Friday, January 13, 2012

This Blog has moved... Switching to WordPress

Hey friends, switched my blog to WordPress. Why? Peer pressure! Everyone's doing it...3 years ago!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Jealousy strikes!

Cain and Abel - Genesis Chapter 4
Cain brought the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. The Lord says to Cain, “sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” But, Cain ends up killing his brother, Abel.

And God gives Adam and Eve another son, Seth. Eve attributes it to God. It goes on to say, “At that time people begin to call upon the name of the Lord.”

a. When we give God our “firsts,” it represents where He is in our lives.
b. When the Lord rebukes us, we can get BITTER or we can get BETTER. Cain got bitter.
c. Half-hearted devotion leads to sin.
d. While sin is out there, we have the POWER to rule over it but need to CHOOSE to.
e. Jealousy kills! Not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually. It cost Cain big time!
f. Eve attributes birth of Seth to God. Maybe after Abel and Cain, Eve grew up. Maybe she understand, for the first time, the pain of the Father’s (mother’s) heart.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Wow! That Hurt On So Many Different Levels

[I am backed up on posting my daily thoughts, but here are the first 3 days of my actual reading of God's Word. At a minimum, I am shooting for a chapter a day. Chapter 3 was huge in my life and had a ton of GREAT reminders.]

Genesis chapters 1-11 could be described as a survey of the world before Abraham. Chapters 12-50 focus on one main family line in considerable detail. Other ancient nonbiblical stories do exist recounting stories about both creation and the flood. In ancient literary traditions, creation is a struggle often involving conflict between the gods. The flood was sent because the gods could not stand the noise made by human beings, yet they could not control it.

These chapters should act as eyeglasses so that readers focus on the points their author is making and go on to read the rest of the Bible in light of them.

Chapter 1
Day 1: Let there be light…and it was good. There was evening and there was morning, the first day.

Day 2: God created the expanse and called it Heaven (sky in NIV).

Day 3: He created the Earth (land in NIV) and Seas…and it was good. Vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed…and it was good. (multiplication)

Day 4: Sun, moon and stars to give light to the earth and to mark the seasons…and it was good.

Day 5: Fish/creatures of the sea and birds…and it was good. Told them to be fruitful and multiply. (multiplication)

Day 6: Livestock/creeping things/beasts of the earth…and it was good. Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth. And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plan for food.” And it was so. …And it was VERY good.

Chapter 2
Day 7: God rested and made it holy.

Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. He placed him in a garden. The tree of life and tree of good and evil were in the midst of the garden (the river of Eden divided out of it into four: Pishon, Gihon, Tigris, and Euphrates). Lord, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

The Lord had man give names to all livestock and to the birds of the heaven and to every beast of the field. But there was no helper fit for him. So, the Lord put him to sleep, took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And He made woman from the rib. Adam regarding Eve, “Bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become ONE flesh.

Chapter 3
Serpent to Eve, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” (Serpent playing dumb) Eve, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” Serpent, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desire to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.

Most of chapter 2, God is called “Lord God.” In chapter 3, the serpent only referred to Him as “God.”

It indicates Eve “saw” that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes. Tells us she might of checked it out for the first time with the serpent right then and there.

“And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” Adam blames Eve for eating from the tree and Eve blames the serpent. God specifically has words for the serpent, Eve, and Adam.

MY THOUGHTS (some very random):

1. SABBATH (Chapter 2):
I stink at it. I need to figure that one out.

2. OWNERSHIP (Chapter 2):
God had Adam name all the animals. Giving people ownership is not only a huge “How to get buy-in” leadership principle, it tells us…more importantly…God wanted to do this “with us.”

God desires for us to REPETITIVELY CHOOSE to love and obey. And, I would imagine, as with all fathers, to have a “healthy” fear (or respect) of Him so that when our flesh (pride, selfishness, insecurity, whatever) wants to disobey, we will “choose not to choose” to go against His Will. He will not force us to LOVE Him or OBEY Him. God wants us to trust Him, as our heavenly Father, to have our best interest in mind.

Andy Stanley says, “When we see as God sees, we’ll do as God says.” When our eyes are selfishly (or fearfully) on ourselves, we can’t see as God sees, which makes it hard to do as God says.

One way to see as God sees is to know how/what He sees. Apart from the Holy Spirit, the only way to do that is by reading His Word. Luke 24:45 says, “Then He opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.” In my words, “Then He opened my mind so I could see how He sees (by understanding the Scriptures).” Well, that’s my prayer anyway.

Serpent to Eve, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” (Serpent playing dumb) Eve, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” Serpent, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desire to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.

a. First time I noticed it says “she also gave some to her husband who was WITH her.” Ouch! Oh the challenges of a divided heart.

b. “Did God actually say…” As if, should God not specifically prohibit it, it gives one permission. While different situation, I think we do that…figure out how to get around the “heart” of God’s intent.

c. “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened.” Satan challenged Eve on whether God had her best interest in mind. She did not “choose not to choose” when tempted. The desire to “choose” not to live under authority will always lie within us.

d. “and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Jealousy of those stronger, faster, wiser, more gifted lies within us as well.

e. Most of chapter 2, God is called “Lord God.” In chapter 3, the serpent only referred to Him as “God.” How someone addresses the Lord should be a clear indicator of how “deeply” you listen to them.

f. “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes…” Adam and Eve took steps toward the tree. If you dance with sin, you’ll sin. Moral of the story: Flee, baby, flee.

g. God took walks in the Garden, presumably to hang out with Adam and Eve. Wow! Because of redemption, we can still walk with Him.

h. But unrepented sin will separate us from God, make us afraid and cause us to blame others for our mistakes. Repent!

i. Eve pulled Adam in. Adam was supposed to be stronger/the leader, but instead of preventing or fleeing he ended up succumbing. The smallest can take down the strongest if we fail to realize our status. Sin loves company.

j. God gave Adam the opportunity to confess by asking a simple question, “Where are you?” vs. just telling him “I know what you’ve done.” Adam ended up blaming, not confessing his part in the sin. He blamed both Eve and God (“the woman whom YOU gave to be with me”). How well do I blame-shift?

k. What an interesting question, “Where are you?” Maybe that’s should be the “question of the day” each evening, “Where are you, Judy”…not physically, but spiritually.

l. It sounded like Adam didn’t really seek to truly understand the “why behind God’s what”. Regardless we are to submit, but seeking to understand the heart of the Lord is a big deal.

m. God says to Adam, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you…” While we are to seek counsel from people, it should be secondary to seeking counsel from the Lord. And, if the counsel ever doesn’t like up with God’s word, throw it out.

n. The Lord still did not abandon, he made clothes for them out of skins vs. the fig leaves they had used initially (note: something had to die to cover up their sin), but things would change, especially when it comes to unrepented sin. The Lord must have been utterly devastated. Based on the verses, it sounds like his initial sadness turned to righteous anger.

o. The marriage issues that the fall created are disastrous. Both abandoned their roles, strife abounds.

p. One of the hardest things to do is ask forgiveness when we’ve failed God or another. No where do you see Adam swallowing his pride and saying, “I am so sorry, I was wrong.”

q. When we sin, we think God doesn’t want anything to do with us. But in the case it was quite the opposite, He purposefully puts Himself in a place to meet with them. It’s us who want to run.

r. While sin has it’s “moment” of pleasure (like with Eve, it looks good), the thought of “breaking the heart of the Father” (along with a “healthy” fear) should prevent us from “seeking or acting on it.”

s. Everything Adam and Eve were capable of, so am I. My decisions determine my destiny.

Monday, January 09, 2012

In the beginning...

Genesis. In Greek it means “origin.” In Hebrew it means “In the Beginning.” Traditionally, like the rest of the Pentateuch, has been ascribed to Moses (challenged later on). Envision these stories being read to the people at the great festivals in Jerusalem, or recited by visiting Levites in the villages throughout the land. Christians call the first 5 books “the Pentateuch,” Jews call them “the Law” or “torah.” The overall theme of the Pentateuch is God’s covenant with Israel through Moses, which established Israel as a theocracy (a nation where God’s directives rule the civil, social, and religious spheres) for the sake of the whole world. Genesis is foundational to the Pentateuch and the Pentateuch is foundational to the Bible.

Divided into two major sections (1) primeval history of the world before Abraham; (2) history of the patriarchs. As Genesis describes how the earth’s population increases over many generations, the reader’s attention is constantly being directed toward one particular person in each generation and his descendants.

The theme is creation, sin, and re-creation.

Grasping the big picture of Genesis is very important. Central to this picture is the family line that forms the backbone of the entire book.

With the coming of Jesus Christ, the national theocracy of Israel is replaced by an international royal priesthood that includes, Jews, Samaritans, and Gentiles (1 Peter 2:9).

Intro talks about how long a “day,” back in the day…my interpretation of what they are saying, “it doesn’t matter.” Frequently, readers may ask questions, legitimate in themselves, that are not answered by the text. Genesis does not tell, for instance, how the serpent came to be God’s enemy or where Cain found a wife. Consequently, one’s natural curiosity must be correctly channeled, for the inspired author of Genesis intentionally communicates only certain things. Yet the text does not cease to be the Word of God simply because it is limited in what it tells the reader, it need not be exhaustive in order to be true.

The modern reader receives Genesis best, then, when he or she cooperates with Moses’ own purpose in writing the book. It is the front end of the grand narrative of creation, fall and redemption. The story is of a good world made by a good God and man’s role in that world, the story of how the stain of sin affects everything, the story of how God intends to reverse those effects.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

10 Ways Your Children’s (Student) Ministry Can Influence Families by Dale Hudson

Found on website.

Influence a kid and you will change a life...
influence parents and you will change a home.

It's a given our children's (student) ministries influence kids. But are we influencing families? When our influence is expanded to the entire family, we can see exponential impact. Here are ten ways to expand your influence to the entire family.

1. Be prepared to minister to families when they are going through difficult times.

God wants to work through you to influence families when they are at the hospital...when they are seeking counseling...when they are mourning at the funeral home...when they are in financial crisis.

2. Give parents easy-to-use discipleship resources and tools.

Many parents feel like they can't effectively disciple their children unless they are a Bible scholar. Encourage parents by providing them simple, user-friendly resources.

3. Don't add too much to their already crazy, busy schedules and guilt them for not being there.

Families make choices with their time. If you are constantly expecting them to be at the church for extra programs or events, they can become disheartened and overwhelmed.

4. Strategically look at their family calendars when planning your church calendar.

Take into consideration holidays, days school is out, 3 day weekends, spring breaks, graduation dates, etc. when planning. Make sure you place key events, classes, etc. at times when it won't be competing with other family events.

5. Partner with other ministries.

Become best friends with student ministry, adult ministry, women's ministry, and men's ministry. Work closely with them and together create a strategy to influence families. Here's an example. We sat down with adult ministries and shared with them the child dedication class dates for next year. They purposely created parenting and marriage classes that will roll out of the child dedication class dates.

6. Set up key, family milestones you celebrate with them.

There are key times in a family's life when they swing the doors wide open and invite you to bring influence into their home. Set up classes and celebrations for milestones like child dedication, baptism, pre-teen passage, high school graduation, etc.

7. Be just as intentional about building relationships with parents as you are with kids.

Spend intentional time talking with parents, going to adult ministry activities, attending adult worship, etc. When you build relationships with parents, you open their hearts to receive your influence.

8. Find out their needs as a family.

What are they struggling with? What challenges are they dealing with as parents? What is their home life like? How can you best minister to them? This is done through the step above as you build relationships with families and spend time listening to them. You can also host a parent focus group a few times a year and intentionally ask these type questions.

9. Provide opportunities for families to serve together.

At the community...families are looking for opportunities to serve together. Create family service opportunities and projects.

10. Provide events for families to enjoy together.

Family activity worship concerts...all great ways to get families together so you can speak into their lives.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Ouch! That's what they should be saying about me/Christians

[FYI...For titles, I choose a line or a thought resulting from my daily reading. I am still in the introduction parts of the ESV Bible. Tomorrows reading is from the "Introduction To Genesis". It's long so I'll probably divide into two. I am defiitely a SLOWWWWWWW reader.]

The PENTATEUCH consists of the first five books of the Bible (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy). The Hebrew term for it is TORAH (“law” or “instruction”).

The Pentateuch as Foundational to the Whole Bible
1. Orientation. Sets the tone, “polytheism” (multiple God’s) is not where it’s at.
2. Divine Purposes. Adam and Eve’s sin sets back the divine program but does not defeat it. God later calls Abraham.
3. Theology and ethics. Gives insight into God’s character and ethical standards. It illustrates both his benevolence and his righteousness.

Center of gravity is the law-giving at Sinai. The central section suggests that at its core is God’s filling the newly built tabernacle as a visible demonstration of his choice of and intimacy with Israel—a restoration of the situation in the Garden of Eden, where God walked with Adam and Eve.

[My own thought: WALK WITH ME. Daily, God is still wanting to take walks with us like He did in the garden with Adam and Eve. Sadly, the chaos and noise of life fail to enable us to hear the daily invite.]

[My own thought: IT’S A BIG DEAL. The temple was a place of both beauty and fear. Beauty as God’s dwelling place full of silver and gold. The inner courts, as I imagine them, you did not enter into lightly. The last thing you would want to do is defile the temple. If I am the dwelling place of the Lord, how seriously do I take it…how much do I value it?]

Moses was only granted a vision of the promise land.

[My own thought: LIFE IS A RELAY RACE. We are clearly only running a portion of the race…and that race is NOT A SPRINT OR A MARATHON, but a RELAY RACE. The question is, “How well am I running my portion…and…how well will I had off the baton.]

The first avalanche of sin led to the universal judgment of the flood (Noah-before Moses).

[My own thought: LET’S TRY THIS AGAIN. Was the flood like a Second Genesis (or declaration of a false start) and in the end, after a failed second attempt, did God throw up his hands and say, “Ok, let’s just work with what we’ve got and we’ll tweek it/them along the way. Probably not. I am quickly understanding why it takes me FOREVER to read anything…mind-driftttttting]

Time Span
Archbishop User calculated the creation of the world occurred in 4004 B.C. Exodus is believed to occur around 1447 - 1270 B.C. [Really, no one knows]

God promises Abraham four things: (1) Land to live in; (2) numerous descendants; (3) blessing for himself; (4) blessing through him for all the nations of the world.

Each time God appears to the patriarchs, the promises are elaborated and made more specific. The fulfillment of these promises to Abraham constitutes the story line of the Pentateuch.

[My thought: Interesting TOUGH START: The patriarchs’ wives – Sarah, Rebekah, and Rachel – all have trouble conceiving. But when they take the first census, they total 603,550 fighting men (Numbers 1:46).]

The Pentateuch is a story of divine mercy to a wayward people. (Abraham lied about Sarah and allowed her to be taken by a foreign king, the pair escape, greatly enriched. Jacob cheats his father but returns with great flocks and herds to a forgiving brother. Israel breaks the first two commandments by making the golden calf, yet God still dwells among them in the tabernacle.)

However, alongside this account of God’s grace must be set the importance of the law and right behavior. The opening chapters of Genesis set out the pattern of life that everyone should follow: monogamy, Sabbath observance, rejection of personal vengeance and violence.

Israel was chosen to mediate between God and the nations and to demonstrate in finer detail what God expected of human society, so that other peoples would exclaim, “What great nation has a god so near to it…? And what great nation is there, that has statutes and rules so righteous as all this law…?” (Deuteronomy 4:7-8)


To encourage Israel’s compliance with all the law revealed at Sinai, it was embedded in a covenant. These covenantal principles—that God will bless Israel when she keeps the law and punish her when she does not—pervade the rest of the OT. The book of Joshua demonstrates that fidelity to the law led to the successful conquest of the land, while the books of Judges and Kings show that Israel’s apostasy to other gods led to defeat by her enemies.

Jesus is the second Adam. He is the true Israel (Jacob), whose life sums up the experience of the nation. But preeminently Jesus is seen as the new and greater Moses. As Moses declared God’s law for Israel, so Jesus declares and embodies God’s word to the nations. As Moses suffered and died outside the land so that his people could enter it, so the Son of God died on earth so that his people might enter heaven. It was observed that the filling of the tabernacle with the glory of God was the center of the Pentateuch. So too “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory” (John 1:14).

The goal of the entire Bible is that humans everywhere should glorify the God whose glory has confronted them. Lost sight of in Eden, this goal reappears through Moses, on its way to final fulfillment through Christ.

I Got Red-Hot, Chili Pepper Mad This Week

Earlier this week, I got red-hot, chili pepper mad! In fact when a friend mentioned the situation earlier today, I realized that I'm still "pretty warm" about it. What thoughts flow through my head during those times remind me that God's not done working on me yet. I wear an invisible sign on my forehead that says, "Under Construction...Excuse The Mess."

Thursday, December 29, 2011


This round of reading through the Bible I want to connect the dots as much as possible, so I am still in the intro notes to the ESV Bible. Here is what I learned today.

12.29.11 The Theology of the Old Testament (OT)
The Components of the OT Story

1. Monotheism.
There is only one true God, who made heaven and earth and all mankind.

2. Creation and fall (Adam and Eve).

3. Election and covenant.
The one true God chose a people for himself and bound himself to them by his covenant. This covenant expressed God’s intention to save the people, and through them to bring light to the rest of the world, in order to restore all things to their proper functioning in the world God made. God’s covenants generally involve one person who represents the whole people (ex. Adam, Noah, Abraham, David): the rest of the people experience the covenant by virtue of their inclusion in the community represented.

4. Covenant membership.
In his covenant, God offers his grace to his people: the forgiveness of their sins, the shaping of their lives in this world to reflect his own glory, and a part to play in bringing light to the Gentiles. Each member of God’s people is responsible to lay hold of this grace from the heart: to believe the promises, and then to grow in obeying the commands, and to keep on doing so all their lives long. The spiritual and moral well-being of the whole affects the well-being of each of the members, and each member contributes to the others by his own spiritual and moral life. Thus each one shares the joys and sorrows of the others and of the whole. Historical judgments upon the whole people often come because too many of the members are unfaithful; these judgments do not, however, bring the story of God’s people to an end but serve rather to purify and chasten that people.

The “law” given through Moses, plays a vital role in the OT. It is presented as an object of delight and admiration (Psalm 119) because it is a gift from a loving and gracious God. The law is never present in the OT as a list of rules that one must obey in order to be right with God; rather it is God’s fatherly instruction, given to shape the people he loved.

5. Eschatology.
The story of God’s people is headed toward a glorious future in which all kinds of people will come to know the Lord and join his people. This was the purpose for which God called Abraham, and for which he appointed Israel. It is part of the dignity of God’s people that, in God’s mysterious wisdom, their personal faithfulness contributes to the story getting to its goal (Deut. 4:6-8).

The OT develops its idea of a Messiah in the light of these components. The earliest strands of the messianic idea speak of an offspring who will undo the work of the Evil One and bless the Gentiles by bringing them into his kingdom (Genesis 3:15; 22:17-18; 24:60).

The OT is thus the story of the one true Creator God, who called the family of Abraham to be his remedy for the defilement that came into the world through the sin of Adam and Eve. God rescued Israel from slavery in Egypt in fulfillment of this plan, and established them as a theocracy for the sake of displaying his existence and character to the rest of the world. God sent his blessings and curses upon Israel in order to pursue that purpose. God never desisted from that purpose, even in the face of the most grievous unfaithfulness in Israel.

This overarching story serves as a grand narrative or worldview story for Israel: each member of the people was to see himself or herself as an heir of this story, with all its glory and shame; as a steward of the story, responsible to pass it on to the next generation; and as a participant whose faithfulness could play a role, by God’s mysterious wisdom, in the story’s progress. [I love this part]

The OT had looked forward to an internationalized people of God (Jews and Gentiles…all people), without explaining exactly how that would connect to the theocracy of Israel (the Jews, God’s chosen people). The theocracy defined the people of God as predominately coming from a particular ethnic group in a particular land (Jews). Gentile converts (“sojourners”) were protected but could not be full-status members. The NT abolishes the distinction, because the theocracy as such is no longer in existence and many of its provisions are done away with. At the same time, the character of the one Creator God, and his interest in restoring the image of God in human beings, transcends the specific arrangements of the theocracy; hence the moral commands of God apply to Christians as they did to the faithful in Israel.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

12.28.11 Notes from ESV’s “Overview Of The Bible”

What, you thought I was joking? I thought about breaking this post up, but then I'd be behind.

OVERVIEW OF THE BIBLE (these 4 1/2 pages of my new LARGE print ESV Study Bible took me 2 hours to read and write about WITH my READING glasses on...told you I was slow (and evidently blind). But it was sooooo good, I might go back and re-read tomorrow.)

How does the Bible as a whole fit together?

“For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Romans 15:4).

Diving right in...

In themselves, the animal sacrifices of the Old Testament (OT) were not able to remove sins permanently and to atone for them permanently (Heb. 10:1-18). They pointed forward to Christ, who is the final and complete sacrifice for sins.

When Christ appeared to the disciples after his resurrection, his teaching focused on showing them how the Old Testament pointed to him.

Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. Luke 24:45

Old Testament
The Law of Moses: Genesis to Deuteronomy
The Prophets:
Former Prophets: Historical books Joshua, Judges, 1-2 Samuel, and 1-2 Kings
Latter Prophets: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and the 12 Minor Prophets (Hosea-Malachi)
Writings: Psalms, Daniel

The OT as a whole, through its promises, its symbols, and its pictures of salvation, looks forward to the actual accomplishment of salvation that took place once-for-all in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

In what ways does the OT look forward to Christ?

First, it directly points forward through promises of salvation and promises concerning God’s commitment to his people.

Salvation: Christ as the Messiah, the Savior in the line of David. Through the prophet Micah, God promises that the Messiah is to be born in Bethlehem, the city of David (Micah 5:2), a prophecy strikingly fulfilled in the New Testament (Matthew 2:1-12). There are also general promises concerning a future great day of salvation, without spelling out all the details (ex. Isaiah 25:6-9)

Commitment to his people: To be their God (Jeremiah 31:33, Hosea 2:23; Zechariah 8:8; 13:9; Hebrews 8:10) – comprehensive commitment to be with his people, to care for them, to discipline them, to protect them, to supply their needs, and to have a personal relationship with them. If that commitment continues, it promises to result ultimately in the final salvation that God works out in Christ.

“For all the promises of God find their Yes in him (Christ)” 2 Corinthians 1:20. Sometimes God gives immediate, temporal blessings. These blessings are only a foretaste of the rich, eternal blessings that come through Christ.

God’s relation to people includes not only blessings but also warnings, threatening, and cursings. These are appropriate because of God’s righteous reaction to sin. They anticipate and point forward to Christ in two distinct ways. First, Christ is the Lamb of God, the sin-bearer (John 1:29; 1 Peter 2:24). He was innocent of sin, but became sin for us and bore the curse of God on the cross (2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:13). Second, Christ as his second coming wars against sin and exterminates it (final judgment against sin).

People’s commitment and obligations to God. Noah, Abraham, and others whom God meets and addresses are called on to respond not only with trust in God’s promises but with lives that begin to bear fruit from their fellowship with God. A covenant between two human beings is a binding commitment obliging them to deal faithfully with one another (as with Jacob and Laban in Genesis 31:44).

“I will be their God, they shall be my people.” By dealing with the wrath of God against sin, Christ changed a situation of alienation from God to a situation of peace. He reconciled believers to God (2 Corinthians 5:18-21; Romans 5:6-11). He brought personal intimacy with God, and the privilege of being children of God (Romans 8:14-17). This intimacy is what all the OT covenants anticipated. In Isaiah, God even declares that his servant, the Messiah, will be the covenant for the people (Isaiah 42:6; 49:8).

Through Christ believers are united to him and thereby themselves become “Abraham’s off-spring” (Galatians 3:29). Believers become heirs to the promises of God made to Abraham and his offspring: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise” (Galatians 3:28-29).

Christ is not only the offspring of Abraham but the last Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45-49). Like Adam, he represents all who belong to him. And he reverses the effects of Adam’s fall.

1 Corinthians 10:6 indicates that the events the Israelites experienced in the wilderness were “examples for us.” Greek word for “example” is typos (aka “type”). A “type,” in the language of theology, is a special example, symbol, or picture that God designed beforehand, and that he placed in history at an earlier point in time in order to point forward to a later, larger fulfillment. Animal sacrifices in the OT prefigure the final sacrifice of Christ. The temple, as a dwelling place for God, prefigured Christ, who is the final “dwelling place” for God.

The Bible makes it clear that ever since the fall of Adam into sin, sin and its consequences have been the pervasive problem of the human race. God is holy, and no sinful human being, not even a great man like Moses, can stand in the presence of God without dying: “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live” (Exodus 33:20). Sinful man needs a mediator who will approach God on his behalf. Christ, who is both God and man, and who is innocent of sin, is the only one who can serve: “there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all” (1Timothy 2:-6). In a much smaller/subordinate way, Moses serving as a mediator for the Israelites prefigured Christ’s ultimate mediation for us. So understanding of the unity of the Bible increases when one pays attention to instance where God brings salvation, and instances where a mediator stands between God and man.

Instances of mediators in the OT includes PROPHETS (bring the word of God from God to the people), KINGS (bring God’s rule to bear on the people), and PRIESTS (represent the people in coming before God’s presence). Also can look at them as WISE MEN (bring God’s wisdom to others), WARRIORS (bring God’s deliverance from enemies), and SINGERS (who bring praise to God on behalf of the people and speak of the character of God to the people). Mediation occurs not only through human figures, but through institutions. COVENANTS (bring God’s word to the people), TEMPLE (brings God’s presence to the people), SACRIFICES (bring God’s forgiveness to the people).

In reading the Bible one should look for ways in which God brings his word and his presence to people through means that he establishes.

You Probably Aren't Going To Want To Read This

I found myself recently saying out loud, “I hate the word LEADERSHIP.” As it came out of my mouth, I knew it was a complete dramatic overstatement. I don’t hate “leadership,” I actually love it! John Maxwell, Andy Stanley and Bill Hybel books have changed my life…for real!

You might be wondering, why such strong words Judy? It’s just that the Church’s (note Big “C”) and my own UNQUENCHABLE THIRST for it and its use as a MEASUREING ROD for worth and success makes it so unappealing as of late. Somewhere in the midst of our pursuit to be great leaders, it “feels” like we’ve lost Jesus. I don’t know about you, but I miss Him.

So, I’ve decided to fire up my blog again. It’s going to break all the “blogging” rules. Most posts will be way too long for anyone to read, but that’s ok…it’s not for you really, it’s for me. 2012 is going to be about getting back to the basics of God’s Word and finding Jesus again. It’s not that I lost Him, He just got a little blurry there for awhile…partly due to my own leadership pursuit, partly due to other things I won’t go into here, but maybe someday (relax, no sin issue here…except in my overconsumption of chocolate and Diet Mountain Dew). Anyway, as of today, I began another reading of the Bible from cover to cover. While there will be leadership nuggets mixed in, this blog’s primary focus is on what God is teaching me on my reading journey.

Why am I posting this? I am a “doer,” not a “reader.” My favorite way to learn is by doing things and watching people. When it comes to reading, I’m super slow and often spend more time chasing rabbits off the page and/or dosing off, leaving me frustrated and having to go back and re-read what I just read...multiple times. If I didn’t love to learn so much, I probably never read…EVER (just being honest). If God would have left us 66 videos, instead of books, I’d be more than happy. But He didn’t, pen and ink were His methods of choice (or rock and chizel if you count Moses). So, I shall read (and re-read haha). Oddly enough, when I write as I read, while slowing me down even more, it multiples my comprehension. Plus, as stupid as it sounds, I’m much better at follow through when I make a verbal (or written) commitment. So, with that being said, going to give it my best shot, 3 days before the New Year.

Wish me luck :-D On your mark, get set, go!

Effective Ways To Regain Attention In Large Or Small Group Settings by Dale Hudson

These are some great ideas if your students do VBS-type meetings on mission trips or if you're involved in children's ministry (found on Also, if you're a ministry leader with little time for corporate meetings, these are examples of tips you can send out via email (like with a small group guide).

1. Say in a normal tone of voice, “If you can hear me, clap once.” Wait for a response. Repeat and say a little softer, “If you can hear me now, clap twice.” Wait for a response. One final time, lowering your voice to a whisper, “If you can hear me now, clap three times.” Wait for a response (by that time you should have their attention).

2. Use a simple hand motion. Before the lesson, tell the kids, “Anytime you see me raise my hand, I want you to raise your hand too and listen to what I have to say.”

3. Use silence. Just stop talking, in a few second it will catch on.

4. Use a noisemaker, like a toy train whistle. Teach the kids what kind of sound a train makes when it’s pulling into the station (Shhhh shhh shh). When they hear the whistle, they are to make the “Shhhh shhh shh” sound.

5. Buy a small music box (wind up before class) and tell the kids before you teach, “Anytime you start talking without permission, I’m going to open the music box and let it play as long as you keep talking. When you stop talking, I’m going to close it. At the end of the class, if there is any music left, I will reward you with a small prize (like a piece of candy).”

6. Say, “Give me five.” Hold up your hand and have the kids count backwards with you, starting loud with “5” and lowering your voice with each number until you’re whispering when you hit “1”.

7. Some type of simple rhythm (ex. smack legs twice, then clap twice). Eventually all the kids will be joining in and you will have their attention.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Retreat Budget

Conptemplating Entering The Blogging World Again. Until Then Here Is A Budget Worksheet For Retreats...

Category Specifics Amount

Retreat Venue:
Cost to Rent Camp, Hotel Rooms, etc.

Speaker and Band:
Speaker and Band Honorarium
Speaker and Band Transportation
Speaker and Band Lodging
Speaker and Band Gift Baskets
Speaker and Band Meals
Speaker and Band Water

General Transportation:
Gas for Drivers (those not riding bus)
U-Haul (Luggage and Equipment)
Gas for U-Haul
Gas for Vans
Gas for Set-up/Tear-down Team
Gas for Errands

General Food:
Food for Retreat
Food for Set-up/Tear-down Team

Discussion & Small Group Gatherings:
Discussion Book Paper and Printing
Disucussion Guides Paper and Printing
Discussion Book Envelopes and Supplies
Brown Bag Supplies (Discussion Group Supplies)
CD's and Paper Sleeves (Music for Environment)

Technical and Performing Arts:
Light, Sound and Media Rentals
Cords, Batteries, Video Tapes, Gaffers Tape, Etc.
Retreat Skit/Drama Props
Electrician/Other Skilled Labor

Set Design:
Foam Board, Paint and Supplies
Black Plastic Tarp

Paper and Printing of Flyers
VIP Night
Promo Registration Booth and Skit Props

Posterboard, Tape, Etc.
Paper, Paper and More Paper (Permission Slips, Profile Forms, Covenant Handouts, Job Descriptions, Schedules, Etc.)
Misc. Supplies (Notebooks, Folders, Pencils, Etc.)

First Aid Kit
Trash Bags and Cleaning Supplies
Game Supplies

Grand Total:
Cost Per Student (Divide Grand Total by Expected Amt. of Paying (NOT ACTUAL) students):

Monday, January 17, 2011

11 Lessons Learned Doing A Cadre In The 2011 ATL Ice Storm

1. Doing ministry alone is never fun: It’s like something was holding back the ice and snow and it just unleashed in a 30 minute time span. The minute it hit, we called off the Master’s Commission Atlanta (MC ATL) students driving but unfortunately a few were already at the airport or on their way back. I immediately headed by myself toward the airport around 285 East and sent Rey with the van down 85 South. I’ve been around the block too many times, I typically don’t get scared. But guess what, I was petrified. Cars were spun out in the ditch before me, then I was weaving around a 6 car pile-up, then a 20 car pile-up. It was nuts! I think if someone had been riding shotgun next to me, we would have still been nervous but felt the peace of having each other (yes, yes, I know Jesus was with me). I was glad Rey had Angela, but don’t you know the tipping ease of a 15-passenger vans was going through my head. I limped along to the airport and finally made it about an hour later, Rey about a ½ hour after that.

2. Know your limits: I had to make the call at the airport. Put these 7 ladies and 4 MC in a van and head 25 miles up 85 to the apartments or find a hotel. I had confidence I could make it, but zero confidence in the hundreds of ATL drivers currently stuck on the road. The 2 drivers who had a head start back took 3 hours to get there, who knows what it would have taken us an hour and hundreds of accidents later. Dumb, dumb, dumb are the only words to describe ATL drivers as I watched them slam on their brakes on the way to the airport. And, I know the 8 Atlanta salt trucks weren’t going to be of much help either.

My sis works for Marriott, so she was quick to get us some rooms, but unfortunately the shuttle couldn’t get up the hill. Oops. For those that don’t know it, navigating the hills of Georgia is different than the cornfields of Indiana. Called another hotel, when we went to get on the van there were a good 20 people in front of us. I would have weaved my way through, but there were 12 (7 ladies, 4 MC and me) of us. I am good, but not that good. Plus, that hotel was not taking reservations, if you made it on the van, you got a room.

3. You take your fun with you: We normally go all out on Cadres. There were 20+ MC girls at Jeanne’s and 20+ MC guys at my place waiting to serve the 52 ladies coming in. The roads were treacherous and the hills going up to both the apartments and Jeanne’s house were virtually impassable during the daylight. We had to move the Cadre from Jeanne’s house to the MC apartments since, while we might get them to Jeanne’s, it would be impossible to get them back to the apartments that night. Initially, we thought about doing one big slumber party at Jeanne’s and my house, but 70+ women and 20+ guys with 7 bathrooms and 5 showers between us is a bit much. So, we had one shot to get everything, along with a small team of people, to the apartments on the people mover. So, off went the food, tokens and a team of 12 in the Beast (our people mover). Andy followed behind in his truck with the chairs. The 12 on the people mover and a handful of MC students at the apartments worked their hearts out. As I say, “they did their very best.” And you know what? Their “very best” was AMAZING! They killed it because they “chose” to bring their fun with them. People sacrificed sleep, their apartments, their everything. I’m not sure if my favorite Kodak moment was seeing Anders put together the cheese tray on the bathroom sink or the bathtub lined with towels being used as a cupboard for the pots and pans. If I had seen it, it probably would have been Rey carrying a stack of chairs up the icy hill only to have them fall on his head (no, I’m not cruel, he laughed too).

4. Rey will live down the jokes: Four MC students and I slept in one hotel room. Rey was the lone male. He got the floor. He’s only been teased a few times about sleeping with four women that night. Rey is one of the manliest men out there. I don’t think there is anyone else I would have rather had by my side. His very presence brings peace.

5. If you stay calm, everyone stays calm: Once we were all together at the airport, there was a lot of laughter. The laughter eased the tension and made everything ok.

6. Sometimes things just don’t make sense: Planes that would have landed well before the storm were cancelled. In the midst of the worst part of the storm, ones that should have been cancelled were still landing. My only conclusion (i.e. story I could make up that made any sense) was that the airlines had to strategically figure out where it wanted the planes after the storm was over. Thus, they cancelled some and let others go.

7. Wear a stickin’ coat: I am an idiot. When it comes to everyone else, I play a game with myself called “worst case scenario” and plan accordingly. When it comes to myself, I have a tendency to wing it. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

8. Pay attention to details: I was so rattled when I got to the airport, I didn’t notice that I had hit the wrong button and rolled down part of my back driver’s side window. 12 hours later I had a nice pile of snow in my backseat.

9. Sometimes things work and other times they don’t: I was worried about ice and morning traffic during rush hour on our airport runs Wednesday, so we sent two groups via the Marta (train) with an MC travel assistant. One group got there just like anticipated, the other not so much. They still made their planes with time to spare, just wasn’t so smooth because Marta was still trying to get their act together. After that we opted to take everyone straight to the airport ourselves. The Marta was worth a shot, just not a second one.

10. Prayer works: My car that I haven’t made the first payment on yet didn’t get hit. The MC students caught in the storm on the way back from the airport didn’t get hit. Brian, the toothless wonder and driver who took us to the Econolodge (yep, can you say last resort) made it to the hotel safe after nearly driving us into a ditch because he was following another driver too close. I prayed against bed bugs at the Econolodge and, to my knowledge, no one saw or got bit by any. I successfully weaved through a 6 car pile-up, 20 car pile-up and a whole lot of jack-knifed semi’s. And the list goes on…

11. Some things happen for a reason. Is it God? I don’t know, but too Him be the glory regardless: In October, somehow the MC gang popped 3 tires and bent a rim on the red van within a week. Taking it off road by the ball fields probably didn’t help. Were the tires bad and totally unrelated to them? Probably, but at the time, as the keeper of the budget, I wasn’t a happy camper. But rather than put used tires on it again (we thought old red was about to retire, but she came back to life), I told the boys to get new ones all around. It is probably the very thing that kept the van on the road during Rey’s trek down and back up 85.

Two ladies came in at the crack of dawn on Monday morning. When they told me they would make it in, I secretly thought “I’ll hope and pray it in, but fat chance.” Because the hotel was near the airport, the pickups were a cinch and I didn’t have to worry about anyone else making a run. Had we had to run after them from 25 miles North, it probably would have taken awhile.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

MC Atlanta 2010-2011

The random people I get to do life with and see roaming the halls every day. They make me laugh more than should be allowed by law. I am a blessed woman.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Interview Questions

A friend just emailed me seeking advice on some of the questions we thought he should ask in an interview process. The top things that came to my head are below. I would probably word some more carefully and make sure I wasn't just firing the questions at them (i.e. use a more conversational approach), but the bottom line of some of the basic things I would want to know is there.

1. What does a thriving youth ministry look like to you?
2. Tell me about the person that was in this position previously. Regarding what he/she did, what did you like and what do you wish they would have done more of?
3. What are your strengths? What are some areas that maybe you not so strong in that I could help with when it comes to leading the church?
4. What would a true armor bearer for you look like?
5. What’s your vision for this church?
6. What’s your dream team to accomplish the vision look like?
7. When it comes to the church, what are you most proud of? Excited about?
8. Find out the leadership structure. Is it a one-man show or are there a significant number of volunteer teams?
9. When it comes to discipling and training your staff, what does that look like to you?
10. What are your pet-peeves when it comes to your staff?
11. What do you feel the role of spouses is? How much are they expected to be involved?
12. I am a harder worker and go above and beyond, but how many hours do you expect me to put in each week? How many nights, on average, do you anticipate I will be away from my family each week (i.e. at church)? (I would probably word it differently than that, but get the answer somehow)
13. Beyond youth ministry, what other responsibilities would I have?
14. Financially, how is the church doing? Has the recession resulted in any major budget cutbacks or layoffs? (If the job is going to require a significant move, I would ask a whole bunch of financial questions)

Secretly, I would figure out how long other staff have been there. If they have a high turnover rate, something is up. If it doesn’t feel too uncomfortable and someone was in the position previously, I would ask if I could contact them. I would also ask if I could sit down and talk with the current volunteer team to get a pulse on the ministry/church.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

It's A Lot Of Hard Work

God is doing some amazing work in and through the Cadre. If I sat down and told you the story, you'd think "Wow, that is so God and so good." While it's Jeanne's ministry, the pictures and strategy God has deposited in my head and heart are undeniabley detailed and clear. The pieces of the puzzle He has ochestrated in my life blow my mind. I honestly believe it's going to change the nation. I call it a "new kind of revival."

I think people long for that ... the visions, the dreams, the impact. However, in all it's beauty, it's a lot of hard work. A lot ... a lot! And, I think that's where the bump in the road lies for many. Things in ministry don't typically "just happen." God puts His super on our natural and His extra in our ordinary to make things supernaturally extraordinary. But, I don't know of a successful ministry that has ever "successfully" bypassed the hard work. Even with MANY workers, as we are fortuate to have, it's still A LOT of hard work because people are messy, teams are messy, churches are messy and leadership is messy. God knew it, but said "they're worth it." WHAT DO YOU SAY?

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Ok, let's try this again.

Evidently I wasn't meant to live in the city. So, here is the new house I just dropped a bid on, along with $1,000 earnest money.

Trying to buy a house during the busiest season of work is the not my smoothest move. It makes it very difficult to concentrate, but I am excited. I might just finish the lower level and use the main floor for a basketball court, it's ceilings are more than high enough and defitinely a good 3/4 court.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

My House

It's official. The bank accepted my short-sale offer on this townhouse. 3 bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths and it's sooo close to the church that if I had a good arm I could throw a rock across the highway and hit it (ok, that might be a slight exaggeration). It's got upgraded everything in the kitchen (like it matters given the amount I cook, but it sure looks pretty). However, I'm more excited about the amount of gas and time I will save. Not having to sit in Atlanta traffic should add at least a couple years to my life.

It was built in 2006, so I'm thinking the inspections should go smoothly. Right ... hopefully ... maybe?

Friday, July 09, 2010

Ahhhhh ... vacation

I just got back yesterday from 4 days at Hilton Head. Here are my reflections...

1. 2 months ago, the week I spent moving my niece out to Orange County was definitely not a vacation. The 35 hours in the car, 47 gazillion emails and texts to launch a new ministry long distance and countless all-nighters before, just left me beat and a little on the angry side (at one point almost launched my cell into the sea).

However, 4 days at Hilton Head with little cell reception and being too cheap to pay for internet access at the Marriott was good for the soul. I think I tweeted once the whole time. The vacation from social networks was more important than I care to admit.

2. It took until day 3 to truly rest, which means I probably should have stayed 7-10 days and not 4. Good to note for future. The call to pay an extra $25 a night to stay oceanside was well worth it for the porch alone.

3. I am vacationing again in late August and am spending a couple of days alone at Manowe with Jesus first. Then, celebrating my mom's 72nd birthday. Time with both growing more important to me with each passing day.

4. When I lose perspective, time away helps me to find it again. I truly believe my greatest days are ahead.

5. My continual reflection and prayer was/is to master being "for people" regardless of the surrounding circumstances. Reading The 4:8 Principle during vacation was a HUGE help.

6. The crazy stuff that washes up on shore each morning makes me not want to swim in the ocean. Watching the crab feast on the dead jelly fish was cool and discusting at the same time. The baby sand sharks were cute on the end of a fishing line, but probably wouldn't be if I stepped on one or had it cruise by me while swimming.

7. Napping is an essential ingrediant when it comes to vacation.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

After Day 2 of Master's Commission Staff Retreat

Fun observations after Day 2 of MC Staff Retreat

Nothing beats having a staff truly "for each" other, where you celebrate strengths, shore up weaknesses and major on the majors. We genuinely love and like to be with each other.

We fight for our students and each other.

You can't improve until you are willing to voice what's not working. Hitting the pause button to reflect makes us better. This year was AMAZING, next year will be even more so.

Our calendar is nuts. Balancing the Master's Commission world, with Oxygen's Youth & Young Adult Ministry, the Tabernacle Church, Jeanne's traveling schedule, Cadre and Youth Leader's Coach would cause most to tremble in fear. I remember thinking 3 years ago when I started, "Is this even possible?" Now it's normal. It's made me better and in relentless pursuit of keeping only the things on my plate that no one else can do.

My people observation is that when we hit an area that we are passionate about, our voices change. It's pretty funny, cool and scary at the same time.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Meet The AMAZING Chris Infalt

Chris is flat out amazing. She is pictured here with her husband Dave and oldest son Mike. Here are 10 things you need to know about Chris.

1. Before our Youth Leader's Coach days, she was my friend and will always be. She was my right hand ... and left hand ... at Granger. She encourages me in my writing and to pace myself ... one of which I appreciate (haha).
2. Her and I are hard-to-beat as Euchre partners (if you don't know what Euchre is, you're probably not from IN, IL or MI). Likely because she's worked with me so long she pretty much can read my mind.
3. She is an incredible mom and wife. She has 3 sons I adore and 1 husband that I think the world of, who too watches out for me.
4. If all of that weren't enough, she single-handedly took customer service from about a 5 to a 10 at Youth Leader's Coach. She is the voice, email and smile behind making our resources look good and helping us enter the digital age, alongside the dynamic duo, Brett and Terrence.
5. She puts up with me and all my OCD and perfectionistic tendencies.
6. She is full of grace, grace, grace when life gets the best of me and I can't email or call back right away.
7. She answers my calls, whether it's at 7 a.m. or 7 p.m. (I try not to call after 9 p.m. to be nice). She knows life in Atlanta doesn't always hit "office hours."
8. She preached at her mom's funeral, which, in part, gave me the courage to do my dad's.
9. She is an armor-bearer like no other.
10. She enables me to do what I do, without her I would not and could not.

Just thought you should meet her.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Meet The Assistants

The 3 people you see above, well those 3 people kept my world glued together this year. Learning to navigate multiple ministries at the same time (Cadre, Source/YLC/website, Alliance, Middle School, Childrens Ministry, MC Atlanta 3rd year Interns and the Accounting Department) has been fun, horrible, wonderful and challenging at the same time. Next year, after I empower a few more people along the way, I add on support staff discipleship.

Let me introduce them to you...

Ben - Lead Assistant (4th year support staff) - Some of my fondest memories with Ben have been our late night conversations. He is a quiet giant. Ben doesn't talk a ton, but when he does, everyone listens...everyone. He has huge influence and walks with enormous amounts of integrity. His calm nature brings peace to a room, regardless of the circumstance going on within it. Ben is going to go rock the world somewhere next year doing ministry or playing basketball.

Bridget - She is an administrative giant that might stand 5'2" at best. She knows how I like things done and delievers. Bridget doesn't mind doing the spreadsheets and putting notebooks together...for that I am incredibly grateful. In other words, she understands the glamorous and non-glamorous parts of ministry and is great with all of it. She also makes me laugh, which I am always in need of. She isn't coming back next year, but the girl will always be near and dear to my heart.

Jordan - Jordan loves to do everything I hate, especially phone calls. I think I have a phone phobia, Jordan does not. He always makes me feel like a million bucks by telling everyone he has the "best boss in the world." I thought Jeanne and I loved the Cadre the most, but I think Jordan is in the running. Not once have I ever seen him in a bad mood. He is blasted consistant, which I love and value. Thankfully, Jordan will be back for a 3rd year.

All 3 of my assistants have been AMAZING armor bearers this year. I know they are "for me." They know I am "for them" and will fight for them. They bring peace and joy to my world. I told them at our final lunch together that, with such different personalities, the fact that we still love each other well at the end of the year is incredible. I wasn't sure if I could have 3 assitants without drama, but have had ZERO drama between them and me all year long. They make my day, world and universe.

Meet Master's Commission Atlanta Graduating Class of 2009-2010

I've don't think I've ever invested more spritually, mentally and emotionally in a group of people. Watching them leave, knowing some of them aren't returning, has been painful. The only thing helping me to survive is knowing God has greater days ahead for all of us.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Meet the Interns

The hightlight of my year was my time spent with the interns and support staff (or as the guys call themselves, manterns). Their last official day is tomorrow, when most of them will go off and do ministry in some other part of the country. It will be a sad (but happy) day for me. One of them left yesterday and it nearly ripped my heart out. I guess that's a sign of investment and heart deposit. I am beyond proud of them. If I had the money, I would hire all of them.

Today they gave me the coolest token ever (a machete) with a tag (tied with raffia of course) that reads "Thanks for cutting through the pretenses of ministry and preparing the way for our ministry success. You taught us both the pragmatics and heart of what a God honoring ministry should look like. We are better, stronger and braver becasue your machete has gone before us! THE INTERNS OF 2009-2010

Among other things, I challenged them this year to be grateful people who know what it means to live under authority ... so glad it was, is and will continue to become more and more a part of their dna. They are beyond good, they're AMAZING!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Thoughts on the AMAZING Newspring and Elevation Churches Through My Filter

If I lived “there” (Matthews, NC or Anderson, SC), I’d probably go there.

Perry can preach up a storm like no other and his message was laced with scripture. Loved it. It made me want to listen to every one of his messages he’s ever preached and read God's Word once again cover to cover. However, I also realized that I am becoming acclimated to and enjoy some of my AG tendencies (or maybe it’s just southern). In our church we talk back to the preacher…not like, scream and shout stuff. For example, if they say something is good, we say “that’s good”. Perry was hitting on all cylinders and there was nothing, not a word. I’m sure it was 100 percent out of respect, but man I missed it.

It was vision casting day at Elevation, so it was a different kind of message … nevertheless, crazy inspiring. It “felt” like it took Steven about 10-15 to get into the flow. He didn’t “feel” fully present in the whole live and taping for the next day’s audience at the same time attempt. But, when he figured it out, he figured it out well and you wouldn’t have had a clue he was taping. Afterwards, to prevent the students from judging, it was fun to point it out first and tell them “He had a church blow up (in a good way), I’m sure he’s still trying to figure out some things. Oh how easy it would be to slice and dice people, but always remember we are ‘for each other.’” Learning how to evaluate churches when going places is huge. If there is something I’ve done right with the interns, I think it’s that.

Elevation church tore it up when it comes to First Impresssions. Everyone got a free t-shirt and was consistently met by encouraging, helpful people. We also all got a follow-up letter. A couple of us even got a hand written postcard and phone call. I am assuming newcomer names got split into volunteer teams, that’s why some of us got the “extra” touch and others didn’t. Regardless, they killed it. This particularly hit home because I was in the midst of editing Jeanne’s “How to make great first impressions” Youth Leader’s Coach.

Newspring’s First Impressions were great as well. If you were new, you turned on your flashers and got VIP parking. Everyone got a cup of coffee, which I heard was better than Starbucks from some. Where they really knocked it out of the park was with the tour we were given afterwards. A guy named Chris Dunagan gave us a million dollar tour, when I only expected a nickel one. While I am sure he would rather have been somewhere else, you would have never known it. In the tour, the only thing I didn’t understand was why the ages of the kids rooms were not marked at all. Maybe the goal was to “make” me stop by and meet someone before service, not sure. I asked Chris what kind of database they use. He said they just switched from Fellowship One to Arena, can’t wait to do the research on Arena to see what it’s got going for it. I laughed when Chris said they bought the system then hired the sales person to manage it. Thought that sounded like a great idea.

Found out NewSpring uses live internet feed (as opposed to Satellite, which Chris said was much more expensive) and Elevation tapes for their other campuses. Interesting thoughts on the “feel” it would give me. Psychologically I think I would like the idea of knowing that while I am watching a screen, someone is preaching it live to me somewhere at that exact moment.

Newspring’s student ministry area was to die for, part of which is open every day (volunteered staff) for students to hang out in and do pickup games, homework, etc. in. In the tour, we briefly met Brad Cooper, the youth pastor, in the hallway. Even though he was with some people, he stopped and asked each of my students’ names…very impressed.

In both instances, you can’t go back into the auditorium if you go out. Maybe it’s for taping purposes, maybe it because the dark room gets flooded with light by the door. Not sure what I thought about it. Part of me thought, “good for them, people can figure out if they have to ‘go’ beforehand and need to put on their ‘big boy’ pants” and the other part was “that’s just weird and would feel rude if I really were a newcomer to church.” My final thought is that it’s great either way, but if I can’t come back in, would love to know the “why” behind the “what.”

I loved Elevation’s worship, the floor was pounding and the people truly super engaged. I wished I would have looked around at the men in the audience. I forgot to do it there, but didn’t forget at Newspring. Newspring’s worship wasn’t my style, but a particular style isn’t for everyone so that’s all good. What has me pondering though is that when I looked at men in the room, probably 60% were standing with their arms folded not singing a word. I’m trying to figure out what to think about it. Because of it, do you sing less or instruct in worship more …. no clue. It made me grateful for Corey Leak, our worship pastor, who is perhaps the best “teacher” of worship I’ve ever encountered.

The woman’s bathroom (yep, checked it) at Elevation was amazing, at Newspring less amazing. Made me laugh and remember the talks Mark used to have regarding why it is so important to have an amazing woman’s bathroom. Definitely not a make it or break it deal at either campus, but appreciated and definitely noticed the nice one.

It is obvious both churches want to be a teaching church to other churches, I so appreciated that and, as a result, my students learned a ton and were fired up like never before.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Spiritual Mothers and Fathers

People are hungry for them...intentional ones that is. I think the rise in the use of the word "mentor" is in direct proportion to the hunger and felt need for them. You can use the word mentor, but I think the real need is spiritual mothers and fathers.

There are 3 occasions lately that have my heart stirring:
1. I was sitting across from a young man I adore in a Chili’s in Monterrey, Mexico. I had some of our team of 20 share about their hang out time with Jesus right before dinner. This young man spoke and it was profound, but he was so insecure about his sharing that it made it a little more challenging to grab a hold of the enormous amount of wisdom that could be found in his words. After the sharing was over, I leaned across the table and encourage him in regard to what he well as challenged him in his delivery for which he was grateful. Because this young man knows I love him, I was pretty straight forward on the challenge. What I didn’t realize was that the guy sitting next to me overheard our conversation, to which he whispered into my ear afterwards, “Judy, I want you to talk to me like that. I need you to love me enough to slap me around a little like that. I can take it.”

2. I had a young man who is gifted beyond measure walk into my office today. Past experience has taught me that he is one who appreciates you going through the front door (i.e. saying things directly versus using vague language in hope that they get it (using the backdoor)). He asked me to intentionally mentor him over the coming months. He said that those he trusts, trust me...therefore, he wants me to shoot straight with him and challenge him to be the best he can be. He said he’s asked people before, but they never follow through. We are both thinking and praying what that might look like. I told him I would, but he has got to be able to take it. By “take it,” I don’t mean harsh words, but for him to realize that some of the things I say he might not like to hear...he would have to be strong enough at times to maybe even “agree to disagree”...but willing to walk away from our talks, leaving the discussion behind and the relationship intact. Our mentoring journey began when he walked out the door, I told him I loved him, to which he responded, “I love you too” very which I said, “in the future slow down saying ‘I love you.’” From my own personal journey, we say “I love you” fast or just “love you” when we have said those words so few times that it’s still uncomfortable. I am a firm believer that the church has gotten too far away from using the “love” word out of fear of being misunderstood and lawsuits, to the point they’ve allowed Satan to rob them of the most powerful word ever spoken. Of course, I don’t ever want the word to become “cheap” to the point we don’t really mean it when we say it.

3. Speaking of love … I love, love, love many students in Master’s Commission and would take a bullet for any one of them. But there are two in particular that have captured my heart. In recent days, they call me “mom” and I call them “sons”. Both of these young men know that I would turn the world upside down for either of them, but they also know I will be quicker to correct them than anyone else. In fact, we laugh because one of the two prayed for dinner in Mexico and it was so quick of a prayer because we were tired and hungry, I made someone else try again. Had anyone else prayed that prayer, I would not have said a word but because it was one of the two, I did. Some would say it was harsh, but my presentation style was such that we laughed about it in the moment, but he heard me deeply. I love him so much that I don’t want him to have to navigate his spiritual journey alone, to have to forge it on his own … I want to leave fingerprints on his heart.

I am still a far cry from having this spiritual mom/mentor thing figured out … by a long shot, but I am determined to change myself, then change my culture. I am not sure of our future otherwise. Big words? Maybe.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A New Challenge ... Children's Ministry

I recently took over leadership of our Children’s Ministry. I am doing leadership like I’ve never done before. Not sure how it will play out, but we will see. Because it’s only one of eight leadership roles I participate in (Cadre, 3rd Year Master’s Commission, Financial Analyst, Youth Leader’s Coach Website/Product Development, Middle School, Media Oversight, NYLC and Children’s Ministry), everything is empowered/delegated to others. I just provide oversight to the individuals, who in turn provide oversight to the teams.
So far, …

1. Our Executive Leadership Team is meeting every Sunday through January to develop unity, strategy and communication. After January, we will probably move it to a semi-monthly meeting. These are the coolest nine people you will find on the planet. Seven are MC students and two are home team (Tabernacle regulars). We need to up the ante on home team and, hopefully, will in time.

2. We renamed the ministry from Kids for Christ (always abbreviated KFC…not sure who thought that one up) to 4:12 KidStreet. We are in the midst of a strategic redesign and relaunch. Everything is being overhauled. Nothing was ever bad, it just wasn’t great. We are trying to bring greatness to the Kid’s Ministry.

3. We are working on branding the ministry.

4. We are launching small groups on Sunday mornings in late January. I am more interested in talking “with” kids, then forever “at” them. Talking “with” them enables us truly to know if what is being “taught” is being “caught.” In addition, it allows us to know them by name and love/care for them at a deeper level. Given that we have a two hour service on Sunday mornings, we can accomplish the small group time within the Sunday morning experience.

5. Picked the brain of my Indiana friends at GCC. And, took the team to an Orange One Day conference (we're using the 252 Basics curriculum). Figured I might as well put myself and them in the presence of greatness.

6. Set the rotation for teaching each week, including ensuring each teacher is evaluated to "make us better." Since I consider us to be a "teaching church," I am willing to take a few more chances here AS LONG AS we have a system in place for evaluation. Without it, I'd probably just rotate through our top four naturally gifted communicators. However, that limits us from discovering new ones or pulling it out of others. The one thing I want to do is find a few videos or develop some short teachings to increase the chances of a "win" before they step up to the plate.

7. We’ve divided up the responsibilities. This will need continual retweeking. Some of our Master’s Students already have a TON on their plate. Time will tell if they can pull this off. My priority is them…and while they will probably never live balanced lives while in the ATL (or anywhere else for that matter), I do want them to live healthy ones. Here is a look...

4:12 KidStreet Executive Team:
Adrian, Austin M., Austin S., Brady, Brian, Judy, Marissa, Megan, Tiffany G., Tiffany J.

Executive Team Lead: Judy
Leadership meetings, leadership development, all other Executive Teams’ direct report, helps problem solve, etc.

Tab Leadership Development Leads: Brian and Tiffany J.
Intentionally develops relationship with Tabernacle family and invites them to be a part of 4:12 KidStreet.

Student Leadership Development Leads: Austin S. and Megan
Works with Adrian, Tiffany and Rey to develop a track for junior high and high school leaders to run on in the form of leadership development.

Sunday Morning Programming Lead: Brian
Make sure Cue Sheet is done and keeps service order going. Stays in weekly communication with Creative Arts Lead.

Creative Arts Lead: Brady
Determines and works with various teams on creative element needs and makes sure they are ready on appropriate weeks. Stays in weekly communication with the Sunday Morning Programming Lead.

Communications Lead: Brady
Ensures team members know what they need to know before Sundays and leadership meetings. Connects with various leads to ensure everyone is on the same page.

Character Development Lead: Austin M.
Develops live/video characters and provides leadership to actors used in various aspects of the service.

Video Leads: Brian, Adrian, Brady and Tiffany J.
Finds and/or gets videos created for various aspects of service, including worship and filler time when service goes long.

Small Groups Leads: Tiffany J. and Judy
Develops small group material and communicates it to small group leaders, makes sure all supplies are provided.

Tech Team Lead: Brian
Sets rotation schedule for volunteers and communicates tech needs.

Boys Discipleship Lead: Adrian
Creates ways for the boys to grow in their relationship with Christ could be thru games, challenges, events, etc.

Prayer Lead: Adrian
Creates two minute intros that set the tenor for prayer time.

Pre-Service Lead: Austin S.
Makes us better and ensures all supplies are on hand.

Administrative Lead: Austin S.
Updates database, counts offering and ensures all slides are ready for service (including expectations, total recall, virtue, memory verse, announcements, etc.).

Teaching Leads: Adrian, Austin M. and Brady
Evaluates whoever is teaching each week, including prayer and worship mini-teachings. Currently all Executive Team leads, except Tiffany J and Judy rotate through teaching. Provides written summary of what they communicated to teacher each week.

Visitor Follow-Up Lead: Tiffany G.
Makes sure we have visitor cards for new kids.

“You Rock” Lead: Tiffany G.
Publically and individually acknowledges students that are taking steps and making a difference.

Worship Lead: Marissa
Creates two minute intros that set the tenor for worship time.

Puppetry Leads: Marissa and Megan
Develops puppet ministry.

Girls Discipleship Lead: Megan
Creates ways for the girls to grow in their relationship with Christ could be thru games, challenges, events, etc.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The need for your friends and family's encouragement and approval

I had forgotten how much you always want your friends and family's approval. Seth, a phenom of a leader and, more importantly, amazing friend is part of Cadre Kairos. He was in Sunday night, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday morning for the Cadre. Because of a couple of minor behind-the-scenes glitches, some catch-up work needed from going home for the memorial service and prep necessary for my meeting with some Group Publishing friends in Colorado the day after the Cadre, I didn't get to talk with or check-up on him as much as I'd have liked. But, my eye would go his direction every once in a while and I knew he was doing well. He's always friendly and a networking genius. When we talked on the phone this morning, he bragged on the Cadre and the MC gang. It put a smile on my face. My smile just grew when I read his Facebook post to the world. Here's what he had to say, "Can't stop thinking about the Cadre in ATL this week. Jeanne Mayo, Judy Gregory, and MC students blew me away! I've been to every major YM conference and the Cadre Advance easily added more spiritual, relational, and practical value than anything I've experienced." Thanks Seth, for being an amazing friend, leader and encourager.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

It's ok Charlie Weis... "That" win/loss record isn't what "really" matters anyway

I was on Notre Dame’s sideline watching #52 warm up a week ago. #52 is Braxton Cave, an amazing young man whom I’m so very proud of. I’m not gonna lie, it’s kind of fun to be able to say that kid was in my middle school youth group when his whole body was about the size of his current bicep.

My sis had gotten field passes to the Notre Dame vs. UConn game, so it was awesome to be able to see Braxton up close. In fact, it was cool to see the whole game up close. But that’s it…it was just “cool” (and cold, my Indiana blood has thinned since moving down to Georgia). In fact, my exact thought on the sideline that day was “The ND field is cool but few will remember the feats performed on it. Your true legacy is the deposits you’ve made in the hearts of men before your lights truly go out.” I remember it because I thought it was a profound thought, plus I had tweeted it from my phone and Twitter shot me back the “Oops! Your tweet was over 140 characters” reject message. So much for sharing my profound thought with the world.

Fast forward five days later to Thanksgiving night when I get a panic call from my mom saying, “Judy, the nursing home called and Jimmy is not doing good. They think that he’s dying, will you go with me?” Within minutes, I met her there and we were walking in the door not really knowing what to expect. Fortunately before we got there, they had given him a morphine shot, so whatever breathing distress he might have been in had ceased. His breaths were quick and shallow, but not difficult. For nearly two hours we stood there, holding his hands, watching him breathe. His breathing slowed and then it just stopped. Jim died at 1:40 a.m. on Black Friday.

On Saturday morning we’ll tell stories and celebrate Jimmy’s life, but by the end of the day I’ll probably be helping my mom go through his things to give to his daughter and grandson before they fly home. It will be the same as when my father died two years ago, some of the stuff will get distributed among the kids but most will get thrown away or sent to Goodwill. Which leads me to this thought, “What will get my focus this holiday season…the latest, greatest gadget at Best Buy or the hearts of my family and friends? For one is “cool” and the other “eternal.” Jimmy’s life…and death…reminds me that I get to pick where I make my deposits.

Charlie Weis got to pick too. After three consecutive dismal seasons, he got his walking papers from Notre Dame (and a few million dollars). Jack Swarbrick, Notre Dame’s Athletic Director, says he believes Weis will have a successful future. “He will go on to have great success, he’ll add some Super Bowl rings, no doubt, to the ones he already has…” Jack’s not bad, he’s not even wrong…I love football, but Charlie’s true legacy is the deposits he’s made in the hearts of his players when it comes to this real game called life. My prayer is that they were ginormous, especially for #52 who goes by the name of Braxton Cave.

Monday, November 16, 2009

If you're going to survive ministry, you better know how to respond to your valleys

Summer was AMAZING! My time with Jesus was extraordinary. But, then it came…the end of August. August is the beginning of a 10 week push, that is long…and hard…and wonderful…and long…and hard…and wonderful…and hard! It’s a ramp up time for Master’s Commission Atlanta (80 students) and Cadre (135 youth pastors), both at the same time, all while doing everything else we do. For me, that means directing the website, Source, Youth Leader’s Coach, middle school ministry, accounting department, 3rd year MC ministry enrichment and children’s ministry. I literally have a piece of paper posted to my computer of my job responsibilities, along with 10 questions I frequently look at to see what needs my attention.

1. What meetings need to take place?
2. Who can be entrusted with a hand off?
3. What do I need to do so those around me can do what they need to do?
4. What needs inspected/reviewed/reminded about?
5. What deadlines are fast approaching that are likely to bite me?
6. Who can I encourage and/or coach a little today?
7. Are there any systems that can be established to make this whole thing run smoother?
8. What must I do that no one else can?
9. Have I ripped off Jesus today?
10. What am I willing to fail at (or as I say to my 3rd years, take the “F” in)?

What made these 10 weeks harder than normal were the Atlanta flooding (which totally jacked up the MC schedule, including my 3 assistants) and the fact that we have nearly 25 additional youth pastors in the Cadre (which means more paperwork, more emails, more payments, more emails, more questions, more emails…). Because I’ve got great people around me, it’s do-able as long as the end is in sight. For me, I know the end is November 5. During those 10 weeks, sleep is elusive, work is abundant and deadlines are plentiful. People ask me how I do it and it’s simple. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE what I do (even throughout the 10 weeks) and I know, know, know that November 5 is coming.

But when November 5th hit, I was spent…completely gone. For the first time in my life, I even think I fell asleep at the wheel (that will never happen again), fortunately as quick as I went to sleep, I woke up. I was ready to quit and go flip burgers for a living. Was I serious? Dead serious, more than you could ever know. BUT then I slept and slept some more, played tennis and played some more, talked to Jesus and talked some more, talked to a friend and talked some more, got caught up on some work and caught up some more. I heard myself say to Jeanne some amazing words of wisdom, you know the kind afterwards that you think “those weren’t mine.” I said, “I just have to realize the end of the 10 week push marks the beginning of a tough month. November is ‘head game’ month ever since my dad died. Each year is better than the last, but still not great.” I needed to say that out loud.

All that to say, if you haven’t figured it out yet, “know your peaks and valleys” and “verbalizing the tough stuff (to the right people) disarms it.” Today was a great day, 12 hours of sleep, 2 hours of tennis in the warm sunshine, lunch with some friends, now a little worky work…

Friday, September 25, 2009

Vision Casting Day

It was a vision casting day today...
Cast vision for another Back2Back Mexico Mission Trip this morning
Cast vision for Cadre and Youth Leaders Coach this afternoon
Cast vision for some random things at the church board meeting tonight
In between tried to teach the 3rd years MC students a point or two. I've got a new line when I'm speaking to the masses and want the 3rd years to take note. I like it.

This week and last week was totally devoted to ramping up the new Cadre and preparing for the YLC board meeting next week. In addition to the 50 second years, we have 85 first year Cadre members representing 29 states. You want to know the power of a life one person who wields his influence? We have 8 youth pastors coming from Oklahoma! That's a big deal.

5 Alabama
2 Arkansas
1 Arizona
2 California
1 Connecticut
6 Florida
6 Georgia
1 Illinois
5 Indiana
1 Louisiana
3 Michigan
1 Minnesota
2 Missouri
2 Mississippi
3 Montana
1 North Carolina
3 New Jersey
3 New Mexico
1 Nevada
2 New York
3 Ohio
8 Oklahoma
2 Pennsylvania
2 South Carolina
2 Tennessee
10 Texas
4 Virginia
2 Washington
1 Wisconson

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Random 2 a.m. thoughts

Blogging seems to be down all around ... especially on mine. But, it's 2 a.m. and I'm in the mood (or maybe I'm just avoiding reviewing the financials for the board meeting tomorrow). Did you ever feel like you were on the edge of something and the very next step was going to take you into unchartered waters? That's where I am. I've got 15 lives depending, in part, on me to prepare them in a big way for their next step in ministry. I've got thoughts, plans and dreams ... yet nervous that I won't live up to the expectations, not their expectations but my own. The juggling act of Cadre, Sunday School Teacher, Middle School Director, Children's Ministry Oversight, Financial Analyst, Youth Leader's Coach and 3rd Ministry Enrichment Director leaves me wondering if success will be possible or elusive.

I'm well aware I will have to be more focused and intentional than my life has ever required. I think I'm up for it ... I hope my three Master's Commission Assistants are too. I'm on day 24 of a 40 day JuDaniel fast (Judy's pathetic version of Daniel's fast) in preparation for it. I've told some of the MC students that I've declared that this year will be the greatest year of my life. Hopefully by day 40 (or 365), I will have figured out why those words even came out of my mouth.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Jeanne Mayo

The queen of youth ministry has FINALLY entered the blogging world ... she is already making her mark here.

Monday, August 31, 2009


Seldom am I moved to tears, but when I was home, it was truly a kiss from Jesus. I saw a number of people, including a bunch of my Oasis kids at Chris’ house. It was truly a testimony of the beauty that unfolds when you stick around long enough to see it. Only God could have brought out of those middle school years of utter awkwardness what I witnessed.

Kira had a rocky pre-adolescent time to say the least. The incredible, gentle young lady she’s become is completely mouth-dropping. I’m sure she is not without teenage drama, but wow she is amazing! Plus, the beauty in which she reads and writes is a sight to behold.

Whitney, where in the world did that amazing voice come from? The girl doesn’t even need a musical instrument to back her up. Some might think, “Judy you’re just being nice.” Nope, I say what I mean and mean what I say. As a 15 year old, I’d put her voice on any stage. I was sooo stunned, I told her if she did two trimesters with a “B” average, I would give her my Baby Taylor. I’m not sure what I was thinking, but at the same time felt compelled to invest in her future. Watch out world.

Watching Scotty play guitar is an art form all to itself. Words cannot describe it, only seeing it does it justice. Seriously, I’m without words just thinking about it.

Neil is the self-proclaimed perfect child. If there ever was one, he would be the poster child for it. He’s kind, a servant, and as smart as all get out. He dreams big dreams and I’m pretty confident he will achieve them.

Hilary’s art form comes through hair styles. Her personality and skills will make getting your hair cut healing, fun and an experience. She’s not just good at it, she’s AMAZING!

I remember when Zach was so spacey, you’d always have to keep your eye on him. Not anymore. He’s a grown, serving, young man with integrity and song writing skills.

Evan M, the boy with a heart of gold, has had his moments in recent years. But, the words that came out of his mouth in just the few brief minutes I had with him let me know, “Evan, the man, will do just fine.” Part of his destiny will be the faithful friend you can call any hour of the day when in need. He will be the poster child for the Good Samaritan one day, if he isn’t already.

Evan B, I’m pretty convinced will be the shocker of them all when it comes to transformation. When we talked about his heart to go into youth ministry, I was not talking to the awkward boy of yesterday but the God-honoring, reflective, man of today.

With Kyle, you will never meet a young man of his age more pure of heart. There is a stability he walks with that you just can’t quite put your finger on. He is about as steady as they come.

And when did the Wolfram boys go from toddlers to pre-teens…and Vanessa from a baby in my arms at the hospital to a lil cheerleader? It was so fun seeing them out on the football field. However, I know the days ahead for Don & Roxanne as the kids begin to enter middle school. How formative, how amazing…how rough! Just hold on Roxanne, the other side will be a sight to behold.

I could go on and talk about the amazing young ladies the Marzke girls are (I’m so jealous of their track and field skills and am stunned at how the two youngest have grown, all three are so very beautiful), the humor and intelligence that Corey still possesses, the beauty of Azaria… but I’m sure if I do I will leave someone out so I’ll stop.

Others post-party…
I absolutely loved hearing my nephew, Josh, talk about the passion he has for the Spyder. I haven’t seen that twinkle in his eye when it comes to serving in the sweet spot of his shape in awhile.

Seeing Trevor in his Penn football gear was way too fun. I could only stay for a few minutes so I didn’t get to see him play, but I know it’s nothin’ but passion on the field. But, I have a feeling someday you’ll find him the most happy catching waves oceanside on a surfboard.

Hearing Tristan say he is playing drums at the Elkhart campus made my heart smile. I remember the beginning days of Oasis where he led the band from behind the drums. Who does that? Like Scotty worships with his guitar, Tristan worships with his sticks. He’s a fun drummer to watch. I will always hold the late night talks with Karissa and him near and dear to my heart.

Seeing the incredible young woman my niece, Ashlyn, is becoming is amazing as well. She’ll graduate with two degrees in May – Biology and Psychology. I won’t hold it against her that they are from Purdue. She makes fun of my I.U. Accounting degree, but I’m ok with that as long as she makes more money than I do My starting salary out of college will be hard for her to beat. My salary in ministry…not so much. I wouldn’t miss her college graduation for anything.

This is way too long of post, but just thought you should know and, since I don’t journal, thought I should record it somewhere.