Archive for February, 2006

Remember when?


Was it that long ago when you could spin and spin and spin and spin and not get sick? I’m not sure what’s happened to me but I find my spirit is willing but my body says, “Don’t even THINK about it or I’ll make you puke.”

I remember as a child spinning around under the stars and flopping on the ground and looking to the skies… it was a free roller coaster. Now if I see a commercial on TV that move to quickly I change the channel or turn my head. What’s happening to me? Does anyone know?

I don’t want to grow up.

peace.
johno~

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Lead by the Spirit… Seeing the Spirit

This blog was intended to keep me watchful of how the Spirit is working in my life. It has been fun. I expect that this year will be filled with joy, laughter, and sorrow… but I still want to see the Spirit in it all so I keep my eyes open as best I can.

Tonight was a night that reminds me to watch.

Dawnette and I we planning on a double date to see the movie “The End of the Spear,” however, it fell through because the double in our date had forgotten his wife had made plans… It’s not his fault, it’s mine for not planning sooner. Anyway, Dawnette and I still had plans for a babysitter so we thought we would do some “grown-up” things.

A quick trip to the store it was off to dinner… just the two of us. We told ourselves we would go to a place our kids didn’t like. We were on our way to Mc Glenns when Dawnette thought about a BBQ place just out of town. GREAT! BBQ! What a wonderful woman. I had just driven by it earlier that day. So we did a 180 and headed to “Country Boys BBQ”

We spent the time talking about the baby’s arrival, thing to buy and things to do. Then the conversation turned to my Summer camp job. As we went down the list of things Dawnette suggested we invite a couple that could focus on watching and praying with the campers. We thought of “Papa John” who serves at Faith Quest and is a real encouragement to the teens.

Who… Who. It would be great if it were an Elder and his wife. We thought of Elders from several congregations that we have worked with and went down the list of our Shepherds.

“Jim and Connie Aker,” I said. Jim is a Shepherd at our congregation and both he and his wife would serve well. I was excited to ask them to be “prayerful” about their summer plans the following day.

My back was to the door and Dawnette said, “Look, there’s Mike and Linda,” friends of Jim and Connie, “and there’s Jim and Connie.” “WHAT!” I turned around and ran up to them and said, “We were just talking about you guys.” We sat with them at their table, though Dawnette and I had finished our dinner, we had a great time.

Coincidence? I don’t think so. Movie… NO! Dinner at the soup place? NO! Dinner at the BBQ place YES! Talking about Camp and thinking of Jim and Connie… YES! Jim and Connie walk in to have dinner in the same restaurant that Dawnette and I are in… SPIRIT! It really wasn’t even dinner time anymore.

This might be a stretch, but I think God works like this all the time. It’s just we don’t see it or we are not looking for it.

Even if Jim and Connie can’t make it this summer, relationships were built and the body was given strength. Praise God for that.

So, what have YOU seen the Spirit of God do today?

peace.
johno~

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Let the countdown begin


It’s hard to believe, but the time has come for a countdown. Thanks to my friends Zak and Kathy I have added a countdown to the next Thomas child.

FOUR! Well, it’s one way to grow your youth ministry.

So much has happend and so much has been learned over the last 10+ years of being a father. Boy or girl, it doesn’t matter to me. The other day someone asked Caleb what the boy name was… He didn’t know, so they asked him what the girls name was and he said, “We’re not having TWO babies.” I think he’s praying extra hard for a brother.

I have seen God’s grace more in my life as I raise kids. It’s amazing how many times I ask God, “What can I do to be your child?” I realize it’s as silly a question as if my kids asked me how they could more my kids. They’re my kids. They can’t do anything to be more my child. What they do, is sleep in peace under my wing. They Drink from the water that I provide. They Listen to my words to bring them the fullest life. They love their family… There is nothing they can do to make me love them more. I LOVE THEM. Even when they walk away from me. I will love them.

What a picture of Grace.

Children are a heritage from the LORD,
children a reward from him.

Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are children born in one’s youth.

Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
when they contend with their enemies in the gate.

Psalm 127:3-5

I am so excited to meet this new Thomas kid. The clock is counting down.

peace.

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It's not the healthy who need a doctor…

I might get in trouble for this, but… watch this video and remember, it’s the “injured bad” who need a doctor.

peace.

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It’s not the healthy who need a doctor…

I might get in trouble for this, but… watch this video and remember, it’s the “injured bad” who need a doctor.

peace.

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Rough week, but worth it.

Well, it’s been a rough week. I’ve been fighting a cold for over a week now and have been very busy with work. I have a fraction of my smell back, but I’m still stuffy and short about 15 hours of sleep. BTW, do you know what coffee tastes like when you can’t smell? Like dirty water. It makes you wonder?

Anyhow, we finished this week, tonight, with a wonderful fellowship dinner, “Agapé Feast.”

We built four sections of the world: Asia, Africa, Italy, and Spain in our multi-purpose room. It took us over a month to put it together, but we did it. I know it seems like a lot of work, however, I don’t believe we should sell it short when it comes to kingdom work. Dinners to visits to mission fields. Why do we spend a month working hard for a three hour dinner? Because we can. We build great fellowship and the chance for outreach. We can do all things through Christ who gives us strength, so why not? ALL THINGS. Don’t get me on a soap box

We had about a 135 members and guests plus our servers. One of our students who comes on his own invited his mom and dad…They came. It was GREAT!

It’s great to get Christians and not-yet-Christians gathered together in Jesus’ name. We watched chapter 9 from Matthew, The Visual Bible. Take a look at that chapter and count how many people and groups of people come into contact with Jesus in one day. Count each group as one.

What number did you get? What are your thoughts? I’m curious.

peace.

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A simple, personal, exercise.

Johnathan, how could I give you up?
My heart turns against it.
When Johnathan was a child I loved him,
I myself taught him to walk,
I took him in my arms;
Yet he has not understood that I was the one looking after him.
I led him with reins of kindness,
with leading-strings of love.
I was like someone who lifts an infant close against his cheek;
stooping down to him I gave him his food.
How could I treat you like Admah,
or deal with you like Zeboiim?
My heart recoils from it,
my whole being trembles at the thought.
I will not give reign to my fierce anger,
I will not destroy Ephraim again,
For I am God, not man;
I am the holy one in your midst
and have no wish to destroy.

Hosea 11:1a, 3-4, 8c-9

(An exercise from Brennan Manning’s book, The Ragamuffin Gospel)

peace.
johno~

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Jesus loves me and Jesus loves U2


I remember the 80′s very well. Most of it was tied to music for me. I remember getting my first “boom box” for my birthday and one of my first cassette tapes was a band called U2. The album was The Unforgettable Fire released in 1984 and I have been a fan ever since.

I know some of you have a hard time understanding this… Jason and Dan… That’s OK, keep trying.

Recently Bono was chosen by Time magazine a person of the year. If you can find a copy, check it out. Even more recent, Bono (lead singer for the band U2), was invited by President Bush to speak at he National Prayer breakfast in Washington, Feb 2. If you have 20 minutes check it out here.

Bono is a “Ragamuffin” Christian. He’s rough, very rough around the edges. Although I cannot subscribe to eveything he says, I can’t subscribe to everything “I” say. One thing Bono shared was this:

“A number of years ago, I met a wise man who changed my life — in countless ways, big and small. I was always seeking the Lord’s blessing. I – I’d be saying, “Look, I’ve got a new song…Would you look out [for it]. I have a family; I’m going away on tour — please look after them. I have this crazy idea. Could I have a blessing on it.”

And this wise man asked me to stop. He said, “Stop asking God to bless what you’re doing. Get involved in what God is doing — because it’s already blessed. Well, let’s get involved in what God is doing. God, as I say, is always with the poor. That’s what God is doing. That’s what He’s calling us to do.”

My friend Jeff Cash shares a wonderful story about the difference that can be made when we get involved in what God is doing. Samuel is a wonderful young man who has been blessed as have many others throught the missionary efforts of the Cash family. They are not alone. They need your prayers and support.

Samuel is a blessed story. Others in his family have not faired as well. Others in his village never got the chance for anything. I believe Jesus provided a way for Jeff to pass by this once small boy who would have died if it were not for the efforts of Jeff and other Christians…

“It’s not a coincidence that in the Scriptures, poverty is mentioned more than 2,100 times. It’s not an accident. That’s a lot of air time. You know, the only time Jesus Christ is judgmental is on the subject of the poor. “As you have done it unto the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me.” [I] believe that’s Matthew 25:40.”
-Bono, in his National Prayer Breakfast address,

Get involved with what God is doing because it’s already blessed.

Preach it Bono!

peace.
johno~

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Watching from the shadows


Have you ever been told by someone to “behave” because you never know who’s watching you? I have always tried to be the same if someone is looking or not. If I have a bad day or if I am a JERK to my wife, kids or many others, as I sometimes am, I really try not to “hide” anything. If someone is watching me, I can never fake it. The best thing I can do is let others see how much I need God’s grace and theirs.

I guess the flip side of this topic is, If someone is watching you… who are you watching?

This last weekend I was blessed to be in a service which anointed Pastors to lead a body of believers here in the northwest. There were eleven men who were selected by their community to stand in the gap as shepherds.

Among them was a man who 13 years ago was an enemy of the Cross. I remember him well. Not because of who he was, it was his wife and kids and their persistence. I remember, his wife and children were at church and youth group most of the time. I remember his wife kept asking the body to pray for him. It seemed an impossible prayer because we could see the hurt in this woman and his kids. Yet, she never stopped asking for prayers and we never stopped praying.

I am not sure of the exact date, but, I will never forget the Sunday HE walked down the center aisle in tears, broken and ready to give his full life to Christ. I thought he kinda looked like Willie Nelson, beard, pony tail and a t-shirt. I will never forget when he came to church the first time with “short” hair. I didn’t think he needed to cut his long hair, but I guess he did. I guess he knew he was changed in every way.

Years later, I remember when he became a deacon. He wasn’t just a deacon who locked up the building, he served and assisted the Pastors of the church. He has given a lifetime of service, lost in youth but reclaimed as a child of the Cross.

As time went by God called me to the mission field, a place called Wenatchee. Though my home was elsewhere, I have always tried to keep tabs on my family south of me. I watched from the shadows. I believe it was almost six years ago… Maybe four when I heard that Mike would serve as an Elder. WOW! What God has done to you Mike… Would you have ever have guessed? It was awesome.

I have been watching Mike for many years and this weekend as he was re-instated as a Pastor I went to him and told Him… I have been watching you Mike.

“Mike, I will never forget your story. I have used it to declare the power and faithfulness of Jesus Christ to many that believe change is not possible. I am proud of you. Your service to the kingdom is a wonderful example to many who are watching. Your testimony of Christ has shaped me to see the limitless grace God has for all people.” I was glad to tell him that he has pastored me.

He said, “Thank you.” A tear formed in his eye. “If I ever blow it,” he said, “will you tell me?” I said, “You bet Mike. I will always be watching and I will always be there for you… I promise.”

As I walked away, I disappeared into the crowds and down the hall… However, I had stepped out of the shadows to share with Mike and I realized, I can never go back. He knows my name. It’s a freedom I cannot explain. Mike knows he is not alone.

I will always be watching, but not from the shadows.

peace.
johno~

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