Why the Grass Makin’ Noise?

Kasen & Daddy slept in the Tent

Our family took a quick trip to McKinney Falls with some friends this past weekend and Kasen (my 2 and a half year old) and I slept in a tent one night. We had a great conversation as we settled down for the night. Here’s how it went:

Daddy: Kasen, you know who loves you??
Kasen: Yeah.
Daddy: Who?
Kasen: Daddy does.
Daddy: You know who else loves you?
Kasen: Mommy.
Daddy: You know who else?
Kasen: Kasen.
Daddy: You love yourself??
Kasen: Yeah. (laughing)
Daddy: and Kesleigh loves you too.

We continued through the rest of the family – grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.

Daddy: And do you know who loves you more than anybody else? Jesus.
Kasen: Why he love me?
Daddy: Cause you’re his little boy just like you’re daddy’s little boy.
Kasen: Where is Jesus?
Daddy: He’s right here.
Kasen: No he’s not. (laughing)
Daddy: Yeah, he’s right here. You just can’t see him.
Kasen: He in tent?
Daddy: Yeah.
Kasen: Why He in tent?
Daddy: Cause He loves you and wants to be with you. He likes being with you.
Kasen: I’m sittin’ on Jesus.
Daddy: You’re sittin’ on Jesus?
Kasen: Yeah (giggling)

pause…

Kasen: Why the grass makin’ noise?
Daddy: Those are crickets. They’re makin’ noise ’cause they’re happy.
Kasen: Why they makin’ noise?
Daddy: ‘Cause God took care of them today. They’re trying to tell Jesus how much they love Him.
Kasen: I make noise for Jesus too.
Then he let out a big scream. Aaahhh!!
We laughed together.

I’m so glad that I’m able to have these kinds of conversations with my son. I look forward to the future as he is able to grow in his understanding of God and our conversations grow deeper. I pray that he remains inquisitive. I pray that he also keeps “sittin’ on Jesus” and “makin’ noise for Jesus.”

Lingering Love

I’ve been thinking about my dad quite a bit lately. I guess it makes sense. Father’s Day was this past month. The anniversary of my dad’s death was this month too. It’s been 13 years, but grief is weird. I feel like I’ve dealt with my dad’s death and life still goes on, but grief still gives me a kick here and there. Lately, it’s been a little more frequent. Probably ’cause I’m a father myself now. Anyway, grief shows up at the strangest times. Always unexpected.

Dad and Kasen

The other day, Kasen (2yrs) put on a sailor hat that my mother-in-law bought for him at Pearl Harbor. He was laughing and giggling and it was a ton of fun, but in one split second he looked at me with this sort of sideways grin – it was small, but still enough for me to recognize my dad in him. I teared up briefly, but didn’t let on how I was feeling until later when the kids were asleep in the car. I was telling Miranda about the experience and cried thinking about how I wish dad could have seen Kasen, and how I wish Kasen could have known his grandpa. Grief gave me a kick that day.

Dad in his boxing days.

I got another “grief kick” on Father’s Day. I had an interesting conversation with my father-in-law, Mike about my dad’s hard head. I was telling him about how my dad won his first boxing match which was televised. He won by technical knock out ’cause the other guy broke his hand on my dad’s jaw. That’s right. You heard (well read) correctly. My dad was tough. I could just picture him taunting the guy, “Come on. Just hit me.” And when he does, he breaks his hand. That’s a hard head.

There’s another story I heard about the first date he and my mom went on. He was taking her to the movies, but on the way, there was a guy stranded on the side of the road. Dad was trying to impress mom, so he stopped to offer his help. Well. . .he stopped to show her how good of a guy he was and the stranded guy was just gonna benefit from my dad’s flirtatious efforts. Anyway, the guy was drunk and broke a beer bottle over my dad’s head. When dad didn’t flinch or fight back and just stared back at him, the guy ran back and locked himself in his own car so dad couldn’t get him. That’s a hard head.

As I’ve thought about these things and told these stories over the past month or so, I’ve experienced grief. “Grief kicks” aren’t all bad though. They remind you of who you are, of where you’re from. They remind you of the things you treasure and help remind you to reorient your life to the things that matter. Grief is nothing more than a lingering love. I’m so grateful for my dad. Everything I am or will ever be is influenced by him. Truth is. . .Everything my kids will be is influenced by him too – they just don’t know it. They will never know their grandpa. (at least here on earth) But their grandpa is alive in them. And I am grateful.

Prayer: LORD, thank you for the grief you sent me recently. I’m reminded of the incredible love You gave to me through my dad. I remember the way he loved me, the way he played, the way he smiled sideways…I love him. I miss him. But I’m grateful for his influence in my life. For who I am. For who my children are. I’m grateful to You God for him. And I’m grateful to him for helping me see and know You God. LORD, let me be a great dad to my children. May they see You in the way that I live. And may they see You in spite of the way I live too. For I am weak and in need of You. LORD, thank you for letting us experience lingering love in grief.

Vandal

The Evidence

Our house is vandalized every time we go out of town and it was defaced once again this week when we returned from vacation. The vandal is Katie King. Each time we leave, Katie watches our dog and housesits. As we go out the door, I always tell her in my most sarcastic tones to be sure to clean up the mess if she has a party so we don’t find out about it. Once, she actually placed an empty beer keg in the bathtub for our return. This time, she defaced our living room by hanging a poster of herself above our mantle so we “would never forget her.” (She’s moving away to go to school this August.) 

We met Katie 6yrs ago when we moved to Lake Jackson. She was one of the youth at the church, but since those first few months, she’s truly become part of our family. The hoodlum terrorizes our house by maliciously spray painting laughter on our walls & kidknapping our hearts. She’s always a ton of fun and has truly been a blessing for our family. She loves our kids and they love her. One of Kasen’s first words was, “Tay Day” (Katie) and Kesleigh loves to fall asleep in her arms. She has spent countless hours watching our kids so Miranda and I can get other things done. When we need someone to pick up the mail or feed Peanut, our dog, Katie is always ready to help. She’s got a real servant’s heart. I honestly don’t know what life would be like without her. We are excited for her to begin her new life in August, but we’re going to miss her. We’ll miss her laughter, her help, her smile, and even her vandalism. Truth is: The world could use a few more vandals like Katie.

rePost: I Want to Teach

family 02smTeacher’s Prayer:
I want to teach my students how to live this life on earth.
To face it’s struggles & it’s strife & to improve their worth.
Not just the lesson in a book or how the rivers flow,
But how to choose the proper path wherever they may go.
To understand eternal truth and know the right from wrong,
And gather all the beauty of a flower and a song.
For if I help the world to grow in wisdom and in grace,
Then I shall feel that I have won & I have filled my place. .
And so I ask your guidance, God, that I may do my part.
For character and confidence and happiness of heart.
– James J. Metcalf


As an 18yr veteran of full-time youth ministry, I have decided that I want to move into the educational system. I’m NOT just looking for a job, but a position that I can passionately pursue – one that I’m excited to do each day – one where I can truly make a difference in the world and impact/influence people. A teaching position seems to be the direction that God has been leading my wife and I. There are a couple of reasons:

1. I love working with students and this would put me with them every day. I have also always had an ability to connect with students who were different from the average “church-going” type of student and look forward to being able to work with them more regularly.

2. I believe my varied youth ministry experiences will be a huge asset in an educational environment. I have experience teaching, counseling, writing curriculum, training other teachers, leading groups, and supervising people. I also have experience with multimedia, interactive learning, team building, group work, and other creative teaching strategies.

I have completed the “act houston” Winter 2010 Institute for alternative certification and passed the 4-8th Generalist content exam with a score of 282 out of 300. This makes me “highly qualified” and eligible for a Probationary Certificate from the State of Texas.

I have a Bachelor of Science in Biblical Leadership from the College of Biblical Studies and have written many articles describing my philosophies/ideas about leadership. Some were even published by smallgrouptrader.com. If you’re interested, you can check out some of these articles here:

Leadership:
Leadership Compass & Teaching
Lions and Leadership
Little Shovel
Bottom Leaders
Changing a Culture
Wizard of Oz Leadership
SmallGroupTrader
Bio:
Steve Corn

Articles:
I Don’t Know What We should Study
Leadership is Service
Practical Ways to Connect as a Group

During this time in our lives, God has granted us peace. I’m not sure how to explain it, (Jesus is the “Peace that passes understanding.” Philippians 4:7) but we are resting in the fact that He has never let us down and that as His children, He loves us. We don’t know how we’re going to survive and keep our house from one month to the next, but we feel that He is leading us down this road toward a teaching position. I ask for your prayers, your advice, and your help. We need our friends (the body of Christ) to help us through this difficult time. Galatians 6:2 says, “Carry each others burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

Proverbs 3:5-6 – “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.”

Want to contact me?
Steve Corn
Dv84JC@yahoo.com
979-415-4522 (cell)

Dream Apnea

I’ve had sleep apnea for years.

For those who don’t know: (If you already have an understanding, skip ahead to the “bold” section.) Sleep apnea keeps you from entering REM sleep (when dreaming occurs) and eventually causes heart problems. Someone with sleep apnea holds his/her breath while sleeping which causes a lack of oxygen to the brain. At church camp one year, my “friends” (thanks Throne Together) recorded me holding my breath for up to a minute. I went for years without dreaming ’cause I wasn’t really sleeping. I used to fall asleep at the strangest moments too. I walked around tired all the time since I wasn’t really resting at night.

Since our health insurance wouldn’t cover a sleep test or any treatment, I ignored it for over 5 years. Eventually a good friend gave me a CPAP machine to try. I’ve been using it for a year or so now and it has changed my life. The CPAP gives me a constant flow of oxygen which doesn’t allow me to hold my breath during sleep. In turn, it has allowed me to sleep well again and to actually enter into the deeper stages of sleep. I wake up and remember having dreams again.

OK – here’s my question. What else keeps us from dreaming?? (not actual sleep-dreams, but imagining-a-better-future-type dreams) Does your busy life allow you time to dream? Do you imagine what life could be like if. . . . ??? Do your fears keep you from dreaming?? Are you held back by something else? Do you believe in the person God made you to be? Is there someone else who holds you back or keeps you from dreaming?

Personally, I think we all need a steady flow of down-time to really dream. We have to be intentional about thinking/dreaming/imagining. Mike Ayers, my Biblical Leadership professor, describes it as “staring-out-the-window” time. This world will keep us crazy busy if we’re not intentionally seeking out “smell-the-roses” time.

I also think we’ve gotta have a healthy understanding of who we are in Christ. How can we dream God-sized dreams if we don’t think enough of ourselves or of God? What will it take for us to begin imagining a better future?

A machine helped me dream again. I wonder what other dreams I’ve missed out on??

Ice Cream Run

This pic was taken just a few moments before the ice cream incident. I added the fig leaf so he won't kill me when he's a teenager.

Today, I experienced one of the most hilarious parenting moments of my career so far. Kasen (2yrs old) has become great friends with our neighbor’s kids, Collin and Peyton. Anyway, they have decided that they like peeing outside and Kasen (as well as Collin) is in the early potty training stages. Today, he took off his diaper and was attempting to pee when he heard the ice cream man coming down the street. Before I realized it, he was chasing the truck down the street wearing nothing but his t-shirt!! I was laughing too hard (and looking for the video camera) to run very fast and so he made it at least 6 houses down the street before I caught him. The only reason he stopped is ’cause the ice cream man saw him in his rearview mirror and stopped for a good laugh himself.

PS – Kasen got some ice cream – a bubble gum popsicle.

A Secret

It was an intimate moment. Miranda cupped her hand and leaned in to the ear of our 2yr old son, Kasen. She spoke gently, “Kasen, I have a secret.” He watched her intently. Drawing it out and emphasizing each word, she said, “I. . . love. . . you!” Kasen pushed in close to her saying, “Mommy, I have a secret.” Miranda anticipated the approaching moment and heightened her sense of awareness. She wanted to remember every detail of this one. With the same slow emphasizing pace, Kasen said, “I. . .want. . .candy!”

Ha! Ha! I think it’s hilarious and just had to share it with everyone.

My Second Marriage – An Ancient and Future Wedding

No one plans to have two weddings, but I do. No, I’m not threatening to leave Miranda (and by the way, that’d be the dumbest thing in the world for me to do.) I’m referring to the Wedding of the Lamb (Jesus) to His bride, the church. Although my wedding was amazing, I don’t think it’s gonna be anything compared to this wedding. Bridezillas have nothing on this one. It’s “THE” Wedding. Nothing can compare.

Yesterday, I taught a group of students about all this stuff by looking further at the cultural practices of Ancient Jewish Weddings. I learned the basics of the material from a guy named Dan Kimball who wrote “The Emerging Church” – www.vintagefaith.com. I did a little more studying on the topic and discovered some really cool things. Many of Jesus’ words fly right over our heads ’cause we don’t understand the wedding customs of His day. The connection between the ancient Jewish wedding and the time when Jesus will return (A Future Wedding) are significant. He (the Groom) will return to take the church (the Bride of Christ) as His own. Check out the process for getting married in Jesus’ day: (The bulleted sections refer to the Future Wedding of the Lamb when Jesus returns to take the church as his bride.)

1. Selection of the Bride – The first step in the process was when the father of the groom selected the bride. Young Jewish girls had little say in who they would marry and would dream about who would select them. The groom committed his love to the bride based solely on his father’s decision. The bride loved her groom simply because He had loved her first.

    • It’s good for us to remember that God chose us. Even in the midst of our sin against Him, He still loves us.

Romans 5:8 “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

    • Of course it is out of our response to the love that He offers us that we are able to love Him.

1 Jn 4:19 “We love because He first loved us.

2 Thessalonians 2:13 – “From the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit. . .

2. “Mohar” – The second step in the process is called the “mohar.” This is the price that was paid to the bride and her family. It represented the magnitude of how the groom valued her. The greater the price, the more value they had ascribed to her.

    • For us, we should remember that Jesus (the groom) paid the ultimate price for us with His own life. This is proof that we are incredibly valuable to God.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 “You are not your own; You were bought with a price.

3. “Ketubah” – After paying the “mohar,” the groom would offer the bride a list of promises (called a ketubah) which he was committing to her for the life of their marriage. (like the vows we take in the modern wedding)

    • Jesus has also given us many promises. The Bible is full of them. Here’s a short list:

I will never leave you or forsake you.” – Deut 31:6

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” – Matt 11:28

I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life.” – John 6:47

You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” – Gal 3:26

4. Gifts – The groom would give her gifts to remind her of his love while he was away. (see step 6) Today, we exchange rings as reminder of our love and commitment for one another.

    • Jesus gave us gifts too.

Romans 12:6 – “We have different gifts, according to the grace given us.

    • These gifts come in the form of spiritual gifts like serving, administration, compassion, teaching, etc and also in the form of other people (the church) that He has brought into our lives. And of course the greatest gift He gave us is His Holy Spirit.

John 14:26 says, “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

5. Wine – Next, the groom would offer a cup of wine (Cup of Redemption) to his girl. If she accepted his offer, then she would drink of the cup without saying a word. This act ceremonially sealed the engagement before he left. (check step 6)

Mark 14:23-24 – “Then he [Jesus] took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, and they all drank from it. ‘This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,’ he said to them.

    • Did you realize that every time we receive communion, Jesus is proposing? Essentially, this is the picture that Jesus was giving the disciples that night. He’s going to leave for a while and so He is sealing the engagement.

6. Groom Leaves – He leaves to prepare the wedding chamber. Typically this would last about a year, but the groom could not decide when he was ready to come back for his bride. This decision was made by his father. Most grooms would typically want to rush through the preparations to “get on with” the honeymoon, so their fathers would decide when the chamber was ready.

    • Jesus has left us to prepare a place for us too. John 14:2-3 says,

In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

    • Also check out Matthew 4:26. Jesus is speaking of the time that he’ll return and he says,

No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

    • This sure sounds a lot like the tradition from the Jewish wedding to me.

This is not a “mikvah” but an ancient tub that I sat in at Masada. Although similar, a mikvah is typically much larger.

7. “Mikvah” – While the groom is away preparing a place, the bride is at home preparing herself. The “mikvah” was a ritual bath that the bride would take in order to set her apart “from the world” and “for her groom.” Symbolically, she was saying, “My old life is gone and the new one has come.”

    • Our baptism is our “mikvah.” It is the time when we decide to “set ourselves apart” for Christ. It is during this time that we are made “new” again.

2 Cor 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

    • In the same way that a modern bride is concerned about the way she will present herself on her wedding day, this time is important for us as believers. It’s the time that we are becoming holy, spotless, pure through the blood of Jesus Christ and his Holy Spirit’s work in our lives. Ephesians 5:25-27 describes the goal of this mikvah saying,

Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.

8. Wedding March – When the day finally came, the groom would gather his friends and together they’d march into town blowing a “shofar” (like a trumpet) and making all kinds of noise to announce their arrival. The louder they were, the more excited and proud the groom was to be able to marry this girl. It was the bride’s job to be ready (to have her lamp trimmed) for when he came.

1 Thessalonians 4:16 – “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God.

Matthew 25:1-13 – It’s our (we are the bride) job to be ready for His arrival.

Rev 19:7 – “Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.

9. Wedding Ceremony – In most cases a “chuppah” (canopy) was built for the ceremony to be performed under. It symbolized the “covering/blessing” of God on this union. The bride would receive a crown and the couple would drink another cup of wine. (Another custom which was added later is that this cup would then be broken as a symbol of the “bittersweetness” of the day – sweet for the couple, but bitter for their people whose temple had been destroyed.)

    • When Christ returns and gives us our crowns (James 1:12 & Rev 2:10), our union will be complete and we will be with Him forever. Also, remember that when Jesus was in the upper room enjoying the Last Supper, He drank from the first cup (that was the proposal “Cup of Redemption”) and then he said,

I tell you the truth, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it anew in the kingdom of God.

    • This was Jesus’ way of referring to this particular cup of wine found within the wedding ceremony. He was saying, I’m gonna leave you, but I’ll be back and we’ll drink again for the wedding ceremony. (It also interesting to note that the Passover meal normally required them to drink of the cup one more time. When Jesus skipped it, he was purposefully trying to help them see this larger “wedding” symbol instead of the regular Passover symbols.) As the cup is destroyed, we can remember that we will no longer need it for communion – we’re already communing with Him.

10. Wedding Feast – There was one final step in the wedding process. The party time! It usually lasted for about a week. The couple would consummate their marriage in a room with the best man standing guard as the guests partied outside. Wow!! Talk about pressure.

    • This is the time after we are joined with Christ forever and begin the eternal party with Him. Read Rev 19:6-9 and  check out who is invited to the wedding in Rev 3:20 – the normal/poor people.

Below is a chart I created to help put all of this together. The “Modern Wedding” section may have the pieces in a different order, but each part coincides with something from the Ancient Jewish Wedding too. (Click on it or download it to see it in full resolution.) Ultimately, the main lesson here is for our own future wedding with Jesus as the groom. Better get ready!!