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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Feel Good Song of the Day - Stand By Me

Don't know what kind of day you've had. Don't know what kind of season your living through. So if you are anything like me and had some ups AND you've had some downs...this version of Ben E. Kings' classic, Stand By Me, will be guaranteed to brighten your day and cause you thank God for those in your life who have stood, do stand, and will stand by you.

This version was filmed in a "virtual street" studio in locations from Santa Monica to Spain to South Africa and everywhere in between. Very freaking cool. I agree with this post...maybe one of if not the coolest version of this song ever.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Prayer Of The Weak

O God, whose blessed Son made himself known to his disciples in the breaking of bread: Open the eyes of our faith, that we may behold him in all his redeeming work; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Best Draft Story of 2009

This is an amazing story - inside or outside of football. I dare you to find one with more depth, meaning, and love. It's the story of Michael Oher. Check it out.

Test Smest

Big. Really Big. Huge. Ginormous test today!

Today I take my Ohio state Praxis II exam at the University of Dayton. It's a big test because if I pass the test I will get my school counselor's license. And if I don't pass, well, you get the drift...not good.

Overall, I'm as ready as I'll ever be. I've done really well in my graduate program: one B+ (don't get me started!) and the rest A's. I've been studying for the test for some time now. I feel fairly confident that I know most of the content well enough to be an effective counselor. On the other hand, I've taken two practice exams: one where I scored 22% higher than what it takes to pass the exam and the other (which is a seems more like the exam I will take today) I totally failed! So....

In the grand scheme of things, my trust is in God for wisdom, insights, discernment, etc. I'm hoping that all the prep work and studying will pay off. If not, as a friend of mine, Lilly, put it: this is the most expensive practice exam ever! Hahaha.

So if you are a regular to Held Up High or a first timer here, could you pray with me and for me to wait on the God of Heaven...that His presence would be evident to me and that I would wait on Him no matter what?

Thanks! You rock!

**[Update]** Finished the test...BRUTAL! Toughest test I've taken since being back in graudate school. I'll need a small miracle to pass. Thanks for praying! If I don't pass, I'll retake the test in June with a lighter wallet and better insight as to what to study/to know in order to pass.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day Scripture

For the director of music. A psalm of David. A song.
1 Praise awaits you, O God, in Zion;
to you our vows will be fulfilled.

2 O you who hear prayer,
to you all men will come.

3 When we were overwhelmed by sins,
you forgave our transgressions.

4 Blessed are those you choose
and bring near to live in your courts!
We are filled with the good things of your house,
of your holy temple.

5 You answer us with awesome deeds of righteousness,
O God our Savior,
the hope of all the ends of the earth
and of the farthest seas,

6 who formed the mountains by your power,
having armed yourself with strength,

7 who stilled the roaring of the seas,
the roaring of their waves,
and the turmoil of the nations.

8 Those living far away fear your wonders;
where morning dawns and evening fades
you call forth songs of joy.

9 You care for the land and water it;
you enrich it abundantly.
The streams of God are filled with water
to provide the people with grain,
for so you have ordained it.

10 You drench its furrows
and level its ridges;
you soften it with showers
and bless its crops.

11 You crown the year with your bounty,
and your carts overflow with abundance.

12 The grasslands of the desert overflow;
the hills are clothed with gladness.

13 The meadows are covered with flocks
and the valleys are mantled with grain;
they shout for joy and sing.

May we do our part as stewards, Lord. Empower us to be all that you want us to be in this endeavor to care for your creation, to leave a legacy to future generations and to worship you, and you only, as the Creator!

Generation Green Song 2009

First off, I'm not a huge cultural environmentalist. I'm trying to find my place in the environmental movement as I live out the kingdom of God edicts that flow from Scripture. Care for animals. Steward our resources. Put a premium on life. Feed the poor. Clean water to the needy. Treasure the gifts of life that God gives to you and I on our planet.

I'm not with the radical left on these issues nor am I cruising with the radical right. I do know that no one has the corner on weather our environment/climate issues are human created or historically cyclical. The things we are doing are good: alternative fuels, education/awareness, reduce, reuse, recycle (though aluminum is the only profitable recyclable material at the moment), use common sense, etc. But we can also do other things: drill here, drill now, use common sense, etc.

But I digress...the point of this post is to get you to listen to a great song written by a friend of my nephew at Belmont University, Jame Ruehlmann. It's a killer song. Great music. Great lyrics. Fun. Catchy. And, if I'm honest, a bit inspiring.

SO...check out the song, Generation Green, here. It's really good. Check out the Facebook page created by James (singer, song writer, musician) here. Here the other songs written for the contest here (they don't hold a candle to James' tune).

Happy Earth Day and remember to reuse, reduce, recycle, drill here, and drill now!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Big Test This Saturday

A big step in my education/professional training is coming this Saturday: State Praxis exam for school counselors. Big test! If I pass, I'll receive a license to be a school counselor in the state of Ohio. If I don't, I'll be sleeping on the couch the rest of my life! haha. I'll have another chance to take it in June, but I'd like to get it out of the way this time around.

So this week I've been doing some serious studying. I took a practice exam a few weeks ago and did well on it, but I have a feeling the real deal with be a bit harder. I scored about 15 percentage points higher than what the state minimum score requires. That's good. However, I don't want to take anything for granted.

Post will be a bit light this week as I prepare for that. But, more importantly, if you could pray for and with me that would be great! Pray that as I do my best to prepare and trust in the Lord with all my heart that He will ease my anxious heart (be anxious for nothing, but in everything through prayer and supplication...) and give me a sense of confidence that comes from trusting Him and preparing well. Thanks!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Prayer Of The Weak

Almighty and everlasting God, who in the Paschal mystery established the new covenant of reconciliation: Grant that all who have been reborn into the fellowship of Christ's Body may show forth in their lives what they profess by their faith; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Spring Break '09 - The Struggling Artist

This past spring break we headed to the sunshine state to spend some time with my brother and sis-in-law before they head off to Okinawa, Japan for a two year stint with the Navy. We had a blast: food, games, t.v., chillin', etc. It was a great vacation!

Here are a few pics of the times I just simply took for the art - beauty that I saw all around me in nature and in motion.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Falling Slowly

Being the big American Idol fan that I am, I was stoked that Kris performed the indie movie song, Falling Slowly, from the film Once. Kelly and I remember it being performed on the Oscars and saying what a sweet, simply, and tender little song this was. Kris sang it very well, but thought you might like to hear the original with lyrics underneath.

Glad that Matt was saved by the judges. And though I love Anoop and Lil as peeps, it's time for their journey to end.

I don't know you
But I want you
All the more for that
Words fall through me
And always fool me
And I can't react
And games that never amount
To more than they're meant
Will play themselves out

Take this sinking boat and point it home
We've still got time
Raise your hopeful voice you have a choice
You'll make it now

Falling slowly, eyes that know me
And I can't go back
Moods that take me and erase me
And I'm painted black
You have suffered enough
And warred with yourself
It's time that you won

Take this sinking boat and point it home
We've still got time
Raise your hopeful voice you had a choice
You've made it now
Falling slowly sing your melody
I'll sing along

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Spring Break '09 - The Games

This past spring break we headed to the sunshine state to spend some time with my brother and sis-in-law before they head off to Okinawa, Japan for a two year stint with the Navy. We had a blast: food, games, t.v., chillin', etc. It was a great vacation!

Here are a few fun pics of the games we played while in the sunshine state: mini golf, Wii (boxing in pics), Galaga, plus (not pictured) dominoes, sand ball throwing, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Spring Break '09 - Exotic Wildlife

This past spring break we headed to the sunshine state to spend some time with my brother and sis-in-law before they head off to Okinawa, Japan for a two year stint with the Navy. We had a blast: food, games, t.v., chillin', etc. It was a great vacation!

Here are a few fun pics of the crazy wildlife I was able to capture through extensive hiking, beaching, touristing, and other critical photography skillz.

Bat, duh.


Downy Woodpecker. I dare you to find him. I dare you!

Jelly Fish - the deadliest catch or at least the stingiest one.


Sunday, April 12, 2009

Prayer Of The Weak

O God, who for our redemption gave your only-begotten Son to the death of the cross, and by his glorious resurrection delivered us from the power of our enemy: Grant us so to die daily to sin, that we may evermore live with him in the joy of his resurrection; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Wondrous Cross

When I Survey the Wondrous Cross

by Isaac Watts

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.

See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

His dying crimson, like a robe,
Spreads o’er His body on the tree;
Then I am dead to all the globe,
And all the globe is dead to me.

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

Spring Break '09 - My Little Fam

This past spring break we headed to the sunshine state to spend some time with my brother and sis-in-law before they head off to Okinawa, Japan for a two year stint with the Navy. We had a blast: food, games, t.v., chillin', etc. It was a great vacation!

Here are a few fun and random pics of the kids who can't get enough of Uncle Matt, Aunt Toni, and their dogs Diamond, Doc, and Fae (aka Doppler).

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Spring Break '09

Over the next few days I'll be posting some fun/random pics from our spring break to my bro and sis-in-law's place in Gulf Breeze, Fl. Suffice to say it was a great time!

The ride the portable DVD player!

The Destination...Hotel de la Rings

The fam...Matt, Toni, and Kelly

A walk on the beach

Great picture of my little girl...she's getting so big!

Is the Bad Economy Good for Youth Ministry?

I received an email today from the student ministry I serve in communicating that we are canceling both middle school and high school summer camp opportunities. My first reaction was sadness. Summer camps are such influential spiritual mile markers for kids, memory makers for students and youth leaders, and community builders for youth ministries. I can remember most, if not all, the camps that I attended from the time I was kid through middle school/high school, and on into leadership as a volunteer and youth pastor. These were/are helpful times to deepen friendships and refocus on the heart of God. And to think that the teenagers I work with will miss out on those unique opportunities is tough to hear.

But then I got to thinking...I wonder if this is really a blessing in disguise. Will this help youth ministries get simpler? No need for all the bells and whistles to market/sell kids on camp. Energies can now be put to better use connecting with hurting students, encouraging leaders, and supporting families. This is what really matters, right?

Will this help youth ministries get more creative about creating memories, building community, and developing deeper relationships for spiritual impact? We rely so much (sometimes for good; sometimes for bad) other peoples work to do this for us that we miss out on being in touch with students, their world and the Holy Spirit. We forget to listen, follow and serve the students we are shepherding. Who knows are kids better than our kids and the Holy Spirit?

Will it help youth ministries be more financially responsible to the church and to families? Most of the time youth ministries have had the cavalier attitude that if we promote it that it has to be from God and kids/families are fools not to sign up. We get offended that they say no. Then we get scared because so much of personal, professional, and ministerial identities flow from the number of kids we have going to events (not to mention the reviews we get from senior pastor, supervisor, or committee that we report to)

How does this impact smaller youth ministries? How does this impact larger youth ministries? How does this impact camps and retreat centers? How does this impact kids and families for good or for bad?

Just some things I am thinking about. What do you think?

Monday, April 06, 2009

A Tale of Two Weeks (U2, Baby!)

A week ago at this time, Kelly, Sarah and Parker and I were at my brother, Matt, and sis-in-law, Toni's, house in Gulf Breeze, Fl. We were having a great time playing games, watching movies, hitting the beach and hanging out. I really had only one thing on the whole week. Buy tickets for the opening show for the U3 360 Tour in Chicago. That's it.

I knew it would be tough, but not 4 minutes of fury tough. Tickets were gone in a heartbeat! Wham. Bam. Thank you Mam! Ticketmaster got slammed! And like that, I was bumming by 10:10am. I bumped around Ticketmaster for another hour only to find singles tickets available. Shut out! U2 basically sold out in about 5 minutes.

I had a buddy of mine get 4 tickets that only added to my misery, but called him to see how he did it. Simple formula: multiple people on multiple computers searching for the 4 best available seats/prices. I had done any of those. Dang it!

So I jumped on StubHub to see what tickets are going for there and I was like Oh, Snap! 500 freaking dollars for one ticket! Dang it, again! All hope was completely gone, BUT then the hope blossomed anew!

U2 was opening a second show on September 13 in Chicago and tickets were going on sale today. So armed with hope and a game plan, Matt, Toni and I coordinated 4 computers, high speed cable internet, and cell phones to land 4 AMAZING tickets in section 133 to U2! Woohoo! That will be Toni's birthday present from Matt (he'll be in Japan...sorry, bro!) and mother's/father's day/anniversary presents for this year.

I'm stoked! Let the concert psych up begin!

Get on your boots!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Prayer Of The Weak

Almighty and everliving God, in your tender love for the human race you sent your Son our Savior Jesus Christ to take upon him our nature, and to suffer death upon the cross, giving us the example of his great humility: Mercifully grant that we may walk in the way of his suffering, and also share in his resurrection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Hunger Site

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