Our 1MISSION Campaign Page is Live!

1mission_2Several weeks ago I posted about how our IMPACT Student Ministry is going to partner with 1MISSION to build a home for a family in Mexico. Good News – our online campaign page is now live!

We’ve been working the past several weeks raising funds through our Upwards Basketball Concession stand.  We missed one week due to snow, but had 7 Saturdays where we sold various concession items.  Our Upward families were very generous as they purchased items and we are almost half-way to our goal!

Now that the campaign page is live, we can continue to work toward the goal of $4,000 to provide a home for the Ortiz Barajas Family in Puerto Peñasco, Sonora Mexico.

You can read more about the family and what they have done to position themselves to build a safe home for themselves.

Click here to go to our IMPACT Campaign Page.

But you may be asking, “Now what?”  Great question!  Here’s what you can do:

1) Donate!  Seems simple, but the campaign page is designed to allow people to go online and give toward our family.  100% of the funds given go to the project and any size gift is helpful.

2) Share the Link to the Campaign Page!  Let people know about our project by sharing the link through social media.  Get the word out to your friends and give them the opportunity to partner with us as we partner with 1MISSION.

3) Grab Some Friends and Do Something!  We did a concession stand.  You can donate your birthday and have people give money to 1MISSION instead of buying gifts for you.  Wash cars.  Offer to babysit for someone.  Every amount given moves us toward our goal.

We are excited about partnering with 1MISSION to build a home.  Help us reach our goal and provide a safe home for a family while we demonstrate God’s love.

The Parable of the Skittles

A few weeks ago I was listening to a sermon podcast of a preacher in Oklahoma and he told “The Parable of the Skittles.”  I thought is was a great illustration about how we view God and what he has given us…plus it was a good excuse to give my students skittles, play games involving skittles and just have a good time using this story.  This is roughly what he shared in his message.

The Parable of the Skittles

There once was a man who had three sons and he wanted his sons to know how much he loved them.  So he took them to their favorite sporting event – a baseball game.

Early in the game he took them to the concession stand.  To further express his love for them, he bought them each a bag of skittles.  The kids said “thank you” because that is what they were supposed to do and they returned to their seats for the game.

As the game continued, the father turned to one of his sons and asked, “Would you mind sharing your skittles with me?”  The son said, “Don’t get me wrong, Dad.  I would love to share my skittles with you, but the problem is that the bag is not very big and the game is probably going to go long and, you know me, I’m not very good at pacing myself.  So, if I have any leftover at the end, I will gladly give you some, but I need to make sure there is enough for me.  Please don’t think I do not appreciate them, but I think I will hold onto them.”  So, the son didn’t share his skittles.

The father was a little hurt.  He then turned to his second son and asked, “Son, will you please share some of your skittles with me?”  The son said, “Dad, don’t get me wrong, I would love to share these skittles with you.  But the thing is that I really like skittles a lot and you are a grown up and don’t really see skittles as a big deal.  But I really, really like skittles and they are pretty important to me so I’m not going to share my skittles with you.”

Obviously the dad is disappointed that two of his sons will not share their skittles with him.  He turned to his third son and said, “Son, would you mind sharing your skittles with me?”  The third son said, “Dad, don’t get me wrong, I would really love to share my skittles with you. The truth is that I love these skittles so much and I love you so much, I am just going to hold on to these skittles.  I’m not even sure if I am going to open them.  I’m just going to hold them in my hands and keep them as a reminder of how much you love me.  I can’t share them with you because I think am just going to keep them.”

The father was pretty disappointed, hurt and upset with his three sons.  When the game was over, he pulled his three sons aside to talk to them.  He said to them, “Here is the problem.  You don’t understand.  What you don’t understand is me.”

“The first thing that you don’t understand is the skittles are mine.  I bought the skittles and you are acting like they are yours!  How dare you, after I worked and made the money and paid for the skittles, you act like you deserve them.

Here is another thing you don’t understand about me:  I am bigger than you and if I wanted to, I could take those from your hand….and don’t think I won’t.

You don’t understand me.  You don’t understand that I could rain skittles down on you.  I could drown you in skittles.  I could buy you more than just one meager bag of skittles.  I could just pour them out and pour them out and pour them out.  Yet you are hoarding them, you are holding on to them, you are trying to stretch them out and make them last.  You don’t understand me.

And these three boys didn’t understand their father.  Because of how they looked at their skittles, all three of them missed an opportunity to understand the goodness of their father.

So, what are your skittles? What is it that God has given to us that we won’t share with Him?

What Was He Thinking?

I am re-reading “Love & War” by John & Stasi Eldredge.  It is amazing (& humbling) to read something again and have things jump out at you like you’ve never seen them before.  Really points out how easily we can forget things…even really important things.

As John & Stasi talk about marriage, they describe marriage as a picture, a “passion play” of God’s love for His people.  In chapter 2 they write this:  “God created marriage as a living, breathing portrait laid out before the eyes of the world so they might see the story of the ages…God is a great lover, and he created marriage to play out on this earth a daily, living, breathing portrait of the intimacy He longs for with His people.”

YIKES!

Our marriages – our lives – are to be a demonstration of God’s love for humanity. That brings to mind the question, “What was He thinking?”  I mean, really, I know me.  I know how I think, how I justify my actions, how I forget what is important or honestly, that I care more about what I want than what others want (more times than I care to admit). Yet people like me are to model God’s perfect love for others.

While that seems to be a mission impossible, it also should serve as a reminder that God is calling us up into His Greater Story.  It should remind me that my life isn’t all about me.  It should remind couples that marriage is more than just about achieving happiness or even just surviving.  It is about being that living, breathing portrait and pointing back to the love of God.

He Is Jealous For Me

I was listening to David Crowder this morning and one of my favorite songs on his new Church Music CD – How He Loves. I’ve heard that song several times (hope to use it in church some day).  It struck me when I heard the phrase, “He is jealous for me.” One of the things that I thought was one word: “Really?”

How many of us truly believe God is jealous for us?  Truly jealous for us. I think we all fall into the thinking that God is just concerned with the BIG stuff in life – cancer, earthquakes in Haiti, persecution in other countries – but certainly not jealous for me.  Our problems are small compared to what is happening to someone else in our church or community or around the world that we can’t imagine that He is concerned with us . . . let alone jealous.

Then I thought of the verses in Matthew 7:  “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?  If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”

Although I’m not the perfect father, I know how to give good gifts to my kids.  I love the phrase “how much more.”  If I can give good gifts, how much more does God know how to give those gifts?  If I am concerned about the daily activities of my children,  how much more is God concerned?

God is jealous for us.  Really.