Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Stars in the sky

Here in the city it is often hard to see the stars in the sky.  They are often few and far between, but when you step away from the light pollution and into an area where there are no artificial lights, the stars shine brightly in the sky.  You can see millions of them hanging in the deep darkness of space.  In the mountains or on the beach you can lay down and watch the night sky for hours at a time and still can't count them all.  There are so many of them that you never have to look at the same one twice. If you watch long enough, you may even see a shooting star melt across the sky.

Watching the stars has always been something I love to do.  When I go camping I always find a place where I can lay and watch the stars for awhile.  One time I even found a place next to river with rapids beating against the rocks and the stars spinning in the the sky.  It was one of my most calming moments in my life.  I can still remember falling asleep on that rock so thankful for the experience and in awe of God's creation.

Another time I had a great experience was on my own drive way in Fuquay.  The Youth Leadership team came to my house for a retreat and as part of it we took a trash can and burned pieces of paper on which we wrote things we wanted to lift to God.  As we laid there, a shooting star shot across the sky right after we had sent up our prayer.  It was an amazing experience and again made me awe at the glory that is our Lord and savior.

Two other times were at our girl's retreats.  Kirstin, Sarah and I would go out on Saturday night and lay on the small deck that was part of the walkway to the beach.  We would look up into the sky and watch the stars appear and shimmer in the moon light.  It was a time of thought and conversation.  We discussed many things on that deck and I remember vividly those conversations.

Today I went to a funeral.  One of the things that was discussed at this funeral is how the lady who died pictured heaven.  She recently had gotten some pictures from the Hubble telescope and was looking at the magnificent stars and galaxies.  She stated how magnificent they were and that they were touched by the hand of God just as we have been.  We were both molded by his hand.  The front of the bulletin had a picture from the telescope and it was filled with stars and glorious colors.  Up in the left hand corner next to a big star was written: I am here.  This is where she has gone too, to be with God.

Up in the heavens where she will shine down on us all.  Up in the heavens where God shines down on us all!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Green Screen

My most recent addition to my video production knowledge is the use of the green screen.  A green screen is often used in movies that have cgi (computer generated imagery) effects or other images into the background of a movie.  You have the actors act out their parts in front of a totally green screen.  Then you take that film, add some filters, and put either another film or cgi graphic behind it and thanks to the filters which make the green see through, you see the two images together.

It is really neat.  I had no idea I could actually do it.  I was watching the making of a movie that used a lot of graphics and cgi and I saw how they used the green screen.  I got online and looked up my video editing program and I saw how I could do it.  After purchasing a green sheet (which is not green enough)  I started to mess with it.  It is pretty cool how it works but I definitely need a darker green sheet. 

In the movies they have to use these things to create images and places that don't exist.  In order to create other worlds or landscapes, they use the green screen.  It helps people in the movies visit places they would never be able to visit or go to other wise.  It allows us to use our imagination and sometimes because the cgi is so good now a days, it looks like it is real life.

I think that is great for the movies, but we need to live our lives.  We need to go out and see things in real life, visit places we want to visit and not Just see them on TV or the movies.  Too often I think we spend time watching movies and TV and we don't spend enough time experience God's creation.  We have to play video games or make sure we see our favorite shows or movies and we miss out on experiencing life. 

I love the movies and I love sports on TV but I would rather be playing basketball or another sport than watching it.  I would rather be at the beach than watch people at the beach.  Life is an amazing thing that God gave us.  He also gave people the amazing talent to make these shows and movies, but he also created this world or us to visit and explore.  Our God is an awesome God, and the world is his green screen!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Without You

Today was a long day.  I spent 13 hours at church.  I was there from 7:30 am to 8:30 pm.  It was such a long day but very productive.  Part of my day was spent shooting video for the upcoming retreat.  This retreat will be awesome! Everyone did a great job, but I really like working with Alex, Sarah, Danielle, and Selena on our Without You video.

After spending about 30 minutes working out what we were going to do for the video, the girls did an amazing job with their scenes and did exactly what they wanted to do.  I couldn't be happier with the end product.  They each participated and made it a lot of fun but it was still very spiritual at the same time.  It is fun when you can take a modern day pop culture song and without changing any of it, make it into a Christian song for a youth retreat.

Each of the girls have their own style and range in age from 10th grade to 6th grade.  They each listen to different music, watch different TV shows, enjoy different sports and activities, but they all have one thing in common, they are all Christians and love our youth group enough to spend part of their Sunday afternoon helping me film stuff for our retreat. 

On top of everything they did today, Danielle has volunteered to edit the video for me.  She is amazing with that stuff and I am truly blessed to have her helping me do things!  Thank you Danielle :) 

I think about it sometimes and I wonder if I would of done the things my youth do for me.  Would I have given up my Sunday afternoon to make a video that would be seen by the whole youth group at a retreat?  Would then spend the rest of afternoon hanging out at the church until youth group?  Would I have dedicated all the time and energy that I ask them to dedicate to things we do whether mission work or things for the youth program?

I would hope I would but my honest answer is probably no.  That is what is so awesome about our kids.  They do so much and are such a big part of the program.  I know that I do what I do for them, but the honest truth is that I couldn't do it without them.  So thank you girls for all your help, I couldn't do it without you!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Original Survivors

When the TV show Survivor first came out I absolutely loved it.  I watched it every week wondering what was going to happen next and who was going to deceive who.  I wanted to be on the show and survive on the land while trying my best to survivor not only the environment but the people as well.  The show has gone on for many years since then.  Each year new contestants take their turn to try and survive the show.  There are much more devious people that are worried about who to have as allies instead of worrying about playing the game.  Still can you imagine having to live on the island or in the isolated jungles and deserts they put them in?  They have to learn to survive but only for a month or so.  What if you had to do it for 40 years?  That is why I think that the Israelites and Moses were the original survivors.

After having escaped Pharaoh's army, they are thrust into the desert to try and find the promised land.  This is a short trip in fact it only takes 40 years.  So why they wonder the desert, they have to survive on their own.  This is a task because their game didn't involve voting each other off or winning games or immunity or food, their game was based on pure survival.  This also was not a contest of 20 people, there were millions of Israelites roaming the desert.  They had to stay together and try to survive.

The thing is they never would of been in this situation if they had listened to God in the first place.  Even after everything that Moses showed them and provided for them, they still did not believe.  This is true of the current version of the game Survivor.  They contestants don't believe in each other, they are lying, scamming, and plotting their way to victory.  If the Israelites had only listen to Moses, they would of been in the promised land way before they actually made it.  They had strong leadership from Moses and God, but they still need up wandering the desert for 40 years. 

Through out their years in the desert, they became desperate for food and water.  God provides these for them just like the producers of the TV show do whenever the contestants win a challenge or immunity from the vote.  Unfortunately for the Israelites, they don't pay attention to the rules and their food went bad.  They could of had it for as long as they needed it but they didn't pay attention or listen to directions.

Unfortunately I think this happens a lot when it comes to survivor.  In order to survive, people forget about rules and helping each other.  They are worried about themselves and lose track of the true mean of community and love thy neighbor.  So we should be glad that the TV show is only a TV show and that we don't have to try to survive in the desert for 40 years, because who knows how we would act or what we would do if faced with surviving. 

Friday, January 6, 2012

Lost Love

Yesterday a gentleman at my church lost his wife.  They are both in their 80s and have strong beliefs.  She has been battling cancer for awhile now but on Thursday around noon, she went to be with God.  Although I did not know her very well, Ken is an amazing man.  At 85 years old (I think that old) he runs up and down the basketball court with us. He out hustles and beats most of us.  He is in top shape and amazing athlete.  He has competed in the senior Olympics for the past couple of years with his 3 on 3 basketball team.  I only hope to be close to how in shape and healthy he is.

His faith is amazing.  I have never seen someone so grounded in his faith.  When I read emails from him telling me about his wife's condition he never falter from giving God the glory.  He loves her so much.  You can tell by what he says about her and the look in his eyes when he is talking about her.  It is nice to see a couple that is so in love and caring of each other, but it must be so hard to watch someone pass away that you love so dearly.  To see it coming too must make it even harder.

There love and her passing are such a true testament of faith.  If we could all have that faith that we give God the glory until our last breathe here on this earthly plain. That is truly what it is all about and they both were so blessed that they had that and shared it with one another.  Faith is so important and vital part of life.  I feel sadden by the fact that there are people in this world that do not  have a strong faith.

My faith is strong I believe but it can always be stronger.  We all can strengthen our faith as we work through our lives.  Next weekend, our youth group will be having our all youth retreat.  It is a lot of fun and our topic this year is The Game of LIFE:  Living In Faith Everyday.  We are going to talk a lot about each other's faith and hopefully grow in our faith as well.  I love these retreat because I get to spend time with my youth and watch them grow at the same time.  It will be amazing.

So I challenge you this week to take a look at your faith.  To grow in it, to praise God for what he has given you and who he has put in your life.  I challenge you to love your neighbor and forgive your enemy.  Allow God to take over and trust and believe in him.  If we are lucky, we will have the same relationship with God that Ken and JoAnn have with him.  All my love you both and Ken we are all here if and when you need us.  Thank you for every joyful moment you have brought to my life and the love that you show the youth of our church.  God bless you!

P.S. Everyone: I'm BACK!