Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
We started out by reading ISAIAH 58 AND PRAYING FOR GOD'S LOVE TO SHINE AND BRING FREEDOM TO THE CAPTIVES.
After, the high school chapel, we viewed some art made by the Jr. High Students around the issue.
The HS chaplain said these students have raise almost $5000 for the issue.
Monday, February 22, 2010
This podcast is called THE SOUND ROOM (TSR) and you can subscribe via iTunes! I'm really stoked on the stories we've captured. I really want to encourage you to listen in, pass them on, and let us know how you are impacted. This podcast features BRIAN RHEN, pastor, friend and my neighbor.
I really like how God moves so differently in each person he's created.
I've had this podcast going for about three and half months now. It's called THE SOUND ROOM (TSR) and you can subscribe via iTunes! I'm really stoked on the stories we've captured. I really want to encourage you to listen in, pass them on, and let us know how you are impacted. This podcast features BRIAN PERSON, personal friend and counselor to both me and my wife. He discusses the challenges to healthy emotionally intimacy in this conversation that deals with boundaries, honesty, and addressing red flags in our life.
Friday, February 19, 2010
And we are unveling our new website designed by our own Andrew Dunn of Peal Designs. Great job, Andrew!
check it out www.pccya.com
I love Psalm 139 (read here). Even since my first weeks of following Jesus, I found great comfort from this truth. In my seminary class we were dissecting some questions about it. Here are some of my thoughts.
1. Are verses 1-18 good news or threatening news?
When someone is lonely, feeling attacked, and frustrated, the feelings are the farthest thing from love, acceptance, and purpose. It’s a feeling of chaos and being utterly out of control. I think that this is good news for one to cling to, to fall back upon, and to choose to believe when all human circumstances are bleak. It’s a wonderful truth that even when darkness is all around and we are being ridiculed and scoffed; God is close, and ordaining our days for a significant purpose. This would have been a comfort for King David. But I love thinking the reverse. For those wicked, those wanting and clinging to darkness, the enemies of God's anointed (David), they don’t want to hear that God is there with them, in their darkness. But according to this psalm, there is no place on Earth one could go where God is not. God is in on the battlefields of war, the strip clubs, the back alleys, the human trafficking rings, the closets, the abandoned and rural hotels used for evil and treachery. So Psalm 139 can be bad news for those who think they can run from God. But He is there, very present. And this brings home in retrospect when victims wonder where God was during the harrowing pain of their past.
2. How do verses 19-22 follow from verses 1-18? And verses 23-24 from verses 19-22?
I love how 19-22 seems out of place, but it’s a human way of thinking. The psalmist is conscious of the goodness of God, dwelling on his grandeur, intimate power from 1-18 and then all of a sudden the thoughts of the wicked, those who opposite of the qualities of God enter the psalmist’s mind in 19-22, hate is present. It’s these people that have probably propelled the psalmist to remind himself of the truth of God’s character when it is being clouded by the wicked circumstances in which he finds himself. It’s an abrupt change that then is partnered with the thought of repentance, a need for God to lead him away from those thoughts in his mind in 23-24. Once those thoughts in 19-22 gain some momentum the psalmist must ask for help, to be searched that these thoughts would be wiped clean, back to mediating on the greatness of God.
3. What images for God does the Psalm use? E.g., is God father, or lord, or creator – or what?
God is seen as a lover, maker, creator, knitter, artist, an invisible presence, a writer, healer, leader, and a conscious.
This psalm comes to mind a lot when thinking about pregnancy and the value of the unborn child. As a father, I used these words to pray over my children in utero, and I constantly want to share these truths with my daughters. I want them to know how valuable they are to God and that God is not only with them at all times, no matter what they do, but that he was making them and forming them in my wife’s womb. I have cherished memories of praying and singing over my wife’s belly while I felt little kicks and movements. It’s a beautiful thought. I also regularly like to share this word with those who are celebrating birthdays. It’s such a great time to reflect on one’s purpose from conception and birth that God was at work creating, knitting, making, preparing, and ordaining all the days of our lives. This is good news indeed. If you can today, thank your mom for allowing God to use her womb to bring you life!
Monday, February 15, 2010
Thursday, February 11, 2010
I really like how God moves so differently in each person he's created.
I've had this podcast going for about three months now. It's called THE SOUND ROOM (TSR) and you can subscribe via iTunes! I'm really stoked on the stories we've captured. I really want to encourage you to listen to Judy Peterson's story. Judy is a friend, pastor, wife, speaker,lover of God, a loved one of God, and a messy disciple seeking to faithfully live out her life. She experienced Christ one Sunday after a long night of bartending in quite the most unique way. She now speaks and shares her story to crowds around the country, but specifically, she meets daily with college students at my alma mater: North Park University in Chicago (which causes me to like her even more). She shares God's love right where people are, she doesn't gloss it over or sugar coat it, and she doesn't focus on changing people's behavior. She focuses on the heart, for it is our heart that dictates how we live. And it's God's job to change our heart which affects how we live anyway. She's funny, bold, and so humble with how's she's found beauty and truth within her own brokenness and specifically through the pain of multiple miscarriages. This is a story to pass on. Do you feel unloved? Do you feel so dirty, sinful, and so far from God that you feel it's impossible for God to forgive you? You need to listen to this podcast! You are loved and accepted..the question is, will you be accepted and be transformed because of it? Will you accept the invitation of Jesus to come and dance with him?
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
While waiting in line at Starbucks, my daughter (Isella) points to a doll and says:
“Daddy, I need to hug that teddy-bear.”
Isella: I need a birthmark, dad.
Me: You have one on your face, it’s a freckle.
Isella: No, I need one for Jonah.
Me: I’m not sure what you mean, Isella, I’m sorry.
Isella: (frustrated), I neeeeeeeed one for Jonah. So I can find it. (She brings her Bible over). The pages won’t stay open.
Me: Oh, you need a bookmark. You want to save the place so you can find Jonah again, huh? (Jonah has been one of her faves lately).
Me (noticing she's picking her nose), Isella, if you pick out a boogie put it in the garbage.
Isella: Dad, I’m just going to rub it off (as she motions to flick her booger on the floor).
Isella: Daddy, look I have a pineapple,” (after picking up a pine cone on a walk).
Tuesday, February 09, 2010
Monday, February 08, 2010
I know people personally who have been victims of molestation. I have seen, heard, prayed, and cried with those who have been abused by those they trusted: friends, siblings, parents, and even pastors. I'm so saddened by this deeply, hurtful reality of life. Oprah Winfrey, who needs no introduction, sat with four men convicted of child molestation and heard their stories, interviewing and asking hard questions to uncover what has happened to millions.
You can watch this episode here.
This Oprah Winfrey show rattled me, frustrated me. Honestly, I was sick, sad, disgusted..PISSED OFF. I'm a parent of two girls. I listened to men who raped, manipulated and took advantage of little girls...children. These men KNEW their victims personally. They had relationships with these girls. They earned their trust, groomed these girls, and took advantage of that. One man molested his own daughter.
I was propelled to pray for molestation victims, for healing, and for God's power to set them free. If you, or anyone you know is a victim, would you stop right now and pray. May God's love come over you, may you/they believe, feel, and follow him and understand his closeness.
It was hard not to self-righteously judge these men. I want justice, and these four men are paying the price of their actions. But at one point I consciously had to remind myself that I am just as loved by God as these men. And God can and will forgive these men if they ask, seek, and receive it from God...just as I have been forgiven for the way I have sinned against God and others. (Next week, Oprah said she will have interviews with mothers, babysitters, and others..women who have committed such crimes).
I appreciated this interview because these men exposed tactics that parents, anyone who cares for children, need to know. One man said he had power over his victim because the parents of his victim neglected their daughter. This is another motivation for parents to prioritize loving their children. The convicted molesters said that parents need to look for cues, watch their children with other adults around them, and trust instincts. "Kids don't lie about being touched, listen to the children." And if you are being molested today: TELL SOMEBODY. It is not your fault.
Saturday, February 06, 2010
I've had this podcast going for about three months now. It's called THE SOUND ROOM and you can subscribe via iTunes! I'm really stoked on the stories we've captured. I really want to encourage you to listen to our most recent episode. David Shearin is a changed man.
He's a great servant with our Street Church, and it's because of his story. He once was lost but now he's found. Liar, thief, and drug dealer is now currently and forever more a son of God, a co-heir with Christ, a loved one of God, a house for the Holy Spirit to use!
Friday, February 05, 2010
Thursday, February 04, 2010
It seems the blogosphere and other social media outlets have forgotten about Haiti. For a couple weeks, lots were tweeting and updating about the devastation. Now, for those of us far from it, life is once again "normal." Just peruse your recent updates. It's Oscar time! "Who's gonna win the Superbowl?" And hey, Lost is back on! Such a weird thing. I was looking tonight and found nothing, news home pages have moved on. I'm convicted because so have I. I am so comfortable and insulated from such pain. It's just like when Hurricane Katrina happened. After a month the news changed and then many of us far from it went on to living our lives. But then I remember seeing a documentary one year after, and New Orleans was still a chaotic mess. And still today it needs major help. Almost five years later, teams are still rebuilding the city, but we rarely hear news about it. Sadly, I'm thinking the same thing will happen with Haiti.
I'm currently studying Psalms through one of my seminary classes. We were studying Psalm 88 & 89 which are amazing, strong words of lament. I appreciate the words of Psalm 88 that fully express pain and suffering with out falsifying joy or even trying to muster up hope. It's not that hope is fully gone, it's just a reality of how we can feel at significant times in life. I love that the Bible doesn't shy away from this expression of grief. We aren't meant to just put on the happy face. God can handle our sorrow. One of the pet peeves I have is when we, the church, expect ourselves (or other people ) to "forget what happened during day, and just celebrate." It's as if we think God wants us to put the pain aside, forget about it, and buck up so we can focus on him. (Ever heard this on a Sunday?). I think it is perfectly biblical and right that we can focus on God IN our pain, or just cry miserably TO him about our pain. We aren't meant to put off the suffering of life in nice little compartments. In fact, if we leave out lament, we miss out on the totality of experiencing God's word. With that, for one of my seminary assignments, I wrote a lament for Haiti, as Haiti.
A Lament for the people of Haiti
You are the God who saves,
You are the one who restores us in our suffering.
Please hear our prayer.
We beg you to listen to our desperate plea for help
We have been pummeled to the ground.
We are like those in a grave.
We have suffered death within seconds.
We have lost our sons and daughters, mothers and fathers.
Everywhere we look we see weeping and wailing.
Day and night we hear the cries of the orphans and widows.
Foreigners have come to ransack our meager belongings.
They have come to steal our children to other lands.
Will this tragedy have no end, oh God?
Will you intervene and save us from this terror?
Some point their finger and blame us, for our transgressions are many.
We are called the cursed ones of God.
We know the news has spread to the world.
Our disgrace has made it's way to every person.
Yet we are already yesterday's news.
Have you no mercy, oh God?
Will you leave us hungry and thirsty?
Our bones are crushed and our skin is cracked.
Our tongues are dry and our stomachs turn within.
Yet God we know you are have not forsaken us.
You can do no evil.
We will tell our souls to trust in you,
You are worthy to be praised.
We need you to remember your promises.
We need you to send your saints to bring light to this darkness
Patiently we wait for you,
In this dry and sun scorched land we will wait for our salvation.
With blood on our faces and tears in our eyes, we will wait for you.
As we cry and lament for our life and our land, we hold on to you.
Wednesday, February 03, 2010
Tuesday, February 02, 2010
View BRAIDED HAIR Link Via Youtube