Wednesday, January 31, 2007


Dude Group

This morning our bible study group, which I aptly renamed Dude Group, decided to open up and share a little. Awkward but very good. Basically, we went around in a big circle and shared how we had been encouraged by each other over the past three weeks. If you know me at all, then you know that I am completely uncomfortable with people saying nice things about me, especially to my face. One person said something that almost made me cry. It was the most encouraging thing anybody has ever said to me. In fact, I almost cried. But then I remembered I was in Dude Group, and that I don't cry, so I choked back the tears for another day.

It's amazing how relationships can form in just a few weeks. I'm really going to miss quite a few of the people here at MTI, and hope to visit some of them while overseas.

In about a half hour I go in for my personal advising time. These times have been so productive for me and have made me appreciate the training I'm getting a bit more than I usually would. This is because I really enjoy talking one on one with Robin, one of our teachers. He is solid and has kept much of my usual criticism to a minimal level. When I think that something we are learning or doing is a little fruity, I know that he doesn't have any theological fruitiness in him and that he won't teach those things. He's cool.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

MTI Tournament of Champions

Match one of the MTI Table Tennis Tournament of Champions: Mike vs. Nick. I won. I'm only worried about one guy named Jeff because he played tennis in college.

In other news, things are going pretty well here, but it is hard to believe that I only have two and a half more days here with my new friends. We have decided to make the most of our time together by going to Cold Stone again. It is a proven fact that ice cream is a catalyst to quality fellowship, just in case you didn't know. I think it's written somewhere in the Old Testament, but I couldn't tell you where, I don't read because it's not for this dispensation. Just kidding--I do read the Old Testament, and I'm not a Dispensationalist, but I do eat ice cream.

Here is a little something to chew on while you pine for another mind-blowing post on my blog. It's called Date to Save . Flirt to Convert!!

Sunday, January 28, 2007


My first emergent experience went alright, in that I didn't have a massive coronary. The church met in an old movie theater, much like the Scala Gemeinde in Magdeburg, and we sang a lot of crappy songs written by the worship leader. Some of the lyrics were so poor that I couldn't even sing along in good conscience. Very me centered, very...well, emergent, whatever that means. I am not too keen on the whole Emerging Church movement, but one book i absolutely want to read is, "A Generous Orthodoxy" by Brian Mclaren. I want my critiques to be well informed from a primary source, not simply relying on another's judgment. Anyway, I'm going to bed soon.

I'm Emerging

This morning I'm going to an Emerging Church in Colorado Springs. It's called Vanguard Church and I'm really looking forward to experiencing the service. MTI wants us to attend a church outside of our comfort zone, which in itself is outside of my comfort zone because I take church very seriously.

Here is a Spurgeon quote I read this morning:

"Remember, sinner, it is not thy hold of Christ that saves thee--it is Christ; it is not thy joy in Christ that saves thee--it is Christ; it is not even faith in Christ, though that is the instrument--it is Christ's blood and merits; therefore, look not to thy hope, but to Christ, the source of thy hope; look not to thy faith, but to Christ, the author and finisher of thy faith; and if thou doest that, ten thousand devils cannot throw thee down.... There is one thing which we all of us too much becloud in our preaching, though I believe we do it very unintentionally--namely, the great tuth that it is not prayer, it is not faith, it not our doings, it is not our feelings upon which we must rest, but upon Christ, and on Christ alone. We are apt to think that we are not in a right state, that we do not feel enough, instead of remembering that our business is not with self, but Christ. Let me beseech thee, look only to Christ; never expect deliverance from self, from ministers, or from any means of any kind apart from Christ; keep thine eye simply on Him; let His death, His agonies, His groans, His sufferings, His merits, His glories, His intercession, be fresh upon thy mind; when thou wakest in the morning look for Him; when thou liest down at night look for Him."

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Hard Questions and a Heavy Chest

Last night I was a bit restless. My prayer time here at MTI has been great, but I haven't had much time to settle down and read a lot. So, I got up early, went to Starbucks, and read for a little over an hour. It was exactly what I needed. I happened to read Psalm 84 and started to meditate on my sin and need for repentance. We constantly need reminders from scripture, the Holy Spirit, and other believers, encouraging us to keep on keepin' on. I need to continuously fight to say with the Psalmist, "I would rather spend a day in the courts of my God than spend a thousand dwelling in the tents of wickedness" (paraphrase). To be reminded that the time past was enough for me to tolerate and enjoy sin (1 Peter), and that I need to focus on the eternal, not the temporal. I seriously can't describe how satisfying my time was.

One other question that came up this morning was about what my reaction would be to crime. I don't doubt that if I were attacked when alone, or with other men, I wouldn't fight back with violence. I might resist, but not with the goal of hurting my attacker. But what would I do if I were with a woman? My instinct would be to defend her by whatever means necessary. But is that right? Is it a lack of trust in God's protection? Does it shame Christ to protect the helpless? I honestly don't know. This question has crossed my mind countless times, yet remains unresolved, and will probably stay that way. But right now I will defend whoever I am with, because I would rather bear the shame of my sin than see another person suffer because of my inaction.

It was interesting that this question came to mind, because when I returned we did a hostage simulation. Long story short, I gave myself up for execution, along with the other young single in the group. I was amazed at the different ideas as to who should volunteer first. In my mind it was out of the question to let any of the married men or women die first. This brought tension to our group as we argued over who would die, but I wouldn't have allowed it to go down any other way. Darin wouldn't have either. I look forward to processing the whole situation a bit more and talking with David, Jamie, and Molly about it.

Needless to say, all of this is pretty stressful to experience and think about, and it has left an immense heaviness in my chest. I am haunted by the fear that my life has been wasted on selfish pursuits. Please pray for me about all these issues.

Speaking of the team, here is a picture. They are awesome and I can't wait to start ministering with them overseas.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

MTI Day 2

So I didn't get back to the compound until 3:30am yesterday--it made for a long day. We did a basic overview of the SLICE course today, but I was really tired and still a little bored. I'm always a bit critical about stuff like this, but I'm doing my best to remain optimistic. And I do think that in the end this will definitely help me when I get overseas.

I'm helping lead worship, and after our "practice, I talked with Darin Dunn for a long time. He is heading to Thailand in the very near future and loves music and home studio recording as much as I do. He has a lot of cool pictures on his website, but you can also check out some of his music on his MySpace page.

I read through a few of my past posts and decided that I should edit a little better. I hate having errors on here. I suppose I should stop writing so late at night when I'm tired adn I cant' read good.

Monday, January 15, 2007

MTI Day 1

Here is a one word summary for my first day at Mission Training International: boring. Alright, only the orientation part was boring, the rest was fun...especially dinner. I like food. I'm interested to see what I will be doing for the next three weeks because, honestly, I don't know. Maybe I will be forced to play "get to know yourself", or, "hug your neighbor." I really hope not. I'm definitely not a hugger.

Right now I'm waiting to pick up some people from the airport. Apparently, the weather isn't too great in both Chicago and Dallas, because both flights have been delayed. But, as David texted me, "Derek Webb helps pass time." Indeed. At least they will still be coming close to the same time, so one won't have to wait a long time for the other. Wait, that's not true. I just got a call from the girl in Dallas saying something is wrong with the brakes on her plane. What do they need brakes for, they'll be flying, right?

This would make a killer movie. Let me set the scene for you. Dallas, TX, normally a mild climate this time of year, is hit with a freak ice storm, shutting down all methods of travel. Finally, one plane is ready to leave but...the brakes are frozen. That's right it's "Brakes on a Plane." Coming soon to a theater near you.

I might try to take a quick nap before I leave. I'll update you all soon enough.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Date Safer, Date Smarter

Every time I log out of MySpace it takes me to one of two pages. One is about finding high school classmates, and says something like, "I can't believe she's a model", and has a picture of a girl with huge glasses and some unflattering sweater on. The other is an ad for a dating service. There are quite a few variations, but today the title was "Date Safer, Date Smarter." Below that it had a picture of an uberhandsome dude and another interesting phrase--"we screen for marrieds and felons." It just caught my eye, that's all, but I'll keep that in mind when I start my dating service. Apparently, people don't want to date marrieds and I felons. I understand the marrieds, but felons need the type of meaningful relationships that dating websites offer too, right?

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Good Fortune

So quite a bit has happened since I last posted. Okay, maybe only Christmas and New Year's Day (and a week or so in between), but I guess that's a lot. Anyway, Christmas was fun. Most of my new step-family was here in town, and we had an enjoyable couple of days. Plus, I got a KT Tunstall cd, some castanets, and a twenty questions ball. Everything you need to survive. Many of my best friends were back in town visiting too, which I love. I can't think of a more enjoyable way to spend my time.

After Christmas I had to start looking forward to New Year's, and preparing for the "Snowy Range Evangelical Free Church No-Talent Talent Show" that would take place on the eve of 2007. Honestly, I was a bit apprehensive going into it. Why, you ask? Let's just say I was playing in an instrumental trio where I was kind of the lead instrument, but we didn't have any singing to cover up my lack of musicianshipness. Oh yeah, and we were playing three songs that have words--Smells Like Teen Spirit, Tainted Love, and Jesus Loves Me (faux jazz version). It turned out to be a lot of fun though. I also got to play a couple of my own songs with djembe accompaniment courtesy of Andy Smith. He did a great job following me even though he had only heard the songs once before (during sound check) and I have a tendency to get nervous and forget how to count to 4. Thank you, Andy.

So, in the last week I have really been trying to focus on support raising, but it has been hard to get in touch with people. On top of that is the looming fear that my mission agency might not let me go to training because I'm so far behind. I still need around $900 dollars per month to get up to 100%. Pray that God will provide miraculously, that's what I'm doing.

But, it seems that things may be taking a turn for the better. Tonight, my step-sister Leslie and her fiance (I hate that word) came over to watch the Cowboys-Seahawks game and brought Chinese food. Obviously, free food is good enough for me, but that wasn't the only blessing tonight. On top of that, the Cowboys lost (by a point), and I got a sweet fortune. It wasn't really a fortune, so much as an affirmation of something I had already suspected was true. It said, "Others look up to you." Hmm. Thank you New Mandarin Chinese restaurant for that little attestation of agreement. I've always suspected that was the case, but now I can be a bit more certain. So, if you see me tomorrow, I'm sure you will notice a new air of confidence, a fresh spring in my step, and that I am exuding a hundred percent pure leadership. Don't try to fight it. The fortune cookie said so.