I have been given the opportunity to speak to our congregation recently and have been working on a series of messages about the community of faith. In a nutshell, it's the importance of living out the Christian experience through relationships.
I was struck by how important this is when a friend and fellow youth worker was in a traumatic car accident lately. Kari Morris-Guzman is a youth pastor at our Redlands church and her husband Aaron was driving her around on a trip back to the Midwest when they were involved in a serious accident. Aaron drives off the road to avoid a pickup truck
that had stopped in front of them in the northbound lane. (The truck
was waiting for oncoming traffic to turn left.) The convertible dives
into a ditch and flips end over end, landing upside down. The impact
of the accident completely flattens the windshield of the car and
shatters Kari's 5 th Vertebra. Aaron is not seriously hurt.
A few minutes late, the police arrive, but are unable to free Kari or Aaron from under the vehicle until the paramedics arrive a couple minutes later.
One of the worst parts was that doctor's in Colby incorrectly tell Aaron that Kari's spinal cord has been severed. Can you imagine having to go through this and then to hear news like that? Thank God the news was wrong!
She is recovering more each day. Back to my original train of thought, one of the most exciting things that happenned out of this story was
a family from a local Free Methodist Church donates
the use of their house for Kari's family and friends and a Greenville
College alumna donates the use of her car. There is something about our faith when it comes to being worked out in relationships. For too long, the christian faith was just about believing the right things, not necessarily doing the right things.
If you want to read more about the story and progress that Kari is making, a blog has been set up: Kari's blog
More details can be found on her website, where everyone is encouraged to send email or make a donation:
After 3 years of living in the greatness that is Southern California, we FINALLY found a restaurant nearby that serves Texas style BBQ! We were taken to dinner by friends and were honestly skeptical at first, but this place was so good, it was definately as close as it gets to Texas BBQ without going to Texas--they even had brisket !
Part of our conversation that night was about the missing man and possible murder from a cruise ship. You can read the details here :Cruise Ship Murder . Basically, " no one has been charged, but Connecticut's top federal prosecutor said
Tuesday that the 26-year-old's disappearance is being aggressively
investigated and reports of blood on the ship raise concerns. The
comments are the first by a U.S. prosecutor on the case and the
strongest indication yet that officials suspect foul play.
The couple had been drinking and gambling at the ship's casino that
night, the prosecutor said. The next morning, he said, Hagel woke up
and went to the gym. Smith was reported missing after cleaners found
blood in their cabin. There was also blood on the balcony and a hand
print on the side of the ship, the prosecutor said, speaking on
condition of anonymity."
This is one of the most exciting weeks of my entire year! I get to be a part of the amazing YLI TEAM Conference 05. A few years ago, many influential people realized that the next generation of leaders within the Body were not being successfully raised up. A few different universities, including Azusa Pacific, were given 2 million dollars from the Lilly Endowment to see what could be done to change this.
And what Robin Dugall and his staff are doing is an amazing, innovative job at raising up the next generation of Christian leaders. There is an incredible, almost unbelieveable sense of community and connection. So I will be blogging from here this week.
It's been a while, I know. I will probably have to start trying to attract readers all over again. I have been going through some personal and ministry change. We have decided to go back to the drawing board with paradox. It's been 2 and 1/2 half years in, but we are not seeing the life change that we are happy with. Many people involved in this new way of doing church don't last long and end of closing their doors. We have prayed and feel that it's not time to do that yet, but we are totally revamping what we do.
Can you imagine if more church leaders would actually think about doing this, what kind of effect it could have? I know many people just aren't able to do this, but some can and just don't have the guts. We are about reproducing followers and disciples who experience life change through Christ. It's not about candles, sermons, music or attendance trends.