Archive for April, 2006

Top Ten Things I learned this Weekend

1. Lori and Kurt Salierno are rockin’ this world for Jesus in incredible ways. The closer I get to them, the more amazing I realize they truly are.

2. Lori has the gift of encouragement like my friend Jeanne Mayo. I want to learn and grow to be more like them in that area of my life. Once again, I realized that it’s easier to be encouraging when you are around people that encourage you in specific, identifiable and genuine ways.

3. Students want to be transformed into Christs’ likeness and one significant way they are transformed is through experiences. Lori did an awesome job of inspiring us with her words and stories this weekend, but Kurt transformed us by allowing us to experience homeless ministry in a downtown Atlanta park. While we need both inspiration and transformation, transformation is what students are hungry for. Almost unanimously in my van, students’ most memorable moment this weekend was doing homeless ministry in the Atlanta park. The second highlight was climbing Stone Mountain. What do the two have in common, students got to experience (1) being the hands and feet of Jesus and (2) what God’s creation looks like from the top of Stone Mountain they conquered by climbing. They didn’t just hear about serving and God’s creation, they experienced it for themselves.

4. When it comes to homeless ministry (actually, I think anybody)…
a. Introduce yourself by asking them their name, telling them yours and by shaking their hand (touch is important).
b. Learn their name and say it at least three times during the conversation (names are important).
c. Ask them about themselves because talking about yourself is everyone’s favorite subject (conversations are important).
d. Ask them for one thing that you could pray for them for (prayer is important).

5. Everything really does take 2-3 times longer than you think it should – including bathroom breaks.

6. I’ve got kickin’ cool female leaders and they are all unique in their own God given way.

7. I love middle school students, I love my job and I love my church.

8. I loved doing and experiencing ministry with my sister. She’s really cool!

9. In downtown Atlanta:
a. If you’re sleeping on the streets, don’t sleep up against a wall. Rats have poor eyesight at night, so they scurry next to the walls.
b. There are more male than female prosititutes. They turn tricks for $5, so they can buy $7 worth of crack cocaine.
c. Stay on the sidewalks. You shouldn’t walk in the grass at parks where there are a lot of homeless and drug addicts. Drug addicts can drop their needles in the grass and you could step on them. Kurt made those with open-toed shoes stay on the sidewalk.
d. On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights, there’s a high probability you could run into Kurt Salierno walking the streets of Atlanta ministering to homeless people.
e. I learned where some of the runaway high school boys sleep on the streets.

10. Lori and Kurt’s church does valet parking for moms with babies and pre-schoolers. That’s fresh!

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Inspired and Transformed

Wow! What a weekend.

Thursday afternoon: Drove 9 hours to Nashville (should be 7.5, but 29 people and bathrooms, no need to say more)

Friday: Drove the rest of the way to Atlanta
Stopped and had some great eats and fun at Dave and Busters
Did a quick tour of MLK Jr. Historical Site
Did four hours of street ministry with Kurt Salierno (one word: transformed)

Saturday: Eight hour conference with Lori Salierno (one word: inspired)
Climbed Stone Mountain
Watched the light show (actually, 27 of us watched the light show – Jeanna and I went to Wally World for dinner food)

Sunday: Breakfast with Lori Salierno
13 hour drive home from Atlanta to GCC

Last Wednesday Night – A Night to Remember

Last Wednesday I’ll remember for a really long time. It was a great night at the Cross. Here are some of the words students wrote to Jesus.

Jesus, I give you all I am – my sins, my scars, my life.
I believe in you. Take away my sins.
I believe in you Jesus. You are my Savior.
I give you my life.
I need you. Help me figure out my next step.
Thanks you Jesus for holding me in your love.
Jesus, I give you my life. I love you.
Take all of my sins away and give me a clean slate. I am sorry.
My next step is to bring friends to church and Oasis.
My next step is to stay pure and follow your path.
I need you in my life Jesus. Forgive me for my sins.
You’re my savior Jesus. You made me and you bought me.
My next step is to volunteer in some way for Jesus.
My next step is to lead or be in a Bible study.
I give you my fear.
I want you in my life.
I give you my desires and wants.
Jesus, I’m sorry for when I was not listening to you Lord. I love you Jesus.
Lord, I give you my relationships.
Help me with my attitude.
I give you my life, everything – my friends, family and soul.
Jesus, I give you my heart.
I’m ready to serve you Jesus.
Lord, help me to know what I’m supposed to do next in my life.
I want to grow more in you. Forgive me for all the stupid mistakes I’ve made.
I want to trust you and put you above all my relationships.
Jesus, you lead me.
Jesus, you are my leader.
Jesus, please help me to keep following you and to serve you more.
Jesus, I want you to be my savior. I know I’m messed up and I want your help.
I believe in you Jesus. My next step is to invest in someone.
I love you Jesus.
I give you my life and my sin and my love.
I believe in you Jesus! The mission trip is my next step.
I need you. I give you my social life and my fears too.
Thank you Jesus for being my Lord.
God I need help to get along with my peers and family members.
You know what my problems are Lord, help me with them.
Please be the center of my life Jesus. I’ve already accepted you, but I want to make my next tep toward you Jesus.
Lord, I believe in you and give you my regrets.
Jesus Rocks!
I’m going to declare my BattleCry! I believe in you, Jesus.
I give you my doubt, fear and profanity.
My next step is to invest and invite.
My next step is to tell everyone about how much I love you.
Jesus, I give you my myspace and bad music.
I believe in you Jesus. Help me focus on you!
I give you my impure thoughts.
I think I need to serve you more and not devote so much time to my social life.
Pray for me getting in trouble at school.
I give you my boyfriend who is not a Christian.
My next step is to help other people get closer to you.
I give you porn.
I give you my actions.
My next step is to invite more people and to tell them about you.
Help me to get over some anger problems and control what I say.
Jesus, help me to obey you more, because I love you and I don’t want to fall away from you.
I need to obey my parents the first time they tell me to.
I think I need to take time to talk to you more instead of just praying for help!
I give you my suicidal thoughts.
I believe in you Jesus! My first step is to treat people better and to change my language.
I want you to be first in my life.
I need to get rid of all of my bad CD’s.
I give you my schedule.
Jesus, I’m laying down my sin.
Jesus, I want you to guide me in what direction you want me to go.
I want you to govern my life!
My next step is to get baptized.
Lord, I give you my ENTIRE life. I want to fight for you and stop the corruption in this world!
I believe in you. Help me with my language, my music, and my friends.
I give you the things that are consuming my time.
Jesus, I give you my computer.
My next step God is to lean in and take responsibility and learn about you.
Lord, I give you my life! I screwed it up. I want to serve and love you.
I will stop calling people names and start sharing your love.
I believe in you Jesus. I need more of you in my life.
I give you the hurt that came to me when someone else sinned.
I lay selfishness at the cross
I believe in you Jesus. I want you to be with me my whole life.
I have been thinking of guys and friends more than you. I am sorry.
I need to throw my make-up away. I need to be myself.
I believe in you God, but sin is pulling me back. So God, please help me break away and go with you.
I’m going to ask someone to come to church and not take no for an answer. I need to make better decisions. I’m going to become better than now.
I want my next step to be towards doing children’s ministry.
Jesus, I give you my struggle with never being satisfied.
My next step: Invite over 5 people to Oasis.
I have accepted you, but I am very sinful. I walk with you, but I’m falling off course. Take that sin off my heart and help me focus on you, oh God.
I believe in you Jesus and love you with all I have! I trust you with my life. I’ll serve you in any way, whatever you say. I’m sorry Lord for all that I’ve done. Luv ya!
Thank you Jesus. Anything that separates me from you I lay down.
Lord, help me with my life cause I hate it.
Dear Lord, I want you to become the Lord in my life. I need help because I’m being held back by my attitude. Please help me.
Jesus, I lay my heart down to you! I want you to be my Lord not just my Savior. My next step in Christ is reading the Bible, inviting my friends to church, and coming closer to you rather than my friends. I think it’s time for you to help me wash away my sins.
Jesus I believe in you, but I need to obey you more.
Jesus, I surrender all my worries, doubts, questions, uncertainties and fears. I want to trust and obey you. You already paid for it all. I don’t want to take it back.
Dozens of cards, with the simple phrase…
I believe in you Jesus.

Mary Slessor Rocked

Mary Slessor…all I can say is WOW! When I was in New Hampshire at Gail MacDonald’s house last year with some fellow GCC’ers, she mentioned that we should read about Mary Slessor. So, while it took a couple of months to get to it, I read a biography on Mary Slessor in honor of Gail coming to speak at the women’s retreat next week.

Mary was a Scottish missionary to those who lived in and near Calabar (Nigeria) Africa in the 1800’s. She was fearless to say the least. She wasn’t afraid to go up against a gang swinging a razor blade in her face or people groups deep into witchcraft. She was known as the white “ma”. Among other things, she battled maleria, witchcraft and primative conditions to spread God’s Word in areas no other missionaries dared to venture. What a hero of the faith.

Accountability and Stubborness – What a Pair

It’s after midnight and I just got back from Roxanne’s house. She is an amazing, long-time friend of mine who has been my prayer partner for over a decade. How amazing is that! She’s got my back…big time! We’ve prayed for anything and everything. God has been faithful time and time again. I wish I had time to tell you about all the answers to prayer we’ve received. There are times we’ve been faithful to get together every week, while others times life gets so hectic it’s only once a month. We could have given up, but we didn’t. We’re both too stubborn for that.

Ruby is another friend of mine who is absolutely incredible. We have been memorizing scripture together. She’s tackling Ephesians and I’m tackling John. We’ve almost got the first chapter down. I’m so stinkin’ proud of her. Initially we were going to memorize five verses a week, but failed miserably at it. So we decided just to do the best that we could, even if it’s only a verse or two a week. We could have given up, but we didn’t. We’re both too stubborn for that.

Karen, Wendy, Loretta and Carole are other friends of mine. They’re off-the-chart. We decided to do the Old Testament Challenge together a year or so ago. We got behind about about week two. We could have given up, but we didn’t. We’re all too stubborn for that. A year and a half later, we’re through the whole Bible and began round two a couple of weeks ago.

It might sound like I’m braggin’ a bit, but I’m really not. I’ve found in my life that without accountability, I’m a loser when it comes to being consistant at anything. I need people in my life to keep me on track, but not just any people. I need people who are too stubborn to quit and, while we might have to adjust the goal a bit, will keep at it.

Thank you Roxanne, Ruby, Karen, Wendy, Loretta, Carole… and the newest member Chantelle. Without you, my reading of the Bible, memorization of Scripture and prayer life would not be what it is today. Next to Jesus, you are my rocks.

Cool Pics from Saturday’s Games

Patrick – WOW!

What do you do when a high school student has a dream? Let him run with it … and run with it he did. Patrick Hester had a dream of pulling together Oasis students for some flag football extravaganza. Saturday was the first day of the teams coming together for some game time. The players were great, the coaches awesome and the fans supportive. It was a great day blessed with beautiful weather. Thank you Jesus for a young man’s dream and the courage he had to pursue it.