Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everybody! In about 10 hours, I will be boarding the “Red Eye” to DFW and then on to Lubbock early tomorrow morning. Yes, that’s right, I’m insane and am flying all through the middle of the night, but hey, it was cheaper! I will be in Lubbock until late Monday afternoon, and then it’s back to the Northwest for New Years.

Have a merry Christmas everyone! Enjoy family, friends, food, and fellowship!

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Mark 2:1-5

And Jesus seeing their faith said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven’ (NAS, Mark 2:5).
The healing of the paralytic man has been one of my favorite stories of Jesus’ miracles for a long time. These four men who went to such great lengths to bring their friend to Jesus amaze me. They literally dug a whole through the roof just to get him there—to get him to Jesus!
Surely they had tried to push through the crowd in and surrounding the house. Why wouldn’t the mass let them through? Were they putting their own needs first—“Forget it, Jesus is going to heal me first” or “He’s going to heal my kid first”? Did they not want these men to bother or interrupt the Teacher? They were having a hard enough time hearing as it was. Why were those in the crowd so lacking in faith? Why did they not clear a path? Why were these men forced to dig through the roof? Surely that caused a much greater disturbance. By that time the whole crowd must have been mad at them. The people at the back were mad because they were insisting on being first. The people nearest to Jesus were angry because their clothes, hair, faces—everything—were covered in dirt from the crumbling roof. Yet these men persisted at the risk of the whole town being angry with them.
What had the paralytic done for these men that made them love him so much? Or maybe he had done nothing at all. Perhaps these men just loved him so unconditionally that they could not help but bring him to the One who could heal him. These men understood how to love and how to believe. They would not let any obstacle stand in the way of their love and their faith, and Jesus understood. He saw their faith, He saw the way the paralytic trusted them, He saw how the four men loved the paralytic, and He loved him too.
I want to love people like that. I want to go to that length to bring people before Jesus. Let us be persistent and press against all obstacles to bring others to Christ. Let us love as these men loved. Let us loved as Jesus loved.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Home Again! Home Again!

Welcome home to the Northwest! I’ve been in the South for a week and a half recruiting for interns at ACU and OC. I also got to spend Thanksgiving with my family. It was so encouraging to be with my family again—my biological family, my Southside family, my ACU family, and my new OC family. I was so glad to see everyone!
It is good to be back with a renewed vigor to work on God’s ministry here at PUMP. I am very excited for Micah Project, and I cannot wait to see what all God has prepared for this new ministry. It is so humbling to be a part of such an awesome ministry. Thank you for the support that I receive from each one of you!

Tuesday, November 09, 2004


So does anyone actually check anymore to see if I have posted? I wouldn’t blame you for not. It seems that it has been almost a month since I last posted.

Major Events of October: My sister visited, which was great fun. It was her first trip to the Northwest, and I greatly enjoyed having her here. Also, a group of us from PUMP went to New York City for the Urban Ministry Conference (UMC). I love New York! It is a fabulous city full of so much history, culture, and diversity. Quick highlights: a performance by the New York City Children’s Choir, seeing the Lion King on Broadway, a carriage ride in Central Park, rampaging about Times Square, ice-skating in Rockefeller Center, walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, visiting the Statue of Liberty and Ground Zero. To find out more about UMC, go to

Currently I am finalizing plans for a recruiting trip to ACU and OCU. I will be in Abilene Nov. 28th-30th and in Oklahoma City Dec. 1st-4th. I will also be in Lubbock the week before for Thanksgiving with my family. I would love to see everyone and anyone. I’m really looking forward to the trip even though it will be fast and furious.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Incoming Blessing!

I wanted everyone to join me in praising God! I just got the official word that the Betenbough Foundation is going to grant Micah Project $10,000. I am more than excited. God has truly provided for us in a big time way, and this means that we will be able to move forward in His ministry. Thanks to all of you for your prayers. We are well on our way to receiving funds for our entire program budget for this year. Praise God!

Unless the LORD builds a house, the work of the builders is useless. Unless the LORD protects a city, guarding it with sentries will do no good. Psalm 127:1

We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps…Those who listen to instruction will prosper those who trust the LORD will be happy…We may throw dice, but the LORD determines how they fall. Proverbs 16:9, 20, 33

To check out more of what I have been doing, go to

Thursday, September 16, 2004

SCC and Me

There was jumping up and down, yelling, standing on furniture, utter zaniness. Why you ask? Because I won the K-LOVE radio Steven Curtis Chapman prize pack. Well, what does that include you ask? Steven's new CD personally autographed, the new kids book that Steven and his wife MaryBeth wrote about their adopted daughter Shoay's trip to America, and Chris Tomlin's new CD.

I've never won anything before! And to win Steven Curtis Chapman stuff! I'm just a little more than elated.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Labor Day Hike

Okay, so I don't recommend going hiking on unfamiliar trails without some sort of trail map. My roommate Cheronn and I spent our Labor Day hiking on Mt. Hood. We went up to Timberline Lodge and picked a random trail to hike on. 12-15 miles later we were back at the lodge, completely beat. But it was a lot of fun! It was nice to be out in the great outdoors, and I enjoyed it all, besides my aching feet!

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Threshing Wheat

This morning as I was reading in Isaiah, I came across 27:12ff: "Yet the time will come when the LORD will gather them together one by one like handpicked grain. He will bring them to His great threshing floor--from the Euphrates River in the east to the brook of Egypt in the west. In that day the great trumpet will sound. Many who were dying in exile in Assyria and Egypt will return to Jerusalem to worship the LORD on is holy mountain" (NLT). There are many instances in which Isaiah talks about Israel being brought to the threshing floor besides this one, but it struck me as I read to research exactly what the processes of threshing wheat entailed. So I powered up the handy-dandy internet and did a search.

What I found out was this: threshing is not an easy process, thus why we have machines to do it today. In ancient times, they would harvest the wheat when it was not quite ripe--the stalks would have still been a little green. This was done so that they would not loose great quantities of grain as they were harvesting. When the wheat is ripe, the grains will frequently fall out of their sheaves of their own accord. But not so with all of the grains. After harvesting the wheat, they would them bundle them and wait for them to ripen. Once ripe, they would take the wheat and beat the crud out of it with bricks, primitive tools, their own might, or whatever else was available to them. Then they would have the laborious task of separating the grains of wheat from the sheaves. This does not sound like fun to me!

So back to the original verse. God has said that He will harvest or gather the remnant of Israel to bring them back out of captivity. He will walk through the fields taking whoever is about ripe and bring them to the threshing floor. Then He will thresh them. He will remove the sheaves. He will literally beat out of them all that is against Him, all that is not good and wholesome. Everything that cannot be used for His glory. He will beat it out of them.

Do we allow God to do the same thing with us? Does he "handpick" us from among the fields? Does He take us to His threshing floor to rid us of whatever is not of Him? Do we allow Him to do this? Beating out the bad does not sounds like a particularly thrilling process, instead it sounds rather painful. It is painful for God to beat the sin out of our lives, but look at the end product. It is wholesome and good. Good for eating, good for kneading into bread, and a thousand other things. God can use the good grains of wheat that are left after we have been threshed! He can use them to His everlasting glory!

Father, I ask to be threshed. I know that the process will not be easy, in fact it will be painful. But LORD, I am willing because I know that you are a gentle and loving Father. You will not give me more than I can withstand. I can trust You as the Harvester, and I can trust You as the Thresher. You will be good to me, and You will lovingly beat out of me what fails to bring You glory. Father, I want to be used in Your Kingdom. So take from me my sin, cut it out of me that I might be righteous before You. All praises be to You, the LORD Almighty. May Your Kingdom come, and may Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Praise You, Father! Amen.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Audios Shaggy Brown Mat

We are getting new carpet today! Goodbye ugly, smelly, dark brown shag. Many of you have heard my complaints about our horrible shag. Well, say goodbye to my complaints and the shag, and say hello to are beautiful new carpet!

New carpet, new home, new job--a lot of new things lately, but I am so blessed with all of the new. I feel like I am learning all over again how to fear God and enjoy life, and I love every minute of it. I am being refreshed and renewed, and I can't get over how wonderful it feels. Blessings in and out!

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Grandad's Hands

I've been wanting to share what I wrote for Grandad's funeral for a while, but I had not plucked up the courage until now. Each of the grandchildren had an opportunity to speak at the funeral, and this is what I put down in words. Jake, my brother-in-law, spoke for both my sister and me.

I have a picture of Grandad that I have been carrying in my bible since he first got sick in January. The picture marked the passage of scripture that I have been praying over him for the last several months. Matthew 9:1-7
Jesus climbed into a boat and went back across the lake to his own town. Some people brought to him a paralyzed man on a mat. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man. "Take heart, son! Your sins are forgiven."
"Blasphemy! This man talks like he is God!" some of the teachers of the religious law said among themselves.
Jesus knew what they were thinking, so he asked them, "Why are you thinking such evil thoughts? Is it easier to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven’ or ‘Get up and walk’? I will prove that I, the Son of Man, have the authority on earth to forgive sins." Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, "Stand up, take your mat, and go on home, because you are healed!"
And the man jumped up and went home! (NLT)

My prayer for Grandad has continually been that Jesus would turn to him and tell him to go on home, and He has done just that.

One of the reasons that I love this picture of my grandfather is that his hands can be easily seen. I love Grandad’s hands—the crooked middle finger of his left hand, the nubbed ring finger next to it, rough, worn, and callused. I used to watched these hands as they shuffled dominoes and created are out of wood. They served cancer patients and so many others. They helped steady Grandmommie’s hands and teach the hands of his children and grandchildren. These were the hands of Christ, serving and loving others in Jesus’ name—putting others before himself, loving and serving as Christ served.

My hands are not as rough and callused as his. They bare the marks of youth and not of age, but these hands have been taught to serve by his hands. Many hands here have been taught to serve by his hands. In Philippians 3:17, Paul challenges the Philippians to pattern their lives after his and to learn from those who follow his example. My challenge to all of us is to pattern our lives after Grandad’s, a true and faithful follower of Christ.
For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself. (Philippians 3:20-21, NAS)

Monday, August 23, 2004

Midnight Ponderings

It is currently 12:04am in Portland, OR. I am obviously unable to sleep--probably due to the past week of staying up to late watching the Olympics and the fact that my mind is whirring at lightspeed.

In the past week, I have found myself asking over and over again: what am I doing here? And then voicing that same question to the LORD. I have no idea what I am doing here. I know the task before me to complete, but I feel so ill equipped for the job. Honestly, several times this week, I have felt like Moses crying out to God: "I can't do this! Send somebody else! You picked the wrong guy!" Blessings, that the place where Moses was is exactly where I need to be. Scripture shows over and over that God uses nobodies, failures, and yes, even the guy who says I can't to pull off His biggest show-stoppers. When I am crying out I can't, God is crying out But I can!

Lord, I need You to pull off the impossible. I need You to lead the way, to blaze the trail ahead, especially since I have little to know idea where I am going. You know, and You can see the way! Praise You LORD that You are absolutely marvelous. The ministry You have prepared for me here is Yours and not mine. Take it as Your own. Praise You most almighty God. I believe You for who You are and what You are about to do. Amen.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

What's Next?

So a new life begins. Not really a new life, I don't suppose, but a new path on the pre-existing life. It still feels a little strange not to be starting classes tomorrow with everyone else at ACU. Maybe it is finally sinking in that I have graduated and I am moving on to the next leg in the race.

I know that many of you who will read this do not know what I am going to be doing at PUMP (Portland Urban Ministry Project now that we are post summer program. So let me do a little bit of catch-up for all of you.

I am developing a year-long internship program for PUMP. (The program is yet to be titled.) If you are familiar with Mission Year developed by Bart Campolo, this program has been modeled on it. Over the next twelve months, I will be working closely with ACU, OCU, and Pepperdine to develop and recruit for the program. Our first group of interns will begin their year of service in August of 2005. Interns will live and work in urban Portland volunteering their knowledge, service, and time at several neighborhood agencies and schools, as well as, working with PUMP ministries. We will be targeting those who have just graduated from college as interns, seeking individuals who have a desire to serve God and who are in a key transition point of their lives. We want to see our interns grow into intimate relationships with Christ as they learn to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with their God (Micah 6:8) in the midst of an urban environment.

The benefits to PUMP and the PUMP neighborhood will be immense, giving relief to an overworked staff and church body. We hope that the program will grow over the years to follow, and we will be blessed with satellite sites in other cities and the involvement of more universities and other organizations.

If you have any questions or would like to know more, please let me know. I would love to tell you more about the program and the vision for it.