Monday, July 30, 2012

Ananias & Sapphira

Last night we told a couple of stories from Acts at Drink Deep and this story seemed to make a big impact. Apparently God smiting people down in the New Testament Church caused a wee bit of a ruckus leading to all sorts of discussion from God's love to the end of America. So today I just wanted to add some things to think about.

First, there was the question of why God doesn't act like this today. Some even wondered if God had changed. I don't think God changed, but we have. Let's just ask if God were to suddenly strike someone dead in church today, would we acknowledge it as God? Would we see it as His call to holiness? Would our people and our leaders turn to God in a way like never before? Probably not, so if it's not going to get across the message God wants, I don't see why He would do it (He's pretty smart, He knows what works best).

But then there was the question of why God would do such an act anyway. People lie to God all the time today, but they don't die for it. I think the big question is where's our level of commitment is at. Anyone who's done any leadership type thing with me hears me say this all the time, the higher up you go, the higher the expectation. This was a church with a high level of expectation, people gave up their lives, their finances, their time, their own personal goals, this was a church that was 100% committed to Jesus Christ and His work, every single person in the church was involved in Christ's work in some way. With that level of commitment, there was a high level of expectation. In today's church, do we have that commitment? Even anywhere close? So then why are we surprised there's also not that level of expectation? You can't expect and enforce a lot from people that have low commitment.

Likewise, I'm not one that thinks we should need a sign from God to do what is right. If you say you're going to do something, you shouldn't need a punishment to convince you to act. I'm not saying I'm perfect at it, but it's one of those levels of expectation I try to put on myself. If I should do it, I should do it.

The main point of the stories yesterday was the commonality of hospitality; whenever the opportunity arose the people of Christ gave everything for others. In the story of Lydia the Holy Spirit overwhelmed her with hospitality and she supported an entire church herself (at least at the beginning). As we talk about this again next week at Drink Deep take a look at the stories in Acts and how people welcome new members of the Church, or even how new members treated the people that had just showed them the truth. Go back to the idea of us living up to a higher expectation without needing to be forced, where are we at?

Sorry this was longer than normal, still nothing compared to our discussion(s) last night. If you haven't been involved, it may be something to try!


Monday, July 23, 2012

The Value Of A Hard Week

This mission trip for me was a little unlike many before. Let’s compare it to last year, it was a split site, which means everyone gets a chance to both build/do repair work for two days and they spend two days working with children at the one kids club. We also had great staff and got along really well with the other churches. Since we all built something, we could all point to something and say “we did that”, a sense of accomplishment. If I told a story about a child at kids club, every single other person on the team knew who I was talking about, we all shared the same experiences. Friday night was really uplifting and happy as we shared stories about this great trip.

Three days ago our Friday night was a little different. People still had some great stories, but our mission trip was much different. Many students did not connect with the YouthWorks staff, one of the other churches caused problems, we were at one worksite all week (and some sites were not a fan of YouthWorks) and generally when we were there we were split up. For example, I was put in a class of older children at a summer school/summer camp program. I did not see anyone else from our mission trip for six hours a day. Our students had a really hard time, there was not the sense of accomplishment from last year, either you didn’t make a good relationship with the people you worked with and felt unfulfilled or you did make a good relationship but by the time that happened it was time to go home. All in all, our students were really having a hard time.

So Friday night I asked who thought this was a hard trip. Almost every single hand was in the air. For the reasons above, people were not as happy as they were last year. But it really opened the door to talk about it. From talking with a few students their natural reaction was to still say the trip was okay and leave it at that, instead we chose to be honest about it and talk about how hard it was. Because in reality, the hard trip was much more similar to what it is like to really be a missionary, hard to make relationships, some people didn’t want us there, that unsettling feeling of, “What am I doing here? I’m not accomplishing anything.” And when these students go back to high school or off to college and they view their school as a mission field, they are more likely to have an experience like this year’s mission trip.

The important part is realizing that just because you don’t see fruit doesn’t mean you’re not accomplishing something. If I were to go to a farm in the spring and work for four days then leave upset because I didn’t get to harvest my dinner, the farmer would laugh at me. Real growth takes time. But just because you don’t see the harvest does not mean the watering or the fertilizing was not helping. Just because we don’t see the final product does not mean our work was in vain, and that’s the stance we have to take with this trip and in the mission fields of our lives. Sometimes the harvest takes a little longer, it doesn’t mean you give up or that God doesn’t value your service to Him, it mean we have to work a little longer and a little harder. Unfortunately we don’t get to go back to Minnesota to do that, we hand that off to this weeks youth groups, but we can do it in our lives here. And I think that is the most valuable lesson this mission trip can teach us, to continue to run the race as Paul writes, to keep on doing what we know is right.

Thank you all for your prayers and support last week and be praying for Liz and The FIRE Students as they serve in Kentucky this week (she has a blog on the Fire & Water page too).


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Minneapolis Day 5: Friday

Sorry about there being no blog yesterday, it has been a long and exhausting two days, but days that have been great with many highs and exciting stories. Our last day of ministry, saying good-bye to people we've made relationships with, praying for almost 3 hours together, and a day of relaxing at America's biggest mall. Our last few stories are below, thanks for all your support and prayers.


Being a senior yesterday was my last day serving with fumc at a youthworks site. It’s a bittersweet moment for me realizing that I’m leaving behind so many memories and that I will be making many more. I have made so many great relationships with these people and I have learned so much. Although my service here is done I hope and pray that I will be able to find somewhere to serve. God gave me talents and I know I need to put these talents to use for him.
These last 4 years I have been able to work with different forms of kids clubs and it has always been very easy for me to work with kids… Except for this year. The place I served at this week was called, “Hospitality House.” There were at least 100 kids there so it was extremely difficult for me to connect and have one on one relationships with them. The first day we had learned about serving and that everything we do can be considered a service to God. I was so down on myself because I felt like I was making no impact on the kids and I felt like I wasn’t do anything. I learned that although some of the things I did were not tangible and visible, just my presence was a service.
This week I was able to have Brian Craig Gordon be one of my youthworks leaders and I am truly thankful for him. He taught me that no matter what the situation or who I was serving that I am called to love. I truly did my best to love as hard as I could and that just by showing love in every situation I could hopefully make an impact on somebody. I am thankful for all of the youthworks staff this year, Mike, Holly, Diana, and Brian. They were some of my favorite youthworks staff and even though this was a hard mission trip it was a great one.
-Issac Schaffer

This week, I got the opportunity to serve at a nursing home.  This place, Redeemer’s Residence, was centered around the elderly who were unable to communicate fully or travel throughout the residence fully.
Now at this point, I would like to warn those who are reading this with a meal in hand, or those who are weak in the stomach, but my most prominent story of the week is a little crappy… We (Alec and I) were called to help a resident “get to her room”. Funny story: she was already at her room.. We got there and saw her crying because she was afraid no one was coming to help her. We walked her into her room to help her get into bed, when she decided she needed to use the restroom. To keep the story short, I lost at rock paper scissors, and had to give her a hand. By the time we got her into bed, Alec and I next to ran out of the room.
Now, while this story has a considerable amount of humorous content, it did actually shape Alec and my week, by opening us up to the randomness of the jobs we had to face this week.
-Andy Patterson

Currently my eyes are half open and Andy, Troy, and I are chatting about the week. Coming into this week I was extremely perky and had a vision for the whole week. My worksite for the whole week was a transition shelter for the poor and homeless called “Mary’s Place”. This tiny little building has turned into a three building complex with more than 90 apartments for families. Our main job was to entertain the kids while their parents would work with the staff to find jobs and work on daily life skills.
More than 40% of the people living in this complex are Somali refugees. Most of those kids couldn’t speak English very well.  We had to use a lot of hand gestures for communication. We have also had a lot of kids who know English perfectly well who refuse to understand us. Despite the challenges, I cried my eyes out saying goodbye to these kids. I could spend all night telling my stories with these kids, but I will just say that it was an amazing experience and one of the most challenging weeks of my life. I am grateful that I have the access to all that I have after seeing the excitement in these kids’ eyes over the smallest things that we think little of such as a new shirt or a bottle of bubble liquid.
I am so grateful for the friends that I have made in this youth group and the experiences that we have shared and will share in the future.
-Jacob Stebbe

Friday, July 20, 2012

Minneapolis Day 4: Thursday

It's our last day of serving and we have lots of great stories, but unfortunately we don't have time to share them, it's 12:30 and the last of our students just went to bed after praying. So, we will have more stories up tomorrow, thanks for understanding! T

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Minneapolis Day 4: Wednesday

It's Wednesday, the middle of the week. Students are excited to get back to their sites, they know the routine a little better and they know some of the people they're serving by name. In the evening the weather changed our plans so we stayed indoors for the YouthWorks Olympics (the picture is of Olympic Music Chairs, a much more violent sport than many others in the games) and had a great night in talking, playing together, worshipping, and reflecting on what we are here to do. Thanks again for all your prayers and support!

So today was the third day at my work site which is the best summer school for kids I have ever been to (it is free of charge). Urban Ventures is the name of the summer school and it is in the middle of downtown Minneapolis.  I am paired up with my “buddy” Harrison who is going into the 9th grade.  We have been partnered up for two days and today was much better.  He is one of the most easily distracted kids I know.  However, today was the best he has been.  I was able to help him and his friend Mario with lines of symmetry in math class and then helped him write an essay about himself (also known as a biography).  It helped me connect with him more.  We also enjoyed electives today where we played football, special teams today, and went on a bike ride around beautiful Minneapolis bike trails.  My legs were burning for the rest of the night.  Tomorrow marks the last day of my youth works mission trip career and I have caught myself looking back over the past 7 mission trips.  It has been a great learning experience for me and brought me closer to Christ each trip I have taken. I have a goal tomorrow to complete with my buddy before I leave him for good.  My goal is to complete this goal as a final memory to add to my mission trip collage.  My last day will also be spent at the science museum so you should be proud mom.  Thank you all for the prayers in the church community and the support.  We will be home soon to tell you all about our stories of this trip.
-Daniel Ogle

With today being the second to last day, it is crazy to think how fast the time has flown. I have spent this week at Kaleidoscope Kids, which is half day care and half academic growth. It was hard the first couple of days to really connect with all of the children, but today was really the first time I felt like I had an impact on them and felt like I had made connections with them. Today was a normal day in classroom where we spent time reading, painting monsters, and talking about what they think college is like. It was so great to not only hear them talk about their futures, but to have one of the girls stand up in the middle of the lesson and point to me and yell, “She’s going to college! She told me that!” That was able to spark more conversation and have them ask me about what I’m going to do and actually know that I can be an inspiration to them. As we enter our last day at our work sites, I know it will be hard to say goodbye to these kids, especially since I’m just now starting to get to know them. Overall though, with this being my second and final mission trip, I am very happy with the relationships I’ve made and the impact I’ve hopefully made on these children’s lives. It will definitely be an emotional day tomorrow, but I also can’t wait to get home to share more stories with family and friends.
-Lindsay Campbell

Today was my third day working at this amazing transitional home site that also provides every service you can imagine. It’s called Mary’s Place and offers dental care to those who don’t have insurance, medical clinics, laundry, showers, a food bank, mattresses, a soup kitchen, and 90 apartment styled transitional homes for mainly immigrants or other homeless people who came from the gloomiest of situations. For example, 40% of their residents came from Somalian refugee camps.  People literally line up to talk to Mary Joe who writes checks on the spot for those in need if they have genuine needs. She is a god send, and is even referred to as the Mother Theresa of Minnesota. I can’t even wrap my mind around how Mary’s Place gets no type of federal funding whatsoever and completely relies on donations, and over the thirty years its been around has turned into a 3 building facility. Now that you have some background info about Mary’s Place, we can talk more about what I’ve experienced this week so far. Our work crew, Free, has the blessing of playing with the children who come from all types of backgrounds and the majority of which English is not their second language. The language barrier is surprisingly not much of a problem at all.  It’s awesome to see how I can make strong relationships with kids who I can hardly understand. We can communicate and learn about each other just by playing games with them. All they want and need is some one on one attention. This is my first mission trip where I have worked with kids for four days straight, and I can honestly say this has been an amazing experience that has changed the way I view immigrants and the world. These people literally have nothing and yet find joy in everything. For the amount of kids present at Mary’s Place, there are very few to none discipline problems which to me could never happen without God. Most of these kids have never even heard of God’s name yet exemplify what being a Christian is all about. For example, I met a seventh grade, Darell, who would draw the younger kids pictures of whatever they wanted just to put a smile on their face. He told me he had just graduated sixth grade and planned on going to college to take some art classes so he could make lots of money! It’s crazy to me to think that graduating sixth grade is a big deal. I also met Moktar, a 5 year old Somalian boy who had been in America a mere seven weeks. He makes me smile every time I’m around him. You never see Mokatar without a smile on his face, or him dancing, or singing random vowels and I just love to be by his side and partake in whatever shenanigans he wants to get into. Like painting his fingers and toes with nail polish we bought or bombarding me with bubbles (haha). Half the time he has no idea what I’m saying and he normally just answers yes to my questions but that doesn’t matter, we are best friends. I tried to explain to him what Christmas was the first day and now he just calls me Christmas which is adorable. J He’s made such a difference in my life because he’s taught me that there’s no reason to complain, life is a beautiful thing if you make it that way. I can’t put into words what he and the other children mean to me, they have changed my whole perspective about how to live your life. We can overcome anything if we put our mind to it. These kids are an inspiration to me and have taught me so much about myself. I absolutely hate that I have to leave him and all the great relations I’ve built with the other kids. They need a stable role model in their lives and it breaks my heart not knowing where they’re going to end up.
-Kristin Myrick

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Minneapolis Day 3: Tuesday

It's Tuesday, always a fun day because it's the first day we get to go back to our sites and kind of know who the people are! After today's ministry all our students broke up into groups and served at different soup kitchens across the city with a group called Laves And Fishes. But I'll let them tell you the stories, thanks for your support and prayers!

Hello World!
Everyday I go to a site called Mary’s Place, which is a shelter for up to 92 homeless families. It’s really special because everything is completely free for the families as long as they can show that the adults are working to get jobs or trying to improve their funds by saving money. The buildings there also have a food pantry, soup kitchen, teen center, children’s center, and a lot of other recreational centers for everyone to do academic work and hang out in. We help in the playroom and the social center with the kids two to around 18 in the mornings and then walk over to the children’s center and work with the three to eight year olds and play with them. It is a blast. Today, in the morning, we played duck-duck-goose and played in the playroom (tag and “zookeeper”). In case you were wondering, zookeeper is when the big kids are zookeepers and have to catch the “animals” (the little kids) and put them in the cages (the rec play area place). One of the kids was having trouble getting along with others without hitting them or calling them names and kept singing some inappropriate songs, but it was super cool to see Amber read storybooks to him for at least 30 minutes straight…. He calmed right down and behaved perfectly when he did that.
In the afternoon we went to the children’s place and colored, played Play-doh, played house, teeter-tottered, played High School Musical DDR on Wii, played Legos, and a bunch of other fun activities. One little five year old, Ching, drew a picture for Jacob Beard. It was really cute. The kids were a lot of fun to play with and are so adorable because you can tell they really love and appreciate the attention.
After the children’s center, we took our showers and headed to the St. Matthew’s Church to serve at a food pantry with our crew, “Free” and some kids from the “Love” crew. It was so so so much fun. I talked to some moms and a little girl who liked my braid a lot. They were all really nice and it was neat to see that soup kitchens are not what they may be stereotyped to be – not everyone is homeless, some people may just need a little bit of help once in awhile. Isaac, Kristin, and I did dishes with the power dishwasher and fancy sink and pretty much got soaked. I rinsed off at least 230 trays of food covered in gravy, turkey, and the whole shebang of Thanksgiving dinner, which they have every Tuesday night. The leader of the kitchen, Mike, was really appreciative and definitely was a person that I admire. He seemed to do everything, from mopping to serving food to talking to the eaters to washing dishes. He was quite a guy – could put his hand flat on a 160 degree F dishwasher without even a jump. Pretty cool.
So, Troy got our small group Flavorices and it was a great day. Can’t wait for tomorrow!
-Natalie Huibregtse

For the past two days I have been teaching children going into the fifth grade math and English skills at a place called Hospitality House. Yes dad, I know that you’re proud. Some of them have trouble writing and reading, but I’m doing my best. There is one kid who is a bit smarter than most. I wanted to help him with factoring his numbers, but he had finished and had gotten them all correct. During the English part I proof read one child’s story about a prince-dragon whose father had died, and went off to seek help form a nameless wizard who would bring the other  one back to life for a certain price that involved killing. It was a little grim for an eleven year-old, but it was a good story. Then I go out in the hall and read with one kid. They all want to come out but there’s only one of me. A lot of them are reading the Goosebumps books, which is neat because I read those too. After that we have lunch and then we play basketball. Right now I’m trying to learn how to double-dutch with jump ropes. It’s so much fun! I cant wait for tomorrow. I don’t want to leave.
-Steven Eastes

Hey There!
As usual, before I left for this trip, I was super excited. And I mean SUPER excited. I really love mission trips, and all the ones I’ve been on so far I’ve done something that I loved doing. But this year my heart sank when I saw what work I would be doing all week. My group (of 3 people) is working at a nursing home. I can build something, I can paint something, I can play with kids, but working with the elderly is completely foreign territory to me.
So at the beginning of the week, I was terrified of my work site. I ran to the daycare inside of the retirement home and spent almost my whole day there. I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to understand what any of the residents were saying, I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to find anything in common with the residents. But luckily, Andy and I were able to stick together on the second day (since we were both worried about the worksite) and meet some really cool people. We met John, who LOVES to play cards. So we were able to watch him play some cards with a couple of other residents and it was really a fun time! We also met Paulene who was playing cards with John, and we were able to take her to the vegetable garden that the residents keep right outside the building. Later, we met her roommate Virginia and the two were a hilarious couple.
My fears were put to rest and I’ve been having a great time since then (though I am still spending a lot of time in the daycare…), and tomorrow we’re going to play cards with John and another woman who lives at the retirement home. I’m surprised that I’ve already learned a new skill in just the two days that I’ve been here! I know that God put me into this position so that I could learn this and I’m really grateful for the opportunity.
-Alec Balasko

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Minneapolis Day 2: Monday

Well, everyone had their first day of working at ministry sites today! Quickly followed by a trip to the world market, fun for everyone today (I ate weird African food). Below are some stories from our students, enjoy. (And after Kari's blog yesterday, we thought maybe you'd like to see the fun room we're in).

Formerly having worked in “Kids’ Club,” starting off with the Kaleidoscope Kids (a summertime education center for 1st through 8th grade, Muslim-based) was quite a bit different from my (our, speaking on behalf of Troy, Lindsay, Brendan, Drake, Adrienne) experience with children. Being at a secularized learning center makes it quite difficult to fulfill the purpose of the “mission,” as our influence is limited to the children identifying us as Christians, little more. Regardless, I can comfortably say the children have definitely began to familiarize themselves with us, despite a hectic first day to the U of M arboretum (a field trip for the kids!)…
-Bobby Herron

This is the first mission trip I’ve done, so I wasn’t sure what to expect on my first day. I was at Mary’s Place, which is a homeless shelter, a place for people to get back on their feet.  Its founder, Mary Jo still works there every day, from its start in the 1980s, and just talks to people, asking what they need.  It is amazing to see the love she has for all the people, and how she is truly a gift to people in need.  She came and prayed with us before we worked and it really puts into perspective everything she does for God, and how He has led her to begin this truly awesome program! The facilities are really nice, and we all couldn’t believe that all their funding comes just from donations.  They give out so much, with their food pantry, just writing checks to people in need, and giving away clothing and personal items.  It is truly a blessing to see what Mary’s Place is doing for people! We worked (me, Kristin, Natalie, Spencer, both Jacobs, Kinna, Mr. Meeks and Mrs. Patterson) with the kids in the playrooms, while their parents talked with advisors and tried to find jobs.  The kids were really great, and they just wanted us to play. While we were getting a tour of the building, some of them followed us and waited for us to go play.  They were so quick to just come up to us and give us hugs! We took them outside and made a slip n slide with a tarp, hose, and dish soap. They were so grateful for just being able to play, and they did everything in their power to get us wet! J after lunch, we went to the kids center and there were several rooms of toys for the kids, and it was great to see that they still get to be kids, despite the hard times their families are going through.  I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings, and I’m so excited to work with the kids and worship God with my service to these awesome children! J
-Amber Kline

Today was absolutely fantastic! My worksite was not nearly as labor oriented as most of the sites that I have worked at, in previous years I have worked painting or cleaning or building (Troy likes that for me, because physical labor isn’t my strong suit). This week I am working at a site called Urban Ventures that does outreach to all sorts of people. My group works specifically at the Colin Powell Youth Leadership Center, which hosts the Learning Lab program for 1-8th graders. The facility and PRAISE GOD!! Has fantastic air conditioning. We started the day with a brief orientation that was very uplifting and highlighted how truly wonderful this program is. The kids at Urban Venture come from the Phillips neighborhood which hosts the highest level of crime and gang violence in the state. The kids are no strangers to gun shots or all night partying and often don’t sleep. The Urban Venture program gives them a healthy environment to play and work in and also provides a great learning environment for these children. Many of them are academically behind (the whole experience throws into sharp relief how blessed we are to go to school in Hamilton Southeastern Schools). The volunteers in the program facilitate by working with a child or children that are our buddies. My buddy is Kevin, and he was given to me because he is “problem child” and needs special attention. I focused on Kevin today and we did everything together. Including but not limited to, playing Twister and Apples to Apples, and doing a skit (yeah God really threw me a Home Run this week!!)  Kevin was never a problem the whole day, he is really a sweet little dude who wants to achieve the best and I hear that’s because he has a great mom. He is great and I hope to make a difference in his life this week, because he has already made a difference in mine. Please keep Kevin in your prayers that he can keep focusing this week and be as successful as possible.
-Dustin Meeks

Monday, July 16, 2012

Minneapolis Day 1: Sunday

Hey everyone, sorry for the delay. Thanks so much for all your prayers and support, we made it safely (and early) to Minneapolis, here are some pictures and stories of our day. Hope to share more soon!

Today as the group took an adventure, we stopped at a local Burger King to get a quick bite to eat.  While in the Burger King the four freshman girls (Adrienne, Kinna, Kendall, and Kate) collected a plentiful crop of red straws. We collected the straws so that when a certain young lady we might be rooming with begins to snore we can pop them so the noise will wake them up enough to halt the obnoxious snoring.  Minnesota is a beautiful state and we enjoyed the ride here because of all of the rolling hills and leafy trees.  We are all looking forward to beginning an amazing week with the locals and YouthWorks staff.  We are determined to win in a game of cards against Thomas a.k.a the master of cards. At least in Minnesota.
-Makinna Laymon

This morning at 2:45a.m., six of us (Chris, Andy, Landon, Kari, Dustin, and I) took a trip to Steak n’ Shake for shakes.  After our adventure we went to the church at 4 a.m. to wait for everyone else to show up.  While at church the boys played Frisbee but Kari was convinced the police would come so we drove around for an hour. Oh Kari…
After leaving the church I embarked on my first Senior High Mission trip along with Kendall, Makinna, and Kate.  My time spent here so far has been an amazing experience, but has also been an enormous change from Junior High.  I hope to spread the word of the Lord and make relationships with those in the Minneapolis area.
-Adrienne Meeks

Hello there. We are here! After a day of travelling, we have safely arrived to our destination, Minneapolis, MN.  For many of us, the car ride always seems to be a memorable part of the entire mission trip experience.  This year was no different.  In my van, we enjoyed the expanse of the Chicago skyline, took the occasional nap, and sang some improv music for the lovely adult leaders in our van, Judge Henke and Mrs. Patterson. 
We are staying at the Elim Baptist Church, and this building is absolutely wonderful.  There is a gymnasium for us to play basketball and other games, a spacious club area for nightly worship, and my favorite room of all, the dining room.  This is NOT your typical dining room.  The whimsical walls are filled with vibrant murals, and I feel like I am in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory (despite the lack of a chocolate river, but that’s ok).
Tomorrow begins our first day at the worksites, and we are filled with hope for this opportunity.  Tonight during church time, we discussed our goal to encourage each other and to challenge ourselves to reach outside of our comfort zones.   Additionally, we are excited to embark on this experience with an open mind as God works in our lives. 
- Kari Lorentson

Saturday, July 14, 2012

"You Are Here" mission trip leaves tomorrow!

We'll be doing our best to post stories here and snipits to Facebook. Follow our trip and pray for us! T

Monday, July 09, 2012

Trapped By Memories

One of the things I hate about my little mind is that I remember some of the stupidest things from long ago. Decades ago. Sometimes they're good memories, but sometimes it's a memory of something I've done wrong or messed up or someone that's hurt me and it kind of boxes me in. Even though it shouldn't that memory determines how I will act in a situation.

During the Cold War there was an elecrtic fence on the German/Czeck border. Obvioulsy it was a political thing, it was meant to keep people on their own side. But it affected some other animals, like the red deer. They weren't able to travel their normal routes, they would be shocked if they did. So they adapted and changed.

But here's the funny thing. That fence came down in 1989 and still, today, the red deer won't cross the political border we created. Even though all the deer that would have remember that fence are gone, their great-great-granddeer won't travel where that fence used to be, the memory of the pain is still with them.

I hope in all the memories that we hold on to, the ones that bind us are the ones we let go of, and the one that frees us, we cling to...

Ephesians 1:7 ~ Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we’re a free people—free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free! (MSG)


Monday, July 02, 2012


The last little bit I've been reading I Chronicles. Now, many times it's a skim read, so-and-so begat so-and-so who knew so-and-so who was neighbors with so-and-so, etc., etc. But this time I've been slowing down a little and reading the names. Many of them I recognize from different stories or other readings, and it got me to thinking how little we know of where we come from.

A few years ago they tried to sell me a book of the Richards family history. I didn't bite because there's so many Richards and the name slowly appears about 800 years ago, but in many ways I wish I could tell you exactly where I came from. That was the cool part of I Chronicles. It's been hundreds of years and these people can still trace their families back to the origin of their people, all the way back to Abraham (and in Genesis back to Adam). I Chr. 9:14 even tells who the church custodian was (temple custodian in this case).

So where do you come from (and is it important to you)? Sometimes it's cool to look back at where your roots come from, and I don't mean just history. Looking at the line of my music teachers, my Sunday School teachers and who taught them, things like that. If you're ordained in the Methodist church they can trace your ordination back to it's founder John Wesley. The real question is how did I get to here? Because many times that helps determine where to go next...

My little musings...