Thursday, June 29, 2006

The Spiritual Life (Another Imperfect Analogy)

Since I've been in Miami, I've been running every day on the beach. I love it! The first day we got here I really felt like God was speaking to me while I was running. He didn't say anything....He just let me run.....A real long way......So this is what happenned. But first, a good Word.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body.
2 Corinthians 4:7-11


I pose.
I flex.
BIG muscles....yeah right.
Click Click
"Seeya when you get back"
I start running.
The sand is soft.
The water is warm
My legs are loaded.
First beach in over a year.
I'm excited and confident.
I'm gonna run to the end of this beach.

There are so many hotels!
They are so marvellous.
But not for a beach.
I wonder where they end?
I bet at that big one.
That's how far I'll run.
Yeah! It's not even that far.
I bet there'll be a park.
Maybe some grass and dunes
And trees. Palm trees.
It'll be real nice.
It'll be just like home.

I look to the sand.
Cratered by footprints.
Remnants of sweet adventures.
I look to the water.
Tiny ripples but no waves.
An infinite invitation for a runner.
I wonder where it ends?
It's gonna feel great when i stop.
Stop running?
I could go for days!
Forrest Gump style!
I am free and alive.

Ten minutes pass.
This is so pretty.
I could write about this!
I could live at a beach.
I will live at a beach!
And run everyday!
I will be at one with nature.
I will be so healthy and buff!
My wife will like that.
I bet i've run pretty far.
I'm not even tired yet.
That big hotel is getting pretty close.

Twenty minutes pass.
This sand is getting soft
Real soft. Harder to run.
There are rocks i have to dodge.
There are people in my way.
Up the dune. Softer sand.
Two pretty girls.
I never look back.
This beach aint got nothin' me.

Thirty minutes pass.
I'm covered in sweat.
I've been running on an angle.
That must be bad for my feet.
I wonder where my parents are?
They're probably wondering where i am.
Too bad. I'm gonna make it to the end.
You still feeling good?
Ouch! Stepped on a rock.
I like pain!!!
I'm still not at that big hotel.
Not too far now. I'll make it.

Should be spending time with mum.
I've ran pretty far.
I still feel good.
The end will be worth it.
Trees. Palm trees. Home.
Suddenly I stop.
I start walking.
Why did i stop?
I stand.
I see Eden Roc Hotel.
How imperfect is this?
There are a lot of people here.

I walk out into the water.
Oh this feels good!
My body cools.
My feet soothe.
I walk out deeper.
I see the big hotel.
I walk out further.
I see more hotels.
And no palm trees.
Then, I realize where I am.
I emerse my sore body.
This must be heaven.


I'm not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don't get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I've got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I'm off and running, and I'm not turning back.
Phillippians 3:12-14


Then I realize I have to run back.
I swim back to shore.
I walk out on the hot sand.
My body is aching.

I pose.
I flex.
Lots of wierd looks.
Oh well.
I start running.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Update! Update!

Beautiful cloud over Houston sunset

So it's about time i gave an much has happenned in the last couple of weeks that i've kinda been putting it off.....i guess that just means more stuff to update on....

So camp was an amazing time. I had the chance to really get to know a lot of the kids in our youth group at Cypress Creek, but also a lot of the kids in the area Disciples churches . I was the co-leader of a small group, and the laughing stock of the whole camp! I gotta admit though....i kinda brought it on myself, being Australian and all.....hehehe. Well, i also wore a bunch of "orange head accessories" as one camper called it. I had two orange hats, plus i brought an orange scarf.....which i ended up wearing on my head.

My buddy Isaac from Camp. Please be praying for him.

There were so many stories that came out of that camp that i'd be crazy to try write them all down. The most fulfilling parts for me was definately the small group time and the worship. Some of the discussions that took place in our group were really well. They definately challenged my faith, and hopefully deepened some of the campers. The worship times were excellent too. I got to befriend an amazing couple: Chris and Janelle Henderson, who led the worship sessions every day. Just being able to interact and fellowship with them was so rewarding, and them allowing me to lend some of my musical gifts was the greatest gift for me at that camp. I really feel like it helped me develop a greater passion for worship and getting involved.

Me and Chris jammin during some free time
After a week of camp, and life away from reality (it's really should try it sometime!), we came back to another crazy week of full on work in youth ministry at Cypress Creek. Not only are we frantically preparing for mission trip (in the second week of July), but we also had a bunch of programs this week. Tuesday we had Altered practice (our youth band which has two gigs in Dallas in July), Wednesday was bible study (we got through Daniel Chp 2, and the mini-van got a new paint job), and Thursday was TAN DAY!! One of the coolest service days i've ever been on (i wrote about it on our church youth blog

Me snarfing (inhaling) some chocolate pudding out of a styrofoam cup!
Friday and Saturday were also AMAZING! Friday.....i managed to accomplish absolutely NOTHING AT ALL!!! It was a great feeling. Saturday i wrote a couple emails and played some cards and dominoes with Mary Beth and Pat. I tried to teach them Hand and Foot, but i think i messed up somehow....i'm gonna have to get the Gilberts to help me out with that.

Today was pretty awesome though. After church we had a ground breaking for the new youth building which will be completed within a year (i think). Then Sunday School, and youth group tonight which was awesome. It was a worship night, and i got to lead. I think it was the first time i've ever felt confident leading worship, and feeling good about it when it was done. It was a great night where we really focused on the lyrics, intertwined with scripture, and some good prayer time. It was much needed for me.....i pray that the kids felt the same.
Chelsey, Lindsey and Jenica re-doing the soccer mum mini-van.
So thats got to be the shortest version of a two week update i've ever done! I'm hoping to get a video up on here pretty soon of the church where i work.....that will be coming. Also! Tommorrow i leave for MIAMI!!!! I'm off to see my MUM!!!! I'm so excited.....i haven't seen here in over a year now, and there is so much we will catch up on. I'm thinkin a lot of beach time too! I can't wait! Please be praying about that!

Well that's about all i guys have a great week, hopefully i can update from Miami....Love you guys. God Bless

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Rainy Day, Happy God (and dog!)

I came home from the church a couple of days ago and there was a dog out running in the rain. As i pulled up and got out of my car, it came up to me and jumped up on me like it was so happy to see me. It started running around in a playful attitude like it wanted to play. As it ran through our grass, beads of water and shards of green would get thrown up into the air, and it was a beautiful site. It was a pretty dog, and it looked like it was having so much fun out in the rain.

I couldn't help but stand out there and play with it for a while. All i had to do was stamp my feet and it would go off running like i was behind it, playing tag or something. It would then come to a stop, where if i stomped it would go! It just seemed so happy to have someone show it some attention and play with it in the rain.

After i went inside and showered up, had something to eat, played the piano for a bit, talked to Pat and Mary-Beth, a friend showed up to take me to another friends house to hang out for the night. We walked outside and got in the car, but as i was opening my door, the dog appeared out of nowhere!!! It must have hung around outside for a good 3 hours waiting for me to come back out!! I felt a lot of emotion for that pup as we drove off, and it stood in the middle of the road, still looking as playful as ever, and happy to be out and about.

There are many days where i marvel at God's creation, and how it continues to astound us and remind us of his presence. As I was playing with that dog the other day, i really felt like God was there.....maybe not in me, but somewhere in that dog. Like a good friend, it came out of nowhere and was so happy to see me, it played with me almost in an attempt to lift my spirits as high as it's were, and it hung around to make sure I was doing ok, and having a good time, even if it wasn't involved.

I wasn't particularly feeling down, or depressed or upset that day, but this dog didn't seem to care. It just wanted to make sure i was as happy as I could be, or at least excited as it was to be free.....out and roaming in the world.......being itself......even in the rain.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Off to camp!


Just thought i'd update to say that I'm going to be away at a camp this week with all the area high-school kids from the Disciples of Christ church. It's going to be an awesome week, with lots of fun planned....but i hope that God's plan for this week will reveal itself to everyone in a big way.

I really would appreciate if you could pray for our campers this week, as we get to spend a week away from reality this week. I know its going to be a good break for them, and i pray so much that the Holy Spirit will become a permanent mark on many kids lives this week.

Please pray for me and the rest of the adults too, that our endurance and strength will last this week. That even after the blistering heat and day full of rowdy activities, we would be able to make time for the kid that has a late night question about why we exist!

~God, I thank you so much for this oppurtunity. I pray that you would bless this week; that relationships would be able to grow; that the rational could take a backseat to the divine; that your love may be shared in a life-altering way; that Christ would show his face to each and every youth. I praise you for this oppurtunity. I love you Lord. Amen~

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Can you bear it?

No!!!! The urge is too strong.......mmmust...tttouch...ccarving!!! Argghhhh!!

I went to go get my passport in order a couple of days ago (it expires in July), and i had to go
down to downtown Houston to find the Australian consulate. I was driving around for a while down there, before i finally found the place inside a small, almost residential looking, art gallery! It was a showcase of Aboriginal art, with a small office on the side which i guess they call the consulate. I actually walked in the office thinking it was another part of the gallery, when i saw the consulate general sitting behind a small desk!

"Whoops! i guess i'll come back later!"

All that aside....there was this really cool crocodile carving, with an even cooler warning beside it. I'm kinda looking forward to going back next week to re-submit my passport app. (since i didn't have all the paperwork). Maybe i could touch the carving!!!! Nooo!!! Must resist the urge!!!!

What's kind of funny, now that i think about it, is that our first bible study kind of tied into all that. We've started a study on the book of Daniel; we went over the first chapter yesterday. It talks about how Daniel and his posse were taken from their families Jerusalem, cross-country to Babylon to start a three-year study program so they could be advisors to the king over there. A bunch of other people were brought over too. They were all given the finest food and wine to drink and a great education. But Daniel decided that he wasn't going to accept the food and wine; it went against his religious laws, and felt it was displeasing God. So he negotiates with the officials and pulls a deal:

"Test us for ten days on a diet of vegetables and water," Daniel said. "At the end of the ten days, see how we look compared to the other young men who are eating the king's rich food. Then you can decide whether or not to let us continue eating our diet." So the attendant agreed to Daniel's suggestion and tested them for ten days.
(To demonstrate what this must have been like for Daniel, i made our group eat Vegemite on crackers!)

After ten days, they were stronger and healthier than the rest of the recruits, and God blessed them for their obedience with a lot of wisdom, so they could understand their education far better than the rest.

I really felt like that step of faith Daniel took can really apply to a lot of us today. We are constantly told that everything in moderation is a good thing. The problem is, that "everything", apparentley applies to EVERYTHING: alcohol, drugs, sex...etc. I really don't think most of us realize how even "a little" of these things can change the course of our lives, or even influence the course of others.

It's also interesting that we use that phrase to rationalize the things we do that go against our beliefs......*I'm the first guilty culprit*. I'm so glad Jesus didn't come down and say ".....but the greatest of these commandments is to enjoy everything is moderation!" I get the feeling he wanted us to love in excess, not by becoming apart of the crowd or the pressure to follow a cultural norm, but by loving God and others. And especially yourself. Somehow, i think Daniel understood that.

Well, i'm glad i got that out of my system.....haven't done that in a while. Hope everyone is having a good week! I'm missin my Kansas peeps!