Haiti Update- Day 5

17 07 2011

3 hour church services are incredible!! Our students sang louder, clapped longer, and praised God like I’ve never seen from High Schoolers before.

After the Haitian pastors led us in many songs and prayers and taught a few different messages, our team was introduced to the congregation. We were thanked for all the hard work and time we put into painting their church. Our students led worship and we had one student share his testimony. They all did a fantastic job. The crazy part is that round 2 is coming up in about an hour!!

We found out early this morning we would have another church service. Clint will be teaching, our students will lead worship, and one more member of our team will share her testimony at the evening gathering tonight.

After church this morning the guys finished painting while the girls finished the garden project and sewed some mattress covers together. All of our physical labor is officially complete.

It has been really cool to see how everything has come together so well on this trip. God has orchestrated an awesome experience for our students and I’m very excited to hear their final hi’s and low’s from this week.

Tomorrow we will be taking a sabbath at the beach to rest, process, and debrief.

Prayer Requests:
1. Pray for our conversations tomorrow. There is a lot to process and think through and we know tomorrow is just the beginning.
2. Pray for peace and clarity for our team. There will be a lot of unanswered questions tomorrow.
3. Pray for rest. They definitely deserve it.
4. Pray for safety as we travel to the beach tomorrow and for continued health.

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Talking Pet Rocks

14 04 2011

When I was five or six years old my grandfather gave me a Birthday present I will never forget.  Grandpa always gave great gifts while we were kids. We may not have recognized them as “great” at the time, but they were. Trust me.

My grandpa is a very skilled craftsman. He was a mechanic for something like 50 years before he retired and has never really stopped working on cars. He’s good with his hands (which always happen to be dirty and infused with grease somehow). There is another side to my grandpa that I didn’t always know about though. He’s extremely creative. I mean you would never think a retired mechanic would be someone who would create floral stained glass windows and lamp shades.  But like I said, he is creative and really good with his hands. He also has a great sense of humor.

These characteristics and abilities  shaped one of the most unforgettable presents I have ever received. You see, I had been asking for a pet that year. I wanted a dog, or a cat, or snake, or lizard or something I could call my own. Everyone knew I wanted a pet but no one came through. Somehow I knew my grandpa wouldn’t let me down. I just thought it was weird that he wrapped my pet up as tightly as he did. As I ripped through the paper, in a manner that would have undoubtedly killed any living creature within it, I realized I didn’t get what I expected. I definitely got a pet but not the kind I wanted.

“Pet Rocks” have now been an active part of my family for around 20 years. Maybe active is the wrong word, but they’re definitely still there somewhere. Inside of a handmade cage was a family of four. Four rocks, 8 eyes, and a label on the outside describing my new pets. I laughed and wasn’t disappointed at all. The gift meant something and I loved it.

Well, this Sunday is Palm Sunday. It’s one of those weekends where the church remembers an event or occurrence in the Bible. This particular Sunday remembers the day Jesus went down the road on the Mount of Olives. It is talked about in all four of the gospels but I want to focus on the passage in Luke a little bit. At one point the text says,

Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

Whenever I read this verse I think of my Pet Rocks. I don’t ever remember them crying out. I didn’t think they could. As we read through the story of Jesus’ triumphant entry we see a King who is worthy of worship. A king who has all the authority and doesn’t need us to proclaim his kingship for it to be true or real. Consequently, if we don’t acknowledge or proclaim his authority the stones will. That’s how big of a king he is. Inanimate objects will cry out His name.

I don’t know about you but I don’t want to give rocks a voice. I don’t want to be woken up one night by my pet rocks worshiping my Savior because I fail to do so. Jesus is another gift that meant something. Actually, it was a gift that means everything. He’s king and he deserves my worship. Pray for us as we try and communicate that message this weekend.





A refuge from bad religion…

18 02 2011

I meet with A LOT of people. I’ve been meeting with all sorts of different individuals fairly consistently for the last 4 years and I remember a lot of the conversations. Most of the time I don’t remember exactly what is said or discussed but I could give you an overall theme of the meeting.

About 3 months ago I met with someone that said something I will remember for a while. I was interviewing a potential volunteer staff and began to talk to her about her past experiences in a different church. At Cornerstone, we hear a lot about people who are recovering and healing from what someone else on my staff calls “church crap”. Actually, as we discuss our Core Values at Cornerstone I think this may be a huge part of it. Our leaders are constantly explaining that “We (Cornerstone Fellowship) are a refuge of healing for people who have been hurt by bad religion.”

Well this person was definitely recovering from “church crap” and “bad religion”. As she explained her experiences and hurt from a previous church/pastor she made the following statement:

“Some pastors don’t have enough charisma to be cult leaders so they become pastors.”

I was a little taken back by this statement, to say the least. After she said what she did, she quickly pointed out other pastors she has met who are great leaders and are doing exactly what God has called them to. However, the statement she made sat with me for a while and as I reflected on it and thought through it a bit I realized a few thing I am thankful for.

1) I’m thankful to be a part of a healthy church. Cornerstone is definitely a refuge of healing for people who have been hurt by bad religion. Our staff and our congregation are filled with people rehabbing from past church injuries and when you become a part of this family there is a definite sense of peace and restoration.

2) I’m thankful for the pastors and leaders throughout my life that have sought God’s heart and will as they lead. I feel privileged to know extraordinary pastors and leaders that live their lives as humble servants. They have surrendered their lives to God and unceasingly allow God to work through them. I was raised by pastors like this, I was mentored by pastors like this, and I get to work with pastors like this on a daily basis.

3) I’m thankful for the opportunity to change that perception. Everyday I understand more and more the responsibility we have as leaders and pastors. God is doing incredible work in the Church today and it is happening through selfless, humble, and faithful leaders and I hope we continue to allow God to lead through us and move closer and closer to the shepherds described in 1 Peter 5:2-4.

“Whoever speaks on their own does so to gain personal glory, but he who seeks the glory of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him.” John 7:18

“Turn my heart toward your statutes
and not toward selfish gain.” Psalm 119:36





Envy

2 12 2010

This is from something I wrote months ago.  I was in a rough spot at the time…

Envy and jealousy are a part of me. They are something that I struggle with on a daily basis. I want to be noticed, included, recommended and invested in like everyone else I know.  Maybe I’m not the type of person that they want to talk to. Maybe I don’t have any thing to add to them. Maybe I am really worried about my self worth.

I think that is probably what it comes down to. That or pride. I think recognition is vital. When individuals are recognized, they feel like they are doing a good job. The weird thing is that even if the people I want recognition or approval from were to give me what I wanted, I think they would be pretty annoying to me. Why is it that I feel like I need to be recognized? Can I not find my worth in God? Why is that so difficult for me?

Humility and wisdom are the things that I desire, but sometimes I want the humility and wisdom because someone else has it and I want to be better than them. I’m a messed up individual that has some serious struggles. I don’t spend enough time with God talking about what we are doing together because I don’t include him in what I’m doing “for Him.” Disgusting.

God help me to focus on you more. Thanks for using me in the midst of my imperfections. I’m sorry I do these things, help me to be better. You are in control of my life, it is yours and I want to die to my sin daily. Give me wisdom and understanding because it is what we desire for me. Guide me as I try to stop comparing myself to others. I love you God and I’m thankful for where you have me right now. Thanks for what you are doing at this church and allowing me to be a part of it. Amen.