Thursday, July 29, 2010

CIY Move: Day 5

Yeah ok so I slept in a little bit today. Our group still made it to breakfast on time, but I am definitely not posting as early in the morning as I was yesterday. Man, yesterday was jam packed with fun, excitement, and God challenging us! Thanks again to everyone who is praying for us.

God has really been doing some powerful stuff in our lives down here at Lee University this week. Our students are willing to step up to that challenge as well. Last night in our group time one of our students had an announcement for everyone. Last year at CIY Move she had accepted a challenge to receive a Kingdom Worker card with a random challenge to do something for Gods kingdom. The speaker that night said that you should only open it if you were willing to accept the challenge to try and do it. That scared our student a little bit, so she held onto that card and left it unopened for an entire year. Last night during one of break times she was praying and she knew it was the time to open it. So she did and she has been planning how to accomplish her challenge ever since. On top of that, another one of our students is ready to take a challenge because of it too.

The theme yesterday was influence, and asking how we could use our influence to bring God glory. In the Bible, the Apostle Paul took a young believer named Timothy around with him for a while on his journeys before eventually Timothy became the minister of the Church in Ephesus at a young age. That is an example of how someone influence someone else to grow and be involved in Kingdom work.

Yesterday I shared with you about our group time and how our students talked about mentoring and how we had a student who shared about mentoring another younger student. It was a really neat conversation to be a part of and it really inspired some of our students to start thinking about how they could serve and pour into other people.

Last night in our group time several of our students said that they wanted to start volunteering at one of our Middle School Outreach events called the Crossing, so they could find a middle school student to start mentoring. It was so awesome hearing here passion and excitement about sharing their faith and life experiences with younger students. Adults and parents back home be praying too, especially if you volunteer at the Crossing already. These HS students who are looking for middle school students to mentor at the Crossing, are going to need mentors themselves. Just imagine the impact they can have if the Holy Spirit works through one of your lives to help sharpen them as they try to help the middle school students they come in touch with. It is an opportunity we can't miss.

Today is all about endurance and we will definitely need it. We are going rafting this afternoon, and the rest of the day is just as busy. We will have a blast, but please continue to lift up our students that they would stay focused, continue to connect with God, grow as they are challenged, and that all that happens here becomes a permanent part of the foundation of their faith.

Thanks! Enjoy the Pictures!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

CIY Move: Day 4

YAWN!!! (What day is it?) I know its 6:30am as I am typing this, but it feels like, like... its way too early to be up and the Holy Spirit wants us to all go back to bed for a while. We are having so much fun that there is absolutely no way we have been able to get enough sleep. It's hard to believe its a Wednesday.

Thanks to everyone who is praying for our group and all of the rest of the students, leaders, speakers, musicians, and workers here at CIY. Yesterday was a great day. Like I mentioned yesterday the theme was Godliness and the thing we heard over and over is that you don't TRY to be Godly, you TRAIN to be Godly. The more you train the better you are prepared to reflect God's character in any situation.

In our evening session the way they showed this to everyone was by having us right down a quality of God we wanted to be more apparent in our lives on a small hand mirror. We kept these mirrors with us all day to keep that in the forefront of our mind. Then in the evening session we took all of our mirrors to the front, and at the very end they had put all of the mirrors together into a giant Disco Mirror Ball that was reflecting light all over the room. It was a pretty cool example!

Another thing that I truly believe was an answer to prayer last night was some of the discipleship that I saw happening within our group. God tells us over and over again in the Bible, that we are supposed to love others because He has loved us. That love motivates us to do a lot of things. Mentoring others and helping them train to become more like Christ is one of those pivotal things that every Christ follower needs to get busy doing if they aren't already. I was so blessed to see our group doing that and talking about it yesterday.

The exceptional thing about that is that true mentoring and discipleship doesn't happen in a afternoon. It is something that honestly is pretty time consuming if you are committed to it. CIY yesterday challenged us to find somebody who could be our spiritual mentor and someone else we could mentor spiritually. Aaron, one of our adult leaders asked the group what they thought of that during our group time. Students said they felt challenged and excited. What happened next though rocked my socks off. One of our girls started talking about discipleship and mentoring with someone else who was already there! Our whole group got to take a front row seat to hear about all the lessons both the girls had learned from their time they had been in a mentor/mentoree friendship. The rest of the group got to see the evidence of growth and strength in these girls' faith (and it was evident). Please be praying that the students walk away from that moment and seek out a spiritual mentor, and also look back to students in our middle school who they can begin to pour into and help grow closer to Christ.

A couple of other awesome things. Last night our group also decided to dress up like superheroes. We had a blast and got some really good pictures too. We had a Smurf, a Tattoo Man (Sorry, but this student did use a sharpie), Batmans, a Jedi, Superwoman, Wonder Woman, Wolverine, GI Joe, and a few more that I'm forgetting. We had a great time and got some crazy looks.

The guys vs. the girls contest is still neck and neck 3.5-3 with the guys in the lead by a half point.

Please be praying for us today as I bet the tiredness really starts to kick in today. The conversations will really start to shift as well. We will all start talking about how we can continue to train ourselves to be Godly once we head home. Its really easy to focus in on God at a conference like this. Its once we get back in the swing of things with School, Work, Family, and Friends that it gets difficult. We start forgetting things we were truly passionate about, and we start making the bad mistake of trying to course correct on our own. Pray that our students would take steps today to put mentors and friends in their lives that are going to help them keep growing after CIY. Parents be praying and thinking too about how you can help support your son or daughter as they try and grow into the kingdom worker God wants them to be.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

CIY Move: Day 3

It's 6:14 this morning. Our group is getting to sleep in a little bit longer today, because our breakfast time is not until 7:40 as opposed to it being 7am like yesterday. Thanks everybody for your prayers yesterday. We not only had an absolute blast throughout the day, we also had some pretty neat stuff happen.

Here is a random list of some of the notable things that have been going on:
*Last night I got word about one of the guys in my small group that Alicia and I have at our house. His name is Tyler and he is with the group from our church that is currently serving in Haiti on a mission trip building homes. His sister wanted us to know that he had just gotten baptized. Tyler is a great guy who has grown a lot spiritually the past few years, and we have all been praying for him and encouraging him a long the way. It was definitely something we passed on to the students and celebrated as a group. How awesome is our God!

*The focus yesterday was about truth, and the message last night was given by a guy named Mark Moore by video from an MMA fighting ring. It was pretty cool. He talked about how we need to be willing to get off the mat time and time again to share the truth about Jesus.

*Our group is having a good time with the Vuvuzuelas that we brought with us, although a few people have let us know that the World Cup is over and the horns are simply not cool anymore.

*Speaking of cool, yesterday afternoon we had a thunderstorm go through for a couple of hours and it was really nice because everything cooled off. The forecast today looks like we will be back in the hot weather though, which I think will be good because our group wants to get outside and play some games.

*The worship time continues to be good and challenging. The group really enjoys the worship leader here. His name is Aaron Pelsue if you wanna youtube him and check some of his music out.

*Our challenge last night coming out of the final session was to come up with one name of someone we were going to share the truth of Jesus with in the next week. The students really stepped up to the challenge and wrestled with that decision. From our group time last night I can tell you that they aren't taking the challenge lightly. Be sure to talk about it with them when they get home. Parents especially, be sure to be praying for them and encouraging them in this Kingdom Challenge.

*In the guys vs girls contests after our group time last night, the girls rallied and won the contest to tie our overall record at 1-1. I am also going to try to upload some pictures soon, but I keep forgetting to grab the camera to get the memory card to the computer. I'll try and remember, but seriously I mean the Sun hasn't even come up yet...

Please Be Praying:
As the week goes on, students will start to wear down and get tired. Pray that it doesn't keep them from meeting God every opportunity they get.

The them for today is Godliness and how our lives should reflect God's Kingdom in the world around us. Pray that the students hear from God and are open and honest throughout today. I can tell you that our adult leaders have been having some great conversations with our students, and we hope that continues to be the case.

Monday, July 26, 2010

CIY Move: Day 2

Well its 5:40am right now and day 2 of CIY is just beginning. Last night was an incredible time for everybody. The theme for the night was grace, and it was clear to see that our group was being lifted up in prayer. Everyone was involved during the worship time lead by Aaron Pelsue, and the speaker Tim Grey did a great job of sharing what Jesus' grace is all about.

At this point I have no clue what time the girls went to bed, but the guys ended up all in their beds with the lights out just at 12:30am. In just a few minutes I'll pop my head back in the room and make sure everyone is getting up, because we have an early 7am breakfast today. You didn't realize your kids were capable of getting up this early during the summer did you?

My prayer for this week hear, is that our group would be authentic before God and each other. As we all try and do that I also hope and pray that His Spirit moves in our lives in a life-changing way that causes us to know Him in new ways, and to join others in His kingdom work. You can be praying for us today as we talk about Truth and how Jesus and the Bible should be our source for truth. It looks likes its going to be a great day, and we appreciate all of your prayers.

Here are a couple of highlights from last night:
*Guys vs. Girls: Each night we are having a contest that pits are guys and girls in a friendly competition. Last night our group faced off with each other by having a twinkie eating contest. The twist to the contest though was each round a guy and a girl were blindfolded and had to find their twinkie to eat it. Their group helped them find it, but their other clue was each twinkie either had ketchup or mustard. They guys had the ketchup ones and the girls had mustard. The guys came from behind to win 3-2. It was pretty gross to watch.

*I really loved watching how the group interacted on the ride and here at Lee yesterday. They trust each other and enjoy hanging out with each other. I think that will add to the impact God can have on them this week. Thanks for praying!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

CIY Move: We have arrived!

Hey everybody we made it here safe and sound. Thanks for all of your prayers. Believe it or not we made it all the way to the state of Tennessee before we had to stop for a bathroom break. Pretty impressive what people are capable when you tell them that it costs $20 per bathroom break.

It is just as hot here as it is in Cincy. We have forecasts in the 90's all week. The girls dorm is really close to the cafeteria and the main auditorium. The guys dorm is a little nicer, but we are going to end up walking 5 miles each day. It'll be good for us ha ha. We are about to go to dinner here in a few minutes and things get kicked off after that. I'll try and update on how things are going often. Thanks for praying for our group!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Seeing a Game with My Dad and Missing My Grandfather

This past Saturday, I got together with my Dad and my Father-In-Law and all three of us went to the Red's Hall of Fame and the Reds vs. Rockies game that night. We had an awesome time. We spent the whole afternoon checking out the Hall of Fame, and talking with Reds Legends. For an early dinner I took them over to Terry's Turf Club for the best burgers in Ohio. To top it all off we got to see a great game that included 4 Reds' Homers, and an awesome game pitched by Edinson Volquez (Not to mention Chris Sabo ended up sitting 4 rows BEHIND us for the whole game). All in all it was an incredible day.

The thing I loved most about it was having both my dad and Alicia's dad there with me. We got to share so many stories and memories we had. It was so awesome to be able to talk with my dad about staying up late with him as a 5 year old to watch the 1990 World Series. I really can't describe how special of a time it was. I have been so blessed to have a dad that threw the baseball with me in the back yard and pretended to be Hal Morris so I could pretend to be Barry Larkin and Chris Sabo.

While we were walking around the Museum I got a chance to meet one of the members of the Big Red Machine former Center fielder Cesar Geronimo. I got a picture with him and we actually got to have a pretty cool conversation swapping stories about my mission trips to the Dominican (Where he currently resides), and the Winter Ball that is played there. The first thought that popped into my mind after our conversation, was that I needed to call my Grandfather. My Granddad use to always tell me stories about the Big Red Machine, and he always told me the story of Cesar Geronimo and Johnny Bench warming up before each game by throwing from home plate to the CF wall and back again. He loved that story. The only thing was my Grandfather passed away almost 5 years ago.

For the rest of the day, I must have thought about calling my Granddad at least 3 more times. He would have loved hearing about everything. Even though it was kind of sad not being able to call him and tell him all about my day, it didn't take away from the experience. I really think it made it better. I got a chance to remember all those stories he told me, and all the things that made my grandfather so special. It also made me appreciate having my father there even more.

When we miss my Granddad, my mom and I will call each other sometimes. Almost every time one of us will encourage the other by mentioning Hebrews 12:1 which says, "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." I love imagining my grandfather and countless other people who have played a huge role in my spiritual growth being a part of that group of witnesses. I can see them cheering us on through every obstacle. They celebrate every victory, and root us on after every defeat. That is why I think memories are so special because for Christians they not only connect us to our past, but they speak of the hope we have in the future with Jesus. It's an incredible hope and a lasting one. (And you gotta believe there is gonna be baseball in heaven!)

Pictured from Left to Right: My Dad Rex, Myself, and My Father-In-Law Mike

My Picture with Big Red Machine CF Cesar Geranimo

Chris Sabo making his Red's HOF Induction Speech

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Random Thoughts

Brad Wallace Autographed Book: Foot Reflexology
Just in case any of you forgot or are still waiting on that Bank Loan to come through, the Ebay Auction for the Brad Wallace Autographed Memorabilia is still going on until Saturday. It is really starting to heat up too. The current top bid is a penny. Be sure to get in on the bidding before you have to take out that 2nd mortgage.

I am really happy for Brad and his family as they head down to his new job in Tennessee. It is hard to see him go, but I'm glad I got the opportunity to work with him and get to know him. One of the things that I really appreciated about Brad was the contemplative mood he brought to worship. Psalms 46:10 says, "Be still and know that I am God;I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the Earth." There are times when we want to sing upbeat songs that celebrate who God is, and there are other times where we want to sing quiet songs about our need for him. Brad really showed me that no matter what type of song we are singing we need to spend some time thinking about what the song is really about, and whether our not our hearts are committed to what we are singing. We need to be honest as we worship God, and Brad did a great job of reminding me of that.

Major League All-Star Game
Joey Votto made the All Star Team, but didn't get a hit in the game. In fact in his 2 at bats he hit the first pitch he saw both times. Brandon Phillips didn't get a hit either, but made a really nice play at second. Scott Rolen started the rally that led to the National league scoring all their runs. It is sad that Arthur Rhodes didn't get to pitch, but it was still really cool that he even got to play.

Yesterday's All Star Game also was the 1st time since I was 10 years old that the National League won the game. When I was 10 years old Jeff Blake was the QB for the Bengals, Jeff Brantley was a Red's Pitcher not a Red's Announcer, Pete Shourek was the Red's Opening Day starter, and you could still go swimming in the Gulf of Mexico without ending up looking like you belonged in a Valvoline commercial.

Anyways its cool that there were 4 Reds in the game last night. I was hanging out with family so I can't wait to get a chance to sit down and watch it.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Adirondacks Mission Trip Update

Today at lunch I talked with Jake Goetz who is leading our High School mission trip to the Adirondacks in Northern New York. Here is an update of some of the cool things they are up to and how we can be praying for them.

-Everybody is doing well. The big surprise for the trip is that it feels as hot as South America even though they are practically in Canada.

-The group has done a great job of connecting and building friendships with the other church groups on the trip.

-Some of the things they have been doing so far include: Painting a House, Gardening at a Senior Citizen's Home, Kid's Club (That also translates to chasing kids around all day), and making small repairs on another elderly lady's house.

-They said their time in the evening talking as a group has also been really good.

- When I asked about how we could be praying they said to pray that the heat eases up a little bit and doesn't prevent them from fully engaging in the trip.

It sounded like they are all doing a gret job and having a great time. Please continue praying for them and praying that God would use them in mighty ways.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Tuesday Morning Thoughts

-Vote for Joey Votto
I am sure if you live anywhere close to Cincinnati, you are already tired of hearing that you need to vote for the Reds First Baseman Joey Votto. I am a huge Reds fan and it would a huge joke if the potential National League MVP missed the All-Star game. He will miss it at this point though if we don't all vote like crazy for him. Take a few minutes today and make sure that the most deserving play in the National League actually plays in the All-Star game.

Vote for Joey

-Ribs at Montgomery Inn
A group of 6 (including me) went to Montgomery Inn for their All You Can Eat Ribs Special this weekend. For sure we definitely gave it our best. As a group we ate a total of around 180 ribs. Bryan Sallee was the front man with 44, Nate Borowitz ate an incredible 36, and barely made it to 28 (See plate below). Clayton ate a total of 27 and Jamie came in with 22. We had a great time, but I think it will be a while before I look eagerly upon a rack of ribs again.

-Adirondacks Mission Team
Take some time today to be praying for our students and leaders who are on a mission trip this week to the Adirondacks in Northern New York. They will be serving the community in a lot of cool ways. You can be praying for the Spirit to guide them, strengthen them, and embolden them. You can also pray for their safety throughout the week. It is supposed to be a hot week there that consistently tops out around 90-100 degrees. I'll be posting an update on the trip next time I hear something from them.

-Stuff from Brad's Office
Finally, last but not least, as many of you know our Worship Minister Brad Wallace is taking a new job at Milligan University in Tennessee. He is actually moving this week which means that he has been boxing up his books and other stuff from his office. A few days ago he put out a box of books that he decided he wasn't going to take with him. Now remember these are books that Brad at some point valued enough to have on his shelf, but now doesn't feel like they are worth carrying with him to Tennessee. I went and picked out the ones I thought were most interesting. I'll be getting him to sign the books, and then I will be auctioning them off on Ebay as Memorabilia. Stay tuned for a link to the listings. Try not to laugh to loud as you look at the pictures of the book and VHS cassette tape below.