Tuesday, November 25, 2008

More info on our youth church

Here is the handout we made for our youth church. I'm not sure if you can read it but if you click on it you should get a close up. I thought it was really cool how my friend Cindi highlighted certain words. I wrote a paraphrased version of Luke 24:32 for it. "Didn't our hearts burn within us when He spoke with us on our journey and opened the scriptures to us?" I thought that was really cool and it worked with the original text.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Journey: We're not a band. We're like a church type thing

At about 5:45 in the morning sometime this past June, I found myself sitting in front of my brother-in-law's sweet computer thinking and praying. I had ridiculous jet lag because we had only gotten to D.C. the previous afternoon. I remember praying and asking God what His plans were for VCS for the coming year. I remember that I just starting writing down ideas and then a vision for each of the ideas.

The thing I spent the most time thinking about was the idea of a youth church. Because of the diverse student population of VCS we frequently have kids that come to know the Lord from various cultural and religious backgrounds. Many of these kids come from homes where they have never been to a church. This could be because the family simply never went or because they were hostile towards the idea. The issue is that when these kids come to know the Lord at VCS they often have opportunities for discipleship but many never actually attend churches.

As the summer progressed I somehow managed to misplace my idea notebook. When we got back to Vienna we jumped straight back into things with school, chapel, and soccer. And then we had Spiritual Emphasis Week. As the week came to a close I discussed ideas about follow up with teachers and our speakers. In my heart I clearly heard God reminding me of the vision he gave me early one morning in the summer. I shared this idea with a few teachers and our secondary principal. Everyone thought it had amazing potential and so we started planning. What we came up with was The Journey: A Youth Church.

The Journey is intended for, but not limited to, these types of students. We want students who come to know the Lord from non-Christian backgrounds to experience a church community. Having The Journey be connected with the school provides an atmosphere of familiarity for both the students and the parents. Yesterday we announced the idea of The Journey to the students and we have had an amazing response. I think the coolest thing for me was discussing this idea with a small group of students. One girl said that she had come to know the Lord during her first year at VCS but has never been involved in a local church. She said that she was so excited about this because it was a church that she would feel comfortable being a part of. I seriously got choked up.

With the goal of reaching our kids in the context of their world, we decided to start a facebook group and a website. We already have 30 or so kids who have joined the facebook group and kids are leaving comments about being excited about things.

As you can imagine, this thing has taken a lot of work on the part of numerous individuals. The beauty of things is that God puts certain people in certain places to be used for His purposes. Myself and another teacher have been the main idea people but we have several people who have been involved in publicity and graphic design for things. We also have a tech (snort) guy handling our website. So this whole thing is pretty exciting.

Please be in prayer for The Journey. Our first meeting is Wednesday December 3rd. I'll post a bit more about the vision of The Journey as well as our structure and idea about the order of things later.

Friday, November 21, 2008

More photography from Thad

what's a better subject than your naive little brother?

too much tilt

almost there....

that's better.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Last night we had the privilege of going to our school play, Tilly. A book written by Frank Peretti, it tells the story of a couple who chose to abort their baby only to be haunted by the memory forever. As the story unfolds, you find the mother dreaming about her little girl in heaven. I want to say so much more about the journey this family takes, but I won't ruin the story as I'm sure you will want to read it. I knew this would be a hard story to tell, but our students and one staff member did an excellent job!! Truly, I was moved to tears and felt like I could have really lost it at several points. As a mother, I cannot fathom choosing to kill my child. But the beauty of this story is the reality of God's grace and forgiveness found in Him. The couple does find true and lasting forgiveness in the arms of their Savior. How many women have chosen this path? How many more will choose it once the law makes it easier and more acceptable to do?
This play challenged my heart to pray for the mothers who have given in to the lie that "it will fix everything". Life and breath is God's to give and take away.
One of staff couples has an amazing story of the choice they made to glorify God despite other advice. When they found out their baby would potentially have brain damage due to a cyst found, they were encouraged to abort the baby and start over. But as they prayed for God's will and blessing, they found their baby was healed with no trace of this cyst anywhere! Today my son plays with their son and calls him his dear friend. God has a beautiful way of telling His story to the world and when we are willing, he will use us! Last night's performance was directed and led by this couple who made a beautiful choice to trust their Father. They had the privilege of watching their 3 year old boy debut in the play as a "little kid". What could be sweeter than to see your boy given life and now telling the story of how precious life truly is...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Picture perfect

At a fountain in the volksgarten downtown. I hope they will remember these days in Vienna... good memories are being made.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Science Fun

i realize this picture looks quite weird... but I can't get it to rotate and forgot to do that before I posted it. I'm lazy i know, but if we're sticking with the science theme it kinda looks like he's in a fetal position. Just about ready to come out... I'd say that's one big baby!

There's nothing as fun as getting your very own box to play with! he's pretty mad that his little brother is throwing toys into his "fort".

The next few pics are from our experiment. We simulated a volcano erupting with baking soda, vinegar and soap suds for added bubbles. We tried it in two cups of different heights. I definitely used the sink for easy clean up and was too lazy to make volcano out of play dough. But then again, it was unplanned and more of a last minute "I'm going crazy, must think of something to entertain them" type idea.

He looks pained... but I assure you he enjoyed it! By the way, that's a before shot.... somehow this post got all backwards and complicated. Sometimes my brain feels that way. I'll do better next time!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Thanks...but no thanks!

So, this is worth posting about b/c it made me laugh and want to throw up all at the same time. Today my precious children were helping me clean the house. I had been on the floor on my hands and knees scrubbing the tiles while Ian was trying to help but getting in the way! Then I heard Thad rustling around in the foyer and I came out to find that he was washing the floor. He had his little broom and was pushing it around while water was being smeared on the floor. I said "Oh, how sweet honey, thank you!". Then as an afterthought, I asked him where and how he'd gotten the broom wet. He promptly and very proudly proclaimed, "the toilet, mom!"

AAHHHHHH!!! I was disgusted that toilet water had been smeared on my floor...especially since I hadn't cleaned the toilet yet this week ;)

Bringing you More chaos from our household to yours!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

The Redeem Team

I'm not a big basketball fan. I love the NCAA tournament and I enjoy playing every now and again, but really it's just not my thing. I am however a big team USA guy as soon as the Olympics role around and it honestly doesn't even matter what sport it is. Maybe some of you are even like me and you've actually found yourself getting really into an intense match of water polo just because the USA was involved. All of this to say that I actually enjoyed watching the basketball in the Olympics this year and was proud that team USA redeemed themselves after their less than stellar showing last time out.

Yesterday in Chapel I spoke about Halloween and redemption (clearly connected I know). I started off with some of the history of Halloween as well as some of the misconceptions about the origin of Halloween that have sometimes been propagated within some Christian circles. Basically, Halloween does not have its origin in the Satanic sacrificing of virgins or anything like that. It was essentially a New Years Eve party for the ancient Celtic peoples of Europe that was eventually "Christianized" by the Catholic Church with the introduction of "All Saints Day."

Because of its connection with Pagan practices it became associated with Satan and Demon worship during the Middle Ages mainly b/c the non-Christians still celebrated the Celtic fest (10/31) while the Christians celebrated All Saints Day (11/1). That's mostly why nowadays people dress up in costumes with evil and jacked up themes. Those were the things associated with devil worship in the Middle Ages.

Anyway, the main reason I brought up Halloween was because it is a somewhat divisive subject and it clearly does have some evil things associated with it. Dressing up like witches, demons, and other things associated with stuff that is clearly condemned in scripture is certainly not a good idea. But I wonder, people are sinful and commit evil all the time and yet, they can be redeemed. Can we as God's people redeem things that some have taken and used for evil?

We do this all the time whether we realize it or not. If you and your spouse waited until marriage to have sex than you technically redeemed human sexuality from the way that it is portrayed in the culture. If you've ever taken part in a sporting event and in your mind and heart chosen to enjoy playing because it is a gift from the Lord than you have been a part of redeeming something that in many cases is used for personal glory and pride.

The idea of redemption is kind of a big deal in scripture. It's really the whole theme of the Bible because the idea of redemption is buying something back, remaking it, or using it the way it was originally intended. In Genesis 3 all of the perfection of how Man interacted with God and His creation got really screwed up because of sin. Now Man is really jacked and so is how he views and uses stuff (technical terminology I know).

The beautiful thing about God's plan is that He gives Man the opportunity to be redeemed and made new (2 Cor. 5:17). I really think that along with this comes the ability for Man to redeem or reclaim good things that God has given and to use them in a way that honors Him. That's what makes being a follower of Jesus such a cool thing. Because we have been redeemed (made new again) we have the ability to experience God's creation closer to the way that He originally intended it (it ain't quite there yet...see Rev. 21-22 for future details).

So as the Church let's hop on board with being the worldwide redeem team. Those guys in China were the "redeem team" because they put things right (America = owns everyone else in basketball). Let us live in a way that shows how people and stuff (even Halloween) can be redeemed when the focus is on the Lord Jesus. And let us join with all of creation in looking forward to the redemption that is to come (Rom. 8:23-24) when our bodies and all the stuff around us will be fully and completely MADE NEW!.