Last night I experienced my first fish boil. We drove a total of 74 miles round trip and it was worth every mile. I had no clue what to expect. Fish boil? What's that? I'm from Colorado, the only think I can give a visitor that seems like a "Colorado food" are Rocky Mountain Oysters. And these only taste descent with lots of jalapeño ranch dressing.
It was a buffet. Plate. Fork. Seven napkins. A boiled potato. A boiled onion. A huge scoop of boiled white fish. Then the kicker. Two small ladle scoops of butter over it all.
After 15 minutes of eating...
Repeat above paragraph for round two.
Drink a cup of coffee.
Pass out and pray Jesus comes because I want to have that taste and memory with me for eternity!
Today I met with Gary from Northwoods to talk about how to get families more involved in student ministry. It was a great time. Gary has been doing ministry for years with children and is now overseeing the Jr. high and High school directors at Northwoods. As he is moving into this role he is really wrestling with what it looks like to have parents more involved in the ministry to their students. He's seen it work great in children's ministry and is passionate about seeing it work with students.
I was excited to meet with Gary because one of my projects on my sabbatical is working on a project to get more of our parents interacting with what we are teaching on Sunday mornings. When I return from my sabbatical I am going to present an 11 parent interaction sheet to coincide with our 11 week study of church history that I will be teaching.
I have no clue what it's going to look like or how it will be received, but I walked away more encouraged by Gary to continue to shepherd students believing that all that we do during the three hours we have our students each week should serve and support their parents who have them the other 165 hours.
Staying at the Dean's is better than staying at a resort! We've made it to the house that Charlie built. Seriously, he built this crib. The dude has skills.
I met Charlie when he came to Southern Gables while he was at Denver Seminary. His wife volunteered in our middle school ministry and Charlie played guitar on Sundays during our services. I am happy to say Charlie converted to being a HARD CORE Broncos fan! It wasn't hard, they won two Super Bowls while he was in town and his Bears weren't good!
He was doing the Super Bowl shuffle 5,280 feet above sea level.
It's been great to connect with Charlie about young adult ministries as he's been involved in helping to shape this at his current church, Northwoods Community Church. I am excited to get back to Southern Gables and chat with some of our Relcamation folk about what I am learning!
We are pumped to be here through Monday afternoon.
We landed at the Steiner's on Day 4 of the sabbatical for dinner. We ate Chicago Style deep dish pizza with spinach on his sweet new deck which overlooks at pond. It was heavenly. It was great to catch up with Craig as we worked together at Southern Gables from 1999 to 2001. He's at Harvest Bible Chapel and loving his job!
Jonathan, Micah and Hannah were great playmates for our three kids.
We finished off our time with another amazing meal on Friday which will make it's own post!
Four years ago today God gave us Josiah at 11:33 a.m. It was great timing because I got to watch the British Open that morning while we were waiting! :)
We had just finished watching Pirates of the Caribbean at the movies and it was off to the hospital to get this gift. This guy has filled our lives with joy and laughter as he says the craziest things! He's going to be the kid in our home that will keep us laughing. So here's to celebrating your birthday in Missouri and Illinois today buddy!
Day 3 of sabbatical took us to the Absher's crib 45 miles west of St. Louis. We landed around 4 and played every imaginable game outside you can think of. We ended the night launching some serious fireworks! Big Al taught Jr. High Sunday school for me when I first started working at Southern Gables in 1996. His wife was our wedding photographer. We love the Absher's! The Sedona made it to the driveway of this sweet pad. It sits on 3 acres and the home is beautiful!
We might see them in a few weeks as Spencer is heading out the School of Mines and will start his freshmen year! There is St. Louis Cardinals stuff all over this house! Go Rockies!
We've landed in Kansas on day two of the sabbatical. It's the birthplace of my mom and step dad and their families. I thank God she moved to Denver! Here a short list of what we saw today:
- farmland - corn - a man pushing an empty wheelchair down the side of the highway - corn - a billboard stating that Colby, KS is "The oasis on the plains" - this is funny - cows copulating - corn - the world's largest groundhog - corn - our kids laughing as they jump from bed to bed in our hotel room - corn - biking at a rest stop - corn - the cozy inn where we had a bag of burgers in downtown Salina - swimming in an ice cold indoor pool - corn - a billboard of Jesus - seriously the hottest and whitest Jesus I've ever seen - corn - a failed cache find with the GPS - corn - oil rigs
Six years ago today we were in Indonesia when Noah was born! We came home from that amazing trip with our college students to an amazing gift! God's faithfulness in our lives through adopting Noah truly took our breath away and we remember bringing him home just like it was yesterday!
Noah had a Star Wars party last week because we are driving to Salina, KS today! Uncle Chris played Vader! Julie did an awesome job with this party! Each boy got their own Jedi outfit!
Yesterday I headed over to the Olson's to pick up this car top carrier for the Sedona before we head out tomorrow. We were wondering how we were going to be able to fit the bikes and the scooters in the van with only being able to take one seat out! Answer: the car top carrier to store all the clothes.
It's such a blessing to live in community. It's so exciting to see little provisions like this as we embark today on a new journey in our personal and ministry lives.
I can actually fit inside of this so I am thinking that I better be on my best behavior or this is going to be the couch for me!
Today marked the last official day I had to be in the office before my sabbatical officially begins tomorrow. It was a crazy day! I think it hit a bunch of people that I was actually starting tomorrow, so there were questions and comments galore.
I really enjoyed seeing the students today as it was the last time I will be in front of them teaching until October 7th. On October 7th I will start our Fingerprints of God series which will be an 11 week study in church history! I can't wait!
Tomorrow begins a completely new experience for me and my family. I can't wait!
One of the biggest blessings about taking students overseas is the seat God gives me to watch Him work in lives of our students...a front row seat.
Everyday of our adventure I got to watch the hand of God carving Himself into the lives of our students, leaders and myself. It's almost breathtaking to have this seat. Seeing the majesty of God interface with the sinfulness of humanity literally takes your breath away. He's relentless in His pursuit of completing a good work in us. I saw His touch everywhere I turned.
I can't wait to see what else He does this summer!
One of our desires at this camp is to push students towards carrying the truth of God's Word and His love with them when they leave. Throughout the week we want to stretch their thinking by speaking from our own lives and the Word of God. We want them to struggle with the truth. We want them to carry it for themselves back into their homes, but we know that many will not want to carry it.
I think this Ancient Hebrew Proverb sums it up well,
"Truth is heavy. That is why so few men carry it."
I just spent the last 24 hours with Dan Hash. What a guy. He drives 13 hours to see us for 24 hours. It's so encouraging to me and our team that he would make the time to come and see us. He didn't just send us off from Krakow and say, "Thanks for everything!"
He spent the evening with us at camp. He was a part of our team meeting. He spent some time with our 180 leaders.
I don't really know what else to say about this guy except the fact that I am deeply grateful to have this 46 year old cheetoh in my life. I pull away from regularly scheduled stuff to hang with him and it's one of the highlights of the trip for me. He deeply cares about our church and our student ministry, but he always asks me about my family first, "How's Julie? How's being a dad?"
Here's to Dan Hash and our church partnering with him and his ministry!