March 25, 2007

Downs & Ups

Once again the March Madness brackets have been a humbling experience. once again I was in first place after the first day and then fell an amazing 50 some places onto the second page of our listings. Once again, my stinking brother will defeat me. Most amazingly my sister is in first place having correctly selected all four of the final four teams. Life is in warp speed right now as I try to finish my reading, two sermons and two papers for the semester. I am very much enjoying getting to know the Westgate family as I am visiting two to three couples/ individuals a week. Our home fellowship group are preparing to host a prayer room the Tuesday of Holy Week (April 3). If you have any ideas or have experienced a prayer room before, let us know by leaving a comment. We promise to be more faithful once the semester is over and we have moved. Love for you to pray for us concerning that as our budget will be tight and housing is EXTREMELY expensive out of here. Out of control expensive. Oh well. We know that if God has called us here, he will provide the right place for us. Take care everybody!

March 13, 2007

1,005 Days and Counting

Last Thursday, March 8, Kim and I celebrated our 1,000th day of marriage. Although Kim didn't know it, I knew it. We ate dinner in Boston's South end near the theater district. We ate at Masa's; a swank, trendy, no one over 40 admitted (at least it seemed like that) place to be. We ate in the two person booth in the middle of the picture. Kim had the tuna and said it was the absolute best tuna she has ever had beating out the great tuna she had in Costa Rica on our honeymoon. I had the steak frites and they were marvelous. We do not go into to Boston to eat all that often. Perhaps a few times a year when we have guests visiting. It was a great treat. My mother will be happy to know that we used the gift certificates that she gave us for Christmas of '05. I wanted to use it for a special night rather than any old time and last Thursday was that night.

March 06, 2007

God's Names & Ours

Tonight for our home fellowship, I plan on speaking to our group about the many names that God has given us to describe Himself in the Bible. Here is a great website with many of those names: It includes Scriptural references as well. Some of my favorites are Jehovah-Shalom: "The LORD our Peace," Jehovah-Tsidkenu: "The LORD our Righteousness," and El Roi, "God of Seeing." Since many of the kids in our group don't realize that Biblical names revealed an aspect of that person, I am going to have the meanings of all the kids' names in the group, and we shall see if they can guess who's name means what. For a great site to find out the etymology and history of first names, check out: Two questions: 1. Do you have a favorite name for God? 2. What does your name mean?

March 01, 2007

Jr. High Sunday School

One of my unexpected duties at the church has been to be the temporary Jr. High guy. I am leading the Friday night youth group and the Sunday school as well. Friday night "Stuff" is pretty set as I have found a great interactive series that goes through specific books of the Bible. We will be going through Galatians and Philippians.

But for Sunday morning we decided that one of the best things we could do was to teach them how to meet with God daily (a.k.a. "quiet time," "personal worship," etc.). My hope is to teach them one aspect of what that looks like each week and then to do a "quiet time" with them in the classroom with the hope that they then could take it and do it during the week with an excitement that might be missing at their age.

Below are my thoughts concerning what I hope their time looks like generally speaking. Talking with Bruce, the other associate pastor, I think we felt that if we can have them commit to ten minutes a day, it would be a great success. So I am looking for feedback from my faithful readers as to your thoughts on the following outline that I am going to give to the kids, practice with them and explain to them over the next three months. Do you practice these things? Is there something I could add or may not be necessary? Thanks for your comments.

Meeting Daily with God

1. Because God loves meeting with you and spending time with you
2. To get to know God better and enjoy Him
3. Help us discover how God wants us to live
4. Help us survive the daily "stuff" of life

The Necessities
-Make a commitment to God to meet with him daily
-Create a plan: a quiet place, a quiet time, What will you do?, What will you read? etc.
-Have the right attitude going into it or ask God to give you that right attitude.

1. Prepare to meet with God (1 minute)*
1. Ask God to search you for anything you need to confess to Him.
2. Confess all known sins
3. Thank Him for his forgiveness and acceptance of you
4. Ask for the Holy Spirit’s help during this time and for the rest of the day.

2. Worship God (2 minutes)
-Here are some ideas:
-Sing to God
-Play an instrument to God
-Read a Psalm back to God
-Praise him (tell him what you love about him)
-Something else? Light a candle, write a prayer, draw etc.

3. Listen to God (4 minutes)
1. Read the Bible from your reading plan (slowly, at least 2 or 3 times)
2. Ask what’s the main point of this passage?
3. Reflect on what God may be saying to you through this passage’s main point.

4. Talk with God (3 minutes)
1. About what you just read, how you can apply it and to give you the strength to live it out in your life.
2. Share with Him what’s on your mind, what’s bothering you, worrying you, what your excited about, what your thankful for, whatever!
3. Pray for others (maybe make a prayer list); ask Him to show you how you could help meet someone’s need.
4. Ask God to open your eyes so you can see Him at work around you and to show you how you can join in.

5. Live out your faith and Look for God at work around you throughout the day!

[Other Ideas you could use]
-Journal your way through your quiet times:
-Spend time really focusing on an important verse/ phrase/ word of the Bible and repeating it to yourself.
-Use your body: raising your hands to God, clapping, bowing down, kneeling, lying down before him, etc.
-Memorize a verse or a passage.
-When you pray, don’t talk the whole time. Spend part of it just being quiet before God listening to Him and sensing what God’s Spirit may be saying to you and then ask Him about it.
-Be flexible. Don’t feel like you have to do it the same way every time. Try out some other ideas.

*Time can certainly vary and you can adjust as you see fit, but make sure to include 1-4 during your time.