July 30, 2010

What do you think they look like?

They are a beautiful sight to me

This is no ordinary bunch of teenagers

Many of these wonderful people have sacrificed most of their summer thus far to go out and teach 5-Day clubs (backyard Bible clubs) for kids and to face paint and share the Gospel at fairs.

Now I get to spend the next two weeks with quite a few of them at our Camp Good News.  These amazing teens are going to go serve the way Jesus did.

they are going to get their hands dirty playing in the sand

they are going to have about 90 kids crawling all over them

they are going to give more piggy-back rides than they ever imagined

they are going to wipe tears and give hugs

they are going to sweat it out in a hot chapel with well over 100 people a few times a day

they are going to get up early for staff meetings to pray for these kids

they are going to sleep in hot, stuffy cabins every night with rowdy kids

they are going to deal with many problems they've never had to face before

they are going to pray with and teach these kids

and they are going to work their tails off

The best part?

Most of them won't be able to wait till next year when they can do it all again!

It is a humbling experience working with these young people.  please pray for them over the next two weeks.  We all need your prayers for health, energy, wisdom, rest, unity, and servant hearts.


July 28, 2010

Some days

are meant

for adventures

July 27, 2010

The Road

We have this idea

that the road of life

the "normal road"

looks something like this

fairly smooth, just some little bumps here and there

That is not reality though

"Normal life" is not a life of

no pain or suffering

or hardship and trials

"Normal life," the life

most people walk

has a road that looks more like this

You don't even know where the road is sometimes

let alone is the road smooth.

"Normal life" is full of hard stuff

We all face it.  No  one, no matter how wealthy, successful or famous gets to escape from the hardships of living in an imperfect world.  Somehow in America we get this idea in our heads that normal life doesn't involve really painful and hard things.  We want to live this life of ease and when we get hit with painful experiences we wonder where God is and why He isn't faithful?  He is supposed to be good and keep us from hurting, right?  Not so.  God actually promises in John 16:33 that we will have tribulations...tough stuff will happen.  Pain and suffering are not a novelty (other countries in the world know that all too well).  I have personally talked to about 7 or 8 different people in the last two weeks, all dealing with different, but major, struggles and heartaches.  People struggling with various physical problems, major illness, loss of a child or loved one, grief of various kinds, disappointing or scary news, major life struggles or relationship struggles.  I am sure you could add to the list.

Knowing of all this pain constantly surrounding us gives those who are followers of Jesus two opportunities.  First we can love those hurting like Jesus would.  We can be His hands and feet in their life like so many have done for my life.  We can bring hope and encouragement to them, and just be there for them. 

In other works, we get off our road (even if it is looking pretty smooth right now)

and join them in the valleys and for the tough climbs 

Because that is exactly what Jesus would do.

Second, when it is us facing the heartahce, we can be salty and bright in a world longing for hope.  We can embrace whatever trials come our way because of the hope and joy we have in Christ.  We can still be real and admit life is hard and we are hurting, but not be defeated and not lose hope.  We can recognize God is still who He says He is.  Faith and hope are a choice, and we can choose them every day.  We don't have to wonder why this terrible thing is happening to us, why not us? Am I so special that the rest of the world should hurt but not me?  It is during those times, when we still have hope and joy that the world stops and takes notice because that is something different than what they are used to seeing. 

Salty and bright...

I want to be that way. 

(for more on that you can read or listen to John Piper here.)

And I can be. Because though promising we will have trouble, God also promises that He has overcome the world, and in Romans 8:37-39 that we will overcome all of the trouble here and nothing can seperate us from His love.  In Philippians 4:6-7 He promises we can bring all of our heartache and worries to Him and He will give us His peace in our hearts.  He doesn't promise to change our circumstances but He does promise peace in the midst of them.

God is good

despite all the pain around us

I don't say that lightly.   I have walked through dark waters

and I have no doubt there will be many more.

But, if I say I believe His Word to be true, then I have to hold onto that no matter what life may bring.

July 22, 2010

Our moto

is never


waste a

good mud puddle

July 20, 2010

I realized that I almost forgot to share about a certain Middle Man's birthday

and that

would have been such a shame

because he is such a joy!

This boy

loves to sit in his mom's lap

can't get enough time playing any and every sport

is thrilled to sit and listen to books

likes to tell jokes

has a deep gut laugh

adores his big brother and wants to be like him

likes to play games with his sisters (and laughs that deep gut laugh)

watches over his little brother

has a very tender heart

loves animals

is very mischeivous

loves music and the drums

thrives on encouragement and praise

likes to read certain stories in the Bible over and over

has many questions

loves vegetables

likes to look at picture and hear stories

his name means "provider of comfort" 
Before he was born we had always said we would name a third boy "Noah."  I don't even know why we said that.  After Micah died and we learned we had another baby on the way, we decided since we had always said that, that we should name the baby Noah if it was a boy.  Then we looked up what his name meant...

God is so good.

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of each of our children but specifically for our middle man in light of his birthday.  His life was the beginning of healing in our hearts.  Capture his heart, Lord.  We pray he will be a man of integrity who brings you and your kingdom much glory in the ways he lives life and serves  you.  Use His joy and tender heart to minister to the lives of others.  Thank you for blessing us with him right when we needed him.