Monday, December 24, 2007

Life in a Gray World

While parked at a red light a few days ago, I noticed a bumper sticker that read "I am not a Republican." I was initially surprised by the boldness of that claim, but the bigger surprise to me was that someone could be so black and white in a gray world. It was as if there is only one "right" political party and everyone else is inherently wrong.

Life is not about issues, it's about people. That is the problem with political parties. We get so ingrained into one way of thinking that we totally ignore other issues at hand and the people that struggle with them. It is a lot harder to be anti-abortion while resting your hand on your 16 year old daughter's pregnant belly, knowing full well that she may have just ruined all hopes and dreams for her future.

Life is not black and white. Life is confusing. Life is messy. Life requires humble servants of Christ who will live in the trenches and get their hands dirty in the mess of life. May we not be so concerned with the issues of life that we forget about the people we live with.

Monday, December 17, 2007

A Great X-Mas Party

Last night I celebrated Christmas with the students in our youth ministry and it was a great time. We had nearly 40 kids and we chilled at a restaurant and arcade for a couple hours while eating pizza, playing games, and shooting each other in laser tag (in which I totally dominated).

I am aware that in each youth ministry event in the next 6 months, including last night's party, I will experience the full gamut of emotion, from joy and thankfulness to pain and sorrow. Pray for me and my students during this time of transition that we would be able to say goodbye in a healthy way.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

It's Official

For the regulars here you know that my wife, Mandy, and I have been praying about when to move to Seattle to attend Mars Hill Grad School. Well...the verdict is in:

We're Going!!

We will be leaving Sioux Falls in July to move out to Seattle and start graduate school. This is an exciting time in our lives and we covet your prayers as we start the transition. I have told our staff at church and a letter is going out today to our youth and their parents, so this weekend could be interesting as I field a million questions about our future. Pray that I might have patience.

A Come-from-Behind Victory

While I love discussing deep, theological ideas and how they play out in the world, I also love just relaxing a watching a Sunday afternoon of NFL football. This year was my first year to play Fantasy Football and it has been a blast. This past week was the first week of the playoffs and it had me nervous that my fantasy season was over.

With only 3 players left I was down to my opponent by 75 points, seemingly unsurmountable odds. Two games later, however, I had taken the lead and won the week by a mere 2 points. I now move into the semifinals and if win this week, I will play for the championship. Now some of you may be thinking that this is of little significance. Some of my excitement revolves around my desire to win, but most of my elation over my first-round victory is financial in nature. I had to pay a decent amount to play in this league, so if I can get into the championship game, I think I might get my money back. To quote Cuba Gooding Jr., "Show me the money!"

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Social Justice

So God has really been working on my heart in the past year in the area of social justice but I am still left with more questions than answers. I am so glad to have people in my life who are willing to both ask me hard questions and listen as I think through my random thoughts.

Hard Question:

Is it okay for Christians to own expensive vehicles like a BMW, Mercedes, or a Lexus? In a world of such dire need, are we ever justified in owning more than we really need? I'm really not sure.

Random Thought from my friend Nate:

Nate said that he can't justify ever washing his new car and using all that water when millions of people in the world have no access to any clean drinking water.

Just something I'm thinking about. Peace.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The Wait is Over...

For those who frequent this blog, you know that Mandy and I recently visited Seattle to look at a seminary there called Mars Hill Graduate School. This afternoon I received a phone call from the director of admissions telling me that I have been accepted. I cannot be more happy.

Mandy and I still have a lot of talking and praying to do in order to decide when is the best time to move out there and start the next chapter of our lives. Please pray for us that God would grant clarity in this decision. Peace.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Enjoying the Now

This afternoon I froze my butt off (actually it was more my fingers and toes) while watching my alma mater, the University of Sioux Falls Cougars, play the semi-final round game of the NAIA football playoffs. USF just squeaked out a victory in the waning seconds to propel themselves to the National Championship game this coming weekend, while I found myself amongst hundreds of screaming fans barbarically high-fiving and yelling like maniacs. While the game was a blast to be a part of, I found myself thinking deeply as I exited the stadium.

Ironically, while I was in college I rarely attended any sporting events and had very little school spirit, which I greatly regret. Why is it that we fail to enjoy things until it is too late and time has passed us by. We can get so wrapped up in ourselves that we fail to realize what we are missing out in the world around us. I want to be someone who fully enjoys the opportunities in the here and now, while still looking forward to future. I don't want to miss the ways in which God is blessing me now, while I am busy awaiting His future blessing. May we all treasure the time we have in each season of our lives and not be impatient in progressing to the next stage before leaving the current one.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

A Different Kind of B-Day

Today is my 25th birthday. Now like the average American, my history of birthdays have almost always been solely about myself. I get the attention. I get the gifts. I get served. While I am very blessed to live in a culture where gifts are given (and much appreciated), for the first time ever, I spent half of my 'special' day serving someone else.

For weeks I have been speaking to a lady named Ann, whom I have never met, about how she needed help moving into her new apartment. Today was the only day that worked well so...this was the day it happened. I rallied a group of six together this morning at 8am to help serve a woman none of us had ever met...and it was great. To be honest, I can't imagine a better way to celebrate another year of life than by serving Jesus Christ through service to the poor. This woman had no one else to help her, it snowed and sleeted the entire time we were working, and she barely thanked us at the end, but it was great. I praise God that He continues to mold my heart for the poor and oppressed. A few years ago I could have cared less. While I still have a lot to learn and a lot of growing to do, I have enjoyed the ride and look forward to the journey ahead. Blessings on the road!