Thursday, November 11, 2010

Patience is a Virtue, But I Don't Have The Time to Explain It.

You have run into the store to pick up something really quick. You find it right away and head to check out. The self-check out line is too long.  You glance over to the Express Line. It's packed too. You start to walk down the row of checkout lines, when an attendant says, "I can help you here sir." How awesome is that? A new line is opening right in front of you. Perfect. You'll be out of here in no time. Then it happens. "Sir?" The attendant asks, "Did you see the price for this item? It doesn't have a tag." 

Then everything falls apart. You do your best to not fidget or squirm as your patience fails you like a poorly packed parachute. They do a price check, but Sam from produce brings the wrong item. You are seriously asking yourself whether or not you should just forget that item and come back when you have more time. Because it is taking all together too long.

You finally get to your car and find your heart rate returning to normal. As you speed home, and check your email on your phone as you go, you think to yourself, "That whole trip to the grocery store only took 15 minutes. Why was I upset that I couldn't do it in 10? Do I really have the patience of a 3 year old?"

Welcome to my life the past few weeks. I promise I have not been harassing Grocery Store Attendants. Although I can't make the same promise about checking my email. The lesson that I keep having brought up to the forefront of my life is patience.

Almost 3 weeks ago now, tragedy struck my life. I broke the screen to my I-Phone leaving Target. The ironic thing was that I just bought a new case for my phone at Target when it broke.  You can ask my wife though, I reacted with poise and grace.  I took it like a man. In fact, she didn't even know I had broken it until almost a half hour later.

I knew my insurance on the phone was expired, but I still wanted to talk with AT&T about my options.  So while we were still out driving around I talked on my damaged phone with Customer Service and learned that they really didn't have any viable options under $200. Unless I waited until February. That was NOT the answer I was wanting.

And as if our evening wasn't exciting enough, I had to put Customer Service on hold for a minute. Actually I told them I would have to call them back. Because our car was spinning out of control getting onto 275. Yeah that's right. Alicia had hit some oil or something, and now my pregnant wife was screaming and clutching the steering wheel for dear life. "Yeah, Tony, thanks for all the info, but I'm going to have to call you back. I might be dying shortly." 
Thankfully we stayed on the road, and the car was fine. Once the traffic eased up on the on-ramp, we quickly turned the car around and headed home.

After we got home, I began checking out my options. Did I need to give up my I-Phone and settle for a phone that only made phone calls? Did I just need to live with a cracked screen until February? I got some advice form some friends and watched a bunch of Youtube videos of people replacing their screens.  After convincing myself that I was capable of such a feat, I found a great deal on Amazon for not just a replacement screen, but all the stuff I would need to replace the screen. I went ahead and got it and the waiting game began.

The waiting game is still going on. USPS lost my delivery. The company I bought it from didn't even realize it until Tuesday. They were real nice about it though and refunded my  money. My screen was still broken though. Thankfully after talking with them, they decided to give me a new screen for free because of the inconvenience of waiting for 2 weeks only to find out it wasn't coming. Still, I won't get my screen any sooner than this weekend.

My first thought after all of this is thankfulness. How blessed am I, that the things I have to learn to be patient about, are grocery store waiting lines and broken I-Phones. On top of that God has blessed Alicia and I with the biggest patience grower ever: We are going to have a baby! Pregnancy is a 9-month lesson in delayed gratification.  The patience I have to learn is over silly stuff. Small insignificant things that don't matter in the long run. Hopefully I grow and go further in my walk with God as a result. Maybe I can get my phone fixed too.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Our Game From Sunday Night and other Random Stuff

Fruit Punch Rally
Sunday night we played an incredibly messy game that involved a lot of fruit, students eating spoonfuls of cinnamon, and well just check out the video...

Fruit Toss Game at Rel Community Nov 7, 2010 from Parkside Students on Vimeo.

Aubrey Bledsoe 
One of our families here at Parkside had a really awesome weekend. Aubrey Bledsoe, who graduated last year and also was a part of our team that went to the Dominican Republic last summer, was named the MVP of the ACC Women's Soccer Tournament. Her team (Wake Forest) won the Tournament too. The interview she gave was cool. How awesome is it to achieve something like this as a freshman! Aubrey everybody here is so proud of you and we are cheering you on in the NCAA Tournament!

Other Things Worth Noting:
Jon Foreman's Latest Article
Every now and then the front man from the band Switchfoot will write an article. Jon wrote this one about who decides what is cool and what isn't. The article is a good read on how we decide what we like as a culture, and how silly we are at times about what we think is 'hip'. I hope the next thing Jon comes out with though is either a new album or a book. He is such a creative person with a great ability to express himself.

Former Buckeye Michael Redd's Testimony
Michael Redd was/is a phenomenal basketball player. I can still remember him leading the Buckeyes to the Final Four when I was in Middle School. He was a great player on a great team. He would go on and have a great career in the NBA and even when a Gold Medal. This article from the OSU student newspaper The Lantern, is all about the Michael Redd that most people never got to see. It is cool to see how Michael first met Jesus and how he has totally reorganized or wrecked his life to share Jesus with other people.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Unbound Movement Free Trade Market

This weekend, my wife Alicia, a student named Evan, and I went to the Freedom Center downtown to check out a Fair Trade Market that was put together by the Unbound Movement. For those of you unfamiliar with the Unbound Movement, it is a movement (obviously) started by a group of students and leaders at Crossroads Church to end modern day slavery.  Needless to say we checked it out on Saturday and it was an incredible experience.

On the 3rd floor of the Freedom Center they had an Experience Station set up to let participants get an idea what it was like to live as a modern day slave. The experience was called Restevek (which is what child slaves are called in Haiti). Overall it was sobering to see the things that they are required to do, and their quality of life is just horrendous. It's not something we want to think about, but its real and its happening all over.

Our student ministry has really been trying to teach students about what it means to seek justice and learn to do right in their community and world. Isaiah 1:17 says, "Learn to do right, seek justice, encourage the oppressed, plead the case of the widow, defend the case of the fatherless." We all need to take verse like that to heart and apply it to who we are and how we live. The Unbound Movement is a great example of that.

We took our Flip Camera and did some quick interviews with some of the different organizations at the Fair Trade Market. For those of you not familiar with what Fair Trade is let me try to sum it up. The idea of Fair Trade is to pay workers a fair amount for their work, especially in impoverished areas where they are normally incredibly underpaid. So check out what these groups had to say, and then check their websites out, because they are doing some pretty cool stuff and really applying what the Bible says about seeking justice.

 La Terza Coffee
Their Website

Chuck from La Terza from Parkside Students on Vimeo.

I used some of my birthday money to get some of the coffee that La Terza makes in the Dominican Republic. I didn't get a chance to brew any of it yet, but the sample I got on Saturday was great!

10,000 Villages
Their Website

Connie from 10,000 Villages from Parkside Students on Vimeo.

Alicia and I bought some soap from 10,000 Villages. They also had an incredibly cool Marriage Sculpture that would make an awesome wedding present. Connie goes to University Christian Church to which has a long history with Parkside. Pretty cool stuff!

Trade As One
Their Website  

Kevin Madsen who works for Trade as One, spoke for one of the breakout sessions, and we have a video for it that we are still uploading and I'll try to get it on the blog later this week. We ended up getting a lot of stuff from Trade As One's display area. They are real focused on their Fair Trade Products being quality things that you would already need. We got a awesome mint chocolate bar that was made in Bolivia, and we got some of our friends some surprises too. They had some really cool stuff and their website has a pretty cool video that tells a lot of their company's goals and values.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Student Ministry: Free Middle School Group Devotion

Our Church got together with a few other churches this past weekend and had a Middle School Retreat out at Woodland Lakes Christian Camp. One of the resources we put together for the retreat was a group devotion time for Saturday morning. 

The retreat was focused on helping students realize what an authentic faith looked like, and ways they could develop their faith. The devotion itself focused on spiritual gifts. Our goal was to help students realize one of the ways God had uniquely gifted them, and help them think about how they could use that gift for God's Glory. We also included a devotional time for group leaders to spend praying for their students. Our hope was to plant a seed in students' minds to be thinking about the rest of the day, and also to have group leaders fully engaged with their students by starting the day off praying for them.

I wanted to share the devotion with all of you. Especially those of you who are involved in Student Ministry so that you could use it, or take away some ideas from it for your students. Let me know what you think of it, or if you use it some time, how it goes. Id' also love to hear your thoughts about how this style of devotion time could be strengthened or improved. 

Feel free to use it for whatever you want:
Devotion Overview and Instructions

Hand Outs and Leader Guides
(Hand outs are to be printed front and back)