Sunday, March 30, 2008

Cold Nights

So a few blogs back I wrote about my impending backpacking/rock climbing trip to the Black Hills of South Dakota. I have recently returned and loved the whole experience...except the nights.

We drove out to Rapid City on Monday morning in beautiful weather and proceeded to rock climb all afternoon in beautiful weather. I was even wearing shorts. The whole trip was filled with "firsts" first backpacking trip, my first time lead climbing, my first time cooking on my little stove in the wilderness. We went to bed Monday night fairly warm from a nice spring day, but awoke each hour to the bitter cold of a lingering winter night. The first night was terrible, as we awoke every half hour and barely slept in between.

The next day was fairly cold but still nice enough to climb. We climbed a climb near Mt. Rushmore where you can get your picture taken with the profile of George Washington's head. That was a great time. Tuesday night we went to bed prepared. I wore to bed 4 pairs of socks, 2 pairs of pants, a t-shirt, a long sleeve t-shirt, a dry-fit, a fleece, and a coat, in addition to 2 pairs of gloves and a stocking cap...and still got cold.

We ended up packing up quickly on Wednesday at noon and heading home because it was really cold and snowing, but the trip overall was a huge success. It was full of great climbing, great fellowship, and many great memories.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Another "Last"

As the days tick down until Mandy and I pack our bags for Seattle, I will try to blog with caution and avoid being the guy who only writes and talks about another "last time" doing something here in Sioux Falls before moving. "This is the last time I will use this restroom. This is the last time I will say the word 'bucket.' This is the last time I will hop on one foot." You get the point.

With that said, though, I experienced a pretty big "last" last night. It was our Good Friday Service that is annually led by our high school youth group. This has always been one of my favorite services of the year. Our middle school youth group leads the Sunrise Service, and I would rather stab myself in the eye with a soldering gun than try to motivate a group of Tweens at 6:30am. The Good Friday service is different, though. It is so special to see the spiritual maturation that has happened in the lives of the students. They do such a great job of leading our congregation in worship and it is great to see the older generations finally recognize our youth as vital pieces of this "body of Christ" puzzle.

The students did great last night and I am so proud of them. I am positive that on Good Friday next year, sitting in worship somewhere across the country, I will be thinking about these students and missing them badly. May God continue to work in their lives long past my time here at Asbury.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Everything Must Change

Over the past couple months I have been working through a book called "Everything Must Change" by Brian McLaren, one of my favorite authors. I am nearing the end of the book so I thought I would share some of my favorite quotes from this text.

"All wars are civil wars, because all men are brothers. Each one owes infinitely more to the human race than to the particular country in which he was born." (pg. 126-quoting Francois Fenelon)

"But we're living in an age of 'free markets'...What are markets to be free from? What are they freed for? For what purpose? Are markets freed from government regulation so that the rich can achieve luxurious levels of wealth, leaving the poor to starve or barely survive in degradation and indignity?" (pg. 231)

"What would it mean to trade the love of power for the power of love?" (pg. 184)

This has been a very profound and thought-provoking read by a man who has his feet solidly planted in the church and the culture. I highly recommend this book to those seeking a different way of doing church than what we grew up with.

Headin' to the Hills

For those who know me well or frequent this blog, you know that rock climbing is probably my favorite thing to do in the whole world. In the past year it really has consumed my free time, thoughts, and checking account. In 10 days I will be heading west to the Black Hills of SD for 3 days of backpacking, hiking, camping, and most importantly, rock climbing.

On Tuesday night, March 25, myself and 4 or 5 others will set out. We will park our vehicle at Camp Judson, near Mount Rushmore, and hike about an hour into the wilderness to rough it for 3 days. This whole backpacking thing is new to me, so I feel slightly less than prepared. For example, my friend David and I spent about an hour this afternoon searching for just the right "spork". We didn't want spoon AND fork. We didn't need a knife. It needed to be strong yet light. And then there it was...God's gift to cutlery. What could be better than a spoon and fork thrust into harmonious union, and all for $1.99. You really can't beat that.

I will keep you posted as to our ongoing preparations and the success of the trip in future blogs. As for now...pray that we don't get snowed out or eaten by a bear. BTW..."Bears Eat Beets".

A 'Fast' Weekend

This weekend I had the great privilege of spending about 24 hours with a fantastic group of high school students as we participated in World Vision's "30-Hour Famine". I was so proud of my students as they sacrificed their weekend in order to experience hunger and raise money and food in an attempt to end it worldwide.

The students and I went without food from Friday at noon until Saturday at 6pm. We spent the 30 hours watching a movie, playing laser tag, studying Scripture on hunger and poverty, and collecting money and food to help end hunger locally and worldwide. As I near the end of my time here at Asbury, I am so grateful for the experiences I have had with the students and parents and will never forget the impact they have made on me. Here's to 3 more months of making memories together.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

John Piper on the Prosperity Gospel

I know it must seem like I have no thoughts of my own recently, but Piper says this so well. This is something I have wrestled with lately and still do. Jesus said so much about wealth, but it was never about acquiring it, and always about giving it up. May we be people who are not affected by wealth, but are willing to sacrifice for the sake of the true gospel of Jesus Christ.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Sad About LifeLight

Amongst a long list of things that Mandy and I will miss when we move to Seattle can now be added LifeLight Music Festival. This is a free, Christian music festival held in Sioux Falls during Labor Day Weekend each summer. Over the past few years I have started to get tired of LifeLight, but I will really miss this amazing event when Labor Day rolls around this summer and all I can look forward to is the first day of class the next day.

This year's headliners are...Casting Crowns, Michael W. Smith, and Switchfoot. What a lineup! I have drifted away from the "Christian" music scene in the past 2 years, opting instead for music that displays artistic integrity, beauty, and truth, in whatever genre it appears. These 3 bands are a great lineup, though. I will especially miss seeing Switchfoot. I so admire them for staying true to their roots and the foundations of their faith amidst huge mainstream success. This seems hard to do. I have seen them in concert 2 times and each one was a great experience. They are incredibly talented and have a knack for creating an 'experience', a way of drawing the whole crowd into something bigger than themselves.

So, for all you Sioux Falls natives, I warn you not to miss this great weekend of entertainment and worship. I am jealous of you all.