Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A Word About: Responsibility

One of my favorite lines out of any movie is in the first Spiderman. Uncle Ben is having a conversation with Peter Parker about his responsibilities and how it appears Peter has been ignoring some of those responsibilities. The line is, “with great power comes great responsibility.” Of course, Uncle Ben really has no idea how right on target his words are. You see unbeknownst to him Peter is beginning to reap the benefits of having been bitten by a mutant spider. Every time I hear these words I am reminded of Jesus words in his teachings found in Luke chapter 12, verse 48. "From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked." Some of you may be wondering why we are focusing so much in the Fall on the issues of injustice in our world. I believe we have been blessed with so much for a reason, and it’s not because God likes us more! We have been blessed so that we can bless. We have been entrusted with much so that we can in turn do some good with what we have been given. In the quote from Uncle Ben you can replace the word power with wealth or blessing or knowledge. With great blessing comes great responsibility. We have been greatly blessed. Now, it is our turn!

Friday, August 22, 2008

A Word About: Opportunity (Part 2)

Last week I mentioned that there are other opportunities that come around more often. Of course, I am speaking of opportunities that we have to serve others. This fall we are learning about the plight of many people in our world. The challenge is then to figure out what we can do about it. So far we have talked about those in our world who are oppressed. I am not going to give you the answers! I hope that as a group we can figure out something that we can do. We have also talked about worldwide poverty. One organization that is working to eliminate poverty is Bread For The World. You can find out more about them at Thank you, Peyton Bell, for coming to share with us about your work with the homeless in Memphis. I hope you will keep your eyes and ears open for opportunities to serve here at home. One such opportunity will be First Saturday Missions. This will begin on Sept. 6 with the continuation of a project at the Joseph M. Still Burn Center. The world needs you! Let’s start a Flood.

Parents, don't forget the parent's meeting this Sunday during the Bible Study hour!

A Word About: Opportunity (Part 1)

Sorry, for the late post. This was from last week.

Opportunity is one of those things “they” say doesn’t come around that often. They may be right…in regard to some things. One of the opportunities you have is to be involved in the life and ministries of our church. It will soon be time to make nominations for committee positions for the coming year. Following discussions with our church moderator SMAC has suggested that it would be good if we had some students on several of our standing church committees. Each of these positions will be a one year assignment. The open committees are: Music, Mission Development Council, Stewardship, Greeters, Activities, and Creation Care. I will be happy to give you more details on any of these committees. Most of these committees will meet once a month or once every other month. If you are interested in serving on any of these committees please see me so that I can pass your name along to the Committee on Committees. While this opportunity only comes around once a year, there are other opportunities that show much more frequently. More on that next week…

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Buchenwold and last day

Here we are waiting for the movie to begin that will give us the visual history of the Buchenwald Concentration camp. I have plenty more pictures of the different areas. This is just a selection.Here is the Memorial to the Roma people and the Sintos. Each of the pillars around the edge represent one of the concentration camps where this people group was held and murdered. People have come and put smaller rocks on top of the pillars, presumably representing family members they have lost. Below are close ups of some of the pillars with dedicatory rocks placed on them.After the concentration camp we loaded back on the bus and headed the two hours back to downtown Leipzig where our students sang right outside St. Niklous Church. We even had a guest percussionist join us for some of our songs!

Patrick, Michelle, Katie, Cal, and Becca made some friends in their family groups. They found each other on the square and were given gifts by their new German friends.
Not really sure what was going on here, but Jan certainly had these guys attention! This may be my first picture of Sean. I just wanted to make sure that I got one of him on the blog. Also pictured, Ed Pollock's nose and Will Crews' (I think) hat.
And last but not least I finally got a clear picture of Samantha's "Stained'glass toes!" This was a very appropriate pain job for this trip given the churches that we visited. We have truly had a great trip! On behalf of the students I want to thank the Church for allowing us this opportunity. Our eyes were opened as we were able to meet and worship with people form all over the world. Our students' world has gotten bigger. I believe God has gotten bigger for our students. No longer is this the land across the sea. Europe, Germany, and the Czech Republic are now places that we have been. Pieces of the Holocaust are something that we have experienced first hand. Hopefully, our students and this generation will not forget that horible tragedy so that it will not happen again! On two occassions during worship we were asked to speak out loud the Lord's Prayer in our own language. So, there we are in the midst of 6,000+ people from 89 countries speaking more than 100 languages simultaneously all the while recognizing that God (Gott) understands each and every one of us perfectly. Even as a thirty year old that is pretty mind-blowing. We serve a great big God! I look forward to this year as we seek after the heart of God to figure out what we can do to "seek justice" in our world today. The theme for the conference has been Dive Deeper. We have been asked to dive deeper in our relationship with God. We have been asked to dive deeper in the way we approach our world and those around us. I have placed the bar high for our students this year. I am asking them to come up with a way that we can tackle the big problems of our world. Look out world! Here we come!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

The Travel Begins!

The conference will end tomorrow just before lunch. We will ride the tram back to the train station (Hauptbonhauf) and have lunch. Then, we will walk back to the hotel and load the bus. We will be heading by bus the five hours to Munich. After our last night in Munich we will head to the airport to begin our journey home. By the time we make our nine hour flight home and drive the 2 and a half hours from Charlotte I'm sure we will be pretty wiped out! I plan to blog tomorrow night and add some pictures from today as well. I'm about to run out of internet time here. Thank you for your prayers. We had a good time of sharing tonight beside a beautiful fountain in downtown Leipzig. I hope that our students will take their experiences and what we have learned and do something great with them. I am very excited about this upcoming year and our students will decide to do! Unbeknownst to me this conference goes right in line with my plans for the fall. It will be a great jumping of point. I will be sharing yesterday's (today for me) comments on the bus ride tomorrow. Have a great Sunday!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Friday-- Wittenburg and leading worship.

We had a lot of activity today. We started out the day in Lutherstadt Wittenburg. We toured the castle church and Luther's church, walked by Melanchton's home, and toured Luther's home. The pictures are the organ in Luther's church, Ian and Michael in the castle church, and my tour group in front of the memorial door where Luther nailed the 95 Theses. The original door was destroyed by fire in the 1800s. :(
The next section of pictures is from the practice for the worship service tonight. I took the opportunity to get some close ups on the main stage. Michael, Alice, and Keith were on a side stage using the instrument inputs the praise band used. Notice in the picture taken from behind the group how big the room is.
Immediately following supper we met with the Ghandi School students and exchanged gifts with them. Our students purchased t-shirts for them and they had hats to exchange with us. It was a special moment. There are two pics showing the mixing of the groups. I captured Savannah in conversation trying to figure out how to say "thank you." I also got Glenn and Clista in conversation with our adults Robert and Mike.
The final group of pics are from the worship service. Some are pictures of the big screen. Again, notice the size of the screen relative to our students. It is a huge room. There are approx. 6,000 participants here from 89 countries. Lucky for us the official language of the conference is English.
Tomorrow we travel to Buchenwold (concentration camp) and then head back into Leipzig for "Leipzig Live" where our students will be singing at 4:00 PM (10:00 AM for you). I have passed on your message and your students are appreciative. Thanks for using this as a means to talk to them. We love you and we will be home soon!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Conference has begun

We are having a great time at the conference. The students really enjoyed their family groups today. We will be heading to Wittenburg in the morning. Be praying for your students today. They will be singing for the main worship service on Friday (approx. 1:30 pm your time). Hopefully, we will get some practice time on the bus on our way to and/or from Wittenburg. Wittenburg, you remember is where Martin Luther nailed the 95 theses to the door of the church that ultimately sparked the beginning of the Reformation.

Here you will find some pictures of the conference venue and the students singing at the first Fringe concert on Wednesday night. Thank you to those of you that have left comments on the board. I have passed those on to the respective students.

This shot is after they have sung while watching the other groups.

Here are some of the groups shots of our students practicing for the Fringe concert.

This is the actual performance.

A full group shot back at the practice session.

I wanted you to see the large venue where they are singing. The area where we are standing was full of people when our group sang Wednesday night and they did a GREAT job!

This was taken at the beginning of the first worship service. This group came down the ailsle with candles lit at a portion of the programming representing those who lost their lives in the Holocaust. This was a very moving presentation. There were not many dry eyes in the place after it was done. I know mine weren't.

More pictures will come tomorrow. Sorry, I am tired! Thanks for your prayers!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Prague (Praha) Czech Republic

These pictures are out of order as far as when they happened, but I started thinking that while you may want to see pictures of the buildings and where we have been after we get back, what you want to see now are pictures of your children. Sean and I are both blogging so be sure to check out for more pictures. Some may have captions and some not. Don't forget to leave comments and I will be sure the messages get passed on to your student(s).
This was after the climb down from the "Disney castle." It couldn't have been that bad we're all still smiles!
Walking along the streets of Prague we thought we spotted Greg, but alas, we were fooled!
While the Crews' do make an adorable picture my favorite part of this picture upon further inspection is how tired Ian looks in the background.
Partial group shot after Neuschwanstein Castle visit.
Gardner and his ridiculous hat with Amy overlooking Cheske Krimalov.
Part of the group making our from somewhere to somewhere (Sorry, that's the best I can do).

Amy and Emma at the Castle in Prague. These guys are the Czech equivalent of the British Royal Gaurd. They solemnly do their duty and well, it is no laughing matter.
Walking through Prague.

Several of us stayed in the "Attic" in Cheske Boduvice
And of course it is always fun to take a picture of someone else taking a picture!

Any special requests? I will do my best to fit them in.

Monday, July 28, 2008

A good trip so far!

Our students have done a great job so far! We spent the first couple of nights in the quaint little German town of Oberammergau nestled in the German Alps. Our hotel was right across the street from the St. Peter and Paul Church so it made for an easy commute on Sunday morning. I forgot how beautiful the cathedrals and Catholic churches are over here! Even though we couldn't understand the language it was quite a worshipful experience just looking around the room at the art and symbolism! We have all noticed how picturesque everything is over here. The rolling hills, the enormous mountains, the blue sky, and of course the castles! Tonight we will staying in Cjesky Krimalov and heading to Prague tomorrow. Just about the time when we were beginning to pick up some German we are all at a total loss now! They sang in the city square this afternoon and then we enjoyed dinner on the square. Leave comments here and i will pass them on to the students or other adults. We love you! Continue praying for us!

Photos from the start

Here we are getting ready to go on our journey! Thanks to all you parents who came out to say good-bye and have prayer with us!

Things got a little crazy on the bus ride to Charlotte. We made it in PLENTY of time...

Thanks to an hour and a half delay getting on the plane!

Here we are after seeting off on our loooooong
flight via Lufthansa FL 429:

But we did Finally make it to our destination: Munich airport!

And then we loaded another bus for a tour of the city of Munchen. (Spelling changes because we are in Germany now!)

At this point we are nearing the 24 hour with little to no sleep point. Dragging faces and droopy eyes are becoming the norm.

This is the beautiful St. Peter and Paul Church in which they sang in Oberammergau on Sunday morning. They did fantastic!

This is Neuschwanstein Castle on the afternoon of day two. This is the castle Walt Disney modelled Cinderella's castle after at his theme parks.

And here we are in our third country, Czech Republic (after having driven through Austria).

This one's for you, Carol!