Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The God of Intimacy and Action....


Enjoying this book so far. Just finished section one, written by Campolo. It's clear that he has a few areas he's pushing personally, but ultimately his heart seems genuine. It's a reminder that a heart that longs for God, usually shapes a body that is given life by his heart. Both on an individual and a communal level. Unfortunately, the Church seems a bit crippled compared to the body God's heart should be giving life to...

Really looking forward to section 2, written by Mary Darling of Spring Arbor University. It's about Fueling Intimacy, and she goes into describing and giving examples/words about Christian mysticism, etc...which John Wesley was very much involved in (the end of section one has a few pages on John Wesley and Methodism, and highlights moments where the church really did seem to be living from God's heart). Section one does a good thing, in reminding the reader that we do not seek a mystical encounter/relationship with God in order to "feel good", or that we can claim anything special about ourselves. We seek God for the same reason, and in the same heart as Jesus sought God. That we might be a part of His original design for creation, and we may be connected in what will be the "reign and rule" of God...both now, and forever.

Beyond all that mumbo-jumbo of christian-speak...presupposing that you're one of many who need something beyond regular church attendance, and a potluck here and there...this is a good book to check out.

As a youth pastor, I've been to many "conferences" and "concerts", etc. I've ridden the roller-coaster of a spirituality based on emotion. I believe God can and does use those experiences. I also know that I'm still hungry. Hungry for something not based on how well service went Sunday. Or Wednesday. Or Sunday Night. Or camp. Etc. Something not based on how the music was. Not based on how the preacher met my needs. Not based on who complimented my witness. Not based on how many times I've prayed "well". Not based on how many teenagers I've gotten to say a sinners' prayer.

I'm hungry for God, but I'm learning that too often I stop there. I focus on how hungry I am for Him, or an experience of Him. God is not hiding. God is not "withholding" Himself or His Spirit. God is here...now. God offers me a chance to love Him (others). To suffer with Him (others). To serve Him (others). To give to Him(others). To receive His Spirit (and be a "conduit" to others). To live towards His Kingdom on a daily basis (with others). To join in with a creation that is already worshiping Him, in living towards being restored.

But doing this....freaks me out a bit. What will I give up? Will I be embarrassed? Who will listen? Who will join me?

A great reminder came on page 38, "You will not ask yourself if you are noble enough to embrace these social "rejects." Instead, seeing Christ, the King of Heaven, waiting to be loved in them, you will ask yourself, "Am I worthy to be their servants?" "

So on the other hand...I did say I was hungry...one bite at at time....

Anywhooo...if you're bored...read it. :)

Sunday, October 28, 2007

frustrated, and update...

So if u've breathed in the past year, you've noticed the ridiculous amount of airtime given to the candidates of both parties for the 2008 election. I've accidentally tuned in to a couple of their billion debates, and have to say it's a struggle.

It's a struggle to try and take them seriously. Imagine the billions of dollars spent planning events, running events and campaigns, covering all of these things, promoting in every media realm possible, and tearing each other apart politically....and none of them seem to be batting an eye. But you ask them publicly what their opinion is on the poor and disenfranchised, they'll tell you about their amazing plan to somehow make America care for them.

How about starting by using these millions of wasted dollars to kick off your amazing plan? How about America finds a new way to "do" all of this? Because this is really just ludicrous. Not that I have an incredible idea.....I just don't think it should cost this much for us to find a few candidates to vote between. Meanwhile the society they will eventually lead is being milked of valuable resources to help serve the poor everyone seems to enjoy claiming as important to their campaign.


But you know what helps? Moments like this...much more entertaining, and FREE...: video

Unfortunately, loving my daughter also makes me care just a little more about the future of this city, this state, this society, and this government... and makes me wish we had a better way to care for our future then going into debt to figure out who will lead us.

But this is where the plank in our own eye begins to twinge with pain just a bit more. Church, how much money/resources does American "christianity" spend each year on conventions, concerts, and propaganda that really is more political/religion minded than it is caring for the poor or communicating the heart of God? I know a lot of good is being accomplished through so many of them....but do we really need to spend millions on getting the right graphics/sound/lighting? Is that really worth getting a few teens to say the words "Jesus come into my heart"? Lord help us to represent right spending....and not spending...in hopes that maybe we can influence the world even today. Otherwise we're all just spinning in circles....which might be entertaining...but we're getting nowhere.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

spouses rock.

Sarah and I just returned from our Free Methodist', Gateway Conference, Pastors/Spouses Retreat in Saint Louis. Whew..long title. We had a great time, stayed at the Drury Inn, had a riverboat dinner, and a great worship service saturday morning. Here are a few pictures of our adventure...first, we see me helping Lewis and Clark figure out which direction to go...

...and then, we had a great evening on the riverboat, eating and hearing classic banjo/piano music on a 1960's riverboat. We slept in a bit, got up for a nice breakfast, and a great worship service with most of the pastors from the conference and their spouses. Several shared their stories, and it is definitely evident that God is using this conference in great ways, and we are very excited about being involved in a church (and denomination) that is so genuinely seeking God. More about that another time, I'm sure.

Once our official "duties" were done, we stayed in Saint Louis a bit to enjoy the City Museum (not very education, but an incredibly HUGE jungle-gym basically). Where I saw the world's largest pair of underwear...

I also climbed up to ride the "MONSTER SLIDE", which my pregnant wife didn't want to subject Sophie to....so it was me amidst all the elementary kids...as well as climbing to the very top of the "Monstrocity", where they've welded pretty much TONS of junk together with a small airplane fuselage at the pinnacle...

She let me play....and I was so thankful that I took her shopping at the Historic Union Station afterwards.

We saw some cool stuff, some fancy people, some fudge being made, bought a few pieces of extravagant chocolate, and left as the Saint Louis Blues fans were arriving en mass for that evenings' game. It was difficult to leave, knowing I could stay and watch an NHL game for like $20. But we were missin' Addison, and just HAD to make it home in time to watch Michigan whomp on Illinois in football. hehe.

We had a great time, and want to thank our Church Family, and our family in Decatur, who enabled us to take the couple days to remind ourselves that God demands we serve our marriage before we serve our church. :) Love u all....

Monday, October 15, 2007

In combat of eros...

As a father of 2 girls...this is something that has caught my attention more than it ever has in the past.

As a young boy, girls had cooties. As an awkward pimply pre-teenage boy, girls were unattainable. As a teenage male, females were here to look good for the rest of us, using their looks to tempt or establish control. As a committed married man, this scantily clad woman of culture knocks on the door from so many different angles (movies, music, television, advertising of every nature) that men must be proactive in remaining faithful. But even as difficult as all of that gets...it's a struggle I'm familiar with. It's an issue that I and other men have grown up with, and found ways to honor God and our families by confronting/addressing.

But this other side of the issue, it scares me. The fact that my daughter will grow up on the opposite side of the fence. She will BE the little girl/teenage girl/woman that society will send millions of messages to. She is the little girl that we will love, and remind how incredibly beautiful and loved she is from even this age; in hopes that somehow, no matter her appearance or personality...will be free to be herself in Christ....beautifully.





I don't know much about this Dove Campaign ....but I do know that it has something good in it. Even if it could be viewed as just another way to sell a product....I think I like that it seems to be contributing to society. If you have a little boy...please begin to teach him how to love my daughter. Even if it doesn't end up being mine. Dang. I'm gettin' all sentimental parent-ish. I'm done for now. :)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

self-awareness...

So here is just how cute it can be when a 14 month old realizes the girl she sees on the screen of my phone is herself being recorded....

video


Haven't heard anything from Wheel of Fortune yet...sometime between now and January 17th we'll get our prizes. For now....we look at dishwashers, and do our research, and pay our bills. :)

Meanwhile, life is good. Redwings are doing well. Lovin' these teenagers and their families, and God is revealing new aspects of His heart. Reading some really good stuff (studies in Galatians, Random Design, and a couple others), and listening to some great words from different podcasts lately (Imago Dei, ONU chapels, NTS chapels, etc.). So many great free ways to connect with God.

Fall is great. Any day I can wear a hoodie and flops together is a good day. :)

Monday, October 08, 2007

...broken couches


(from my notes for Sunday's message)
DOMESTICATE:
2. to tame
5. to take (something foreign, unfamiliar, etc.) for one's own use or purposes; adopt.
6. to make more ordinary, familiar, acceptable, or the like


My prayer/goal/etc. is not for a domesticated youth ministry/church/view of God. It is tempting sometimes, though. If we had free pizza, giveaways, big bands, and new games every week…we could grow like crazy. Sing some really catchy rock songs with Jesus in them, buy brand new cushy couches and start a snack shop with wireless internet…..shoot. We’d have teens coming out of our ears. We may have some of these elements over the years, but these will not be our focus.

10 years from now, we may still have one or two of the couches that are downstairs right now. We might still be excited about somebody actually bringing a snack to Sunday School, and I’ll bring the juice. We may have around the same number of teenagers as we have right now. Who knows what the seasons/years of ministry will bring us here? But one thing we do know…God will be the center. God will have control. God will be transforming lives, just as he is right now in our church family.

So what does that look like? In our youth ministry? In our personal lives? In Moundford Free Methodist? In the CHURCH?

What does a FREE, DANGEROUS, INCREDIBLE, UNTAMED, WILD God look like?

1 Kings 18:30-39 – READ FROM NRSV

God CONSUMED the altar that was a place set aside for His presence. Earlier in this chapter it would seem the conditions were perfect….the prophets of Ba’al were doing everything they knew to do in ceremony. Someone watching from the outside might think they had a very successful “ministry”. But nothing happened. But here, even when the conditions were imperfect, being completely drenched with water, because Elijah called on the one true God Himself, genuinely expecting God to show up….He did.

We may have broken couches in our youth ministry. We may have lives where things go wrong all the time. We may make mistakes on a Sunday or Wednesday that remind us that even those on stage are human. We may have messed up as God’s people through the years. There may be a lot of water on the altar…

But Church….if we call upon God…this wild and untamed God. If we call on His name to act in our ministries, in our lives, and in our Church….He WILL show up. And he will consume every inch that we have set aside for Him. And the only response anyone will have is the same as verse 39 – The LORD INDEED IS GOD.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Quick update.....

Hey all...things are going well! I think my 15 minutes of fame has finally subsided into a comfortable realization that I'm still Chadwick Anderson. Minus the few senior citizens who recognize me at the mall here and there....hehe.

NHL HAS BEGUN!! Tonight is Detroit's first game, they're playing against last years' Stanley Cup winners, the Anaheim Ducks. I'm wearing my home jersey, although it's an Yzerman one. My Brett Lebda jersey (my wife got me for my birthday cause she's awesome) is still on it's way in the mail. Hopefully it'll get here by Nov.13th, because I'm going to see the Wings VS. Blues that night. Why Lebda? I believe he's a great hockey player, he's being able to play with legends like Yzerman and Lidstrom and Chelios.....we're the same height/weight/age, and he's from Illinois. He's signed a 4 year contract, so he'll be around a while, which means he could really be a long term great just like Yzerman someday.

In other news, if you haven't discovered "Yo, Gabba Gabba" yet...you really need to. It's a show for parents and toddlers/babies to watch together, put on a funny hat, and sing-along. It's made by these really cool people who are ACTUALLY parents of young ones, so it definitely connects, cause they try it on their own kids! Here's one of my favorite songs from the show: (wish it helped me eat my veggies)