Saturday, December 5, 2009

I Love God, and I Love Art...here they are mixed!

These were a couple of sketches and videos I did for Hillcrest Blue Valley. They turned out pretty cool and I am really thankful for Aaron Mitchum giving me the opportunity to do something I love!


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Video number 2:


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Saturday, November 7, 2009

LOVE is in the air, and so is DANCING!!

Yesterday I had the chance to go to my friends Dan and Sarah's wedding it was so much fun! I shot a few videos to capture the night and paint a small picture. I took all this video on my blackjack so it isn't the best, but you will get the picture.

The first one here is me in the Chapel at Hillcrest Covenant Church right down the hall from where the two got married. I went in there to play a little piano and get myself and you bloggers in the mood for the wedding!

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This next video is of Dan and Sarah's kiss at the end of the ceremony! Weddings go so fast now a days. There wedding was no more then 25 min! It was awesome! Take a look, and see how happy they are...

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This video is by far my fav. I was outside the reception in the parking lot, and knowing it would be a little crazy inside I wanted to shoot a video of me dancing before I got in. Haha the cool thing is I am not that bad of a dancer. People usually don't get to see themselves dance! I love to dance and I was really excited about dancing at the wedding, but I ended having to leave at 10 and the music they were playing before that wasn't good for breaking it down like I do in this vid! So I still got the dance bug this morning and soon one of you watching this is going to have to go get there groove on with me in a club!! Talking to Laurey and Alicia! I wish I could have danced with you girls, sorry it didn't work out, but I know you had fun with out me :) Anyways here is the vid turn it up and get your dance on people!!

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Congrats Dan and Sarah on starting your life together, and allowing me to be a part of it! God bless you guys!!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Blazin Challenge...in hopes of growing closer to the LORD!

Sorry it's been a while, but now that I am back on the blog scene I will be updating much more.

Anyways it's been like 3 months and trust me it was well worth the wait!! I lead a small group at Hillcrest Covenant Church on Sunday nights with a few good friends of mine! Aaron Mitchum, Isaac Hodges, and Tim Ciccone (other leaders of 10/11 graders include Adam, Dave, Dan, and Brian)! We have a blast with our freshmen guys, and we are always looking for ways to have fun and grow closer as a group, and with God.

A few weeks ago the sophomore guys extended a friendly challenge. They wanted us to do the BLAZIN CHALLENGE at Buffalo Wild Wings with them. Of course ours guys said yes, and the 3 weeks up to the date of 11/1/09 the boys were doing what the could to prepare (hot sauce, peppers, wasbi, etc). As the day approached the anticipation grew and you could feel a change in the air! I couldn't believe how these kids were acting. We as youth leaders try to get these boys to be more like Jesus every day and it takes months before we see a significant change :) jk, but mention 12 HOT wings and they start becoming animals! I know it's hard to believe right??

WRONG...take a look at this video we shot on the night of 11/1/09 and see for yourself what 6 minutes, 12 hot wings, 40 guys, and the Lord on your side can accomplish! Enjoy! This is truly one of the funniest things I have ever seen!!




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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

WOW!! I am on fire right now!!!

About a month ago me and a group of friends started collecting baseball cards again!

My parents were moving to Tennessee and I had to get my things out of their apartment. I grabbed my old baseball cards the only thing left there that I really cared about. On the way home I stopped by middle school lunch and brought some of my cards in for the guys to look at. It brought back great memories of collecting and how much we loved the game of baseball. From that day me, Adam cooper, Grant Morris, Brady Anderson, and Brent Niehart started collecting cards again hard core. I spent tons of money in hopes of landing a card that was awesome!! And then August, 11 2009 came rolling around and everything changed, big time!! Take a look at this video out...

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Haha isn't that crazy!! I have been on fire!! I went skydiving, and then picked one of the most expensive cards out there up! It has been an exciting several days for me! I can't wait to see what happens next!! SIXES!! Help me decide on what I should do about the card! Should I sell it now, and get what I can get, or do I wait to see if he could be one of the greatest pitches of all time! His name is Stephen Strasburg, look him up and help me decide!!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

First Jump...10,500 ft 116 mph 35 sec

Hey I told you one day I would sky dive, and today was that day!! I can't tell you how crazy the experience was!! I had sooo much fun! Going with Hannah Cosgrove made it about 100 times better! She was soo calm and collected! She made me very calm as well. It's crazy how something like that can make an instant bond, but it can! When you are with someone at 10,500 ft you can't help but look at them and have that special connection :) Realizing it might be the last person you see! Haha I can't being to tell you how exciting and awesome it was!! You just have to find me and ask, and trust me you are going to want to hear this story!!! But here is a little video I shot afterwards! Some of my first thoughts...

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Everyone is going to die, but it's how you live and where you go after that matters!! And when I leave this earth people are going to know that I pushed life to edge, and then...JUMPED!!!!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Skin, Hair, Clothes is all I need to say “I don’t like you!”

We can be so quick to judge someone just by looking at the outward appearance. This is the second day at CHIC after the morning session. I am with my small group and they had some great things to say about judging others on their outward appearance…


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"Water balloons is a Federal Offense, just like murder!" CHIC 09

Now these next few videos are so funny, because of how serious the situation became. It started off so light and fun, and ended terrible.

Movie 1 Movie 2
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Ask me about all that happened in the middle, and I will tell you a great story!!

This last video just shows me a few moments after getting in trouble with security. I was frustrated, but I had a respectful out look on the whole situation. Of course that was after I took this video about 4 times, because I was so mad about how the treated me!!! But God calmed my heart, and well take a watch:

Video 3
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Justice is love, acted out in public

Facts:
1. Human trafficking comprises the fastest growing criminal industry in the world based on the recruitment, harboring, and transportation of people solely for the purpose of exploitation.
2. Every year traffickers generate billions of dollars in profits at the expense of victimizing millions of people around the world.
3. An estimated 17,500 foreign nationals are trafficked annually in the US alone.
4. An estimated 200,000 American children are at high risk for trafficking into the sex industry each year.


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Take a look at these ways you can help stop Human Trafficking and Slavery in the World!!

1. Contact: local shelters to find out if they assist trafficked victims and how you can be supportive.

2. Demand: “slave-free” goods. Buy “fair-trade” products, such as handcrafts, coffee, tea, cocoa sugar, fruit, or flowers. Encourage your church to do the same.

3. Remember: the facts. Memorize the statistics about child and sex slavery. Tell people.

4. Do: what you love. Do an art project and display it in a public place. Use a sports event or concert to raise awareness and funds for the issue. Write about the issue on blogs.

5. Study: God’s word regarding injustice. You may want to start with Isaiah 5:8, Micah 6, and Hebrews 13:1-3

6. Know: the warning signs of slavery and human trafficking, and report suspicious behavior to your local services provider or police station. Or call the 24-hour National Human Trafficking Center hotline (1-888-373-7888).

7. Advocate: for change. Call or write your elected U.S. officials (www.senate.gov, www.house.gov ) or Canadian officials www.parl.gc.ca) Tell them that you care about the issue of human trafficking and want stronger laws to protect victims. Get new from www.polarisproject.org on how to engage in political action and advocacy.

8. Walk: Global March has freed over 60,000 slaves in India. Their marches promote education for children instead of forced labor and exploitation: www.globamarch.org.

9. Fight: sex tourism. Ask travel agencies, hotels and tour operators to sign the Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children in travel and tourism ( www,thecode.org)

10. Learn: more. Find useful documents to download at www.freetheslaves.net and http://www.state.gov/g/tip/ris/tiprpt/2008/

11. Consume: wisely. Hold businesses accountable and ask corporations to join the fight. At www.chainstorereaction.com email companies to ensure that their products are slave free.

12. Write: Submit an op-ed. Encourage newspapers, magazines, and television stations to publish or write stories about modern-day slavery, and how to stop it.

13. Watch: and discuss a video with your family, friends or small group: Modern Slavery (www.freetheslaves.net), a good introduction to modern-day slavery or Amazing Grace (2006), the story of William Wilberforce who demanded abolition of the African Slave trade in the UK in the 1800s.

14. Read: Be the Change: Your Guide to Freeing Slaves and Changing the World by Zack Hunter and discuss it with family, friends or small group.

15. Organize: a Bible study or human trafficking scripture to consider: Matthew 25:31-46, Luke 11:37-444. And Psalm 10.

Sources www.imj.org and www.callandresponse.com

Women this is for YOU!!

There are going to be few times when a guy tells you exactly what’s on his heart, and how we are feeling. But for me and a few of the guys in my small group God was really working on our heart this week, and in this video we are sharing a little about females and what they mean to us! This is a priceless video if you ask me!!


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Last Day and God brought the Noise!! CHIC 09

This speaker was really good!! He said some awesome things!

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A Guide to Nurturing Good Reception with God

Find a place where the reception is good. Select minimum 33 minutes per day to be quiet.

Turn off cell phone-no texting, talking or music.
Do this alone
Select a time and place where no one can disturb you.
Be still or if walking, walk slowly.
Divide the 33 minutes into segments.

Conversations with God:

1. Start with quieting the body and the mind (3 min)
- Think only of God and His goodness
- Think on the beauty of His creation
- Say nothing, sing nothing, do nothing



2. Find a song or chorus of praise or worship (3 min)
- Sing a song that is directed to the goodness and greatness of God.
- Don’t be afraid to make up your own song.
- Use a Psalm, hymnal or chorus book that has songs of worship
- “Our Father Who is in Heaven…, Hallowed be your name…, Your Kingdom come…”



3. Offer thanksgiving vocally and/ or mentally for anything that reminds you of the goodness of God (3 min)
-Give thanks for all the people and things that have sustained your life and given you hope.
-Remind yourself of answered prayers.
-Give thanks for God’s word and the opportunity to talk with Him.
-“Your will be done, you kingdom come…”



4.Examine yourself and ask forgiveness for wrongs you have done or things you should have done but did not do (3 min)
- Take this time to reflect on the mercy of God to forgive
- Think on your dependence on Jesus and the helping hand of the Holy Spirit.
- This is the place to forgive and to think how to rectify my offense to others.
- “Forgive us our Trespasses…”



5. Give thought to a passage of Scripture (6 min)
- Select a chapter, book or devotional that you can use daily.
- Prayerfully plan you reading.
- Read, and then meditate on the verses. Do not try to read too much.
- Write down the scriptures that appear to have more meaning to you.
- Speak the scripture to yourself, several times



6. Offer thanksgiving for the words that you have read in No. 5 (3min)
-Repeat the scriptures in the form of a thanksgiving offering.
- Ask the Holy Spirit to make these words real to you.



7. Offer you petitions and intercessions-prayer request to God (3 min)
- Sometimes it is good to have these written down to keep focus.
- Ask for you needs according to His will-think about what the scriptures says about these needs.
- Let your primary focus be on the needs of others instead of your own.
- “Give us this day our daily bread…, Lead us no into temptation…”



8. Journal several applications of the scriptures you have read or written down (3 min)
- Ask yourself-How does this apply to me? What is God saying to me?
- Make sure you place the time and date on your journal entry.



9. Sit quietly again, writing any additional impressions that come to you (3 min)
- Acknowledge that you are in His presence to listen.
- Keep your focus on the presence of God
- Keep acknowledging the presences of the Holy Spirit in you.



10. End you time with a combination of thanksgiving and praise (3 min)
-Repeat previous song
- Give thanks for the scriptures and for wisdom
- Give thanks for His presence
- “For yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory…”

Take what you want from this. Just something to help with your prayer and alone time with God!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Summer Reading!

Here are some books I have read this summer...

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Velocity by Dean Koontz pg 97

"There are days of doubt, more often lonely nights, when even the devout wonder if they are heirs to a greater kingdom than this earth and if they will know mercy- or if instead they are only animals like any other, with no inheritance except the wind and the dark."

Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder pg 10

"...the only thing we require to be good philosophers is the faculty of wonder..."

Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates pg 257

"And there's a fairly good rule-of-thumb for you, Shep; take somebody who worries about life passing them by..."

The Choice by Nicholas Sparks

"Stories are as unique as the people who tell them, and the best stories are those in which the ending is a surprise."

Monday, June 29, 2009

Wow Don't They Look Cute!


We had church at Blue Valley yesterday. It was a great time. We a good amount of kids, and my friend/boss Tim Ciccone came out to hang which made it an even better Sunday!
Audrey Severson helps out on Sundays at BV. I love having her out there! She is super smart and great with the kids. Not that it matters what I think, but she is going to do some great things for the Lord. We have been working together for about a month now, and I feel like we are getting in a nice flow. Between our relationship and the one we have with the kids at Blue Valley.

After church yesterday we went to a CHIC meeting at the other campus. We got there a few minutes late and went up to the top to listen in on the meeting. When Alicia saw us she gave us a nice welcome. She is soo funny! Alicia, and Adam did a great job by the way. Well Aud and I were sitting there listening we I noticed that we were matching. I leaned over and said, "Hey, Aud we are matching!" She said, "Ya I know, Aaron mentioned it before service started this morning.haha" We looked just so adorable together. So we came up with idea called "Look alike Sundays" Where Audrey and I will dress the same color scheme to show the united front we have in doing youth ministry. Take a look at the first Sunday, and stay tuned for next Sunday and the new colors of the rainbow we wear.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Virginia! It's drowning!

Just got back from Virginia, with Hillcrest Church. We went down with about 22 people and we ran a small summer camp down there. I got to do games, same as last time I was there. I decided to stick with water balloons this time and it was a great time, but there are a couple of things you need to know about water balloons.
One being it takes a crazy amounts of time to fill them up and to reach a good number of balloons that will be fun for the kids. Over the years I have perfected my technique of filling and tying water balloons, but I found on this trip it still wasn’t fast enough! So out of necessity me and my friends came up with this. Take a look at this video of a new way to fill water balloons that will change the biz forever! This is Thursday the day before we leave. We had to fill sooo many, because the last day we promised the kids a water balloon fight! Sorry that it is sideways. The camera man didn’t know who to work the blackjack two.

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The day of the big water balloon fights! It’s about 6:15 in the morning in this video.

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Later that day at the first water balloon fight! It is with 5th and 6th graders.

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When you see Drew V. in this video there were 3 other leaders that got hit that hard if not harder with balloons. The list includes me, Chris, and Alex! If it looks like it hurt it is because it did. I got jacked at least 3 times!! Haha.

The end of the last day. 3 different fights ranging from k-6th grade! It was a blast. Someone asked me was it worth it…not only was it worth it, I will do it again! That’s a promise!


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Monday, April 27, 2009

Man Crush 101

Yes I have a man crush. Who you ask? Zach Efron! I can’t tell you when it was…whether it started with his small acting roles in shows like ER, Firefly, Dear Abby, CSI Miami, or his larger roles in the High School Musicals, HAIRSPRAY, or his most recent role in 17 teen again. It doesn’t matter when my crush started as long as you know I have one now!

So let’s talk about 17 Again, with Zach Efron and Matthew Perry, which was awesome! I don’t know if I was blinded by the Zach Efroness of the film to know if the plot made any sense or if the other actors pulled it together, but it seemed like the best movie ever!! The film touched on all his great abilities, dancing, acting, singing, and basketball. It wasn’t like a high school musical film, but the director carefully crafted different parts in the movie to flatter Zach’s many talents! If you haven’t seen it you must! Don’t think less of me because I have this crush, but come along side with me and realize that Zach Efron is the man, and one day him and I will be friends!!

Go to this Youtube site and watch a clip from Hairspray! Maybe this will spark a crush you never knew you had :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tF3FWMqcJFM&feature=related




Tuesday, April 21, 2009

On/Off


So I was at Tim's Ciccones house last night to watch 24. Which was insane by the way!! Jack Bauer is sooo going to die, but that's not why I am writing this blog :) I walked down stairs looking fly as could be with this old navy sweater on and black shorts. I brought Chiplote to eat, so I sat at the table and started munching away. Alicia looks back at me and on my sweater the letters ON standing for Old Navy are in the upper left and she says, "Hey why does your shirt say ON." Laurey listening in on our convo right after says, "Because his pants say OFF!" Everyone in the basement starts cracking up. I thought this was the funniest thing ever. She is soo freaking funny. Because his pants say off. Does anyone else find this funny, and clever/a little inappropriate:)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Life Lesson from a Teenager

Part of my job as a youth pastor is to watch kids at different events. Ranging from soccer games to swim meets. Today I had the chance to watch two of my favorite girls (Emma Tyler and Madison Haverty) pole-vault.
I got there during their warm ups and preparation prior to there actual jumps. It looked pretty fun, and also very hard. They got to do about 4 or 5 practice jumps and took time to work on there techniques. Emma asked one of her friends for help when she felt like her jump wasn’t the best. This process took about 20-30 min and then they started their judged jumps.
The bar was set up and you had to clear it at 6ft with out having it fall over to move on to the next height. A couple girls from other schools went and they had some real difficulty. Emma and Madison were not exception. They both scratched their first jumps, but I knew they just had to get rid of their nerves. Then they scratched their second, and then they scratched their third. You are only given 3 chances to move on to the next height and they missed all 3!
I was really sad when they didn’t land their last jumps. They have to wait around for a couple of hours to do their event and it can be over sooo quickly. As the girls walked over to me smiling a sort of defeated smile, I was thinking of some encouraging things to say. I started to say some nice things like you will do better next…and before I could finish Emma stopped me and said,

“Don’t.”

I told her, “I just want to say something encouraging to you guys.”

“You don’t have to TJ.” “If you have to tell us something, tell us we need to work harder and practice more.” With a smile on her face she said that, and I couldn’t help but smile to.

I was like WOW! That’s pretty simple. Tell us work harder and practice more, and maybe one day we will be good. I was looking for some empty words to comfort these girls, but what about straight forward honesty. Huh, what about that! How about you shoot me straight bucko. Wow what a thought to be honest with someone and they take it in a good light and see a way to better them selves. I learned a lesson from those girls today. Weather it was that a good friend just like the bible says in Proverbs 27:17 as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. Or that honesty is as much a characteristic of God as love is I defiantly learned something today.
And as the week goes on and I go to an orchestra concert tomorrow, and a swim meet on Thursday, and a track meet afterwards, or freedom fire with a group of kids on Friday I will look for…

Life Lesson from a Teenager

PS: Maybe one day I will compile these lessons and put them in a little book as a reference, but until that day keep your eyes open ;)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

God has gifted me, so His name will be glorified

Matthew 13:51-52
“Have you understood all these things?” Jesus asked
“Yes,” they replied.
He said to them, “Therefore every teacher of the law who has been instructed about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.”

Do you understand or are you at one with the crowds? How important is it for us to understand the mysteries of the kingdom if we are going to instruct others and further the kingdom! The people of the church during this time were like scribes who drew from the storeroom of their Christian and pre-Christian knowledge new treasures and old. A scribe comes to Jesus with a lifetime of study of the law and of all its commandments. The background helps us understand. But after we have been taught be Jesus, you have the knowledge, not only of the things you used to know, but of things you never knew before, and even the knowledge which you had before is illuminated by what God has told to you. Christ does not come to erase all that we gained in life before we met him. He comes to enrich it. Every man comes to Jesus Christ with some gift and with some ability. Jesus didn’t ask that we give up our gifts. So many people think that when a man declares for Christ he must give things up and concentrate upon the so-called religious things.

But a…
Scholar does not give up his scholarship when he becomes a Christian: rather he uses it for Christ.
A business man need not give up his business; rather he should run it as a Christ would.


One who can sing, or dance, or act, or paint need not give up his art, but must use it like Christ would.

Here we see Jesus telling men, not to abandon their life, but to live it more wonderfully in the light of the knowledge which he has given us.


This was a final point that I gave in a talk with the high school a couple of weeks ago. This is a really important concept for us to understand I believe. When I first got this new job of being the youth pastor at the Blue Valley site I was very excited, but I found myself a little sad as well. I was a 3d computer animation major and I was sad because I thought I was losing my art. I thought with this new position that I wouldn’t be able to express myself anymore in the way of art. One of my favorite things to do is draw, and I felt like I had to move on from that and focus completely on being a “Youth Pastor”. Wrong!
When I spoke that Sunday about heaven I drew some pictures of heaven, to help the kids image what a great place it will be. (You can see some of the images in the post “Heaven it’s real…I’ve seen it!” Once I was done speaking people were leaving and one of the girls in the youth group asked if I had drawn the pics. I said yes, and she said that I shouldn’t stop doing art. I hadn’t told her about what I was feeling about losing my art, but that really spoke to me. Why would I ever stop drawing because I am a “Youth Pastor”. There is no reason! God will use that ability just like he has used me being able to relate well with kids, my humor, speaking ability etc. This isn’t a post on how awesome I am, but to encourage you guys to continue with the things that make you happy. Don’t become a Christian and give up your talents thinking God needs them, but instead realize that God gave you those talents and will use it for his glory.
So for me to rekindle that passion I once had for art I am deciding to draw one picture a week, and to keep art a real and valid way to do youth ministry. Here are some pictures that I drew a while back. Keep your passions, and desire for God. When your in his will, he will use you in new and exciting ways!







Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Last Supper

Today my friend and roommate came to Hillcrest Covenant Church Blue Valley. I asked him a couple weeks ago if he wanted to speak and he said, “Yes!” He did a great job! Greg and I lead worship and Daniel spoke. It was kind of cool seeing all of us doing different things for the Lord this morning. All leading ministry in one way or another, and God working through all of our gifts and talents to help teens understand a little more about Him. Daniel said some great things and really challenged the kids. He spoke on Ephesians 2:1-5 you should read it. He did a great job, but that’s not what this blog is about.
After church we all went to Pepperjack Grill for lunch. While we were eating Daniel told us that he was moving his bed today, and that he would be sleeping at his parents house the rest of the week. This took us by surprise to say the least. Knowing this was our last meal with Daniel before he leaves for Texas was a sad an emotional thing.
So we shot this little video letting you guys know how we feel about Daniel, and Daniel sharing a little something…

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Thursday, April 2, 2009

I'll See Ya in a Future Life...ha

Wow! It has been almost been 14 months of living at Meadowlark Hill Apartments. I have had a great time with my roommates! My brother moved in about September and has been living with us for about 9 months. It has been really great, but it’s time for some of us to move on. Daniel is moving out of town, my brother is moving down to Arizona, and Greg and I are still maybe thinking of getting a place together, but where ever Greg and I move we won’t be staying at Meadowlark Hill Apartments. Change...it's a tricky thing.
One of the things we have to do in leaving these apartments is give a 60 day notice. If you don’t give that notice they will start a whole new lease, and you will have to pay money to get out of it. Greg a few months ago gave our notice to the front office which was a great idea. Do it early so we don’t get stuck. Daniel went to the office like a month later to tell them we weren’t stay another year just to double check. We had a friend here who got stuck for another year even though he had told them he was leaving with plenty of notice (we are just a little paranoid). When he went in and asked if they had our notice on file they didn’t, so he told them again and more sternly that we weren’t staying!
Another couple of months passed and it came to the 61st day before the end of our lease. My mom called the day before and reminded us that we needed to give the 60 day notice. I told her, "We had done it twice." She said, "To better make sure!"
So on March 31st I went to the office and video recorded me talking to this lady. I thought it might be good to record it just in case they said we didn’t come in. I would be able to wip out this video and show them...ha!! I wanted to post this yesterday so that my blog would read April 1st, and they would know it was taken 60 days before we had to leave, but April 2nd isn't that bad :)

Go ahead and watch it...me and my roommates laughed pretty hard. If you know any of us you should find it pretty funny.

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Monday, March 30, 2009

The Kingdom Of God is Real...I've seen it!

Two weeks ago where was I? I was distraught, frustrated, and sad, among many other things. The loss of a friend and brother in Christ was hard. Knowing the family and knowing they would have to live life much differently from this point forward. But that was two weeks ago, and I still am hurting, but something has changed.
This past Saturday we had the opportunity to be apart of Bryan’s memorial service, but how can 2 weeks ago we are all crying, but today we are celebrating a life well lived? We are celebrating a new start! We smile, laugh, and are filled with Joy. How can that be? I will tell you how, because we know the story isn’t over. We know death has no power over us. We know it doesn’t end here. You guys know what I am talking about…Heaven, the kingdom of God!! That’s how we can smile and feel joy after the passing of a friend or family member, because we know it doesn’t end here.
I never really thought about heaven. As a Christian I knew I wasn’t going to hell so I really didn’t think about heaven.
We just finished a 3 week series of the kingdom of heaven in main service and the first week I had the mind set like I always had. Oh heaven I glad I’m going there, but when Bryan passed heaven became more real to me then ever before.
Pastor Mark and Lee over the heaven series really said some good things that helped me paint a picture like I had never before see before.
So stay with me and see if heaven becomes real to you…

Matthew 13:44-46 the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.

1st point The Kingdom involves a pursuit
a. When a man found it,
b. Is like a merchant looking for fine pearls
Look and you shall find! It really is that simple. It takes sooo much to not feel the presences of God!

2nd point is The Kingdom requires and exchange
A. transaction of significant cost. Sold all he had, and bought the field. Sold everything he had and bought it.
B. what is everything to you?
Sometimes asking the question what is everything to you is hard, but when this 3rd point comes into play what are you really giving up?

3rd point is the kingdom of heaven brings joy! A sense of happiness
Knowing there is something better then this life waiting for us. Knowing God died on the cross for our sins, and with that you should want to give up everything. What God has given us is far more valuable. In his JOY he went and sold all he had and bought it.


Funny way of the Hidden Treasure
I mean couldn’t you just see that man digging in his field…Then he says, “Wow, look what I have found!!!!” He brings all he has to the local bank the very shovel he used to dig up the treasure. “This is everything I have.” The banker says, “Uhhhh sir it doesn’t cost that much.” Can’t you see I am joyful, can’t you see I live differently?



Funny way of the Pearl
I mean couldn’t you just see the merchant coming into his bank and giving the very scuba gear and even the boat he used to find the pearl. “This is everything I have!”

The banker says, “Uhhh sir you just found that pearl you don’t need to sell all you have.”

The merchant says, “Can’t you see I am joyful, can’t you see I live differently?”

It’s a joy many people might not understand. He sells everything and goes back to the sea and lies on the beach enjoying the rays from the all mighty God, enjoying the nice breeze from Jesus Christ as the Holy Spirit is pouring warm sand on his belly… In this new life he says, “Ahhh man my life is great, it’s changed but in the best way ahhhh.

A visitor comes, “Uhhh excuse me sir what are you doing? Where’s your boat? I thought you were a merchant?

“I am!” says the merchant, “Wanna see what I found!”

“Wow that’s awesome, that’s really really awesome!!!” says the visitor excitedly. He takes off running!

The merchant says, “Bro where are you going?”

“I am selling all I have, because I have seen the light! As he runs off in the distance you go back to living a life completely immersed in God’s will and then you feel a tap on your shoulder. “Uhh excuse me sir…”

Are you guys starting see it…I think soo. Watch this video, and listen to the words that Jason Upton wrote to this song My Beloved. Let heaven be real to you. Show people why you live a different life. Let them know God's loves is for all of us. I am reminded of this in 1st Timothy 2:4 That God’s desire is for all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.





video

Saturday, March 14, 2009

I cried so hard God; I begged my tears to wash me away. I tired so hard God; I hid away, in a dark dark place.

Today we had a prayer service for Bryan Barrow one of the students from our youth group. I didn’t know Bryan that well but his brother Eric was a good friend of mine back in high school at Shawnee Mission East. When I first heard the news of Bryan it didn’t really affect me, but when all of his friends came to the prayer service I just broke down. Eric Bryan’s older brother was a friend of mine and my heart goes out for him and his family today. I was trying to put myself in Eric’s shoes. What would it feel like to lose my younger brother? When I imagined it I just started crying, and I couldn’t stop.
We prayed for him and people came and people left. Tim asked me to lock the student center up so I waited around until all the kids left. Ty Walters was the last student out and he was a good friend of Bryan’s. I told him,” If there is anything I can do just give me a call.” But what really could I do. These situations seem so helpless. It hurts so bad losing someone you love.
Last week I was hanging with a student at chipotle he pulled out his learners permit. He just turned 14 and had started to drive. Another part that really got me crying about this whole thing is just how many kids as youth pastors we pour into, and we pour into them the most important way. We encourage them with their walk with God. I just started thinking of all the kids that have gotten their license recently and what could happen at a moment notice. I have seen so many kids grow up over the past 4 years at Hillcrest. So young, and their lives so fragile. I started going through names in my head. John, Brady, Jeff, Molly, Emma, Anna, Caroline, the list goes on forever. If any of those kids passed away the pain would be so unbearable I wouldn’t know what to do. I just couldn’t stop crying. We have such a hard calling, being apart of these kids lives day in and day out. Everything I do in a week is to show them that I will be there for them. I go to games, concerts, fundraisers, bible studies. I watch them grow up and everyday become more invested in there lives. What would I do if one passed away? I couldn’t stop crying.
I was watching the news tonight with my roommate. He looked over at me and said,” You know tonight it’s just a normal Saturday night for most, but for Bryan’s family there life has drastically changed.” So true isn’t, one day living life without a care in the world, and the next moment it’s gone.
I know this is a really sad post and rightfully so, but there is some good news. God has saved some of us, and though it is hard when one of our friends pass on there is some comfort in knowing they are in heaven. I will blog about that in a few days. Heaven and how we can have some peace knowing that there is a place for us beyond this life.
This video I took about 30 minutes after the prayer service. I was in a lot of pain. This was a little song I had written a while back, and seemed fitting to the situation and how so many of us feel from time to time. It was really hard, so bare with me.

He are all the words I say in the video. I was crying off and on, so it was hard to understand at parts:
Umm…Bryan Barrow passed away today. We just had a prayer service here at the student center. I knew Eric (Bryan’s Brother) pretty well when he was younger. It’s just a really difficult thing…death. But what helps is crying sometimes.

I cried so hard God, I begged my tears to wash me away.
I tried so hard God, I hid away in a dark dark place.
I cried so hard God, I begged my tears to wash me away.


video

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

One day I’ll fly…and that day I’ll say I told you so.

I recently visited Tim Ciccone’s blog and saw a video on wingsuit base jumping!! Check it out



After watching this video I had this unbelievable desire to do this. Ya I know what you are thinking. If you have been around me over the years I have turned down many different activities that are about a fraction of intense as this is. This sport is very dangerous and dangerous!! I even went to youtube typed in wingsuit base jumping crashes in hopes of deterring this weird desire to do this activity. I watched about 10 videos and afterwards I still wanted to do it. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I don’t like roller coasters, I have been skiing once, and never have been off a diving board, but I still want to do this.

I was so excited about this I started telling some people around me about it. Not one person thought I would. I got combinations of eyes rolling, and people saying, “You will never!” I will never! Who tells me how to live my life! Not you. God does. One of my favorite verses ever is that of John 10:10 “I come that you may have life, and have it more abundantly.” When I showed my mom this video she said, “Why are people like that? Why can’t they just enjoy walking in a park and enjoy life through the nature God has given us?” I was a little frustrated that no one understood, but then I realized something. For some people that’s what works for them. God will bless their life through the simple things of life. They will have fulfillment in walking in the park, or a rollercoaster, or jumping off a diving board. They will have adventure and excitement, but it will be of the most basic kind. At least through my eyes and through these eyes I look at wingsuit base jumping and I feel freedom. A true sense of living life, and living it with abundance.

Again if you know me, which I am finding out that many people don’t :) I have a very logical mind. I think through most things in hopes understanding the situation, and this is no different. I have started doing research and have found out that it’s going to take a lot of work, so here is a bit of information for the people that might share this same desire to push life to the extreme:

Start off by becoming highly experienced and proficient at skydiving by acquiring AT LEAST several hundred jumps. You can then start learning how to fly wingsuits on normal skydives. You can also start doing regular BASE jumps (without wingsuits). Once you have about 50-100 wingsuit skydives and 50-100 regular BASE jumps, you can then start flying a wingsuit on BASE jumps. After you become HIGHLY proficient at wingsuit BASE (several hundred wingsuit BASE jumps), you can then maybe start trying to proximity fly like these guys. It's not a "just for the experience" or a "bucket-list" thing. It requires an investment of many thousands of dollars and a strong dedication for many years. You also have to keep in mind that it's one of the most dangerous activities, and that many of the greatest wingsuit BASE jumpers are already dead or will be dead within a matter of years. If you truly desire to do it, then go for it, but it's not something that you can just rush into.
I thought this person had a great perspective on the sport. Some of the best things in life take time and a dedication that few people have. I hope that this info has been helpful for you.

My first New Year resolution has been made, and will be my New Year resolution every year until I save the money to go to Norway or any where to start the process of wingsuit base jumping!! I have put a plastic container next to my bed and taped to the outside wingsuit base jumping. I have started putting money away in hopes of one day flying! Being closer to God then I have ever been! Seeing the world like I have never seen it! Living life to an abundance I have never know. One day I’ll fly…and that day I’ll say I told you so.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Because facebook isn’t good enough!!

Because facebook isn’t good enough is why I write this blog tonight. One of my good friends Alicia I have always enjoyed since I have known her. Not saying that we haven’t gone through our rough patches, but I say over the past year I have really grown to love her as a great friend.
Sometimes after we hang out, I have felt so glad to have spent that time with her that I have hopped on facebook and changed my status or written something on her wall. Here are some examples of things I have written:

• Chilling with Alicia was so fun, so fun. One of my most favorite people!

• No Alicia thank you. Today was life changing to some degree and that was because of you. So I say thank you for being my friend.

• You are awesome, awesome, awesome, and have become one of my favorite people :)

• ALICIA IS COMING BACK. YESSSSS!!! My life can get back to normal. I can't wait to see ya girl.!!

• Alicia I am sooooooo glad I get to see you almost everyday!


These are just a few things I have said over the past year and an even smaller fraction of what I actually feel. So I have taken sometime to really say what a great friend Alicia is, and how I feel sooo lucky to spend the amount of time I have with her. I will do this the only way I know how. A story…

From working with her at Hillcrest to her being there with me when I purchased my new phone, there have been countless times that Alicia has been a part of my life. The most recent time we have spent together has been particularly fun.
This past Tuesday we set aside some time to hangout, because she had been gone all weekend on the middle school ski trip. We had bible study that afternoon, and afterwards we were going to get something to eat and talk until Blake Franklin’s basketball game. Earlier that day at a staff meeting we wanted to go to Blanc Burgers + Bottles on 105th and mission, but felt it was out of our price range. That afternoon Alicia and I still had a craving for gourmet burgers so we decided to go there. If you haven’t been there you should go, it is a really fun, hip place. We walk in and a small Indian girl takes us to our seats. One thing that is kind of weird about this place are the tables in the far back are awkwardly close to each other, so we sit down and there is no more than 1 ½ feet from the couples to our right and left. It wasn’t too bad, because we were focused so much in our conversation with each other. We ordered our food and talked about numerous things. It was a really fun dinner. As time passed people came and left, and after we had gotten our food and prayed a new couple came and sat down to my right. Not thinking much of them we started our next conversation, and still to this day, 3 days later I don’t know how we got on this topic, but we started talking about boys and girls and how difficult the opposite sex has been for us. One day you will hear what I said but we were going back and forth on how guys aren’t sensitive enough and how heartless girls are. I guess the couple next to us found this conversation very stimulating, because they started making eye contact with us. The women started looking at me and the man started looking at Alicia. I tried to play it off like I didn’t notice them, but it was so hard! At one point the guy leaned over and took a sip of my root beer and a bite of my hamburger! They shook their heads in agreement to some things we said and shook their heads in disagreement to other things we said.
The bill finally came and I was ready to get the heck out of there. I asked the guy next to me to leave a tip, because of how involved he was in the process of me eating my food and talking with Alicia jk haha. I took my debt card out and paid for our meal (the gentlemanly thing to do.) When the guy saw I was paying he looked over to Alicia and started shaking his head yes, yes!! Like he thought even though we had disagreements on some things that these two silly kids are going to make it. I just can’t help laughing thinking about it now. It really was one of the most awkward dinners I have ever had, but I had a great time with Alicia that night.
We left and had to pick up a friend of mine before we headed to Blake’s game, and I also had to pick up some cash for us to get into the game. We stopped by Price Chopper right up from my friends house and went in to the ATM. Alicia went to the restroom while I got some cash out. As we were walking out I thought it might be easier if I drove her car since I knew where my friend lived and where the game was so I asked, “Alicia do you mind if I drive.” She thought this was soooo funny and said that no one had ever asked to drive her car before. As she handed me the keys I was laughing and said, “I think we are at that point in our relationship where I can drive your car.” The two guys in front of us turned around and looked at us like we shouldn‘t be laughing or something. I gave them a look like WHAT can’t I drive my girls car if I want. Back off me son!
We picked up my friend and on the way over to the game Alicia seemed a little nervous in letting me drive her car, but that quickly left and she became comfortable. Clicking through her i pod she leans on the arm rest which puts her a little closers to me and I just think Alicia is just one of the coolest girls I know. We are bouncing to the music as we pull into the parking lot, and go into an absolutely packed gym. We see Brady Anderson and Brent Neihart and sit next to them. Alicia sits behind me next to Mr. and Ms. Hamilton and we all watch the game. Our bosses Tim and Nate come with there oldest kids after a while and sit a couple rows in front of us. From time to time Alicia puts her hand on my back leaning in to tell me something, like “Will just ate something off the floor!” or “Nate bought some sunflower seeds and a 72 ounce drink”, or Tim and Caleb did something funny. It was such a fun night! The game ended and we left and headed back to her car.
We pulled into the parking lot of Panera around 9pm and we get out to go to our cars. I give Alicia a hug and my friend says bye to her. My friend and I get into my car and head over to my apartment. As we drive home he is cracking jokes on how comfortable Alicia and I seemed that night. I just smiled not saying anything just thinking that night was great and that Alicia is one of the tightest girls I know and one of my favorite friends. I get home hop on facebook and change my facebook status to something like this: “Chilling with Alicia was so fun, so fun!!!! One of my most favorite people!!!”
I couldn’t tell you everything I look for in a good friend, but when I do think about it I compare any new friends to my old friend Alicia. I couldn’t tell you what I look for in a good friend, but I know you have to like spending time with that person. All this to say that Alicia is great! I thank God everyday for her and all the fun times we have had and will have.

Because facebook wasn’t good enough, and neither is this but it is a start.