Friday, July 31, 2009

The Buffalo River... the end

You can read the first two parts of this account here and here

When I woke up Friday morning, I had lost a lot of the desire to keep going. I had fun the day before, no doubt; but, now that I had slept all night (and watched as Jason and Robert fought off the army of raccoons that invaded our camp) I had stiffened up and really did not want to paddle more. Jason and I agreed that we should try to get to the end as fast as possible... and we did.

Too fast actually. We did not realize that our campsite was 2/3rds of the way to the end and thought we had to paddle as long as we did on day #1. Wrong! It took us only a couple of hours to get to the bridge where we could load back up on the church van. Had to wait about 2 more hours before everyone else caught up.

Once everyone did we all loaded up on the van and went back to the hotel. Ate some pizza... took a nap... ate some more (including frog legs for the first time ever!)... went to bed.

Woke up and helped load the van. Cranked up the big white bus and about the time we started getting in someone said, "Hey, what's that?" Couple of minutes later we determine that it is in fact gasoline. Diesel Gasoline in fact. As mentioned earlier we were at the end of the earth, so of course, no mechanic shop was open on Saturday except one across the border in Missouri. Yeah.

So a group of 4 brave souls--Shelby, Mark, Kenny, and Terry--stayed behind as the rest of us shoved off for Alabama. Ate lunch at an extremely hot Burger King in Memphis. Really thought we'd all die of heat stroke by the time we got to B'ham. But, we made it home.

It was great. Got to know some new people. And there's probably a whole lot that I've forgotten since a month ago...

Oh, well.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Buffalo River pt.2

Ok, so this post is WAAAAAYYY over due. But, here is part 2 of the post I began earlier chronicling my expedition to the Buffalo River in Arkansas.

You can read part 1 here.

We woke up early the next morning (Thursday, I think) and enjoyed a free breakfast at the before-mentioned Western Sizzlin'. Then we loaded up on the vans for another 45 minute trek through mountain roads and little towns. We arrived at the canoe rental place called Crazy Bill's. This immediately struck a little fear in my heart because I was in the presence of Buffalo Bill (compliments of Joe Dirt). We then were taken to a drop off point where we were picked up by a Crazy Bill's bus. They took us up river to the place where we would put in.

We got in. The water felt great. Saw a lot of fishermen not catching anything. Took a couple of swim breaks. Watched Robert jump off a 45 ft. cliff...twice. Thought Josh would be eaten by a moccasin. Enjoyed my Vienna's for lunch. Thank God for caramel popcorn or I would not have survived the trip.

Saw dozens of turtles sunbathing. Started to get sunburnt (not nearly as bad as Glenn and Devin). Finally made it to the campsite. Sat in the lagoon for hours. We were the 4th canoe to arrive (out of 8 or 9) and the last canoe came in about 4 hours after we arrived. Some people liked to stop and fish and swim a lot.

Cooked my hot dogs amongst a variety of foods--from beanie-weenies to pork chops that were 2 inches thick. Crawled in the tent and tried to go to sleep on my wet sleeping bag.

Pt. 3 tomorrow (hopefully)...

Monday, July 27, 2009

Insights from "The Monkey and the Fish"

Just finished reading The Monkey and the Fish: Liquid Leadership for a Third-Culture Church by Dave Gibbons. This book really challenged me and it also reinforced some things that I already have been exposed to. Here are some excerpts:

"I believe that today God is calling us in the church to become a different kind of movement, known for our kisses of compassion rather than our condemnations."

"I think we {the church} are preoccupied with big."

"We cannot be fully human alone."

"...questions should lead us. Questions, not answers."

"'You put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into the bottle, it become the bottle. You put it into a teapot and it becomes the teapot. The water can flow. The water can crash. Be water my friend' [Bruce Lee]"

"While an answer may fork in a specific situation, questions can guide us to the answers is all kinds of situations."

"Where is the other side of the tracks in your cit or region? In other words, who are the marginalized or the outsiders near you, people whom you feel pain for?"

"What will draw most of the world to Christ is not simply a prosperity gospel but a gospel that takes a real look at the beauty and the bane of suffering."

"Any worthy endeavor is constrained by our worst fears."

"Our {the church's} party should be the best.

"...create unity among diversity."

"We need to learn to walk in the blur and in the intersections of cultures, to bust the walls that separate us from a world of colliding cultures and generations, and the shifting of roles, responsibilities, and influence."

"All of the prejudices we've set up among cultures, among peoples of color, among backgrounds is so alien to the mind of Christ that it is the deepest kind of evil that I know. {Brennan Manning}"

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Greatest Wedding Entrance...EVER!

Crap, why couldn't I think of this...?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

7 Lessons on Parenting

*Disclaimer: I found this pic on a Google search, this was not an experiment of mine

Ok, so I haven't had a lot of extra time to come up with my own posts this week, but there have been some AMAZING posts on other blogs that I read. I can't post every good thing I see, but in light of the baby that's almost here and my journey into fatherhood, this post spoke volumes to me:

(oh yeah, I found this on Mark Batterson's blog)

Can I take a little blog survey?

I ask this question of other parents all the time:
what is the greatest lesson you've learned as a parent? Would love to hear about some of the lessons you've learned at different stages of parenting. Nothing ismore rewarding or more challenging than being a parent. We need to help each other out. I know it's tough to boil it down to one thing. So feel free to share a few lessons learned.

Here are seven lessons I've learned:

Your greatest failures as a parent can turn into your greatest successes IF you simply apologize. You are modeling one of the toughest skills to learn: how to handle mistakes.

2) A
great marriage is one of the greatest gifts you can give your kids so focus on your marriage first and your kids second.

3) You
create memories via engineering shared experiences. Be intentional about setting shared goals. Become a student of your kids. Learn to love what they love.

4) Parents are
prophets. Don't just use your authority to speak correction into their lives. Use your authority to speak encouragementinto their lives. Otherwise you will become a prophet of doom.

5) We have a
Heavenly Father who compensates for our parental weaknesses. So take a deep breath and relax a little. Even if you're a single parent, you're not alone. God will make up the difference!

6) One of the greatest gifts you can give your kids is
time. A little one-on-one time opens channels of communication like nothing else. If you hang with them when they are young they'll want to hang with you when you're old.

7) If all else fails, teach your kids to say
please, thank you, and sorry. Especially to God.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Stop Reading

Here's a post from Stephen Furtick, Lead Pastor at Elevation Church in Charlotte, NC. This one really helps me out...

The following approach to reading has been freeing for me. Maybe it will liberate you too.

When you’re reading a book, and you lose interest, give yourself permission to stop reading. My goal in reading a book isn’t to finish. I read to learn. When my interest ceases, I figure that either I no longer care what the author is saying, or I already know it.
If I don’t care, I won’t learn, because my mind only processes and integrates information that it perceives as relevant.
If the information is redundant, there’s a good chance the author has squeezed a 10 page concept into a 200 page book. Once I’ve got the concept and enough application to get started, I’m ready to move on to something else. I may come back and finish the book later. I may not. There’s no book report due, so it’s up to me. This is one of the advantages of being a grown-up.

If I don’t understand the concept, my solution is the same: I need to stop reading. I’ll either read it again when my mind is fresh, or pick up a different book that explains the topic at a level that does pique my interest. I’m not in high school anymore, and I’m not working from a syllabus. Life’s too short to read stuff that’s too complicated or convoluted to capture my attention.

Of course, this rule does not apply to the reading of God’s Word. When it comes to the Bible, it’s usually the parts you want to read the least that change your life the most.

But if the book you’re reading isn’t the inerrant, inspired, infallible Word of the Lord, read until you lose interest.

Then stop.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Nice White Lady

I hope no one gets offended...this was just too funny to pass up:

Friday Update

Well, everyone is off to Costa Rica for the next 9 days. I am the only staff pastor left behind. Part of me wishes I would've went, but at the same time I know I would be miserable right now--worrying about Amanda having the baby.

It's been a great day today. Strangely quiet, but I'll take it.

Just wanted to throw a quick promo out for this Sunday. The title of the message is:

"Hannah's Prayer"

I'm believing that it's going to be an awesome day. Though many will be gone ministering in Costa Rica, I believe that God will reward us as a church for the investment we've made. Maybe 50 people will go on the next missions trip!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Monkey and the Fish

So, one of the new books I'm reading is called, The Monkey and the Fish. I thought it was a rather strange title. It's about (Christian) leadership that is needed in our ever-changing culture today. I didn't take me long to figure out why the book is named what it is:

[From the Preface]:
A typhoon stranded a monkey on an island. In a protected place on the shore, while waiting for the raging waters to recede, he spotted a fish swimming against the current. It seemed to the monkey that the fish was struggling and needed assistance. Being of kind heart, the monkey resolved to help the fish.

A tree leaned precariously over the spot where the fish seemed to be struggling. At considerable risk to himself, the monkey moved far out on a limb, reached down, and snatched the fish fromhe waters. Scurrying back to the safety of his shelter, he carefully laid the fish on dry ground. For a few moments, the fish showed excitement but soon settled into a restful peace.

--An Eastern Parable.

The monkey was genuine and compassionate, but his "help" did more damage than good. A lot of times, we as Christians and leaders within the church respond--out of good motives and compassion--to what we perceive are needs, when in reality our "help" leads to death and destruction.

I could've stopped reading the book after this and had a deeper understanding of our need to meet people's needs in ways that matter to them, and not what we think is best.

When I finish (which shouldn't be too long, if the rest of the book is this good), I will share more.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


It's definitely been a up-and-down ride the past couple of weeks. I thought going into this summer that it would be a little more teaching every week of camp; no kids camp. But, I was wrong. This summer is also filled with personal tragedy (and NOT because MJ died).

Couple of weeks ago I went to the Buffalo River. Yes, I know, I never finished telling the story. Maybe when I get caught up on all the stuff I've missed the last three weeks, I'll finish.

Had an awesome time at youth camp. As expected, God did amazing things (hmm, maybe there's something about our level of expectation and God's reaction to it?).

Then I received some bad news this past Monday. My grandmother (Gammy as I call her) had to be hospitalized. She was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia back in March. In this form, her white cell counts were extremely low (as opposed to extremely high with most types of the disease). Of course, no white blood cells = no immune system; so, she had infection set in her kidneys that soon spread to her blood. Her spleen had also swollen.

By the time I got to the hospital Wednesday morning, she looked like a ghost. Fortunately, she still had the strength to communicate with me. We told each other "I love you," and she told me to "keep loving the Lord." From then on I witnesses a rapid decline. By Thursday (she got to come home under hospice care Wed. afternoon), she mostly just slept. By Thur. night, she couldn't talk with us anymore--just grunts. That night, we all stayed at her and my granddad's (Gangy) house. At 2:40am my mom's sister, Gina, came and woke me up. By the time I got to the bedroom where my Gammy laid, she was no longer breathing.

We had a memorial viewing on Saturday night at Sorrells Funeral Home in Enterprise (Great People). Over 200 people came to visit. Even more people showed up Sunday afternoon for the funeral. And then her body was committed to the ground in Old Tabernacle Cemetery...across the street from the church she grew up in (and that I went to in high school).

Please remember my family--especially my granddad--in your prayers. For all of you who have lost someone close, you know why.

I'll hopefully get back into the rhythm of regular blogging over the next week or so.