Archive for June, 2009

Off To Camp

NNE4 2009 Youth Camp

So excited for camp!  We are up at the camp now and all the youth will be showing up between 3 and 5 today.  The clouds are parting and we are beginning to see some sunshine!  Pray that the clouds all clear and that we have a great, dry week.  If you are interested in praying for camp specifics you can follow us on twitter this week here.  You can also check in at Impactnh.com for videos of the week and other fun stuff.

Please pray for many lives to be impacted this week and forever.

The Andrew J. Allard Memorial Youth Center

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Grace Capital Church (Pembroke, NH) broke ground on their new Andrew J. Allard Memorial Youth Center on Friday, June 19th.  This multi-purpose center will be used for church and community functions, serve as a central meeting place for Impact youth ministry as well as supply much needed additional space for the growth of the church itself.   Along with the construction of the youth center, renovations are being made within the existing structure to provide more space for fellowship as and additional offices for the growing staff.

The 8,400 square foot addition is designed with a recreational format that includes a gym and several new meeting rooms and classrooms.  Northpoint Construction of Hudson, NH will be constructing the facility, which is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

“We’ve said from the beginning of Grace Capital that the church is not a building, it is a people and we’ve never been about building a big facility, but big people,” Pastor Peter Bonanno said.  “All we are doing by building this new addition is saying yes to God and realizing that this facility is a tool to reach those yet to come.”

Grace Capital Church began in 1996 with 14 people and currently has regular attendance of 900 every Sunday.  The Youth Center is being named in honor of Andrew J. Allard who was a member of the youth group and a positive influence to many people.  He passed on at thirteen years of age after contracting meningitis in 2007.

Various groups of people representing all ages were chosen to put their shovels in the ground as a reflection of the diverse make-up of Grace Capital Church.

applause groundbreaking

Margins

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Reading over at Mark Batterson’s blog today.  He gave a list of 10 ways to create margins in life in order to remain in control of a balanced life.  I happily read them, knowing that many are already in place.  Getting up earlier would be one that I truly need to work on that would create the extra time in my days that I need in order to make the rest of life happen.

How are you doing with these things?  Where do you need to work on?

Just Feel

We had the privilege of having Attaboy with us last night at our multi-youth group gathering we call Worship ONE.  They were a great group of guys that did an incredible job in connecting with the teens that were here – over 250 youth!  Here’s one of the songs that they played.  It flowed very well with the ROOTS series that we have been walking thru here at Impact.

Looking Forward To Anything?

Father’s Day Parenting Tips

A friend sent me a bunch of these a while back and I have been holding onto them for just the right time.  With today being Father’s Day and me expecting a new arrival to the family in a few months I thought it appropriate to share with you all.  So, if you are expecting a wee one yourself, heed these helpful parent training tips.  It could make a world of difference for your child!

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Naked and no shame

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This morning Dan Fontaine, missionary to Quebec, spoke on the importance of being open about our lives.  He referenced one of my favorite portions of Scripture in the book of Genesis.  Honestly, I think I could preach from the creation account for months and not feel like I was repeating myself – such incredible stuff right there!  Dan asked a question after reading from chapter three

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden.  But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?”  He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”   verses 8-11

The question was this, “Who told you that you were naked?”  It’s the same question that God asked Adam and Eve.  They were never told that they were naked.  They discovered that they were naked when they acted in disobedience to what God had asked of them.  Rather than walking around in their nakedness they made clothing of fig leaves to hide their stuff.  And nothing has changed in the years that have passed since this time.

We have been hurt and we hide in order to keep from being hurt again.  We have failed to we hide in order to avoid being asked to try again.  We have words spoken over us that are negative so we put on the clothing of over-doing it to compensate for that negativity – because we HAVE to prove those words wrong.  

It is our failure to stand in our nakedness and say, “here I am, this is the real me.”  that keeps us from being real with people.  Because of the barriers that we build up around us for protection we push people away and we lose the community that we were meant to be a part of.  We were created for community.  Relationship with God and others.  That is why we exist.  When we fail to connect with others we lose the ability to be whole and healthy.  Isolation keeps us from living lives of purpose and stops us from being free.

I believe in small groups.  As a member of a small group at my church for the past twelve years I will say that I could not do life without having people actively involved in my life.  I need people who will speak words of encouragement, correction, life and hope into me.  I need to do the same for others.  

If you attend Grace Capital Church and have not gotten connected into a small group let me challenge you right now, get started.  Drop the excuses and get involved.  There are people who need you just as much as you need them.  For those of you who have been involved in a small group and have taken a break for a while, let me encourage you to get back in the game.  Maybe you don’t feel like you get anything out of the group.  Can I ask you to change your thinking?  Try another small group, but this time go with the mindset that you are bringing something to share with someone else.  I would go one further and challenge you to pray this prayer, “Lord, use me to help someone else.”

We need to be open about our lives.  Getting involved with a small group is a great way to do this.  

I pray that you will allow yourself to be naked and have no shame.

Monday Morning Quarterback

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As I find myself at the six month mark with these goals I want to take a moment to evaluate each of the goals that I set for myself.  If this kind of stuff bores you please feel free to pass on by.  If, per chance, you have been inspired over the last six months, to establish some personal goals for yourself, please feel free to drop me an email or comment here on this post and let me know how you are doing with your own goals.  More than anything, these weekly posts have been for myself.  I guess knowing that someone may be reading these weekly posts has served as the form of accountability that I need to keep going…

Hike 5 more NH 4000 footers:  I’m taking a personal day this Friday with Jeff Cerow (of the 1/2 marathon fame) and we’re going to make an aggressive attempt at four 4000 footers in the White Mountains.  We’ll begin up the Garfield Trail to Mt. Garfield (4500′) and then along to Galehead Mt.(4024′)  over to S. Twin Mt. (4902′) along the North Twin Spur to N. Twin Mt. (4761′) and then down the North Twin Trail to Rt. 3 for a 3 mile hike back to the trailhead where we began.  Over all we’ll cover 16 miles in the course of this hike.  I say it’s aggressive because it is.  The elevation changes on this hike make t much more than a 16 mile hike.  I’m really looking forward to this hike as the views from some of the peaks should afford great photo opportunities.  (I’ll post some of them next week!)

Travel with the family to Philadelphia in April:  Obviously, this has been put off as we changed plans back in March to rent a cottage at the beach later in the year.  We’re really looking forward to this time together at the beach hunting for crabs and starfish and munching on lobsters and steamers.

Run a 1/2 marathon by July:  nailed it baby!  On May 9th Jeff and I completed the Big Lake 1/2 Marathon in two hours and thirty minutes.

Weight Goal-195, current – 200:  Over the past 6 months I have gone down to my desired weight of 195 and I am bouncing back and forth right now between 195 & 200.  This is a manageable weight for me and I have no concern about keeping in this range.  I’m far more active than I have been in years with running, indoor soccer and hiking.

Monthly date night with Kim: I’m planning a special night out with Kim for this month.  So far we have had a date night every month this year.  I know that some would say we need to make this happen more often and I would, to a degree, agree with them.  However, we are finding more time to be together and are greatly enjoying each other.  The kids are a true blessing to spend time with and I am doing far better than I ever have with making time for them.  I know I can still improve greatly (and I am trying hard to) but I would say that being intentional as I have been for the past six months has really made a difference in our family time.

Increase financial support to Global Benefit/Smyths:  Yes.  This has happened and we are not lacking anything in exchange.  I am immensely blessed by our giving to help an incredible family who has sacrificed all that they have to go and live in Rwanda.  The Smyth family inspires me each day to do all I can to help those around me as they do all they can to help the people of Rwanda.

Sponsor 1 Rwandan child:  Yes.  I consider it pure joy to know that there is a little girl in Rwanda who receives food, healthcare, and an education because of our sacrificial giving.

Stop checking email on days off and holidays/vacations:  This is always a work in progress but I have progressed light years from where I was six months ago.  I truly find myself less stressed about all that can occupy my mind due to ministry.  I have established clear boundaries for myself and feel good about where I am with those boundaries.

Have more fun with the girls -play games, walks, talks:  Yes, yes, yes!  While I will always find myself needing to spend more time with them, as I said above, I am greatly enjoying my time with them and being very intentional to ensure that they do not feel sidelined by the ministry that I am called to.

Take more pictures:  Man, I suck at this one.  While I purposely bring my camera with me wherever I go I still forget to take shots of life as it happens.  I need to continue to work on this one as I love, truly love, to capture moments with my camera.

Continue Daddy Dates with Megan every Friday morning: Every Friday, no exceptions.  As I strive to stay connected with my daughters I will continue this as long as I have children.  I look forward to Friday mornings with Megan every week.  Makenna will begin preschool in the Fall and that is when we will begin the same tradition (except on a different day)

Gym 3x per week:  For the most part I have been very good at maintaining a schedule for the gym.  There have been a few weeks when I did not make it three times per week but when I factor in my indoor soccer games I am doing very well.  I love the way I feel, the shape that I am in, and how I look!

Read 2 books per week:  For the most part I have been doing very well at keeping to this goal.  This past week I hit Anne Jackson’s book Mad Church Disease again.  I know I read it only a couple months back but I felt as if I needed to reread this one to really grasp all that she wrote about establishing patterns in our lives to avoid burnout.  Along with this book I also read Wayne Cordeiro’s book, Leading on Empty.  As I now can say I know Wayne personally, I will say that this book is a very refreshing read.  Again, establishing patterns that will keep me from burning out is my desire as I truly want to serve in my calling as a pastor for the rest of my life.

Increase time spent mentoring next-gen leaders:  I have continued along in my Youth Ministry Mentor conversations every Thursday for an hour with a young man from Oregon and have greatly enjoyed our talks together.  Along with these times I am finding myself far more intentional about training up and explaining why we do things the way we do them with the student leaders we have at Impact.  I know I can always be doing more but maintaining balance in my life overall keeps me from over-emphasizing this goal.

Write a book on leadership and youth ministry:  I’m still taking notes and filing away many thoughts in one of my journals.  I’m still not sure if this will be the year or not but I do know that I am collecting quite a treasure chest of notes for when I do bite the bullet and w

Delights Of My Desire

This morning I was journaling in Proverbs and I came across one particular proverb in chapter 29, verse 17.  This one verse brought to light an epiphany for me as I contemplated what would bring the delights I desire.  The verse goes like this:

 

Discipline your children, and they will give you peace; they will bring you the delights you desire.

As a father there is only one thing that I truly desire for my children – that they would follow the Lord faithfully and pursue what He calls them to do.  Whether they marry the person of their dreams, get the job they hope for, live in riches or poverty – that really is of no matter to me, only that they would whole-heartedly follow the Lord.  I know that if they do this one that they will walk into the right relationships, find the right career, and have all that they need.

I know that the way I discipline my children will be a determining factor in how they grow and make choices.  I want to not only discipline them well when necessary but also instill within them disciplines.  I want them to grow in their knowledge of God’s Word and understand how much He loves them, seek Him through prayer, and find their purpose in Him.  These are the things that would bring delights to my desires.  In order to see this come to pass I need to remain available to my children at all times to guide them in the ways that they should go.

If I could offer any advice to other parents it would simply be that your desires for your children would be to grow in the Lord and to follow Him faithfully.  All the other things are fluff in comparison.  I back up this statement with the Scripture in Matthew chapter 6 verse 33 that encourages us to “seek first, the Kingdom of God, and all these things will be added to you.”   When we follow the Lord all the other stuff – health, relationships, careers, personal needs – they get taken care of.  

Let’s not be afraid to discipline our children.  The cost of not doing so is too great.

A Pornography Apology

Apparently I stumbled upon the secret to getting people to read my blog.  Yesterday I posted a picture of the ultrasound that was done for Kim.  The ultrasound identified the gender of my baby.  It’s a boy!  Who would have guessed that if I posted a picture of a penis (fuzzy, black and white picture of what the doctor identified as a penis on my alien face baby) on my blog that people would come in masses to look at it…

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Deep sarcasm here people.  Very Deep.  Of course I am not oblivious to the fact that pornography is a horrid plague on the interweb.  My prayer is that someone who found my blog looking for “something else” may have hung around and read a few other posts and were impacted by the message of hope that only comes through Jesus Christ.  If there were any who were offended by what I posted yesterday I would ask you to forgive me and at the same time enjoy the pure, sheer thrill of one man who has just found out that his third child will be a man-child!