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Snow balls, fist fights, and Rocky IV

As a kid growing up I had the pleasure of walking to school. This isn’t one of those "I walked 15 miles uphill both ways" type of stories, but truthfully it was about a mile for me to walk to school. For the most part, I have happy and uneventful memories of walking to school. A lot of games, mischief, throwing things into the St. Joseph River and avoiding the supposed bullies. I doubt anyone was ever bullied seriously, but we all feared it and kept our heads on swivels looking for them.

One day, I went to school when I probably shouldn’t have. My mom was a real stickler for going to school no matter what. In all reality, being a single mother and having a sick kid often meant that she would have to take a day off. That kind of thing was not appreciated by her employer, so we were basically forced to go to school unless we were deathly ill. All day long I had made it through school, head pounding and snotty nose, all with the hopes that I’d be able to uneventfully go home and sleep.

Well, during the day we collected quite a bit of snow. For northern Indiana that isn’t all that unusual for the time of year. When this happens and they need to clear the streets quickly, the street department would often stack the snow up to huge piles on side streets and sometime later they’d come back and load the snow into dump trucks to be taken somewhere else. As a kid, you loved to see these "mountains" of snow… Especially on the way home from school.

But today, this was not a welcome sight. Between the joy of everyone else and the cold that was clamping me down, I just wanted to get home as quickly as possible. When we reached the big mountain of snow on the corner of Madison and Michigan, all of my friends quickly scurried to the top to play king of the hill and throw chunks of snow at each other. My main interest was to get home, so I started to bypass the malay and cross the street. Just as the crossing guard allowed us all to cross the road I felt a huge chunk of slushy snow land on top of my head. I looked back and heard my old buddy Steve giggling away and high fiving Corey, another walking mate. I yelled at him, "I don’t feel good, leave me alone!" And started pouting across the street and walking even faster. The truth is, I was embarrassed that I had gotten thumped so good when I wasn’t paying attention. That embarrassment welled up with the frustration of the day and a seed of anger overcame me. Combine that with not feeling well and I did what any 4th grade boy would do… I started to cry.

I got about a half a block before Steve and Corey caught up to me. Corey said, "Hey, what’s the matter?" And I shrugged him off and kept walking. Steve said "Come on, I was only messing around!" As soon as he touched me I turned toward him and let him have it. Wham! I blasted him right to the eye and he fell down. It wasn’t much of a fight since he didn’t know one was coming. On top of that, since I hit him so suddenly and knocked him over, I was on top of him before he could really do anything about it. I’m sure that there were blows thrown on both sides but in my mind I only remember the horror of hitting my friend in the face with my thick winter gloves still in place.

Aboiut this time, Corey starts jumping around like a hyena and shouting, "Adam! Adam, it’s Steve’s dad! Adam!" That was the end of the fight. As soon as Steve’s dad was on the scene, we all kind of scattered out of shame. Steve and Corey got to ride home in Steve’s car, and I got to walk the rest of the way home all by myself. All night long I was at home dreading what would happen when my mom found out. I figured I was going to get in big trouble and it was only a matter of time before Steve’s parents called and talked to my mom… who would certainly smite me for life! So, each time the phone rang that night I wondered if that would be the call I had dreaded. It never happened. They never called.

The next day, it seemed like everyone knew what had happened. By the time I got to school a bunch of people had told me that I was going to get in trouble and that Steve’s dad would beat me up. I never got in trouble, nor did Steve’s dad beat me up as promised. But I was scared.

Towards the end of the day as I was at my locker, Steve walked up to me. It was one of those moments you see on a TV show. As he walked up to me the whole hallway got quiet. No one knew if there was going to be another fight or if something else was going to happen. My heart was about to leap right out from my shirt! He looked at me and said, "Umm… Adam, my dad wants to know if you’d like to go see Rocky IV with us this weekend?" I just looked at him, not really understanding what he had said. I said "Um, OK." Then Steve told me that his dad would call my mom later that day to arrange everything.

This was one of the strangest things that ever happened to me. I don’t think that Steve’s family had ever really been nice to me before. Sure they had invited me insie like all the rest of the neighborhood kids, but this was something completely unexpected. I didn’t understand why they wanted their son to be around the kid who had given him a tremendous shiner. But I do remember this as being a huge lesson in forgiveness and grace. I deserved to be treated like a villain by that family, but instead they reached out to me and invited me in.

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onward and upward

Now that I am feeling better, my schedule is again coming back to full swing. Today is busy with preparations for the weekend services and a final premarital session with a couple that is getting married next week.

Friday morning, I will be helping out at the Romeo Junior Open. This is a junior golf event that should attract most of the best 11-18 year old golfers in Macomb county. That will be a lot of fun. Of course, next week we take off for West Virginia and our first LF rafting trip. When I get back on Wednesday night, it is a mad dash until Saturday. Thursday is actually pretty normal, but Friday there is the rehearsal for the wedding and Saturday of course is the ceremony. As soon as I can clear out of here Saturday I am on vacation! Yippee! We cannot wait to get past 7/3 and on the road to the cottage and Traverse City. We need a vacation now more than ever. All of us do.

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onward and upward

Now that I am feeling better, my schedule is again coming back to full swing. Today is busy with preparations for the weekend services and a final premarital session with a couple that is getting married next week.

Friday morning, I will be helping out at the Romeo Junior Open. This is a junior golf event that should attract most of the best 11-18 year old golfers in Macomb county. That will be a lot of fun. Of course, next week we take off for West Virginia and our first LF rafting trip. When I get back on Wednesday night, it is a mad dash until Saturday. Thursday is actually pretty normal, but Friday there is the rehearsal for the wedding and Saturday of course is the ceremony. As soon as I can clear out of here Saturday I am on vacation! Yippee! We cannot wait to get past 7/3 and on the road to the cottage and Traverse City. We need a vacation now more than ever. All of us do.

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What is Light Force?

Matthew 5:16

There’s a lot about a person in a name.

My dad used to say “at the end of the day, the only thing someone can’t take away from you, is your name. Sometimes it’s all you’ve got.”

You can lose your pride, but not pride in your name. You can lose your money, but you can’t sell your name. You can lose your health, but the name goes with you forever. When you lie, your name means liar. When you work hard, your name means hard worker. When you are honest, your name means honesty. Your name ca reflect you, and sometimes the other way around.

If I were to say “New York Yankees.” That name would mean something to you. If I were to say Detroit Tigers, that might mean something else to you. When I think of the Chicago Cubs, I certainly think about more than just the baseball club. I think of going to Wrigley with my dad as a kid. I think of WGN and Harry Carey. I think of the bleacher bums and Johnny Woo. I think of hot afternoons in the sun with Kristen, and I think of almost getting to the World Series in 84 and 03.

Have you ever heard a couple debate names for their baby? Each name means something and carries a negative or positive connotation.

So this summer, we’re starting off by talking about our name. We’ll be spending the whole summer looking at who we are and where we are going. Tonight we are taking a close look at our name, Light Force means something and it helps us see what we want to be doing as a group in now and in the future. As we look at it deeper I hope that you will not just see that name as a clever logo but as something that you will want to be a part of.

Pretty early on in Jesus’ ministry, sometime in the first year after Jesus turned water into wine; Jesus had finished calling his group of closest disciples and was starting to attract quite a following.

He had healed some people along the way in Galilee. He had driven out some demons and cured some diseases. With that, all kinds of people had a strong desire to be near him when he did this. Either they were bringing people to be healed or exorcized or they wanted to simply watch.

Along with that type of person, there was a large group of men and women who just followed him wherever he went. This was somewhere between 50-75 people who are his disciples. These aren’t The Twelve, but they are a group who is closely following him and learning from him regularly.

Anyway, Jesus goes up on a hill, and we can imagine that there would have been several hundred people… maybe more. And he begins to teach them.

We read about it in Matthew 5. He starts speaking to them, and we’ll pick it up in verse 14.

– You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden, neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.

o We are at a complete disadvantage with this analogy here.

o We live in a very technological time where we are surrounded by safety and electricity. Whenever we want light, it is there. There is nothing to fear in a dark night or even in a dark room.

o So, we can only imagine what it means to contrast dark and light… like when we go camping.

o When Jesus says “a city on a hill” we are also without comparison. [See picture] Where we live is very flat.

o We can imagine that we are in a city, and the city on the hill provides us with something to look at.

? It sticks out at night.

? It’s noticeable; you don’t have to think about it… it’s just there.

? It’s a reference point in navigation

? If you’re a shepherd, you look up the hill at it and daydream

? If you’re a foreigner approaching it, you wonder about it.

o Darkness isn’t just sin… it’s a world of fear and danger. If you’re in the dark, sometimes you find your way and things are as they seem, but sometimes they aren’t.

o If you are in darkness, you are lost and desperate and in danger.

o Some people say they like to be in the dark… but you can only enjoy the darkness when you know you have power to be in the light.

o When camping, you are drawn to the light… people are magnets for other people in the light or if they don’t have a flashlight, they want to be by and be near the person with the flashlight.

o Humans have very poor night vision, it leaves us completely vulnerable.

o But Jesus says we are light! He says we are light in the darkness.

? We are the reference point.

? We are noticeable

? We are safety

? We are not in danger… we are light.

o When Jesus calls us light

? The light he refers to is our relationship with Jesus.

? This “light” is the measure by which the world measures is “right and wrong.”

? Outsiders look towards us naturally, they don’t know what it is but they are sensing the Holy Spirit in us.

? They can’t help but ask “What is it about you?”

o “It” is the light.

o “It” is what Jesus says we should “let shine.”

o We can hide it, we can pretend we aren’t lights…. Like a flashlight we can just chose to not be light

o But Jesus tells us, Let it shine! IN THE DARKNESS of LIFE, LET IT SHINE!

So the first part of our name is directly from Jesus. We are light.

The second part is pretty simple.

We are a force to be reckoned with.

Let’s look at all the definitions for this word “force” and I’ll let you figure out which one applies to us.

1. The capacity to do work or cause damage.

2. The use of physical power or violence to compel or restrain.

3. Intellectual power or vigor, especially as conveyed in writing or speech.

4. A body of persons or other resources organized or available for a certain purpose.

5. Military strength.

– While there is a military sound to our name, Light Force, our name implies that we have strength and power and resolve and purpose.

– So, therefore we are a body of people organized under God and this church for a certain purpose….

– What’s the purpose?

o Light Force desires to Love God and Love Others by intentionally modeling a life devoted to becoming disciples of Jesus Christ.

– This is why we exist. This is who we are. This is the reason we are a force… we are united towards that vision.

– And in the coming weeks we’ll be taking a closer look at that statement, taking it apart and putting it back together to see further how we [you!] can be a part of this Light Force.

– This shedding of light in the darkness

– And being a force here in Romeo.

PRAY

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this is our chicago team with some children from ICI at Lincoln Park Zoo. Posted by Hello

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marching on

There are times for retreating and there are times for advancing. (If you’re in the military then you’ve heard that there are also times for waiting.) Well, these next few days are for advancing. I’ve got lots of work to do and it’s a pleasure to feel good enough to get back to work full swing. Tonight’s LF should be fun and exciting… so long as it doesn’t rain!

Tonight’s topic: What is Light Force? Part of our summer series about our vision for 2004-2005.

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lazy days of summer

For the last few days I haven’t felt like bogging. Not because I wasn’t full of self-worth or didn’t have ample amounts of worthless self-talk worth writing down, but mostly because I just got “in the funk.”

Avoidance is a thing I really wrestle with. If there’s something I don’t particularly want to do, even if it’s something I really like doing, I’ll sometimes just get in a funk of not wanting to do that thing. In the last week or so it has been blogging.

Another thing I’ve been avoiding is paying bills. Not in a “don’t have the money” kind of way, more likely it’s been all about just not wanting to sit down and do it. Generally speaking, I love to go every day and synch MS Money with the bank and reconcile all the spending and keep track of each penny and where it went and what bills are upcoming, etc. But lately, I’ve just been avoiding it. I clumped all the June bills together and waited until the last minute to send them off. I hate doing that. Some of them were even a day or two late. My estimated taxes were among the things just sent in the knick of time. I would hate for poor Uncle Sam to have to wait for his few dollars from the McLane’s. I’m sure he was worried that he wasn’t going to be able to pay his employees or if he was even going to keep the lights on the Statue of Liberty. But alas, it was post-marked before the 15th of June.

This avoidance thing is really just a mental game. I’ll be super consistent and “faithful” to something for a really long time, then I’ll just get into the game and not take care of something simple. Another one. Our license plates for the car. They expire at the end of the month and I will likely wait until the last possible day to take care of it. It’s irritating and fun at the same time. Oh, the games we play in our minds.

Well, that’s enough self-absorption for now.

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sore muscles

Yesterday golf tournament was a disaster. To put it nicely, I’ve never played so poorly. I can’t think of another time where I had a complete inability to make good shots happen. In all reality, I had several very good shots. Three times I put an approach shot within 5 feet of the hole for birdie. Each time I was unable to convert.

Along the same lines, I discovered much that I did wrong in “day of tournament” preparation. I tired myself out practicing. That was a no-no. I hydrated, but not enough. As the 6 hour round continued I felt worse and worse. It’s been since I was about 13 since I felt that poorly on the golf course. I was faint, tired, sweating and then not sweating. I had a pounding headache. These are all signs of heat stroke. It only got worse when I got home. I tried pounding down a serious amount of fluid and food. I didn’t feel any better, and only got worse, until about 11 PM. Yuck! My head was absolutely pounding. I kept ice on my head and neck most of the night to try to bring my body temperature down.

So this morning I feel a little better. Mostly, I am just sore. Everything hurts. It hurts to sit, it hurts to stand. It hurts to lay down, it hurts when I move and when I don’t move. I don’t think I’ll be back on the golf course for a few days.

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not into it

There are some time that you can’t keep me away from my office. I am always here. This is not that time.

I am not feeling “into work” just right now. For obvious reasons, my brain is kind of checked out elsewhere. Not home or on anything truly “important” but on my stupid golf game. I’m more than a little nervous about my adventure Tues-Wed at the public links sectional. I’m either going to play really well or really poorly.

On the bright side, I finally settled my mind on having one of last years freshmen carry my sticks. He will absolutely be perfect for it. He likes the course, he likes the idea of helping me out, and he just has a fun attitude. I will need that. Chances are, I’m going to post a big number and I’ll need someone around to keep me in check to stop from DQing myself or maybe even withdrawing.

A little more practice tonight and a quick 9 in the morning and I’ll be all ready. I’m just ready to get it on!

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updates

Well, I spent all of Wednesday night and early Thursday morning puking my guts out. It was one of my less glamorous moments. Apparently I ate something that didn’t agree with me. My guess would have to be a bad hamburger from my meeting Wednesday night. I started feeling sick as soon as I got home. I missed all day yesterday at work because of it too. Though I tried to come in, I didn’t last long. I was just too whipped.

Today, I had my practice round over at the Orchards. I’m more than a little POed that I had to pay full price. I like golf and all, but not at $80 a round. That sucks! Even worse, I’ve got the shanks. I’ve got about 24 hours to get it all worked out or else I’m going to withdraw from my tournament next week. I’m so nervous about it that I haven’t even arranged for a caddy yet. The way I was playing today I’d be ashamed to have someone forced to watch me play. Yuck!

We have an all nighter tonight. While I am down with spending time with students, I am not down with losing a nights sleep! We are expecting somewhere between 20-30 students tonight. So that is pretty tight. I’ll report back on the exact details. It’s sure to be fun once it all gets started. It’s the typical pre-event drag though.