Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Winter Season

well, here we are... only a week away from Christmas. Audrey and I have no Christmas decorations up, and the few gifts that we have received so far are sitting in a chair, not tucked nicely away under a Tree. no stockings are hung, and no lights are on our house. i guess the only way you can tell it's almost Christmas is that it's freezing outside and there is snow everywhere!

even though we don't have any decorations up, i'm not a scrooge, like adam monaghan, just kidding adam.... i enjoy Christmas, not just the commercialization of it. America has done itself in this year. we seem to get farther and farther away from what Christmas is really about, and i'll let you figure that one out on your own.

i'm excited for a little break from things, and getting to travel down to KS to spend a few days at a youth conference and see some family and old friends. and for a day just to spend w/ audrey and i celebrating all that God has given us. So here's to Christmas, even if we aren't acting like it.

Thought for the Blog:

"I'm ready for summer"

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Vision Of You

I love how songs can totally change the way you view something even just the first time that you hear them. The first time i heard this song, it totally resonated with me. Something within the words and the music how incredibly they fit together to bring about the truth of God was incredible. So i am sharing it with you. enjoy.

Vision of You
by Shane Barnard

Come meet us, King Jesus.
Oh wind of change blow through this temple.
Sweet spirit of God, come and mend our hearts.
For all we have are songs. Unless you come.

Awaken what's inside of me.
Tune my heart to all You are in me.
Even though you're here, God come.
May the vision of You be the death of me.
and even though You've given everything.
Jesus come!

Come free us, King Jesus.
Its the only way that freedom is given.
From you and you alone in the work You've already done.
All we have are songs, unless You come.

Awaken what's inside of me.
Tune my heart to all You are in me.
Even though you're here, God come.
May the vision of You be the death of me.
and even though You've given everything.
Jesus come!

Here we are, Lord, in this place.
Crying out for Your embrace.
To hear Your voice more than songs.

Awaken what's inside of me.
Tune my heart to all You are in me.
Even though you're here, God come.
May the vision of You be the death of me.
and even though You've given everything.
Jesus come!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Strength, Hope, And Joy Through Pain - Sermon Dec. 9 2007

1 Peter 1:1-9

“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To God's elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, 2who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance.
3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, 5who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”

Peter translated into Arabic means “rock” and Peter was the rock that Jesus was going to build His church on. The first letter of Peter was written to Christians throughout Asia Minor. Peter knew that these Christians were facing persecution, depression, disillusionment, loneliness, and pain.

Let’s face it our world is not having a shortage of pain. We have pain starting at a national level that affects the entire World – Terrorism, War, Starvation, Genocide, then to the United States – School Shootings, Homicides, Plane Crashes, and then on down to Iowa, Warren County, Carlisle, and then finally to our own families. We face pain and suffering on a day to day basis, even if we aren’t fully aware of it. It all flows down, pain will happen, suffering will occur, but the question is what happens with that pain?

In the passage that we are looking at this morning, Peter is reminding the Christians who they serve, and encouraging them with that because we all forget sometimes how God has worked in our lives in the past, and the promise that He has made to us as His children that He will continue to work in our lives in the present and in the future. He is not telling them that it will get easier, or that there is some quick fix for their hurts, he is telling them that there is hope.

Mercy triumphs over judgment. God’s mercy has given us a new birth through the birth of Jesus Christ. Christ’s birth marks the realization of hope for humanity, this is the greatest story ever told. The prophets of the Old Testament had hope that a Savior would come, they knew He would come. We are in kind of the same boat as the OT prophets. We know that Christ will return, but we have something that the OT prophets never had. We know that Christ has already come. He has been born, He has overcome, He has defeated sin & death. And for that we should have even more hope than the OT prophets. According to Peter we should have a “Living Hope”.

What is Living Hope? It is hope that has power and produces changes in life in the midst of pain. As we have a living hope, it grows and it gets strengthened But for that to happen we must endure pain, go through it, not around it, we cannot numb it, or act like it didn’t happen. That is “Dead Hope”.

Why do some people seem to strengthen their hope from pain, and others crumble? Some people rise from the ashes to become something so much better, while some stay hidden underneath the ashes, not able to recover. Those people who rise from the ashes face the pain. If you numb it, or act like it didn’t happen, you stay hidden under the ashes. If you sidestep it or don’t deal with it you stay hidden under the ashes. If you don’t move on through the pain, you stay stuck in the pain. That is where satan wants you, not where God wants you.

A Living Hope is stronger than the pain, a Living Hope knows that it is not alone in the pain, a Living Hope knows that there are eternal rewards an eternal inheritance for the temporary pain.

God uses the circumstances of our lives, including pain, to strengthen our faith, to refine it, to make it something that it worthwhile. If it doesn’t get tested how do we know what kind of belief in God we really have?

We always like to think of a world without pain, a life without anything going wrong, but we wouldn’t really be living would we? We would never know how much we could overcome, we would never know how incredible God really is, we would never know how to trust in Him more. Without pain, something bad, then we wouldn’t know how good something was. If Jesus didn’t come to earth (the first step in giving humanity hope), and die on the cross (the second step in giving humanity hope) = PAIN and rise from the dead (the third step in giving humanity hope) then we wouldn’t know how good God really is, or how much he really does love us.

We know the full extent of God’s love because of the pain and suffering that Christ had to endure for us. I was thinking about this, and was wondering if Adam and Eve knew the full extent of God’s love while they were in the Garden. They were in complete union with God, unlike us (we have sin in our lives, clouding our view of God) yet they didn’t know the lengths that God would go to for them… That He would serve them by sending His Son to die for them. Or anyone in the Old Testament for that matter. We know the great lengths that God will go to for us, to save us, giving us Living Hope.

I watched a movie yesterday based on a true story called “Rescue Dawn”. I think it was totally God because it fits right into the message this morning. I want to share this story with you, because we remember stories, stories move us, inspire us, draw us out of our selves.
Dieter Dengler, a United States Air Force Pilot, was shot down 40 minutes into his first mission over the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Vietnam in 1966. His mission was top secret and since he was shot down, no news reached the outside world. He was captured by the Pathet Lao (the local equivalent of the Viet Cong) and forced to march from village to village until they finally reached a POW camp.
There were two other American’s there, and Dengler was thrilled to have a few comrades in this with him, but was horrified by their deteriorated condition, and fatalistic view toward the future. He told them from day one that he was going to escape, and they told him that it was suicidal foolishness.
Over the ensuing months, Dengler and the others were subjected to torture, hunger, illness, and an overwhelming sense of despair. But Dengler never gave in to the doom, and waited patiently enduring his captivity until he had a chance for escape.
Dengler and one other American escaped during a hail of gunfire, and made it into the never ending jungle. Once they left the camp, their troubles and pain only grew. No shoes, no food, poisonous insects and snakes, and the constant threat of a war party. The other American got killed in a small village, leaving Dengler all alone fighting for his life. He kept making signals trying to get the very rare United States Air Force Patrol Units to see him, and at last he finally got noticed, and rescued.

Isn’t that a great story? The hope of something coming out of the darkness, and the rescue at the end! That is our story, our human condition, going through the pain, having a Living Hope that a Savior will come, and knowing that no matter what happens in our lives He will come!
I want to end the message this morning with a quote by Anne Lamott. It sums up everything that we have talked about this morning perfectly.

“Hope begins in the dark. You wait, and watch, and work. You don’t give up.”

Friday, December 7, 2007

Creating Space In Time

It snowed 4 inches here in iowa, last night. it seems like this winter is going to be worse than last year. it didn't snow last year until jan. and it has already snowed 3 times already this year. i guess you can't really control it, just endure it. i'm not a huge fan of winter. the whole bundling up and heading out into the fridgedness of it all. but that is not what i want this blog to be about. it's been a while since i have last had the opportunity to express my thoughts on this so conveniently digital journal of sorts. and so for the first time in at least a week, i have actually created space in the time that i have to write a few thoughts about creating space in time. it seems that i have been increasingly busy since the school year has started. not any huge chunks of my time taken up all at once, but small little increments taken away here and there, not really stolen by anything, just taken up with the things of life. and now as we enter the Christmas season i feel like things just keep getting put on my plate like Thanksgiving Dinner. except things are starting to overflow off the edges, and i'm trying my best to keep everything on the plate, and i have succeeded so far, but it leaves me pretty exhausted. and so i need to create space for rest in amongst everything else. i love that God calls us to rest. so i want to create space for rest & God more.


Friday, November 30, 2007

Lanesboro, MN

Audrey in front of stone mill suites

posing in front of a waterfall at lanesboro

there was a beautiful catholic church that sat on top of a hill that overlooked the entire town

posing in front of the church

standing over the root river

i don't know what audrey was doing, i was trying to take a decent picture

a sweet hat that i found in some shop

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

2 Year Wedding Annivesary


Audrey and I are in Lanesboro, MN. about four hours north of Carlisle. We are staying at Stone Mill Suites Bed and Breakfast, thanks to Randy Mortimer. It has been an incredible few days. We left Carlisle after Jr. High Youth Group, made it to Mason City (Half-Marathon Site) by 10:30 p.m. and stayed at Country Inn & Suites. Left Monday morning and arrived at Lanesboro at 11:30 a.m. We had the opportunity to pick any room we wanted in the whole Bed & Breakfast. We chose the "Forest Room" and headed off to lunch at Pedal Pushers. Chicken Pot Pie and Fried Mushrooms were tops on the menu for lunch. We did a little shopping, and then went for a jog around town, and took some great pictures (they will be up later) and then got to relax in the hot tub in our room. Went out for supper at the Branding Iron Supper Club. All you can eat salad bar and fried chicken were delicious. It's been a great time to get away for a while and i'm ready to get back into regular life.... i guess. Wednesday brings a lot to get done.

Thought for the blog:


Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving Day 2007

5 mile turkey trot at the fairgrounds After the race.... 41 minutes baby!

After the race again lunch at cracker barrel... delicious and no dishes!

Post Thanksgiving Movie Extremely Large Christmas Tree

Thanksgiving Eve Service

"Thanks - In - Giving"

The first snow of the season on Thanksgiving Eve.

That was the theme for our community church service on wednesday night. and i was able to be the "rep" for MRF church. so here are my words and thoughts that i shared w/ everyone there.

Psalm 28:7 - The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give THANKS to Him in song.

2 Corinthians 9:11,12 - You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in THANKSGIVING to God. This service taht you perform is not only supplying the needs of God's people but is also overflowing in many expressions of THANKS to God.

1 Timothy 6:17-19 - Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that THEY MAY TAKE HOLD OF LIFE THAT IS TRULY LIFE.

God blesses so that we can be a blessing. God gives so we can give. God provides so we can provide. We are all rich. There are only 8% of people in the world who own a vehicle. Right now I own 3, how sad is that... There are around 800 million people who won't eat today. Kind of ironic since our whole nation will stop and stuff themselves tomorrow. We are rich, and we don't even realize it. God has given all of us so much, and we are called by God to be generous with what He has given us. Everything we have its a gift from God, He has given it to us to bless us, for our enjoyment in life. This needs to become a world view for us, a different lens in which we view our money, our possessions, and how they can be used among our neighbors and community. And through His blessing we are called to be a blessing to others... why?? So God will be glorified. The best part about this whole thing is that we get something out of giving! We get something back when we give! And what is our Thanks - In - Giving?? Why should we give?? Because we will take hold of life taht is truly life. We will find the truth of life, we will find God's heart, we will live the best possible way to live. So during this Thanksgiving remember all the blessings that God has given you, all the things He has done for you, how incredible it is that God would take care of us... and then take the next step, how will you use that to bless others?

Thought for the blog:

i think i've said enough...

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Living History Farms Off Road Race 2007

This is the third "official" race of my life. November 17, 2007 marked the day where 6,800 people decided to run 7 miles through the Iowan countryside, and for what? To get recognition? To get a prize? To get away from somebody? None of the above... for the fun of it. The race began at 9:00 a.m. sharp, it was a "warm" 41 degrees on a nice sunny saturday. Audrey and i started off at a nice pace, for about 30 seconds, and then the whole group bottlenecked and we had to walk for a while. we ran over the rivers and through the woods, but we never ended up at grandmas house! 8 streams, and 6 or 7 massive hills later we had crossed the finish line. 1 Hour 10 Minutes and 32 Seconds... 1,630 out of 3,508 total male finishers... 296 out of 570 men 19-24... Muddy, wet, sweaty, and smiling! Check out the video & pics below for a little more!! More pics should be upcoming at the official website.

Thought For The Blog:

"Running is just way more fun when there is something else going on besides running!"

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Well, it seems like there just hasn't been enough time to do everything lately. There are all these things that i need to do with work & home, and the list just keeps growing, but "time" doesn't grow along with my list. it would be great if time just stopped about 3:30 p.m. long enough for me to get everything done. 3:30 is just about the perfect time of day, it's not too early so you are groggy, it's not right after lunch so you are ready for a nap, and it's not too late in the day where all you want to do is relax. but i don't think that's going to happen. so hopefully everything that needs to get done gets done.

Thought For The Blog:

"Time, you can never get it back once it gone."

Monday, November 12, 2007

"Carlisle In The Fall"

And One Other Pic...

Thought For The Blog:

"You Can Never Have Too Much Fun With Leaves."

Thursday, November 8, 2007

What Wars?

Jean Giono tells of climbing in 1913 in the French Alps where, because of careless deforestation, the mountains around Provence were barren. Former villages were deserted because their springs had run dry. The wind blew furiously, unimpeded by foilage.
Giono came to a shepherd's hut, where he was invited to spend the night. After dinner, he watched the shepherd sort through a pile of acorns, discarding the caracked or undersized ones. The shepherd, Elzeard Bouffier, counted out 100 perfect acorns then went to bed. Giono learned that over the last three-plus years he'd planted 100,000 trees on the wild hillsides, 20,000 of which had sprouted. Of those, he expected half to be eaten by rodents or die due to the elements, and the other half to live.
After World War I Giono returned to the mountainside and discovered a young forest. He returned once more after World War II. Twenty miles from the front lines of war, the shepherd had continued his work, ignoring this war as he had the former one. "On the site of the ruins I had seen in 1913," Giono wrote, "now stand neat farms. The old streams, fed by the snows that the forest conserves, are flowing again. Little by little, the villages have been rebuilt" - thanks to one resolute shepherd.

Thought for the blog:

"So don't get tired of doing what is good... for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time."

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Late Night Musings

Maya and i enjoying our nice fire place... one of the first fires that we made of the 07 winter season. i have loved having a fire inside, there is just something so calming about it. hearing the crackle of the wood, smelling the smoke rise up out of the chimney, feeling the warmth of the glow as it slowly fills the whole room. there really isn't much better... audrey (my wife) and i were talking about the love of God and the fall of mankind the other day. we were wondering if we know the full extent of God's love more than adam and eve did, because we know what God did for us, how far He did go for us, how much love He showed us through His Son. But at the same time adam and eve were in full contact with God, nothing separating them, no sin in the way to muddle things up. i'm not sure, but i do know this, that i am so incredibly greatful for what God has done in my life, that i want to do everything in my life that can bring honor to him.

Thought for the blog:

"People want the truth, but never want the scars"


Friday, November 2, 2007

My Grandpa's Bible

A small handheld Bible that he used for communion.

The New Testament and Psalms.

Very worn, a black cover with a snap to keep it closed.

The legacy of faith passed down to the next generation.

II Timothy 3:16 is inscribed inside:
"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness."

Thought For The Blog:

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, "Take, eat; this is my body." And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, "Drink ye all of it: For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins."


Thursday, November 1, 2007

My First One

Today is a gorgeous day in Iowa. One of the better ones we've had lately. The sun is shining, and it's about 57 degrees. All the leaves are falling from the trees, which means I have to rake them all up, which I hate by the way.

I think I will create a "Thought For The Blog" each time I write one of these. So here goes...

"Be Generous With The Things God Has Given You."