Thursday, September 28, 2006


I came across this website while reading Mark Oestricher's blog (President of Youth Specialties), and it gave 10 tips for "flirting to convert":

1. If he tells your that you are hot...
Tell him God made you hot.

2. If he wants to hold your hand...
Give him a Bible.

3. If he tries to get closer...
Tell him the Holy Spirit is wooing him.

4. If he asks to pay for dinner...
Remind him that Jesus also paid a debt He did not owe!

5. If he reaches his arm around you...
Tell him that nobody will ever be as close to you as Jesus is.
(or ask him if you instead could "lay hands" on him in prayer)

6. If he tries to kiss you...
Remind him that a kiss killed your Savior.
(and you're not ready to "speak in tongues")

7. If he asks to come inside...
Ask him if he has asked Jesus to come inside his heart.

8. If he tells you he loves you...
Tell him that Jesus loves him.

9. If he gets angry that you won't put out...
Clarify to him that W.W.J.D. does NOT mean "Who would Jesus Do."

10. After you dump him...
Tell him that Jesus Christ will never leave or forsake him.

I was thinking of buying a T-shirt from their store, but I have no idea when I could ever bring myself to wear it. I hope that it's a joke, otherwise my heart will break. I feel as though the hurt and pain of the world on my shoulders - I'm going to go to the throne of Jesus and lay them all at his feet. See you there. See you soon.
"Give me a stout heart to bear my own burdens. Give me a willing heart to bear the burdens of others. Give me a believing heart to cast all burdens upon thee, O Lord." (John Baillie)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Jesus loves me, this I know
For the bible tells me so
Little ones to him belong
They are weak when he is strong

Allelujah, allelu
Allelujah, allelu

Friday, September 08, 2006


Two weeks before I left New York, I drove a group of staff members 2 hours out of camp down to Crossgates Mall in the capital of New York state - Albany. I had not been in a movie theater all summer, so I decided to cough up the NINE DOLLARS AND SEVENTY-FIVE CENTS to catch a flick. I saw World Trade Center - it was worth it.

The movie does not really focus on the evil that was done that day - the collapse of the twin towers happens within the first twenty minutes of the movie. The bulk of the movie tells the true story of two Port Authority policemen, Jimeno and McLaughlin, who were trapped under the wreckage and later rescued (They were 2 of 20 people who were pulled from the rubble alive.) The movie is not over-the-top heroic or wildly overdramatized - it tells the tale of these two men's fight for survival. The story cuts between two two men buried under the rubble, fighting to stay awake and alive, and their wives back in their homes, struggling to find meaning and peace in a world gone wrong. As I relieved the events of September 11th, 2001, my soul was burdened once more with the utter evil, misunderstanding and broken depravity of the world in which we live. So many were torn so violently from this mortal coil that day - so many gone, with their families left only with the frayed ends of bittersweet memories.

One of the most powerful scenes for me occurs when McLaughlin, a man whose job at the police department had created distance between himself and his wife over 20 years, has an imaginary conversation with his spouse. At this point, he has been buried for what had seemed like an eternity, and he was on the verge of death. As the image of his beautiful wife swam in his vision, he spoke this question into the darkness: "Did I love you enough? Did I love you the way I was supposed to?"

This summer in the teen ministry at Camp-Of-The-Woods, our overarching theme for the summer came out of the words of Jesus, when asked about the greatest commandment in the law:

"'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment." (Matthew 22:37-38)

The reality is that most of us will not face death trapped until countless tons of shattered glass and steel, but the heavy blanket of death will one day lay upon us all. And as our vision shrinks, only one question will matter: "Did I love you enough? Did I love you at all?" It is our greatest commandment and our highest calling to love GOD, but as broken people, we so often forget what really matters. The real question is this - when death holds us in it's grip, will we regret? True love is a choice, and in the end it is all that is important. And it is a choice, indeed - a choice which we much choose to make every day. As Russell Crowe said in Gladiator, "Death smiles at us all - The only thing that we can do is smile back."

And smile we can and will, because we know that death holds no power over us now - it is but a thin veil that separates us from an eternal life, an eternal treasure that no thief can steal and no moth can eat away. For most of us the question is not just, "What if you don't wake up tommorow?", but "What if you do?" My hope and prayer is that I will one day be able to say as the Apostle Paul did,

"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have LOVED his appearing." (2 Timothy 4:7-8, emphasis mine)

I want to live without regrets - I want love you wholeheartedly every day, for the rest of my life. Lord, let me stay close by your side, to abide in your love and bring you glory, so that when death smiles at me, I can smile back. See you soon.

"Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?" (John 21:15)

Friday, September 01, 2006


For the past two months, I've been reading through a book called Twelve Ordinary Men by John Macarthur, a study of the twelve disciples. A few weeks ago, I read through the chapter on James, one of the "Sons of Thunder." John focuses on one story in particular where Jesus and his disciples are traveling through Samaria on the way to worship in Jerusalem in Luke 9. One night during their journey through Samaria, Jesus and his disciples were denied lodging for the night. When James hears of this, he says this: "Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?" (Lk. 9:54) Jesus got denied a place to stay, and James wanted to call down the flames of heaven to swallow them up - Jesus didn't call him a "Son of Thunder" for nothing.

I'm generally a pretty calm man, but when I see something that makes baby Jesus cry, my blood starts pumping, my fists clench, and my teeth grind. One morning in the Teen Shack, one of our female staff had delievered the message. As she closed in prayer and the kids began to file out, one kid approached her and asked if he could ask her a few questions. After she agreed, she asked her to turn to 1 Corinthians, and proceeded to read this verse: "women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says." (1 Cor. 14:34) He then looked at her innocently and said, "What do you think?" Oh, boy - if I could've brought down the wrath of GOD down on his arrogant, disrespectful little butt, I would've. I definitely would've dropped a few 'bows on him, but I didn't want to send him home crying to his momma. When I see people practically spitting in the face of Jesus and in the faces of his children, I want to make like Jules in Pulp Fiction and lay the smack down. After spending a summer working with students, my tolerance for disrespect has dropped drastically - but there is a fine line between godly, constructive discipline and putting students down just because.

John concludes his study with these words: "...lovingkindness and mercy are virtues to be cultivated as much as (and sometimes more than) righteous indignation and fiery zeal." (pg. 89) Jesus, I want to burn for you - both with a passion for the reverence and honor of GOD, and also with a passion to be filled with the love and compassion of the Jesus who bore the shame of the world on his shoulders to free us from hate and fear. Teach me balance between zeal and compassion - I want to follow Jesus wholeheartedly. See you soon.

"As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, "Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?" But Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they went to another village." (Luke 9:51-56)