Welcome

The posts that follow all deal with the highs and lows of Ministry and ministry related topics. They follow my PRIME Experience in Minford Ohio and will hopefully continue afterwards.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

To do it all over

Well I have come to the end of PRIME. Hard to believe that it has been seven months already. by the time you are reading this I am either on my way home or already there. I can say that it has been a tremendous time of growth, both spiritually and mentally. I found it really hard to pack up my things and leave yesterday. I kept coming across different objects I have collected during my time here. Rocks from the rock Quarry, decorations from VBS, the Ohio State Hockey game ticket, the Minford T-shirt someone gave me, Every one of the letters that were sent to me. All of the things that remind me I have become so used to this church and the people of the congregation that saying good bye is almost unbearable. Lord willing I hope to return one day.

Knowing that I have just become one of the PRIME alumni and that I am a part of so many others who have gone on before me and done so much good in places around the world make me praise my God that I am only a small part of His plan for the PRIME program. To see other stories from other PRIME students of the past, or to find out more about what the program from Huntington University in Huntington, Indiana is all about go here http://www.huntington.edu/prime/  My story has now been added to this collection.

Below are some of the tips/things learned. Enjoy.  If you want more stories or the stories behind the points feel free to contact me via facebook or Google+ or leave a comment below!!

Things I wish I would have known before going on PRIME.
  • That cooking for yourself is a lot harder than it looks.
  • Communicate to all people on how things will work together and you will go far.
  • That Satan would attack hardest during this time.
  • That this would not be easy.
  • To let mentor know your spiritual make up at the beginning.
  • That getting the assignments done would be tougher than it looked.
  • I would be pelted by Nerf darts while trying to give announcements.
  • I would forget the password to the alarm system only hours after learning how to do it and would get a run in with the sheriff.
  • That there would be many nights without any sleep.
  • That God would deal majorly with my pride.
  • When God wants you to work on communication skills he has you call 100 people in one day. 

Advice for future PRIME students.
  • Within the first Month try to get out and get to know the people in your ministry and church.
  • It is so easy on PRIME to feel like you are making third person purchases. Purchases that you may never use so you don't really care about the price or the quality of the purchase. Instead treat every purchase you make for the church like it is for you and you will use it. in this way you will care about both the quality and the price.
  • Start working on the PRIME assignments during the period between school and the start of the internship, it cuts down an the amount of work you have to do later.
  • Take advantage of those who have more experience than you, especially those outside your mentor.
  • Keep going back to God. This may seem like an obvious one, but it is so easy to work day in and  day out and not be connected with God or try to do things with out inviting God into the process.
  • Have fun with your mentor.
  • PRIME will change you. Allow God to guide the changes as you find out more about yourself.
  • figure out what you need to do to be ready and prepared for Sunday Morning to be at your peak when you need to give the message.
  • KEEP A BLOG!!!
  • Don't wait until the last minute to do the assignments. It will not get done.

Things I have learned
  • The importance of getting a vision to others.
  • That my communications skills need some work.
  • That leaving God out of a project for the church will usually end up being a disaster until God becomes part of it.
  • To check my motives before starting each day.
  • How to turn alarm systems off after setting them off.
  • How to window wipe carpet when it floods.
  • That I need to figure out the routine to make sure that I am awake and ready to go.
  • That I am not in control, God is.
  • To have pity on telemarketers. Especially those who do it all by hand. It may not be their choice when they call. (realized after having to make over 100 calls in one day).

Saturday, November 24, 2012

I am a Control Freak and so are You.

James 4:13-17 (ESV)

Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit" -- yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and them vanishes. Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that." As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.

How many of us want to remain in control of our lives? Control of what we eat, when we sleep, what we do from day to day, how we dress, who we associate ourselves with, where we go. And the list goes on and on.

Now how many of us want to tell others about what we are doing? How many of us want to tell others about how we are controlling our lives?

In some cases this could be equated with arrogance. Now please don't take it to calling you arrogant. I'm not, I'm just looking at the passage and reflecting on a conversation I had earlier this week and trying to get the thought out on paper.

Let's face it, at times we are all a little arrogant. This passage is saying that we are arrogant about being arrogant. We do this by saying what we are going to do in advance to others without confronting God. James is asking us how we can boast about how we are living out lives, attempting to control them, when they are not ours to begin with. God has planned how our lives will turn out. Yet we still want to take control of our lives.

WE ARE NOT IN CONTROL!!

Our lives are but mist in God's timeline and can be taken from us at any given moment. We do not not know what tomorrow holds for us.

A few years ago I read this passage and decided to start adding God willing to my future plans. Over time this did not stick and I have found myself in need of a reminder. I have gotten to the point of being arrogant about being arrogant. Especially when it comes to life after college. I want to plan it myself and am finding myself in a stressful and fruitless situation. Only when I turn this over to God will my life make any sense.

As Carrie Underwood would say "Jesus take the Wheel."

I am not in control of my life.
I am not first.
God is.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Free Anguish

Anguish.
noun excruciating or acute distress, suffering, or pain:
When was the last time you heard that word used?

It's a word that has been on my mind the past few days. Not that I am experiencing it at the current moment. It's been more like what if anything makes my heart, my soul hurt. I have to tell you it's not an easy thing to figure out. Although it would make future employment easier to figure out.

The Bible's most common comparison is that of childbirth and while I will never experience it. It still sounds horrible. Now imagine that kind of weight on your soul. What is it that makes your soul hurt? What is God putting your heart?

I think another way to look at it would be to take the words of my mentor and ask the question, "What would you do for free?"

Would you be at your current position? Would you do something else?

Allow this to sink in. Then ask God what He would have you do. It may turn out that this is where He wants you. Or There may be a different anguish that He wants you to address.

How will God use you today?

Isaiah 53:11 (ESV)

11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;

by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,

make many to be accounted righteous,

and he shall bear their iniquities.


Monday, October 22, 2012

Be Thou My Vision Cause.... I'm Blind

Now those of you who know me don't get alarmed by the title, my vision is still going strong for now and if it is God's will I would keep the vision that I currently have. For those of you who don't know let me fill you in on a little secret.

I AM GOING BLIND.

Here's the scoop.

In first grade I go to the nurse for a mandatory eye check. I fail that test and surprise, I get my first visit to the family eye doctor. At that time he thought it was lazy eye, gave me glasses, and said to come back in a year. I do and my eye sight is a little worse and I get a new prescription and am told to come back in a year.

It is at this meeting that he takes a look at my retinas, or the back part of the eye that transmit the picture to the brain. After doing so, he tells my parents that my retina is splitting, but wants to get a specialist to look at it. That specialist sends me to Kellogg Eye Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan to get an official diagnosis.

My parents schedule the date with Kellogg and I get a day off of school. They do a whole bunch of tests that tested colors, side vision, and then hooked me up to what I can best call a strobe light in which I wasn't allowed to blink. The doctors confirmed what the other two thought and finally gave it a name.

Juvenile X-linked Retinoschesis, such a high tech word that even spell check says it's wrong. In every day language let me explain meaning and what it does. Juvenile: diagnosed when young, X-linked: carried on the x chromosome making women carriers and men the receivers, Retinoschesis: Retina splitting. The way it works imagine a layered cake with out the frosting, then imagine inserting several syringes  filled with frosting and squeezing. There you have it except the cake is the retina and the frosting is blood causing what looks like a wagon wheel on the back of your eye. This is causing the layers of tissue in the retina to separate form the outside going in.

Oh, and did I mention that it will continue to do so until either a cure is found, or I go legally blind, which means that what a person with 20/20 vision can see at 200 feet, I won't be able to see until I am 20 feet away from it. which puts driving out of the question. My brother, who has the same thing has reached the point where he can't pass the vision portion of the test to get the permit.

At this point in time God has graced me with good enough vision that I able to drive once I learn how. However, here in Minford, I don't think I would feel safe even riding a bike due to the curves and the hills.

Now to relate it to what i am doing down here. There is a term in getting others to help you in any situation you first have to have a vision of what you want something to look like. Then others can see what you are doing and "catch" the vision and make it their own. I feel that I have trouble conveying my vision to others or at least they catch it for a little while then lose it or nullify it. I hope over the next few months I can work on this a little more and over time get to a point that I can cast a vision that is long lasting.

This is where that old hymn "Be Thou My Vision" comes into play. Whenever I hear that song there is something that I grab to. Not only do I need Him to be the ultimate vision caster for my life, but there will come a day when I may lose my physical vision as well.

There are days when I feel that my family and I are the only ones out there who are dealing with this. I don't want to admit that I am going blind. In fact most of the time I can blend in with the rest of the world and hide the impairment. There have been times when I can't see the whiteboard at college and have to ask the professor to use a different marker or change the Powerpoint colors or font and thankfully my classmates have understood and at times made puns when it has to happen when I'm not there.

I thank God that he has allowed me to have my vision for as long as I have had it. If by some strange reason you have stumbled upon this blog post and you have Retnioschesis, know that you are not alone in this world. Don't let it get in the way of your dreams. You can do everything you wanted to do before, you just have to find a different way to do it. If you have not found God yet, I pray that you do and that he will provide the vision for both of us.

1 Timothy 4:12
Don't let other's look down on you because you are young (or blind, or anything else). Set an example for the other believers in speech, in conduct, in love and in purity.

Be Thou My Vision" Lyrics 
by Ascend the Hill | from the album Take The World, But Give Me Jesus

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Riches I heed not, nor man's empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, put first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

Oh, God, be my everything, be my delight
Be, Jesus, my glory My soul's satisfied
Oh, God, be my everything, be my delight
Be, Jesus, my glory My soul's satisfied
My Jesus, you satisfy
My Jesus, you satisfy

High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven's joys, bright Heaven's Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

Oh, God, be my everything, be my delight
Be, Jesus, my glory My soul's satisfied

Thursday, October 4, 2012

He Waw Squirrel

I realize that it has been a very long time since I posted on here. A very brief update follows:

  • Grant research has been put on hold permanently. The church decided to put the process on hold until further notice
  • WOL has officially started and there have been some new faces showing up the past few weeks. We have also taken the group to an event called Cross the River. It was pretty much a youth rally and there were some really awesome comments made that hopefully got the students thinking.
  • I have had the pleasure of writing some policies for WOL that pertain to activity scholarships.
  • I have gotten to attend a conference in Cincinnati for the Ohio Renewal Project that brought pastors from all over Ohio to the Hilton. I still am trying to figure out what exactly it was about. Many of the presenters were Ohio Congressmen, but that is for a different day.
  • October will prove to be busy, as there are several events spread throughout the month. Including a Nerf War for the youth.
Psalms 119 is an awesome chapter, long, but awesome. Over the past week I have been looking at this  taking it one Hebrew letter at a time. Not literally. For those who are unfamiliar with Psalm 119, it is a large acrostic poem with verse sets consisting of 8 or so verses that begin with the same letter in the Hebrew language. Some of these verses follow

He

33 Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes;
and I will keep it to the end.[a]
34 Give me understanding, that I may keep your law
and observe it with my whole heart.
35 Lead me in the path of your commandments,
for I delight in it.
36 Incline my heart to your testimonies,
and not to selfish gain!
37 Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things;
and give me life in your ways.
38 Confirm to your servant your promise,
that you may be feared.
39 Turn away the reproach that I dread,
for your rules are good.
40 Behold, I long for your precepts;
in your righteousness give me life!
Waw
41 Let your steadfast love come to me, O Lord,
your salvation according to your promise;
42 then shall I have an answer for him who taunts me,
for I trust in your word.
43 And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth,
for my hope is in your rules.
44 I will keep your law continually,
forever and ever,
45 and I shall walk in a wide place,
for I have sought your precepts.
46 I will also speak of your testimonies before kings
and shall not be put to shame,
47 for I find my delight in your commandments,
which I love.
48 I will lift up my hands toward your commandments, which I love,
and I will meditate on your statutes.

Now if you are observant you may have seen where the title of this post came from.

First take a look at verses 36-37. How easy it is to find ourselves looking on to worthless things, things of the world that we can not take with us when we die. Me personally, comes TV, (Once Upon a Time, The Amazing Race). Now it may be that these are dreams of mine that I can feed through these shows and I have a tendency to want to travel, and be taken to new places real or imaginary, but in the end I can't take them with me.

Second, take a look at Waw. How often do we look to God when someone is pestering us. Having three younger brothers can be bad enough wanting you to do things with them. Yet what about outside your own family. People within the church even that bug you about different aspects about how ministry should be done or how you are parenting your kids. It may seem that they are trying to pull you away from God, but that is when we need to lift our hands toward Him who saved us and gives us how we are to live out our lives. If we meditate on Him daily, we will have the words to say.

The pastor here just came back from a spiritual retreat where he tried to focus on God. He comes back and admitted that it was hard to remain focused on Him for the entirety of the retreat. go ahead try it. Take the next fifteen minutes and try to focus on God for all of it.

Did you find it hard?

It's not easy to do. Especially when you have a slightly scatterbrained mind (SQUIRREL!)

Please be praying for

  • Grace Baptist that we would remain unified in all we do.
  • WOL that we would continue to grow both in numbers and spiritually
  • My assignments that they would get done with time to spare
  • That I would keep my mind on Christ and what He has for me.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Where were you?

Yes I know this is a little late but...

September 11, 2001 is a day that no one could forget. On this day every year since, the question has been some form of the words "Where were you when the towers were hit?"

At the exact time I was sitting in class unaware anything was going on.
I was a fifth grader at Archbold Middle School in Archbold Ohio. When I heard the news I was at lunch (and if I ever go back I can give yout he general area that I was in) when whispers cane down the table "Dude, the twin towers have been hit!" Now whether dude was used I may never know, but it doesn't matter. I looked up at te tv that some of te teachers were watching and sure enough smoke was coming from them. It wasn't until I got home that I learned the rest of the story. No matter what I did I couldn't get away from it. It was on every network that had a newscast. I think we ended up turning it over to PBS when no new news was coming in.

I can't but help wondering what the disciples thought about Thomas after Jesus appeared to them. Here Thomas comes into the room and everyone is like "Where were you?" You just missed Jesus!! Thomas didn't believe it until Jesus showed up a second time.

May we never doubt what happened. Thomas got a second chance for not beleiving but when it comes to 9/11 may we never forget. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Glory

Okay first a quick update

Word of Life (WOL) is getting ready for the official kickoff on Sunday, but small aspects are beginning to shape up in the regular meetings. For example we met downstairs for worship instead of going up to join the adults for the first time since May. This has gone very well and I am excited for how this year is shaping up.

In just a few shot weeks will be the end of the Missions Emphasis month and we have already heard from several missionaries. This last day should be awesome because we are sending our first missionaries as a church. We have supported several over the years, but this will be the first time that we send them out and act as the sending church.

Now some thoughts.

The missionaries that we are sending out are going with Wycliff Bible Translators to Indonesia. There names are Dave and Helen Gullett. They have a daughter Abigail who is, I believe 3, and another one on the way within the next few weeks. Right now they are in the fund raising stages and have a God sized goal to raise and are currently looking for supporters. If you are interested or know of a church that might be, contact me and I can get you their information.

The reason I mention this is not only to help them, but to give a little insight into what I am about to say. Dave has been speaking on Wednesday nights about missions and especially those missions in Indonesia. This past week he mentioned something I want to share with you.

Missions exists because worship does not.

Think about it. In all the locations where we are sending missionaries are the locations in which worship of our God and Savor, Jesus, does not, or if it does in very small amounts. By worshiping God we are bringing glory to his name. 1 Corinthians 10:31 states that whatever you do, do for the glory of God.

This got to me, what would happen if I did everything for the glory of God. My school work, my internship, everything. What would I be doing if I were to give everything to the Glory of God. I fully believe my life would be significantly different. So why am I not doing it. Am I scared for what God is going to do?

I am quickly realizing that I have no clue what comes next. Sure I have a semester left at Huntington University, but after that I have no clue. There is a large hole that is yet to be filled and honestly it is starting to scare me a little. What I do know is that I want to fill it with things that bring glory to God. To inspire worship in places that it may not exist. To be a light wherever God wants me to be.

In Christ,
Alan

Things to pray for.

Missions Sunday September 16 that everything would work the way it is supposed to.

WOL kick off September 9 and rest of year. that God would use me and the other volunteers in a mighty way and that we would impact the lives of the kids God sends us.

Dave and Helen Gullett that their support would come in and that deadlines may be met.

That I would be diligent in my schoolwork

Backpack program that members in our church are trying to start for kids at the local elementary school.


Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Race that never ends.....

The devotional that I shared tonight at the church fellowship or at least what I had down on paper. When speaking I have a tendency to ad lib.

Philippians 3:13-19
English Standard Version (ESV)
13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. 16 Only let us hold true to what we have attained.
17 Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. 18 For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.

All my life I’ve grown up in a family of athletic people having anything from volleyball coaches and refs to baseball, cross country and track. That has made me a somewhat loyal high school sports fan. Over the years I have seen numerous races and have listened in on several conversations around the dinner table about what the coach is telling them to help them do their best and surprisingly, it spells CAR.

The first of these is Concentration on the goal in mind. As runners the coach and my parents tell my brothers not to look back for two reasons 1) you almost always slow down giving the person behind you chance to beat you and 2) you take your eyes off the main goal of the finish line. You lose the concentration and an accident is more likely to occur.

Romans 12:1-2
English Standard Version (ESV) 
I appeal to you therefore, brothers,[a] by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.[b] 2 Do not be conformed to this world,[c] but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.[d]

As Christians it’s easy to look around you and see what everyone else is doing. Romans 12:2 tell us not to conform to the world around us. We are aliens to this world. Our bodies have been transformed to Christ by the renewal of our minds. If we take our minds off of this goal to be like Christ we are more likely to end up in places we don’t want to be. Accidents WILL occur. This can be as simple as writing a Bible truth on an index card and putting it in a location that will be seen repeatedly each day such as the car visor or even better on the middle of the steering wheel. Then as you go throughout your day meditate on that Bible truth and allow it to change you and renew your mind towards Christ. Thus bringing the goal back in mind.

The second word of advice heard around the table is to anticipate the end result. In 1968 Mexico City Olympic marathon the attention was not on the gold, silver and bronze, but the last man to enter the stadium. That man was John Stephen Akhwari of Tanzania. He entered with an injured leg and a time well over an hour after the gold and a good half an hour after the man before him. When asked why he didn’t retire after the gold had been taken he stated that his country had not sent him 5000 miles to start the race, they sent him 5000 miles to finish the race. He anticipated the goal and completed it.

Paul at the end of his life stated in his second letter to Timothy

2 Timothy 4:7-8
English Standard Version (ESV)
7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.
We need to decide what we want the end result to be and do everything in our power to obtain that end. The ultimate goal for us as Christians should be to be with Christ when he comes back and the heavenly prize talked about in Philippians 3:14.

14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

We can also anticipate that God will bring others to come alongside and cheer. I don’t think I have not been to a sporting event where no one cheered or offered some sort of encouragement. I’ve also noticed that the bleachers are almost always near the finish line so that others can cheer the competitors on as they reach the goal of the finish line.

The last word of advice that has come around the table is that of recognition. Not the recognition of others when you win or do well, but the recognition of your weak points. We all have them and no one is perfect. Paul uses himself as an example in both verses 14 and 17 of Philippians 3.

17 Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.

Yet at the same time he knows that not everyone has the endurance and diligence that Paul possessed and writes in verse 15 that God will point out areas that we need to work on and provide the means to do so. We may not always like the solution he provides, but we need to recognize that God wants us to draw near to him. When God points something out to you, ask him to show you how to fix it. Another way is to get feedback from other Christians who you know will give you an honest answer about areas that they see that could use work.

Now we are all running the race that is the Christian life. some are runners, others drive cars, Which if you put the three points together is what we get CAR. Concentrate, Anticipate and recognize. concentrate by never looking away from Christ. Anticipate receiving the prize, and recognize where our weak points are. Keep in mind this week that we are sent to the world not to start the race, but to finish it and in doing so bring other along for the journey to cheer, participate, and celebrate with us as we run with Christ.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Shine




Over the past few weeks I have been busy doing many things that are preparing me for this fall with the ministry season changing and Word of Life kicking in (for those of you who don't know that is our youth ministry's name) This fall the youth have the theme of GOD which should be interesting and an awesome time of growth for all.






We are also getting ready to kick off our Missions emphasis month. Kink of like GO week back at Huntington University but not as compact. There is a family here at the church who is getting ready to be missionaries with Wycliffe in Indonesia. They will speak first then each Wednesday night for 4 weeks. The big finale is having three of our current missionaries coming and speaking over a weekend

Now these two different events show very different ways for our church to shine.They are two aspects of our church that I would say coming from the outside are the jewels of our ministry here. These songs both act as a prayer asking for God to shine down on our church and be the light to the darkness. That and they are two of of my favorite music videos.

Ephesians 5:13-21 states the following:

13 But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. 14 For this reason it says, "Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you." 15 Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, 16 making the most of your time, because the days are evil. 17 So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit,19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; 20 always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; 21 and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.
Each of us it to shine the light where darkness currently exists. The David Crowder video states that we need to shine our light so everyone can see it. Josh Wilson on the other hand asks God to shine his light on us so that others may see.

The passage is states that everything will become exposed by the light. We are a light to the darkness. Scioto County is a very large dark spot in that dark. Just to give you some facts about the county itself.

  1. The county is among the top 10 most impoverished counties in the state of Ohio.
  2. The county has made it to the FDA's top ten watch list for drug trafficking in the past. 
These are just the ones I know off the top of my head. However there is a little hope in the community. There have been several softball teams that have made it really far in the state tournaments. There are also several people wanting to help. Our church alone gives out food to about 150 to 200 people who need it each month. 

This is how we are showing a light in a dark area. Can we do more? Sure we could. However God has told us this is what we need to do at the current moment. Our light must come from God.


Please be praying for our church that as the new school year comes round that we would remain unified and that we would be a light to the darkest areas of Scioto county.

And i leave you with yet another song this time from Newsboys





Saturday, July 21, 2012

PRIME Pics JUNE-JULY

Photo: VBS 2012VBS "love the lord you God with all you heart, with all you soul with all your mind with all your strength." I improvised on the Strength motion.
Photo: The real Alan. I got sniped. I close my eyes for two seconds and this is how they treat me


Photo: VBS 2012VBS set
Photo: That's some bread. Ready for neighbor to neighbor. .50 bread at AldisAldi had $0.50 bread so the pastor and I grabbed it to give to people for Neighbor to Neighbor.

Posing for a redo. Water balloon fight.

The Cast of the Eyelashes


John 1:17, Grace or Law

Over the past week our church has had a Vacation Bible School. God gave us over 30 on and off throughout the week. Out of all the nights Monday was the hardest. We had had several things not quite work out the way I was hoping. To top it off, it was the first time that the church had put one on in several years.

Afterward, I had several of my volunteers come up to me and were very critical of my decisions. At the time I fought for how I had it. When I couldn't take it anymore I left the conversation and went to take care of things outside and think through what had happened. I eventually came to the conclusion that my volunteers were right and I made the changes for the next night and we kept going.

The following morning the head pastor led a devotional on the following passage.

John 1:16-18
English Standard Version (ESV)
16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.
17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
18 No one has ever seen God; the only God,[b] who is at the Father's side,[c] he has made him known.

he focused more on verse 17 than the other two. He stated that there are two ends of a pendulum for leaders. Those who lead by the law, and those who lead by grace.

Those who land in the law side of the extreme will be very hard to budge from what is "written in stone." They will continue to abide by the law that Moses gave tot he Israelite people. These people will also try to follow every small detail to a T.

Those who lead by grace extreme will be overbearing in the way of letting people off too easily. It is very easy for people to walk all over them. While they are showing the grace that Jesus gave us, these people will be almost too relaxed in their actions to see real problems.

We must them find the right balance between the two. there will be times when we have to follow the rules of life and the ministry and yet there are times when we need to show grace and be flexible with the rules and be able to rearrange different aspects of our beliefs.

This is one of those things that I have been thinking about over the last few weeks. I have had to continually fight against evil that is trying to find its way into the church and separate it into bits and pieces. This cannot happen at all costs.

Continue to pray for me as I am on PRIME. The biggest thing for now is done and over with, now starts the second half and the longer half of the internship.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A constant reminder... or is it?

I am second.



The newest reminder to put God first in our lives and that we are to come second in our relationships with Him. I proudly wear a bracelet similar to the one on the right as a reminder of this truth.

I wake up in the morning put it on and go about my day with this constant reminder around my arm to put this truth to practice in everyday life. However some things that have occurred over the past week are making me wonder if I need to take it off for awhile.

Like all things that come like this if you wear it long enough, your body will go through a process habituation. It is much the same as a baby who gets tired of a toy once they have played with it for so long. It moves on to something else. By taking it off it may trigger a reaction to figure out where the bracelet is and thus cause the instant reminder that the bracelet was made for.

Tonight at Wednesday worship God convicted me of something. It was that I was not giving Him my best. I had been working on the Vacation Bible School set and decorations that had ended for the day about half an hour before the evening service was to begin. Instead of changing clothes before worship I came in the old painting clothes I had been wearing. While this was going I noticed that I had not been giving this over to God and that I was starting to sway in the way of pushing God to the side and forgetting that it is all in his hands.

I am failing to put God first.

As simple as that. I am failing to put God first. Without him I can do nothing.

Please be praying that as VBS comes NEXT WEEK that we will all put God First in all that we do.

Also be praying that I would not get stressed out about this and let God work out the details. I have to make some major decisions in the upcoming days that I really don't want to have to make.

Peace be with you

Alan

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Red Sea Project

video

The video is something I made to show the parting of the Red Sea in Exodus 14.

Here are the basics. Pharaoh has just released the people of Israel from slavery to go into the land God has given them. Pharaoh then changes his mind and starts to chase the Israelites as they head toward the Red Sea. The people begin to complain to Moses that it would have been better for them to die as slaves than face the slow and painful death that was sure to come if the Egyptians caught up with them. Moses prayed to God and God gave the answer. God parted the Red Sea just long enough for the Israelites to get across, then as the Egyptians are following God crashes the Sea down on the Egyptians that were "never to be seen again." I can only imagine that this part would look like an Indiana Jones stunt as the last of Israel is running as the water begins to crash the water around the "evil villain."

Over the past week I have had several experiences that will not easily be forgotten.

Friday, I was coming "home" (for those of you who don't know I am living in the church) from grocery shopping with the pastor and his wife, we stop for gas and the gas station had just lost power. So we continue on and as we get closer to the church, we see smoke coming from above the tree line at the church. As we get to the church, we thank God it was not the church that was burning, but the telephone pole outside the church. A car had over-corrected coming around the curve by the church and snapped the telephone pole in two. Now, the not so awesome part is that of all the telephone pole along our road, the car had to hit the one with the transformer for the main power line causing a blackout on the hottest day of June recorded in our area.

Friday night, the biggest storm of the summer so far, rolled through the area. By the grace of God the church did not lose power, but several people in the congregation did. We did lose internet for awhile, but that was nothing compared to others.

Through all of this, at times I want to throw my hands up and quit. Let the church deal with the responsibilities that I have been given. I am doing stuff that I never dreamed I would be doing, like arranging for bounce houses for VBS, helping with a makeshift food pantry each 4th Tuesday of the month, or just simply running a sound board (okay there is nothing simple about that,) you get the picture.

It is times like these where I feel like crashing under the pressure and stress, complaining to God, not seeing his plan for how things are to happen.

I need to start a Red Sea Project. It works like this. Whenever you feel down, like you can't do something, pray and seek God. God will provide an answer, whether it's a big as the Red Sea parting or a small bop on the lead with snorkeling gear, God will provide.

As Moses transferred leadership from himself to Joshua in Deuteronomy 31, he gives these words:
So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the LORD your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.
Take the challenge. Ask God for guidance and He will show you the way.

SIDE NOTE: If you are in the Portsmouth Ohio area July 16-20 and have kids in grades k-6, we would love it if you would join us for VBS from 6-8:30 each night!!

The church's/my address is

Grace Baptist Church
8186 N. State Route 139
Minford OH 45653

Also if you would like join me on Facebook go here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/331157436941506/

Thursday, June 21, 2012

"Temple of the Holy Spirit, to make you fit," well sort of...

Flashback moment to early college in the video below. 



This group consists of four artists from the US, Indonesia and Kenya, each of whom were contestants on their country's form of American Idol. They came to Huntington University and offered one of the most memorable worship experiences I had ever had. To see more of this group find Global Disciples on YouTube. 

Okay now that the shout out is done, I can focus more on the words starting with the chorus

I Walked and Walked Here, there,

For any one who knows my situation, knows that I don't have my driver's licence while on PRIME, and after being down here for a little over a month I have realized that the best mode of transportation is on foot when a motorized vehicle is not available. If I got a bike I am unsure of how long I would last on the roads with all the hills and the twists and turns. The pastor here keeps making a joke every time we pass the house that I was going to stay in originally. There is no doubt in my mind that there would not be a PRIME student here in Minford.

I Searched and Searched Here, There

While down here I keep searching to find the right balance between God time, me time and work time, since I live in the church itself. I am also trying to find the right balance between taking and giving responsibility. When I find it, it will not be too soon.

I turned around, here there

I am also finding that I am needing to just turn around and find God in areas where I I never thought he would be there. As you may have read in previous posts there are numerous creeks and other natural areas scattered throughout the area and I have been exploring little by little. Everywhere I look I am finding new mercies and awesomeness everywhere I go.

There's no one, there's no one quite like Him

How wonderful that we can say this about our God.

It is my prayer for you as you read this that the Holy Spirit would fill you and make you lift you hands high in worship, that he would fill you and make you fit in His image and purpose for your life.

God Bless

Alan

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Wise Man built his house upon the ... Hey where'd the rock go?

By now you should all have the last word "rock" in your head. However, like the title, Where did the rock go?

Over the past few weeks I have had some interesting experiences dealing with rocks.

Last Thursday, I went with the pastor and his family out creeking (aka cricking if you are from around the area). The basics are you go to a local creek and go exploring, whether that include jumping in or just exploring the shoreline. Anyway we found a waterhole that was perfect for swimming, I was going barefoot and thought I had found a sturdy river rock in which to launch myself into the water hole. This rock was completely submerged under water with only a small amount above the surface. Well let's just say that looks can be convincing from above as when I step on it I fall and whack my head on the only part of the rock out of the water. 

Just one of the many reasons to ask where did the rock go?

In the Bible there are many references to rocks. One of them is Peter of whom Jesus said he would build his church. Another is in the parable of the wise and the foolish man. In both instances there needed to be something to make a firm foundation otherwise they would come crashing down when hard times came.

So who moved the rock?

I have to say on that day at the creek, no one moved that rock it is still there and will continue to be for years to come. What did move, however, was me.

There have been times when it feels like I am standing in sinking sand and am drowning in the amount of work I have to pull off to get done in a certain amount of time (VBS in a month for example). What is happening is not that the rock is moving, but my priorities are shifting from God to my work. That is where the real trouble comes.

If you take the leadership that Peter had away from the church you no longer have the church, period. Rome would have wiped out the Christians eventually and we would not be here today. But God helped Peter to become the great leader that he became and God did indeed build the church on Peter's leadership.

When I take my eyes off Jesus and what he is doing in my ministry setting I begin to slip or sink to take things back to Peter. However, the main goal is to have Jesus exulted and to remain unified at Grace Baptist Church. It is here that the Rock must stay, otherwise we will be asking "Where did the rock go?" and by that time it will be too late to save the crumbling walls.




Please be praying for me as I serve that I would not let the Rock leave my sight as I begin to plan for the summer.


Friday, May 25, 2012

Who knew feeding sheep was so hard?

Okay let's admit I am really not good at this blogging stuff. If you have read what was down below in the other posts you would know this.

However, I have been given a gift for serving people and I thank God for this opportunity to server in Minford Ohio.

In John 21 Jesus is speaking to Peter and there is the whole "Do you love me?" deal. While that may be important and all I don't want to focus on that right now. I really want to focus on the answers. The ones that deal with sheep.

I have recently been challenged to view the time I spend on social media to tend and feed the sheep around me. Ministry is moving very quickly to the digital realm of Facebook, Twitter and blogging. Go figure. Anyway, we are being watched every minute. There are people looking on my profile on Facebook that I never would have dreamed would be. Scary enough they are members of the congregation. My flock that God has given me to minister to has suddenly taken on a whole new meaning. My flock is no longer those I see on Sunday, they are the complete strangers I meet on the street, they are those who view my profile online, they are those who many could classify as outcasts.

Just this past week my mentor walks into the church and yells for me to get some shoes on we're going somewhere. I get in the vehicle and he tells me we are going to install an air conditioning unit in a family's home who the mother has cancer for the forth time and there is nothing more the doctors can do. There are three sons all younger than me. Their air conditioner had been stolen in the night while they were in the hospital with mom. After leaving the house I realized that my flock is going to grow while I am down here. What can I say to this family who doesn't know Christ and has basically given up all hope. I whispered a prayer for the family and left the house.

My flock is growing by the minute. My eyes are being opened to what God has for me here. Be praying that there will be change and that God will move in a mighty way in the town of Minford.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Learning to Lean

Well I have made it here and have settled into my lovely basement home. Or should I say classroom made home.

Over the past few days I have really had one scripture that has stood out and that is Proverbs 3:5-6. 
"Trust in the Lord with all you heart. Lean not on your own understanding. In all you ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."
 I have really been learning to lean over the last few weeks. Trusting that God would come through on finances, a place to live and the like. As I was moving in today I realized that there is still more I have to do to master this art.

I need to lean

  • to find where God wants me each day.
  • to make it through each day providing for myself for the first time.
  • that God will take care of the small things each day
  • so that I can make friends outside of the church
Please be praying

new email
alan@gracebaptistminford.com

Join the Facebook group
https://www.facebook.com/groups/331157436941506/

Monday, May 14, 2012

The beginnings


     Huntington University in Huntington, Indiana sends out students in the ministry and missions department out on the journey of a lifetime the summer and fall of their senior year to get training in full time ministry. They can go anywhere in the world they choose as long as they have a mentor who is a full time staff and has experience in the field.
     I am one of those students. My name is Alan Grime and I am a Family and Children’s Ministry major from Hamilton, Indiana. The university calls the program PRIME for short. It’s better than Practical Research and Immersion in Ministry Experience. I chose to go to Minford, Ohio to work at Grace Baptist Church. I hope to post updates here and on my face book group Alan’s PRIME in Minford Ohio.
     My official start date is May 17, 2012. Yes this Thursday. I just got back home from HU Saturday evening and spending the next few days at home before mom and dad take me down to Minford. It doesn’t seem that the semester should be over so quickly. It seems that I should be heading back in a few days for more of the semester.
     I am quickly realizing just how much I am going to miss my family here in Indiana and Northwest Ohio. They had a party for me and is probably the last time I will see most of them until I return in early/mid December. 
     More to come as I head out on Thursday.

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