Stressful weekend ahead…

There is the back.

And here is the front.

We’re closing on Friday! After quite a process and many concessions (all on our side), we’re finally closing the deal on our next house.

Also on Friday… about 200 youth and youth leaders will descend into our nice little valley for the Spring Thing youth rally that we’re hosting (see post below).

Now if I could just figure out how to get a little separation in the big, hairy stressful things in life… Actually, my freshman year of college I took a life stress evaluation survey thingamading for psych class and had been through like 13 of the 15 most stressful life events within 6 months. How did I get in this pattern??? Oh well. I get to buy a house Friday morning and race go-karts Friday night. Who can complain?

Only One More Week…

Only one more week until a couple hundred students and youth leaders converge on WestWay for the weekend! Things have come together pretty well. Pray for good weather – we’ll be going to the Great Escape (mini-golf, go karts, etc…) Friday night!

Shaped by God’s Life

One last phrase from the first chapter of 1 Peter:

“…let yourself be pulled into a way of life shaped by God’s life, a life energetic and blazing with holiness. God said, ‘I am holy; you be holy.”

Because God is holy and it is this Holy God that has called us into relationship with Himself, we should be holy. That’s not some ritual cleaning type of holiness, but a real and practical way of living life.

We are not shown to be holy by our collection of perfect attendance pins. We are not proved holy by the stillness of our prayer or the size of our offering check or the volume of our singing. Holiness is evidenced in the way we live our lives. It is seen in our treatment of the idiot drivers around us and the teachers that give us too much homework and the bosses that overlook our hard work and our parents and coaches and that kid that’s always in the background and the one who’s obnoxiously calling attention to himself…

Is your way of life shaped by God’s life?

Photo Fun

Got my wife a new camera, so I’m messing around with it before she gets it! Probably will never get to pry it out of her hands again, so I’ll have to enjoy it while I can.

This is a partial view of the corner of my office. (And no, they’re not posing, they’re just like that!)

“Are You Conscious?” or “God at Work” or “The Traveling Excitements of My Family of Five”

A third phrase from the first couple chapters of 1 Peter that really stands out to me is this: “Your life is a journey you must travel with a deep consciousness of God.”

Echoing the thought that we are foreigners on this earth, Peter urges us to live in constant awareness of God being at work. He’s at work now, so what’s He doing? How should I be responding to His working?

Last week, my brother in law and his wife had their first child, Kole Malachi. They only live a few hours away, so we left Thursday night for a visit. On the way home Saturday, we had a little ‘incident’ on the road. Now I know some of you that will read this live in higher traffic places like LA or Denver or Tryon (ok maybe not Tryon) and this may be a commonplace kind of thing, but I’ll have to admit to being pretty shocked at this type of road rage in the land of big skies, wide open spaces, and long stretches of clear highways…

Here’s what happened. As we left one small town, I brought our mini-van up to the speed limit (yes, I specifically checked because I remember my dad getting a huge ticket in this vicinity once for a couple mph too many.) Set the cruise and settled in for the next 10 mile stretch to the next little town. A car well ahead of me put on his blinker and slowed down to turn left – then just kept driving down the road. I quickly caught up to him and slowed down to about 45 mph to stay behind him thinking he’d be turning any moment. I didn’t want to pass him because I didn’t know where he’d be turning, so I thought I’d be polite and stay behind him. Apparently he didn’t think it was as polite as I was.

After what seemed like forever, but was probably about a mile, he was going about 35 on the highway (where the speed limit is 65) and I could tell that the moment we’d all been waiting for had arrived! Behold, a dirt road emerged from the fields on the north to show those who were eastbound the way home. Surely, he was taking this road. Yes, he’s turning! He’s sliding over into the other lane (which is ok, because there’s no oncoming traffic for miles).

As he begins his turn, I move to the right to pass, halfway into the emergency lane of the highway (which the nice state trooper I’ll meet later in the story says is perfectly legal as long as you stay on the pavement and the car you’re passing is indeed turning left). This is where things get ugly. The car in front of me suddenly slams on his brakes and pulls back in front of me (it was a move that has made many NASCAR drivers proud and many other NASCAR drivers boil over with rage). But instead of pushing him out of my way like Busch may do to Biffle, I hit my brakes and passed on the now wide open left. As I did so, I saw much wailing and flailing of arms – instructing me to pull over. I don’t think so!

As my heart catches back up to the beat that kept going when I slammed on the brakes, I check my mirror and find to my dismay that him who had gone before was now coming behind – rapidly! (All joking aside, I was scared he was going to hit us.) He pulled up next to my left side and began waving and pointing and mouthing for me to pull over. There is no way I’m pulling over on this stretch of highway to talk with him! So again, as he tries to cut me off, I do the old crossover and pass him back, to which he again speeds up to my bumper.

To speed this long story up… He reported me to the highway patrol for reckless driving, and about a half hour later I pulled over to explain the aforementioned events to a state trooper. For about the next 20 minutes or so, I gave my side of the story. After asking me if I wanted to press charges against the other guy for reckless driving (a process for which I have neither taste nor time), he said he had to go talk with said ‘other guy’ and get his version and proceed from there. Last night he called and told me that the guy said I was lying, but that no charges were being filed. It’s done….

But, before being relieved at this conclusion I had spoken with my mother in law and told her of our adventure. She seemed a little apprehensive to say so, but told me that during their Saturday night service, she had felt the need to pray specifically for us as we traveled. Not just the generic ‘traveling mercies’ kind of thing, but really an urgent sense that we needed to be prayed for right now. (Just in case you didn’t connect the dots, this was happening to her at the same time the ‘incident’ was happening to us.)

You can chalk it up to whatever you want, but I’m glad my wife’s mom lives “with a deep consciousness of God.”

Are you conscious?

Building Stones

“Welcome to the living Stone, the source of life. The workmen took one look and threw it out; God set it in the place of honor. Present yourselves as building stones for the construction of a sanctuary vibrant with life, in which you’ll serve as holy priests offering Christ-approved lives up to God.”

Our second 1 Peter phrase. Just so there’s no confusion… we’re talking about Jesus here. The Living Stone. The Source of Life. Rejected by the builders. Honored by the Creator.

It’s awesome to think that as I place myself into God’s hand, He joins me to the Living Stone in building a life filled sanctuary where He can dwell. Not only is my life a gift from Him, it is my offering to Him, and it is a home for Him.

“Among the Natives”

There are some great phrases in the first couple chapters of The Message translation of 1 Peter. Phrases that stick in my mind…

“…let yourself be pulled into a way of life shaped by God’s life, a life energetic and blazing with holiness. God said, ‘I am holy; you be holy.'”

“Your life is a journey you must travel with a deep consciousness of God.”

“Welcome to the living Stone, the source of life. The workmen took one look and threw it out; God set it in the place of honor. Present yourselves as building stones for the construction of a sanctuary vibrant with life, in which you’ll serve as holy priests offering Christ-approved lives up to God.”

“Live an exemplary life among the natives so that your actions will refute their prejudices.”

Over the next few days, I want to comment on these few verses, starting with that last one. It is evident today, that ‘among the natives’ of our world, following Jesus is no big deal. Jesus is seen as one option among many. And many people in our society who do choose to call themselves Christian live lives that look very little like the life of Jesus. A good number of them even seem hostile toward the very Body of Christ.

The stereotypical Christian response to ‘the world’ seems to be to withdraw into a churchy shell, do everything possible to build an appearance of being holy, and boycott anything that might reveal a crack in that facade. But this is not living ‘among the natives’. If all our good is done inside the church bubble, the world will not see it. And they’ll hold on to their prejudices.

Thankfully, that stereotype does not ring true for a growing number of Jesus’ followers. There are many who have traversed beyond the bounds of the bubble and are living out their following of Christ in full view of ‘the natives’. They love them the way Jesus does. They treat them the way Jesus does. They teach them the way Jesus does. And the walls of prejudice that many have built up against the church are giving way to the power of His Coming Kingdom.

May all our lives display Him so fully that others will come to give Him glory with us and celebrate with us when He returns.

Then it dawned on me…

I heard a youth minister today talking about turning 30 before too many years pass. I’m already there, and lately it’s struck me that I’m closer in age to my students’ parents than to my students! A lot of people are surprised by that. Sometimes, I am too.

They are surprised because a lot of people don’t realize how old I am (not that 30 is old – I just get mistaken for one of the kids often). I’m surprised because I feel such affinity for students that I forget that I’m twice as old as they are. I don’t know what the proper way to be 30 is, but I’m pretty sure I’m not following it. At least I’m not living the way I always thought adulthood would be.

My life is an odd mixture of adult and student… Example: We’ve been looking for a house in our new town lately. As we wrestle with decisions about type of mortgage, sufficient bedroom space, garage, wiring, furnace, flooring blah blah blah… I keep thinking, discipleship group hangout room, pinball, coke machine, surround sound PS2 on a wall mounted flat screen… If I wasn’t married with 3 kids of my own and purchasing a house to replace the one we sold several months ago, I might wonder about a guy like me.

It’s wierd being an adult kid… or, kid adult… or Peter Pan…



After I posted this, I found a link on Marko’s blog to this Lark News Article (Youth Pastor Hazing On the Rise). Ok, so it’s not exactly the same issue, but the article is funny. Just in case you don’t realize this… Lark News is satire. If you don’t appreciate satirical looks at touchy issues, don’t read the article.