Monday, December 13, 2010

A Thank You Note...

I just received a thank you note from Jonathan Philips, a missionary to Romania from Stillmeadow.  Recently at our 30 Hour Famine, our teens wrote him some encouragement and prayer notes.  Below is his response.  If you want to follow and support him on his journey, he updates this blog.  Cool God-stories there!


I wanted to let you know that this week I received the cards the Stillmeadow teens made during their 30-hour famine. It was an unexpected surprise to receive so many cards. This has been a very busy and stressful week, so it was nice to receive notes of encouragement and to know that I'm being prayed for. Please let the teens know that they brightened my day.


A Blessing in the Advent Season

A shoot will come out of the stump of Jesse,
and a branch will grow from its roots.
The Spirit of the Lord shall rest on him,
the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of counsel and might,
the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord
He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
or decide by what his ears hear;
but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
and decide with equity for the meek of the earth. (Isaiah 11.1-4a)

My friends, it is Advent, and the Kingdom of God is at hand.
Let us pray that we will bear the fruit of repentance in our lives.
Let us pray that we will be people of righteousness, justice and faithfulness.
Let us pray that we will not judge by what the eye sees or decide by what the ears hears.
Indeed, let us pray that we will have eyes to see and ears to hear the good news.
Let us pray that we will have eyes that will see beyond our stereotypes,
ears that will listen closely to the stories of our neighbours,
eyes to see each others gifts,
ears to hear each others joys and sorrows.
Let us pray that we will have the eyes to see a shoot that shall come out of the charred stump of Jesse, out of the charred stump of our own lives.
Let us pray, Amen, come soon Lord Jesus.

Some quality thoughts by Brian Walsh on Empire Remixed.
Here's the complete post...focused on judgmentalism.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Verse and Voice 12.02.2010

"Get up and pray for help all through the night. Pour out your feelings to the Lord, as you would pour water out of a jug. Beg [the Lord] to save your people, who are starving to death at every street crossing."
- Lamentations 2:19
"We must move away from asking God to take care of the things that are breaking our hearts to praying about the things that are breaking God's heart."
- Margaret Gibb

We pray today for the victims of violence and war. We ask your healing, O Lord, for those who have been wounded in body, hurt emotionally, and broken spiritually. For the refugees who have been forced out of their homes because of war and destruction, we ask your protection and guidance. Amen.

A good word from the Sojourners Verse and Voice blog found here.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Advent Devotional

Can you believe how stores are already breaking out the Christmas supplies?  Whew!

Well, Pastor Bud over at has joined the fray and is making available a daily Advent Devotional.  This will be a great way for our Stillmeadow people to journey together towards the celebration of Jesus' birth.  It's a little different than a traditional advent devotional, because the scriptures coincide with our current sermon series: God's Big Idea--Love God, Love Others (here are videos of the sermons). Check it out!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Prayer for Wednesday (from 1 John 3:17, Mark 1:40-41)

You saw need,
You felt deeply,
You reached out and touched the man.
Compassion stirred,
Deep within.
Transform me,
To feel deeply,
To let compassion stir,
Deep within,
So that your love in action
Takes over my life.
In your loving name,

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Prayer for Wednesday (from Psalm 148)

All of Creation shouts Hallelujah,
Hailstones, lightening,
Sun, moon and stars,
Clouds and rain,
Bellow their praises to you.
All of Creation shows gratitude,
Sharks and cows,
boys, girls, moms and dads,
angels and wild beasts,
Call out their thanks to you.
I cannot help but join in,
with my heart,
with my mouth,
with my mind,
with my hands and feet.
Thank you, God. Amen

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Prayer for Tuesday (From 1 John 3:11-16)

God, Who is love,
forgive me
for my heart like Cain,
for my actions that take life,
for my jealousy,
for my desire to get ahead,
for my failure to "get it"
...that all I need is in You.
Through your Spirit
give me a heart like Christ,
who brought life through his actions,
who laid down his life,
who really "got it"
that all we need is You.
In Christ's name, Amen.

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Prayer for the Beginning of the Week

God, Creator and Sustainer,
In You is fullness.
In You is life...
Nothing else satisfies.

Govern my heart,
guide my thoughts, 
direct my words, 
master my will;
So that in everything I do
I bring glory to you.
In the name of Jesus Christ,

Friday, October 15, 2010

This is not an easy prayer...

In thinking of the importance of the smaller group leaders and the youth workers in our church I have been doing some reading.  In that reading, I came across this prayer I have heard's worth sharing.  It's typically used in an annual "Covenant Service" by the Methodist Church, where all commit together to following hard after Christ.  But as I read it I was reminded of Paul's attitude towards service to God, willing to accept whatever God brought his way.

I want this to be my prayer...even if it is in old English!

I am no longer my own, but thine.
Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed for thee or laid aside for thee,
exalted for thee or brought low for thee.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
thou art mine, and I am thine.
So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
let it be ratified in heaven.

—as used in the Book of Offices of the British Methodist Church, 1936. 

Monday, October 11, 2010

Top Moments from Fall Retreat 2010!

Top Moments from Fall Retreat 2010

1.      The crazy mingle game while waiting for the buses to arrive at Stillmeadow
2.      Having both Stillmeadow campuses worship and play together
3.      The prayer stations
4.      Watching kids play in the creek
5.      When one of the boys brought over a roasted crawdad
6.      Playing Taboo outside with a ton of people
7.      Hearing the bell ring during the prayer stations
8.      The sound of George’s coffee pot in the morning after a short night’s sleep
9.      The Warm Fuzzy encouragement bags!
10.  Hearing the bold prayers around the campfire on Saturday night
11.  Communion on Sunday morning

This is just a start…I’d love to hear of some more from my facebook friends!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

The God of the Long Haul

I took two classes in modules these past two weeks at NTS.  The morning module was Genesis and the evening module was Congregational Discipleship.

One of the assignments for Genesis was to read through it in one sitting.  That took a LONG time and it was well worth it.  Then we got to do it three times, each time we took more notes on the stories and characters.  Through this process I was reminded time and time again of the beauty, power, awesomeness and gracefulness of our God who created the universe with care and precision, gave humanity free will and when the first humans sinned in the Garden he did not leave them alone but graciously provided covering.  I was also struck by the brokenness of humanity, even those who had been chosen by God to be his people set apart.  I had forgotten that Abraham lied twice about who his wife was!  But even in the brokenness God pursued his people wherever they were.  One of the commentators called God the "mobile God" because there was no place that He could not be found (recalling the Psalmist's words "where can I go to flee from Your Spirit?" from Psalm 139).  God showed up time and time again on behalf of his people, giving direction, correction, safety, promises, interpretations and provisions.

It's always interesting to see how the content of my various classes interact with each other.  My other class was Congregational Discipleship, which focuses on how the church sees and structures itself so that it will effectively disciple all members of the congregation in the way of Jesus.  There was much in this class on spiritual development, teaching techniques and educational theory, and all of these combined pointed to one thing: EVERYTHING we do as the community of God plays a part in the formation of the people.  Everything says something about and reinforces what we believe.  Yet, because the structure of church is made up of people and relationships, there will always be an incompleteness and room for growth in God's grace.  

This is where Genesis swoops in.  God is the God of the Long-Haul.  As God bore with the people in Genesis and gave direction, correction, safety, promises, interpretations and provisions, so God bears with the church today.  Like Abraham we are called to be his people and sometimes failure happens.  Broken relationships, missed opportunities, gross misunderstandings, overlooked needs, etc...But God remains faithful.  Time and time again He proves himself and takes over where we mess up.

A friend just shared with me a story about her dad accepting Christ into his life just six weeks before he passed forward.  He had thumbed his nose at God throughout his life.  And it was largely in part because of hurt received from the church.  But in the end, God worked his way in, softening his heart so that he did open his heart to Jesus.  The God of the Long Haul.  Awesome!

Thursday, September 02, 2010

A Song From Chapel

One of my fav
orite parts of coming out to seminary ( is that twice a week all the students come together for chapel. And during the module sessions (which last four hours!), that means that we stop our classes and join together for worship. It's a way of saying that while we're here to grow in our understanding of God, Scripture and the Church, true education is incomplete without worship. We could certainly learn an abundance of facts and preaching methods, but these fall flat without an adoration of God, without a love of God.

Well, today we had a singing and prayer service centered on God's call for the church. The prayer time was beautiful as we offered prayers of gratitude, prayers for God's people and prayers for the persecuted church.

After the prayers we sang a song that I am unfamiliar with, but the words were so powerful to me that I thought I'd share them with the intranet world. Thanks to the Oremus Hymnal for having this.

The Church's One Foundation
Samuel John Stone, 1868

The Church's one foundation
is Jesus Christ her Lord;
she is his new creation,
by water and the word:
from heaven he came and sought her
to be his holy bride;
with his own blood he bought her,
and for her life he died.

Elect from every nation,
yet one o'er all the earth,
her charter of salvation,
one Lord, one faith, one birth;
one holy Name she blesses,
partakes one holy food,
and to one hope she presses,
with every grace endued.

Though with a scornful wonder
men see her sore oppressed,
by schisms rent asunder,
by heresies distressed;
yet saints their watch are keeping,
their cry goes up, "How long?"
and soon the night of weeping
shall be the morn of song.

Mid toil and tribulation,
and tumult of her war
she waits the consummation
of peace for evermore;
till with the vision glorious
her longing eyes are blessed,
and the great Church victorious
shall be the Church at rest.

Yet she on earth hath union
with God, the Three in one,
and mystic sweet communion
with those whose rest is won.
O happy ones and holy!
Lord, give us grace that we
like them, the meek and lowly,
on high may dwell with thee.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Dancing on Prayer

While we were in the hospital with Eden last summer we began to truly understand the beauty of community prayer and experienced God's touch through His people.

One of those moments was when we received this large prayer scroll. This image will be sealed in my mind and heart until I can remember no more. Friends from our faith community had written encouragement and their prayers on this and sent it to us. We rolled it out in the outside play area on our floor. Then we walked up and down reading the notes, feeling God's presence in the prayers.

But Cadence...she ran up and down and jumped and danced on the orange scroll.

It may be taking this scripture out of confidence, but I felt like this was a "red carpet" to the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16). I am grateful for our community who walked with us with confidence so that we were able to receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Experiencing the Holy Week as a Family

Today is the first day of Holy Week, when we prepare our hearts to remember again Jesus’ death and resurrection.

Here are some suggestions I gave to our teen parents and guardians for experiencing this together as a family. The first two are activities at Stillmeadow and the final three are activities you can do at home.

Go through the Stations of the Cross together. They’re open Monday-Thursday from 6PM-9:30PM and on Good Friday from 9:30AM-9:30PM.

Attend the Passion Play together. Remix is going to the Passion Play on Tuesday. Feel free to join us in this!

Read Scripture Together

a. Monday: Isaiah 42:1-9, Psalm 36:5-11, John 12:1-11

b. Tuesday: Isaiah 49:1-7, Psalm 71:1-14, John 12:20-36

c. Wednesday: Isaiah 50:4-9a, Psalm 70, John 13:21-32

d. Maundy Thursday: Isaiah 50:4-9a, Psalm 116:1-2, 12-19, John 13:1-17, 31b-35

e. Good Friday: Isaiah 52:13-53:12, Psalm 22, John 18:1-19:42

f. Holy Saturday: Job 14:1-14, Psalm 31:1-4, 15-16, Matthew 27:57-66

I found these scriptures neatly laid out here.

Have a special family meal on Thursday Night, remembering Jesus' Last Supper with his disciples. Read Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14 (explanation of Passover Feast) and Matthew 26:17-30 (the Last Supper).

Traditionally the church has kept Friday and Saturday as days of quiet remembrance. Invite your family into quietness. Stay at home on Saturday or go to a park together. Watch a movie at the end of the day. Relax.

What are some traditions that you do?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

And I quote...Tom Smail

Tom Smail in The Giving Gift where he explores the personhood of the Holy Spirit. What he says here has vast implications for the unity of missional and cruciform living.

"...think of the Spirit much more personally and creatively as an artist whose one subject is the Son, and who is concerned to paint portraits of that subject on countless human canvases using the paints and brushes provided by countless human cultures and historical situations. On such an analogy the Christological center is fully affirmed and maintained. It is Jesus, the incarnate Son of the Father, and no other that the Spirit seeks to portray. Each portrait is successful and creative, not because it makes of him what he is not, by forming him in our likeness and conforming him to our preferences and predilections, but because it uses ever new cultural approaches and historical situations to bring out more of the infinite variety of saving truth that is in him."

Tom Smail, The Giving Gift, 77

Thursday, March 11, 2010

with jesus in the boat you can swim with sharks

As we ate our breakfast this morning Cadence exclaimed, "look daddy! My apples look like boats!"

I replied, "that's crazy!" "No. It's not crazy. It's awesome! Because Jesus was in the boat with his disciples," she retorted.

"Oh yeah..." I say.

With her eyes widening and eyebrows lifted she went on with her story. Raising her arms to the sky, "and the rains came down." Lowering her hands to the ground and lifting them while she spoke, "and the waves came UP!" Waving her arms in circles above her head, "and there were rain clouds sending down water."

"And you know what Jesus did?" She asked excitedly. Without waiting for a reply she went on ending with a yell..."He said to the rain STOP!"

With that flourish she ended her story.

"But what happened after Jesus said that?" I inquired.

"They all fall into the water."


"Jesus and his friends fell into the water and went swimming. And there were SHARKS!"

I love these kinds of stories.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

NYC 2011 A World Unbroken

So I get the privilege of leading the Mid-Atlantic Nazarene teens to Nazarene Youth Conference again in 2011. I'm pretty stoked about it. Check out the vid:

I love the theme and am excited to see what God's going to do in the lives of those who take part in this event in Louisville, KY!

Also, the website ( is up and running as well! And you can follow them on twitter and facebook!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

www wanderings 02.25.2010

Well, I haven't gotten to post quite like I'd like, but life has been a bit busy. We're moving this week to a place on the east side of York, and we're quite excited to move from our Geico House (see youtube vid for why we call our house this). Yet, we're sad too, because we'll be leaving behind some awesome neighbors...

But I wanted to continue my posting of random links that I have come across that I think are worth sharing.

Global Tacos
I wish I could go to this presentation where a group of students traced all the ingredients from a local taco truck in California all around the world.

Creation and Evolution and Christianity
I have been following Ken Ham's blog on Creationism for the past six months but have wanted to read a blog that is more from the other side of the spectrum as well. So I was glad when he posted his response to the Biologos response to his State of the Nation address. I have to admit I did not fully read his response or listen to the State of the Nation address, but I was glad to find a blog with an alternative Christian approach to Creation and Evolution to subscribe to that I may read (when I have time). And Biologos has two Nazarene professors! The reason I care about hearing both sides of this is because this is a hot issue for many of the teens that I work with. It is helpful to be aware of various Christian approaches to these issues.

So, I am excited about some of the things I hear that are happening at Barefoot, the youth ministry wing of Nazarene Publishing House, especially the stuff that I am seeing from Chris Folmsbee. He wrote A New Kind of Youth Ministry, which I have yet to read, but also helped with Shaped By the Story by Michael Novelli, which I have perused and used! (Buy these books from Hearts and Minds! They're independent and great!). But I really like Slant33, which offers "three voices, three views" on various topics relevant to youth ministry. It's quick, easy to read and insightful. Go check it out!

Missionary Remodeling
At first I didn't know where Andrew Jones was going with this post, but then I saw the pictures. Check out the remodeling that he has done with his crew that is traveling through Africa. And we thought we were living in cramped quarters! 13 people sleep in and on this! It's cool to see what people give up and go through in order to bring goodness to the world.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

www wanderings 02.17.2010

It's Ash Wednesday. If you'd like a scripture guide through the next forty days, you can go here to join what many Christians around the world are engaging with. There are some quality prayers and artwork links as well (the pic on the right came from there). If you're at Stillmeadow, I'd recommend the FaithForward Guide that we are using for our community. We gave it out on Sunday and it's available at the welcome desk.

Stillmeadow's on Twitter!
Our church is checking out what it looks like to be a presence on twitter. We'll see how this goes...but it could be fun. If you want to follow, click here or just go to

Child Soldiers and American Slave Trade:
Learned from Project AK-47 (follow on Twitter) that one third of the world's child soldiers are in South East Asia. They say "100,000 kids are carrying machine guns" in this region.

Then Relevant posted a study which showed that Ohio is a major hub in the US for human trafficking. Ohio is our neighbor state! 1000 Americans are forced into labor or the sex trade and "800 immigrants are sexually exploited and pushed into sweatshop-type jobs" just in Ohio! Check out what Doma is doing to protect these people.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Some www wanderings...Francis Chan and Children Labeled 'Bipolar' 02.10.2010

So, I really like Francis Chan. He's the pastor of Cornerstone Church (cool website, btw) in CA, and author of some cool books including an interactive one called Crazy Love (check it out at Amazon, but if you're gonna buy it new, but it from Hearts and Minds). But I don't get to hear him often. Last I heard him was at Nazarene Youth Conference 2007 and that was a blast.

But I stumbled across somebody's sermon notes from his session at Verge2010. My favorite line: "Be courageous – Biblically. Erase what you’ve seen everywhere else – and just go to the Bible. Don’t just go around to other patterns – to tweak what other people are doing. Have the courage to read the Bible and do what it says."

I also heard that Flannel (the guys who do Rob Bell's Nooma's) is putting out a new series featuring Francis Chan! I'm looking forward to these and will most likely feature them in our Sunday morning format with our teens!

In other news: the diagnosis for children who show symptoms of bipolar is being reconsidered. It will be interesting to see how this plays out...In between all the posts on this crazy winter weather, I found this post.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

WILAS (What I Love About Snow)!

So, I went to Florida last week and missed "Snowmaggedon" (check out the other names suggested for this), but arrived in time for this week's crazy storm. I know some folks aren't too keen on the abundance of snow, the coldness that accompanies it and the treacherous driving conditions that it provides, but I am a huge fan of snow! So here's a quick list, not in any order of What I Love About Snow:

Most of the time it's edible.
It's like a blanket.
You can make an igloo with it.
It can be formed into a throwing object.
It's flakes travel miles just to land.
It melts into icicles.
It can shut down entire cities.
It makes people drive slow.
You can sled on it. (And make ramps with it!)
Snow Angels!
It floats to the ground.
Snow Forts!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

My sister tells awesome stories!

So, while I've been away from the blog world, my sister has joined and is lighting it up with her stories. She tells of her experience in Cambodia in a way that makes you feel like you're there with her, or at least wish you were. Her descriptions of life in Cambodia are vivid and easily evoke the imagination. And her stories of the "little knee-highs" that she teaches range from hilarious to heart-wrenching. Somehow she always finds a way for the stories to connect with her growing faith, and I love it.

And her post on what some of her kids say is hilarious.

And her first post on traffic is great!

So if you have a heart for good stories and international (for us US citizens) mission work, subscribe to Susan at

Keep up the writing, sis.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Thoughts on and for Haiti

Much has been written and has yet to be written about the tragedy of the earthquake in Haiti and the beauty of the responses to the needs that have come out of this crisis.

I am curious to see what future commentators will have to say about the impact of technology on donations. The ability to donate $10 through your phone bill is ingenius. It's as easy as texting "Haiti" to 90999. What about those of us who pay our bills with credit? Or what about those kids who did it without asking their parents who pay their bill? I'm not suggesting that it's immoral, just curious.

Dear Pat
When Pat Robertson made his famous remarks that this earthquake was an act of God against the Haitian people because of the nation's pagan history the Twitter world went crazy. But I think this mock letter from Satan to Pat is worth reading. Thanks to Byron Borger at Hearts and Minds for bringing this to my attention.

Ethics of Disaster and Looting
I had never considered this an area of study, but this post on NPR by Anita Allan is a good intro. This may answer my questions in the 90999 section. Even if you don't read the article, the slide show by David Gilkey (the NPR photographer, not the shirtless model you'll find when you google his name) is provocative enough.

T-Shirts for Disaster Relief
Threadless is one of my favorite sites on the internet, and once again they prove why. Check out the shirts they're selling to benefit those in need in Haiti. Now buy one for yourself and one for your friend. Shirts, ink...all donated so the proceeds can go directly to Haiti relief with the American Red Cross.

How it happened...
Some people are curious how these things happen. Check out this brief explanation of the scientific reasons.

Let us continue
In prayer and support for the victims of this tragedy. God's heart is breaking with those mourning and is rejoicing at the response of goodness to his children.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Back in the swing...

So, it's been too long since my last post. 8 months, actually. Much has happened in life...many new thoughts, some new friends, a crisis or two, some faith-challenging and growing experiences. But my friend Doug (of Eikon fame) has encouraged me to get back into the blogging world.

Since I am taking off a semester at NTS and don't have to be on Moodle (a free version of BlackBoard) this spring time, I should have some space for adding thoughts to this wonderful thing deemed the blogosphere.

In my time away I have spent too much time listening to music on Pandora. Yeah, it's been around a while, but once I figured out how to design my own station, I was set.

I've also enjoyed downloading free indie music singles from Stranger Dance. My sister in law showed me where to get a free download of Devotcha's How it Ends, once there I got turned on to the music of The Dodo's, Bibio, MGMT, Passion Pit, J. Tillman, and more. Good stuff for studying...very chill...folkish...