Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Youth Ministry Vision Casting *bump*

This is a repost from December that I want to get back to, but with the recent business of life I didn't have the time. Here's where I'm going to pick up shortly.

Do you want the members of your church to really know that God created them for a purpose? Do you really want them to know they can be a very real part of the work of God's kingdom? Do you want to see a passion spread in your church? Would you like to transition from being a church where 20% of the people do 80% of the work (it many churches it's far worse than that) to a church where nearly everyone is actively involved?

If so, then vision-casting is the beginning of this transition. Vision-casting is a process of knowing the what, why, where, and how of the future of a ministry. If your church has 20% that does 80% of the work, you're not going to be able to motivate the other 80% to do anything unless they see a good reason for it. I believe that most people don't get involved in church because the leadership there isn't presenting the what, why, where, and how and because the leadership has failed to do so most feel they would rather not get involved; most often because it looks like a waste of their time and they believe there are better things they could be doing.

How do we install such a passion in the members of our church that they get out of the stands, stop being spectators, and become active members of the church? It begins with visionary leadership.

Over the next few blogs I'm going to talk about forming this process and what God has to say about forming this process, particularly from the youth ministry perspective (but I'm sure much of this would be good for the rest of the church).

Monday, January 28, 2008

Living It To Riding Them

Roller coasters! Sarah and I got to experience Busch Gardens in Tampa today and we both really enjoyed it. It was her biggest birthday wish and we both need to do something fun. We kept talking about how much we wanted our family to be there with us to enjoy it. We know they could really use some stress relief in their own life (on both sides of the family).

I haven't posted in roughly two weeks. I'm guessing without actually looking at when I last posted but I know it has been a while. I've been having a real hard time slowing my thoughts and processing everything that's been going on over the past few weeks. Also, many of the things that have been on my mind lately aren't the kind of things you blog about, or at least that I would want to blog about. It's time that the blog returns to its form state and I get back to talking about ministry, which includes sharing what going on my life as well.

I haven't made a video tour yet because we seem to have lost the battery charger for the device I would make the video with. A new one has been ordered and should be here this week. Expect a tour soon.

Sarah and I are really happy here. We're missing people back home, but we love the people here at Forest Park Baptist. As we learn more about the church and discover more about the people the more we're falling in love; not to mention the love we've been showered with. Sarah's was given a cake, had "happy birthday" sung to her, and quite a few birthday cards with very sweet and encouraging messages in them.

I'm tired and my hot, godly wife is in bed waiting for me (actually I bet she's already fallen asleep; I think she is more tired than I am), so I'm off to join her!

I'll write more soon!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Bill's Poem

In my Sunday Review I mentioned Bill writing a poem to Sarah and I and having 6 others read it with him. Here's the poem:
This is our wish for Sarah & Terry

We hope you'll get settled in a great big hurry!

At first. . .things may seem as if they are bleary, but really, they won't be all that scary.

'Cause once you are settled and no longer weary, everything will finally turn out merry.

So take a deep breath, Sarah and Terry, life in Vero is not all that dreary.

But if you are feeling the least bit leary, our wish for a great future is expressed most sincerely.

Go get 'em Sarah and Terry.

The New Place Preview

We're still moving in but because some are asking for pictures here's a few. Keep in mind that there were boxes everywhere! It was a lot like a maze. There is still stuff everywhere, but almost all of the boxes are gone (but some of their contents are still sitting on tables and counters). I plan on making a little video tour soon, but that depends on my level of business.

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Roller Coaster Continues

Today Sarah and I had a very testing moment.

The landlord called us about our apartment. We had left a message that we had a few things we had found that needed to be fixed. One was a leaking valve, more like pouring, to the washing machine. Another was two tiles in the shower that were broken through, so every time we took a shower water would be pouring into the wall. By the time I was on my fourth item he stopped me and said, "maybe we need to return your deposit back to you and let you find another place to live". Sarah and I was about to be forced to move out and begin searching for a new place to live. After talking a little bit more he then told me he would call me back.

I start praying.

Over an hour later the landlord shows up and we begin to talk. I don't know whether he has having a really bad morning or if God was changing his heart toward us (I'm inclined to believe the later) but he said, "let me show you another apartment". He explained that the problems in the place we're living are bad enough that he would need to have people working on it for a a considerable amount of time. He would rather not be working on it while someone was living there.

I'm giving you the short version here, but Sarah and I were not happy. It looked like we were going to move again, with just Sarah and I doing all the work! Sarah and I debated over what to do and finally came to the conclusion that the move would be best.

The good that has come out of it so far is
  1. Three people from the church were able to be reached and they came to help us.
  2. We met the landlord's parents. The mother cleaned and the father is a handy-man. They were kind and generous. They went above and beyond trying to make the new place nice for us.
  3. The new place is a lot nicer. It has a new stove and new refrigerator in it. All of the kitchen cabinets are much nicer. The bathrooms are in much better condition.
The bad that has come out of it so far is
  1. I've had to pay some money to get the electricity and water turned off and back on in a new location (which takes place tomorrow).
  2. I've hurt my back. Only one of the people who was able to come had a strong back so the both of us moved all the heavy stuff.
  3. We're not done. There's a lot of heavy moving left and a lot of boxes still unpacked.
  4. This has delayed Sarah from job hunting and will delay me getting into the church office and begin my work there.
I like the new place a lot more. I think Sarah and I will be a lot happier there, but the second move rather rough on both of us. We've been working and working with no time to recover.

Please pray:
  1. That God will give us rest.
  2. That Sarah and I will reflect Christ to the landlord, his parents, and others that work on the homes we are living in.
  3. That Sarah will find a job soon that pays well enough for us to afford to make payments on a car (we really need a second car, and eventually replace my Suburban for something that uses less gas).
  4. ABOVE ALL THESE. . .pray for Nathan, Tricia, and Gwyneth.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Sunday Review

My first Sunday at Forest Park Baptist Church. There's a lot to say, but I want to keep this brief. Here are the highlights:
  1. I brought the message this morning and thought I didn't do a very good job because things have been way too busy and I wasn't able to put the time I should have into it. Not that it's every by my power when I speak (at least I don't want it to be), but I felt so busy that I honestly felt "disconnected" from clearing receiving and articulating what God would have me to say (being too busy can do that).
  2. God proved me wrong. . .and apparently my message was what it needed to be. Paul's (the senior pastor) family was visiting and his brother rethought his walk with Christ, realizing that God uses the broken, the "less-than-the-best", and the ordinary for His purpose. That was very touching to learn this evening and Paul was very excited about it.
  3. Sarah and I have been showered with love, affection, meeting people, cleaning supplies, food, etc.
  4. Paul made a point to say that I'm called by God to do work there and that even though, at times, some may question what I'm doing and not agree with me, they need to remember that I'm called by God to do what I do. He also reminded those that made a commitment to volunteer for the youth program.
  5. Bill is the coolest old man I've ever met in my life! He's in his late 80's. He's a WWII pilot. He lost his wife about a year ago. We first met him when I was a candidate for the position of youth pastor here and you could see some of the sadness over his loss, but he still made Sarah and I laugh a lot constantly. I need to get a video or something of Bill; he's just hilariously! He wrote Sarah and I each a letter before we came expressing the most wonder things you could imagine. He has so much energy! Tonight he made a poem about Sarah and I, and he had 6 people read it with him. He had the whole room laughing. He wants to be on my the team of adults I plan on training and preparing for youth ministry (he's perfect for the kind of team I want).
  6. It's looking like I may be starting with two middle school boys, Sheldon and Nick. I knew this would be a ground zero job coming into it.
  7. Many people were asking me about Tricia, Nathan, and "the baby". I found out through Paul that 10 people have been fasting for their time of prayer for Tricia and Gwyneth. I don't know who those 10 people are; it's not something being "publicized" to the rest of the church.
  8. There are a few retired pastors in this church and they're really cool guys to talk with. One caught my attention a lot with his love for apologetics. He taught the Sunday school class Sarah and I attended this morning and he did a really good job.
There's a lot more. But this is all for now.

Friday, January 11, 2008

A Roller Coaster With A Lot Of 200ft. Drops

I haven't blogged in a while because life has been full of many tough spots lately. I just wasn't able to slow my mind enough to stop and blog. At times I wondered if I wouldn't just spend the time trying to clear my eyes enough to see the screen.

The past two or so weeks have been rough for me. . .but don't get me wrong, I have absolutely no complaints! It's just that the past few weeks have been full of a lot of first in my life.
  1. Today Sarah (my wife) and I arrived in Vero Beach, Florida.
  2. I've never lived in another state.
  3. I finished a position at a church in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
  4. I'm going to miss a whole lot of people who are on the Outer Banks.
  5. I'm starting my new position as pastor of youth in a few days.
  6. I just moved more stuff than I've ever moved in my life.
  7. Sarah and I are a long, long ways away from family.
  8. Nathan, Tricia, and Gwyneth are going through so much and it was really hard to leave when we did (if you're not aware of this you've got to click on that link and be prepared to be amazed at the power of God through their story, which is still unraveling).
  9. I'm really going to miss a lot of family who are so far away: my mom and dad, Rick & Gail (my other mom and dad), Rachel & Ramon, Tricia & Nate, Gwyneth, Andy & Misha, Ty, and Josh & Bethany (yeah, I know you're not really family but I love you guys like a brother and sister).
I really want to cry right now, but I'm being my normal self and trying to hold it in. I'm home sick already.

Something occurred to me a few days ago. Sarah and I were seeing her parents for what we thought was the last time for a long time (plans changed and we were able to see them again a few days later) and as we hugged goodbye Gail said to me, "I love you, Terry" and something clicked in me. I realized I've never told the Lawrenson's (and Sanchez's) that I love them and I'm really going to miss them. I'm really feeling that now.

Most of my prayers, both with Sarah and alone, have been about Nathan, Tricia, and Gwyneth. I can't help but praise my truly awesome God for such a miracle as Gwyneth. She's made an awesome guy a daddy and made me an uncle. This child and her parents have the fingerprints of God all over their story:
I've seen members of my own family return to God, heard from couples who have considered their marriage more deeply, read of mothers who have hugged their kids more tightly, seen Duke staff by Tricia's bedside in prayer, witnessed the increased faith in a real and tangible God of so many strangers and friends, and been told of people coming to know my God for the very first time...all because He has chosen to use Tricia, and now Gwyneth in an eternal way. (from Confessions of a CF Husband)
Please keep praying for them!

So life, as of late, has been feeling like a lot of holding my breath and getting ready for the drop. I don't think it was until Gwyneth was born and we were able to go see her that I felt like I could breath again. I praise God for that moment.

The roller coaster isn't over. Sarah and I still have a lot of drops, dips, and turns left in the next few weeks, but we know we serve an awesome God that is greater than anything that comes. . .but we still miss loved ones back home.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Please Pray For The Life Of Tricia, Her Huband Nathan, And Their Unborn Baby

Briefly, my sister-in-law, Tricia has Cystic Fibrosis and was due for a double lung transplant. Shortly there after they found out Tricia was pregnant. The doctors suggested aborting the baby so she could go ahead with the transplant. Tricia and Nathan said no. Tricia is now in her 24th week of pregnancy, but many complications have occurred. Her lungs are failing her.
Tricia's CO2 levels are up (which is not good), and they are moving her to the ICU this afternoon. They'll have her up there for a little while, and if her CO2 levels do not go down, they will intubate her and then give her a tracheotomy and place her on a ventilator. The intubation and tracheotomy are very risky for her, and there is a chance that they will be forced to take the baby via c section if her body does not respond well.

This is basically crunch time for us, and we appreciate your prayers more than ever right now. I'll update more this evening when I can.


Please pray for them! You can follow what's happening on Nathan's blog, Confessions of a CF Husband.