August 31, 2009

The Safe Zone

This morning was our monthly early morning men's gathering with Pastor Rob. Now, I'll be the first to admit - I'm not all that excited about getting up that early - especially on Monday! But I will also say this - it is so worth it. So many men show up and are so pumped and encouraged and challenged when they leave. It is exciting to see passion to lead in such a great group of guys.

This morning Pastor Rob talked to us about risk...about getting out of our safe zones. He used Moses as an example of someone who took big risks, and as a result was used in big ways by God.

I'm not going to go into all the details. But basically we should be asking ourselves these questions: What in your past is keeping you from stepping out of your safe zone? What's the worst that could happen if you did take a risky step of faith? How bad could it really be?

He left us with these three thoughts:

1. You will never naturally leave the safe zone.
2. Growth only begins when you leave the safe zone.
3. The safe zones actually rob us of our greatest moments and memories.

What do you think?

August 10, 2009

Taking Chance

Driving to the beach, we decided to rent a movie to watch in the car on the way. We stopped at our favorite rental store - Redbox - and finally settled on a movie called Taking Chance. If you have not seen this movie, I would suggest you drop everything and go pick it up right now. Grab the kids, and make them watch it with you. This has to be one of the best movies I have seen in quite some time.

Kevin Bacon plays a U.S. Marine who had served in Desert Storm. Now he is a number cruncher, is married, has children, yet longs deep down to have some part in the efforts going on in Iraq. He is a true marine at heart, and feels like he needs to do more to be a part of the war.

So he volunteers to escort a fallen marine back to his hometown. The movie follows this dedicated marine as he keeps watch over the remains of a marine he doesn't even know. It is an amazing reminder that there are many men and women giving their lives everyday so that we can continue to enjoy our freedoms here in America.

Great movie, very well done. I don't suggest watching it in the car...the tears they will be a-flowin'!

Thank you to all those who are fighting for our freedom. You are truly under-appreciated.

Thank you...

August 03, 2009

Peru 2009 - Day 5

We were dropped off in a small village around noon. We unloaded, strapped on our daypacks and began walking down a dirt road through a small village. It didn't take long for a group of children to start gathering. They watched us as we began walking. I walked over and took their picture with a digital camera. When I showed them the picture on the viewfinder, they went crazy! They wanted me to keep taking pictures and showing it to them! That was fun...

We stopped and ate lunch, then hit the trail.

Two Rules:

Before we set out, Ade gathered us all around and gave us some instructions. He said "There are two rules! First rule - nobody goes ahead of me...second rule, don't ask how much longer..." I like this guy! Those are the rules when I travel!

Everyone was feeling great - we were all excited to finally be hiking. This is what we came for - and it was finally coming to reality! We ended up walking for about 3 hours. We stopped to rest along a dirt road leading into a small village. As we waited to find out where we would be spending the night, we played around with some of the children in the area.

The people are very shy. It was not easy to take pictures. Kids and adults would hide their faces as soon as they saw the camera aimed in their direction. But after spending some time together, they would let their guard down.

Our packs, tents, and other supplies were traveling by donkey. They followed a different trail than we did. Since we were stopping at villages along the way to find kids and schools, the donkeys would take a shorter, more direct route. After about 45 minutes, we finally heard from the other group. Our campsite was just up the road, in a soccer field in front of the school.

We all joined together and did a quick sweep over the field to pick up garbage. Then we spent time hanging out with the kids, playing soccer (at 11,000 feet!), and just relaxing.

After dinner the presentation began. A sheet was hung in the makeshift soccer goal. A generator was fired up, and a projector and DVD player were turned on. We showed the Jesus Film in Quechuan (the local language). After the film, Pushpi (one of the leaders of the organization we were with) got up and sang, and spoke, and then we got to help him hand out Bibles to the people. It was quite an experience.

It also got pretty cold. As soon as the sun disappears behind the mountains, the temperature drops quickly. We were glad to finally crawl into our sleeping bags for a much needed night of rest.