Friday, July 30, 2010

West Virginia Pictures 5

Our last day of pictures. To see more, make sure to be at Fire & Water Sunday at Fishers United Methodist Church on August 8th. See you there!













Thursday, July 29, 2010

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

West Virginia Pictures 3

All photos today are courtesy of the Henke poys. Thanks guys!













Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Monday, July 26, 2010

West Virginia Pictures 1

Sorry it took so long to get these up today (I'll be quicker tomorrow). I will try to put up a few pictures every day, here are some for Monday.

T













Saturday, July 24, 2010

We're Home!

We made it back safe and sound. My apologies for coming back late, construction and miscommunication does not mix well :)

Thanks to everyone who supported us and prayed for us while we were gone. It was amazing to see how many people were reading the blog and keeping up with us. But we're not done yet! A few things:

1. Be reading Liz's blog! The FIRE group goes on their mission trip tomorrow. She will be posting updates of her trip too (and I'm sure she could use some love and support as we did).

2. I plan to post pictures on this blog all next week of our time in West Virginia. Due to size I hope to put up a few each day for the entire week, so be checking back often to see what we were up to!

Thanks again everyone. See you at church tomorrow!

T

West Virginia: Day 6

It has been a great day. Friday is usually my favorite, and not because we're done with our trip, that's a little saddening. It's become the new day in which we take a few extra hours and talk about the trip in a big group (which doesn't happen during the week). We share stories, talk about what we learned, how we grew, and how we saw others grow. Here are a few stories from out students about the trip.

Nikki Johnson-
Well, the days didn’t always start out with delicious waffles, but how does a peanut butter pie sound? What about home-made fried chicken and bread? When you think about it the “Megantic Mountain” group site at Ida and Willie’s house didn’t seem like much of a work site. Though we did scrub mold off of three houses and built an awning on Ida’s deck, it was more of a “relational” trip than that of the hard labor.
By the end of the week we were all considered Kin to Ida and Willie. We were invited to wonderful meals every day, a clean shower, and they even said they would send us birthday cards every year. The days consistently started out with a “Why hello, Nikki baby “and I was often called her Nikki. I definitely learned that you don’t need to be family to someone to be like a family. The thought and care you can put into making someone’s life better can be way more important than the actual work. According to Nora, Youthworks gave her a life back, and according to Jack, Youthworks gave him his wife back. Every little thing can save a life. Oh, and we saw a cat get his tail shut in a van door today.

Isaac Schaffer-
So, on our last day of the mission trip we visited Morgantown and hung out at Zak’s old church. At night we all circled up and had a long group talk. We shared our thoughts on the people we served, the people we served with, and the people who served us. The talk lasted for about two hours and we could have kept on going but we needed sleep. Troy asked us to give shout outs to members of our church for making an impact on us or others. Me and many others were given a shout outs for working so well with the other church.
At the beginning of the week many kids from our church were worried about how the other churches kids would act. On the first night many of the other kids from Wisconsin said they were surprised at how hard we wanted to work and how they didn’t want to work very hard. After the first few days we bonded very well with the kids from Wisconsin and it turns out that they are very hard workers.
Kevin, a guy in my group teamed up with me and we took care of a crazy kid at Kids club named, A.J., and his nickname was wolverine. We played zombies and school with him and did whatever he told us to do. He was always bouncing off the walls and being crazy to get attention. I started playing a drum beat and wolverine started rapping words that made no sense. Kevin sang like an Indian on top of it and we made a great rap group. It was really good to see wolverine occupied and having fun without being bad. In the end our church and the church from Wisconsin bonded very well and we made a great team.

Bobby Herron-
The mission trip, though extremely relational and deep, centered around actual works projects for my group in particular. Most of the other groups explained how most of the trip revolved around building relations with the townspeople of Williamsburg and the children, and my group, the Notre Dames, certainly did this. Ali, Kendall, Mark, Jason, and members from the other church were blessed to be able to work with two wonderful elderly people, Ernest and Caroline, as well as their grandson, Mathew. As we built them a brand new deck, our relations with the other church and Ernest’s family grew deep.
The week in Mingo County was marked by the growing of friendships and the mutual blessings between the youth workers and the residents in Mingo County. All of this was discussed today when our church gathered at the Wesley United Methodist Church in Morgantown, West Virginia. We shared our joys and the progress we saw within ourselves and the people we served, which included roughly two hours of discussing the amazing things we saw changing in people and the movement of God within our lives. From this trip we will take with us the memories and the motivation of seeing God at work through friends and family and use this to continue to serve like Jesus in the future.

We really have had a great trip. It was so impactful we even made the local paper (there's a good picture of Bobby Herron and Mark Ogle building a deck)! We are thankful for all your support and can't wait to see some smiling faces tomorrow when we get home. Until then.

T

Friday, July 23, 2010

West Virginia: Day 5

Sorry to be brief, it has been a long day, good-byes to those we worked with, a long time in prayer and foot-washing, but a really, really good day. And here are some friends to talk about it.

Aaron Henke-
This was quite an interesting week. I finally got to do a work project for the week. My group was in charge with painting a house. I thought that my painting of the house would be the way I would show God’s love for the people of the community. It turns out we learned more about God’s love. Marvin (the home owner) told us a story in the rain after lunch about his guardian angles. He was on a trip to Florida with friends. While there he got caught in the undertow. Right when he was going to give up, two boys on surfboards came and helped to shore. When he returned to his friends, his friends did not believe anyone helped him and they could not find the two boys.
Everyday on this trip we talked about how we need to focus on God’s wants and not our wants. I really wanted to finish painting this house. Once we got the first coat on many people felt we did not need to continue working. I had seen many spots that needed retouching. I had talked to Dan Spall about what to do. He told me that I showed finish the house. That night I dreamt about painting the light blue on the house. I think God slapped me in the face about what I was supposed to accomplish for the final. We were able to finish the house and made it look really nice.

Ginny Herron-
Yo! Today was a great day. I was in the Adirondack crew, soo basically that means me and the Piedmont crew got to hang out with kids all week! Which in all honesty wore most of us if not all of us out. We also visited a nursing home twice, today being the second time.
Around 9 we left for the nursing home. Once there we all split up into pairs or groups and talked with the elderly people. Me and Allison talked with two super sweet ladies, Virginia and I think Joyce. Virginia said she didn’t feel great but she smiled at us with a big smile and made us feel right at home….. Joyce walked around with us and shared some of her past. Around 10 we all headed to the activity room and Kevin, Andy, Jordan and Paul played music! Laura and me sang. They seemed to enjoy it,as well as all the youth talking around them to them.
Then we went to kids club! The theme today was superheroes. One group acted and David and Goliath. Four square was played pretty much ALL DAY by adults and little kids alike. A water balloon fight was also part of the agenda. Kickball happened as well.
Tonight was the footwashing. Emotional and great as usual. Can’t wait to see y'all Sunday.

Alec Balasko-
I’m back again to blog about my week. This week has been very strange, very fun, and very tiring. We had drama, but we all got along…mostly. We are all at least a little bit tired from this week. The humidity and hotness of Mingo County has done a number on us.
This week I worked at 2 different worksites. For the first 2 days I was at Faye’s house helping her weed gardens, clean windows, and clear basements. When we arrived we were greeted by Faye smiling and shaking all of our hands. We immediately got down to business. We split up into 3 groups. One group went into the flowerbed to start weeding, one group started washing windows, and the other, my group, went into the basement to start clearing things out. When we entered the basement it was like we had gone back it time. We found many very cool items in her basement including an old Maytag washing machine from the 50s.
The second day we returned to Faye’s for much of the same, but this time we had a lot less work to do. We spent the majority of that day sitting. Luckily, the next day we went to a site where we actually had something to do!
On day 3 we went to Dona’s for the first time and we immediately got to scraping paint off of the front porch in order for us to paint it. On the first day we got the front deck all painted and he back deck all scraped. On the 4th day we arrived and immediately Dona wanted a picture. We all got on the newly painted deck and she took and picture then Dona ran inside to call the newspaper. We were able to finish the back porch and paint some furniture for the front porch. It was a great last day.
All in all this was an interesting but fun mission trip. We learned a lot and we are hoping to return with our lessons and apply them to our life back home.

It's been a great week. If we have internet you will hear from us tomorrow. If not, see you Saturday!

T

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

West Virginia: Day 4

It's the middle of the week! What some people have said is the hardest day seems to have been one of our best. We managed to get a lot of projects done, Kids Club was the calmest and most fun it's been all week, and we went to a nice small town country Baptist Church for our evening activity where we heard about Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane as well as lessons about how we should be doing things for God and not for others. But to give you an idea of what we have been doing, a few students have some to share...

Kari Lorentson-
I’m on the Uplands group and today we had a super productive day. My group is painting a house and today we finished the entire first coat so tomorrow we will be able to finish any touch ups. A few of the girls on the team also had fun with the homeowner Pam by helping her wash her dog!! For the evening activity, everyone went to a church service which was awesome! Andy and Zak shared their musical talents by leading the congregation in a praise song. Afterwards, members of the church invited us downstairs for some great food and fellowship!

Dan Spall-
This week seemed to start somewhat slowly for a lot of us with respect to growing and understanding God. But in many ways this mission trip has been different from other mission trips in how we have to balance being Christians and doing service. In the past, it’s been either do work or talk with people. Now we are doing both. Today that truly clicked in many of us, and it has been incredible. We are all hoping that tomorrow will bring with it the chance to continue with this new understanding, and use it to its full potential. We’re running out of time here in West Virginia, and every second counts because every second is God’s.

Sarah Wade-
Today, my group, the Megantic Mountains, went back to Ida and Willie’s house. We are trying to stretch out our time because the people are so amazing. Ida lives right next to her sister and daughter. We have washed her house and her sister’s the past two days. Her daughter’s came today. More importantly, we spent time talking to the people. They tell us that we are such a blessing. We also experienced chocolate delight today, and it was like something I have never tasted. Our group took a picture with everyone we have helped and we went to Walmart to get the picture developed and put it in a frame. We are giving one to Ida and her sister and writing a message to them on the frame. It is honestly true that we get just as much out of this trip, if not more, than they do.

Our students (and leaders) are doing great! Thanks for all your prayers and support, we really appreciate them. We'll have more updates tomorrow. Until then.

T

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

West Virginia: Day 3

Well, day three has ended. People have been finishing work projects, the crew working on kids club also went to a nursing home, and we also witnessed the awesomeness of a bluegrass concert and dancing. I wish we could post pictures and videos, but that would take too long (sorry, we will have some up next week). But as to stories, here are a few from our students:

Daniel Ogle-
Today I started it off with a little hesitation because we were going to a nursing home and I'm not that much of a conversation starter. I ended up talking to a lady named Gertrude most of the time and I am looking forward to go back Thursday to visit some more with her. Then I headed off to kids club and ran into wolverine a few times (a kid named AJ who is basically wolverine). I have had the most time bonding with the kids playing sports with them in the parking lot and I can tell its going to be hard to leave. Thanks for praying for us.

Ellen Randall-
You know its going to be a good day when it starts with waffles! My worksite is in Delbarton, a small mining town about twenty minutes away. In Delbarton, my group is painting a house for a very lively couple named Pam and Marvin (but he prefers us to call him Bo). Bo picked a very bright blue for his house… and even that color lights up my day. It’s really great to be working for Pam and Bo, because they are both talkative and friendly. Pam is deaf & her ability to lip-read AMAZES me! She is so patient and wonderful with all of us & we are all so blessed to be working with her! Bo also loves to talk to us and has some pretty amazing stories! The couple also has a love for dogs, which is something that I’m lucky to share with them. The painting, by the way, is going great! I also got over my fear of ladders after falling of a one foot stepping stool and breaking my foot a couple years ago. We’ve had a great evening of square dancing, which has made me very tired! It’s been a great day, but I am now ready to crash on my air mattress!

Chloe Bultemeyer-
Today was my second day on my first official mission trip and it was well… interesting. It started out great when I woke up to the smell of waffles. But the best part of the beginning of the day was when I talked to Ida, the person’s house we are working on. When chatting with her, I found out that there use to be a house where her house is now and her and her husband, Willy, got married at that spot! I think that’s so cool. Surprisingly, I offered to go with 5 guys to the lumber yard to get some wood and I didn’t get a splinter when I picked up a long piece of wood. The 5 guys I went with were pretty awesome. When we got to Ida’s house, I went to working on her sister’s house who lives next to her. A little into working Ida calls into eat and it was some of the best home made food… no offense to my mom and dad. After s we were working it started to down pour but I was a trooper and kept working on a ladder. This evening after a dinner of TACOS and showing, we went to a bluegrass concert. And I actually enjoyed it! I had so much fun! My new friend Haley is from Wisconsin and she is great and being in West Virginia is awesome as well as BEAUTIFUL. However, I have started talking in a mix of a country and Wisconsin accent… Dancing has worn me out so I am heading off for bed but I want to thank everyone for praying for us because it is great to know we have people at home supporting us. See everyone one Saturday.

Thanks everyone for your prayers and support, we'll have more updates tomorrow!

T

Monday, July 19, 2010

West Virginia: Day 2

Day two here at West Virginia, we had our first actual day of serving, four work crews and two crews together working at a Kids Club. We also had a fun evening of learning about the area and visiting a coal mine museum. But, I'll let other share on this.

Dustin Meeks-
The very first day of the mission trip was one full of surprises Troy true to his word put everyone out of their comfort zone especially himself (kids club+ Troy = hmmm). I was posted to a work project in the nearby town of Belfy, Kentucky. Now if you know me (Dustin+ Work Project = hmmmm?) so I was pretty nervous, but after being lost for half an hour I was greeted with an exciting surprise Fay the elderly woman who’s house we were going to work on was an incredibly nice and adorable person. I was assigned to help her clean out her house full of mementos of her life and her sixty year marriage which was abruptly ended last year with the death of her husband. After only an hour of work in the cool damp basement Fay was a little tired and so we retired upstairs to her affectionately cared for kitchen that reminded me so much of my own Grandma’s kitchen. Being the sweet women that Fay is she quickly set to work making all of the members of my work crew the greatest hot dogs ever. She made a homemade queso and her own special chili and she shared the secret to the perfect chili queso dog (Honey Mustard) who knew. I then proceeded to talk with her for two hours instead of working. So I felt bad that I wasn’t working at our work project but I had a conversation that changed my life. Fay is a collector of things and while my job this week is to help her declutter her home of unused things I have come to appreciate her love for knickknacks and gewgaws ( I love that word). She has a collection of Everything old and nostalgic. She was so easy to talk to and I know that she is going to be the method by which God will speak to me this week.

Thanks for your Prayers,

Mark Ogle-
Today was a great day to serve. I was put in a group that suited my abilities well. We were assigned to build a deck for an elderly couple and their grandson. The husband worked in the coal mines for decades and ruined his lungs in the process. He is confined to a 50 foot line of oxygen in his home. The ramp is basically to give him quicker access to get to a hospital if need be. The family welcomed us with warm Christian hospitality and Coroline made spaghetti for our group. I saw two open bibles in the family room with notes and heard references to God throughout the day with them. It feels great to be serving people of great character and faith.
Creating a deck with no plans in 90 degree weather didn’t help. The group worked well together despite this. The screws were very short and we had some difficulties with supplies but we got some solid work done on the deck. I can’t wait for tomorrow to go back and continue a job for other caring people.. I’m learning a lot from their faith. Evangelism isn’t a job on my list this week.

Jessi Tillman-
Today started off well…if you can say well for an overly tired teenager. I am part of the Upland group and we are at a work site. The home belongs to Pam and Marvin….Pam is completely deaf. So getting questions answered and understood was just slightly hard for me personally…but everything went really well. When we first got to the site, Tom (the site director) told us what we were doing and left. So, getting started on what was a little confusing. But we started off my scrapping off paint from the siding and the shutters. This is a painstaking job, especially when you have no masks, short ladders, and cranky teenagers. After scraping most of the shutters, we took a lunch break. Natilie and Taegan and the other leader from the other church, Ann. Went in to use the bathroom. That broke and water was flooding the bathroom. Pam helped them fix it, but when they thought it was fixed, the lid blew up again. That happened twice. After a glorious lunch of sandwiches and cheez-its, we started to paint the trim. It was the coolest color of blue ever. And Pam seemed pretty excited about the color, and so was I. We got some of the trim done, and we hope to finish that up by tomorrow. The museum today was really interesting. Again, when I have left home this year, I have learned something new, like the Hatfield McCoy feud or the massacre that happened in the town that I can’t pronounce or spell. Our church and club times followed, and I really got to learn about some of the cool things Jesus has done. I can’t wait to see how the rest of this week goes!

Another great day of learning about God through serving and showing His love to others. More stories tomorrow, for now it's off to bed (I'm going to sleep good tonight...). Thanks all for your support!

T

Sunday, July 18, 2010

West Virginia: Day 1

We have made it safely to our new home for the next few days, Williamson in Mingo County West Virginia. Our hope is to have a few students let you know what we have been up to every night, so without further ado, here are some stories of the day.

Kendall Knoke-
We have only been in Williamson for a few hours, but I already have a really good feeling about this trip. The Youthworks staff is great as always, and there is a huge church group from Wisconsin here. I have been able to interact with them a lot so far, and I look forward to getting to know them more. We were able to stop at a state park on the way here because we had extra time, and it was a great time being able to do some hiking and just have a great time with each other and NATURE!

Alec Balasko-
After being in Williamson for our first day we can already tell that this is going to shape up to be a great trip. We learned that one of the novelties of this town is the people, whom we cannot wait to meet. We have a great Youthworks staff and I believe that they are going to make the trip even more fantastic. We are looking forward to getting to work with many work projects and kids clubs tomorrow as we begin our experience in Mingo county, WV.

Dan Spall-
This first day has been a promising start to our opportunity to serve. Being ahead of schedule on the way here, we were able to stop at a state park and appreciate nature in a way that we cannot fully experience in Indiana what with the great mountains. The enthusiasm and excitement for service seem to be greater than I can remember in years past. We’re all ready for this week and cannot wait for tomorrow to begin.

Thanks for your prayers and support, and we'll talk to you tomorrow!

T

Saturday, July 17, 2010

We Leave Tomorrow

Tomorrow at 7:00 we are leaving for the wonderful state of West Virginia to do some mission work, 38 of us from the Sr. High Ministry. Please pray for us and support us, we will be leaving posts here every day to let you know how things are going (computers and internet availability willing).

See you in next week!

T

Friday, July 16, 2010

Why Church Is Like Family

The other day I was doing something I almost never do, reading random blogs. It's a dangerous game because you never know what you will get...

But in my adventures I came across this video by accident. Loved it. Give it a look.



T

Thursday, July 15, 2010

I Wonder What It Sounded Like

Last Sunday we had our "Vicis Per Deus" prayer night at Drink Deep and The Refinery. It's a different night, we have stations where you can pray in different ways. One station was a compilation of Jewish prayers. You could sit and listen to the prayers being sung as they have been for thousands of years and read the translation of what they are singing.

I was thinking about that today when I was reading Luke 1. In it is Mary's song called The Magnificat, the song she sang when she learned she was pregnant with the Son of God. And it got me thinking, what did that sound like? What was the tune, the mitre, the emotion, what did it sound like?

And that lead me to thinking about the Psalms. A few of them I have heard sung, but what did they sound like thousands of years ago? Or the song of Moses or other songs in Scripture that were sung to remind the people of God's amazing feats?

I don't know, being a musician I kind of wish I could hear those sometimes.

T

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Can You Change With New Information?

We live in a world where information is always changing. Not to mention, we are all human, and sometimes we act (or even need to act) before we know the whole story. The question of maturity comes with can we change our minds and our actions when the information changes?

The real question is can we do this with faith? Too often we treat faith like somethine we decide, we are in control of who God is. Only we can choose what we believe, but we cannot choose what God is like or anything about who He is.

I was reading today about a man who had problems with this. He was a Roman governor who knew about Jesus and His teaching, but apparently not all of it...

Acts 24:24-25 ~ After some days Felix came with his wife, Drusilla, who was Jewish, and asked for Paul to be brought to him. He listened to Paul talk about believing in Christ Jesus. But Felix became afraid when Paul spoke about living right, self-control, and the time when God will judge the world. He said, “Go away now. When I have more time, I will call for you.” (NCV)

The funny part, this guy sent Paul back to prison for two years. That's how badly he did not want to hear about living right, because that would require him to change his actions.

We have to do all we can to be learning about Jesus, to find out who He is and all His teachings so we can know Him and live properly. And that sometimes mean we will learn something new to us, something we weren't living by before. The question is, what will we do? Will we change, or will we be like Felix and bury our heads in the sand hoping ignorance will be an okay arguement for our lack of change?

T

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Check It For Yourself

It sometimes amazes me how much people trust what we at churches say. Or they go the other way and just flat out don't believe us. The funny part is this blind trust or outright denial generally have no basis whatsoever.

Have you ever, after a Sunday morning, gone home and looked up what the pastor talked about in the Bible to see if what they were saying was true? Seriously, checked to make sure they said it in context? What about when the pastor says something that challenges what you believe, stretching your faith in a different direction, do you blindly believe, fight against it because it doesn't line up with what you believe, or do you actually check the Word of God to see which one is right?

I had a professor in school who had a group of students check up on him all the time. If he mentioned a piece of Scripture, they checked to make sure it was there, it said what he told them it said, and read around it to make sure it was in context. What a novel idea! And even more, he encouraged it! After all, if he was teaching something that was right, what worry would he have?

The same thing happened with the story of Jesus. The disciples went throughout Europe going to synagogues opening Scripture and explaining that Jesus was the Messiah using the Bible. As far as I've seen, very few people like those in Berea (Acts 17) actually checked to make sure what the disciples were quoting from the Bible was true (after all, this was a long time ago, Bibles weren't on every corner bookshelf, and you probably didn't carry that huge scroll to synagogue with you).

So go for it, make sure what you're being taught is true. You might be surprised...

T

Monday, July 12, 2010

One Way To Be Like God...

As we talk about at church all the time, we are supposed to follow Christ's example in how we live. Well, the singer Prince claims to be doing just that. He told the Daily Mirror (a paper in England) he is taking all opportunities to be God-like, and one of those will be giving away his new album for free in European newspapers. Why?

"God is a generous and loving being. It is written that we should act like God." --Prince

There you have it, one way to be like God, record a CD and give it away for free. Although, I wonder what the content of this "God-like" CD will be...

T

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Can You See Faith?

I was reading this story the other day. Paul was preaching the Good News when he saw this man:

Acts 14:8-9 ~ In Lystra there sat a man who had been born crippled; he had never walked. As this man was listening to Paul speak, Paul looked straight at him and saw that he believed God could heal him. (NCV)

I wonder what that must have been like. Did Paul "see" this because the Holy Spirit let him? Or was this guy so fascinated and the look on his face was so convincing Paul knew the man had the faith to be healed?

Either way, it looks like part of healing doesn't hang on the person saying "you're healed" believing as much as it seems to be on the person who is being healed. Maybe that's the real reason we don't see miracles like we used to. It's not God, it's not even the church, it's the people the church is speaking too. Just a thought...

T

Friday, July 09, 2010

Was It Attitude Or Actions?

I've been reading in Acts lately and I keep thinking about how people seemed to just flock to the disciples. The message of a loving God caused people from all over to swarm the believers and ask for more.

It lead me to thinking why that doesn't happen today. Is it because it's an old story now? I don't think so, the gospel is still as valid today as it was then. But then there were miracles, people healed, people struck blind, all sorts of things that no one could argue with.

And although I see that, I wonder if it had more to do with the disciples attitudes than the miracles they performed (or more specifically, God performed through them). After all, they were living this out in a way I don't think we see any more. They had faith to believe they could do miracles. They preached the message of a loving God to anyone who would hear. They went to jail and some even died for this message. We don't want to bring it up because it might make someone uncomfortable.

I don't know, we have a lot of tricks we could use today, things that could seem like miracles. But even if someone were to receive their sight after being blind, would we believe the healer if they treated it like, "meh, whatever"...?

T

Thursday, July 08, 2010

It's In The Name

I was reading Mark the other day and noticed something that somehow had not occurred to me before.

It's the story of the Garden of Gethsemane, the night before Jesus is betrayed. I think I've read/heard this story a million times. I was reading about when Jesus prays by Himself and the disciples fall asleep. Heard that part before too.

But then I notice one little difference. Jesus calls Peter "Simon". See, a while back Jesus had changed Simon's name. He decided to call him "Peter" which means "rock" because He was going to use Peter to build His church (see Matthew 16:18). But here, Jesus calls him Simon. Why?

I think it's because Simon went back to his old ways. Here, all Jesus needed was prayer, and lots of it. But that was too much for Simon, he was tired. He was reverting back to his old ways, letting someone else do it. And Jesus calls him out on it by calling him Simon.

I wonder how many times we revert back to our old selves. After all, we are supposed to be new creations, having a new life (See II Corinthians 5:17). But sometimes we go back to living with the same values, habits, whatever it is from our life before Jesus (I know, I do it too).

We have to do all we can to choose to live to be like Peter, and leave Simon behind.

T

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Those Who Belong

I mentioned how last week I was reading Acts. It's funny how in Acts 9 and 10 you have two completely different stories, but both have the same theme.

Acts 9 talks about Paul, his experience haring Jesus' voice while on his way to Damascus to arrest Christians. He does a complete change and decides to promote Jesus as the Way of life. But when he gets to Jerusalem, the Christians there are weary, they had just had a friend killed for preaching about Jesus and Paul was there. But a man named Barnabas convinces the people not to look at his past but accept Paul for who he is.

Then the story changes. Acts 10 involves Peter, Jesus' right hand man and the founder of the Church. God speaks to him to go talk to a man named Cornelius, a Roman officer. Peter sees a vision from God declaring all food clean, which has a hidden meaning Peter gets that people are clean too, no matter what race or gender or whatever, they should all be able to learn about Jesus.

It's funny how two completely different stories deal with the same thing, looking at a person, then choosing not to judge them but know God loves them too. How often do we do that still, see someone not wearing the right thing at church, looking like they don't belong, maybe even not knowing how to act, and we judge them "unfit for Jesus". We're all unfit for Jesus, that's the beauty of His love...

T

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Why We Do It

I'm sure you've noticed in my blogs lately there have been a lot about change and why we need to change, how people are against change but don't know it...

What made me think about this the other day was cheese (yes, cheese). I was reading about cheese, the most awesome food in the universe (you can make anything better by adding cheese) and how it's popular all over the world... except China.

That's right, the only nation on earth that does not embrace cheese seems to be China. But what's really interesting is the reason. The people who attacked China, like the Mongols, they like cheese, so for many years eating cheese was associated with being friends with the enemy.

But that was hundreds of years ago! And now, Chinese cuisine still does not include a lot of cheese. Because of other people who ate it hundreds of years ago.

How many things are there in your life you stay clear from because of someone else years ago (and you've just never really thought about it...)

T

Monday, July 05, 2010

Hearing God Directly

Sorry to take a week off without warning. Between hard drives crashing and lack of sleep, it just kind of happened. But we're back :)

In my reading last week I came across this:

Acts 10:19-20 ~ While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Listen, three men are looking for you. Get up and go downstairs. Go with them without doubting, because I have sent them to you.” (NCV)

Now I know all the history of the English language, these would not be the exact words God said to Peter, and there were no quotation marks back then so it would have been a more generalization. And I used all these arguments in my head until I looked at the words "three men".

That's pretty specific. Three men. Word for word or feeling, Peter knew from God there were exactly three people, they were men, and they were downstairs. I wish I were that in tune with God. Hopefully I will be someday. But the other side of that is Peter. He knew God. He talked with God face to face in the person of Jesus. I hope I can get to that place too...

T