Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Next 15 Minutes

I recently engaged in an experiment where I had to log everything I did for an entire week in increments of 15 minutes. This was a rather obnoxious process (for lack of a better term) at first. I will be honest, I was pretty bitter about it when I first engaged, but it was something I had to do for school in order to finish my internship, so the motivation was easy to be found. (side note: I am done with college!)

As annoying as I found this process to be, I did learn something from it that I will not forget. I was told that I would find something beneficial from it, but I thought it would be an attempt to point out how much time I waste each day, but that wasn't it (which isn't as much time as I have been accused of wasting).

There were times when I would find myself doing random things that aren't bad things, they were just things that don't amount to anything at the end of the day. Don't judge me, I know whoever is reading this right now was probably either on facebook before reading this or had plans to check it at the conclusion of this entry. When I would realize that it had been 15 minutes of doing nothing important or in some cases longer, the thing that would always come into my head is, "Make the next 15 minutes count. Do something productive."

I didn't even realize how many times I thought this same thing to myself, but it was a couple times a day. The thing I found interesting was that, no one really knew whether or not I had spent 15 minutes or sometimes even 30 minutes not doing anything productive, but I knew it. And there was nothing I could do about the past 15 minutes to change it, but I always had the next 15 to do something that would look good when I logged what I had done. When 15 minutes were up they were up, I couldn't get them back. Sometimes I had something to show for them, sometimes I had nothing, but no matter what I always had the next 15 minutes to do something.

Lesson learned: it doesn't matter what you have done that has been a waste of time in the past because you can't do anything about that. You can do something different in the next year. Make this next year count. There is no reason to lament what has already been done, just do things different from now on.

Jesus did the same thing with the woman caught in adultery in John 8. Everyone wants to stone the girl for what she did, but Jesus bends down and speaks to her, but he doesn't condemn her like the audience might expect. He doesn't say, "shame on you" or "you should have done better than that." The woman knows that what she did was wrong, so these things would not be helpful for this lady. Jesus simply bends down and says, "I don't condemn you. Go and do things different." He just tells her, in my paraphrase, "you can't do anything about the past, so just do things different from now on. Make the next year, two years, or decade count, because that, you can control."

Jim Collins tells the story of a conversation he had with his mentor and his mentor told him to stop worrying about whether or not he would be successful and wealthy. He told him, "why don't you just go make yourself useful?"

So that is the challenge in the next year. It doesn't matter what you have done in the past, you still have the option of what to do with the next year. So make yourself useful.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What is the Gospel?

I would like to know what the Gospel message really is. I don’t know that I completely understand it right now, but I think it might be possible to know. To sum up the Gospel in one sentence might be a little irresponsible, but I have been thinking about it for a little while and I have a few thoughts on what it might be about. I think the Gospel message is about the restoration of broken things. Whether those broken things are physical (ailments, cancer, etc.), relational with other people, or relational with God. I think that Jesus came to show us how to restore relationships with other people as well as be the atonement for our sins, which is what separated us from God. Because of Jesus’ blood we are able to be in the presence of the Father. Because of Jesus’ blood we are able to have the Holy Spirit residing within us and empowering us to carry out the Gospel, which is to restore and repair those that are broken. It is as if Jesus took that barrier down, but you and I still have to choose to walk through the gap where a barrier once existed.

Most people say that there is nothing that we can do to get to Heaven, but the Bible says that there is nothing we can do to separate us from the love of God. God loves us no matter what we do, just as a parent will love their child no matter how ‘good’ or ‘bad’ they are, but God, just like any good parent is just. God has an indescribable love for us, but it is still our choice whether we carry out the Gospel mission or not and that seems to be what Jesus is concerned about. In Matthew Jesus tells the story about separating the goats and the sheep. The thing that separates the goats and the sheep, in Jesus’ eyes, is what that person did or didn’t do for the least of these in His name. So, according to Jesus, there has to be something that we can do in order to experience eternity with Him. ‘God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that whoever believes in Him shall have eternal life.’ Another way of saying ‘believes in Him’ would be to say, ‘trusts in Him.’ This paints a little better picture. Trust is what I do when I sit down on a chair. I fully trust the chair to support me and all my weight. Whoever trusts in Him and relies on Him will have eternal life, because they are experiencing the kind of relationship they were supposed to have with God. One where we are dependant on the One who can give us life and satisfy every need that we have, but also, one where we are free from the bondage of sin that had previously oppressed us.

So, I think there are two different questions usually being asked when we talk about what Jesus came to do. There is the question of, ‘what did Jesus’ death do for us?’ and the question of, ‘what is the Gospel?’ I think Jesus’ death was the breaking of the barrier between God and His prized creation, and I think the Gospel is restoration. While forgiveness of sins is a part of restoration, it is only that, a part of it. You can look at restoration however you want, but I think as long as you are meeting needs of those around you I believe you are living out the Gospel.

I think another layer to that would be 1 Peter 3:15, ‘always be prepared to give an answer to anyone who asks about this hope you have.’ Because you have been set free of many things, you will walk about with some sort of hope that is just hard for other people to understand. So, don’t be alarmed when other people ask you about this hope that you seem to have for a better tomorrow, in fact, be prepared with an answer for them. There should be some sort of glow to your face and a little bounce in your step, you should be happy and excited above all else. I don’t think that this necessarily means we are just supposed to share the Gospel with everyone around us though. Some people who try to share this ‘hope’ that they have don’t really seem to have much hope. In which case, other people would only ask where their hope comes from is so he or she can run as far away from that source as possible.

Faith, love, and holiness is where Paul tells Timothy salvation comes from. What is faith if you never have trust in or rely on something or someone? What is love if it is never acted out through meeting the needs of others? What is holiness, period?

Maybe this is what the Gospel looks like. Maybe this looks like the Gospel you have believed in and put your faith in, but this is different than the picture that was painted for me when I was growing up.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Little Fellow Follows Me

Last weekend I was in North Kahki-Lacki! Ok... I have actually never heard anyone from North Carolina say that, but I have a friend who swears some people call it North Cacki-Lacki... so, people from North Carolina who might have been offended by that, I'm sorry.

Anyway...

I was in North Carolina last weekend! It was my annual fall visit to the great state. Every time I go down there there are more children than the year before. This year I had the pleasure to meet Daniel.



He, like any child, is a big ole sponge. He loves watching people, repeating what they say, and doing what they do.

I always have fun when I go down there, but I always come back with something learned or a new perspective on something. Sometimes it is simply a reminder of a simple truth that for some reason comes front and center. There is definitely a reason that Jesus always compares things to little children: because they live simple lives. The major reason most people don't live the way Jesus calls them to live is because they have so much going on that they have been trained to think is important that it is impossible for them to live for Christ. When you look at children, they have nothing that is their own, they are dependent on someone else to provide their basic needs, and they just want someone to love.

For years now, I have been teaching other people how to live their lives the way Jesus would want them to. It is crazy to think that I have spent more time, teaching and preparing to teach others how to live their lives than I have looking at my own life. Now I look at my life from time to time, but whenever I am taking in new information or knowledge I commonly am taking it in through the filter of, "how am I going to teach this to someone else." I know this isn't right, but it's true. This brings me to the realization I came to this weekend: other people are watching me live and are trying to live in the same way I am. That isn't an arrogant statement, it is just reality. You have people who are trying to live like you are too. You can choose to ignore that in the name of humility, but it is true.

There are two different questions to ask here, but the problem is they are very different questions which often get confused for the same question. The first is, "Am I following Jesus?" and the second is, "Am I a person I would follow and/or encourage others to follow?" If you can honestly say yes to the first one, then the second should be a fairly easy yes.

The problem is that people think if you can say yes to the second question then you are following Jesus. There are some very good people in whom I would entrust many things, but they are not following Jesus. But that is another topic for another time. I am not here to talk about that, but simply the importance of introspection and looking at whether you are really the person you are trying to be?

Hopefully this poem by the great basketball coach, John Wooden, will help:

A careful man I ought to be,
A little fellow follows me,
I do not dare to go astray
For fear he'll go the selfsame way.

I cannot once escape his eyes,
Whate'er he sees me do, he tries;
Like me, he says, he's going to be,
The little chap who follows me.

He thinks that I am good and fine,
Believes in every word of mine
The base in me he must not see,
The little chap who follows me.

I must remember as I go,
Through summer's fun and winter's snow,
In building for the years to be
The little chap who follows me!






If I ever think no one is watching me, I am fooling myself.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Busy Fall at CrossView

There are a lot of things that are great about fall, but it is also very busy. This weekend my brother is coming to visit, but I won't be spending much time with him or his family as I am hosting a 30 hour famine at our church. The famine is looking like it will be a good event, we are expecting about 50 students there and our goal is to raise $5,000 for WorldVision. I think we are going to make it. I laugh when I see or hear people looking down on Jr. High students as if they can't make a difference in the world. We have a Jr. High girl who has over 26 sponsors for the famine, which collectively will put her around $300 for just one student. I love when students catch the vision of something that God is doing and they go all out in pursuit.

The following weekend (Sept 30-Oct 2)we will be going to our Jr. High retreat. It is called, "Warped: transforming a distorted heart and soul." It should be a good weekend, but it will be a busy couple of weeks. If you are planning on going to the retreat, you must register online at 79erscamp.com by the time the sun goes down this Sunday, September 25. You will not regret going on this weekend retreat. It is only $65 plus money for 2 fast food meals. I would say, along with many others that it is well worth it! We will be meeting at CrossView at 3 pm on Friday and leave at 3:45 following our rules ceremony. So you must be here for the rules ceremony with your release form. If you have any questions, please contact me.

Finally, I must give a shout out to my friends Taylor Farris and Ben McFarland who will be getting married the weekend after the retreat! I'm excited for what the future holds for these two love birds!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Fall is Here

My two favorite times of year: one, is the transition from winter to spring, but my all-time favorite time of the year is from summer to fall. Fall is when everything gets going again. You just came off of a (hopefully) relaxing summer and life is starting to pick up the pace. The long-sleeves come out, golf is followed by sitting around watching football, school kicks back in for some (not me anymore!), hot apple cider, fall retreats, the changing of leaves, and bonfires just to name a few of the best things about fall. You can be outside and not sweat to death is another big perk.

It starts a transition time. For me this means that my feet are starting to get planted, I'm getting acquainted with the new job, small groups are starting up, new series are beginning, and energy is being built going into a new year.

There are many reasons to love fall. It is a wonderful time of the year. I just thought I would share that with all of my dear friends.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Stretch Yourself

How do you stretch yourself in a typical week?

When was the last time you read something simply because you were curious about a subject?

Are you content with where your life is? Or are you wanting to take your life to the next level? How do you define the next level?

If you could change one thing about your life right now, what would it be?

What is one thing you could challenge yourself to do/learn/study in the next month, two months or season of life that would stretch you?

You might be thinking I just don't have time to do that right now, and maybe you are right. Some people already are working too hard and spend very little time with their families or doing something that will rejuvenate them. But many people are really good at making excuses as to why they won't do something that they have always wanted to do or even something that they have felt like they should do, but just don't think they have the means to do it.

What is one thing that you could implement in your life in the short time ahead of you that would either make you a better person or make the life of a person around you better?

There are different zones we have:

1. The Comfort Zone - this is the area of life we are comfortable in (I know, this is deep stuff). The comfort zone is all the stuff that we are good at and we have time to do every day. When we do things that fall into the comfort zone we don't get nervous, and our blood pressure stays pretty consistent.

2. The Panic Zone - this zone is about as opposite from the comfort zone as day is from night. The panic zone is filled with things that we do not know how to do, or they are things that we just don't face on a day to day level. When we are faced with these situations we fly into a... well, panic (again, I know, the clever level is astounding). Our blood-pressure rises, our nerves take over, and we launch into fight or flight. As a result, we don't learn much when we are in this zone.

3. The Stretch Zone - the final zone lies between the comfort zone and the panic zone. This is the area that... well, you guessed it, stretches you. This is something that is out of your daily routine, it is uncomfortable, and will take you a little more time to do than the things that lie in your comfort zone.


Now, if you are curious as to why the talk about all the zones we live in, I will tell you. The zone that you learn the most in is not the comfort zone like you might think. It is the stretch zone. Very little learning is done in the panic zone and growing is rarely found in the comfort zone. But, the stretch zone is uncomfortable because we don't know what we are doing when it comes to this zone of life. It isn't like being at home where we know the floor plan and what is on every wall like we know where every freckle is on the back of our hand. The stretch zone is more like moving to a new town where we don't really know how to get from one place to another. We can, because there are maps. We can even get familiar with that town to where we do know it like the back of our hand, because there are things to instruct us, and people to show us around and tell us where to find a short cut.

Evaluation is something I have been looking at a lot lately. I have been trying to evaluate where I am learning and where I am just doing what I have to. Evaluation is crucial to growth. If you want to grow, you must evaluate where you are and what you have or haven't been learning. There is no secret formula to this, just do it. Where are you? Where have you been? Where do you want to go? and how do you get there? Then, you have to do what is uncomfortable and stretch yourself to do new things and learn new things. It's the only way to grow. It's the only way to experience something you have always wanted to experience, but never had the opportunity to because fear held you back.

What is cool is a stretch zone does what it says, it stretches. And the thing it stretches is your comfort zone. So, as you spend time in the stretch zone, the things that were uncomfortable become comfortable.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Building Rome

At some point in your life, I’m sure you have had an idea for something great. Everyone does. It’s interesting, because the ratio of people who have big desires compared to the people who pursue/achieve their big desires is overwhelmingly lopsided.

Why is it that so many people don’t pursue something that they are sure they need, or something that they believe will be beneficial?

People have great ideas of things they want to do… whether it is to get college degree, maybe it is to mend a relationship with a loved one, or maybe it is to have a deeper relationship with their Heavenly Father, who created them.

All are noble goals and they are worth chasing after, but why do people give up?
Often times we have a mindset that if God is for something you are going to do then everything will just go great, there will be no bumps in the road, and everything will be smooth sailing. And I’m not sure where we get that method of thinking. Jesus even promises that if we are His disciples, the world will hate us (in case you are wondering, being a disciple of Jesus is a great thing to strive for). Things won’t go as we see planned, but it will be for God’s glory. He, Jesus, even says, “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.”

According to Jesus, a rough road is a mark of being on the right path. The disconnect is that we think a big bump in the road might mean that God is trying to tell us that we are on the wrong path and it is time to give up. This happens all over the place. But rough times are necessary if you are going to do anything great or worth your time.

This isn’t the easiest thing to see in the mirror. But whenever someone else is striving toward a noble goal and they give up, it is very easy to see and be critical. Seeing someone give up makes you want to wring their neck. But nearly all of us are guilty of this on some level.

Let’s take a look at the Ancient Romans. When they were building Rome, they were doing things that had never been done before. The structures they were building were hybrids of other Mediterranean countries such as Spain and Greece. They adopted particular elemental structures and pieced them together in ways that had never been attempted before. The Romans were the first to use an arch in a building. An arch is an incredible piece of structure that no one point of the arch holds all the weight. But no one had used it in a building before the Romans. They were doing things that had never been done to create something that had never been created before!

Someone had a vision for the end and because of that vision they relentlessly pursued their goal until it was complete.

But… Rome was not built in a day.

I wonder if we were able to go to the people who were building Rome at the time and talk with them, I wonder how discouraged they might have felt at times. If there were ever times where they thought, to themselves or out loud, “This isn’t going as planned. Maybe they were right, maybe this can’t be built. Maybe we should just give up.”

There had to have been tough times, but they couldn’t give up, because Rome as we know it would not be. Sure, someone eventually might have done something as cool as the Romans did with their infrastructure, but the Romans did what most people won’t do: they kept going. They endured. They fought until the end.

Rome was not built in a day.

And neither will any great thing you ever want to accomplish.

Romans 5 says, “we rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance produces character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.”

When we go through trials, we are told things will get better, so we have that hope. However, we want that hope right now and we get discouraged when it isn’t coming. But if we were to get hope right away, then we wouldn’t really have endured anything. And if we don’t endure anything, then we will never build or develop character. But the only reason anyone will endure is if they have that vision of hope, because hope does not disappoint us.

Hope is one of the 3 greatest things in the world according to Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:13 when he says, “these 3 remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.” The reason people will endure is because they have hope for what is to come. But without suffering or endurance you will never reach the thing in which you have hope. So always trust, always hope, and always persevere. Without this, nothing great will ever happen, but do it and I believe it is the key to your life being radically transformed!

Rome was not built in a day and neither is any great thing you are trying to do.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Tricky Little Game Called Communication

Have you ever had trouble communicating something you need someone to know, yet no matter how hard you try all you get in return are blank stares. The only communication going back and forth is the face saying, "I have no idea what you are trying to say to me right now..." (Ok, I realize that I may get these stares more than most people, but play along).

So put yourself in my shoes about three weeks ago...

I am on my way to England... We flew from Cincinnati to Boston, from Boston to Paris, and from Paris into Birmingham (England, that is).

Our flight from Boston to Paris left around 11 pm, so we were flying through the night. The primary language of the stewardesses on this flight was French.

They served a meal about an hour into the flight, then it was lights out since it was a little past midnight. I had finally fallen asleep and just started to settle into a good rest. To say that I was startled to be woken by something falling and hitting my shoulder is quite an understatement! My heart was pounding! Something had fallen and hit my shoulder after I had fallen asleep, but I didn't know what it was... I looked up and all the overhead bins were closed, so it wasn't a bag.

Then I look down and I see a person roll over on the floor in the isle-way! As if my heart wasn't racing before, now it was pounding. I scrambled to find the light, but it seemed like it took forever to do so. With all my rustling around, the girl next to me woke up and saw that I was in a little bit of a panic and flipped on her light. At this time I was able to confirm that the dark figure on the floor was a middle-aged woman dressed in dark clothes! She wasn't moving a whole lot, it appeared that she had just come to. Apparently she had passed out on the way back to her seat from the restroom... luckily my shoulder and leg was there to break her fall a little bit, or else she would have really been hurting!

A stewardess was quick on the scene and she tried to ask the lady what had happened in her broken English when the lady on the floor responded, "Please, no English..."

With a very nervous look the stewardess said, "what language?"

"Arabic."



Not really sure what to do at this point because it was apparent that the stewardess didn't speak Arabic, I tried explaining to her my end of the story, or at least what I thought happened. I tried words, but I was getting some confused looks, so I tried again with a few more hand motions this time. The stewardess nodded as if she understood, but I'm not entirely sure that she did. We had what you could call a communication nightmare!

There is a reason that the people who were building the Tower of Babel left one another when their languages were confused. It is frustrating when you can't understand what someone is trying to say to you. If you can't understand the words being used, it doesn't matter how many times they are repeated. It doesn't matter how hard you try to understand, you simply can't. You have to find another way to communicate.

It is interesting that language is something that God changed to frustrate and confuse people, when their agenda was to be equal with God. That same God chose to redeem all of mankind and when He did He chose to use the people He created to spread His message of redemption. There was a problem though... everyone spoke different languages. That would appear to be a problem, and "with man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." God gave the early church the ability to speak clearly in the languages of all people on the day of Pentecost.

Just thought this would be a fun little thing to share... Thoughts are welcome.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

On my way to save the Queen!

In case you didn't know, I am about to head overseas to the land of... well, I don't really know what it is the land of, but I'm going to Birmingham, England for the next 10 days!

I will be traveling with a team of 6 students and 2 faculty members of CCU. We will be encouraging the current missionaries and working with them to impact the community they serve. Of course, we will have a little bit of time to go site-seeing, but that is not the main thing we are going for. I'm very excited to see what is to come from this trip. I honestly don't know what to expect, being that this is my first time out of the country for a missions trip.

In other news, as of this week, I became the latest employee of Crossview Christian Church in Waynesville, OH! I am the youth ministry intern with an emphasis on jr high students. Crossview is a growing church and they have outgrown one youth minister and would like for this internship to turn into a full time job at the end. I fully believe it is a great opportunity and as doors shut in other places I was looking, this one swung wide open for me to walk through it, giving me a pretty good idea that this is somewhere God wants me for a while. I look forward to what will happen there, but that will start when I get back. My first day on that job is May 29, so only a few days after returning to the states! Please pray for me for both of these situations, that I may have wisdom and guidance from above with every step of the way.

With much love, jcc.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Mossy Creek

It is hard to describe they way you feel after someone leaves that has always been a part of your entire life. And to all who have sent texts, emails, letters, and other modes of communication expressing sympathy and prayers, I would like to say thank you. They are greatly appreciated by me and the family.

Recently I have been reminded of a couple things.

One of my home mates brought his bike to school and today I took it for a ride through Price Hill and up to a local park that overlooks the city. It was a little chilly, but I dressed for the occasion. It was fun, I hadn't ridden a bike in quite some time, but for some reason I really wanted to ride tonight. It's kind of funny how when you do something for the first time in a while it brings back memories of either the last time you did it or the first time. Well, tonight it brought back memories of the early days of biking. I still remember "the test" I had to do to get my training wheels off. I had to ride my brother's bike from our front porch to the end of the barn, which isn't too short of a distance, especially when you consider that most of the ride is in the grass.

I also remember the first place I was able to ride to without an adult accompanying my journey. It was to my great grandpa's house, only about a mile away. I felt like big stuff going over there by myself for the first time. It was Thanksgiving day and my aunt and a couple cousins were over there watching the St. Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. I was a actually watching it at my house too, but for some reason I asked if I could go over there. When I asked I meant going over by having my mom drive me, but then she let me ride over on my own and made my weekend! I felt like big stuff to say the least.

As we sat and chatted, I knew that this was probably the last time we would all be together, at least in this house, I didn't want it to end. In fact, my cousin's husband and I decided to change the time on the clock in hopes that it would change the real time and we could stay there a little longer. (Sorry Aunt Deanna, I know that didn't make you happy, but I thought you should know that I was Ian's partner in crime)

As I reflect on great grandpa's life I just see so many good qualities that I want to carry in my own life. Grandpa was a man of great respect. Everyone in the family had respect for him even if you didn't have respect for anyone else. He was a man that deserved so much honor but never wanted praise, just a hug. The things he did were done because they were the right thing to do, and that was reason enough for him. No task was ever too big for him to handle, but no task was too important to take him away from spending time with his family.

It is very weird because many of us almost built it up in our minds that he might actually live forever, but this is just a reminder: this is one rule in which no one is excused. And I suppose that is why we put our hope in Jesus because in doing so we shall never actually perish, we just won't be seen on this earth anymore, but rather in a place where there is no more pain or weeping, where everything is brought to completion in perfect harmony with each other and the One who created us and everything we currently have. That is a pretty comforting thought in my mind.

Grandpa just left so many memories and a great legacy for the family. A legacy is "anything that is handed down from the past," it is a gift, and with all gifts comes a stewardship. So we now have a responsibility to do something with the legacy we have been handed. I pray that I will be able to do that in some way. I want to be able to get another grin of approval the next time I see him, this time not just for a task well done, but for a life well lived.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Experience: New York City

It is very difficult to tell what my favorite part of the whole trip was. There were so many fascinating things about each city and each city had their uniqueness to them that it is hard to compare. So, I figured I would break it down into cities. Just so you know, New York was not our first stop, but it is the one that is on my mind right now, so it is the I will start with.

Now, I'm not going to be naive and think that no one that is reading this blog has ever been to New York and has never seen the things that we saw. But I will say that I believe one of the most impressive things we did was experience everything we did in just two days. And they weren't even full days! So this is how we did it.

To truly experience each city we did a little bit of homework. Chris and Eddie are very good about asking people questions about what there is to do and experience in a city. It's kinda cool because they can just start talking to someone and it just seems natural, where for me, it is difficult to do so. I just feel like I am bothering them, so I would just as soon leave them alone. I would say that this is key #1. Key #2 is having someone that is in the city or is at least familiar with the city show you around and give you helpful hints on how to get around, where to be, etc. Eddie has a friend that has been working for Saturday Night Live for a couple months and she had a little time where she could show us around. This was a great thing.

We experienced quite a bit in two days, largely because of her help.

Day 1

We started out our Monday by sitting in on a Church Planters get-together, orchestrated by Eddie. He follows a guy on Twitter and sent him an email and he hooked us up with this. It was pretty neat to sit in on the meeting and see how ministry is done in the busiest city in the U.S.

Then it was time to hit the streets after a quick bite to eat.

We started off at the public library. I know this sounds like a boring trip so far, but this wasn't just some library, it was huge. We were told that it was well worth going into and they were right. We went into one of the neatest buildings ever. I wish we had more pictures of the inside, but there is a "no flash" policy in there, so it wasn't easy getting a good picture. But believe me when I say that it is well worth your time!



In a "New York Minute" we were off to see St. Patrick's Cathedral (extremely impressive place). Then it was on to Rockefeller Center. From there we went to get the experience of Time Square, pretty unique and very fast-paced. Definitely sensory overload. We also hit up the M&M Factory while we were there! What was fun was that we took the subway from possibly the busiest part of the city to Central Park, possibly the most peaceful part of the city.






Me, Molly, Eddie, and Chris (Central Park)

To finish off day 1 of NYC we hit the Empire State Building, right at sunset. We got the view from both levels, so one level it was sunset and by the time we got to the next level it was dark, which was so neat. Super cool view. Walking around, you are surrounded by huge buildings and every once in a while you just have to do a 360 and look everything up and down because you can't quite fully experience how big everything is just walking down the street trying to get somewhere. You have to stop and soak it in every once in a while. Then you get to the top of Empire State building and you are above all of that just looking down and the best way to describe it as is something else. You just see a sea of humanity.





This ended our Day 1 in the Big Apple. We went back to the Searle's for some dinner, relaxation, and taking turns on the foot massager! (Another key to our journey)

Day 2
Tuesday consisted of a visit to Ellis Island, we stopped by our dear friend Lady Liberty (or more correctly, as we found out, "Lady Liberty Enlightening the World"), then we headed from there over to Wall Street, Trinity Church (from National Treasure), and Ground Zero/WTC memorial.

Chris and I explaining what we are doing:





Ellis Island


Grabbing the Bull by the Horns


This one speaks for itself


And there was evening and morning the 2nd day

It was a pretty good couple of days overall.

After feeling well accomplished tourists in the Big Apple we loaded up in the car and headed up to New Hampshire. (Stay tuned, there is still more before and after this)

Everything was a little surreal. Walking around, everywhere we looked it seemed like was a part of a movie or tv show or something. It was kinda cool.

The whole experience made a certain September happening really come to life for me. Hearing numbers and statistics and seeing pictures can only do so much, but when you are there and you see how big these buildings are and realize how much bigger the Trade Centers were really made me see how much it effected the city. Everything is so close that I have no clue where everything went or how more buildings weren't destroyed. I think one of the biggest things I took out of this was a new appreciation/understand/broken heart for those who were involved. Numbers can only do so much, but when you put a face and a name on something like that and you hear them tell the story or the spouse of a deceased talk about the last time the saw their spouse, it breaks the heart.

You might be thinking, wow Jordan, way to end on a somber note. But, that is how our day ended on Tuesday.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Road Trip!

To complete my college experience I went on a week long road trip with a couple of guys from school, whom I have been living with this semester. The goal was to visit some of the big Northeastern Cities of the U.S. (Philadelphia, NYC, and Boston). We wanted to be able to "experience" each city in a day or two. By experience it, we meant: eat "the food" of the city, see "the thing" of the city, and just get a feel for something the city prides itself in.

So, we loaded up in my grandparents Hybrid (aka: knockout gas mileage) and we hit the road.


In the blogs to follow there will be more pictures and what we experienced on the trip. There were some good lessons along the way. I know this sounds a little cheesy, but I feel like my eyes are opened to numerous possibilities after this trip and I believe that it was definitely well worth it. But, first I have to edit some pictures so you can get a glimpse of what we experienced. Then I will start the journey of telling you all about the things we did.

By the way, I didn't mention that we didn't spend a dime on housing. More on that to come!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Quite a Phone Call

Last night I had something happen that hasn't happened in a long time. My phone rang and it was an "unknown number," so I didn't answer it. Immediately after it stopped ringing it started again... once again an "unknown number." I figured, since they were persistent it could be someone that I knew just calling from another number... or something like that. So, I answer, and I hear, "Hello, Mr. Curtis, I am calling from Verizon wondering if you would like to complete a survey?" I said, "No thanks," and hung up. I was respectful.

The second I hung up I got a call back. "Mr. Curtis, please, I only want a minute of your time to complete a survey." Me, starting to get a little frustrated, I asked them not to call back again.

Sure enough they call another time. I just let it ring. I have never met a telemarketer so persistent and I was very frustrated, after all, I was trying to enjoy a friendly game of checkers with my grandma. After I ignored the call, the phone continued to ring. This time I was so friendly. With a bit of tone in my voice and without saying any type of greeting I said, "Please don't call again. I already hung up on you twice, I'm not going to do you survey!" I couldn't believe the guy had the nerve to correct me and say that it was only twice. At that point I was very frustrated and told them not to call back. Grandma and grandpa were starting to get a kick out of how heated I was at this point. I, however, did not find the humor in it.

Phone rings again. Different number. I answer, and it is some lady with an accent to her, wanted to know why I was giving her employee a hard time? I could not believe it. I told her how many times he had called and I could not believe it! I'm sure my face was getting a little red with frustration at this point, but I wasn't rude, I just sternly asked her to leave me alone.

Rather irked at this point I was wondering who I could complain to, because if I call verizon they would just ask me why I didn't comply and take the survey. At a loss for words I was sitting there continuing the game I was currently involved in and my phone rings again. Almost reluctant to look at it, I peak and it is my friend from school, Jake. I answer the phone and ask him where he is? He said he was driving a van for his high school youth group. In an instant I realized that all these calls came from him...

I could not believe it. I had successfully been pranked. Man was I frustrated, but at the same time I have to give it to him. He got me.

So with that being said, I need some ideas on ways to get him back. So let me know your thoughts on good pranks you have ever been a part of, had done on you, or heard done?

I look forward to getting him back!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

One Week From Today

Anyone know what it is?

You might find yourself thinking... did I forget an important date?

Chances are, you haven't and chances are, you aren't as concerned with what happens next Tuesday as I am. Next Tuesday marks the start of my final semester of classes... ever!

Ok, well maybe not ever, but for a while at least. I won't be graduating though, because I still have to do an internship. No further updates yet on where that will be, but I'm talking with as many people/churches as I can.

I hope everyone has had a wonderful Christmas. I have enjoyed catching up on what some of you have been doing via blog. I need to get to work on my end of that.

I had a good Christmas, or should I say 4 Christmases! 3 days and 4 Christmases makes for a busy time, but less busy than years past I do believe. At least it felt that way. It was good seeing my many siblings. At my dad's house this year we had 7 adults, 2 kids, and 4 dogs at the house. It was fun because it was like that for very long, but I enjoyed having everyone there. The kids got the parents a Wii Fit. I had never played it before, but I was a little skeptical of it. Turns out it is very good and very accurate to what you are doing. I like it a lot. I also spent a fair amount of time (and by that I mean, way more than necessary amount of time) brushing up on my wii bowling skills and wii golf. I'm not sure if anyone is excited about this as I am, but I am fairly proud of myself.

Other than Christmas we had an all-nighter at the church for New Years Eve. There were over 80 kids and I woke up the next day very sore. I think I'm getting to old for those things! ;)

My friend got ordained in Louisville, so a couple of us drove down to see him. It was a great service and it was great to see him, as he and his wife recently moved to Texas.

In other news. I went to a national preaching festival in Louisville this past week. It was an interesting time. There were many people from many different denominations, backgrounds, and races there, so it was interesting to here the different preaching styles. I might tell a little more about that in a later post, but for now I just wanted my faithful followers to know that I am still alive, kickin, and getting ready to finish out my last 3 classes of my undergrad career!