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Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category

Continued sort of…

Today I am cheating and using what Jenni has already shared about our trip

I will give my thoughts in more detail another day.

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The More I…

God has worked on me hard-core this past year. I’m noticing that every thing in my life that I have tried to hold too tightly, once I let go of it, something better takes its place.

The more I try to keep my independence in marriage, the less I feel connected to Jenni. I don’t feel as loved, I don’t feel at peace and I am certainly not all that happy. When I give up my independence, focus on being one, start sharing everything and striving to be selfless. Amazing connection happens and everything in our marriage feels better.

The more I try to hold on to every dollar I earn the less I have to meet our family’s needs. When I commit to giving back to God first no matter how scary it is in the moment, our money goes further. God surprises me every month with provision and opportunity.

The more I try to fight for my beauty sleep (I need a lot) the more interruptions seem to occur. When I take time to be alone with God, pray with the family, connect with a friend or stay up late talking to Jenni. Somehow, I just get by on less and everything works out. It seems my attitude makes all the difference.

My challenge to myself is to treat every moment as a gift and look for every possible way to bless someone around me with those moments.  It’s not about me, it’s not about you, it’s all about a Creator and Redeemer transforming us to be like Him.  Let’s encourage each other in this transformation process and look for ways to be selfless.

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So after a long summer and fall break from speaking at Churchatbethany, I told Matt Payne (my pastor) I would cover for him on December 6th because he was going a New Thing event somewhere in the East .  I accepted the responsibility before Thanksgiving and anticipated spending a decent amount of time over the Holiday to prepare.  Well, I also forgot that I was due for all my continuing education for maintain my Oregon Life Insurance License.

By Friday night after Thanksgiving I was texting Matt to see if I could get out of speaking because I was feeling way too overwhelmed.  He said he had no back up plan and that he was confident I could pull it off (inside he was probably freaking out just a bit).  Besides all that, I am in charge of our Christmas Tree Fundraiser and that kicked off on Thanksgiving weekend and goes through the 13th of December (come buy a tree we have tons still available).

So I decided to focus in one thing at a time and just get it all done.  By no0n on Sunday (Thanksgiving Weekend) I was totally done with my continuing education (so I thought).  We then had to drive from La Grande back to Portland which takes about 5 to 6 hours with kids and stops.  So I had all week between, work, kids and Christmas tree fundraiser to get my sermon ready to go.  I had it edited pretty well by Friday morning and finished it totally by Saturday evening.  Then I got to practice it a few times that evening and Sunday morning.  I felt like it went pretty well, even though my nerves still  mess me up when I get in front of people.  I felt like I did a better job with the delivery this time.   People seemed to be engaged and tracking with me.  The biggest improvement I think was because I personalized the message more.  It helped me to deliver it more from memory and do less reading from my notes.

The message was on Scripture and how we use it to grow in our own faith but also how to include family and small group in our spiritual growth.  The main point; the scriptures are all about Jesus, every story points to him.  The only way to really experience him is to fully immerse yourself in the scripture.

The podcast should be up soon here on the Church site.  Feel free to give me some constructive criticism if you are a seasoned speaker.  The main thing I really messed up was not having a transition for the worship team to know when to come up at the end but of course you can’t hear that on the podcast anyway.  It was totally awkward and kind of funny.  That’s how you learn though, Right?

Whats your most memorable or embarrassing moment as a public speaker?

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Today was an experience to be remembered.

I woke up early and angry.  Strange combination huh?  Anyway, I wanted to practice my sermon a few times before the kids got up and totally distracted me.  Of course, being angry it was really hard to get my mind wrapped around the sermon.  So, I spent a few minutes praying for freedom from the anger and the ability to focus.  My mind cleared up very quickly but then baby #1 looks down the stairs into my office with the question in his eyes, can I come down?  Of course, I invite him to come sit with me.

Recently Chance has been very whiney about everything so with in a few minutes he is whining about something and quickly getting on my nerves.  Then, Baby #2 wakes up and needs attention.  Long morning short, I didn’t get much practice in.  I read it one time out loud before we left the house.

At church, we were the second family to arrive for set up.  Matt Isborn was there with the trailer so we quickly jumped into getting church all set up.  We were short handed by 3 of our usual set up guys which could have made things very difficult.  What amazes me every week is how smoothly set up goes regardless of who is there and who is not.

Once the main things were handled I sneaked away to get one more crack at preparing my sermon.  I felt pretty good about it but certainly didn’t have it memorized.  The topic of our series is “Your Own Personal Jesus”.  It talks about all the different images people have of who Jesus is or was.  Mine was on “Middle Class Jesus” which is perfect for me.  It is so close to the image I have held through much of my adult life.  The point is that you can tell a lot about someones image of Jesus by what they pray about.  Middle Class Jesus followers pray for safety, take away my pain, make me successful and make me happy.  I was encouraging people to pray for Jesus to make them Dangerous, Deepened, Generous and Fully Alive in Him.

This was only my second time preaching to an adult audience.  I have to say, it was much more comfortable than the first time but I was still way too serious and tied to my notes.  Next time I will practice smiling and work to have it mostly memorized.  Any other preaching tips from you pros out there?

My hope for today is that someone was encouraged if they are in real pain right now. I also hope that people were challenged if they are too comfortable in their walk with God.  We can’t be comfortable and be on the front lines fighting against the evil forces that rule this earth.  If you are not engaged in the battle, I challenge you to take up your weapon and fight.

You can visit our website for Church! at Bethany and download a podcast for any of our messages.  Jenni had a great worship set and her team did a great job as usual.  Check out her recap of the day here.

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I got this link from a twitter friend this morning and thought it was thought provoking.  USA Today with a recent poll on Christianity and different views regarding how to achieve salvation.

What do you believe?

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Guilty

I was at Cannon Beach also this past weekend.  If you have been reading blogs you already know that. 

What a great time with some super neat guys.  I have never been around 5 other guys who were so willing to share their stories in great detail, not holding back out of fear of others opinions.  This is a scary thing to do and our society pretty much discourages it.  I am proud to be a part of "The Group".

In fact I don’t know if I have ever really had an accountability relationship or not.  I have attempted on numerous occasions in the past but I was either not really ready or the other person was not asking me the questions.  Anyways, I am excited about diving into a deeper relationship with the guys in the group and allowing them to speak truth into my life.

The most refreshing part of the whole weekend was coming to the realization that we all have struggles, some similar, some totally different.  Struggles all the same…No one is looking for things to judge me on, they are just wanting to know the real me.  This is a refreshing perspective.

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Intense Week

This is the update I sent to Sunset a couple days ago, and no, I do not have pictures yet.  Still working on getting the proper technology hooked up.

Dear Parents and Supporters,

We are asking for special prayer tonight. Today, just after lunch time a boating accident occured involving about 15 islanders. These were all young men who had been out on a neighboring island. Their boat was struck by another watercraft and sunk. Two of the young men are dead and at least one more is missing. Three were taken to Roatan for hospital treatment, two of them are in serious condition. Many of the 800 islanders are related to each other so this is very much a family island tragedy. The injured were brought to the Mission clinic prior to going off island. In the crisis our teens acted in helpful ways that made me especially proud of their clear-headed actions. Many were praying in groups or with those who were grieving. Some used boy scout skills to quickly make an additional stretcher with 2×4’s and sheets in order to transport someone to a boat. I don’t think there was one person in our group who was not very heroic today.

Pray for these injured young men, the families of those who died, the remainder of our time here that we might know how to best comfort and minister to these people for Christ.

Since this all happened on Wednesday, we have had a lot of time to go out and visit with and pray with island folks.  They have been so open and receptive to our encouragment and to the gospel.  Many of the people I spoke to confirmed to me that they had a relationship with Jesus and that the boys who died did also.

A third boy died in the hospital on Wednesday night and two others are still being cared for in LaCeba, Honduras.  This morning all our boys worked for two hours building a tomb for 4 bodies.  They believe that another boy will die in the hospital so they are preparing for it emotionally.  We were summoned before breakfast this morning to help move a casket, when we arrived we were needed to hall sand, gravel and cynder blocks up a hill that was at least 100 yard walk.  We move all the supplies one pail or gunney sack at a time.  I cannot say enough about the team we have here serving with us.  These young men and women have been incredibly courageous in ministry and tireless in their work.

There was a funeral today for two boys and there will be another tomorrow.  We are going to go to the far end of the island and swim and snorkel for half the day.  I will be online sometime with some photos.

Continue to pray for us!

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