Sunday, May 30, 2010

Help us connect the dots

I serve on the staff of United Christian Youth Camp. It's a camp in Prescott AZ that began in 1952. Over the years we have probably seen over half-million students and adults come to camp here.

It's hard to imagine the impact of so many people who have had their faith encouraged as a result of God doing something in them while they were here!

I have recently become involved in the Fund Raising efforts at UCYC and was shocked to find out that the camp has ONLY 13 MONTHLY DONORS. That's right...13 people contribute monthly to this amazing ministry. I can't figure out why so few donate. I can't make the dots connect between hundreds of thousands of people attending and so few supporting.

Perhaps we have not asked correctly? Well let me ask again..."Would you consider giving monthly or annually to support this ministry?" Would you consider telling your friends who might have UCYC experiences as well?

You can sign up and donate online. You can set-up automatic gifting with a credit card, etc. My hope is to increase our donor pool to 100 people giving monthly this year. You can be on the ground floor of helping UCYC continue to reach the next generation of young people.

Friday, May 28, 2010

AZ immigration law really works.

I have been frustrated by the accusations of wrongdoing or profiling. Look at the actual results of a law like Arizona's since 2007 in Virginia. Read this short article and make up your mind. Favorite part in the article is..."In 2008, the University of Virginia conducted a survey to see what effects, if any, the Prince William County law had. It concluded initial fears about racial profiling did not happen."

Also, if you have not read SB 1070, here it is. Unlike the 2,500 page health-care piece of crap, this bill is 17 pages.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Beginnings and endings

Life has this way of continuing. Have you noticed that we can't do much about it? Last night was the final Tee ball game for Jordan and Maddie went through 8th grade promotion. Today Austin receives and award at school during his last day in elementary school.

The kids are doing great and can't wait for summer break. All three finish their current school and begin a new phase in August. I suppose the end of one thing is the beginning of another most of the time.

When you are moving into something new. Ask this question. What do I want the end to be like? Get the answer squarely in your head and take steps today to begin to see that idea become reality! Have fun!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Way to Escondido

California and Arizona are at odds! More California cities are trying to "boycott" businesses in Arizona in an attempt to punish US, the residents who live in this great state. Escondido, CA is supporting Arizona because they are using their brains.

I could get mad about this issue because Arizona is actually trying to enforce the federal law. We are tired of border issues and AZ residents being harmed so if the Federal Government is not going to enforce it's laws, then we will. It's simple.

70% of Americans agree with Arizona, yet Los Angeles and other cities will boycott. Have an opinion? Talk about it, support it. First I would ask that you read the law on the AZ books and think for yourself, before you are influenced by someone commenting on the law. Once you read the law, you will realize that it's not at all what you were told it is!!!!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Encouragement to LIVE

This is a small section from the final pages of "Gospel According to Lost" by Chris Seay. It is written by a pastor who died just before he was able to preach this as the closing to a message. Keep it in mind that the final words how would have delivered are the following...

Live. And Live Well
"Breathe. Breathe in and breathe deeply. Be present. Do not be past. Do not be future. Be now

On a crystal clear, breezy seventy degree day, roll down the window and feel the wind against your skin. Feel the warmth of the sun.

If you run, then allow those first few breathes on a cool autumn day to freeze your lungs and do not just be alarmed, be alive.

Get knee-deep in a novel and lose track of time.

If you bike, pedal hard...and if you crash, the crash well."

There is much more, but you get the idea. Get the book. If you enjoy the show, you will love this different view of the characters, development and plot of the ABC show, "Lost".

If you are a human, then take heed to the pastors words and LIVE WELL.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

How we see the World

Yesterday I wrote about the Arizona Immigration Law and Miss USA pageant. How we view many of these items in our culture is based on a World View. Our world view is how we perceive the world. Our view of God, humanity, politics and much more are affected by this World View.

In modern America, media shapes the world view of many people. I am conservative, but it's not because I watch Fox News. I am conservative because it matches the sum total of my life experiences and how I view the world. You may be conservative, liberal or somewhere in between and you too make decisions and see life through those lenses.

Think for yourself. Be informed and if you disagree with what is happening, then DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. If you agree with how things are going, the SUPPORT THOSE making good decisions. Don't let CNN, Fox News or anyone else shape your thinking!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Read it for yourself

Here is the link for the Arizona Immigration law. Read it...You will find that it's not "contraversial" at all. You will find that it works WITH existing Federal laws. Hmmmm? Why is it so bad? I don't know, but I couldn't find anything worth all the fuss!

There are two sides to many issues. I think you should decide by being informed. Today, for example, there are two stories covering the Miss USA Pageant. CNN online has the Miss Michigan winning and Fox News online has Miss Oklahoma loosing. Read both and decide...although they don't necessarily have to contradict, just two different ways to spinning news to make a story come alive. Interesting!!!

Monday, May 17, 2010

"How could I not go"

We were speaking with Dave & Laura last night. He has worked in the inner city of Cincinnati, OH. "Over the Rhine" is the area that Dave lived and worked. Statistically, 1 in 4 residents in this area will be the victim of violent crime.

As he described visiting the area he looked around and saw all these kids outside and said without hesitation, "how could I not go and live there". Did you hear that? Most of us would say the opposite, but he saw something that we don't often see. He saw people that he could love and encourage and it was simple conclusion. GO!!!!

Will you go? Will you see and respond to needs? My prayer is that we would learn to run to help! See you out!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Lists, long days and crazy schedules

Not too much to say in my life these days. I have lists upon lists. The guys that I supervise have lists as well. All of it points toward one BIG GOAL...Summer Camp. We are 16 days away from the start of camp and in typical fashion we have to hold many expenses until just before the start, we have to wait for weather to accomplish much of the outside building projects.

We prepare housing for the college staff, build sets, order sound/lights/video, recreation equipment and so much more. The pace of camp begins to pick up and your pulse is pounding for many days.

We begin our buildup in Mid April and it peaks as Summer camp remains high until Mid-August then crashes down as we undo all that we made back in May! Crazy!!! Worth it? Absolutely!!! This year we will see over 4,500 kids and perhaps will reach our capacity of 5,000 in the summer! Lots of students and adults. I will keep you up to date as it unfolds.

Do you face seasons like this? How do you deal with them as they build, peak and subside? For me, it's just another "season" that will come and go. Each of face times of happiness or sadness, but it will ALWAYS pass away into another season. Be patient, no matter where you are today, it will change for the better eventually.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Don't worry

This is from Philippians 4:6-7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

There are many things to be anxious about in my world and probably your world as well. So, how do we deal with it? The Bible offers some wise counsel as we face difficulty. As Paul wrote this, he was in prison. His words are practical because he was facing a grim future, yet he pens these profound words.

Notice that he never suggests IGNORING the issues you face. He says we need to push our worries onto God and allow Him to work! We can experience unbelievable peace if we hand God our worries. Try it today! My prayer is that God would show you how He is right with you in your trouble!

Monday, May 10, 2010

So the food is to blame...

I find it ironic that "soda" and other candy/snacks are being removed from schools because it causes obesity in children. Funny, I have candy, cookies, chocolate, sweet cereal in my household and not any of our children suffer from obesity. Why?

Perhaps it's a combination of training that our kids understand the choices they make and enough activity to keep them healthy. Whatever the reason for childhood obseity, I believe that LORI AND I PLAY THE PRIMARY ROLE in keeping our children healthy and on a good course!

I refuse to blame the food for my kids eating. I refuse to blame the TV or Computer for poor school work. I am a parent, I am responsible for these children to provide guidance and direction as they learn to navigate in our world I just get tired of placing the blame on others for ultimately is just us. We can blame no one else but ourselves.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

No Not One

Brandon Heath wrote a worship song called "No Not One". It's powerful and expresses many truths! My favorite line is; "With his life you have forgiven us, hope has come, hope has come".

I cannot put into words that God chose to allow Jesus to die, that I may live! This song helps a little, but my riches are not now, nor have ever been in what I own. My greatest riches are found in the hope that I have because of Jesus!

While music helps many people express their heart what helps you? Is it poetry, nature, the Bible or something else? The point is simple, IN ALL YOUR RELATIONSHIPS EXPRESS WHAT IS IMPORTANT. Speak the truth in love today!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

How do you choose?

The immigration issue is complicated. There is healthy debate going on all over the country. In Arizona, the NY Times reports 1,200 illegal immigrants are in State Prisons for crimes committed in Arizona. It's a little like a Merry-go-round. People like these come across the border, get caught and sent back, only to return. Eventually, they are arrested and put into jail because there are few options.

How do you choose? What would you do if the child from another family is constantly coming over and breaking toys at your home? They show up unannounced and stay too long. They ask for food and you wonder when small things disappear if they are with this child. So, you speak to the parents but they don't do anything. In a over simplified way, this is the scenario, except it cost 5.7 million dollars in 2009 to pay the bill for illegals committing crime in Arizona.

I read that in 1995, that there were 14,000+ illegals who committed crimes in the USA. If we build a better fence, commit more people to border security, the states could return those illegals and save MILLIONS OF DOLLARS. There is a lot more work to get this thing right!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Isn't "illegal" a bad thing?

The irony for me about immigration is the first word in the argument that is being discussed today in America. I thought that ILLEGAL means something bad, but perhaps I don't understand (sarcasm).

As I have said in previous entries, I don't mind people coming to the United States, but we should enforce the rules of fairly or correctly for coming into the USA to live/work, etc.

While people will come across illegally, they should be dealt with appropriately. They should be caught are returned. But there is more we can do!

I am on record saying that if the U.S. makes it MORE PAINFUL to be here illegally (not physical violence), but when the bad of being here outweighs the good, then perhaps "illegal" immigration will be changed because those sneaking across will come through proper channels.

This is not difficult to address! If we REWARD BAD BEHAVIOR, IT WILL CONTINUE! I feel like shouting this at National leaders so they correct the REAL ISSUES! Join me and lets send a clear message to our leaders. Fix what is really broken! People can come, but let's not make it better to sneak across, let's make it better to come through the correct way!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

When life doesn't meaure up

Mike Erre was here at a Pastor's Event that our camp hosted. First, he is hilarious and energetic, especially before he speaks. Our desire was to have a conference for pastors that would be less about techniques or trends in HOW TO DO MINISTRY, and more about WHY these men and women ever chose to serve in a church in the first place. We discussed heart issues!

One of the best talks for me was about the "gap" between life that we catch glimpses of when we directly experience God's presence and the reality of life that we live in each day. Mike suggested that we have choices as laid out by John Eldredge. There are three options about how to live this life with a "gap" and Mike challenged all of us listening to strive to be "Alive and Thirsty". Not satisfied with the distance between our lives and God's presence, so we strive to close the gap, but recognizing that it's part of God's design to not always make it!

I'm in! I am willing to strive to be like Jesus, but recognize that life itself will render my efforts useless at times, but rather than give up, I choose to keep trying! Someday, in His presence in Heaven, I will no longer need to strive, but until then...I choose Alive and Thirsty. What about you?

Monday, May 3, 2010

Funny what goes around, comes around

I remember seeing 1/20/09 stickers for President Bush's final day in office.

Just saw this on a car and had to laugh. Wow, it's only been 17 months!

We will see what happens, won't we!

There is always a CHOICE

We provide a home for our children. We feed and clothe them and teach them how to operate in our world. Part of that training is in the area of "character". A few years ago, Maddie won a character award at her school. It was very cool, and Lori and I were proud to be part of her success, BUT there is always more to the story.

Maddie had the choice to embrace the training that her mother and I provided or not! In fact, each day she has the choice to BE who she wants to be. It's the same with all three of our children and even Lori and myself. In America we have lots of freedom. Consider other countries with less freedom, even there people CHOOSE WHO THEY ARE.

Today, if you don't like WHO you are or WHAT you have become, then make a different choice today! There is always time to change for the better. You can make changes in relationships, your body, your thoughts, your language and your family. Whatever is not correct, MAKE A CHOICE today and change!

I wish you well!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Starting well is the key

After about 12 weeks of training for the half-marathon, Greg and I ran yesterday morning in the Whiskey Row Marathon. It's a tough race because it starts about 5,200 feet in downtown and climbs to about 6,500 feet at the turn. The weather was cold, but it was a great race.

Over the years, we have both discovered that "starting well" is how we accomplish our best race! If we begin with 9:30 miles, then we will finish at 9:30 miles. If we start off at 8:30 miles, then we finish about that same way! Is it any different in other parts of our lives? NO. I believe that we "rise" to the level that we are called to! Greg's pace was 8:29 for a 1:51 half-marathon, my pace was 8:45 for a 1:54 total time.

We started the race with mile #1 at 8:20! That paved the way for our best race ever! How can you start better in everything you do? You are capable of much more...Start now!