Tuesday, December 18, 2007

"Faith" by Robert Browning

O never star
Was lost; here
We all aspire to heaven and there is heaven
Above us.
If I stoop
Into a dark tremendous sea of cloud,
It is but for a time; I press God’s lamp
Close to my breast; its splendor soon or late
Will pierce the gloom. I shall emerge some day.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Adventures with Cadence

video

Cadence has discovered the fine art of peek a boo. What fun, what fun.

I am Cain Part 2

So I made the decision to get rid of my brother.

And now God comes to me asking me where he is. Huh, he’s asking me if I am tending after my brother. My brother is the sheep tender, he doesn’t need someone to tend after him.

And when I think God would get mad at me, because I killed Abel, he does. But he doesn’t treat me like I would treat me if I was him.

He sends me out, but he puts a protective mark on me.

Now nobody can hurt me.

But that doesn’t make sense. Because I tried to steal from Abel. And God isn’t stealing my life from me…

God’s grace is too big for me to understand.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

How to say it, without saying it.

So, Aubrey and I went to hear Rob Bell speak in D.C. on Friday the 23rd. We went up with Susie (sister) on her birthday, Diana (sister in law), Jeff (Di's fiance) and met some of my peeps from York (Luke, Sam, Matt, Randy, Lorena). We ended up running into the infamous Byron Borger and his Hearts and Minds crew who were selling schtuff for Rob.

It would be hard to briefly summarize everything he said in that hour and a half. But I was most fascinated that he was able to talk about grace and atonement without even using the words. He was able to talk about some of the most profound realities without naming them.

Here is a good summary if you'd like to read it. If not, get to one of the shows. If not, get the DVD when it comes out.

PS I saw that someone (a Christian) wrote on their blog that they would not pay for a Christian speaker, so I thought it'd be good to point out that "Net proceeds from the tour will be given to the Turame microfinance project." Check it out!

Thankful Thanksgiving

We returned to the famous location of beautifully hot doughnuts.

A post-Thanksgiving tradition in Aubrey's family...and I love it.

As you can see, Cade sported the hat.
Look below for her first time to don the KKreme regalia.



Thursday, November 15, 2007

Thankful



So, when I went to Asbury I was Resident Assistant of The Firehouse in its first two years. And now they're making sweet vids!

FYI Stu Smith* is an Asbury fella who's just plain funny...and deeply spiritual. Great combo.

*edit...I originally had Stu Metzler...who is a good man...but not an Asbury fella

Monday, October 29, 2007

Weekly Prayer

Proper 25 The Sunday closest to October 26

Almighty and everlasting God, give unto us the increase of faith, hope, and charity; and, that we may obtain that which thou dost promise, make us to love that which thou dost command; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Amen.

Fascinating implications for youth ministry


I had to read this book for a seminary class I am in. It's a pretty good book on leadership within the pastoral realm. Interesting concept of the pastor as a producer of culture within the congregation and thus within the community that the congregation finds itself in. Most of the comments are based on a survey Carroll and his crew Pulpit and Pew conducted of clergy from around the United States of America.

What I found interesting is this:

Of the pastors polled: 71% were involved in youth ministry at 16, and 60% of them were in leadership positions in a youth ministry at 16. (247)

Carroll talks about developing a "culture of calling" where the church intentionally fosters the universal call of all Christians to live out the Christ-life, while at the same time fostering the "secret call" (as called by Reinhold Neibuhr) among the people of the congregation.

I'm not sure if these findings give verity to my profession as a youth pastor, but they certainly do cause me to sit and ponder how I can continue to develop this culture intentionally.

[EDIT] If this many were involved in a youth ministry, I wonder how many keep with them the format/ecclesiology that so many youth ministries have: separate from the rest of the church.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Family Visits

Grandma and Cade reading. You can tell Cade is quite excited!
Nana and Cade at the park. I love this one.
This is Cade's favorite book right now: "My Heart Purse"
Cade and Auntie Susie on top of the slide!

Two weeks ago, we were blessed to have family in our house for almost a week straight. Here are some pics from our time together.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Weekly Prayer

Proper 24

Almighty and everlasting God, who in Christ hast revealed thy glory among the nations: Preserve the works of thy mercy, that thy Church throughout the world may persevere with steadfast faith in the confession of thy Name; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Too good to pass up

This is a freestyle moustache (pronounced moo-stah-che).
For more fun, check out the World Beard and Moustache Championship.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Together

Some ponderings from my Theology of Church and Ministry notes.

I've been asked before "How is your relationship with God?" Usually it causes me to ponder and reflect, finding those places of joy and sources of sorrow. Sometimes I've used the question with teens. The usual response is, "Um, good, I think." Okay. Good. What's that mean?

Anyway, I've been thinking about the question and wondering if it can be asked in this way, "How is our relationship with God?" or "How is your family's relationship with God?" Is it possible to relate to God together? If so, what does this look like? Is it only on Sunday morning or through Bible Study or serving?

When Christianity has primarily been viewed through the individualistic lens of "my relationship with God", it is important that we ask further questions, guiding us to examine how "we" are relating to God together. I know this, but I'm wrestling with what it looks like.
So, I've just typed about 13 sentences. Incoherent they seem to me now that I look over them, but I wanted to see what my ten readers think.
How do we relate to God together? Is it possible to evaluate/measure/picture a community's relationship with God?

Remedy by David Crowder Band is High Quality!


Monday, October 08, 2007

Why Did God Not Teleport the Israelites? or "Beam me Up, Scotty"

So, if God could bring all the Israelites through the Red Sea on dry ground, could bring water out of rocks, bread out of the sky, frogs covering everything, could he not transport the Israelites directly from Egypt to Canaan? He seemed to have divinely transported Philip in Acts. Why not just skip the whole desert wanderings?

There is something about the journey that happened to the Israelites. Obviously they received the law from God on Mt. Sinai, but their identity was shaped by their moments in the desert. In Jeremiah 2, God compares the time in the desert to a honeymoon. Some honeymoon! But think about how God lavished his love on Israel, pouring forth miracle after miracle. Think about the dependence Israel showed to Him.

There is a strange desire within us to "just get through this" as if what lies on the other side will bring us our greatest contentment (think the weekend, release of a new movie, finishing of a large project). But what if "this" is exactly where God wants us? What if "this" is where God wants to lavish himself on us?

Weekly Prayer

Proper 22

Almighty and everlasting God, you are always more ready tohear than we to pray, and to give more than we either desire or deserve: Pour upon us the abundance of your mercy, forgiving us those things of which our conscience is afraid, and giving us those good things for which we are not worthy to ask, except through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ our Savior; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Weekly Prayer

Proper 21

O God, you declare your almighty power chiefly in showing mercy and pity: Grant us the fullness of your grace, that we, running to obtain your promises, may become partakers of your heavenly treasure; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Ah spoons and independence

video

Our baby is on her way to independence.

I think if she were to put a post on here it'd be something like this:

Well, my parents finally let me feed myself today. They're still scooping for me, but I'm putting the spoon in my mouth on my own. Soon I'll be working with Rachel Ray!

I love to read. But actually, I love it when my parents read to me. And I love to turn the pages before they're done and then turn back to the page where we were once they start the next page. It gets them confused. And even better are the books that have thick pages. Oh, I love to get my tiny little fingers on those. But best of all, the best books are the ones I get to put in my mouth. Mmm.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Surprised by Sgt. Teddy Bear

In teaching our teens the importance of ecclesiology (community life), we seek to involve them in various ways in our youth services (and hopefully in the Sunday services). Sometimes this involves risk, like when you ask someone to lead the opening prayer time.

Tonight was one of those nights where we took the risk.

There are kids you ask and you know what they're going to pray/say is going to be right on the theological money, while there are other teens who you're sure they'll pray with sincerity and passion but not necessarily with informed theology, and there are other teens who pray without passion or informed God understanding. I think all of them need to be invited to pray.
The teen that was chosen tonight has courage and an incredibly deep understanding of God. But he can be goofy too. So when he stepped up to the microphone and declared that he was going to pray as "Sgt. Teddy Bear" my heart almost stopped.

Then the prayer that Sgt. Teddy Bear prayed was so selfish, so condemning, so painful. It was something like this, "Dear God, these people need help. You know how I can't stand these people. I don't know how you put up with them..." As this prayer is sent floating through the air my spirit is sinking with the dread of wondering how to follow this, pleading with God for divine intervention.
As my mind is scrambling, Sarge stops. Adam interupts. He tells Sarge that's not how we pray. Then Adam proceded to pray one of the most insightful, thoughtful, kind, loving, spirit-filled prayers I've ever heard from a teenager. I don't remember all the lines, but I do remember something like these: "God, fill us with the warmth of your holiness. You have brought us hear for a reason and we need to receive from you tonight. Your love is more than enough for us."
My spirit soared. God reminded me of a passage in Luke about a tax collector and Pharisee.
Community takes risks.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Corruption

He told them still another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough." Matthew 13:33

Whenever yeast was used in story lines during Jesus' time, it almost always carried the weight of evil, the sense of being opposite of what God would want. Jesus himself said, "Beward of the yeast of the Pharisees". The view was that yeast was like corruption. It starts small, but invisibly works itself through the dough in no time.

So when Jesus said the above statement, his audience would be shocked. The kingdom of God is corruption? How can this be?

Then when you think about it...the way of God is corruption to the way of hate, racism, genocide, evil and sin.

Many commentators think Jesus was making a seriously political statement here.

So, my friends, how can we get corrupted?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Beauty in Embrace

After too long, I am posting. Here's a story from my journal of something that happened to me while I was waiting to fly to KC from the Minneapolis airport.

...Waiting in the airport for my flight. Off to the right is a group holding flags and signs. The kids in the group keep running up to the window expectantly looking back to the rest of the group with faces of wonder.

I go back to reading. I'm distracted by the story of Mike Vick's confession and apology. I read some more.

Suddenly, cheers erupt from my right.

I look up to see the group standing on their feet waving their flags, whooping and hollering. Out of Gate F7 walks a woman in uniform. She is greeted with this scene of welcome.

Now all heads are turned in her direction, smiles on faces. What appears to be the mother jumps up and down and runs to embrace her. Then everybody in the group steps up to hug her.

I'm reminded of the father waiting for his son to return and then throwing a party when he does.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Cadence


video


This is for my parents...who are so far away...the last part is for them.

Vocation

In a reply to a post by Byron Borger...

"Your concerns that many Christian professionals have difficulty articulating how their faith impacts their work are concerns that I've been wrestling with as a youth pastor. I've been asking "how do we help teens develop a worldview that is so God-drenched that when they seek out their job/vocation, they see it as an extension of the God-calling on their lives?" Os Guiness obviously has much to say here, but I think it may go even further."

Check out his post.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

She is mobile!

Well, Cadence is on the move. She successfully crawled all the way across the room to pick up the TV remote. It is no small coincidence that she performed this amazing feat while wearing her brand new eco-friendly fuzzi buns diapers.
It is interesting to note that at such an early age she has an incredible fascination with TV Remotes, cell phones, lap tops, pots and pans and electric cords.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Instant

Sometimes anger is like a hot dog placed in a microwave and left in too long. It doesn't take very long to explode, but it can take a long time to clean it up.

Sometimes we want our walk with Christ to pop as quickly as a bag of popcorn.


Sometimes I drink too much coffee when preparing lesson series.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

St. Louis!

Cadence and Mommy under the arch. It seems that Cade is a bit scared by the way she is grabbing at mommy's hair!
We got back on Monday from our trip to St. Louis for Nazarene Youth Conference. It was a good time to reconnect with friends and to see God move in the lives of our teens who went. Many of the teens from my own church expressed a deeper sense of calling in their lives, either to a vocation or to a new way of living while they're in high school. Quite cool!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The Simple Way Fire

On June 20, the Simple Way community experienced a gut-wrenching 7 alarm fire that completely destroyed several homes in their community as well as their community center. This is the community that Shane Clairborne (author of Irresistible Revolution) is a part of.


If you would like to donate some money to The Simple Way or to the Kingsington neighborhood as they re-establish themselves after this tragedy, please click here.

Summer Vacation 2007

So, we went on a road trip. (Cadence only drove part of the trip. We didn't want to overwhelm her with the responsibility. Plus she chewed on the steering wheel too much while she drove.)
To the beach!
Everbody loved being with Cade. (Here she is with Uncle Marky. She's doing her grunt squeal that gets everybody laughing.)
Yea (Cambodian for Gma) held Cade on the beach.
And so did the lovely Auntie Susie!
And Auntie D and future Uncle Jeff.
And Papa loved being with Cadence.
So did her Da (Cambodian for Gpa).

And Grammie taught Cade to play piano!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Waiting and trusting

We've been exploring Isaiah in our Wednesday Panera Bible Study. This week we discovered together that there seems to be a correlation between trusting God and waiting on Him. While this may seem obvious at first, I think that my schedule and most schedules don't create much space for waiting. It is easy for me to say that I trust God, but it is not as easy for me to say that I wait on Him.

It makes me question what I'm really trusting.

Is it the emails that I'm waiting to receive?
Is it the movie for which I'm waiting to be released?
Is it the vacation that is on the horizon?
Is it the phone call from my friend/family?
Is it the new gadget that is soon to arrive on the scene?

Now, I realize that not all waiting implies ultimate trust, but it does beg the question, "Do the things I'm waiting on have too weighty of significance in my life?" Which leads to the better question, "Are the things I'm waiting on those things that God desires?"

PS Click on the pic to see the artist's explanation of "They Are Waiting"

Saturday, June 02, 2007

from critical to creative

a friend of mine in our youth ministry recently brought a series of articles to my attention in a past issue of Relevant Magazine.

One of the articles was by Ed Young and centered on the Plank parable, where Jesus directs his followers to avoid having a spirit of criticism and judgementalism. Ed pointed out that the spirit of criticism often keeps a person from realizing the mercy that God has for herself let alone the mercy God wants to extend to others through her.

Another article contained thoughts from Mark Driscoll, the famous cussing pastor in Seattle. In his interview he pointed out that unless the 20's generation moves from being critical to creative, nothing will change.

i wonder what these thoughts have to say to the journey towards justice.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

and I thought 'Butterfly Kisses' was cheesy

so I downloaded the Free Single of the Week from iTunes a couple weeks ago. I do that from time to time, just to see what's out there. This time, it was a lady singer by the name of Chrisette Michele singing a song called Your Joy. I decided to give it a listen while working in my office on something.

The lyrics were cute. From the perspective of a little girl spending time with her daddy. Then through the song she grows up. As that was happening I slowly stopped working and then I noticed my cheeks were wet when she was singing about some guy coming on a bended knee. And I thought, I'll break those knees.

i'm turning into a sappy daddy. it's hard not to be when you've got a daughter like this:

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day!!!

(left to right): my mother and Cade, my Nana (mom's mom) and Aunt Becky (mom's sister)
A Happy Happy Mother's Day indeed!

Shown are Aubrey, Aubrey's mom Jayne, Aubrey's Grandma Jean, Aubrey's daughter Cadence.

We have good roots.

Friday, May 11, 2007

that's how she rolls

Today, May 11, 2007, around 4 o'clock in the afternoon, Cadence Joy Kleinfeld, embarked on the newfound journey of rolling over. Twice. From her stomach to her back.
Way to go, Cadence.
Way to go.
Next, you'll be leaping small buildings.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

personal salvation

personal salvation is not the goal of your life. it is not the end of your purpose. it is not even God's goal for your life. personal salvation is the encounter with God that propels you into His redemptive movement in the world. personal salvation is a means to the end that God is doing in this world. when God saved me, He created in me something new that would bring about newness in others.

Tim Keller said something like this, and I'm working through it. Any thoughts?

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Teachings To Tune In To


As I prepared to teach my section on social gospel, my friend Doug recommended that I listen to Tim Keller's thoughts on justice that he heard from a teaching Tim did at the Reform and Resurge conference in 2006. I first listened to his thoughts on justice and was very encouraged and slightly blown away with his exploration of scriptures take on justice. And so I went and listened to his Church in Culture teaching too. Apparently Church in Culture was the first teaching and richly informs his teaching on justice.

He has some very interesting thoughts on why Christians ought to live in cities and on why justice is important to have imbedded within all we do as Christ followers.

Resurgence is kindly making these teachings available for free, so I thought I'd link them here.

Being the Church in our Culture
Preaching the Gospel
Doing Justice

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Social Action

So, my good friend, Doug has asked me to partner with him in facilitating a conversation among friends next weekend. It sounds like fun. We'll be covering general topics like ecclesiology, community, culture and social action (the topic laid on my shoulders). The topics are general enough to be mined for quite some time. So the set up is this: 20 minute presentation followed by 45-50 minutes of question driven discussion.

My responsibility is to talk about social action in 20 minutes, packing enough fodder for an in-depth discussion.

As I've been praying and thinking over this, a three step process has come to my mind as a way to understand a persons or community's movement toward social action.

From ignorance to awareness.

From awareness to compassion.

From compassion to action.

As I discussed this with Doug, he thought that covering each step would be too much for a 20 minute session, so for the time being we're going to explore what it looks like to bring a person/community from ignorance to awareness. Here's where I'd like some feedback.
  1. What do you think keeps individuals/communities from being aware of the needs of those around them?

  2. What do you think are some steps that faith communities can take to raise awareness?

  3. How do communities choose which issues to shed light upon?

  4. What do you think are the most pressing issues?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Congratulations to the Conrad's

Well, my friends RJ and Tracy have now welcomed their daughter into the world! Congratulations, my friends!!!

Experience


Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn.

C. S. Lewis

Monday, April 23, 2007

Heroes Returns

My favorite new show returns tonight. Click on the pic and watch the previous episodes.
I love the idea that each of us has something to contribute to saving the world and this series plays that up to the hilt.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Warm Weather and Beautiful Baby

Cadence in one of her fav positions, flying around.
Yes, she smiles like crazy. This is our favorite kind of smile, reminiscent of the wassup commercials but rarely caught on camera, because the red-eye reduction flash freaks her out.
Before the bath (a dangerous position for dad, with the risks of urine or stool samples flying on his arm)
And how cool is this baby with glasses! Check out her googly eyes!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Ikiru


“The best way to protect your place in this world is to do nothing at all. But is this really what life is about?”

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Darfur Crisis on Google Earth

Many of you know about the genocide and extreme crisis happening in Darfur. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has partnered with Google Earth to highlight the tragedies and bring global attention to these atrocities. Click on the picture and find out what they're doing. Use it as a way to pray and seek God's justice for this place.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Why Thursdays are my favorite days...

Because I get to stay home with the coolest girl in town. She loves to fly and holds her legs straight out when I hold her up like so.
And she likes to read. Quite a bright young lass.
Here she is instructing me on the nature of spheres.
And here she is holding her head up (a major feat for a person of her stature).
Every Thursday it's Dad day with Cadence. And I love it. I love this baby of ours.
A Psalm has been running through my head:
As a father has compassion on his children,
so will I have compassion...
God