Thursday, June 16, 2016

The World Needs a Superhero...

Not one who wears tights or spandex.
Not one that hides behind a suit made of iron.
Not one who can fly.
Not one who can shrink down to the size of an ant.
Not one who is green or blue.
Not one with a superiority complex.
Not one with rage or anger in their heart.
Not one who bought their powers and abilities.
Not one that has an origin story based on being exposed to chemicals or bitten by a spider.
Not one who carries a hammer, a sword, or a shield.
Not one who fights their enemies with violence.
Not one who hurts others while accomplishing their goals.
Not one who is handsome or beautiful.
Not one who has bulging muscles.
Not one with super strength or super speed.
Not one who can breath under water.
Not one who can regenerate when they get hurt.
Not one with god like abilities.

But one who teaches and preaches unconditional, relentless, unyielding love.
But one who doesn't need a flashy costume.
But one who performs miracles and saves people.
But one who tells us to love our neighbors as ourselves.
But one who says do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
But one who walks on water to calm the seas.
But one who heals the sick, feeds the poor, and forgives the unforgiveable.
But one who is a teacher, a preacher, a friend, a savior.
But one who puts on the full armor of God.
But one who casts out the demons that lie within our hearts.
But one who leads us like a shepherd leads his flock.
But one who is the alpha and the omega.
But one who gave his lives for all of the sins of the world.  No matter what they are, what you have done, or who you are.
But one who is the light of world.
But one who is our savior.
But one who shed his blood and had his body broken so that we can live in the world today.
But one who never gives up on you, never surrenders hope, who needs and wants you.

This world doesn't need another imaginary superhero. 

This world needs Jesus.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Out of the shadows...

One of the most rewarding parts of working with youth is watching them grow up and turn from the shy kids they are when they first enter youth group to these amazing young adults who graduate with a new found confidence.  I like to think all the work that we do over the 7 years they are in youth group is a vital part of that growth.

Last night Coleen and I went to Margaret's dance recital for the second year in a row.  I love to watch our kids on stage, at sporting events, singing, heck just sitting and chatting on the youth hallway.  Margaret's first dance last night was with a group that represented Peter Pan's shadow.  They came bouncing out of the shadows on to the stage.  Margaret was first in line and when she crossed the stage I couldn't take my eyes off her.  I watched as she hit all of her moves with precision and strength.  She floated across the stage into each position she needed for her next move.  Margaret was amazing and it was a honor just to be there.  I saw so much growth in her dancing just from one year to the next. 

She definitely came out of the shadows between dance recitals this past year but that is not the only way that I have seen her step into the light.  Margaret has grown so much in her self confidence.  There were so many times this year where she stepped up and put herself out there.  She recorded herself doing a dance for our Girl's retreat about expressing yourself.  This was a major thing because talk about putting yourself out there.  I definitely couldn't of done that.  She took on a role in a skit for our Dinner and a Show where she was loud, flamboyant, and funny.  She has accepted the role of Co Youth Group President next year as a part of the youth leadership team. 

In all these ways Margaret has shown me that she does not belong in the shadows.  She is a confident, beautiful, talented girl with so much potential.  I am excited to be along for the ride as we continue to watch her grow.  By the time she is a senior in High School she will be ready to take on the world. 

Thank you Margaret for all the amazing things you have done and will do.  May you always remember that you can accomplish anything you put your heart, mind, and soul into.  Through Christ Jesus we can do all things that strengthen us.

Thanks for reminding me of that!

All my love!!!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Copy That...

I have always found that writing is when I feel the closest to God.  Sharing my thoughts and feelings often makes me feel wrapped up in his love.  I feel that today more than ever I need to be wrapped up in his love.

Yesterday a very good friend on mine, Bill Zeiss, peacefully passed away from the after affects of an accident.  Bill was an amazing man with a loving servant's heart. He was loving, colorful, and full of life but in a very silent, mellow, but passionate way.  He was a Christ centered man who was very mission oriented.  He was the center of almost all of the food related ministries of the church.  He also was the go to guy for anything that was sound related . Everything that we did here at church Bill had a hand in.  I would always run into him here working on something. 

I feel that he best thing for me to do is to share a few of the most impactful moments that Bill Zeiss has had on my life.

Bill and Tracy have an amazing daughter named Sophie.  She is a beautiful, loving, Christ centered leader in our youth group.  I have been blessed to have Sophie in youth group since she was in 6th grade.  After a couple of years in the youth group Bill popped into my office one day and sat down on the couch.  He told me that he just wanted to stop by and thank me for all the work that I did with the youth of St. Mark's.  He told me that he was so grateful that Sophie had someone to come to if she needed another adult. He said that he was just so thankful for not only me being there for Sophie but for me being a great friend to him too.

My wife Coleen and I got married last October in Blacksburg, Va.  During the reception Bill came up to me and gave me a huge hug, kissed me on the cheek and told me how happy he was for me.  He told me how excited he was and how Coleen and I were perfect for each other. I know that he did the same thing to Coleen. He was so excited for us and we felt so blessed that he and Tracy were there.

I am an avid model railroader and I just recently put up a train layout at the house.  Bill told me a couple of times about these train cars he had kept from a shoot he did.  He told me that one day he was going to put up a layout. A couple of weeks ago Bill walked into my office and told me that he wanted me to have the train cars.  He said he would never put together a layout but he knew I would enjoy them and he wanted me to have them.

The Durham Bulls have some games on their schedule that they play at 11 am.  Wes always organizes a group we call the "day gamers" to go to the games.  Coleen would always ask me who is going and I would say, Wes, Ted, myself, and Billy Z.  Billy and I loved to talk baseball.  He would either be sitting next to me scoring the game or sitting with a big plate of nachos. I of course would have a hotdog or two and we would sit for three hours and talk baseball.

Coleen and I didn't go on our Honeymoon until May of this year.  The day before we were supposed to leave Bill came into my office and handed me an envelope.  He said they had taken up a love offering for us for our trip.  He game me a huge hug and told me to have fun and that he "hoped it would go big."

The last time I saw Bill we were having a covenant group breakfast at Briggs restaurant.  Pete was telling us all how his wife Emily had been talking to the Grandparents of one of our youth and how they had told her that our youth group is the best thing that has ever happened to their grandson and that they didn't know where he would be without it.  Bill didn't say anything, he just reached his fist across the table and gave me a fist bump. I knew immediately he was saying that's what I'm talking about.

There were two things that Bill always said to me.  Whenever we were about to have an event and I would be telling him about it, he would always end our conversation with "I hope it goes big."

Whenever I would ask for his help with something sound or food related after I would get done telling him what I needed, he would always say "copy that!" 

I am really going to miss Bill. He was an amazing man with a servant's heart, a loving spirit, and a love of life.  He was an amazing father, a devoted and loving husband, and the best friend that any of us could of asked for. 

He was always looking to catch that next wave of life so that he could ride it and see where it led him.  There wasn't a restaurant in the world he wouldn't try but at the same time he would of never let another person go hungry if he could help it. 

Thank you Bill for everything and all the impacts you have had on my life.  I will never forget the amazing man you were and the beautiful soul you had that filled all of our lives.  I know what you would say to us about what we are supposed to do now.  You would say "I hope it goes big."

So I say "Copy that..."