Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Walls We Share

I've recently caught myself saying something when in conversations with people.  It goes something like this: "I just can't believe that I get to share a wall with him."

See I currently "share a wall" with Pastor Chris Lyons.  Now that name may be mean nothing to you but to me it means something to me.  I have worked with Pastor Chris for just over six years now and for the last two years Chris has been extremely helpful to me as a pastoral leader.  Now you may not know but Chris has been in ministry for over 55 years now!  He has served at only four churches during his time in ministry.

He started out his pastoral leadership in a church called West Church which is located in Peabody Massachusetts where he served for 15 years.  After growing that church he took a year off and then was asked to lead Wheaton Bible Church (yep, you read that right).  Pastor Chris lead that church for 15 years also.  From there he went to the Bay Area and lead a church called Redwood Chapel for 15 years.

After completing his leadership at Redwood Chapel Pastor Chris came out to South Hills to help our church feel more like a church and less like a youth group on steroids.  Pastor Chris was on staff prior to my invitation to join the team here and I am very thankful for his leadership.

Most days in the office I spend about 15-30 minutes (sometimes longer) with Pastor Chris talking about ministry, leadership, counseling situations and life.  I am so thankful to have a leader like Pastor Chris that I get to work alongside.  The question I leave you with is: "Who do you share a wall with and what can you learn from them?"  Maybe you are on the side of the wall like Pastor Chris is and you have some rad stuff to teach the younger generation.  We need that!  We need to have more seasoned leaders teaching us, training us and helping us as we follow God and seek to lead the lost to Christ.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Like Dad, Like Daughter

Yesterday we were blessed to have the day off after a long Easter Weekend.  We decided to take the girls to one of their favorite places in Vegas.  This place is great!  You can look at fish, ducks, moose, lions, giraffes and even sharks.  Sounds like the zoo but better huh!

Well while were at the Bass Pro Shop located in the Silverton Casino (giving you insight into our life in Vegas) Leah found some toys that she liked!  This little girl is going to be our outgoing little girl.  First she found the quad.  This is her "determined" to get on this thing picture.  She climbed up on the quad and then tried to climb up on the seat to sit!  She stood on the foot pegs for a while trying to figure out how she was going to drive this thing.  I wish I had the picture of her smiling (it was too blurry) and the look she had.

After we checked out the quads she went over the ride the boats.  Did I say ride the boats?  I meant to say drive the boats!  This was the best picture I have of her driving the boat.  The first picture she had a look on her face of "can I really do this?"  While Leah was driving the boat, Sophie was taking a nap on the seat.

I just love watching Leah grow up in the little girl that she is and her exploring and how she acts!  She is such an amazing little girl.  I hope that she loves the cold and will start to snowboard with me in a few years!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Healing Care, Healing Prayer: Book Review

Book: Healing Care, Healing Prayer: Helping the Broken Find Wholeness in Christ

Author: Terry Wardle

Pages: 233

Publisher: Leafwood

Favorite Quote: God wants to meet the caregiver at the place of his own deepest pain.

This is the final book that was a required reading for my spring course at Tozer Seminary called: Suffering and Healing.  This book has some great wisdom found it in about spiritual healing that the believer needs to engage in.

I would consider this book the most helpful, in my opinion, of the required texts I read.  I am not saying that the other books are unworthy but I am saying that this book tends to speak my language.  I enjoy having a plan and being able to think through steps to achieve that plan.  Wardle lays out some steps for healing that he has used in his ministry so you know the plan is something that has been tried and tested.

If you have some wounds in your past, like we all do, Warlde lays out the coping model that helps to see how we handle pain in our life.  Here is a quick snapshot of it:

Core Needs- Safety, Worth, Uniqueness, Love, Nurture, Appreciation and God

Pain Layer- Our personal reaction to stolen pain

Protection Layer- Strategies we employ to keep our pain in check

Provision Layer- Trying to meet the unmet need in a new way

Punishment Layer- Pain often births an anger that drives a person to strike back at the one who has perpetuated the injury

This model took me a while to understand but has helped me as I am dealing with unmet core needs from my childhood.  If you are seeking healing from the pain and suffering in your life then I would recommend this book!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Soul Surfer: Movie Review

About three weeks ago a man stopped by my office and gave me some promo material for the new movie that was coming out called: "Soul Surfer".  To be honest, I am not one who is typically interested in Christian movies.  I tend to think the cinematography can be cheesy.

I heard that this movie was going to be different and I decided that I needed to go see it and have some students come with.  Last night I went and saw this movie with a few students and a few leaders and I have to say that I was amazed at how good this movie was!  Now I have to share that the story touched home for me and there were times that I couldn't help but think: "What if something like that happened to one of my little girls?"

The movie has the theme that I love to see: Don't quit!

Hopefully you have heard Bethany's story and how she was bit by a shark and lost her arm.  I am so impressed at this girl and how she continues to battle in life without quitting because most people would have.  Bethany looses her arm and continues to surf.  The movie does well at portraying the pain that she would have to endure with the loss of her love of surfing and how to get that back.

I appreciate how they show that Bethany questioned her faith, and God, in this movie.  I think its more normal than not to question your faith in a situation like this one and I appreciate that the producer added this into the movie.  Every single one of us is going to have pain and suffering in our life; the question is what will you do with that pain?  Bethany chose to not quit surfing and now she is a pro!  I would definitely recommend that you go see this movie and her Bethany's story.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

People of the Lie: Book Review

Book: People of the Lie

Author: M. Scott Peck, M.D.

Pages: 269

Publisher: Touchstone 1983

Favorite Quote“If we seriously think about it, it probably makes more sense to assume this is a naturally evil world that has somehow been mysteriously “contaminated” by goodness, rather then the other way around.”

People of the Lie is another required text for the course I am currently completing for seminary titled: "Suffering and Healing".  Now the course has rocked me and this book really hit me hard in a few places. Peck became a Christian later in life but has been a counselor for most of his professional career.  Peck shares some of the cases that he has encountered in his years of counseling and I have to say that some of them are difficult to read.

Essentially Peck outlines how we live in a world that has been effected with evil and because of that it is so important for us, Christians, to live out our faith.  Peck shares stories about how people are partners in evil.  There is an account of parents who treat their child in a manipulative way.  There is a female who has multiple issues that lead her to have inappropriate thoughts toward Peck and the list goes on.

If you have some time and you want to be stretched in your thinking then I totally recommend this book. If you can be sensitive to the pain that we encounter in life and that is tough for you to handle then I would encourage you to read this book and face that pain head on.  The book will stretch your thinking but hopefully make you aware to what you encounter and the evil that lies behind that.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Guest Host for Announcements: Barak Obama

This week in our High School Ministry we brought in a guest to share what is going on.  Now most people may be thinking: "How did you afford to get the president to come help out?  Wasn't that expensive?"

To be honest in our ministry we live by the principle: "Nothing is too costly when you have a message to communicate" and that is why we asked Barak Obama to come share the weekly announcements:

Now with all joking aside it was fairly easy to make this happen but it took a few keys things to do it:

1) An intern who can make people laugh (if you don't have an intern you can always ask a student)

2) A video that we jacked from youtube using keepvid

3) Once the video is downloaded to your machine we simply dropped it into iMovie and used the voice recorded in there to communicate what we needed to say

4) Now take a break, play some video games, and export it to a quicktime file and you are ready to roll!

Thank you Obama for caring about our country and sharing the weekly announcements; our students loved it!

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Wounded Healer: Book Review

Book: The Wounded Healer

Author: Henri Nouwen

Pages: 109

Publisher: Image Doubleday

Favorite QuoteIt is a painful fact indeed to realize how poorly prepared most Christian leaders prove to be when they are invited to be spiritual leaders in the true sense.

The Wounded Healer is a book that I recently read for Tozer Seminary.  I had heard great things about Nouwen prior to reading this book and am able to confirm what I have heard.  Nouwen is a brilliant man!

The overall subject of the book can be summarized in this quote from the book on page 78: "Who can take away suffering without entering it?"  In this book Nouwen encourages the reader to be a "Wounded Healer" meaning that we understand that we are not perfect people.  In fact I think it would be the opposite; that we are all wounded but some of us have chosen to initiate healing in our lives while others haven't.  Those who desire healing need to be wounded healers that are mending their own wounds while being aware of where God would like them to help heal others at the same time.

The book brings up some great examples, and illustrations, that can help those of us who desire to see life change happen in others.  I am going to recommend this book to others to read but I have to give you a waring.  If you read this book you are going to be stretched in your thinking and challenged in how you live your life from this point on.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

9th Annual Student Ministry Garage Sale

Last weekend we had our 9th annual student ministry garage sale.
This was the 7th garage sale that I have been involved in at our church.  When I was first informed about the garage sale I was a bit skeptical and curious about how this would work.  The basic concept is that we ask members in the church, and people in the community, to donate their gently used items to our garage sale.  We get a place to store these items for about four weeks prior to the sale.  The week of the sale is just all garage sale; picking up large donations, setting up the sale, selling items and then cleaning up our church.

This year was a tough year for me in the garage sale.  To be honest; garage sales are not my "thing" but I know the value of this sale and how much we can make for camp (last year we made just around $12,000).  See every penny that we raise from the garage sale helps to send our students to summer camp and that is important for our ministry.  This year I was discouraged for two reasons:
1) I felt like we had less "high ticket items"
2) I knew we were going to make less than the previous year

When it was all said and done we have made over $7500 to help sends students to camp so far!  I may have times that I get discouraged but I need to remember that God knows all our needs.  I have to trust, and pray, that God will bring in all the money for students to go to camp.  I also get encouraged because I was able to spend hours with students selling stuff, picking up items and cleaning up the church.  I had extra time to spend with our team and hang out with new people from our church.  I also get to see this amazing family in our church (Kevin and Nancy Rock) do what they love and help lead this sale!

I may have had a discouragement about some of the sale but overall I am thankful for the amount of money we raised and how much time I was able to spend with students.