Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Green with Envy

This past few days I have been at our FREE METHODIST SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA pastors LEARNING COMMUNITY EVENT. Yes, that is a mouthful but we learned together and from each other. It was practical, it was challenging.

One of our speakers was Dr. Matthew Sleeth, author of the book SERVE GOD SAVE THE PLANET. It's easy to believe the whole care-for-the-environment push is a political deal. Start reading the Bible, underlining or highlighting in green all the references to God's earth, especially in the Psalms, and you may change your perspective. God thought of this a long time before Al Gore or any other politician or environmentalist.

Check out this link and challenge yourself to see green: http://www.servegodsavetheplanet.org/

Also you might note his daughter just authored a book, IT'S EASY BEING GREEN. Check it out here: http://www.youthspecialties.com/shop/product_info.php?products_id=393

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Long Ago and Far Away

Beginning sometime in 1976 I had the opportunity of traveling around in a singing group with approximately 30 other high school students and adults. We all came from different churches but banded together under the leadership of a pastor who had a big heart for youth who were yet to realize their potential.

I was a typical girl-crazy high school guy who valued his faith but held it loosely. Traveling with a bunch of girls, getting to be a "rock star" and singing Christian music with a soundtrack seemed like a great deal.
Throughout the spring and early summer we traveled on weekends to different churches. The guys wore their leisure suits and the girls their bright, pastel colored dresses. We memorized words and threw in choreography. We thought we were pretty cool.

By late summer our director had organized a 10 day tour and off we went in our vans and motorhomes. It was a time I will never forget as we learned to live in close community and serve Christ in a variety of settings.

I give eternal thanks to George, Charlotte, Bob, Bill, Rhonda, Dan, Pam and Sidena who let the Lord lead them while they were leading us. Their unconditional love and care catapulted me into a calling toward full time youth ministry from which I have never turned. The effect of adults who live with Christ at the center and invest in the lives of young people can never be underestimated. I am humbled and honored to now be that person for the youth I love.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Church is Cool

Eugene Peterson, in his book, THE JESUS WAY, says, "We live at a time when there is a lot of anti-institutionalism in the air. 'I love Jesus but I hate the church' is a theme that keeps reappearing with variations in many settings." (p.230)

He goes on to say, "Jesus said, 'Follow me,' then regularly led his followers into the two primary religious institutional structures of his day: the synagogue and the temple."

Jesus knew the church was not perfect but he also knew what it could be. I am thankful to be a part of a church that, while it is not perfect, knows what it could be. Church can be cool. I wouldn't want to live the Christian life alone. Would you?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Bad Decisions

I mentioned this yesterday at FRONTLINE SUNDAY . . . if you have been following the news of last week and the activity of Hurricane Ike you might be aware that thousands were told to leave the Galveston Island area or face "certain death." According to the news many foolishly chose to ignore this mandatory evacuation and called 9-1-1, in a panic, at the height of the storm. They were told by rescuers to find someway to survive as no one was able to now save them.

It was later reported that lifesaving crews were angry and frustrated, with good reason, at those who stubbornly thought they could beat this massive storm. Thankfully for them the storm surge was not quite as large as predicted.

I found myself thinking about how stupid it was, for whatever reason, to stay behind and ride out a hurricane of that size. I would like to think my decision-making would have been more wise.

I then was reminded our relationship with God is often this way. It is easy to believe we don't need God; our way is better. We make bad decisions, willfully disobey and suffer destructive consequences. God, in His infinite love, mercy, grace and forgiveness still stands ready to save us even though we don't deserve it.

Choose God, choose life

Monday, September 8, 2008


Election season is here and I am sad. I am sad to hear how people treat others. I was listening to the radio yesterday and heard a talk show host say John McCain is not even human. Has it come to this? Is this the best we can do when we don't agree with a candidate's views? We don't have to vote for them but God certainly doesn't love them any less than He loves us. Let's bring back respect and honor for all of God's people.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Last Wednesday I began my 25th year of youth ministry in the Pacific coast city of Santa Barbara, California. I arrived here as a 25 year old and so I guess you could say I have been here half of my life. Not exactly something I could have predicted.

Born in Pennsylvania, grew up in Maryland, college in Illinois, graduate school in Kentucky and then a surprise move to California that only God could have known. Add having a daughter in Seattle and a son in Boston for college and I would say this has been quite an adventure.

Who knew what God had planned? I could never have guessed this and I cannot pretend to forecast what the next 25 years will bring. I do know God has led the entire way and I, for one, will continue to follow.