I Decided to Go for a Little Run…..

That day, for no particular reason, I decided to go for a little run. So I ran to the end of the road. And when I got there, I thought maybe I’d run to the end of town. And when I got there, I thought maybe I’d just run across Greenbow County. And I figured, since I run this far, maybe I’d just run across the great state of Alabama. And that’s what I did. I ran clear across Alabama. For no particular reason I just kept on going. I ran clear to the ocean. And when I got there, I figured, since I’d gone this far, I might as well turn around, just keep on going. When I got to another ocean, I figured, since I’d gone this far, I might as well just turn back, keep right on going. — Forrest Gump

Happy Birthday to me!  Today I turn 33 years old.  Theoretically this is an important year in the life of ministry because as you know Jesus was crucified when he was 33 years old.  I am finishing up three years of ministry and Jesus’ ministry was three years long…..hmmm

No way am I comparing myself to Jesus, but the similarities are striking 🙂 …..

Anyway, I have a new project in the works I wanted to let you know about.  It all started a few weeks ago as I realized my birthday was approaching fast.  Since my birthday is in the middle of the year it is always a good time for me to take a look back at what happened during the past calendar year and review some of my yearly goals.  As a part of focusing my goals this year I chose three words to sum up my “resolutions.”  You can read those posts here, here and here. This time looking back at them I have not really fulfilled my goals.

Over the next week or so I will be taking a look at my goals and I will do my best to create a plan to carry them out.

However, I do have a plan for one goal — to lose weight.  My goal is to be under 300 pounds by the end of the year.  I still have a ways to go but I am dedicated more now than ever before to make that happen.

My plan is very simple — Run 100 miles

I don’t know if this sounded good because I just watched Forrest Gump or because I am crazy but I am going  to run 100 miles by September 4th of this year.  I know some of you out there can do that in a week or a month but I am giving myself 76 days to do it.

Running has never really been an interest of mine.  The thought of going out to run makes me a little nervous and agitated.  But I know I need to get out there and move and because of my competitive nature I want to meet my goal.

At first I know I am going to be walking a lot, the few times that I have gone out for a “run” most of it I spent walking but I am hoping that after I do about 50 miles I will be jogging if not running it by then.

This plan also is better for me than telling myself that I am going to commit to going to the gym three times a week, because when I do that and I miss a week, or a few days then I get angry with myself and I quit.  With this goal I have a few months to get it done.

I know there will be obstacles, next week I will be at Vanderkamp for a week long confirmation retreat,  I will be at Calumet later on in the summer and I am sure a few things will pop up here and there but I know I can do it.

If anyone else want to join in on this challenge let me know!  The more the merrier!  Or if you want to set your own goals let me know that as well!  Happy Running!

Disconnect to Reconnect

With Father’s Day coming quickly upon us I want to put a challenge out there for my fellow fathers.  As many of you know I am deeply connect with the digital world.  I keep my life on my iPhone, I have opened myself completely to the services of Google and I spend countless hours writing and working on my laptop.

On a recently blog post from Phil Cooke he writes that

*65% of North Americans spend more time with their computer than with their spouse.

**45% of workers say they can’t go more than 15 minutes without an interruption.

**50% of people leave their mobile phones on when they go to bed.

Phil is putting out a challenge to fathers.  He is calling it to Disconnect to Reconnect.  He shares:

Mobile devices, computers and social media are wonderful things, indeed.  They’ve transformed our lives and our world in countless positive ways.  But make no mistake, while we’re more connected than ever (and maybe because we’re more “connected” than ever), we’re more disconnected than ever from our families.

I know that I have to be very purposeful to stay off my phone and off the computer while I am at home with my family.  My time with my kids is email free.  But I know I can do a better job at disconnecting when I am at home.  The world that we live in we need to be connected via the internet — we have to be intentional about the communities that we are gathering and growing.  However, our call to community does not overtake our call to our families.  Now here is the challenge.  Father’s out there, tell your children and your wives that they are important, don’t only tell them with your words, show them with your actions.  On this father’s day disconnect yourself from the world.  Stop checking your email, don’t write that needed blog post.  Take care what you need too today and then spend the day with your family tomorrow.

Here are some tips from Phil:

1.  Before going to bed the night before Father’s Day, check your e-mail one final time, turn off your mobile device and put it in another room. You may get the shakes, but you’ll get over it.

2.  Plan the day well.  Alcoholics are very susceptible during periods of boredom and it’s no different with an internet junkie.  Plan a day of special activities with your family, so you’ll be less inclined/tempted to check email or go online.  And, if the family takes you out, leave the mobile device at home!   (You may be shocked, but yes – there was a time in ancient days when we actually left the house without a phone).

Remember – your kids watch your behavior more than they listen to your words.  And when they see you unable to disconnect from email, text messages and Twitter?  You’re telling them that what’s on your phone is more important to you than they are.

So, think about how much time you spend online versus how much time you spend face-to-face with the people you love you the most.  And, at the very least, for 24 hours on Father’s Day, think about which connection is the most important to you.

Are you planning on disconnecting?  If so, leave a comment on how you plan on disconnecting.

Continue Reading »

Howdy Y’ALL

{This post is part of an ongoing series of my Ministry Experiences in Upstate NY Synod}

Y’ALL stands for Young Adult Lutheran Leaders/Links.  Basically it is ministry of the Upstate NY Synod which meets for one retreat a year geared toward young adults throughout the Synod.  I have been involved with the program for two years, last year as an assistant and this year as the group leader.  I have enjoyed my time with Y’ALL thus far and I am excited for what this ministry has in store moving forward.

Up to this point the gathering for Y’ALL meets at the same time as the Synod Assembly.  The participants gather on Friday and spend time together throughout the weekend and then join in with the assembly participants on Sunday evening and continue with the assembly until everyone leaves on Tuesday.  This is not too bad, but many young adults starting out in their jobs and might not be able to get off of work during the week.  This creates a problem for those who want to participate but can’t.

This year we gathered together on Friday night.  As the participants arrived we gathered together and got to know one another.  Then we planned out our meals for the weekend and a few people from the group went grocery shopping.  Cooking meals together is a very fun.  It is also very interesting to spend time cooking for a bunch of people using only a microwave.

Saturday we spent a lot of time going over the theme of the weekend.  This year’s theme was “The intersection of Faith and Life.”  I prepared a few hours of group discussion, however other topics came up as well.  We covered everything from the 10 commandments, to tithing, to Rob Bell’s new book Love Wins.  It was a great conversation and I am blessed to have had it.

Saturday night we prepared dinner for the Bishop of the Synod.  Last year we started the tradition of cooking her a nice dinner instead of using the hotel’s box lunch.  That was nice but this year we stepped it up a little bit more.  We had chicken (pre-cooked), stuffing, corn on the cob, salad, sparkling grape juice, and chocolate and strawberry’s for dessert.  After dinner we had a discussion with the Bishop asking her questions about life, ministry and alien attacks (you had to be there).

Sunday we worshiped at a local congregation and then come back to help set up the assembly.   Unloading the synod’s truck with equipment and registration is just a little way that we give back.

This is the basic model which we have established for the retreat and majority of it is based off of the model set up for the youth convocation.  From my understanding the Y’ALL group grew out of a need that convo kids wanted a way to continue to connect at the assembly so they created Y’ALL.  What I am hearing from the participants and other young adults throughout the synod is that the current model is not conducive to what they need and what they are looking for.  Life gets in the way of their participation, and so the group continues to get smaller and smaller.  My hope is to think about what needs to be changed, to generate ideas through conversations with pastors throughout the synod as well as young adults throughout the synod.  I want to see what the needs are and then design the program to meet the needs.

How do you create ministry for young adults in your local area?

If you are a young adult what can the church do to help you fulfill your spiritual needs?

Other ideas?

Commissioned to Go

 

Read:  Matthew 28:16-20

One of the first books I remember reading to my son after he was born was “Go Dogs Go.”  As he grew older, he began to pick out his own stories for bedtime and he would pick “Go Dogs Go” every night.  At age 2 1/2 I thought my son was a genius because he knew every word on every page.  For a few minuets I thought he was actually reading the book!

In this week’s reading from John, Jesus gives the disciples a commission: “Go and make disciples.”  Jesus is telling the disciples to take what they have learned from him and to spread that to all nations. As powerful as that commission is from Jesus the reality is that the disciples are being called into an unseen future.  They have been traveling for the last three years with Jesus, relying upon him, trusting him, putting their faith in him and now he is sending them out into the world without his physical presence, without the day to day instruction from Jesus.

As I think about this, I start asking myself how they are feeling about this commission from Jesus.  They have been relying on Jesus for so long.  He has taught them a lot and now they are commissioned to “go”.

Are they capable to do it?

As we are called to “go” are we capable to spread the good news of Christ?

To read more of this post visit Bibledude.net

 

Ministry in Upstate New York

I have not written too much about the ministries that I am involved with and I don’t know why.  I do a lot of different kinds of ministry work, I am honored to be involved with the people that I am involved with and I am honored to be involved with the orgiziations that I am involved with.

Over the next several months I want to introduce you to some of these ministries and in the future I will keep you updated to some of the things that are happening at these ministires.

Here is the list:

  1. St. Mark’s Lutheran Church
  2. Y’ALL
  3. Feed the Roots
  4. Project Connect
  5. MVLCC
  6. BMA
  7. Vanderkamp Center
  8. LCLC
  9. Children’s Ministry
  10. Baptismal Ministry
  11. Wedding Ministry
  12. Confirmation
  13. Sunday School
  14. Youth Ministry
  15. Senior Adult Ministry
  16. Bible Study
  17. Community Ministry
  18. Worship
  19. Pastoral Care/Counseling
  20. Social Media in Ministry

I hope I can portray the greatness of these ministries to you as I write about them.  I love ministry which is why I do it and I have been drawn to many different kinds of ministries, and I am happy and content with the ministries that I am involved with currently.  Check back soon for the start of this new series.  I will be updating it soon!

Integrity

I have been thinking about the word integrity lately.  Do you consider yourself a person with integrity?

The other day I was at Home Depot to buy some materials to build a sandbox (pictures to come later).  Part of the purchase was some rebarb and the woman at the checkout did not know how much they were, so she asked me.  I told her what I thought price was and she said “okay.”  Then she asked me how many bags of sand I had and I said six and instead of double checking she said “okay.”  Finally I bought 12 pieces of wood and she checked me out and told me to go get what I needed.

Now I could of told her that the price of the rebarb was lower than what it was listed for, I could of told her that I bought four bags of sand instead of six and I could of taken as much wood as I wanted.  But I would not of felt good about that because I have integrity.

For me someone with integrity bases their actions on a consistent framework of principles.  To have integrity is to have some set of core values.  Now we need to remember, not everyone’s core values is going to be the same, also an individuals values will change over time.  But as long as the values are consistant and they are in line with the person’s actions then you can say that person has integrity.

Throughout history, every great philosopher and religious leader has tried to teach us the same lesson – the principle that integrity, or wholeness, which they have claimed is the natural order of things. In spite of the fact that we live in separate bodies, houses, and nations, the bottom line is that we strive for unity. We are constantly looking for someone with integrity to bring us together for a unified purpose.  The trouble is that we don’t always agree on that purpose.

We see this lived out throughout time starting in the Bible.  Psalm 78 is the story of God’s people from their captivity in Egypt until the time of King David. It tells us that God was good to His people, but like us, often they found themselves not listening to God. They wanted to have a leader to bring them together so they demanded to have a king, a military leader and eventually God blessed them with King David.  Now David was not always perfect but as we read in this Psalm (verse 72) that he led his people with integrity.  This is a consistent characteristic of David throughout 1st and 2nd Samuel.  Throughout his whole life David was able to stand up for truth, justice and the rights for his people and he did not back down when faced with hardships.

Perhaps we can learn from David and others who have lived their lives with integrity.  Because when we have integrity, we align ourselves with all the saints that have gone before us.  When we lives our lives with integrity we align ourselves with God.   And when we live with integrity, we become very powerful indeed.