Small steps in faith

Monday, March 31, 2008


A time for new growth...beautiful blossoms


Saturday, March 29, 2008

Acts 1:8 Judea/Samaria

These are my notes from the sermon from Apex.

We had a guest speaker, Shane Bennett. He is the missions minister at a church called
Common Way in Muncie, Indiana.

"Lift up your eyes"

Did Samaritans have "cooties"?

To Jesus...Samaritans are part of the kingdom. When he talks to the woman at the well he tells her he is the Messiah. He reveals himself to her.

To the disciples...Fear of them. They have religious prejudices and they are more preoccupied with where they are going. They don't want to make unnecessary stops.

Who else has "cooties"?

Who are the Samaritans of today?
Who are the shunned , the untouched- those seen as being outside the kingdom of God?
In today's society....the Muslims,Hindus,Buddhists
Are you like Jesus who sees all in the kingdom of God or are you like the disciples who avoid those seen as being "outside the kingdom"
8/9 out of 10 Muslims have never met a Christian ....we need to walk across the room.

How do we outgrow "cooties"?

Be new
Be you

Learn to appreciate the beauty of the cultures around us.
Learn to see what's going on around us beyond what the news presents
Learn to engage .."eat strange"..Indian food, Chinese food,etc.
look at nametags..

"Perfect love casts out fear" John the Apostle

Perfect fear casts out love.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Cinderella is in the Elite 8

He's amazing!!

Turn out your lights!

On March 29, 2008 at 8 p.m., join millions of people around the world in making a statement about climate change by turning off your lights for Earth Hour, an event created by the World Wildlife Fund.

Earth Hour was created by WWF in Sydney, Australia in 2007, and in one year has grown from an event in one city to a global movement. In 2008, millions of people, businesses, governments and civic organizations in nearly 200 cities around the globe will turn out for Earth Hour. More than 100 cities across North America will participate, including the US flagships–Atlanta, Chicago, Phoenix and San Francisco and Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver.

We invite everyone throughout North America and around the world to turn off the lights for an hour starting at 8 p.m. (your own local time)–whether at home or at work, with friends and family or solo, in a big city or a small town.

What will you do when the lights are off? We have lots of ideas.

Join people all around the world in showing that you care about our planet and want to play a part in helping to fight climate change. Don’t forget to sign up and let us know you want to join Earth Hour.

One hour, America. Earth Hour. Turn out for Earth Hour!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Cinderella of NCAA

If you watched the NCAA tournament games, this face should look familiar.Stephen Curry. He is the star of the Cinderella team ,Davidson, who beat Georgetown. I love his enthusiasm. I'm really hoping that his team makes it to the final 4!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

What difference does the resurrection make?

These are my notes from the sermon at Apex. Rob is still in India so Jason did the sermon. He's a great speaker. He has a passion for missions and he brought out a point that many people skip over...the fact that after his resurrection Jesus was seen and as Christians we need to be seen through our actions.

He gave a history of Easter and how rabbits/eggs tie in.
Easter comes from old English ...Eastre which comes from the word Eostre..the pagan goddess. She was the goddess of new dawn or new life. They believed that spirits took on an earthly form and Eostre's form was a rabbit. The Persians celebrate spring with festivals and they decorate eggs for the festivals. The Jewish tradtion for Passover celebrated the meaning of different of those being the egg..the symbol for salvation to come.
In 325 AD Constantine was coverted and he set up a calendar of celebrations making Easter in the spring.
The problem...many times the pagan celebration is put above the empty tomb.

How does belief affect how you act?
What difference does the resurrection make?

The transformation from death to life is not only the message of the gospel..It is the mission of the church.

Death is an enemy
Death will be destroyed
Death will be destroyed someday but it is defeated now Romans 8
Death has become a servant of the Christian
a. Death is a window to see Jesus..a door to walk through and meet Jesus
and a mirror to reflect Jesus

Because of the resurrection of Christ...the mission of the church isn't in vain.
Death is defeated.
When Christ arose...he was seen....As a Christian...are you seen?
How does your belief in the resurrection affect your actions?
Are you bringing life to things that are dead?

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Happy Easter

My daughter Kristen showed this to me. If you're a LOST fan ...there is a familiar face in here.

World Water Day

"Many women and young girls in rural areas in Sub-Saharan African and other parts of the world must trek as much as six miles everyday to retrieve water for their families7. Due to this manual labor, such women and children are prevented from pursuing an education, maintaining their households or earning additional income."

We take clean water for granted in this country...When you take a drink of water today remember there are people dying because they can't take it for granted. Today is World Water Day....go here to find out how you can help

Friday, March 21, 2008

Odds and Ends

It's Good Friday. I've been doing a study with my friend Tina on Mary Magdalene. This week it focuses on the resurrection. I found that timing eerie considering we have cancelled on each other for various reasons...the last time being the blizzard.
Sometimes there are small things in scripture that I the fact that she was there for 6+ hours at the cross but was unable to say anything to Jesus. She was most likely in her 40's and a woman of status because of how her name is placed first in scripture when they talk of the other women who were with her. She was not the woman who wiped Jesus's feet with her hair, she was not the woman at the well, she was not a prostitute.

Today is also "special coffee Friday" at DLM. That always makes Friday good :)

I heard something on the radio this am talking about how to do simple things to cut calories:
Use a tsp of honey instead of butter on your toast
Use skim milk in your latte
Instead of 2 scoops of ice cream....use frozen yogurt
Instead of a chocolate bar....3 squares of dark chocolate
Instead of pop(soda) use flavored water
I'm only 3 lbs over "normal" BMI so just a little more discipline!

Kristen and Zach are home...well in Springboro...Zach spent the night with his high school buddies at his friend Ryan's who goes to UNLV. His friend is studying casino management...seriously. It's nice to have a full nest for the weekend.

I watched 2 girl movies yesterday"Atonement"..which I liked a lot..the ending has a little bit of a twist to it, and "Enchanted".which I always need to watch a movie with a happy ending where "true love's kiss" makes everything right :^) every now and then..especially if it's Patrick Dempsey! haha

I'm 12 and 4 on my picks for the NCAA tournament. It was almost a disaster with Duke almost losing...that would have totally screwed up my brackets! I have them in the final game with Kansas. I know UCLA will probably be the team but that was so predictable! We'll see what happens today...

Monday, March 17, 2008

I love March Madness!

I love NCAA tournament time! I love to try and guess who the winners will be and who the upsets will be. I love to do the tournament brackets on CBS and ESPN.
So I've filled out my brackets and my pick to win it all........Kansas.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Living out Acts 1:8

"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

Darrell and I decided to be lazy yesterday and go to church this morning. Target Dayton choir was singing as we came in. Target Dayton is an inner city ministry in downtown Dayton that provides resources and care to the homeless. The members of the choir are some of those that have been ministered to. They were awesome! Made the hair on my arms stand up!
Mark Stevens from Target Dayton gave the message. How does Apex live out Acts 1:8?

3 steps to becoming an Acts 1:8 church

God gives us a stick of dynamite and we need to light the fuse to reach our "Jerusalem"
Judea = near
Samaria = there
ends of the earth= everywhere

1. Contemplate over the word of God
When we do this we see the heart of God and how to reach the lost
As you contemplate your heart will be changed.
Know that there will be a cost. When the dynamite goes off..there will be a mess.

2. Surrender..
You need to be willing to be uncomfortable in your life. You need to be in uncomfortable places and you need to be around uncomfortable people.

3. Believe.
Believe that God will do what he says he will do. You will be given the power of the Holy Spirit to reach the lost.

If you do these 3 steps God will:
compel/propel/equip/resource/direct/empower/and connect you in "Jerusalem"

It will happen!!!!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

"Into The Wild"

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more.

Lord Byron

This is an awesome movie...I wish I had seen it on a theater screen...the visuals were beautiful and the soundtrack is really good.

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Pronoun "we"

I'm reading a book called "Looking For God" by Nancy Ortberg. I actually went to look for a book by her husband and the title of the book caught my attention.
I just read a chapter about Community which had some awesome definitions of what a community should be. She also gave an example of an exercise they did which demonstrates how easily we can exclude others.

"We don't usually think of community as a powerful word. We've diluted its meaning, redefining it so that its now soft and unword.
Rightly understood, however, community is very powerful. It is God's people living together with God at their center. It's the ways of life out of which evangelism and discipleship emerge. Community is where we learn the truth about ourselves, where we are deeply loved, where walls are broken down, and where people who are usually excluded are included.
Community has its own language. And when it comes to community, pronouns are everything. In community, first person singular moves to first person plural: from I to we.
In community, a deep solidarity with others can be found. In community, an identification and collaboration with others occurs. In community, it really isn't all about us. The kind of sacrificial, others-focused love that Jesus puts within our reach is reflected in the big word we. In using that pronoun, we move our focus off of ourselves and onto the bigger picture of others."

She goes on in the chapter to describe an eye opening exercise:

"One weekend,Jarrett opened his message by asking for 10 volunteers to come up on stage. He asked nine of them to stand off to the side and form a close circle facing each other. Then he talked directly to the one remaining.
"Your mission , should you choose to accept it, is to get into the middle of that circle in fifteen seconds. You can do whatever it takes to get in. Pushing,shoving,tickling, even drawing blood is okay." While Jarrett was describing the challenge to the guy, we could see the circle getting tighter. They began to talk among themselves and finally came up with the strategy of locking arms, touching legs, and slowly rotating the circle to keep this guy from getting in.
During the next fifteen seconds, this twenty-two year old guy tried desperately to penetrate the circle. Finally, to the cheers of the crowd, he was able to push apart two bodies and dive in. He did it!
It took a minute or so for the ten volunteers to find their seats and the congregation to settle down. Then Jarrett spoke slowly.
"When I gave the instructions for this exercise, what is the one thing I never said?"
"I never told the group to keep him out of the circle"
It's almost instinctive isn't it? None of us would ever intentionally decide to lock arms and rotate, but with the turn of a shoulder, and the averting eye, we communicate to someone that he or she is not included."

I honestly believe that if you are going to create a community whether it's a church, ,small group, or whatever you have to use "we" not "I". You have to be aware of things that may make others feel excluded.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

The storm is over...It's time for GOOD times

"See now the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining
In power and glory bringing hope
He's bringing hope"

Phil Wing...True Light

Well, the blizzard is's a beautiful sunny day here. It feels like spring again. If it weren't for the mounds of snow everywhere it would look like spring again.
And then there are the mounds of laundry in my basement from a week with 3 college kids
They left this morning around 11. I think they'll do fine making it back. The streets were very clear on our way to church. They canceled church last night so we went to the 11:30 service this morning. With Daylight Savings and making sure they got on the road ok we decided not to attempt the 9:30 service.
They had a baptism which is always a great way to start. I'll have to post my notes for the sermon later since I missed most of it. Kristen called about 15 min into the sermon. I wouldn't have worried too much about calling her back but she called 2 times in a row so I knew something was wrong. She is very sick with the flu and probable bronchitis so she needed motherly love and medical advice. Luckily while she was in Texas her housemother for choir took good care of her. It's hard when you have a sick child 6 hrs away :^( When I got back into service one of the missionaries from Namibia was speaking about the church he has planted and the impact it has had. He gave up the comfortable life that we think about with success to serve. He said something that has stayed with me this afternoon..."When God calls you to be obedient to him , it's never the wrong decision. "
It's something I need to remember.
The other words of wisdom I got this week were from my friend Kyle:

"I was reading today and the bible says that When we give God true praise that it not only makes him happy but us too. .. To know that when I praise God that I also am going to feel joy. GOOD times. "

Saturday, March 08, 2008

It's a blizzard and we're snowed in!

This is March! We're not supposed to get blizzards! This is what it looks like at my house. We had a drift that covered half our patio door. Luckily we have a very nice neighbor who lets us use his snow blower. It's going to be a day of movies,books,and board games..oh and college basketball :) My son, Zach, brought 2 friends home with him for spring break. Emily is from Minneapolis,Minnesota so she is used to this. Becca is from Huntsville,Alabama. It NEVER snows there so this is new for her. Unfortunately, this has interfered with their plans but they're making the best of it. They are supposed to drive back to Lee tomorrow. I am sooooo ready for spring!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Jane Austen Book Club

I knew I would love this movie. Every now and then I find a movie that totally sucks me in to the story and I don't want it to end. If you're looking for a feel good movie with a meaning and passion and good storyline you go.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Brett retires

Always the number 1 quarterback in my heart....but a good decision...he leaves with dignity

Quotes from intriguing people

I had the following email this morning and it has alot of great people with great ideas so I thought I'd post it. I would say that some of these people are labeled "controversial" which makes them even more intriguing. I personally loved the guy who followed the bible literally and wore white. His quote about Wimbledon and P.Diddy cracked me up :^)

The latest issue of RELEVANT marks our fifth anniversary, so we took the time to look back and reflect on some of our favorite interviews, stories and issues we’ve covered over the years. In our cover story, “35 Ideas That Changed the World,” we included quotes and excerpts from articles that not only helped define our generation, but also changed the direction of the world …

Bono—Rock Star Activist, 2004
> Bono’s long-held opinions of the Church weren’t exactly complimentary before they were challenged by some positive encounters he had with the Christian community in 2002 and 2003. That’s when he was first raising awareness of the epidemics facing Africa, and he found strong support where he, admittedly, least expected it. “I kind of thought the Church was asleep and [had] turned into a ‘holy bless-me club’ or whatever you want to call it, [but] I’m glad to say I was wrong,” he said. “Particularly evangelicals, who seemed very judgmental to me over the years, turned out to be incredibly generous in their time and their support of the AIDS awareness effort. I’ve really had my view of the Church turned upside down, but I will be honest ... it’s ruined things for me now. People are ! asking me, why aren’t I at mass? It’s a b-----, but it’s [also] given me great faith in the Church. I have always had it in God.”

Sufjan Stevens—Singer/Songwriter, Sept. 2006
> “Even if I’m not willing to admit it, or I’m embarrassed by it, or haven’t reckoned with the social aspect of it, there is inherent in songwriting the desire to communicate something and share it with other people. Knowing that there is an audience, you’ll have a greater respect for your work and greater respect for the listener. There’s a greater accountability to what I write or record.”

Derek Webb—Singer/Songwriter, May 2006
> “The way that moral issues have been co-opted by a political party for nothing else but to develop a constituency whose votes they can depend on is really dangerous. I feel like it is nearly impossible t! o walk a party line—especially in a two-party system —and follow Jesus.”

Anne Rice—Author, March 2006
> On leaving her popular horror novels behind after finding faith: “I can’t continue vampire stories because they don’t work for me anymore. The vampires are not metaphors for the outsider for me, because I don’t feel like an outsider anymore. I’m included in a great big wonderful family.”

Lou Engle—Leader of The Call, Nov. 2006
> “The Bible says that before a child is formed in his mother’s womb, God knows him. It’s a life, a dream of God—which means that, since 1973, there have been 47 million dreams of God shattered in this country alone.”

> “God thrust me into praying for justice, specifically justice for the unborn.”

Son of Sam, May 2004
> “It took a whil! e to accept that God loved me and forgave me. It wasn’t instantaneous. It took a while to burn the whispers of doubt. I was always trying to show people I was a Christian, making an effort to seem sincere. I thought forgiveness was a feeling.”

Chris Martin—Musician, Jan. 2006
> Coldplay frontman Chris Martin put Fair Trade on the social justice radar for many when he began championing the cause prominently in 2005. The equal sign that is a symbol of Fair Trade can be seen markered onto his hand. Martin was drawn to the movement after visiting Haiti to learn about Fair Trade. “We were like, ‘Fair what?” Martin said in an interview with Mother Jones magazine. “But you go on a trip and learn how the importing and exporting of goods around the world works, and you realize it’s a huge crisis.”

Anne Lamott—Author, July 2007
> “Our common ground is this disease of a convicti on that we are right. I don’t want to try to convince people to come to Jesus. I just try to tell my truth and share my story and the stories of daily salvation.”

Laying it Down: Learning to Live with Less in a Culture of Excess, by Jesse Carey, May 2007
> Whether it’s a conscious choice to eliminate personal debt, embrace authentic community or rethink the way we give, Tony Campolo says that we’re called to disengage from a dependence on consumerism. “To live in a Christlike manner is to reject the lifestyle being prescribed by the media, to reject the affluent lifestyle that has become normative in America and embrace simplicity. There’s the word: simplicity.”

Shane Claiborne—Author/Activist, Jan. 2007
> We fight terrorism—the terrorism within each of us, the terrorism of corporate greed, of American consumerism, of war. And it i! s on the cross that we see what love looks like when it stares evil in the face. It is that cross that has led many of us to war zones like Iraq as extremists for love, as people who believe that there is something worth dying for but nothing worth killing for.

Ben Harper—Musician, Sept. 2007
> “Modern politicians only know about polarization of culture. There are intelligent solutions; they’re just not talked about enough.”

> “It’s not like you have to or can do everything, but do something. Do anything other than nothing.”

My Biblical Year, by A.J. Jacobs, Nov. 2007
> One Unexpectedly Wise & Life-Enhancing Rule: Let your garments be always white (Ecclesiastes 9:8). I chose to follow this literally—I wore white pants, a white shirt and a white jacket. This was one of the best things I did all year. I felt li! ghter, happier, purer. Clothes make the man: You can’ ;t be in a bad mood when you’re dressed like you’re about to play the semifinals at Wimbledon or go to P. Diddy’s party.

Excerpted from "35 Issues That Changed the World" (RELEVANT) and featured in the current issue of RELEVANT.


Sunday, March 02, 2008

Jesus and godly friendships...the paralyzed man

These are my notes for the sermon at Apex

This was a hard sermon for me. I don't take friendships for granted and I know they need nurturing so when I have a friendship that goes sour I take it personally. Sometimes, it's not in my control...and I have to walk away knowing that I gave all I could give.

Mark 2:1-12

"We all need accountable friendships

You know you have godly friends:

1 when they get involved in your paralysis...they carry your mat. We all have struggles and problems...It's easy to be a friend when there are no struggles..What about when you require time commitment Do they detach when you become "needy"
James 2: 14-16
Discipleship is when our lives become symbiotic with others lives so that dead people can live again.
"Rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn"

2 When they are desperate for you to be in front of Jesus. The paralyzed man's friends went to great lengths to get him to Jesus. They didn't give up.
When you go to your friends during those hard they point you back to Jesus?
2 Timothy 2:10
Colossians 1:28-29

3 When they entrust their limited abilities to the unlimited power of Christ
There are certain things that we can't do..we don't have to control or the power You have to step away and let Christ take over.
Our greatest need? We all need to be forgiven. "Son,your sins are forgiven"
Sometimes when we are takes the voice of Christ to say "Get up.."

4 When they celebrate and worship Jesus for his redeeming work in your life

How are you as a friend?

We sang this song which is where I basically lost it

"All I Can Say" by David Crowder

Lord I'm tired
So tired from walking
And Lord I'm so alone
And Lord the dark
Is creeping in
Creeping up
To swallow me
I think I'll stop
Rest here a while

And didn't You see me cry'n?
And didn't You hear me call Your name?
Wasn't it You I gave my heart to?
I wish You'd remember
Where you sat it down

And this is all that I can say right now
And this is all that I can give

I didn't notice You were standing here
I didn't know that
That was You holding me
I didn't notice You were cry'n too
I didn't know that
That was You washing my feet