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Work Hard, Play Hard

We really did work hard on the Youth mission trip last week, but we had some fun, too. Here's a little taste of some of the fun...

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Experiment: Mission Trip + Twitter

So, this past week has been a summer mission trip for the youth ministry. We were in Ashland, Kentucky this week with Kingdom Builders. It was a great trip and I'll have videos/pictures to share later. Tonight I'm exhausted and really glad to be home with family. I did want to take the time to post this, though.

This week I experimented with Twitter. I set up a Twitter account and decided to try using it as a parent update while on the youth mission trip. I had two reasons I thought this might be a good, helpful thing:

  1. First, for them. You see, mommies love knowing what their babies are up to. And they like to know they haven't fallen off a roof or busted their thumb with a hammer or gotten left behind at a gas station. This was an easy way to make general info on the youth trip available to parents. I set it to show updates on the church website and they could check in as often as they chose to.
  2. Second, for me. I set it up so I could send updates from my phone so it was super quick and easy. Whenever something noteworthy happened, I took the 30seconds to type up a little text message, send, and it was done. I sent updates two or three times a day and actually had several comments from parents when we got back from the trip tonight about how much they appreciated it.
I don't know that this will become something that we use for every little trip or event, but for some of the bigger, longer trips we probably will. Easy for me, helpful for them; that's a win-win. All in all, it was a good experiment.

Does anybody out there have suggestions/cautions about something like this? Ideas on how to make this better?

Here were the updates from the week:
5:30 AM Jun 21st There will be running updates of the #KingdomBuilders mission trip over the next week. Here we go! #fb

9:07 AM Jun 21st Mmm... Breakfast at BK in SC. (Btw, we ran over a Bambi this morning. No damage to bus; most kids slept right through it.)

12:44 PM Jun 21st Driving thru VA. Napping, cards, iPods, and a few fictional suspense novels seem to be passing the time. One kid's eating Oreos & PntBtr.

7:41 PM Jun 21st We are in Ashland and done w/ supper. Just took group pictures and now going through safety training. Yeah for power tools!

10:04 PM Jun 21st Worship w/ Jonathan & Lisa... so good!

10:42 AM Jun 22nd Working on a roofing project in Ashland, KY, tearing off old shingles today. Right now it's time for a break... It's hot on that roof! #fb

12:37 PM Jun 22nd We were talking about where we're from & stuff we like to do. This Columbus kid just asked, "So what is a Snooky anyway?"

8:29 PM Jun 22nd Tonight's lesson: We find contentment in Christ. (Often we chase it in other things and people and places, but it's found in trusting Him.)

1:29 PM Jun 23rd ROAR! Power tools make me feel manly. We're patching holes and beginning to lay the shingles. It's hot but these kids are some hard workers!

3:03 PM Jun 23rd We're about to clean up our worksite for the day. Didn't get quite as much done today as we had hoped, but it's looking like a real roof!

9:19 AM Jun 24th It's official: A package of shingles is heavey to carry up a ladder.

3:07 PM Jun 24th Ahhh... Cold popsicles are refreshing.

5:47 PM Jun 24th It's our "free night out." We're going on a youth group date night: all going to dinner at Outback and then to the movies!

7:01 AM Jun 25th 6am just keeps getting earlier all week. (6 is wake up, breakfast time. 7 is out the door, time to work.) Day4 - Here we go!

11:13 AM Jun 25th Everybody off the roof! Hurry and spread the tarps! It's a Kentucky rainstorm!

3:00 PM Jun 25th The sun is back out, things are drying out, and we're back to getting work done. Cutting boards, patching holes, laying paper & shingles!

8:16 PM Jun 25th Ashland's mayor came to our worship service tonight to say thank you for the work Kingdom Builders has done in the city this week. Cool.

10:58 PM Jun 25th Really great night: awesome worship times, good conversations about how God is working in people's lives. Now, bedtime!

6:37 AM Jun 26th I'll be honest: It's hard to wake up this morning.

4:57 PM Jun 26th Dirty, tired, and an 1 1/2 hour later than planned... but the roofing job is done! Me wants shower and dinner (in either order). #fb

about 16 hours ago YAWN... We're up, about to eat breakfast and then truck it on home. There will definitely be some napping on this bus ride!

about 15 hours ago It's 7:45 and, like Simon & Garfunkel, we're homeward bound. #fb

about 9 hours ago Mmmm... Waffle fries at a Chick-fil-a in Charlotte, NC.

about 5 hours ago Back in GA now. We'll be home soon!

about 4 hours ago Back in the 'Boro! (Bank sign says it's 102*!)

Note: The "#fb" was secret code so that the Twitter elves would tell the Facebook gnomes to update my status.

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A Quote for Friday

"I cannot give you the formula for success, but I can give you the formula for failure, which is: Try to please everybody."

Herbert B. Swope

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I Love These Kids

Photoshopped goodness of two of my favorite people.

Noah's Tractors

Ansley, Pretty in Pink

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A Quote for Friday

"We don’t beat the Reaper by living longer. We beat the Reaper by living well."

Randy Pausch

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Two Questions About the God You Know

In Genesis 35 God has just called Jacob to go to a certain place, build an altar, and worship. So Jacob tells his household, "Let's get up and go, y'all." (Loosely translated.)

But as he's telling them this, he says to them, "Let us arise and go up to Bethel, that I may make there an altar to the God who answered me in the day of my distress and has been with me wherever I have gone."

What a name for God!

What an understanding of his dependance on God Jacob must have had. So let me ask the questions:

  • How often has God been "the God who answered you in your day of distress?"
  • How often do you and I realize God "has been with me wherever" we go?

That's something worth being thankful for and a reality for how we should see the world around us.

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Weekend Update

  • This won't be nearly as entertaining as SNL's Weekend Updates.
  • Grass = Cut. (Bushes didn't get trimmed, though.)
  • Shannon and the kids went to her family reunion this weekend. I'm so looking forward to them getting home tonight. It's funny how much you can miss somebody in three days. I didn't get to go because...
  • We had a youth trip to The Gathering Place Sunday night. My honest thoughts:
    1. I had some fun times with the youth.
    2. Ultimate frisbee is fun, but it's a little less fun in, like, 93% humidity right after eating supper.
    3. The GP is usually great; this week seemed mediocre in terms production, though. The youth band had a couple flubs, but they're still really good. Two guys from Athens (Georgia, not Greece) tag-teamed the message, which was ultimately good, but seemed a little ramble-y and unprepared at times. I thought the stage-design/backdrop looked pretty sharp. There were still some great moments of worship for me and I heard God speaking to me about some stuff I've been wrestling with this past week.
    4. I want to take more adults with us on the next trip down there.
  • I played around with blog design and layout. I don't know if I like the new look or not. There was something I kind of enjoyed about the 'blank-white'-ness of the old design.
  • Also, I'm trying an experiment. I set up a Twitter account, and I'm still kind of unsure if this will work for me or if it's going to be helpful. Right now it just feels like I'm hopping on a bandwagon. Eh... We'll see just how long it lasts.

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A Quote for Friday

"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."

Theodore Roosevelt

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He Counted Him As Righteous

As I was reading through Gen15 recently, I noticed something I hadn't noticed before.

Gen15:6 reads:

Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.

When I read it this time, I got confused by the pronouns; he and him. Who were the pronouns referring to, God or Abram?

Now, I did some reading in other translations and I know the "he" refers to God and the "him" refers to Abram; that God saw Abram's faith in and trust in God and God counted that as Abram's righteousness. And that's a good lesson for any of us: acting on faith in God is an act of righteousness before God.

But maybe it's still true if the pronouns are reversed. What if it read that Abram heard God's words as right, that he considered God's words as right because they were words coming from the LORD, and that's why he believed. That's a good lesson for any of us also: we can trust God, whatever He says, because of who He is. He's God.

Sometimes it's not just what you hear that counts. It's who you hear it from.

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Playing With New Foods

One of the great things about summer has to be the fresh fruits and vegetables.

We made a trip to my parents a couple weeks ago and Noah helped dig up potatoes in Papa's garden.

Papa's Taters Papa's Taters
Papa's Taters

Last weekend we picked up a fresh pineapple and this weekend we had a watermelon. He loved getting to see where it came from, seeing it cut open, and then getting to eat it. It's fun watching him learn and seeing his excitement as he figures out new things.


So the other night we experimented with one of the greatest gifts God has given man: smores! Admittedly, they were microwave smores, but, hey, you gotta start somewhere.

Smores! Smores!

Smores! Smores!

Smores! Smores!

It's not quite fresh fruit and vegetables, but come on... they're SMORES!

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It's Not ONLY About What You Say

Sunday night was one of those nights that happens sometimes.

I was teaching on not having a circumstantial faith, a faith based on what we see or feel at the moment, but rather a faith based in Jesus. I talked about two reasons why people would turn away from faith, for a moment or for good. One, because of guilt of doing wrong - sometimes it's easier to change what we believe is wrong than to change our behaviors that are wrong. Or two, unexplained tragedy - how does a good God let bad stuff like _____ happen? or why God? I skimmed through the story of Joseph (Gen37 to Gen50) being thrown in a well, sold into slavery, betrayed in Potipher's house, thrown in jail, and eventually saving Egypt and his family from a famine. I even tied it together/summed it up with a phrase: faith on anything other than Jesus is on a fragile foundation. I knew what I was talking about.

And that's the thing...

I had given good thought to what I wanted to say. I just didn't give enough thought to how I wanted to say it. And that's an important part of teaching, the presentation. (Note: Thinking back, it may not have been as bad as I remember it, but I just didn't feel like it connected.)

At a restaurant, you can typically get dead chicken, dead cow, or dead fish. At a drive through, it's $5. At a five star restaurant, it's $45. It's still dead chicken, dead cow, or dead fish. The difference is what it looks like on the plate; the presentation.

Last night I served microwaved hamburgers. I want to serve more Ribeye hot off the grill.

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A Quote for Friday

"The miracle is this - the more we share, the more we have."

Leonard Nimoy

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