These are just some pics of some t-shirts I’ve either used or designed over the years for different youth trips and programs. It’s amazing how many memories are conjured up when I look at them.
These are only a few. I can think of some more but I guess I’ve lost the shirts over the years. Let me know if you’ve got any of the missing ones. I’d love to collect pics of them all and post ’em here.
I have been thinking about “noticing” lately. I even wrote a journal for our students which centered on this idea. (Of course most of the material is from Louie Giglio) Anyway, It’s not a new idea but I think the fast-paced world we live in, which bounces us from one activity to the next, has kept us from “noticing” or “stopping to smell the roses.”
(It’s very possible that this has been so heavy on me, ’cause my own life has been so hectic. I’m just getting over a sickness, which may very well have been God’s way of making me slow down and “notice.”)
When will it stop? The answer to that question is – never! We have built a world which will distract us from noticing the things God is doing around us. And Satan loves that we’re “too busy” for God. What’s the old saying? “If Satan can’t make you sin, he’ll make you busy” – or something like that.
Anyway, the bottom line is that if we’re gonna notice God, we’re gonna have to intentional about it. It won’t happen by accident. It will only happen on purpose when we attempt to “notice” Him.
Ps 19:1 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.” But if we never really look into the heavens or at the skies, we could miss Him.
My professor, Dr. Ayers, says that leaders need to have time to “stare out the window.” I think that’s true for everyone. We all need more time staring out the window and looking for God and dreaming of what He wants and imagining how we can be a part of His eternal work.
Take some time to “notice” something today. Give enough time to it, and I feel confident that you’ll know what you were supposed to notice when you notice it. (Is that circular reasoning? Oh well – it’s still true.)
I went on a retreat for men last weekend called Emmaus. The weekend is based on the Scripture (beginning in Luke 24:13) about two men who were traveling to Emmaus. They met Jesus and were talking to Him without even knowing it. When Jesus finally reveals Himself to them, he disappears. The idea is that we would travel together down this same road and Jesus would reveal Himself to us.
Anyway, it was a great retreat. It was really awkward at first being with a bunch of people you don’t know, but it doesn’t take long to begin getting into the routine. Some of the best parts of the experience are supposed to be surprises so I won’t spoil it for anyone, but those were certainly the most memorable moments for me. I have worked in youth ministry for over 20 years now and have been a part of putting things like this together, but it’s been a really long time since I was a participant – since I was just able to sit back and listen and receive from the Lord. It was a refreshing change of pace. Someone asked to sponsor me for Emmaus about 15 years ago and it never seemed to work out as far as a date. I also never made it much of a priority because I had heard about the life-changing experiences that others were having. I knew that I had already given my life to Christ and was already living out my faith, and so I was afraid my experience wouldn’t live up to what they wanted it to be for me. Anyway, after all these years, I have now had the Emmaus experience. I was right – it wasn’t a huge deal for me, but it was certainly a good experience which allowed me to just focus on Him a bit. How could that ever be a bad experience?
The other part I really enjoyed was the discussions around the table. I sat with a bunch of really creative and fun guys. (David, Everett, Scott, Mike, and JJ) I was able to see God in new ways through their eyes and gained perspectives that I would never have seen before. We also had quite a bit of fun with the creative parts of the weekend (posters, skits, and songs). It was encouraging to hear how these guys (who were mostly my own age) were living out their faith and how God was working through their struggles with them. In my own church I have missed having guys my own age around – the good news is that He is bringing more and more of them to us and we’ve found a great small group to be involved with.
There were definitely some parts of the weekend that I did not enjoy too, but it was kinda cool to see God working in spite of it all. Here’s what I mean: On Friday afternoon, we were singing and I started noticing these guys behind me arm in arm swaying back and forth while they sung. Soon more men joined them and eventually it was me and a couple of other guys who were not involved. I felt a certain pressure to join them, but it was way out of my comfort zone – can you say awkward? JJ, one of the guys at my table, called it “Manlove.” Anyway, as I thought about it I realized that there is no place in American culture where this sort of thing happens with men (well, straight men). There is nothing about this behavior that men would really get excited about. As for a retreat and setting the stage for men to interact with God, it shouldn’t work. BUT when you factor God into the whole thing, “All bets are off.” God did move among us. He made His presence known, and in spite of this sort of counter-intuitive approach, God used the efforts of the Emmaus team.
Lord, thank you for the work of the Emmaus team and my fellow walkers – for their servanthood, teachings, discussions, and expressions of love. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to leave my job for a few days to focus on You and for protecting my family while I was away. Allow me to be the man you’ve called me to be at my home, at my job, and in my church, and everywhere I go. Lord, as You did on the road to Emmaus, continue to reveal Yourself and Your ways to me so I can become more like You.
I just saw this picture and thought I better write something. These are some of our best friends in the world. As a matter of fact Miranda and I have both lived in their house at one time or another. No, we weren’t living there at the same time before we were married. Anyway, Jon and Laurie just hosted our group last weekend at their place in Livingston for a retreat. We had a great time and for me, it made me think about how much I’ve really missed them. Anyway, I think God for them. For their friendship, support, love, encouragement – for the laughter, memories, songs, trips, meals, and prayers.