Thursday, January 31, 2008

Laser tag...or something more?

Our youth group played laser tag last night. Despite the fact that this is a fun typical youth group-type event, it served another purpose for us; to kick off our new Wednesday night series on unity among Christians.
The different games we played forced many of our students to communicate and work together with other students different than them. They actually had to talk to and work with someone who cheers for a different sports team then them, likes punk rock instead of country, doesn't like pizza, and so on. There is something powerful that one experiences when people, with differences, work together for a common goal. The Bible calls it unity.
I was thinking about that and came to the conclusion that if we were all the same and agreed on everything all of the time we could not experience real authentic unity. Unity is experienced only when different people come together to collaborate out of love.
Your thoughts?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Something sheepy going on!

We talked last night in youth group about sheep and shepherds. Our discussion came from the John 10 passage about Jesus being the good shepherd and His sheep being the ones who listen to His voice. Here is how God actively shepherded His people (the Israelites) in the Old Testament.

God shepherded the Patriarchs of Genesis (Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph) to new lands and through hard times. Although Moses shepherded the Israelites from Egypt, into the wilderness, and then to the Promise Land, God was shepherding Israel throughout the entire process (Exodus 13:18). He was with them in the cloud by day and pillar of fire by night (Exodus 13:21). He was with them when they rebelled, and He dwelt in their tabernacle tent on the Ark of the Covenant (Exodus 25). Even when Israel rebelled against God and ended up in captivity, He was still shepherding them through the voice of the Prophets. Throughout the entire Old Testament we see God’s presence, though sometimes subtle, and hear of God watching over Israel like a shepherd watching over sheep.

How has God shepherded you?

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

iBread 1.0

"God's Word is food for the mind." - Cyril of Alexandria
Looking at the “if/then” statements in John 8 can be exciting. There are a lot of great promises here to encourage us in our faith. Opposite that, it can be challenging if we haven’t yet made the decision to believe in Jesus. This is because we encounter Jesus for who He really is (God, “I AM”) and He tells us things about ourselves that reveal who we really are (e.g., from earth and will die in our sins if we don’t believe in who He says He is). These claims may make some of us squirm a little in discomfort. Jesus is good at doing that!

Here’s a breakdown of “if/then” statements from John 8. Look them up, chew on them for a while, wrestle with them, and then try and let these words replace your hunger for the things of this world.
The Meal
+ 8:12 – Jesus says, “I am the light of the world” and promises those who follow Him that they will never walk in darkness and have the light of life.

+ 8:24 – Jesus tells those who are not willing to believe in who He says He is that they will die in their sins.

+ 8:28 – When Jesus is lifted up (referring to the series of events leading up to His crucifixion and following it, such as the resurrection and ascension into heaven) we will know who He is.

+ 8:31-32 – If we hold to His teaching we are His disciples. On top of that, we know truth and this truth sets us free.

+ 8:51 – If we keep His word we will never see death (my fav!).

Table Talk
- Which of these statements do you find most challenging?
- Why is it so challenging?
- What would it take to change your view on it?

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Gotta love outlet stores!

One of the great things about staying down here is the outlet stores. There are tons of them! Anything from Coleman to Nike, they have it. My personal fav is the Book Warehouse (kind of a pseudo-Christian bookstore with books 50-75% off regular price). They have a lot of clearance Christian books mixed in with secular books. I think they have more Christian books than anything. Sort of weird, but the good deals distract you from thinking about it too long. Needless to say I always take advantage of the low prices and find something worth buying. Thankfully, my wife loves reading too and enjoys spending time in the stores (there are 4 of them here!) with me. My daughter didn't seem to mind it either.

Friday, January 04, 2008


Down south things move a little slower and the air feels a little warmer (at least it's supposed to!).

Just a snapshot of what's going on our family vacation. We're staying at a cabin in the Smokey Mountains called "Amazing View".

Coming down to Pigeon Forge, TN has been a tradition our family has kept for about a dozen years. As the family has grown, so have the cabins. We used to get away with staying in a 2 bedroom. Then people got married and had children and now we need a 4 bedroom. The view is amazing and we're having a good time.

This is also the last time we'll get to spend some quality time with Shelly and Eric. They leave next Wed for Poznan, Poland. They have been called to be missionaries and this is their first assignment. They have to stay in the field for a year. as part of their training. We'll miss them. :-(