Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Clean - Romans 8

This week I finish teaching on Romans 8. I need to first say that it has been a tremendous privilege to teach on what a lot of scholars call one of the greatest chapters in all of the Bible. I know I didn't do it justice, but my hope and prayer is that our students would start to grasp that in Jesus Christ they are clean. There is no condemnation for those students who are in Christ! Here are a couple of other things that stick out.

First, those who are clean are adopted into the family of God. We can cry out "Abba" to our God who is our daddy. I know what it means to adopt and child and I know what it means to be an adopted child. I am my son's daddy. Larry is my daddy. Noah has my last name. I have my dad's last name. I know this is elementary and I think that is one of the points. God loves me as His child. He wants to be in such an intimate relationship with me that I can call him Daddy! This God that takes down Kings and raises them up has made it possible for us to call him Abba!

Second, that if we want to share in Christ's glory then we need to share in His sufferings. When I came across this text I froze. How can I call upper-middle-class students to suffer for Christ? How can I teach them that suffering isn't just an outcome of following Christ, it's part of the plan? We are to follow Him...to Calvary! And it is through suffering that my faith in Christ strengthens, not when everything is going great. To many students think God is most present with them when they are doing great and that He has left them when they feel horrible. But this text challenges us that God is SO PRESENT with us that Spirit intercedes for us with words that we can't express!

More to come...

Terrell Owens in Denver

He was in Denver yesterday meeting with the Broncos! Apparently he lost my cell phone number because I didn't get a call to grab some Starbucks and talk about life and how he can make this season all about HIM and not about him!

Oh well!

I agree with one of local talk show hosts who says T.O. will be a model teammate for one year because he knows this is his last chance. If he comes to Denver it puts them at least equal to the Colts as the best team in the league next year.

My buddy Tim thinks the Broncos clubhouse could handle T.O. because of their closeness and what's expected of each player on that team.

I can still remember John Lynch coming to Denver and he was thrilled to be a part of what he called "a classy organization."

I say come to Denver T.O. There is a house right down the street for $249k. Just grab your check book and cut the check. What's more, we have some great people in our neighborhood that bleed orange and sweat blue so you will feel loved.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Winter Retreat @ Crooked Creek 2006

Here's an overview of the weekend!

- Snow, Snow, Snow! I have never seen that much snow in Winter Park/Fraser.
- Foolish Things did a good job of leading us to focus on God during our sessions.
- Doug Herman balanced humor and depth to speak to our students.
- SGC took the basketball tournament in a landslide. Two SGC teams played each other for the title.
- We didn't win the dodgeball tournament.
- The food was exceptional.
- Our senior dinner was a lot of fun, but the Mexican food killed us on Sunday morning!
- The Hot Tub was a hit!
- We missed Julie! She was at home because of her pregnancy and the boys were sick!
- Our Saturday night large group time as a high school ministry was filled with authenticity.
- Our senior guys did a great job of honoring our senior girls on Saturday night.
- Our senior girls gave all the girls that attended at high school survival kit!
- I had the privilege to pray over the senior girls.
- All the male staff joined me as we laid hands on the senior men and prayed for them.
- We used clips from Chariots of Fire throughout the weekend to highlight our theme of running the race. The clips were awesome!
- The drive home was slow until we got to 1-70 due to all the snow!
- Our t-shirts were long sleeve, dark brown, with the picture of an olive oil bottle with the words "Don't be afraid" underneath it. Our shirt design was taken from our series in Elijah this past fall. The design came from the first story of Elijah with the widow at Zarapheth. I will blog more on this later.
- I am continuously amazed at how God uses these weekends to shape the spiritual lives of our students!
- I thank God for my staff that gave up their weekends to serve alongside me!

Friday, January 27, 2006

Broncos vs. Steelers - 2

Well it's Friday and I thought I would post something of substance about the Broncos game. First, I wanted to produce a picture. Second, I want to comment on the Steelers converting on 3rd down. The thing that killed me all day was seeing our defense put the Steelers in 3rd and long situations only to have them convert. Props to Big Ben. Also, the Broncos got a little taste of what the Patriots experienced last week in the turnover department.

I am excited for next year. And for the record, I am a HUGE JAKE PLUMMER FAN!!!!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

The Trouble with Boys

Newsweek ran an article that is worth a read on the state of boys in the educational system and how they are lacking behind. It also provides some interesting insights that are worth discussing in my opinion.

The Trouble with Boys - Newsweek

For example, it's fascinating how so many boys are more likely to be treated with medicine so early in life because there parents can't get control of them. One lady is taking her 3 year old in for ADHD tests and want her kid on medicine because he is out of control.

It would be interesting to talk more about how the medical industry could be potentially hurting the family by treating the child with medicine first instead of teaching the parents to discipline. I know some children do truly need medicine, but I think a lot of them need a time out and a clear message that the family does not revolve around them. Thoughts?

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Winter Retreat 2006

This week has literally been a race to get all the things done that need to be completed to get this retreat off the ground. Our retreat this year is centered around the theme "The Race." We are using 1 Cor. 9:24-26 as our text for the four messages that will be delivered by Doug Herman. We are using the theme in light of the Olympics that will start in February. Foolish Things will be leading our music and prayer throughout the weekend.

We are going to Crooked Creek Ranch and there will be plenty of broom ball to be played, not to mention fitting 100 students in a hot tub!

I am excited about the other nine churches that are partnering with us this weekend! Our four messages are as follows:

Friday Night - Run with Purpose - "Run in such a win as to get the prize, Not aimlessly"
Saturday Morning - Run with Perpetration - "Everyone who runs with strict training"
Saturday Night - Run with Perseverance - "I beat my body, and make it my slave, so that I will not be disqualified"
Sunday Morning - Run with Passion - "Run with reckless abandonment"

My prayer for each student this weekend is Psalm 119:18!

Monday, January 23, 2006

Black Monday in Denver

John was there. I was there with over 76,000 other people.

Today I wore black!

John's expression is priceless.

The picture of Jake says it all.

It has been a long day today.

Go AFC in the Super Bowl. Keep it in the conference!

I will write more about this game throughout the week.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

The Day Before the Broncos Game!

On the eve of the big game Julie is starting to get really sick. She is the wedding coordinator today for a big wedding at the church! We will see how she is feeling in the morning! She is struggling with her breathing and her cough has come back.

We are going to the wedding and then the reception. Off to church in the morning and then we are heading straight to the game!

About the game, what is cracking me up about this game from a national media perspective is that the Broncos are picked to lose! I am pretty sure that when they win the Super Bowl everyone will say the teams they played gave it to them!

Go Broncos!

Friday, January 20, 2006

The Barrel Man

The most famous fan in the history of the NFL was right in front of me today as I was checking out at Safeway! He and his wife was dressed in full Broncos garb and was pumped for the game! How epic is that? I almost shed a tear!

Tim and his wife attend our church plant Mosaic. My youth pastor had the privilege of performing their wedding ceremony. It was a tailgate and yes, he wore a barrel! A black one!

I am grateful for this fan club having a picture of Tim and his wife on the net!

GO BRONCOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Broncos vs. Steelers

It's football Friday here in Denver, CO! Julie and I are going to the game with my sister and her husband! Julie will be sitting on the 25 yard-line, row 1, seat 1! Not bad eh? My sister will be joining her in seat 2 and Jason and I will be up in section 318!

It's time for the prediction - Broncos 31, Steelers 21. I just don't think the Broncos can lose at home! They have had a normal week of practice. The faced a similar defense last week. They are healthy. It's Jake's year! Looking like 43 degrees for the game!

I can't wait for Broncos Country to invade Detroit.

If the Broncos win, I am considering shaving my goatee off and letting a beard grow until the Super Bowl. I haven't shaved my tee since 1997! What do you think?

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Melo vs. Lebron

Last night was another reason to have hope for the future of the NBA. Lebron came to town and had it out with Melo. The Nugs won. Lebron was one assist short of a triple-double. It was interesting to watch Lebron pass on a last second three pointer. You could see the despair in his face. While the camera was on him you could see him mouth the words, "I was wide open!"

These two guys, along with Wade and others give me hope that the NBA will be something again, like it was in the 80's and the early 90's!

24 Season Premiere

We had a great time watching the 4 hour season premiere this week! The Hodges, Lord's, Will, Julie and Jen were all with us for 4 unbelievable hours. We had 24 on DVR and then at 7:30 started it with all the kids upstairs watching a movie in our bedroom.

I thought they did a good job of weaving Jack back into this season. When Palmer was shot we all gasped and I fell off the couch. Good to see Chloe is back! We love imitating her during the show. We all love Edgar!

Good to see Frodo's buddy come on board. I loved how they made him the hero figuring out Jack's use of the phrase "flank 2 position."

Tony and Michelle and the explosion was believable. I liked how Chloe found out about Michelle right before she put her key in the door.

Good scene between Jack and Palmer's brother.

The President is such a spaz. Nobody likes him. It's interesting that one of the things that made this show strong the last four seasons was Palmer. Now they have an idiot in the office. I really like his wife's character and I like how they are using her "illness" as a barrier for her getting her husband information.

I also liked the whole airport scene!

This is my favorite show on T.V.

I can't wait for Monday night at 8:00 p.m.!

Monday, January 16, 2006

What's Your Dream?

Is it big enough to leave a legacy?
I thank God for Martin Luther King's example.

Broncos vs. Patriots

Broncos 27 - Patriots 13

I am stating the obvious - the game was amazing and going to it was even better! A few takes...

First, the stadium was extremely loud! My wife is the loudest whistler I know. I couldn't hear her!

Second, Champ's interception return ended in our endzone and I have to give props to Chris for the review information. When he hit the fifty yard line it was mayhem! I thought I was going to tear my other ACL as I was jumping around hugging big fat guys who smelled like the Coors Brewery Tour Guide and hoping on one leg as high as I could!

Third, the tailgate was awesome! Check out this guy who wandered around our tailgate! He was hammered! I took this picture during the time the Broncos Stampede came by and played for about 10 minutes!

We had deep fried chicken and french fries. The french fries were fried in oil that had sea salt added to it! They were incredible! Not to mention the smoked Salmon! My friend Frank Scardina stopped by!

The best part of the night was hanging with Julie! We had a great time!

Oh, btw, I am going this up and coming Sunday to the game! My senior pastor caught me in the hallway today and asked me to close the last service on Sunday! I respectfully declined! He laughed and said, "I would never do that to you!"

The Joys of Being a Red Head

I have been meaning to post this for some time! I spoke at a high school retreat this past year and met Hannah, a senior who is a red head. Her youth pastor sent me a paper she wrote and I had to share it with you because it is AWESOME!!!!!!!!!
Thanks Hannah!

The Joys of Being a RedheadBy: Hannah Middlebrook

You would think being a redhead is easy. We are like any other person right? Well you are wrong. How would you like it if whenever you meet new people their very first question is, "so uh…do all redheads really have tempers?" That question infuriates me! Just because my hair is one color does not mean it seeps into my brain and makes me an angry person. I just want to punch anyone that asks me that! I mean do people honestly look at me and say "wow sure don't want to be her friend, she has red hair, must have a temper." No, I am a kind; caring, gentle hearted person and anyone who would like to differ can meet my fist. Redheads have always had it tough though. If I were born 200 years ago, I would be burned at the stake as a witch!

Being a redhead is simply not easy. I cannot go anywhere without people stopping me and wanting to know what bottle I used to dye my hair with. My "favorite" thing people do to me though is petting my head. Can you believe that absolute strangers will pet my head?! No joke. Standing in a line is the absolute worst place. I will be minding my own business when all of a sudden I feel an unknown object in my hair. Who knows where the hand has been? What makes you think you can walk up to a complete stranger and pet them? You would think that they are kids or some cute elderly person, but no it is some 45-year-old lady going through a mid-life crisis stroking my head! Honestly why would you do this? What possesses a person to do this?! But because I am such a nice girl, without a temper, I smile and turn back around praying the line will move faster.

Most of the time I meet people that stalkishly love my hair, but not always. I have had a woman actually cross the street to yell at me for being born with red hair, when she had been spending hundreds of dollars to match what I have. What am I supposed to say? Is she complementing me or threatening to kill me? I usually smile and say, "Sorry, would you like a psychiatrist's number?" The lady snarls at this and I take the signal to run! Another joy of being a redhead is that because I have red hair I must be related to every redhead in the school. I am often asked if my twin is a girl named Hilary. I try to be patient with these poor little fools. Politely I say, "no just friends." But inside I am thinking, "who the girl that is five inches taller than me with blue eyes?! I do not look anything like her!" There are many life lessons I have learned from being a redhead. Some being, I must be patient, caring, and attentive.

Often I find myself in a store, on the street, even in a public bathroom talking to an elderly lady telling me how her sister's husband's cousin's best friend had the exact same color as me. It can be hard to listen to when I desperately have to pee and I am the next one in line and the stall opens and I look over at the lady and she is still going strong telling me about how her dog actually had my color of hair and it is at these points I could just scream, " I am sorry but I really don't care!" And I really do care, because apparently talking about hair color makes people happy, so I try to listen to everything they say as people pass me to go into the stall and I have to dance while listening. Finally the lady notices the pain on my face and embarrassedly exclaims, " Oh sorry you have to pee, go ahead." Of course at this point the empty stall is now filled. Some redheads hate the color of their hair. They can't handle the never-ending torture or simply can't take the names carrot top, tomato head, lion girl, or the hilarious joke, "excuse me do you know your head is on fire?" In all seriousness though, I absolutely love my hair. I would not change it for anything.

It is a great conversation starter, I am unique and I meet tons of new people everyday. Yeah, on a bad day it is frustrating to not be able to walk in a store, buy milk and get out without talking to anyone. But you know I figure its worth it when an old woman can tell me how handsome her redheaded husband was, or how her children have hair just like me. To see their faces smile, remembering old memories long gone actually make all the strange pettings worth it. I feel honored that I can make someone's day better just because God blessed me with red hair.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Broncos - Playoff - 4

In a little over 25 hours from now I will be sitting in section 318 stomping my one good leg and screaming my head off. I will have my lovely wife next to me and some of dad's good friends sitting right next to me.

I will look over about 5 sections and my dad and I will wave to each other and it will begin, the first playoff game at Invesco Field.

This isn't my first playoff game. The last playoff game I went to was the AFC Championship game with against the Jets.

So it's football Friday and it's time to make my predictions for the game. Broncos 27 - Patriots 23. There is no way we are going to lose this game. I am not overstating this when I say that the stadium is going to be so loud I don't expect to hear myself yelling! Go Broncos!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Snow in Summit County Colorado

There is so much snow in Summit County right now that the parking lots can't handle it! They are literally loading snow in trucks and taking it somewhere else!

There is record snow in our mountains and I am in rehab. Figures! If you haven't planned your trip to Breckenridge, Keystone, A Basin, Vail or Steamboat, due it today!

Leading a small group

This semester I am taking over the leadership of one of our i2i groups. Jimmy, their leader, was offered a job that he couldn't pass up and it requires traveling to California weekly. With no adult males in our church to assume the role I stepped in. Last night was our first night together. We were missing a few of our guys but for those who were there we had a great time.

I haven't been an official leader of a group since I was shepherding the middle school. Last night reminded why I believe so strongly in making small group ministry a part of what we are doing in our high school ministry.

On Wednesdays I want our leaders to be thinking about these four elements: Word, Worship/Prayer, Fellowship & Outreach. Last night we focused on the first three.

We focused on what it means to be strong and courageous men out of Joshua 1. We had a great time of fellowship (high and low's over the break), and a time of prayer. I am looking forward to next week.

Broncos - Playoff - 3

So the big game is just a little more than 2 days away! Julie and I are getting pumped for the game! We are dropping our kids off at Nana's and planning on being down at the stadium by 3:00 p.m. This morning Tony Gonzalez of the Kansas City Chiefs was on the Hot Seat on ESPN and picked the Broncos to win the Super Bowl!!!!!!!!

That's right! It isn't just the Broncos fans that think this team is special, it's the players who have played against them. Tony played both the Broncos and the Patriots this season and he said, "The Broncos playing at home at Invesco...the Broncos!"

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Colorado Avalanche - 1

I love living in this town with the Broncos, Nuggets, Rockies (1994) and the Avalanche! I have to start talking about my Avs! First, they had a tough off-season losing Adam Foote and Peter Forsberg! We fell in love with this team as they won the Stanley Cup right before we got married in 96! We have been hooked from that day on!!!!!!!!!

I have to start talking about Marek Svatos and him being the MVP for the Avalanche!!!!!!!! He has had two hat tricks this season and is leading all rookies in goals! Give up for our rookie from the Czech Republic.

Up and Coming Weekend!!!!!

Did I mention what my weekend looks like?

Friday - day off with my wife and kids!
Saturday - Future Focus with our juniors and seniors and THE BRONCOS GAME that night!
Sunday - Teach out of Romans, watch NFL football, Alice Robbins goodbye party before she leaves for Poland and the 2 HOUR season PREMIERE of 24.

It just doesn't get much better for a weekend in January!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Yelling at My Sons

The older my boys get the worst is starting to come out of me when it comes to parenting, mainly, yelling at my kids. I have been aware of it over the last couple of years but when I yelled at Josiah the other night I knew I had to start working on this horrible weakness. I've read articles, been challenged by Bible verses about dealing with anger, etc... and they have prompted me to feel guilty, but I haven't changed.

I can't even remember what JT did, but I remember what I said and how he responded.

After I yelled at him he stopped what he was doing. But then he dropped his head, sprouted the pouty lip and sunk to the ground in despair. He started crying. I stood there numb. Time stood still. Tons of thoughts flooding my mind. Not enough time to share it today, but the point of this entry is to say I am grateful Josiah gave me a hug after I apologized and I am grateful that the grace of God is working in my heart and I am looking forward to growing in this area in 2006.

ACL Recovery Update

Today marks the first day of my fifth week from the day I went under the knife! My physical therapy is coming along well and I am starting to do lunges for the next month!

I can't wait to like this guy, lunging around the track, looking like a dork!!!!!!!

Broncos - Playoff - 2

Looks like Darrent Williams is at 60% and will play in the nickel defense on Saturday only. He's not going to run back punts!

Jake Plummer was on John Lynch's television show last night and it was awesome. Jake and John had a great chemistry on the set last night and it just further illustrated the fact that these guys are fighting for each other on the field.

What is bothering me about this game already is how the Broncos have already lost in the eyes of so many. What? Should the Broncos be scared? YES! Should the Patriots be scared? YES! I can't wait to head down to the stadium on Saturday!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, January 09, 2006

Shark Boy and Lava Girl

My sons got this movie for Christmas. They absolutely love it! It is absolutely hilarious to watch them watch the movie. They will sit right next to each other and laugh at the same time and talk about the funny parts.

And then the classic line that comes after one of the characters from the movie says the word "STUPID!"

Josiah looks over at me and says, "Daddy, we don't say the word stupid."

I am proud to say I have only watched about 10 minutes of this movie! I can't wait to watch in 3-D!?

Broncos - Playoffs - 1

Okay, so I've waited since 1998 for this week, the Broncos being in the divisional playoffs!

First, Julie and I are going to the game. 57 degrees is the weather prediction - oh do I love living here in Colorado!

Second, as I think about it during the week I am going to post some thoughts on the game.

Patriots are 10-0 in the playoffs under Brady and during that run the Broncos are 0-3!

Other than the Super Bowls the Patriots have won 7 of those 10 games at home. This Saturday at 6:00 p.m. MST they get the chance to win their first on the road.

I still think 10-1 is a great record!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Post Millenial YOUTH?!

I just read an interesting editorial by John Geraci, discussing what will be influencing the worldview of the next generation to come, the post-millenials. While it is not comprehensive, it is a quick read that will get your mind thinking towards the futre.

Editorial - "Our Take On It"

What struck me as I was reading this is that my children are part of this generation.


I read this book a couple of years ago and I am reading again with our Jr. High Director, Tim. As we go through it I will post some of the things that are challenging my thinking and practice as it relates to leadership.

In Chapter 2 on Level Five leadership here are a few of things that caught my attention.

First, the first sentence of chapter one stopped me in my tracks, "Good is the enemy of great." - pg. 1

Second, the definition of a level 5 leader - One who "builds enduring greatness through a paradoxical blend of personal humility and professional will." - pg. 20

Third, the example of Darwin Smith who was the CEO of Kimberly-Clark. (BTW, if we have a boy next month this name is not on our list). In retirement, Smith stated something that I will never forget about how he was able to perform like a level five leader. "I never stopped trying to become qualified for the job." - pg. 20.

I am so tempted by being good. I am so tempted with the "been there; done that" attitude. I figured out the seasons of ministry. I figured out the programming. I have the right forms. I teach the right lessons. I have just been there.

And what is grabbing my heart is that I find myself fighting this temptation regularly in all areas of my life too.

I am a good husband. I am a good father, etc...

Here's the issue, why am I so satisfied with just being good?

I want to become more qualified to marry my wife; more qualified to parent my children; more qualified to be the pastor of student ministries in my community; more, etc... And I want to do it all, with profound humility shining a light on the greatest lover of my soul - JESUS! My bent (will) should be for the KINGDOM.

The Alligator in the Manger?

A story from Christmas. My son Josiah noticed that there was an animal missing from the manager scene at his Nana's house, an alligator. Julie's dad walked around the corner and saw Josiah sticking an alligator right up next to the baby Jesus. After he was done he said, "There."

All we would need to is add Steve to the manger scene next year!