30 November 2005

C.S. Lewis: Alive and Well

As is most of the Western World--I've been going back and re-reading several works belonging to one of the great Christian minds: C.S. Lewis.

Remembering how he captured my imagination the first time I read about the mystical world of Narnia. Or how he absolutely nailed me in Screwtape Letters. His comments on sex, evil, suffering, and ethics surface in my life in some of the strangest moments. Or how in Until We Have Faces I began to understand (albeit for the first time) a true picture of transformation.

A recent experience as a pastor reminded me of these famous words, "There are two errors which are race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an unhealthy and excessive interest in them." I know plenty of people in both ditches; some who have made an awful amount of money; some who look eerily similar to my own reflection.

In a recent article, the step-son of Jack (as his friends called him) Lewis recounted a story of C.S. and J.R.R. Tolkien. Apparently, Tolkien and Lewis were walking when approached by a man asking for money. Lewis obliged the man and gave him the requested funds. After the man walked away, Tolkien commented, "Jack, don't you know he'll spend that on liquor." To which Jack commented, "I'd probably do the same."

C.S. Lewis will continue to live in the words and teachings of Christians because he understood the essential paradox of faith. Though reason, proof, and intellect are crucial to the human experience, they cannot replace faith, imagination, and hope.

23 November 2005



NPR ran a piece last night that is a testimony to God's spirit at work in the world. As I've written about before, Brian and Lisa Cain (founding directors of God's Helping Hands) are part of the Rochester Church family. When they were down and out, the shepards of this church stepped in and paid their mortgage. Overcome with relief, joy, and sheer gratitude--in addition to the sickness and eventual death of their son Kevin--the Cain's were broken by the things that break the heart of God.

God's Helping Hands is primarily supported by the Rochester Church in addition to help from local congregations. Many are just now showing interest--the future looks bright for this ministry.

On Saturday, GHH helped over 200 families (800 people). 140 disciples of Jesus volunteered to spend the majority of their Saturday engaged in this great work.

Today and this week I'm grateful to be a part of a group of people who are committed to becoming transformed, as each day passes, into the image of Jesus.

I had the priveledge of interviewing many of the individuals and families who are supported by God's Helping Hands. Many single mothers (young and old) told stories of pain and sheer tragedy. When asked, "What would you say to those Christians who financially support this ministry," many of the people cried in thanksgiving. To think that our crumbs are an overwhelming gift to these people is something I can't quiet get over.

16 November 2005

We Were Made for Such More

This is from Patrick's blog (Senior Minister at the church I work for)

Invisible Children

Go to invisiblechildren.com and watch the trailer. Then order the DVD. For $20 they'll send you two of them. Watch the hour or so movie and it will change your life, if you have a heart and are paying attention. The Rochester Church has is dedicating one Wednesday night to it and many of our small groups are gathering with their neighbors to watch it. What is it?

A few young men, indistinguishable from the average sloucher or slacker you might shrug past in the mall, decided to go to Africa and film what they found there. They stumbled into the middle of child soldiers, abductions, extreme poverty, displacement, and horror upon horror. He found the Acholi people of southern Sudan who fled into Northern Uganda to escape the genocide there only to be set upon by a weird cult called the Lord's Resistance Army (look it up on Wikipedia).

For 17 years this has been going on and governments are doing nothing. So these kids are doing something. They are, first, getting peoples' attention and prayers. Second, they are dreaming big; funding a huge safe village for the children who are fleeing the terror of their lives. They are doing it one DVD at a time, one T shirt at a time, and one remembrance bracelet at a time.

Do this for me for Christmas: no presents, no cards... just watch the video, gather friends and watch it again. Sell cookies to your fellow workers or students and get them to watch it. Gather members of your congregation and watch it. Write your senators and congressman and tell them to watch it.

Care about these children. They are the most beautiful children in the world and they need you. Invisiblechildren.com ...... now.......


We're attempting to host one or two showings at the Rochester Church in the next several months as part of the Invisible Children National Campaign. We're challenging everyone to get involved, to show the video to anyone and everyone who might be interested.

This movement is taking off like wildfire. We have missionaries in Uganda who are aware of these efforts as well as former missionaries--they are conveying the same sense of urgency and need.

03 November 2005

I Just Kept Running...26.2

I've had time to process my first marathon from a few weeks back. This is straying a bit from my normal subject lines but might be appropriate for some. Here are "lessons learned" from training and running a marathon.

1. The training is more rewarding than the actual event.

2. All shapes and sizes run and finish 26.2. Don't judge a book by its cover. I got waxed by some men and women who didn't look like they grew up in West Africa in the mountains.

3. Those on the sidelines are either the greatest encouragement or extremely annoying.

4. Parts of Detroit are incredible. Parts are discouraging.

5. I found out my wife really does admire me and she's a constant encouragement. She had much for confidence in me than I did in myself.

6. My running coach and mentor, Andy Harrison, apprenticed me. He taught me how to train and prepare BECAUSE he himself had been there. One cannot take another person to a place they have never been themselves.

7. On the course, women would encourage folks with words...men encouraged with their presence. Women offered advice. Men would ask "what's your pace time?" You can run with me." And that's the extent of the conversation.