Wednesday, June 30, 2010


The youth worked at one site today and it was also the site for the 'Cow Creek Fire' Headquarters. The youth did some work cleaning up the Middle School and High School-whiped down counters, tables, desks, chairs, vacuumed, and other manual labor like washing windows.
After lunch the youth were able to get a tour of the headquarters and find out what's happening. They got to see the many classrooms that were retro-fitted to be offices for various logistical aspects of this emergency: like medical, communications, maps and imagery, lodging, food/catering, and even a place to shop for more fire-retardent clothing and whatever else they might need.
We found out that sometimes the firefighters are on the mountain for three days at a time-they go in shifts and even go daily for 10 hours, ,when it isn't a three day rotation.
Be sure to check out the article link above and find out what's been happening here to the community.


Last night was another God-filled campfire. As usual, Josh did an amazing job getting us into the mood by singing our praises to God as the sun went down and the fire began to take focus. After a heartfelt song of 'how he loves us' by David Crowder, Chris and I hit it hard! We opened with prayer, scripture, and a story about training elephants-you will have to talk to the youth about more details about their thoughts and reaction.
Did you know that elephants are used in some regions of Asia for labor? For hard labor too-like uprooting trees! They're so useful and powerful...yet at the end of the day of hard work, the owner merely secures their elephant with a rope (twine for them-if that) tied to the their right back leg...which is then tied to a wood post (or stake for them-if that). The interesting thing here is...if an animal that can do great things-like uproot huge trees with deep roots, surely it wouldn't be there in the morning...but they are. The next day, they untie their elephant for another hard days work-fascinating huh? It blew away the youth when we told them, but we weren't done...
We followed it up by talking about 'low expectations' that we have for ourselves and low expectations that society holds for us too. Specifically, concerning teens-they're only expected to get into trouble and not be trusted. A few years ago when a couple of teens wrote a book called 'Do Hard Things' (Alex and Brett Harris) they did a lot of research and found that even Google has low expectations...a few years back, the top search results were: teens and alcohol abuse, teens and drugs, teens and smoking, teens and drinking...just to name a few.
We also mentioned that 'expectations are a self-fulfilling prophecy-whether you think you can or think you're right!' (paraphrased from the book) and that we live in a culture that wants to tell us how to act, how to think, how to look, and how to talk.
Now, I bet you're curious how an elephant stays put-tethered only by something we would consider a stick and some twine. Well, when the elephant is very young the owner trains them-they chain them (their back right leg) to a huge tree (more or less) and when they try to escape, they can't...and the more they try, the chain begins to hurt their foot...after a while, they give up and stop trying. When they're older, they no longer struggle because they have put it out of their mind to try and can be kept by simply tying them with some simple rope to a stake in the ground.
I many of us can relate to this story/analogy? I know it was a powerful one for me and I hope that you will also consider what's holding you back in your relationships-more specifically with God. Are you and I unable to do things because we've been conditioned into a certain way of thinking or have we really maxed our growth? I guess it could come back to the issues of control and sacrifice we all struggle with-change isn't easy because it's uncomfortable and leaves us vulnerable.
Continue to pray for the youth and their 'mountain' experience here at Estes Park.

CLICK HERE to watch the David Crowder Video called 'How He Loves Us'.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


This is my 100th blog post and I'm excited to share something outside of the Mission Trip. Today is our day of rest-our Sabbeth, time with God. I've been reading two books lately: 'The Christian Atheist' by Craig Groeschel and 'Relationships Unfiltered' by Andrew Root. I have been using some of their insight and sharing it with the youth at campfire-I think God ordained this really...why else would it work so well with our goal, theme, and message for the youth? So this won't be a total step away from the Mission Trip itself-rather a 'behind the scene' type of blog post.
Anyway, for our purposes I'm going to share a story and then give the bullet points about influence. Enjoy!
The story begins with a young lady starting her first month of her sophomore year-she's reflecting on how things are so much better...her grades are up and she likes her roommates. Last year was a mess, but no one would've known by the facade she played. Since 8th grade she knew things were different at home-her mom and dad's relationship went from a playful and flirty kind of love to a coldness that was evident to everyone.
While she was worried, she kept herself busy so that she wouldn't focus on the worry and stress-the low boil the existed among them...but a few weeks into her freshman year she got a phone call from her mother-they were getting a divorce.
She found out that her mom and dad were having an affair for over 4 years with people...and the more she found out, the more her world came crashing down around her. There was a coping mechanism she found though-parties and lots of them. However, when her grades started to slip she decided this wasn't working-she needed to make a change. She began studying again, got her grades up and started hanging out with peers and friends that were 'outwardly committed' to their faith. They became her roommates...however, not all is well in her world...
As she walked into her apartment, she realized all of her roommates were waiting for her...they told her 'we need to talk' and that 'we've been talking and don't think you should room with us anymore'. After the bomb was dropped she asked why...the proceeded to tell her 'because you're a bad influence on us. You used to party a lot not too long ago and you're not helping us grow closer to Jesus. We all have been trying to grow in our relationship-our faith and you're just bringing us down. We thought that by rooming with you we could be a good witness and Christian influence upon you, but you're jeopardizing our faith'.
What sad about this story is that it happens a lot in college...while there are good intentions, people get hurt, but it isn't because they may have tried and gave up, but because of their goal-to influence someone as a means to an end, in this case...having her become a better Christian.
-There's a big difference between relational ministry and plain ol' influence.
Below are some of the reasons why influence isn't the same as relational:
1. it would use the relationship as a means to an end (check out the video below from 'The Big Kahuna').
2. the person isn't important; only that person's decision (or will) is.
3. the incarnation of Jesus Christ has nothing to do with influence.
4. the fellowship of the Trinity is not about influence.

*Perhaps later I will explain more about each point, but maybe I won't have to. Given the story/situation above were the roommates effective in their goal of helping their 'imperfect'-so-so Christian roommate that had made some bad decisions? Nope. Instead, they crippled her-shot her down just as she was gaining momentum, on the outside things looked like it was on the up and up, instead, there were assumptions made and when she failed to pick up on their cues (influence)-they cut her off out of fear they may slip far beyond recovery in their own faith journey. They weren't concerned with her well-being, they were more concerned about theirs. Is that Christ-like?
Thhis is already a longer post than I had intended, but I think it's a good one! Enjoy the video down below. *I apologize for the brieft strong language, but there's something of substance I'd like everyone to marinade on. Ask yourself...are you merely a marketing rep trying to steer a conversation or relationship? Or are you someone who has a real interest in what the other person has to offer-to you and others (on a deeper level than just getting them involved in something)?


All I can say is wow...what an amazing response to God's word and message. Tonight's scripture was Proverbs 3:5-6 and Romans 12:1-2. The message itself was about being too 'busy' and the risk of missing out-when your goal isn't to miss out on anything (hence being overly busy). Personally, I think we're all a little too busy and Rob Bell thinks that many are addicted to the drug called 'busy'. *Shells-20 Nooma
Throughout the week-in our small groups and at campfires Chris and I have tied our overall theme (Micah 6:8) to encompass some important aspects of the scripture...Day 1: Act Justly, Day 2: Love Mercy, and Day 3: Walk Humbly with your God. So far we have asked them to dig deep-to think about what each of those things might look like in their everyday lives.
For tonight, we interwove an analogy of a dashboard-specifically three things that light up, that all alone say one thing, but if put together mean something even more. We recognized that the fuel in our lives (the fuel gauge) isn't always God's fuel, we recognized that living in the 'red zone' or at full throttle (rpms/tacometer) isn't always good, and asked about whether or not the engine was running too hot or too cold (temp).
The reaction from the youth was amazing-with stories ranging from personal faith struggles (where I am isn't where I want to be...and I feel lost), an outside source (someone has done me wrong), and I have a secret that's been eating away at me. *I guess all of those are considered personal struggles...
Anyway, continue to pray for these young people. Not only have they done great work, but they've also begun working on their personal lives and relationships (family, friends, and God). Last year I mentioned a term I've grown to enjoy...'they shared out of their brokenness'. The reason why I've enjoyed it is because it's such a vulnerable yet authentic-spirit-filled moment which touches all who hear. I would be lying if I said I wasn't moved by some of the 'confessions'...I just wanted to run up to them and hold them as they cried and struggled to find the words-I wanted to take away their pain.
Well, tomorrow there won't be any work sites, only 'God time'. During the usual time of work (usually 9-3pm) the youth will be enjoying a day of rest. During that time they're not to do anything 'fun' with their friend-unless it involves an intense conversation about scripture they've just read. We have encouraged them to take some time alone and to even seek out a youth leader or peer who could help them wrestle or just talk about the theme for this week (and the scripture we've used thus far).
So again, keep praying for the youth...many have come a long way-not just in physical distance (from Lincoln to Estes Park), but spriritually...many feel far from God and seek His face in a serious way. Pray for rest and peace as they enter into a day of 'Sabbeth'.
Thanks for reading and praying!

Monday, June 28, 2010


Today's worksite wasn't one that we're used to...we helped out at the fairgrounds. There were some grumbles amongs the youth and even the youth leaders concerning the 'nature' of the work-after some discussion we all agreed (youth leaders) that this wasn't really something that fit into our missional goals.
Regardless, the youth continued on with little complaints-they recognized the oddity, if that's even a word and finished the work. Again, there weren't enough tools to do the job or even complete it. We also didn't have enough projects for the youth-they did some painting, cleaned out horse stalls-there were a lot, and cleaned the grandstands for their grand re-opening (on Wednesday).
All in all, the work got done and they're back at the YMCA enjoying their free time. We changed things up though-after their done with free time we will all have supper, small groups, evening activity-ultimate frisbee, and then camp fire. There's a lot left to the day huh?
Continue to pray for the fire fighters, the youth, and the youth leaders. We pray that tonight's campfire will continue to move the youth in the direction God has ordained for their lives.
*If the internet is still working...more to come.


The spirit was present tonight as it moved the hearts of those yearning for more. A good portion of them came forth tonight to either re-affirm a committment they know they've lost or let go of and to learn more about this awesome God in their lives. I won't name names, but there were youth present from each church.
The long and short-it was all a 'God thing'. Chris and I threw out the script! The spirit led us in a different direction-yet kept us on course concerning our core message. There were tears tonight and I pray that they will continue to be pliable (not sure on spelling) to God's calling in their lives. Be sure to check out Facebook for some updates and pictures throughout the day...there isn't much time for Chris and I to get online and blab on and on...but know we give it the 'ol college try.
Thank you all for your feed back...I will be sure to send the messages onto them. Keep us in your thoughts and prayers as the week goes on for I know there is more in store for us here in Estes-this is only day 2. I'm looking forward to what God has planned for day three.
-Oh and on a special note: we ended up having our campfire in our meeting room/'s a different feel, but a good one, intimate and close. *We had no choice really-the rain came down and it was coming down good!
Well, I'm signing off, I'm off to bed!

Sunday, June 27, 2010


We are back at the Y-Camp and we've finished up small groups...small groups are done after we get back from our work sites-we got back a little early. The youth worked at the Victim's Advocacy Center and nailed out a page worth of 'work projects'/jobs. Everyone pitched in-in fact, Tony, our bus driver helped out too.

Here are some of the work projects the youth did:
-sanded hand rails (used wood putty to fill in any major chunks that would cause slivers)
-stained hand rails
-stained the walkway of handicap ramp
-stained the fence surrounding the center
-pulled weeds
-hauled mulch and dirt
-window washed
-smoothed out unevened rock in the drive way

All in all, the youth did a lot of our estimate they worked 140 hours-which is huge when you consider the Advocacy Center only has two full time employees and three very part time employees. We talked about it in small groups-imagine one person staining the whole handicap ramp or the the surrounding long would that have taken one person? The youth are proud of what they've already accomplished-even if they didn't get to meet the people who are currently staying there.

Well, don't be a stranger parents, friends, and family members...leave comments so that we all know that you've been keeping tabs on your youth.

Saturday, June 26, 2010


After a long drive we finally arrived at the YMCA Camp...many of us tired, but eager-anticipating a great week that only God knows will unfold. Parents prayed for rain and we got some...the sad news though-the fire has spread. At tonight's camp fire we closed with a special prayer for the fire fighters-giving thanks for their work, but also praying for their safety, that they might return home to their families.
Speaking of camp fire...I just got back from a great conversation with one of our youth. It would seem we're off to a grreat start as there are already hearts eager to make a change. Knowing there's a willingness on the part of the youth brings a smile to my face-because it means they're not just going through the motions.
Now, please realize and note that not every blog I write during out time in Estes will be this long, but I will do my best to give you the meat of what was talked about/mentioned at camp fire and some of the overall impressions I was given. I also promise to add something about the work that was done too-be sure to follow twitter and facebook (when there's cell service, I try to write/leave messages-some w/ pictures even).
Tonight, we (Chris and I) spoke about Micah 6:8 and how God has already told us and shown us what is needed-what we're to do. We both suggested that sometimes doing what is right isn't what is always easiest for us to actually do-like sticking up for someone, it sometimes means we need to do something unpopular and uncomfortable.
During the week, we will be taking it a step further...our hope is that they learn that there are no limits on what we can do or accomplish-only limits that we put upon/give ourselves. We encouraged them to pray more and be open to God's calling in their dig deep and search for that passion that is deep within-they all feel that they should be doing something and that there is more to this teenage life. Let us all pray they find their way this week...or at least take the first step in believing God can provide that which we cannot already see (Phil. 4:13 and Hebrews Hebrews 11:1).

Friday, June 25, 2010


Greetings! This is my pre-mission trip blog/note. Something has come to our attention worth sharing. Please go check out Chris' blog-he's already completed his note, so I'm sharing.

CLICK HERE for his blog article

Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers during this wonderful time of exploration and discernment for these young people.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


'Jesus said pick up your cross...not your matress'.
-Perry Noble

'...can I not do with you as this potter does?'
-God (Jeremiah 18:1-10)

Control. Perhaps the one thing we struggle the most for and with. When things don't go our way, we usually voice our opinion or make it known that we're unhappy with this new arrangement. Ironically enough, when we're not in control of our lives or a situation, we tend to lose control of our basic functions-we sometimes end up saying or doing some things that we later regret. Maybe not all the time, but just so I'm clear...there are times when something happens and we're no longer in control-there's nothing we can say or do to change it-a great example of that would be a car accident, it wasn't planned, but what was planned-your destination or goal has now been changed.
In such situations we have a tendancy to get frustrated and angry-which alters our sense of 'control' and in turn lets loose a whole mess of things...again, some times we say and do things we don't really mean. Oh sure, we mean them right there and then, but if you ever want to make the worst speech of your life-say something out of anger or frustration.
So lets take a step back...unpack that thought. When was the last time something happened to you that altered your plans for the day, week, or month? What was the situation? Were you driving in your vehicle, was it a car accident? Or was it a phone call-some bad news about a loved one? Can you look back on it and say that you handled it well? If so, good for you, if have some work to do. Honestly though, I can say I too have some work to do.
I would venture that we all have some work to do in the department of control-or the lack there of. We all struggle with the internal and external pulls of our daily lives. We sometimes give in, but we also resist. We find strength and manage to see things through-even when it's hard and we don't like it. Change is something many of us don't like too much because it means giving up aspect of your life that you enjoy being in control of.
In Luke 9:22-26 we are told to 'pick up our cross daily' and it's hard to accept the fact that we have to 'toe-the-line' sometimes. Sometimes we have to do things in order to move on or get along, but whatever the case or situation, it's an opportunity for growth. Again, I'm sure at the time you're unable to see it, I know I don't, but in the end, it's a time where you either picked up your cross or left it there.
I don't want to lose you, but I think it's important to note that we're all a work in progress. We haven't stopped growing or learning from each other or God and we need to have confidence in ourselves and our God to finish what was started...even if it means doing hard things.
Lets finish with a passage from the Apostle Paul: Philippians 1:6
I think you'll find it has something to say about what the Prophet Jeremiah learned from the potter in our old testament scripture and what God continues to do throughout the new testament and today.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


I thought this would be a great spot to put this.