Sunday, September 28, 2008

The things I noticed....

I was at my Grandparent's house today with my mom getting ready to help them with a few things over the next couple of days. Mom, Grandma, and Grandpa were talking, and I was getting irritated with the persistent chirp of the smoke detector in need of a new battery. I asked Grandpa where the 9V batteries are, grabbed a ladder and proceded to change the batteries, at which point I realized there was another smoke detector obnoxiously begging for a new battery. Well, we were out of 9V's, so that one's waiting until tomorrow.

But, at that I point, I began walking around the house trying to find other things that I would be able to help take care of (my grandparents are amazing and still climb extension ladders to get on their roof even though they are 80 years old....I think it's time to put a stop to this personally.)

It's at this point that I realized that camp has made me a strange person. I walked around checking all the things we normally check at the beginning of the season, and it kind of made me laugh at myself.
  • Smoke detectors need checked regularly.
  • Put a smoke detector in every room of the house!
  • Change burnt out light bulbs.
  • Better yet, replace light bulbs with energy efficient light bulbs so they last longer!
  • Line the bottom of all trash cans with extra quick and easy to take the trash out!
  • If it's broke, fix it! Enough said.
The list could go on (and trust me, it does). But I guess more than anything, my little OCD moment at my grandparent's today made me realize that camp has taught me how to prepare well, and plan for success (in this case, I think success would be making ordinary tasks simpler for Grandma and Grandpa....they don't need to be on ladders several times a month changing light bulbs...let's just give them energy efficient bulbs!)

So strange or not, I think it's a good thing!

Monday, September 22, 2008


Yesterday was one of those days that remind me why I do what I do. After a very full weekend of 3 way too long days in a row, I stopped to think about all that had been accomplished and how incredible it is that I get to be a part of it.

This weekend was Illuminate at Epworth Forest Conference Center, one of the Impact 2818 sites. The last count I heard yesterday for the Sunday afternoon concert was 1,050 people in attendance… AWESOME!

I was in a different position than where I usually am for events like this. I got to sit in the sound booth during the concert and help with some of the video elements for the concert (just making sure screens were up and down when they were supposed to be, play videos when they were supposed to be played, etc.) That’s not normally something I do, I’m usually outside the events, running around doing other things. But being in the auditorium let me see something that I don’t always get to see.

As the doors opened before the concert, we knew we were around 750. As people continued to pour in, I remember getting chills as a few of us realized that we were over 900 and were getting close to reaching a thousand people.

We reached a point in the concert when one of the bands began a worship set, and I just sat in the back watching hundreds of people worship together. I sang (with what little voice I had left) from the back and was almost brought to tears just seeing how many people were there to hear about the plan that God has for their life.

I was sick all week leading up to this event, and for the entire weekend of. But last night, as I thought about the weekend, here are the things that make it worth it:

  • The pastor that stopped me by name, who remembered me from an hour long intro to camping that I did for new pastors a week ago…so excited to have something like this to bring a group of students to.
  • The mom and daughter who came up to me to give me a hug. They were both excited to be back after having had a great experience last year at camp.
  • The youth pastor who brought his students to Camp Adventure for a retreat in the spring, heard about Illuminate, and brought the same group back for a great concert.
  • Talking with a new youth pastor struggling to get volunteers and help in her local church. Sharing ideas, frustrations, and encouragement.
  • Seeing a great crew of staff and volunteers who returned for the weekend to bring their energy, talents, and enthusiasm to serve.

It excites me for the things that are ahead of us in this ministry. When I'm tired, or frustrated...these are the things that I pull from the back of my mind, and I keep pushing forward. Because it is AWESOME to see lives CHANGED.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Paying Attention

Okay, I know I do this too, so I shouldn't really complain...

I walk into Subway today and the lady that is always there was... you guessed it... there. I don't actually know her name, and I doubt she actually knows mine, but I should probably find out (Considering it's less than 2 minutes from the office, I usually grab lunch there once every other week... once a week if things are busy and I don't go home for lunch, so I see her fairly frequently. I'm surprised she doesn't know my order yet). But that's not the point.

She goes to ring me up, looks at me and says, "You look tired today."

Now I'm not gonna lie.... this has always struck me as a polite way to say, "You look like crap." Thanks. Thanks a lot.

But, I suppose it is just our way of showing that we pay attention to the people around us. So her saying I looked tired today... means she has at least noticed how I normally look and act, versus how I looked and acted today. (I am sick, so she was right.... I was tired, and feeling rather crappy.... so I suppose she wasn't too far off.)

I guess in the end, even though the whole "You look tired" euphemism kind of irritates me, I appreciate the fact that she has paid enough attention over the past several months to notice me, and notice when something was off. That's pretty impressive when you consider the number of people I'm sure she encounters on a daily basis who just want their turkey sandwich with lettuce and tomato, light on the mayo...

So I guess my question is, "Are you paying attention to the people around you?" Would you notice if they were having an off day? Would you ask them about it, even if you hardly knew them? And would you be ready for a real answer?

I want to be someone who notices, asks, and listens.

"Love from the center of who you are; don't fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle."
~Romans 12:9-10 (Msg.)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Geeked Out

So I just spent probably 45 minutes doing geometry, maybe a little trig, and using the wonders of the pythagorean theorem with a couple of people I work with to calculate heights, distances, angles, all that sort of stuff for work. (No, I have not switch career fields, I do still work for a camping ministry).

I can't decide whether I feel good about this, or incredibly geeky. I mean on the one hand, how great is it to be able to pull out something you learned back in high school and realize, "Hey! This stuff does apply to real life!" On the other hand.... wow, I am a geek.

I suppose I realized that last year though when I helped a friend work on the data for a psych paper that was being submitted for publication. There is something rewarding about thinking hard, solving problems, and using what you've learned along the way. I guess it feels like you've accomplished something.

So yea... I guess I'm a geek, but I'm pretty sure most people that know me already knew that. And if not.... well if you want to really know me, then it's a good thing you learned now.

And oh yea... we did use calculators online. But at least we knew the theory behind it!


Monday, September 8, 2008

Living Safe

So a little over a week ago, I was up at my parents and went to GCC for church on Saturday evening (although it is not my home church, I am challenged, encouraged, and pushed every time I go. So I go whenever I am able). Rob Wegner spoke about Fear of Failure. I don't want to try to capture everything he said, so I'll just say watch it here.

His message pushed me and encouraged me...and I stayed up until almost 2 am the next night talking with a friend about the message... what God had taught me, and how I thought my life needed to look different.

It all started with a rubber band, and it ended with me wanting MORE. Wanting to take the idea of living safe and chuck it right out the window! Wanting to go further, go deeper, take risks, and not be afraid to fail.

You see, there is one part that has stuck with me ever since that evening. It's the story of Peter, walking on the water, a story I've heard countless times. Peter always goes for it. Sometimes without really thinking things through. You can always count on him for that. So Jesus invites him to walk on water... and he does! He makes it a ways, and then starts to sink... overcome with fear and uncertainty. A failure... Right? Yea. But what about this? The 11 other disciples in the boat didn't even try. That's what Rob drove home, at least to me. Peter tried. Sure he failed, but as Rob put it "He failed gloriously."

How awesome is that? What have I done that, yea... I may have failed. But you know what? I failed gloriously! Probably not too many things... because I don't like to fail.

I want to change that. I'm not saying I'm going to chuck all logic, reason, common sense, and all the good gifts God has given us that go along with being rational beings. But, I want to be willing to step out, take a huge risk, and know that I may fail.

Because I have become convinced that great things happen only when we step up and take great risks.

So it's time for me to step up.

A Funny One

To start things off right... A funny story.

Sarah gave me a cat. Yes that's right. A cat. Wasn't too sure about this.... and am still not too sure about this (especially in light of it's most recent antics).

The cat likes to escape, and it did so Saturday evening (probably after some people tormented the poor thing all afternoon at my house by making it wear necklaces (AKA rings cut out of plastic cups and put around it's neck!) So she escaped. Normally she makes her way back within 12-24 hours, no doubt hungry and in need of protection from the dangerous beasts that live in the middle of nowhere....

Well, she hadn't come back as of lunch today (that would be Monday), so I go out on the front porch to see if she comes running and I just hear a faint, pathetic little "Meow...." I follow the sound until I realize.... SHE IS STUCK IN A TREE!!!! No joke. Like 20 feet in the air.

I tried treats. I tried talking nice. No luck. I'm going to have to get a ladder....or climb the tree.

It could be an adventure.