Tuesday, November 29, 2011


When I was in the hospital and had surgery a couple months ago, my girls came to see me and brought me some "Get Well Soon" type of cards. They had been staying with Amanda, our Children's Minister here at Oakwood, so I'm sure Amanda planted the idea with the girls. As I was presented with these works of art and thoughtfulness, I received this one from Izzy, my then 3 year old:

This picture means a lot to me because it shows Izzy's effort to show love and comfort to her daddy. If you look closely, there are 12 colors that she used in this. Imagine the time that it took her as she picked out each color, each crayon, each marker, each ink pen, and used them to draw and color on the paper. I remember when she handed it to me as I was laying in the hospital bed and she looked with a smile and said, "I made that for you." I didn't even have to ask what it was or what it meant. It meant, I love you, in three year old ways of course. And she was very happy and excited to share it with me.

I believe that God looks at what we bring Him this same way. It might be messy and have a lot of different shades, designs, and colors to it, but He knows that we took the time to make it and bring it to Him. It's the effort that we show that means the most.

That's why you'll find this one in my "keepsakes folder". I love my girls so much. And God loves His kids too!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Wanted: Disciplemakers

Some good thoughts here from my friend Greg. Ponder and do something!

Then Barnabas brought him to the apostles and told them how Saul had seen the Lord on the way to Damascus and how the Lord had spoken to Saul. He also told them that Saul had preached boldly in the name of Jesus in Damascus.
—Acts 9:27

Sometimes new Christians have a difficult time finding their way in their newfound faith. They need someone who will stand with them and love them.

A guy named Mark did this for me. After I came to Christ on my high school campus, no one came up to me afterward and said, "Now Greg, you are a brand-new Christian. We have this Bible here for you. You also need to start going to church." Instead, the school bell rang, and I went back to class.

I went on with my plans for that weekend, which was to go off into the mountains and smoke dope. But as I was sitting out on a rock and getting ready to do this, I felt God was speaking to my heart and telling me I didn't need to do that. Although I didn't know how to pray, I asked God to make himself real to me and to help me. And God answered that prayer.

When I returned to school on Monday, some guy named Mark, whom I had never seen before, walked up to me and introduced himself. He told me that he had seen me give my life to Christ at the Bible study on Friday. Then he invited me to church, and, in a very direct but loving way, he wouldn't take no for an answer. So I went to church with Mark. I started hearing the Word of God, and my life started to change.

I didn't need a Bible scholar. I didn't need an evangelist. But I did need a friend. And that is what Mark was for me.

So here is my question for you: Can you be a friend to someone? Because our commission is not only to preach the gospel, but to make disciples.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A Night Without the Light

So last night was Halloween night. The first Halloween night that Oakwood hasn't done our Festival of Light in 10 years. As I drove by the church a couple of times I must admit that I was saddened to see the building dark, no people to see, the lines, the crowds, the hayrides, etc. I had to remind myself that we are on mission from God. We decided to put our FOL resources toward Family Palooza, an event that we did in September, because we felt that we could have more time to relate to people. At FOL, it became all about the candy and we didn't feel like we ever got to stop and really talk to the people there. We were always too busy herding people through the event. Get your candy and keep the line moving! Family Palooza was a huge success in and of itself and it definitely was more missional as we touched and actually talked to many more people than we ever could at FOL. Family Palooza is about time together with families and relationship building. FOL became just about candy. All of that being said, last night was still an adjustment for me and my family.

My girls have never been trick or treating. Festival of Light is all that they know. It was interesting to go and do that with the girls last night. So different when you are on the receiving end of these events. It really changes your perception about how most of the world relates to Halloween and all of the "events" that are offered. To put it in a word...it's about candy. Almost greed about candy! Didn't matter if you were 25 and didn't have a costume or anything. Go buy a cheap gory mask, get you a bag and get yourself some candy! Push those little ones to the side and get yours!

We went to a church thing first, then the mall (which was crazy), and then went on to try the door to door trick or treating. Overall I think that the girls had fun, made some memories, etc. It was all just kind of weird though. Strange feeling about missing FOL. When you do something like that for that long, it's hard to change. But change we must! We prayed long and hard about that decision for 2 years and after last year really felt that the Lord had laid it on our hearts to do something different and redirect those resources to an outreach event like Family Palooza. And so we did!

Hope that everyone had a safe and happy Halloween!