Today I met with my friend and managing editor of the project I am working on for Youth Specialties, Jack Crabtree. It was a great meeting, and he really helps me to stretch and grow as a leader and writer. I appreciate his wisdom, experience, and insight. I want to be like Jack when I grow up. (lol) I am really excited about the resource that we are putting together, and I know it’s going to help thousands of youth leaders. I also saw my friends at Long Island Youth For Christ, and got to visit for a few minutes with Sean Hannity’s wife.
Today I was super proud of my daughters! My wife brought them out to join me on our missions trip to NYC on Saturday, and they were full-functioning members of the team while here. Today was their most involved day of ministry. This morning we headed up to the Bronx to work with the New York City Relief Bus. It was a tough area, and we were serving and ministering to hundreds of people. My daughters’ job was to do face painting for the children who were there with their parents. They were a bit apprehensive at first, but it didn’t take them long to embrace their assignment and their creative juices started flowing. They both painted dozens of children’s hands, arms and faces. They brought smiles and hope to all of the kids they touched today, and my wife and I were so proud to watch them serving Jesus in this way. This afternoon my wife took our youngest daughter home on the train, but my oldest daughter stayed here with me and will return with the team tomorrow. During our time of sharing this evening, she talked about the joy she experienced as she saw the kids light up when she painted their faces. She said it felt good to know that she made a difference in their lives today. Tonight before bed, I sat down with her to unpack the day and ask her what she felt the Lord was speaking to her. She said that she felt the Lord tell her that she is going to work with children. WOW! I told her she can be my children’s pastor someday. We prayed together, and asked God to seal this moment in her heart.
A few weeks ago I picked up Rob Bell’s new book Sex God. It was an incredible, insightful, thought-provoking look at sexuality and its intricate, endless connections to spirituality. Bell is a poet and teacher who has a tremendous ability to weave words together in such a beautiful way, painting a picture of understanding as well as challenge. He is also very well versed in Jewish thought and history, and uses this knowledge to shed light on original understanding and helps us get closer to the intended meaning of passages and words. I so enjoy this aspect of his writing. He causes his readers to think in terms of Jews in the original context before making the leap to modern day application, which is the essence of trying to stay true to the text. Many times I was envisioning the scenes he was painting, and it was very helpful. Another great thing about Bell is that he is not afraid to stir things up, offering possibilities and asking questions that few evangelicals are daring enough to ask. I appreciate his willingness and even his desire to get his readers to think, not just give them nicely packaged theology and thoughts.
My intern Josh saw me reading this book. When I finished it, and before leaving for our Mexico missions trip, he asked me if he could bring it along to read on the plane. It was funny seeing the students’ reaction to the title of the book he chose to read. After a few hours on the plane, he came to me, his eyes as big as saucers, and he said that it was the most incredible book he had ever read. I highly recommend that you pick it up and give it a read. It will really cause you to think deeply, and to be stretched in your thinking in this area. I also recommend his other book that I have read, Velvet Elvis.
Today I brought a team of 23 to Brooklyn for our first Jr. High Missions Trip. Among my leaders are two twenty-something emerging leaders whom I am actually mentoring in leading missions trips. I am allowing them to lead the trip for all intents and purposes, and I am giving oversight and coaching them as they lead. Very excited about that! Also have along two Sr. High Student Leaders who are being discipled as well. Praying for God to use us to show His love. Read detailed accounts of our adventures daily at: http://www.planetimpact.blogspot.com/
I am so excited for Adriana! This week she received great news on two fronts. First, after a 2 1/2 year wait, she finally got the date for her oath to become a United States citizen. Now we’re just praying that she’ll be able to get her passport in time for us to go on vacation. Today she got news that she passed her test and will be going to school in the fall at the New York Institute of Beauty. This is a perfect gift-match for her, and I know that she’ll love working in this field. Yeah for Ady!!!!