Wednesday, December 24, 2008


I know that grammar and spelling are not my strong suit and that it has been unbearably bad the past couple posts. Just bare with me, I am not crunched by school at this moment so I will try to put more attention to detail into the small stuff.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Jesus, the Botanist .

So I have been having this thought a lot lately and it has much to do with our relationship to nature. Can humans ever be as graceful as trees? Yeah, I know that sounds weird but I am serious... hang on first please do not mistake me for some emotional hippie because I am not, I LOVE PAPER: it is very useful, but I think that our comparison to the grace of nature is a relevant question.
The first thought that comes to my mind when I hear the word trees is Narnia... the scene with Lucy dancing with the pink leaved poplars in Prince Caspian. There is this perfect serenity, completely graceful, an almost enveloping orra about them. Even when the perfection of Narnia is being doubted, even when the trees are "asleep" they seem to be magnificent, but it is when they are awake, when the are dancing, that they are completely awesome. I can never think of a time in my life when the first image of the word tree (completely segregated and by itself) was that of a mangled branch or a fungus covered stump, no it is always of a healthy living plant a thriving example of life.

So you may ask why the random rambling and thoughts about trees? Well, the response I would give you is, "Because the book of Mark got me thinking about the significance of trees in a wild sight restoration parable."

Here is the very confusing yet what i bleieve to be a very significant mention of trees, that started this initial thought process in Mark 8 --

22 They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him.

23 He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man's eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?”

24 He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.” 25 Once more Jesus put his hands on the man's eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.

I dont believe that it was by accident that Jesus healed this mans eyes in two steps and I really dont believe that it was an accident that the man saw people as he had been imagining trees to look like his entire blind life.

I just think that not only was Jesus trying to show His cmplete power to restore sight any way that he wanted to, He also by revealing humans as trees, was giving the man a picture of how perfect and innocent and graceful we, humans, not only were originally created to be but have the opportunity of becoming through Him, Jesus Christ.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Invent Yourself

Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed, and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant, and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, and ruthless. Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they no only continue to do these things but also approve of those who practice them.

While I realize that this is a bold and blatant passage it got my mind rolling. While in discussion the other day a friend of mine pointed out the use of the word invent. Invent is a practical and important word in Pauls discription of God's wrath. It proves that we are not only subject to sins of the world but that moreso as humans we come up with ways to intentionally and dilibertly disobey. -- In a culture that thrives on the cutting edge. In a culture that is out to pove itself and to create the next big thing we should make sure that we arent accidently creating our next downfall.

How will we invent ourselves?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Zoo Story

Recently in my Post World-War II American Drama and Film course we read and briefly discussed the play The Zoo Story, written by Edward Albee (whose works include; Three Tall Women, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and A Delicate Balance). In this short drama the two characters, Peter the tight upper-class man, and Jerry the loose lower eastside passerby, publicly display the meaning of a ‘dog eat dog world’. In this short play they provide a theatrical look at greed, pride, and selfish living through an argument that turns into a deadly fight over a park bench… yes a park bench. In discussion about this play the thoughts of; what love is, is love always good, and is love completely for others came about. The conversation quickly not only took my thoughts but also the thoughts of my professor to 1 Corinthians 13. Where Paul lays out what love truly is even if the standard seems unattainable. The Zoo Story paired with the truths of 1 Corinthians 13 has definitely made me question my motives for daily life and how I conduct myself.

I encourage you to check out The Zoo Story, like I say it is a very quick read, and follow it by reading 1 Corinthians 13. Let your mind wonder but if you are like me be prepared to be convicted.


Here you go, the commands to recreate the greatest love story of all time:

1 Corinthians 13


1If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Crazy Week.

Why is this week so packed?

There is so much written in my planner.... Ahhhh.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Let Me Love You.

Let me love you
Show me how
Let me love you
Share your burdens
Let me love you
Challenge my motives
Let me love you
Open your heart
Let me love you

Two posts in one day... big time. - Another lame poem while diverting all my attention to anything but class today.

Fight with Not For.

Exile me.
Dont fight with me.
Fight with me.
Dont fight for me.
Fight for me.
Dont rise up against me.
Rise up against me.
Dont sell me out.
Sell me out.
Dont ignore me.
Ignore me.
Dont walk behind me.
Walk behind me .
Dont drag me.
Drag me.
Dont push me.
Push me.
Dont doubt me.
Doubt me.
Dont count me out.
Count me out.
Dont lose faith in me.
Lose faith in me.
Dont stop trusting me.
Stop trusting me.
Dont quit believing in me.
Quit believing in me.
Dont fear me.
Fear me.
Dont exile me.

Yeah my mind might have been wondering in, Post World War-II American Drama and Film, class so I took a stab at poetry. eh.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


There is a tipping point I feel when everything seems to make sense even if it really doesn't. When things such as school become comfortable and routine or business no longer over crowds our lives but adds an element of satisfaction and accomplishment. I think I am finally embracing the fact that there are two sides to every situation. I am finally realizing that life moves at one pace no matter how quickly I believe it is actually passing me by. -- Cool things are happening because I am finally taking the time to let them happen. Opportunity is materializing because I am no longer writing it off. How is it that we seem to get caught in this cycle of self-pity, no matter the magnitude, and become okay not just with complacency but okay with laziness and lack of responsibility?

If you feel like you're in a rut or if you feel like you can be better, it is probably because you are in a rut or you can do better. Sometimes we just have to suck it up. The thing that sucks is that I am finally realizing this in my life, so now I can no longer claim ignorance.

PS charity:water I want to work for you.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

What the Halloween, it's already October.

I seriously have nothing to say other than it is already October and for some reason in my mind it still feels like August. Where has the time gone?

Pizza Shuttle put up their Halloween decorations today and Dara's changed to their "Happy Halloween" fountain drink cups. I guess that means winter is soon on its way... Boo (all the pun in the world intended)!


The gospel Mark is the focus for Ichthus and that I am stoked about, by far one of my dearly favorite books of all time. The call to mission and trust is completely overwhelming and necessary all at the same time.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


So here is something cool. This internet thing works.

So I am in college which means that I am a religious Facebook user. For those of you living under a cultural rock Facebook is a social networking service that is free of charge targeted towards college age, and the like, people. -- So lately I have been on this kick about charity: water, which in my mind is one of the greatest people helping organizations on the planet right now. I have been selling it like it is my job on facebook, web forums, and even this site (note: right hand ad banner). Which is all well and good but does anyone really pay any attention? YES! Today I found out that a dorm of people have seen how cool charity: water and it vision is by different links and posting on my facebook page. How sweet is that?

So if I can get some people interested in a sweet organization that is saving lives by just changing my status and/or profile picture on facebook, what kind of change could we make as a generation if we engaged all forms of cybermedia that we are capable of using?

Monday, September 22, 2008


Would we be ashamed of what we bring to the altar if God was physically, flesh and blood, sitting in front of us?

Isaiah 1:11,13

"...I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats. Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me..."

What do we offer? Is our offering; sacrifices that look good, that appear holy, or, are they parts of our lives that will transcend into purity and righteousness? Are we pulling our weight?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Public Knowledge.

So here is the cold hard truth. When I came back from this summer I was living physically (and somewhat spiritually) like I had just returned home from war. Overwhelmed by what I had just witnessed and consumed by the reality that life doesn't start over when you leave the country, had me down and searching. I think most of us know what happens when we are consumed by life and its frustrations... we break, we take part in things that we wouldn't normally take part in, or at least abuse privileges that we would have previously upheld in moderation. Mine without a doubt was drinking, not a struggle that has really consumed me in quite a while but an act that was definitely an escape from reality over the past couple of months. Satan chose wisely too, because it led to a slew of other failures and moral dilemmas that I am still feverishly trying to correct.
Why do I tell you this? Why I am I spilling myself to random people that view from cyberspace? I am a believer that if you want to change you must first expose. I want to change there is no doubt about that. I am now on day five of no drinking, I am not sure for how long but it could be life... a substantial amount of time, that is for sure (I guess mug 145 wont be getting any use now since its new user is off the wagon). So an act without action does no good. I have actively quit drinking. I am now applying a part of the action; making it public. Accountability partners are great and I am so grateful for the men that relentlessly pry into my life but they cant be everywhere and I cannot trust myself to be brutally honest about something that shamefully consumes my life. So now that everyone knows where I am hiding and what my next move is, it is A LOT harder to be elusive.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Pray. India.

So it is week three of school so naturally I am already thinking of next summer. Well here is the deal, I am praying big for next summer... I mean I am praying huge. Next summer should be my first summer of the rest of my life, meaning (sadly) school will finally be over. That is why I am praying huge, huge things. India. It has been on my heart lately and there is so much to be done. One in six people in the world live without clean drinking water. India is my focus for right now. Pray big, pray for world health, and pray specifically for India with me. -- Who knows maybe we, together through this blog, support, and prayer; once again, will get the opportunity to: go, see, act, empower, love, sustain, enjoy, and bless the people of India. Show them they matter and make a difference.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Note to self.


When you get some time write a blog about; John 8, Suicide, and Povitica.



PS Get time soon.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

On empty.

A little over a month ago I wrote a blog that was based around the song "Even Now," by the band Foolish Things. An MP3 that was given to me by a friend that knew I was going through a tough stretch. With that said I had to come back to that song today.

I am not doing well. Life doesnt make sense right now. There are a couple things that get me through the day; JC of course, my girlfriend that doesnt let me forget that He is "the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6), and my family that seems to stay pretty steady at all times no matter what. -- I have now been home for a week, I have now had a chance to get used to America again. I have had the chance to move my stuff back to Manhattan, play golf, get a beer with the boys, drive on the right side of the rode, etc... The thing is that little makes sense right now. Not that there is some particular thing(s) that seem over the top or completely different now, no. I just feel out of place.

There are so many things in life that seem unfair, that seem like they shouldnt be possible let alone happen all at once to one person. I cant say that that is even happening to me right now but what I can say is that I am overwhelmed. What I can say is that in the past few days I have, over and over, in my mind been asking why? This summer was an experience that is for sure. War-stricken Sudanese, literally starving Zimbabwean people, communist marches in Johannesburg, nine weeks of out of body emotions. I am restless, confused, at times sick to my stomach. Its real and what seems to be the worst part is that, when I came home, I came back to life, I came back to reality... my problems didnt disappear they just became that much more real and they pull, at my heart, twice as hard now.

I am lost, I am confused, and I am running on empty. Somehow though even when nothing is seeming right I am constantly reminded that God is good, that God is Sovereign, that I am never alone, that when I return to him no matter the outcome of my situations He will calm my heart and succeed. -- My life is being molded, God's presence when allowed only changes for the better. I just have to turn, trust, and follow.

Joel 2: 12-14 (the Message)

12 But there's also this, it's not too late—
God's personal Message!—
"Come back to me and really mean it!
Come fasting and weeping, sorry for your sins!"

13-14Change your life, not just your clothes.
Come back to God, your God.
And here's why: God is kind and merciful.
He takes a deep breath, puts up with a lot,
This most patient God, extravagant in love,
always ready to cancel catastrophe.
Who knows? Maybe he'll do it now,
maybe he'll turn around and show pity.
Maybe, when all's said and done,
there'll be blessings full and robust for your God!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Take Off.

Well it is finally here, the moment that i thought I would be waiting for two months ago, but now the moment that I have mixed emotions about happening. I am sitting in the airport in Johannesburg at the NEWSCAFE waiting for our plane to arrive so that we can make the 30 hours of travel journey back to the states. The funny thing is that in the past eight weeks I have been exposed to more than I can even think about processing right now. To tell you the truth it is a very weird feeling that I am not going back to Uganda. The past three flights that I have been on have returned to Kampala. Kampala, a city that is in no means my favorite place, a city that is incredibly dirty and disorganized, but a place that for some reason i feel like I should be returning to.

In the past two months, I found a home, I realized my ignorance and experienced the true size of the God that I serve. My family will always be with the my folks, no matter what, my home will always partially be with them, but this summer I realized that home expands farther than that... home truly is where the heart is. This summer my heart was shared with special people, one person in particular and I had the epiphany that home is truly a mobile term. As far as my ignorance, we as (the rest of the world) are more concerned about seeing what is done rather than what is really being done (we would rather build buildings because they are tangible than mobilize people that can really make a difference... i.e. schools in Sudan). And for the realization that our God is huge... well I saw him in parts of the world that I didn't even know existed... enough said.

I have a lot of different emotions/feelings about leaving this place. Mainly that it is time to go home and love on my family and friends but also that it will be a struggle to get on that plane realizing I am leaving a world that is amazing and part of my heart forever.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Quiet Time

Well I have nine days left in Botswana and I cannot even start to explain how incredible this summer has been. How often do you get to go to two countries having silent civil wars and four others that are 5000 miles away from your home?... Oh yeah and do it in 9 short, short weeks.
Anyway, I am sure that I will have posts that reference these experiences, and travels for may months to come. The processing through, Uganda, Sudan, Rwanda, Botswana, and Zimbabwe are just begging and I cannot wait to share those thoughts with you as they come.
Today though my post is completely based around the quiet time that I had today, really with nothing much about Africa at all except for the fact that I did it here.

It was based on Matthew 10:34-39. I have been trucking through Matthew 10 consistently for the past two months and it just so happened that I bit off a huge chunk of it today that consisted of what I am confident in saying the most influential 6 verses of Matthew to me. So here it goes:

Matthew 10:34-39 (New International Version)

34"Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35For I have come to turn
" 'a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—
36a man's enemies will be the members of his own household.’

37"Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

We have a basic commitment. It is as simple as that. The commitment isn’t simple but the idea; the principle if you will is a simple statement. -- I take my cross and follow. -- No rocket science, nothing earth shattering complicated, just a statement that can be summed up by three delicate words that I must enact. Trust, Turn, and Follow.

Trust, turn, and follow. Three terms that we use when explaining Romans 3:26, three terms that explain how we shall submit to lordship, three terms that without a doubt can single-handedly change our lives.

Trust, Turn, and Follow.

Trust that Christ is the incarnate of a father who is greater than all. A father who is just with no prejudice, a father who can never be compared to any earthly relative because He is much too great.

Turn away from the old putting all temptation, desires, impurities, anger, rage, and malice (Colossians 3:5-10) on the cross. Not only putting them there but also turning to that cross acknowledging its power and allowing its forgiveness to release our burdens.

Follow out with our commitment, Not being ignorant to the fact that we are human, imperfect, sinners; and still relentlessly pursuing a God who is above that, who judges none of his children but loves unconditionally. Clothing ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience (Colossians 3:12). Following in the shadow of our maker wanting nothing more than to be persuaded by the being that has been consistently by our side longer than any one person could ever attempt. -- Our gracious, Abba, Father.

Friday, August 1, 2008

From Botswana to Zimbabwe.

Hey yall, It has been a crazy past few days but I have got a second so I would like to quickly fill yall in on what has been happening.

We got to Botswana and last weekend spent four days working with a feeding project that is just outside Gaborone, Botswana. Its purpose is to give underprivileged kids in the Village of Gamadubu(sp) a place to hang out and get a meal on Saturdays. That was cool, I will be there tomorrow, the kids are adorable as well.

On Sunday night we left on a train and headed to Zimbabwe. We went to Victoria Falls but also got to see the country and how it has been effected by the current political struggle. It is nuts, I will write more about it later, but for now wrap your mind around this; the exchange rate is 100 billion Zim dollars to ever 1 American dollar. The government has stopped all food production so the grocery sores sit empty and people are forced to buy produce from black markets at about 1000 times the price that it should normally be.

The week has been exciting and interesting. Robert Mugabe is not a very popular man and I have to agree with his opposition now that I have seen what he has done to his people first hand.

I will post as often as I can in the coming weeks.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Well here is the deal. I do have a whole lot to write right now but I am in Botswana, yesterday was my birthday and life is freakin good right now. We flew into J-Berg yesterday and took a bus up to Gabarone where we are now. While we were in South Africa the communist party decided it was time to protest and the busing system went on strike... somehow we made it out safe and on time. All I know is that there were a lot of signs that read "Socialism is the future" and so on. Well peace out. Oh yeah it is gorgeous here and Ana and Jess rock and got us a sweet pad.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Jumbled thoughts from Southern Sudan Part 1

*Note: Northern and Southern Sudan are two different countries in their own right.

It is a country in chaos. A nation that is split and doesnt want it any other way. A people that seeming see no hope in the future of their state. North and South in conflict as we speak.

For the past ten days I have been in one of the most remote parts of Southern Sudan. I have been living among the Dinka people with the mission of Film and Photography assessment of the primary (elementary) school system there. In one word it is devistating. -- As a westerner sitting in my apartment in Manhattan, Kansas informed that this would be my summer plan the ease of changing an education system ran ramped through my nieve and ignorant mind. From the outside, 5000 miles or so away, building schools and mobilizing teachers seems like such a simple ting to do. Raise the money, buy the materials, hire the workers, build the schools, train the educators. Sounds simple enough.

What I didnt realize what I was not informed about is the difficulty to do anything in a country at war. Technically speaking in 2005 a peace treaty was signed between North and South Sudan in reality there is no peace. It is a war stricken nation that is in many ways (and literally as of today) still at war. Fundamentally there us a huge problem in Southern Sudan, it is completely dependent. A country that relies completely on surrounding countries, to produce, provide, deliver all goods and services. No one trusts anyone. The government works against the military, the military against the people, the people against the government and yet somehow they are trying to work together to be the "new Sudan," the south free from the Arab rule of the north. In the least it is dysfunctional.

Schools are needed that is a fact but they are the least of the problems there right now. Everyone is sitting on their hands counting down the days until 2011 when the peace treaty ends. Waiting for 2011 when more than likely their world will be flipped upside down againand the overpowering rule of the north will somehow seize control of the natural resources of the dependent defeated south and civil war will ensue.

How do you help a country that doesn't seem to even want to help itself? That answer I don't believe I will ever have.


As the journey itself to Turalie, Southern Sudan:

Exhausting. 10 days with no power or running water. 10 days of eating with our hands. 10 days of being engulfed in what I am convinced is the slowest paced culture in the world. 10 days of living with the Dinka tribe. 10 days with not a lot of english. 10 days of experiencing just how hard it is to do anything in Southern Sudan. 10 days of dealing with the SPLA. 10 days of living in a mud hut.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

quick thought on civil/rebel wars in developing countries

I don't think I ever quite grasped what civil war does to a developing country until I landed in a country that is in the middle of one today. This morning I arrived in Sudan and imediately you could tell that this place was unlike any other country that we had been in siince arriving in Africa. This is a nation, solely because of rebel insurgents and lack of any organization in the government, is completely dependent on surrounding nations. Sudan grows none of its own produce and hardly raises any of its own livestock, which in turn makes everything very expensive. No one works here because the government is paying people a monthly stypen so that they won't refugee themselves to neighboring countries.
All day long in the states we here about the Sudan and darfur and it never really clicked. It always seemed everyone on this side of the world fought eachother or in this case themselves. But it is different when you are here, we are still in the south tomorrow we fly up to central Sudan, tonigt we are still in a part of the country that hasn't seen conflict in quite some time but because of the nonesense in the the north everyone is suffering. Because there is a war that is going on due to rebels and corrupt government everyone suffers. This country is struggling in more ways than one that is for sure. I am in l Juba the capital of southern Sudan and there is no public power, the only people who have power are on their own generators. The capital city! This is real now, that's about all I know to say.

*I typed this on my phone that could be the reasoning for missing letters and more horrible than usual grammar and spelling.

made it

we are across the border and in Sudan. I will write this evening about the flight and the day this evening when/if I get a chance.

PS we are staying in a hut!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Even Now

Even Now by the band Foolish Things is the theme song for this blog post. Definitely a song along with Psalm 13 by the band Shane and Shane that has hit my heart hard (If you get a chance read Psalm 13, I am confident that it is a chapter that resonates with everyones heart at some point in their life, just meditate on it and let it penetrate, trust me).

This week was probably one of the hardest weeks that I have had in as long as I can remember. I have been sick, the most sick in recent memory, I am 5000 miles from home, and I am dealing with some junk that I will neither explain here or wish upon my worst enemy. For the last four and one-half weeks I would be lying if I was to say that I knew exactly why God brought me to Africa. I would be lying if I was to say that I didnt have some sense of doubt about the grace, goodness, and true beauty of God... that is just pure honesty. My life goes in cycles like most, cycles that are full of the highest highs that can never be disrupted and lows that feel like they are too large to get out of. Also like most I have the uncanny ability to see God's love and trust his grace when the highs are high, but really have complete failure to "praise him through the storm."

So I am in a foreign country trying to understand God's purpose. Trying to figure out His reason for the series of events, the situations He has brought into my life. While writing even this short blog post and listening to this song (Even Now) on repeat it is starting to hit me... He brought me to a place, where all I can give is love, I have nothing else, no other resources to dispense here. Love, the key ingredient that I throw away first at the sign of struggle.

Here is a perfect example:

This week I was on a bus to Kigali, Rwanda that left from Kampala, Uganda at 1am, in Africa they book buses to standing room only capacity. I was sitting next to my friend Megan who was making the trip to Rwanda with John and I along with four other friends of ours serving in the same diocese as us. The lady in the isle next to Megan, assigned to standing room only, decided that it would be more comfortable to sit on Megan's lap than stand for nine hours (Note: the Africans that ride buses dont always smell the best). Long story short, it was very inconvenient and extremely uncomfortable, we were scrunched more than usual and the lady was being very rude and talking about us in Lugandan to her friend all night long (in a very high volume), and constantly creeping further onto Megan's lap.
I had two choices at this point. 1) To get over/empty myself, meaning I could accept the fact that I live in an over comforted society and that a few hours of conveniencing someone else with my inconvenience wouldn't be the end of the world... more or less showing Christ through my actions. 2) Get really pissed off and say stuff I shouldn't have and feel completely violated because I am uncomfortable even though I am the one with a padded seat and am going on a two day vacation to Rwanda.
Of course I chose option two.
The first thing that I throw away in times of inconvenience is the one thing that God brought me to this continent to figure out how to use; Love. I have now realized my purpose here, now it is time for me to put it into practice... no matter what, no matter when, no matter how bad the situation seems to be. God is here, and loves... Even now!
Trouble came, broke your door
Crushed your name, robbed your poor
You feel He's gone, fast asleep
All has gone wrong, you're in too deep

He hasn't left you out to dry, even now
You haven't left his watching eye, even now
So children sing it when you don't see how
My father's worthy of my hope, even now

The feelings gone, you're wondering
If you heard Him wrong, if He's listening
The same old fear, the same old haze
Is God's not here, is His hand raised

Could this be the part of any good plan
Seems to be falling out of His hand
He hasn't left you out to dry, even now
You haven't left His watching eye, even now
So children sing it when you don't see how
My father's worthy of my hope, even now

When you're broken, don't know how, even now
When you're tunnel's still dark at the end, even now
His children don't know how, but know their father's out this time
So hold his hand, hold up your hope

He hasn't left you out to dry, even now
You haven't left his watching eye, even now
So children sing it when you don't see how
My father's worthy of my hope, even now

Even now, even now, (resolve)...
God has a plan even when we think He doesnt even know we exist. That is why i am so pumped that I serve an awesome, amazing God who never gives up on me. Even when I doubt, when I disobey, when I cant figure out what the hell is going on, even now! Life sucks sometimes that is just part of it, I guess it is time to get over/empty myself.

We serve a big God who doesn't give up, who never forgets, who loves even the unlovable, who is HUGE, who never goes away, who knows us better than even we do, a God who loves us more than we can ever imagine. We serve an omniscient God with complete and total power... EVEN NOW! (Matthew 10: 29-31)

*I realize that this post was all over the place and probably didn't make a whole lot of sense, and those of you who did, thanks for bearing with me.

**Update: John and I are leaving for Sudan on Sunday, July 6th for 10 days to do some film and photography work for the Manute Bol Foundation. We are definitely anxious and excited for this journey but are definitely requesting your prayers for protection, wisdom, health, peace of mind, ability to love and sanity. We will be without running water and power for 10 days in central Sudan... YEAH, we are flippin' excited. This is what we have been looking forward to for the last 5 months. If we get good footage and can put together some good material, a village with 200,000 people will get the proper funding to build a school building... We, us together, you and I, my supporters and friends are educating Sudanese, providing them a future. How cool is that!

Monday, June 30, 2008

upcountry for old men

We have just returned from a week in upcountry Uganda in a small village town called Nebbi. The country up there is absolutely amazing. The town sits on the Congolese border and the view from the diocese where were staying overlooked the mountains of the congo and it was absolutely gorgeous. Views like that make limited electricity and no running water a lot more inviting that is for sure.

During our time in Nebbi, John worked in a medical clinic and I did some seminars on career guidance, mentorship, and goal setting for a secondary boarding school in the town (Its a little odd that they were taking advice from a person that has no idea what his future looks like, but it worked). The other full day that we spent in Nebbi John and I went to a place called prayer mountain. Prayer mountain is absolutely one of the most beautiful and serene places that I have been in my entire life. Prayer Mountain was built by the former head of Hyundai Motors corporation, who about 15 years ago, quit his job and moved his family from Korea to upcountry Uganda to create this vision that he had for a prayer mountain.

To me it was very fitting that we spent a good portion of our time on prayer mountain alone, just talking with God, just being ourselves, just hiking and exploring, just NOT worrying about anything. I think for the most part, at least in my life, prayer is the biggest element of faith that I leave out. The easiest thing to do is to just think and speak, we do it all of the time in and around company, we do it all of the time with ourselves, but it seems that anytime I have struggle or thoughts or difficulty I turn to either people or myself and forget to talk it through with God. If there was an unwritten theme for the week, to me, it would definitely had to have been prayer. Simple yet powerful. Just communicating with our creator. Some students from Uganda came up country with us and we learned from them. We saw how they pray, how they live, how they speak to our God. We spent time in serenity on prayer mountain just processing with the God who created such a beautiful place. And I completely communicated my reliance to God asking for him to help me communicate with 700 northeastern African high school students about their future.

For the first time in a long time I am truly having trouble writing what I am feeling. For the first time in a long time I am truly struggling to communicate. For the first time in a long time I truly feel completely insignificant. For the first time in a long time I am surrendered. I witnessed power this week. I witnessed sovereignty. I was subject to His control and He provided. For the first time in a long time I am completely speechless and in awe.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Live to fight another day.

There is a time when no matter how adapt you have become, no matter how settled you begin to feel that you get thrown completely out of your element. You no longer feel comfortable, your body aches, you suddenly start getting sick, you are tired all the time, the food just reminds you of how much better your moms is, etc... Just that tipping point when it seems that there is nothing that can go right. You second guess your purpose, you question your motives, you are making life so much harder than it needs to be... you are out of your element. Satan threw me out of my element this week. Physically I felt sub par all week, emotionally I questioned everything that was real and good in my life, and spiritually I just felt drained not wanting to see God's purpose for me on this continent. For the first time since I have been in Africa I have felt 5000 miles from home. And it has sucked. I was at the end of the line, irritating a lot of people and in a state of total exhaustion.

We headed to Nebe this week, a small mountain village in upcountry Uganda and to put it bluntly I was not looking forward to going. Mainly not looking forward to going because we stopped at a game park lodge for two days on the way to get some R & R (this is where I am now, God bless Internet in the jungle). But the strangest thing happened on the way to the game park, we got out into uninhabited Uganda and were on some old rural roads and I was struck. The sight of this road, the landscape (they have evergreen trees here, who would have guessed it!?!?), and the red dirt completely reminded me of home. It was just like driving down any two lane road between Kansas City and Manhattan.
It was the perfect remedy. It just proved to me that God is in control. At no point does he let things get too big, are our struggles too large.
I was going crazy, I was frustrated, upset, sick, and demoralized; and God brought me home. For about two hours in a mini van in Central Uganda I was home. Everything was perfect. I am re-energized and ready to fight another day.

Saturday, June 21, 2008


Yesterday I truly grasped what sets my life apart from those in different parts of the world. Its not war, its not color, its not language or accents, its not what side of the road we drive on, or even the currency or its value but rather it is soap.

Like most of you know John and I have been observing living conditions and different grassroots ministries that have been started in the maximum security prisons here in Kampala, Uganda. Also like I have shared with most of you either through this blog or individual email is that the prisons here are drastically different than they are in the states. That was to be expected, nothing here is close to how it is in the states. But the prisons are especially different. Not that they dont have the same purpose, to hold and punish felons from the nation, the purpose is very much the same but the way they go about carrying out that purpose is completely different. I am now convinced that if you want to see where your economy, social justice policies, political system, etc..., stands in comparison to the rest of the world just judge it on the prison system.

Yesterday I realized what having absolutely nothing looks like. Yesterday we delivered about 3500 bars of soap to the prisons. Soap. Not a big deal right? Wrong, soap to these prisoners is better than gold, meth, sex, steak, their families, you name it. I was chatting with a man that had escaped death row after being sentenced to life for a murder that not only he didnt commit but come to find out was never committed... the supposed victim turned out to be alive the whole time, and while talking with him he expressed to me how it was not uncommon for prisoner to go for three to five months without a bar of soap. Three to five months of just rinsing off. Three to five months of in his words "just watering down the stench." The Government cannot afford (or if you ask me, doesn't see the need) to provide soap and necessary materials to the prisoners here so they just go without. I know that 99.9% of the time that people in prison deserve to be there. I understand that but I also am fully baffled at the fact that 100% of the time prisoners deserve no way to clean themselves.

You want to experience what having absolutely nothing looks like? Take a bar of soap to a prisoner that has not properly bathed in 10 weeks and let the look in their eyes, as you hand that freedom to them, burn in your heart.

There is a lot that we can learn form having nothing. There is a lot that we can learn from having everything. Neither of them is better than the other but both of them can impact you. I am a man with everything learning from men with nothing. There isn't anything wrong with that, we don't have to be the next mother Teresa we just need to allow ourselves to be vulnerable to unfamiliar.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Comfort food

You know what is funny about getting out of your comfort zone? The funny thing is that the devil makes it real easy to find new comfort, new routine. I have been in Uganda for 10 days now and I am to the point where I am actually starting to get this place pretty well figured out. A friend of mine, Emmanuel, who is from Uganda even made a comment about how fast John and I have adapted to the culture and community. With that said in 10 days I have found my new comfort zones. In 10 days I have established my new routine:
I catch a Boda Boda to Café Pap each morning where there is a wifi hot spot, check my mail and update this blog. From there catch a ride to Bugalobe and meet with a team that goes and serves at the local prisons, from there explore the town, come home eat, sleep and repeat.
I am now convinced that it is easy to get comfortable anywhere. I live in a home that is surrounded by slums, that is surrounded by people who will never have jobs because they cannot figure out the system. I live in a community that is always on the move yet extremely slow and seemingly disorganized. I am surrounded by an economy, which in its own right is decent, uses the most primitive methods imaginable to do things. I live in a country that cannot export, or produce for that matter, their largest product (mangos) because there is no labor and/or industry available in that particular area to properly maximize their greatest good. I live in a continent that is overlooked in its own right for its resources because of a fear of internal meltdown. Yet somehow I have been able to establish a daily grind.
To me this just proves that we must guard ourselves at all times. If I can find a trend in this country, if I can build comfort when I am living out of my element then that means I must really be on my guard when I am living in a place where everything works, where everything makes sense (the states).
It seems to me that people never live to their potential because they become very good at being mediocre. We become very comfortable with the idea of living a mundane, routine life. What good is a life that makes no impact? How is me never getting out of routine or automatically falling into routine pushing me to live in a way that isn’t for myself but has the betterment of people in mind? How can I live the way I have been called to if I am constantly comfortable? I guess it is time that I switch things up a bit… already. I didn’t come half way around the world to be a tourist; I came to witness the impact of Christ’s love towards people! Ugandans have shown me what that looks like… even with nothing. Now it is my turn to let their example penetrate my heart and change me. If I am too comfortable to see a need for change then I am too comfortable for true life. True love.

You come to a place like this and it is impossible not realize that we have it good… American poverty is the upper-middle class here. People have real problems here; like how am I going to feed the 13 people who live in my 2 bedroom flat rather than should I get the Tahoe or the Suburban. Believe me I am in no way criticizing anyone’s life style, I have it pretty stinkin’ good, but there is an immediate severity to the magnitude of my new friends problems and at no point have I ever heard any of them complain. They just give thanks for the blessings that God has given them and they make the most of what they have got. It is truly amazing… I wish I could explain it, I wish that you could feel what it is like when a 23 year old University student tells you that his dream his whole life has been to just once trade dust for snow… that is what he has wanted more than anything. Not a new house, or car, or to be an astronaut, or to not have to share a room with his three younger brothers but simply to trade dust for snow. – Hebrews 12: 1-3 has been reoccurring in different capacities over the past three days… those verses were part of my quiet time on Tuesday morning, a prisoner recited that particular scripture Wednesday, and Thursday it was the topical verses for mission week at the dioceses that John and I have been working through.
Hebrews 12:1-3 states, “Therefore since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
These three verses are starting to make more and more sense. God has not let me get away from this passage and it is now starting to click. My new Ugandan friends have so much joy, they are filled with so much love it is unbelievable and it is for one reason; because they aren’t worried about what they don’t have, they are to busy staying focused on Who they have.

Isaiah 58: 9-11

17 minutes

The battery on the computer says I only have 17 minutes left and I just got on so I will have to make this brief. We went into the Prisons yesterday and it was quite the experience. i didn't enjoy the mens prison near as much as i liked the women's prison. The women were great, they were fired up and they didn't mope around. Even though many of these women are condemned to life and still as joyful as if they were free. I was pretty surreal... especially given their living circumstances. The women's prison is all within about a two acre plot and everyone bunks in the same building (about 250 people). It was pretty crazy.

This country is beautiful, and so are the people. Most everyone has nothing and the majority of them have an attitude like they have everything. If you are in need of some humility kampala might night be a bad choice to start.

I guess today that is my train of thought, Live like Ugandans do.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Prison ministry has begun and it is very overwhelming. The prisons here are worse than anything that you could ever imagine. There is no soap, toilet paper, female necessities, etc... needed to provide any hygene for these people. The prisons are completely outside. The only thing that is inside is sleeping. In the womans prison there are 14 infant children, if a person is pregnant when committing a crime the child is also responsible and must do time. So there are children that grow up in prison. There is a point when they can leave the mothers but most families can afford to get these kids out. I dont know how to explain it other than it is very overwhelming.

The town is beautiful though, and the people are gorgeous. This place is so green, it is so awesome. There is trash and slums and poverty everywhere (60% unemployment rate) but it has a natural beauty that I cannot explain.

I will be posting pictures of the scenery and the children we have been working with in the afternoons soon, so keep your eyes on the pics link on the sight... bare with me it could take a couple days.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Update from Kampala

Hey yall. So we have been in Kampala for about 4 days now and it is great. The cit y is very busy but it is beautiful here. The people are beautiful here. The culture is different but for sure beautiful. I wish I could explain everything that is going through my head right now but I cant so what I am going to do is just make a list of thoughts, I dont know how long it will be yet but here it goes:

1. Joy - Everyone that we have met so far is filled with such joy, their spirit is scary because it is so energized.

2. Mizungu - Which means white person, I now officially know how it feels to be the minority (and i am not talking going to Mexico for a missions trip minority).

3. Crowded - There are so many people and there is so little space. People, and this is no joke, live everywhere.

4. Loud - This culture never sleeps, people wake up at 6 or 7 and go to bed at 2 or 3. On my way into town from the airport we saw shop after shop (including barber shops) open and it was 1130pm.

5. Overwhelming - There has been a lot in the last 4 days.

6. Comfortable - I am starting to fall in love with this place.

7. Loud (again) - Dogs bark all night and rosters crow all morning. I actually think there might be a legit dog fight going on out side of my window right now.

8. Unbelievable - The unemployment rate in Kampala, Uganda is over 60 percent. There is more poverty here than I could have ever imagined. Can you imagine 60 percent? Its crazy.

Well my brain is jumbled right now but that is a little update at least. I hope to be able to post some better updates as we start to get settled in.

From Uganda -- Out.

PS Prison ministry starts on Monday and our host family is amazing.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

We are here!

After 30 hours of travel we have arrived.

Horrible internet today.

Will blog later when we get settled in.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Rockin' the Play List.

Do you ever get really excited when you here the song that has been playing over and over in your head on the radio? It has the special sensation when it is on the radio. You could have just listened to it 50 times on repeat on your iPod but the second that it is on the radio, the second that someone else picked that same exact song out for you, you now have the desire to start dancing and sing at the top of your lungs. When it is being played somewhat out of the blue it just has the ability to get some endorphins flowing that you just cant get from hitting play on your cd player.

Its like that unknown authority also referred to as the dj has a way of making us feel special. Giving us the exact song that we wanted without us having to ask for it. He has complete control over the play list but at that particular time he played exactly what I had wanted to hear. At that particular time that authority, that person that has control over what I experience is desirable.

How about the President. This is a person if we like it or not has great authority. This is a person if we have voted for them or not has been chosen to make our decisions. This is a person who we expect to be better than us. Who we want to be above average. A person that has more authority and a greater status than us. This is a person who we desire to be elite. If I am going to vote for someone to lead me then I expect them to be better than me. Why would I want a leader who is only average? This is another scenario where we expect authority, where someone who is greater than us is desirable, a situation where we allow someone else to take responsibility, a position we never take credit for.

My question is if we allow ourselves to desire authority in relatively replaceable positions, why do we try to deny authority so often from God? The guy who has always been and who will always be there for us. Do you get more excited about the play list on Jack FM than you do about your creator?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

God Said NO!

I asked God to take away my habit.
God Said, NO. It is not for me to take away, but for you to give up.

I asked God to make my handicapped child whole.
God said, No. His spirit is whole, his body is only temporary.

I asked God to grant me patience.
God said, No. Patience is a by-product of tribulations; patience isn't granted, it is learned.

I asked God to give me happiness.
God said, No. I give you blessings; Happiness is up to you.

I asked God to spare me pain.
God said, No. Suffering draws you apart from apart from worldly cares and brings you closer to me.

I asked God to make my spirit grow.
God said, No. You must grow on your own, but I will prune you and make you fruitful.

I asked God for all things that I may enjoy life.
God said, No. I will give you life so that you may enjoy all things.

I asked God to help me LOVE others, as much as He loves me.
God said... Ahhhh, finally you have the idea.

author unknown

How often do we get mad because we feel God is always saying no? Really he isn't saying no at all, he is just giving us a different direction to find our answer... usually one that isn't as comfortable. He will let us love though, no matter what, and that ROCKS!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Tragedy = Community?

Note: Anna Nalick is on in the background and it is awesome.

Can you believe that it is June already? I have come to the realization today that I leave for another Continent for more than two months in less than one week. I am not going to lie I am starting to get a little freaked out. The closer we get to leaving the more details we are finding out about where we will be, for instance John and I are going to Sudan with Manute Bol, yeah its pretty crazy.

Anyway, today was a weird day. Today was not a good day for me. Today the weather was bad. I mean it was typical spring weather for Kansas; hail in the morning, stormy in the mid day, then eerily calm in the afternoon, and gorgeous in the evening. -- Today was the first time since the 03 storm that I was genuinely worried, maybe even terrified, of a tornado. Not that this day was even anything like that one but I just didnt have a good feeling about it.

For those of you who don't remember or don't know, about 5 years ago there was a tornado in KCK that did hellacious damage. I can remember every detail of that day with extreme clarity. I remember that it was a Saturday I was hiding in a shower after baseball practice when it hit and then coming out into the eerie calm and then soon being hit with the realization that most of my friends homes had been totally destroyed. That day doesn't set well with me. That summer doesn't set well with me. That summer I spent almost every waking moment either working or helping to rebuild, clear, clean up, remove, you name it and we did it to the aftermath.

I can remember from that afternoon four things with HD quality clarity. 1) Pulling up toward the woodlands race track and looking out towards Wyandotte County lake and the trees that had surrounded it, the nature that was the sole remaining serenity in the county being completely jaded. The life of the forest had been plowed over. And it wasn't that it was all gone, no you could see where the force had taken its path. That path in my mind was the closest to Satan's footsteps that I have ever seen. 2) Standing on a light power pole, broken off at the ground, that was at least 4ft in diameter (no joke) to try to see through the wreckage if my best friend still had a house at the bottom of the hill... his home was the only house in the entire neighborhood that was untouched. At that point in my life that was the closest to God's hand that I had ever witnessed. 3) Standing on 84th street and looking back down the hill where a large neighborhood and wooded area had been and seeing nothing... absolutely nothing! Not wreckage of where things had been but rather nothing. No tree stumps just holes in the ground where the trees had been. No houses just basements where houses used to sit. Then I remember looking to the east over the hill towards the highway that ran along Wolcott and finding all of those trees, all of those houses, all of those front yards, trampolines, swimming pools, cars, animals, at least one half of a mile away. 4) Sitting on a chair in the attic of one my childhood friends home looking out over the carnage (because the roof was missing) and wondering out loud with the group of the other distraught 17 year olds what in the heck had just happened. Hearts completely frozen. Knowing that the five of us sitting in that circle were not going to be sleeping much this summer... at least until everything was back to normal.

There are other things I remember from that day as well. Mainly that it was chaos, people were, simply put, overwhelmed. I remember that every home depot within, it must have been, 500 miles dropped off what seemed to be everything in their store to help assist. Red cross was there in what, at the time, seemed to be instantly and the national guard can cut down some trees in a hurry.

Looking back though that was probably the closest feeling that I had ever had to living in a community. There were so many people that were so confused and distraught but at the same time so worried about their neighbor. Its funny how a tragedy is what brings us together. How tragedy is what it takes for us to love our neighbor.

Is that what it should take for us? Galatians 5:14 states that the greatest command of all is to love our neighbors as ourselves. But does it take an F5 before we decide that the 90 year old woman, or the single mom, or the happy family with 3 kids next door really matters? What can I do in my day to make sure that I am living as I have been commanded to? Don't let it take a national disaster to love on someone. When we don't love we miss out on life. If we don't help out or show interest in one another think how much of our surrounding we are missing out on. We cant live in a community let alone "community" if we are not communal, if we aren't willing to invest even the least bit in the people around us.

Yeah, today was uncomfortable; the thought of pandemonium, and pain, and struggle, and shear fear ran through my mind consistently. But looking back at how this community came together and how we have moved forward, and in many ways progressed since then makes that discomfort worth it.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The week in review.

This past week (Wed - Mon) I completed the "1400 Miles" literally. In the past seven days (plus a couple of extra) I have been back and forth between Manhattan and KC Four times, Tulsa and Wichita twice, and KC and Tulsa once. In that time I got to spend most of my waking time with my best friends some of which I wont be able to see all summer others I will be seeing in eight weeks in Botswana. I had my last day of work. I made new family in Sapulpa, OK. Witness my sister win the state championship in KS 5A softball. Saw her graduate high school and go to her open house. Got to grab a beer with the guy who is always there no matter what, roomie for life, Tom Lynch. And been supported through some tough crap by the greatest family in the world. I also saw off two of my best friends, Ana (the coolest girl ever) and Jess (the rock that keeps me in reality and wont let my head get too big), to Africa for 11 weeks. I have done all of this on little to no sleep.

What I have learned this week: Anna reminded me what it was like to be passionate about something again. Ana showed me how easy it is to be loved. My parents demonstrated amazing patience. Dee Dee (my moms best friend) let me see what it looks like to love from a distance and give support when needed. And 1550 miles on the road gave me time to think that I am the only one who has the power to change the world, I cant wait to get 'plugged' in I just have to go for it. And after three days of wrestling thru John 15 and fighting the idea of what the literal meaning of bearing fruit is I still have no clue.

Control freak or futuristic optimist?

What does it mean to know all? Who is the keeper of infinite knowledge? In life we seem to have this preconceived notion that someone has been granted with the understanding of all. We live caught up in this thought that there are people out there that have better opportunity in life or are the measuring stick of what life is supposed to be about. Is it that we spend too much time worrying and not enough time doing? What if I am the keeper of all knowledge? What if I am actually the only person who can control what I know, how much I know, how successful I am supposed to be, what I can accomplish, or how everyone else is going to view me? What would my life look like if I didnt live like someone knew more than me?

I am the smartest man I know; not in an arrogant, conceded way. I am the smartest man I know in a confident, I can do anything I put my mind to kind of way. I want to change the world, I don't need to sit around and wait for somebody else to tell me how.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The treeless fruit.

As disciples of Christ we seem to have this notion that we can substitute selflessness for development. This week my mind has been burdened again by the thought of, "what does it really mean to bear fruit?" On Sunday night I had the opportunity to sit down and hear the thoughts of about 300 college students on this topic. Over and over again this idea of the importance of the 'fruit' would come up - the idea that nothing else is as spiritually sustainable as 'fruit.'

While I agree that multiplication and discipleship is in turn the reproduction cycle of spirituality. I also believe that we, as Christ followers, allow ourselves to be over taken by the idea of the 'fruit' and spend way too little time concerning ourselves about the 'branch.'

The 'branch' in this case would be us; our development, our righteousness, our training to be disciples, our ability to be rebuked (and then make an effort for change), even an ability to develop others.

Side note: The thoughts that I have right now are all coming in response to John 15.

My biggest question is, "How can we concern our selves with fruit if we dont have branches that are healthy enough to bear?" Please do not get me wrong, I believe and know that we are to be and make disciples, I understand that. I believe that evangelism is of the utmost importance and there is no one way of doing it and without it there will be an extinction of what I believe in. I understand all that. My biggest concern today is that people become so caught up in the idea (which is the greatest idea of all) of living my life solely for others and not having anytime for myself or any cares for me that they forget their own development stages. We cant have the fruit without the branches - we cant spend all of our time focusing on the 'fruit' forgetting to even plant the stinkin' tree. John 15 is one of these mysteries to me and I still dont have an answer to my original question, "what does bearing fruit actually look like anyway?"

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Help Wanted!

I just want to start off with some encouragement that has got me through finals week; Click Here

Anyway I have been having this thought about what the perfect ministry could look like a lot lately. Been trying to see how there could be a campus in unity that didn't fear stepping on toes but just selling out alongside one another for the sake of the Gospel. I guess it goes for anything, why is it that we (people in general) cant ever work in unison for a common goal? Why do we always have to fight each other more than the 'enemy'?

A couple months back Cody and I sat down and brainstormed through what the perfect campus revival could look like. What it would take to get campus ministries to whole-heartedly work along side one another. -- How do we keep from 'vilianizing' other groups with the same goals because they aren't doing it our way? -- I am totally guilty of it.

We made up a list that typed out took up almost three pages. It was awesome, it layed out leadership summits and using each others talents and improving on your own weakness as individual ministries.

If this sounds familiar, I think I wrote about this same topic last month when we were brainstorming through this idea. But it has become a topic of interest to me again in light of some recent progress by the church body as a whole.

Yesterday was the deadline for the first ever 'One Prayer' series that's Craig has visioned. He is taking the church to a whole new level with this, forcing us to believe or at least dream that we truly can "keep the unity."

I just hope to see the day when I am not more worried about how other people are doing things rather just joyed that they are laboring for the same cause in a way that I could not.

"What would happen if we were the answer to Jesus' prayer when he prayed make us one."

Monday, May 12, 2008

Finals week.

School is dominating my life. Thursday cant come fast enough.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Called out.

You know that feeling you get when you realize that a decision that you have made is correct or at least is worth while? When you finally get a sense of peace.

This morning I got that feeling about going to Africa. I know I have felt good about the trip, felt like I have God's ok, but there has been a lot of other junk going on this past semester which has made me second guess that judgement. -- Scripture has helped ease the anxiety and time and again shown me direction, throughout my life, but especially has given me direction this crazy semester-- one of the hardest, most emotionally draining semesters of my life.

The cool thing is, is that God reveals himself through His word. As Christ followers we get so caught up in being super selfless (or at least we say we do), almost to the point sometimes that we forget to realize that we are constantly being trained as well. This morning, God called me out. -- I think it is easy to get caught up in the thoughts about going to the nations and meeting needs, going to the nations and playing humainitarian or ministry hero. In the past 48 hours God has opened the door to Rwanda, Kenya, and all of Sudan. With that said we must pack some unexpected stops into the same six weeks we are in Central Africa. This I dont believe is an accident. I think He is cramming John and I with the brutal realities of the world so that we cant get comfortable in one place for a while, so he can show us the selfishness of our lives. Let me explain:

This morning I was reading in Ezekiel (Ez 36:29-32) and it cave me a better perspective on God's plan for me at least for the first six weeks of the summer. Through Zeek He revelaed himself to me in this way; This trip is not about me, it is not for my benefit, it is to be a servant to others, it is to witness Him in real life, it is to see life that isnt easy first hand. I am in need of a wake up call to see just how easy I have and how I have taken advantage of that my whole life.

I am fearful because God has promised in Zeek to, "clean me up" and I have no idea what that means. What I do know is that I am really good at being "dirty" and this new cleanliness is probably going to rock my "world"... in a good way of course.

PS I love Air1.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

us v. the world

"The esteem of the world is not worth the effort." -Above Garden State

Does it seem to anyone else that leadership, at least in the college setting, seems to all fit in the same mold? There never really seems to be that bold trailblazer. To me its almost the status of the position is more important than the responsibility. What could it look like if we were less worried about us and more worried about the progress of whatever we are leading?

What does that even look like? Pure motives in anything are not attainable but we could at least attempt. Attempt with the realization that at some things we will fail, others succeed and just cut our losses and focus on the strengths while improving upon our weaknesses.

If it is true that the greatest leaders were the best followers than why are we trying to waste our time getting caught up in power trips? The realization should be that we are only great leaders because we were nothing, pee-ons if you will, and became something by the example of somebody/something else.

In Titus Paul gives great insight on leadership - "An overseer... must be blameless-- not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. Rather he/she must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined."

I guess my biggest thing is that any type of leadership no matter the capacity is a responsibilty. It is something that will effect someone other than yourself (I mean a leader with out followers is just out wandering around anyways, right?). So why is it that we take no regard for others and do our best to try to fit the image of a "leader"?

Someday we wont get caught up in what everyone thinks is right, we wont get caught up in how others want us to live our lives. We will just be caught up in what we know is right, what we believe in.

Check out 'Above Garden State,' they are releasing their first CD in July. Its a pretty sweet sound.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Today I plead Guilty.

Two in one day -- bare with me.

This afternoon at work I was guilty, guilty of second guessing social justice and caring for the poor. The very thing that I preach about and talk about continuously.

I work at a local bike shop in Manhattan as a mechanic, while at work I was building a bike for a guy who did not pay for his bike. Our gracious manager had worked out a deal to get this gentleman a new bike because he could not afford a new on other wise. That was cool but when I had to put his old rack on this new bike it became a complete inconvenience. Racks are a pain to assemble especially ones that are literally 20 years old and completely rusted. -- Yes I am guilty of complaining about giving something to someone who is less fortunate, giving someone something that will give them something to be proud of.

Its that easy to get caught up in the world. Please learn from my mistakes, lets learn from each others mistakes.

Social justice, a cohesive global community; wont happen over night but we can be a people that starts to hold themselves and the people around them accountable. Our accountability will be the driving force to make us a generation of change!


Our worth only amounts to what we invest our lives in.

Over the last few days I have really accepted the fact and realized that the rest of my life probably will not be spent in America. I think I have said this before but yesterday it became a real thought.


I think I might try to make a sub-category or a branch of 'WhatDoTheyNeed?' called "1:27."

The vision for "1:27" is not just to care for orphans and widows but also living out the second half of the verse (james 1:27), which is 'keep oneself from being polluted by the world.'

So "1:27" wont just care for the widows and orphans, which it will totally, it will also be a massive campaign to bring awareness about the family-less. Keeping ourselves from being polluted by being informed, by realizing the need, by promoting social justice, not being drug down by the norms of the world -- the "If I dont think about it, it isnt really happening" approach.

If we are all created equal then why dont we start acting like it?

Just another idea for the brainstorming sheet. Drop a comment let me know what you think about the 1:27.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

The Rents and Life

There are two things on the agenda for tonights blog:

1) Does anyone remember Big Ball Sports clothing company? I wore this stuff when I was middle school (the brand name has a whole new spin now than it did when I was 11). Anyways I am at my parents house prepping for a speaking engagement that I have tomorrow and I am sitting in my old room and I have three stickers on my old window; a :big ball sports," "no rules" (I wasnt even cool enough for "no fear"), and a kc cheifs sticker that i distinctly remember came off a Joe Montana Halloween costume helmet. I dont know what is funnier the fact that I stuck stickers of my favorite brands on my window when I was younger or the fact that they are still on there... I guess they just match the Mighty Mouse emblem still hanging on the outside of my bedroom door.

2) What are we living our lives for? I will have much more on this thought later on in the week but I am sitting here in KC bouncing this through my head over and over. Tomorrow I am delivering the baccalaureate sermon for North Platte high school and I though I had the speech down, I thought I knew exactly what I was going to tell them, until today. All i could think about today was "what are these graduates going to try to live their lives for?"

People, we ARE the generation that WILL bring change. I guarantee that. The world should brace itself for social justice, world unity, and a cohesive global community -- You can ney say all you want but the rest of us WILL make it happen!

Thursday, May 1, 2008


I was sitting in KSU Student Death Center aka Lafene yesterday and while in the lobby I couldnt help but notice the old homecoming posters framed on the wall. They were posters that ranged from the years 1987-1991 ish. the posters were interesting to me mainly because of the crazy marketing slogans. For example:

"I like the State in U" (HC 1990), "Changing our ways: its a K-State craze." (HC 1989) or even the state slogan; "Land of Ahhs" circa 1989.

These are all catchy yet extremely lame slogans. Which could only make me think one thought, "Are people more cynical about stupid slogans now than they were, lets say, 20 years ago?"

In the recent past we have our share of stupid slogans, i.e.:

"Magic in Manhattan" (HC 2007), "Wildcat flashback" (HC 2005), or without a doubt the most ridiculous slogan of all time property of the great state of Kansas which is; "Kansas. As Big as you think!" (2008)

My thought process leads me to wonder why 'as big as you think' should cost millions of dollars to come up with? I think that the recent homecoming slogans are very cheesy and are trying too hard. I think that marketing something doesnt always have to be cute... its actually ok to be real.

I just wonder since the style in the early 90's was tacky if the students were ok with horrible, tacky slogans as well.

"Changing our ways: its a K-State craze." REALLY, what does that even mean? Thanks K-State and the state of Kansas, just keep wasting my money on horrible PR campaigns.


Monday, April 28, 2008

Security Codes

There is one thing that I have found to be a total nuisance in the progression of technology. That would be security words. You know the boxes at the end of a form online that have the squiggly words that are actually just random letters.

Just minutes ago I was applying for a flickr account and it took me 3 tries to get through the security word step. They have shaded the letters, made them dark blue, and made all of the characters continuous. Plus it was case sensitive.

It really made me not want to have an account, but i am a sucker so now "1400 Miles From nowhere" has its own flicker page.

Plus while I am ranting about flickr (which is controlled by yahoo, who i have the problem with (Google for life)) you cannot start a sign in id with a number (eg. 1,2,3,4,5,6,etc...). So i had to make my sign in name nowhere1400@yahoo, how lame.

All I wanted was 1400miles@yahoo but no. Oh well I should just be happy I have an account complaining does no good anyways.

Have an amazing day y'all!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

What do they need?

What are we here for? Really, what is our reason, or purpose, if you will for being here on earth? I love baseball, Boulevard, and Mac & Cheese, but I dont really think those are my purpose. I love Jesus, learning new things and people, but these seem too broad to be my exact reason for life. (Dont get me wrong living for Christ is why I am here.) But specifically, like my daily life's activity, what is the point.

I get confused sometimes. What am I supposed to do? What if I discern His will wrong?

This has been a thought, and even a battle of mine for the last couple of weeks. But today I quit worrying about it.

We Just have to love. All the rest will fall in place. If we dont love the people, we cant save the people.

Evangalism is exciting, experiencing Christ with people is the most amazing thing ever. But if it isnt sincere, if we arent interested in their lives and meet them where they are then what is the point?

James is interesting. He throws a curve ball and I think a needed one at that with his thoughts on religion.

Wrap yourself around this:
James 1:27 - "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."

So besides the obvious, JC, I raise the question again; "What Do They Need?"

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Freak out.

It is now official. I am going to Africa! The tickets are in our possession. One thing is for sure I am flippin' excited. With that said, I am uber anxious. I would not say that I am particularly nervous about this summer, but I would be lying if I was to say that there wasn't a little anxiety.

I am facing the facts that I am about to go into a culture that I cant even imagine. This summer will be great, I have no doubt about that! I cant even imagine the ways God is going to reveal himself. But I am still a little scared. Oh well, no turning back now. Lets get stoked to go figure out an answer to the question, "What do they need?"

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Right Time.

Disclaimer: This might not make sense to many people, but I know for sure it will to a particular few.

1 Corinthians 16:12-14(The Message)

About our friend Apollos, I've done my best to get him to pay you a visit, but haven't talked him into it yet. He doesn't think this is the right time. But there will be a "right time."
13-14Keep your eyes open, hold tight to your convictions, give it all you've got, be resolute, and love without stopping.

It seems, at least in my life, that there are constantly things that make me uncomfortable. Some more so than others, but none-the-less plenty of situations that I dont want to put myself into. In a generation where the word 'creepy' gets used as much as ones name, and awkward people are so prevalent that they have their own mascot, the awkward turtle, its easy to see why people would want to dodge certain situations or groups of company. On a more serious note there are events in our lives where we have felt wronged or even that we have wronged another and not only do we no longer feel comfortable in their presence we also do not feel that we need/should be in there presence.

In the past few weeks I have began to grow distant to a group of people that were like family to me... better yet they were family to me. A few disagreements, bad decisions, and lack of communication, turned a once healthy and fruitful relationship into an awkward and tattered relationship.

The fact of the matter is that reconciliation takes time, and forgiveness is love and that wounds need to be healed, yes, I got that. But does this mean that I have to jump back into the group and be buddy buddy,does it mean that I really even have to be in that setting ever again?
My problem with some peoples view of reconciliation is that it ends when everything is normal again. I have no trouble forgiving people and situations, I really have no trouble moving on and forgetting it ever happened either, but people grow apart. Change is good. Getting away from the norm is not only healthy but it has the opportunity to open our eyes to so much that we may have been missing.

Paul should have been talking about me here instead of Apollos as far as I am concerned. I dont like anyone or anything any less, I just need time for seperation, time to spread out and grow, time to see what else God is revealing. Until then "keep your eyes open, hold tight to your convictions, give it all you've got, be resolute, and love without stopping." I sure as heck am trying to.

I love you guys, I really do. Soon it will be 'the right time.'

Monday, April 14, 2008


Romans 1:28-32
Since they didn't bother to acknowledge God, God quit bothering them and let them run loose. And then all hell broke loose: rampant evil, grabbing and grasping, vicious backstabbing. They made life hell on earth with their envy, wanton killing, bickering, and cheating. Look at them: mean-spirited, venomous, fork-tongued God-bashers. Bullies, swaggerers, insufferable windbags! They keep inventing new ways of wrecking lives. They ditch their parents when they get in the way. Stupid, slimy, cruel, cold-blooded. And it's not as if they don't know better. They know perfectly well they're spitting in God's face. And they don't care—worse, they hand out prizes to those who do the worst things best!

Today I was talking with a guy that I meet with on a regular basis. Great guy, struggling with life and purpose and direction, but is so close. We were chatting for a while drinking our coffee black, because that's the only way to drink it, when the topic of ignoring God came up. Now this is a smart guy, one of those guys who is almost too intelligent, but he asked me a question that seemed ignorant until I started to think about it later on this afternoon. "How can God be present in our lives(punish/love us) if we ignore his existance?" This is one of those conversations that was more about listening and letting him work stuff out through verbalizing his thoughts so I didn't give him an answer. I really didn't have a great answer at the time, but I think this passage in Romans 1 kind of sums it up.

With the knowledge of God, but not the decency to care about his love towards us we will know, deep down, that life isn't right. We will understand the joy of his love and realize what we have in return for sacrificing that joyful relationship. Why do we spend so much time trying to manipulate and ignore the Thing that is best in our lives?

An answer to my friends question; seems to me that it would be more a realization of our lack of commitment to him than his lack of presence in our lives.

Just some rambling thoughts.

Monday, April 7, 2008

True American?

This past weekend we remembered a Hero in America. We remembered a man who fought for civil rights and was not afraid to make a stand for what he, and everyone else, knew was right. We looked back at the life of a man who created the first ever "poor man's" campaign that fought for under-waged and under-appreciated Americans (What could have happened if his life had not ended short?). We take time and acknowledge and admire a remarkable man.

Also this weekend we watched a team in the Memphis Tigers play for a city that was so deeply effected by Dr. King. A city in the heart of the south that was home to marches, sit-ins, riots, extreme segregation, and eventually the site to Dr. Kings assassination. This weekend the Tigers were America's team. This weekend the Tigers represented equality.

How could anyone who calls themselves an American and root against the Memphis Tigers? How can you not pull for a city that is home to an event that is arguably the greatest defining moment in our countries history?

In conclusion I have found that it is unpatriotic to be a KU fan and that you will have trouble justifying your dedication to this country if you root for the Jayhawks. I believe that all KU fans should move to Lawrence, and by Lawrence I mean Canada!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Warning: You probably wont agree!

Why is there such a disagreement amongst the Church? I realize that we all have different takes on theology and that every denomination is different and that disagreement and challenging of faith is not necessarily an unhealthy thing, but when did diversity become a cultural wedge. We can take the word diversity in every sense of the term, let it be, people, way of life, religion, denominations within religion, whatever. It seems to me that people who are fighting for the same goal (in this case the advancement of the Gospel) end up fighting each other and never get anything done.

What will it take for people to come together being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose? Like Paul instructs to be in Philippians 2:2. But also realizing that no matter what; sin and perception has caused us to have views that not all will agree on, but that we all have the same common goal in mind. What would a movement look like that used the strengths of each denomination and ministry to enhance the weaknesses of another.

Has pride become something that is so great that we as believers who have received Christ are not allowing the message to be spread out because of our own sin? Sure, I guess would be the easier answer but I don't think it is that simple. I think a lot of it comes back to fundamentals of a people. I think it comes back to the fact that the word diversity sounds good and warm but is really just a term that masks a wedge that we use to separate people.

Shouldn't diversity in any sense be about celebrating one anothers differences and working through those differences for a common good? Why is diversity just a generalization for labeling separate groups of people and creating categories that cause a failure to establish community, fellowship, and support? Bridging the cultural gap and promoting diversity over segregation in all realms is a battle that is worth fighting. Many leaders have made great headway in eliminating this cultural and religious wedge, now its our turn to step up.

Who are we to be a burden to the gospel because, "I am a Baptist and I don't want to labor next to a Methodist?"

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Pop culture, RAPS!

She had them Apple Bottom Jeans [Jeans]
Boots with the fur [With the fur]
The whole club lookin at her
She hit the floor [She hit the floor]
Next thing you know
Shawty got low low low low low low low low

Them baggy sweat pants
And the Reeboks with the straps [With the straps]...

Q. What are 'Apple Bottom Jeans?'
A. Apparently a jeans company with a semi provocative website. The company is owned by STL's very own Nelly, so I guess that covers that.

Q. How about 'boots with the fur?'
A. They seem to be, with limited Google research, Bearpaw Sonjo Fur Boots, these boots have rabbit fur uppers and swede feet. Interesting

Baggy sweatpants and the Reeboks with the straps, that is self explanatory and totally acceptable.

I guess my question really is how have the 4 seasons and 'December 1963' in time turned to T-Pain and "Shawty" and her hideous apparel? Don't get me wrong, for some odd reason unknown to me, I love me some T-Pain and well pretty much any pop culture rap. But I have no clue why. I guess if I have to wikipedia the lyrics of a song stuck in my head to find its meaning I should probably really start to evaluate my music tastes... I guess.

This is the most worthless blog post I have ever made. I think I really just wanted to be able to put the Apple Bottom Jeans lyrics in a blog. Cheers.

I guess it would be fitting to insert April fools here to cover my back for the nonsense I just wrote.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Letting go.

Tonight at 10pm will mark the first GAPS that I have intentionally missed in about three years, it also marks the first Monday night of a future of free Monday nights. People always say that you never realize how much you need, want, or will miss something until its gone. This is true, I mean we never get the chance to analyze anything until after the fact, we are too caught up in it to see the ultimate connection while a participant. But sometimes it is just time to let go. Not saying that it wont be hard or even hurt, but sometimes moving on is the only way to really grow. Think about it, if we are forced, or even volunteer, to start something new we are forced to face the unknown. We are challenged by untested waters, we have to face the fears of failure... again. When something is successful, it is easy. I was blessed to be a part of GAPS, to come to Christ through that ministry, to be able to be a leader in that realm and to have a safe place to take my 'lost' brothers in the Greek community. It is a part of me and I will never ever give that memory back. The cool thing is that because of all of those things I have been equipped with an ability to communicate the gospels on a a level that is understandable. I have been shown a way to share my faith with people who would never hear it elsewhere. I have seen a leader who I aspire to be. GAPS was an amazing piece of my life. I cant wait to see what the next piece is.

Its now 10:01 and I am officially starting a new faze of my life... How awesome is that!?!