministry intern (when I was at Christ Chapel in Ft. Worth, late-90s), Keith Mason, was sitting in the spot next to mine. It was so fun to reconnect with him!

The next day we did a bit more brainstorming on the material, followed by some more of the logistics, timeframes, and "legalese" involved in seeing all this stuff come to fruition. The goal start-date for seminars to begin being presented around the country is February 2009, and they are hoping to have us do a "blitz" of sorts (several conferences in a short timeframe) during the spring of 2009.

So, if you know of any churches interested in this amazing opportunity sometime next year, feel free to visit www.realworldparents.com beginning in mid-October to start the process...or you can email me: be_clingy@yahoo.com. Just put "Real World Parents" in the subject line.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Real World Parents training starts today


Today and tomorrow I will be at the "Real World Parents" seminar training, put on by Mark Matlock and WisdomWorks ministries (or is it just Youth Specialties now? I know WW got acquired by them...). I am excited, as I signed up almost as soon as I could for this training. If you know from past posts, encouraging families to truly put Christ first in their lives is something I'm passionate about, so I couldn't pass this up. I'll keep you all posted...

Monday, September 22, 2008

Cool Sporting Events I've Attended

(so I feel like a somewhat brainless post...that I've been working on for a couple weeks...)

I love sports, and over the years, I've been blessed to be able to attend some cool events. So, just because, I feel like listing (by sport) as may of them as I can remember...here goes...

Dallas Cowboys: I've been to (I believe) two regular season games and one preseason one. The most memorable game was in Dec. 2000 when they played the Giants on a FRIGID night. Why so memorable? a) It was Missy and my second date, and Granny got to go...and she was the first one to tell me, "She's a keeper!" about Missy... :-)
Houston Texans: I have been to two Texans games, both in 2003. One was with Missy (a birthday present from my folks) and another was with my dad. Both wins, I think.
Houston Oilers: I went to two or three Oilers games. One memorable one was when I got to see Joe Montana...nice...

USFL (yes, that's right...)
Houston Gamblers: I did get to see Jim Kelly and the Gamblers take on Steve Young and the LA Express...was my first pro football game in...1984? 1985?

I went to TCU, so I obviously saw a ton of games. But, here are some highlights:
1994 Independence Bowl vs. Virginia. Yes, we lost, but not badly (20-10) against a ranked Virginia with Tiki Barber. It was my freshman year, and TCU had not been to a bowl in some time...so it was fun. Too bad it was cold, wet, and muddy...I think I was sick for a week after.
TCU at A&M, 1995. My only Aggie game...I am by no means an Aggie (and yes, they get obnoxious) but you can't deny the spirit...we hung with them for most of the game before losing.
1998 Sun bowl vs. USC. We were the biggest underdogs of the bowl season that year, playing a top 20 USC team featuring a little QB named Carson Palmer. Tons of fired up TCU fans (like, 20,000? In El Paso!) and we dominated.
2001(?) Galleryfurniture.com Bowl vs. A&M. We lost (28-9), but it is always fun to play an old SWC foe. And (as often is the case with travelling TCU fans...now, if we could only "ramp it up" at home better...), the TCU fan was in full voice. I feel we held our own with the Aggie fan...
TCU vs. Texas Tech, 2006. Tech was top-15, it was a rare sellout at Amon Carter Stadium (even if it was like 1/3 Tech fans...), but we allowed ZERO TD's (a big deal against Tech) and won! Crowd was awesome...I may never have been rowdier (I tend to just watch the game...)

TEXAS: I've been to a couple UT games, but I remember a fun one in the late-90s against Texas Tech where my best childhood bud Aaron called the day before, "Wanna come to Austin for a game". Heck yeah! I learned some nice "unofficial" words to some "official" cheers I'll leave to your imagination...
1984 Bluebonnet Bowl against Air Force. That's not a typo...I was 10. My first bowl game. Air Force won...but it was fun in that I was deemed "old enough" to ride the bus to downtown Houston to meet dad for the game...

RICE: Rice, you say? Well, nothing to report much (they tend to be awful), but as a young teen, my family had season tickets and it was fun seeing lots of SWC foes, and of course, one of my favorite bands, The MOB.

HOUSTON ASTROS: Too many games to count...but a couple highlights...
1986 NLCS Game vs. the Mets: I can't remember if we won...but I was in the Astrodome for at least one game (my mom saw the famous 16 inning affair where the Mets clinched...)
2005 World Series vs. Chicago White Sox, Game 3: Wow, the pageantry...media everywhere, Baseball tonight setup in the outfield, you name it. We lost (well, we were swept...but it was the closest sweep ever...all games either extra innings or 1-run decisions...), but it was just so cool to say I was at the World Series...

TEXAS RANGERS: Several games, none too memorable, except two at old Arlington Stadium. One, in the late 70s/early 80s, my Granny had a heart attack in the bathroom and the team doctor had to treat her...stinks she had it, but she lived another 25+ years and I got a ball signed by the whole team!. And in 1985(?), my dad caught an Oddibe McDowell fly ball (his first game, actually) and I got it signed by him.

PITTSBURGH PIRATES: Not sure, I just know I went to at least one game at old Three Rivers Stadium in the late 70s...when the Pirates were actually winning World Series'....

2008 vs. Cal. State-Fullerton: My first official trip to TCU's fairly new stadium. Nice college park...and it was fun to go to Jax's first "I can comprehend what is going on" baseball game (technically he's been to a couple Ft. Worth Cats games...but he was a baby). The Titans are a perennial power, so it made for a festive crowd.

Mid-90s, various games. I only used a ticket once...I usually just sat on a blanket on the right field hill at the old (CRUDDY) stadium.

RICE: I saw the 2004(?) game at Reckling Park where Rice clinched a spot in the College World Series. VERY fun...great place to watch a game.

Houston Rockets:I went to a handful of games in the 80s and 90s, often sitting courtside due to Enron having tickets there. I do remember going to the deciding game of a playoff series vs. the Lakers...we lost, and I had to hold dad back from giving the refs a piece of his mind as they exited the tunnel...haha.

NBA All-Star Game, 1989: It was at the Astrodome, and oh, the star power...Kareem. Jordan. Bird. Magic. Hakeem. Barkley. Malone. Stockton. Worthy. Dominique. Dang.

1995 (?) NCAA Tourney Sweet Sixteen. It was in Reunion Arena, and it featured Arkansas, Michigan, Tulsa...and some team I cannot recall. But the Clinton's came...and they were BOOED, even with 10,000+ Razorback fans in attendance...wow.

Late-80s NCAA First Round. At the Erwin Center in Austin...with dad. Very fun all-day affair, and I remember at least one HUGE upset we saw...involving Princeton, maybe?

TCU: Mostly unmemorable games (for obvious reasons), but one time in 1997 I was invited on the court for a halftime shooting contest. I could choose among spots on the floor for things like books, gift certificates...or the 2 round-trip tickets anywhere in the USA from half court. I had one shot...and it clanked off the rim, off the backboard, and off the rim...the crowd got excited, crescendoed, then "AW!". Applause. from 5,000ish. Nice :-)

I also saw Utah come to TCU in 97, the year they made it to the final. We barely lost, and Coach Majerus proclaimed, "This was the hardest place we've played in all year." Way to go, TCU fan...even if only for one game...


I don't remember the year exactly (early 90s?), but my first ever game was an exhibition between Team USA and the "CIS" (aka, Russians) at The Summit in Houston with my dad.

In addition to many minor league games, usually either the Ft. Worth Fire or Brahmas, but one fun game with Andy Payne to see the Houston Aeros (sitting on the glass, that was cool), I have been to two Dallas Stars games, both while I was in college.

SOCCER: Yes, I am a weird American that LOVES soccer...even just watching it.

FC Dallas/Dallas Burn: MANY games...here are a few highlights...
1996 Franchise Opener vs. San Jose Clash: A bunch of BUX guys and I (BUX= "Brothers Under Christ", the fraternity I was in during my TCU days) wore red and sat in the corner of the Cotton Bowl where the "crazies" sat, and it was awesome! I specifically remember US National teamer Eric Wynalda flipping us off as we all chanted "WAL-DO...WAL-DO!" (his nickname) as he prepped to take a corner kick. We all booed loudly...
1996 Cinco de Mayo vs. Columbus Crew: This game (to this day) stands as the franchise record for the largest crowd: 35,000+. Festive atmosphere...too bad the game was a clunker (0-0).

I attended over half of the home games the first year, including one with my cousin Derek (another futbol fan), as well as many more in the first few years of their existence. I should've had season tickets!

After the Burn "re-branded" as FC Dallas and moved to Pizza Hut Park, I attended 4 or 5 more games...I love the new stadium, but dang it, it is OUT THERE!

In 1998 (I think? maybe 99?), I went to Kansas City over the summer to visit the girl I was dating, and we went to Arrowhead stadium to watch the Kansas City Wizards vs. San Jose with about 8,000 others in an 80,000 seat stadium...felt like we were bb's in a barrel haha.

English Premier League:
Ok, one of my all-time highlights in life: While on vacation to England with my family in 1999, my dad and I somehow got tickets to the season opener for Chelsea FC, hosting Sunderland (Chelsea won 4-0...INCREDIBLE game). WOW. I had my Gianfranco Zola jersey on (that I bought the day before) and we sat in the Shed End, upper level. The passion and noise in that ground was unbelievable...we Americans have NOTHING on those fans over there (and I include college football crazies as well...). On the way to the stadium ("Stanford Bridge"), walking in a mass of fans from both sides from the Tube station, a few Sunderland fans (in their signature red/white striped shirts) start ripping on Chelsea and their team of "stupid foreigners", speaking louder as they passed me in my Zola shirt (he's Italian), looking down at me and smirking (the lead "talker" was about my age, but a foot taller). In my best American accent, I say back, "That's ok, I'm a stupid foreigner, too!" He smiled, went "blech", and moved on. My dad thought we were about to be victims of hooligan violence haha...

1994 World Cup: Spain vs. South Korea, Cotton Bowl: This was the game that got my true "soccer fandom" started. The World Cup was an event I didn't want to miss, so I got two tickets and drove from Houston to Dallas to meet my aunt, "Aufu". We sat among a bunch of South Korean fans... The game ended 2-2 after a S. Korean rally (they were supposed to lose) and the place erupted. I especially liked the Spanish brass band that sat midfield opposite us and would start playing songs that the thousands of Spaniards would gleefully sing to. Awesome!

1996 Olympics:
Men's Semifinal, Brazil vs. Nigeria: My family (mom, dad, me, and Jill) and my "Georgia family" (Uncle Don, Derek, Doug, Leslie, and her husband Jud) all sat in Athens, GA's Samford Stadium among a ton of crazy (but fun) Brazilians. The game featured many future stars (Ronaldo, Kanu, etc.) and at first looked to be a Brazilian rout. But the Nigerians fought on...tied it and sent it to extra time, and I got to witness the first ever "Golden Goal" game (aka sudden death...first to score wins...world soccer has since gone back to playing full extra times regardless of who scores first), as Nigeria won! The small group of Nigerians across the stadium from us went BONKERS. I was so happy for them!

Women's Bronze and Gold Medal Games: The Bronze game I don't remember as much (except Norway won), but the highlight was the Gold Medal Game of USA vs. China. USA won, and it was so great to see them get their medals!

Well, that's all I can think of for now...but they are all such fun memories!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Wow...Ike Beat up My Hometown

I grew up in Houston. While I am not sure I really want to live there again, it is still home and I always will have a soft spot for the place, like to visit, etc.

But it seems like Hurricane Ike just kicked its' butt.

I was looking at pictures of the devastation (go to www.chron.com to check some out), and I felt all kinds of emotions. Shock. Sadness. Bewilderment. Confusion. Compassion.

But I also felt hope.

Maybe it's the pictures of people coming together to help each other, especially complete strangers and neighbors that until now never took the time to get to know each other. Maybe it the stories my parents tell of finding joy in "playing cards by lantern" at night in their dark, hot, powerless home. Heck, maybe it's because the Bee Gees' "Stayin' Alive" is playing on itunes as I type this. But ultimately, I know that God always pushes through the chaos in times like this. People come together, despite differences. Stories of miraculous rescues and situations arise. People's faith is renewed, or they believe for the first time. As scripture says, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 10That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

May times like these bring folks to Jesus. And my ultimate prayer is that this faith continues and isn't just a "flash in the pan" like it can be for some folks. I hope for many it is a true life-altering experience where priorities are changed to put God-first, where attitudes and motivations are forever focused on Him...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

We've All Got Something...

Romans 3:23 is a scripture verse that hits me like a truck sometimes: "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God". I know many dispute that we are all inherently sinful from the get-go, saying that God would not allow His creation to naturally wish to go against Him, or that they may "know" that they are sinful...but not really believe it/acknowledge it, and thus (in my eyes) struggle to truly surrender to God, struggle to really believe that they need God to be in control.

In addition to my own vast examples of falling short for my entire life, I often use, as an example to those needing to realize the depth of sin, the life of my son, Jackson. Don't get me wrong, I thank God every day for Jax, and do believe he's a "good boy" generally, with lots of joy, love and energy. But the boy lies. And he wants his way. And he treats others disrespectfully at times. Did he learn it from his parents? Oh sure, i bet so. From others? Absolutely. But, I have seen this since he was able to make his own decisions. To me, it is just proof that in our heart from the start, we DON'T want to do what's right, what's self-less, what is God's standard.

Problem is, even if we acknowledge that "all have sinned...", we do a really good job of a) rationalizing our own failings too often (and thus not repenting), b) treating various "sins" in different levels (when "sin is sin, period"), and c) often ignoring some of those "under the radar" evidences of sin...

Today, for some reason, I feel compelled to expose some of those "under the radar" examples of sin in my life and others. My hope and prayer is that this won't discourage you, anger you (at me, at least haha), or make you just sigh and give up, but instead realize your continued need and total reliance on God for ALL things (including your cleansing of sin), give you a willingness to be open to those "hidden" areas where God needs to permeate, and if nothing else, bring up the big white elephants in the room no one likes to talk about.

So, what about (in no order):

...when we truly don't ever seem to put God FIRST in our lives? This is ultimately the problem in all other areas of sin. If God really, really was first, all would be well...but alas, more often than not, we don't. I am as guilty as anyone. What are some "not as obvious" ways this happens? When I put my family BEFORE God as a priority...I need to love God more than Missy, Jax, my parents...you catch the drift. And almost as tough, I should want the same from them towards God: I am second. But we don't do that well, huh? We sacrifice all things for our significant other, or some "friend group" we desperately want to be a part of, or more money, or just the desire to "be cool".

...when we use the "God card" to manipulate situations to get our way, or what we see as "best"? Sure, God speaks, and sure, often what He may be saying to us or others can be confusing, but I know too many times where this can be abused or misunderstood. Unfortunately, too often I see this being a major thorn in the sides of those truly gifted in "hearing/sensing God's leading" in themselves and others. At their best, they are true messengers and prophets...at their worst, though, they can manipulate, they can attribute all leanings and feelings to "God speaking to me" (when He really may not be), and ultimately, a "God-complex" can occur. I have great respect for those seeking to be "in tune" with the Lord...but more respect for those who do it humbly, with discernment, grace, and accountability...

...when we rail against certain specific sin struggles/occurrences in others that "freak us out" or we just think are horrible...but turn a blind eye to other sin struggles/occurrences that are culturally more acceptable/"don't seem to hurt anyone"/etc. You know what I mean... We gladly rail against homosexuals, or folks who are divorced, or people struggling with addiction, but conveniently ignore gluttony, materialism, elitism, racism (because I think EVERYONE, no matter what we think of ourselves, is guilty of this at some level), feeling "entitled" to things, or simply just having a bad attitude... The extremes of this sin are either unrepentant bashing, confronting, and judging of those struggling with those "bad, icky sins" while ignoring other issues, and the flip side of just going, "Oh well, we are all sinners...", never taking a stand on anything, and not lovingly seek to bring ourselves and others toward utter reliance on Christ to make us more like Himself.

...when, in view of sin in general, we just go, "Oh well, I'm just a sinner", and make no efforts to rely on God to change our hearts, attitudes and actions. To me, this is just selfish and lazy...and I'm the king of it. I do believe God is continually making me more and more like Jesus (aka sanctification), and I can look back at my life and see behaviors and attitudes that are completely different, but I still catch myself with this attitude at times. You know, when you just want to ignore seeking God at all for a season...or you choose to foster a bad attitude toward something or someone (you know what I mean...like, when folks are bashing someone and you decide to "jump into the fun" instead of walk away...or, gasp!, defend the person...), or decide to lust after something or someone, you know the drill. Basically, I think those who call themselves "Christians" throw in the towel WAY too easily...

...when we treat God like a "cosmic vending machine" of forgiveness. You know, when we either do something wrong, but after just go, "sorry God...thanks for forgiving me", and make no attempts at repentance and surrender, or worse, we knowingly go into a situation with every intention of doing the wrong thing...but in the back of your mind go, "God will forgive me...it's cool." Does God forgive and forgive and forgive? Absolutely (and we need to rejoice in that and let it motivate us to better things), and actually I tend to see forgiveness not as something God does again and again, but as something He did once and for all on the Cross... The key is we need to REMEMBER it and allow it to truly sink in and affect us... Sadly, we often don't...

...finally (not that there aren't other examples), when we, as I alluded to earlier briefly, feel "entitled" to blessings, or that we deserve anything. I catch myself here as well: "God, I've been trying so hard...can't you throw me a bone here?" Now, I do believe God blesses us IMMENSELY, when we stop to really look at things...problem is, we want blessings using our own criteria...and our timing. I also don't personally subscribe to what some call "name it and claim it" or "prosperity" theologies, where if you REALLY believe, you won't get sick, or won't have hardships, or will get tons of cash, or will basically get whatever you desire...to me, that completely cheapens what Jesus did for us...

So, my hope and prayer is that I (and we) will be willing to allow God to completely permeate, expose, motivate, and CHANGE us. We need to realize that sin is sin, and sin is "us". We are nothing without Christ. And instead of just going, "Oh well, Que sera, sera", toward all this...well, we need to fall on our faces and follow our Lord again...woohoo that God will always be faithful, LOVE us, and pick us up!



Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Elevation ReBoot ReCap

Lots of "re's" in the title, haha...

Well, overall I am pleased with how our Elevation ReBoot went (aka, our re-worked Sunday evening event for teens at church). Did I have dreams of the RedHouse "workin' alive" (to quote my Granny) with teens? Sure...but even though it wasn't packed to the gills, there was definitely a buzz...and kids brought friends...and some teens who have NEVER come to Elevation (but come to church occasionally) were there and said they loved it. I really try to not be a "numbers=success"-guy, but I was pleased with the turnout, glad there wasn't just a couple kids there, and definitely think we started strong and can build on it. Worship/singing time went well (some new songs though, so not everyone sang...but still not bad), the "Heavy Metal Drummer Wake-Up" video was well recieved (I'm trying to post it here...if it will let me), and the message was timely ("Mailing It In"...basically, challenging us to give our best, our "firstfruits" if you will, to following Christ and try to not be so "meh", going through motions, etc...I know I have been there recently, if not really right now...), and I'm glad that the "on purpose" lots of hangout time allotted at the end of Elevation went well. If anything, things I will look to do this week are:

*** Either add one more "element", as we got done a bit earlier than planned with actual "stuff" (done with singing/message at 6:20...was shooting for 6:30), or just start the actual proceedings 5 or so minutes later...we will just see how it all goes in coming weeks.

*** Plan on a true "meal" (even if "come-and-go"), but have a "food fund" set up so kids can drop some cash to help pay if they are able... I have tried getting volunteers to provide food in the past, with varying levels of success (aka, often nobody signs up, it can get expensive, etc.), but could tell some were disappointed that there were only snacks...

At any rate, a good start to a "new" thing!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Excited for Our Re-Booted Sunday Evening Event

For the 4+ years I've been in Weatherford, we've had a Sunday evening event called "Elevation". At first, it was just a fun gathering meeting same time, same location...but that quickly got old, so often we would go on "special outings" that many times cost money, but drew quite a crowd. Well, that got old, too, and it seemed like things were just becoming stagnant. Kids were often "meh" about coming.

Elevation was started because when I arrived here, there was no (as far as I could tell) vibrant Sunday evening gathering for the teens, and I decided to have one. The name "Elevation" popped in my head, as I was listening to the U2 song of the same name and decided that the goal of such and event would be to "elevate" the spirits and hearts of the kids involved. But one thing I unapologetically did for the bulk of Elevation's history was make it unashamedly about fun...honestly, there was little overt spiritual content. And that truly started to bug me after a couple years...but I just sensed the teens wouldn't go for more spiritual stuff at Elevation... In fact, one reason I made it more about "fun" was that, apparently, past Sunday eveing events had been viewed as "Sunday School Part 2", and the kids were glad Elevation was something else...

Well, I toyed with short devotionals, tried to plug in a short worship/singing time, but since the rest of the night was usually playing dodgeball or something, it just didn't fit.

Earlier this year, a cool thing happened though...at one of our "HangoutZones" (where kids can come and just hang out after school), a group of 8 or so teens and myself were talking and one mentions making Elevation something deeper...with more purpose. The others agreed, and my heart lept with joy as I had been desiring the same thing for quite some time! I truly believe God had been speaking to us and it was time to ponder changes. We brainstormed alot over the past several months...and this Sunday, we "reboot" Elevation. The goal is for it to be something that al who attend truly "enjoy". Will it be fun? Well, sure, usually...but that will no longer be the goal. You see, I think we can enjoy something without it always having to be fun. I can hear a meaty sermon that makes my head hurt, and it ccertainly isn't "fun"...but I enjoyed it. It was worth my time. It makes me ponder deeper things. So, my prayer is that all attending (no matter the age) enjoy the times of singing our hearts out, laugh at the funny videos and skits, give it their all in contests for prizes, and truly "get something" from our short messages that will be just what they need to be best prepared for the week God has laid before them...

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Planet Wisdom Promo Video

Someone was up to no good at last year's DFW Planet Wisdom Student Conference...

Get ready about the 1:19 mark...and again a bit later...and again toward the end...


Monday, September 1, 2008

wow, it's September

I can barely believe we are already in the 9th month of 2008. One thing I've noticed (and this won't come as a shock to many) is that as I age, the years go by faster and faster. In some ways that is a nice thing (waiting for things seeming "far away" time-wise tend to feel like they occur more quickly now), but in others...still to be determined. I can't tell if I really like the fact that before I know it, I will be 50 and Jax will be in college (haha)! But, I hear that is what tends to happen...

Regardless, I am excited for the adventure that will be late-08!