Thursday, August 28, 2008

Youth Conference in Arkansas

Here is a Video from out trip to Arkansas, and the Video we threw together to show the Elevate crew what we got to experience. We had an amazing week, God made his presence felt strongly in Diamond City and we were able to be a part of him leaving a lifelong impression on some young peoples lives (and ours as well.) Was an amazing week.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Finally Home

After an amazing trip to Arkansas, an incredible youth conference and a wonderful visit with my parents- I am finally Home. I dont even remember falling asleep last night on the couch and somehow wandering to my bed and not even moving a muscle till 6:45 this morning. Walked Jonah to the Bus and had Breakfast with Codie and Jackson- I missed them!

My challenge to the group in Arkansas, was to wake up in the morning and Take the Isaiah chapter 6 challenge, that is to be willing to Say to God "Here am I send me." the idea is basically be willing to do whatever God prompts you and to watch for His hand in your life, and opportunities to show his love throughout the day, no matter how small or large they may be.

So "Here am I send me."

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Heading for Arkansas

Leaving for Arkansas this weekend to speak at a youth conference in Diamond City. Looking forward to a great weekend, could use lots of prayers. Be back on Tuesday. John, Aaron and I are going to get to lead a group of Teenagers at the Collide Youth Rally.
Friday Night and Saturday at Lighthouse Bible Church.
Its Gonna be awesome... Looking forward to seeing what God is going to do in and through us.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

We got some family pictures taken by Alyssa Smith from A and S photo Design.

She took some amazing pics. I just thought I would share a couple.

I am and extremely lucky (blessed) guy!

Monday, August 18, 2008

From Guest Blogger Glen Bryant

What’s your Identity?

What makes you who you are? When people think of you, what do they think of? When you think of yourself, what do you think of? What happens if you lose your identity? We all tend to grab hold of something that we decide is very important about ourselves and we feed and nurture whatever that is so that we can feel satisfied with ourselves and be accepted by others. It becomes very important and without it we feel empty and lost.

I had a co-worker who recently retired. He had worked for the hospital as a painter for many years. In fact, he was in a position to retire earlier and no one could understand why he would stick around. After he did retire he was showing up at work sites to see how things were going calling his co-workers to keep up on what they were working on. It’s what he had done for years…it was his identity and without it he seemed lost. I think he felt as if his purpose in life was over. I think that many retirees feel the same way.

I was taking a class at the college and finished after 4 semesters of night class. I like to learn but I don’t like school, so I couldn’t wait for it to be over. When the day came and I took my final test I was feeling pretty good because I had done well in the class and I was done. But there was a part of me that was going to miss telling people I was taking a college course. Whenever I told people they were always interested and asked questions about what I was studying. It made me feel important and boosted my ego, but now I wouldn’t be able to tell people that anymore. It had become part of my identity and now it was gone. What if that was all I had in my life that made me feel important?

So what is it that your identity consists of? Is it the clothes you wear, the car you drive, the house you own, how fit you are, your talent, your looks, who you married, your job, your kids…how about how much money you have?

In 1929 after a period of great prosperity for our country the stock market experienced some declines that caused people to panic and rush to sell all their stocks. The market crashed and our country went into “The Great Depression”. Some people lost everything they had (in their mind). Many had made money their identity. As long as they had it they were somebody and when they lost it, well…some committed suicide. They had nothing else to fall back on, without money, life wasn’t worth living. They had lost their identity. (Proverbs 17:16)

Relationships can also be part of our identity…who are friends are, who are family is, who we date or marry. I’ve seen a lot of broken hearted teenagers while working with the youth group. They think they’ve found “the one” and start thinking of their future life with this person. They talk about marriage, kids, jobs, where they will live, what their rest of their life will be like. Then the bottom falls out and their future is erased...hope is gone…life is over. We’ve had teenagers in our high schools commit suicide over a break up with their girlfriend or boyfriend.

Hang in there. This seems depressing but there is a point.

Let’s step away from the individual identity and look at how a relationship can have an identity of its own. People might date or marry someone for who they are, what they have, or what they can do for them (sometimes love has nothing to do with it). Now I’m going PG-13…some people’s relationship identity is sex. They are together because they’ve had sex with each other and as long as the sex continues they will be fine. There are people who pick their partner for life based on how good they are in bed. It doesn’t matter if they can cook, clean, mow the lawn, or hold a job, it’s all based on sex. When that identity is gone, the relationship has nothing left to stand on. Divorce happens.

So how do we avoid all these depressing outcomes? Let me start by saying to be careful what you base your identity on. There are a lot of things in this world that are here one minute and gone the next. There is actually only one thing that is guaranteed…God’s love for us. If we base our lives…our identity on God first, we will always have love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, and self control (Galatians 5:22-23). When we make mistakes, Jesus saves. When the world kicks our butt, the Holy Spirit comforts us and gives us the will to go on. When our own kids leave the nest, there’s still a whole world of God’s children that need our help. We always have value and purpose for our lives.

I like being known as a Christian. That’s something that can never be taken away from me. I may lose my job, my money, or even my hair…but I know my God will always be there.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Fastest Man in the world

Just watched Usain Bolt destroy the competition in the 100m. That was pretty insane! Dude was starting to slow up before he even got 3/4 of the way there and still broke the record. What is amazing is this is the first year he has run the 100. Talk about unbridled talent, he runs with such confidence. This guy is using his talent in a pretty amazing way (Michael Phelps ain't too shabby either.) I have been enjoying watching the olympics and seeing all these athletes who have trained for 4 years for one moment- the dedication is amazing. The commitment level that they show is a challenge for me. As a follower of Christ, I have a pretty amazing thing that I am a part of in this whole Kingdom plan that he has invited us to be part of. I guess it is a good thing to challenge myself (minus the guilt) and ask the question how dedicated am I to the greatest cause in the history of mankind? Just a thought. In Phillippians Paul talks about running the race in a way that brings honor to God and receiving the prize. that Prize is intimacy with a holy and mighty God. I guarantee you that not many of the Olympic athletes are sorry they spent their time training, especially when that medal gets put around their neck. I know that when I look back on my life, I am thnakful for the moments where I have been walking in obedience and pursuit of God's heart.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

God is always...

Even when situations and lifes circumstances make us feel like God is absent. He is always there. Here is a great Video from 268generation that helps remind me that God is always at work and his plan will prevail.
Good to have a reminder of Gods faithfulness, and to not judge his power or presence based on my feelings or my agenda.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Listening to the Right voice

I just read this:

BEIJING (AP)—While Lee Ok-sung got his glove fixed with 35 seconds left, Rau’shee Warren turned in his neutral corner and searched for a clear voice in the cacophony of shouted advice.

Warren swore he heard somebody in the stands yelling “Move! Move!”, meaning the world champion flyweight had the lead and should simply avoid getting punched to win. His coaches were screaming the opposite message from their ringside seats, because Warren actually trailed 9-8 and needed to attack.

In a painfully perfect illustration of what might be the U.S. boxing team’s biggest problem, Warren listened to what he thought his friends, family or teammates were telling him. It cost him a chance at the medal he waited four years to hang around his mother’s neck.

I was reminded of the need to seek out my Father, my Savior and my Guide when it comes to the choices and decisions in my life. There are a lot of voices out there saying a lot of things, there may even be some well-meaning people out there trying to give us good advice, but when it comes to right down to it, I need to learn to hear from God directly- to hear His voice. Jesus says in the book of John, "my sheep hear my voice and they know me." The more time I spend with him and practice listening to his voice the more my choices and life situations will reflect the Amazing God we Serve.

Time Flies

Is it me or does it seem like time is flying by so fast, its like I blinked and all of a sudden I am 15 years older than I was yesterday. This picture is of me on my first birthday, pretty crazy huh? OK, no smart comments, yes we did have camera's back then.
I am thinking of how much time I waste doing things that don't leave a lasting (or even eternal impact) life is short, I am challenged today to put some energy into things that will last and will make a impact for the eternal.

Heres a Question for the day: What are you doing that will leave an impact forever?

Monday, August 11, 2008

From Guest Blogger Glenn Bryant

Got Time?
Recently, I heard a sermon that talked about busyness and it got me thinking about how much time we give to different activities and obligations. So I sat down and did some figuring using what I thought a typical teenage schedule might be like (because I work with the teenagers), which can be compared in most ways to an adults schedule. Here’s what I came up with based on a week…
Sleep- 56 hrs = 33% of week
School / Homework 45 hrs = 27% of week
Sports 15 hrs = 9% of week
Phone / texting 14 hrs = 8% of week
Computer / TV 14 hrs = 8% of week
Hygiene 7 hrs = 4% of week
Eating 10 hrs = 6% of week
Chores 7 hrs = 4% of week
Well I ran out of time and I haven’t figured out where God fits into this. No problem…we just cut out the chores right…or the hygiene? How about less sleep…just drink energy drinks all day. Oh, and you can eat while you drive.
I realize these numbers aren’t completely accurate, but sometimes its eye opening to put things in writing. Just like when we make a budget for our finances, we need to make a budget for our time. The bad thing about doing that is sometimes you would have to say no to something you really “want” to do, to have time for the things you really “need” to do. For example in finances…if you only have so much money per month, you can’t just spend it all at the beginning of the month because you will find yourself starving at the end of the month. So you have to decide what you need and what you want, then prioritize the needs and if you have something left over you start working on the wants. The same is true about spending time with God. He is a need…He should be a priority. If you don’t save some time for Him, you will be spiritually starving yourself. I know people who talk about how much they are struggling in their Christian walk that if they did a time budget just might figure out why!
As adults we have busy schedules also. Instead of school we have work and so on. The good news is this…we can make God part of everything we do! We can work (or do chores) as if working for the Lord himself.
Colossians 3:23-24 says “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward”.
In sports and other games we play we can play fair, be good sports, and win or lose gracefully, thus by our actions during that time, we are honoring God. When we are at work we can have a good attitude and always strive to do our best work regardless of the politics or drama that might be going on around us…and so on.
I have several things I do each week to serve God, but I used to have something going every day of the week at times. I couldn’t say no because I felt I owed it to God to do all I could (He doesn’t want us to do things for Him out of guilt, but out of love). Between that and my job I was busy all the time. It was good to saturate myself with the things of God, but I needed more personal time with the Lord. It’s taken some time to trim things back a bit, but its working pretty good now and I even have some time to spare. It allows me to enjoy the peace that God has given me. Let’s face it, we overdue it with busy schedules and we stress and wear ourselves out. Even God took a day off to rest.
I guess what I’m saying is that, in my opinion, we need to budget time for God…and just God, but we don’t have to limit God. He can be a part of every minute of our day if we let Him. Yes we have busy schedules, but God is with us everywhere we go. Yes we run out of time, but God always has time for us. For everyone who makes God a priority in their life and gives Him the time He deserves, God has a wonderful gift. But if you busy yourself with the things of the world and put God after all the “wants” on your list, you will never experience that gift in your life.
Got time? Give it to God…He deserves it! ...It’s worth it!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

People in your life

I am extremely thankful for the people God has put in my life. Especially lately God seems to be in the process of putting the people that I respect so much directly beside me to create some positive impact for his kingdom. I have never felt so encouraged or lifted up as I have of people speaking directly into my life, encouraging me, sharpening me, yes even constructively criticizing me- to make me a better person. To all you friends who are doing this, thank you!!! I thank God for you. Me and the guys have been joking about the "Bro-mance." It is sad that in todays culture you cannot have a God ordained friendship where you express your appreciation and Love for, without the world thinking you are weird or joining a new lifestyle. Another couple of friends have passed on a verse where Paul says boldly, I am willing to appear as a "fool" if it brings Glory to me. I really think that one of the greatest ways we can worship God is to engage in relationship with his greatest creation- that which was created in his own image. I am committing to a life where I will embrace my brothers, and share with them how appreciative I am of them even if I appear as a fool, because it bring glory to him.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Passion Global- From the 268 Blog

I took this from the 268 Blog, to share what God is doing around the world. Elevate was able to go to the Passion Conference in L.A. in January, and it was a life-changing experience. It is exciting to see the plans that were unveiled there coming to fruition across the world.

It’s going to be hard to describe the beauty of this night, a huge celebration of the grace of God in the midst of the biggest collision of cultures I have ever seen. 4000 people packed into the Sunway Convention Center tonight, representing a giant mix of nations, students studying here in Malaysia from throughout Asia, Africa and the Arabic speaking world. And tonight they were all about one story, one name, one fame.

Passing through the five-story mall to get from the hotel to the convention center (Sunway is resort-ish and about 30 minutes from the main city center of KL) there’s the ice rink, every store imaginable, kids who look like kids anywhere on the planet, women in burkas, teen girls with head coverings and others sporting cowboy boots and skirts. Music is pumping from the rink and a huge crowd of people are waiting for the doors to open for Passion Kuala Lumpur. It’s a little hard to grasp, but right here in the mix is a story that is changing the world. And tonight we were with the future of not just a nation–but of nations!

The place was loud and the message was grace…God doing what we could never do to span the gulf of our wrong and put us back together with Him forever. Charlie and Chris were an amazing team. Their songs were already echoing through the nation before we arrived and were powerful anthems of freedom and life tonight. And the faces were like heaven on earth, every nation, race, tribe and tongue. As our camera crew grabbed hellos from those waiting outside they met students from all over the world, the first one being from Tehran, Iran! So while we were thrilled to be in Malaysia, we knew tonight was about something shifting in the whole world.

Manila, your smiling faces greeted your friends here tonight and the promise of your prayers was an encouragement to us all. KL, this was a special night! Thank you for joining the wave and giving so generously for Jakarta. I’m told you gave 55,000 Ringgit (over $15,000 US) to make a night like tonight possible in Indonesia. That’s a huge wow! Thank you.

We are praying for you Kuala Lumpur. You are destined to be history makers! Go for it.

All for Jesus,

Louie and the Passion Team

Sunday, August 3, 2008

A Rockstar is Born

In my last few entries I have been sharing a lot about learning more about God's love for me through my interaction with my kids.
Tonight, Jackson wanted to be a Rockstar, don't think there is anything spiritually profound about that, I just though it was hilarious. If you can learn anything through what God is teaching me, I would encourage you to just take some time to communicate with the Heavenly Father who looks at you with pride and joy and says, thats "my boy" (or girl, he doesn't discriminate.)