Sunday, July 30, 2006


I really hurt myself working out on Thursday night. I decided to vary a bit from my normal leg workout, and thrown in some hip adductions. Well, let's just say that was an ok idea, but that I took it too far.

In case you're wondering, hip adductions are an excercise you perform while seated. Placing pads on the inside of your knees, you squeeze your knees together and let them come apart slowly. I did four sets of 20 of these, ending with 250 lbs on my last set. I then went to run, because hey, it was just a "woman's excercise" (in fact, I've been told that since then. Trainers that I know have said things like "I've never seen a man on those machines...)

Well, the next day, it hurt... but I was on an "OH yeah! I feel the burn!" type kick. Prophet Martin told me (Martin from the office :)) that it would be worse on the second day. He was right. I woke up Saturday, tried to get out of bed, and realize that my legs didn't do what I told them to! It took me about ten minutes to coax them out of bed. Saturday was hell. I thought I would never walk again. I hobbled about like an old man!

Today, I woke up and it was all fine. It still hurt, but it's more of a "whoo! I feel the burn." In fact, I feel so good I'm gonna go run a few miles with Pastor Alan this afternoon. Then, I'll go to the gym and do more abductions.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

The Altar

I had the opportunity to preach to the youth on the 26th. I normally hate preaching at the church I'm based out of, but I love kids so I went at it with the intent I would anywhere else: To deliver a message I knew was from God, specifically for them.

The message was about the Altar. Man, what a broad topic! There are literally hundreds of angles you could come at this from, but the angle I wanted was simple: We as Christians have the amazing chance to put ourselves on the altar, which is a place that exists out of time and space in our hearts, and allow God to transform us, heal us, and get rid of crap that has attached itself to us. The altar is a message of transformation, of forgiveness, of grace. Basically, the altar encompasses the whole of the Christian faith, but specifically the connection with God that forges genuine inner renewal.

But as complex as what I just wrote might sound (due to bad writing!), the altar is more about desire than anything. I want to see our entire church, adults and youth, with a desire for God. And I want to see that desire come out in services. I want our physical altars to be flooded with people seeking a God moment. I want the front of our church to be flooded with believers seeking a deeper walk with Christ. I want to see sinners at the altar crying out to God to save and chance them. I guess what I want to see, really, is raw, pure, motivated interaction with God. The altar is the place where bad theology goes away. It's the place where intentions are washed. It's a place that you can't teach.

Which is why we struggle. You can't teach the altar directly. You can show through example. But when you talk about it, when you've bathed in God's presence on the altar... talking about it seems like a fairy tale - and we're not good at writing those anymore.

God, show yourself to our students on the altar! Draw them to the ultimate altar - the cross!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

OK. So, I've Been Working Out

I've been working out lately. Like, pretty much every day. Dang girl, I feel better. I mean really better. When I missed my normal day (Wednesday) last week... I was grouchy by the time Thursday night came around. I mean really, really grouchy. I felt like crap too, but after the gym it was like life was brand new again.

I've been hitting it once a day, twice some days. My goal is to do cardio every morning and lifting at night. If only it was as easy as the spiritual life ;)

This has no spiritual connection at all, by the way. I'm just happy to be working out. If you see me, ask me how it's going. It will motivate me :)

Friday, July 14, 2006

Non-Profit Mailers: One Upping God

So, I just found out that my church doesn't yet have non-profit mailer status. This is simply because when we first started, a lot of what we were doing didn't fall into traditional non-profit mailing categories. I did some checking, and it looks like we could now get a significant portion of our mail umbrellad under the non-profit status. My mind started to think, "How much could we have saved?" After all, we are stewards of God's money, representatives of the kingdom, and dang it, we always talk about what we could do in the future if we had more money. The church (in general) has really gotten good at figuring out how much it costs to reach people.

So we then compound the start up status with complicated postal regulations. For many things, it is more expensive to mail using non-profit status than normal status, because you have to affix a label to items.... BY HAND! Labels are expensive!

The fact is, meeting government regulations is hard most of the time. We as people are pretty good at creating over complicated rules that impede progress and limit each other's freedoms. Think about the last time you thought a law was stupid. That attests to the fact that we as humans don't always do a good job coming up with "right" things to do."

Ironically, in all of this searching throgh regulations, I'm coming to a place of remembrance of what God did for me in my life a few years ago when I was pretty much a guilt-racked Christian limiting what I could do in life. After backsliding and going through major personal problems stemming from me running away from my call to ministry, I decided that I needed to pursue a secular degree in computer science rather than go after my ministry degree as I felt called to by God. My logic was that I needed to prove to God that I could follow Him even if I wasn't in ministry. For this fish, that was tantamount to a proclamation that I could swim even if I wasn't in water!

You see, it was easier for me to feel like I was paying a penance and to plan to deal with personal issues long term than it was for me to accept Jesus' penance and deal with issues now. At the time, a part of me thought that by not going into ministry, I was sacrificially obeying God. God though, isn't interested in sacrifice - unless that sacrifice is laced with justice. God isn't interested in sacrifice - unless that sacrifice is pure and 100% whole. Just like no man can pay for the sins weighing on his soul - because his sins make him unworthy - no man can pay for the guilt he bears with his own actions. Seinfeld had an interesting label for folks that always have to do things themselves, or can never stand to admit that someone else is better than them (and as a result always try to come back and be the number 1 at something): a one upper.

That's what I was trying to do: One up God. I wasn't really trying to pay for anything. I knew I couldn't! I wasn't trying to show a pattern of obedience. I rationalized my calling away! I was trying to one-up God instead of letting God one-up me (ooh, an old school nintendo reference. If you don't get it, 1 up means you get an extra life in game).

What ways are you trying to one up God? Do you avoid the now and dream of the future - wasting time? Do you feel there is something that you have to do before you're worthy of God's love, of His plan for you?

I'm here to tell you that one upping God just leads to misery. It leads to being out of the environment God created you to be in - because where every other creature besides man lives in a 3d environment, man lives in the 4d environment of the now. We have to be in more than the right place, we have to be in the right time. And despite our one-upper nature, only God can bring all the d's together to form the environment of his will.

So, if you're a one-upper... ah... well, there is a song for this. No there's not. There's a line:
'Stop, collaborate and listen." Except it would be better without the collaborate. Stop, and listen. God is telling you exactly where to go. Don't pay too much postage to get there.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Today I Ordere the 963 Pages of documents Seized from Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris

There has been a lot of buzz about the release of documents seized from Dylan Klebold and Erric Harris. It's understandable. Since the announcement that these documents would be available was made on July 5, 2006, I would imagine the families of the victims and the parents of the killers (themselves victims, but of a different nature) have undergone a hellish reenactment of the tragedy. They probably went through a similar nightmare during the fight to prevent the release of Klebold's autopsy.

I'm in youth ministry, so I overcame the bad feeling I had and ordered the documents from the Jefferson County Sherriff's Office. I'm not excited to read these documents, but I feel that it will help me better understand kids. Even though I am part of the columbine generation, I don't think like I did at that age. What things disturb me, push me to the edge, enrage me? I hope to get a grip on some of these issues and... help kids.

One thing that disturbs me is that anyone can order copies of the autopsies of the two killers. Come on. Unless you're a toxicologist looking for information that will help you analyze brain chemical levels (for chemical imbalances) or a balistics expert out to prove a conspiracy theory, what possible use could you have for this? None. It's sick.

I feel sick just ordering what are essentially diaries. But at least I have a reason.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Some Pictures from Last Night

I don't know what the dealio is... I can't post last nights pictures in the last blog.

A Taste of Minnesota... and Speeding Tickets

So yesterday I went up to hang out at A Taste of Minnesota with five other friends. It was fun. Of special note:

  • The gang fight we saw was sub par. Out of the approximately 50 members (the two gangs combined) only two were fighting. Taste: Poor in my mouth.
  • The food was excellent.
  • No, Mr. Ticket Man, I do not want to purchase the right to drink alcohol.
  • The fireworks were sub par.
  • I hate Hoff Jewelers. More on this below.

So after walking around for a while, we ate some Gyros and ice cream. On the way to the parking ramp we were to watch the Fireworks at (the riverside area was all full and we didn't have chairs), I bought all four girls a rose. Aren't I a sweet heart?

In regards to the actual fire works show, it was excellent. I love pyrotechnics, whether it is beautiful fireworks or just blowing junk up. The thing that almost ruined the night though, were two advertising planes. They had moving, illuminated billboards on their bellies, and were actually fun to watch during the day. I thought that when the fireworks show started, they would boogey on out. They didn't.

If you've ever seen footage of our bombers flying over Baghdad during the first Gulf War, you'll know what this looked like. The planes flew right through the middle of the fire works, which was very tacky. Way to go, Hoff Jewelers. You guys almost left a bad taste in my mouth at taste of Minnesota, and you also have bad reviews on

The fireworks were beautiful, and loud. Take that, England.

After celebrating America, God's hand of justice on earth today, and the best nation ever, I got six hours of sleep and woke up at six to "pay the man" for some speeding tickets. I hate the man right now. Don't give the man (devil) room in your life to demand payment. I'm sorry at how lame that was. Often times spiritual connections in blogs about daily life are retarded. Look at this as an example of that.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Ghosts in the Church

River Valley sees a lot of use in it facilities. Probably 4 to 5 times as much use as the average church with its numbers, probably 10x the average church with its square footage (I'm proud of that, I feel it is good stewardship). Because of this heavy useage, our business pastor is a big believer in getting the carpets cleaned. Clean carpets last longer, after all.

Well, Shawn and I were elected to clear everything out of the areas getting cleaned, which were all the childrens areas, the lobby, and the main auditorium, and then come back at midnight to close up. We're going to put everything back in place tomorrow.

While locking up, we opened the back door and saw a car that looked way out of place. It made us a little nervous as the previous night there had been an alarm that no one can figure out, so we searched the building and finding nothing, armed the alarm and left. But we both still felt uneasy (I mean, I could swear I had seen "moving shadows" in the dark). So, we did what any young man would do. We grabbed pipes and went looking in pigchamp, pos, and we're waiting to hit up Suite 1000.

How do I have time to type a blog in the middle of a security sweep, you ask? Well, Shawn saw a chair in Alan's office that he was supposed to put together, so he's putting it together while I type. As soon as that chair gets put together, Mr. Burgler is going down old school.

What would I do if I saw a burgler? I imagine the Viking in me would come out. I would instantly sprout red chest hair and blonde pony tails and grow a helmet without horns. Horns, you see, are a Wagnerian worship of Norse Culture. If you picture horns on Vikings, the Nazis with their paganist historical revisions have won. And no one wants to be the person that makes that happen. After the hair reconfigurations I imagine I would take a swig of mead and sprout a battle axe in my hand, at which point I would go Norse on the burgler and then offer him some lutefisk or lefsa, before calling the cops.

Oh well, the chair is together, time to go hunt some ghosts.

Monday, July 03, 2006

North Korea - Children of the Secret State

This is a documentary about the children of North Korea. Invisible Children fanatics, get a load of this. Pretty much the only thing we can do for these children is pray... and that is tough for most people. We want hands on. Well, my sister has had hands on in Uganda. She has snuck across the border from Kenya three years in a row now. She wouldn't even get to the border in the Koreas. Pray that God would deliver these children and have mercy on North Korea, freeing it from communist oppression!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

The Parents See The Work

Something a lot of people don't know about me is that I've been on staff at three churces other than River Valley. I did a youth ministry internship at Cornerstone Church, Madison, TN (Nashville) fall/summer 2002, a youth ministry internship at Rock Assembly of God in Oklahoma City, OK in summer 2003, and interim youth pastored at Rock Church in Rockford, IL last summer. Since I've turned 18, I've done youth ministry in Tennessee, North Dakota, Illinois, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Minnesota, and Oklahoma. It's been rare though, that my parents have gotten to see my area of ministry. My dad saw Oklahoma, with both of my parents seeing Illinois. All of those other areas have been speaking, music ministry, or camp fly-throughs (I've helped friends out by speaking morning sessions at camps while they do the evening services. Small camps, nothing major. yet)

Today, my parents got to come to my church, which is the first church I've been on staff at that I would actually attend. Yes, you heard it, I wouldn't have attended any of the other churches I've been on staff at!

It was encouraging to see my parents step into the body I'm a part of and feel welcomed. They commented - just like everyone else does - about how impressed they were with the amount of fellowship and friendliness. They commented on the excellence of the music ministry, the way we present that aspects of God's creativity through the building and stage sets, and how the message was relevent to them. In other words, they liked River Valley.

And I do too.