Sunday, March 30, 2008


Last Saturday Bob and Matt (another minister at Contact) took a few of our Contact kids to a local egg hunt. It was more of an egg "grab' than an egg "hunt". All the eggs were layed out in a field, and the kids surrounded the area. When they said, "go", the kids grabbed as many eggs as they could as fast as they could. I'm sure you can imagine the chaos! Not quite the egg hunt I was anticipating, but the kids had fun nonetheless. They had their picture made with the Easter bunny and also jumped to their hearts content in the inflated toys. Miriam and I stopped by for the toddler egg hunt - a little slower passed than the grade school hunt, thank goodness!

Happy Birthday, Miriam!

Two years ago on March 21st Miriam Grace entered the world...and changed our world completely! Here are few pictures from her birthday last weekend. We are daily grateful to the God who created Miriam. He has such wonderful plans for you, sweet girl!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Visions for Delinquent Youth

How do you challenge teens that are in juvenile centers to stop their ways? Some teens that I visited recently in "juvie" told me about one minister's following words:

You know, if you guys decided right now to never come back to this place and other teens stopped their ways, they'd have to shut this place (juvenile center) down. The people who work here would get their last paycheck and have to find a job somewhere else. If you never came back, they wouldn't even need this place.

So many times in working with at-risk youth, helping the poor, and seeking justice for wrong, we are just managing the problem. We need more people to cast visions that we would call impossible. Visions that we would scoff at. Visions that we want but cannot see how. These two teens caught the vision, and their plans are never to come back. God help them with the how. Surround them with people who still believe that You can do the impossible.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Way I See It #271

Starbucks has provided quotes on their paper cups for customers to discuss while drinking "the beverage you're about to enjoy." One of my favorites is from Colin Powell. He said that every child needs a lap top, one to sit on and be raised with love. Here is another one of my favorites...#271:

The law, for all its failings, has a noble goal--to make the little bit of life that people can actually control more just. We can't end disease or natural disasters, but we can devise rules for our dealings with one another that fairly weigh the rights and needs of everyone, and which, therefore, reflect our best vision of ourselves. (Scott Turow, author of Presumed Innocent and also Limitations)

I think about this in regard to how people view the Old Testament and the God who would give the law and all the punishments that came with them. God established the Torah as the best vision of ourselves--us living out what God is like.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

"That Was My Dream"

I heard some reality-facing words today. One of our teens had an altercation (AKA "fight") against another teen. We got the guys to talk, but then I needed to sit down for a talk with the older one of the two. Another minister joined me and asked about his dreams, what he wants to do with his life. The teen has always dreamed of playing basketball in the NBA. He answered, "Yeah, that was my dream."

That word "was" really stuck out to me. This is a guy that is not in school and has never played a game for his high school basketball team. I heard this teen acknowledging that this dream more than likely won't happen. To be honest I am glad. Better is one word of reality than 10,000 words of fantasy, a proverb from a fellow student at grad school. I say this even as an incredible optimist. I like it when we get moments in which we get to see where we really are. I feel like he is in a better position to live out a real dream, a real life with God now. His dream can be to live out how God made him, to carry the cross daily, to be a good husband someday, to be a good father someday. Pray for him and us to see beyond the glitz and glamor of dreams that fall short of the glorious life with God.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Banquet Table

Remember that Bible class song, "He invites us into his banquet table and his banner over us is love...."? I was thinking about it today. I had lunch with a few of the teen girls at Ruby Tuesday. They ordered the most enormous desserts I've ever seen. Massive scoops of vanilla ice cream, covered with strawberries. Warm chocolate cake smothered in chocolate sauce. Complete decadence really, but so much fun for the girls. Watching them dig into their sugar filled bowls reminded me of that song and the banquet table we are invited to be a part of someday. Maybe there won't really be ice cream, but it should be an extra special treat to sit down with Christ.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

On the road again...

The teen girls have a couple upcoming trips. First, we are headed to Searcy, AR the second weekend in April to visit Harding University. Most of these girls have never visited a college campus, so this will be a new experience for them. I'm excited about the chance to show them what college life can be like. Secondly, we are in the beginning stages of planning our summer trip. This year the girls have decided that they would like to visit Houston...and Galvaston, of course. Who can resist the beach? None of them have ever seen the ocean before...I can't wait to see their faces! Please be praying for our planning, fundraising, and safe travels.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Birthday at 31

Today I got to the 31 year mile marker. It was a great day. I got to eat a couple of donuts in the morning with two of my co-workers at the Contact Church as we chatted about life. I got to eat two hot dogs at the Clinton Middle School cafeteria. I also got to eat some great Mexican food at Ted's Escondido. My favorite eating was done with my daughter. We shared some Junior Mints (as seen in the photo), my favorite candy.

The most fun that I had today was with a girl that my wife Sarah babysits on Wednesdays (as well as her brother). She is in one of the upper elementary grades. (I don't know which one. 4th or 5th.) She is in an operetta about pirates. We talked pirate talk, which then shifted into British accents, which then turned into Scottish accents. For about 20 minutes, she and I carried on a conversation as I proceeded to use my ridiculous Scottish accent. Sarah scoffs at my pitiful attempts at being a verbal Scot. Oh what fun to be silly!

Some of the best gifts that I got were the following: a banner waiting for me on our front porch as well as balloons and a banner inside wishing me a happy birthday(courtesy of my lovely wife, Miriam, Drake, and Judith); my friend Matt Hurley sharing his funny life stories (a request of mine); my friend Ox offering an IOU to lift something heavy for me when needed; my friend Devin offering to sing with her lovely voice whenever I request one; financial advice from my friend Cyrus; a funny joke from my friend Jenn; a chocolate-raspberry birthday cake from my wife, and gift cards to bookstores.

I should add to the title " the year 2008." Friends and family wished me a happy birthday by texting on cell phone and on Facebook and by e-mail and even by phone. Things have changed a lot in my life, but there is nothing like a friend remembering the day that you were born.

Thank you to the community of people who enrich my life and remind me of the relational, gracious God that we serve. Thanks especially to my wife for making me feel special once again.