Would you recommend the Ipad?

A number of people notice I’ve been using my Ipad to teach on Sunday mornings which typically prompts the question: would you recommend the Ipad. So I figured I’d blog about it. The short answer is no, not for everyone. I personally don’t see the Ipad as a “must-have” for everyone but for what I do, I love it. So while I know when you see a new gadget, some of us think, that would be sooooo cool. But stop and ask yourself what you want to do with it. So allow me to share some of the things I love and not so much love about the Ipad (in case you care):

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High School students interview

A few weeks back I interviewed 3 of our high school students about their faith, their culture and how they live as Christian students. I was so grateful that these are the kinds of students we have at Grace and it’s been a privilege for me to work with them a little more closely (along with Pastor Steve who did most of the work) lately. AND I’m excited that our new Pastor of Student Ministries, Mark Allen will be able to work with students like these. Anyway — take a look at the interview and you’ll hear the hearts, as they represent many in our student ministry:

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When it’s really home

People often ask me if Minnesota is now “home”. I’m not sure when it really happened and I’m not sure how it really happened. But yes, Minnesota is home. Sure I’ll say, “we’re going home” when we visit our parents in NJ/PA — but Minnesota is home. Home is not necessarily a physical location though. For example, for the first year or two, Minnesota was a place I was visiting. Sure I lived here, I was learning all about it but it didn’t FEEL like home. So that got me thinking – when does some place FEEL like home? And what is it that makes it feel that way?

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Second Service on Sundays

So, for the past many weeks now, we’ve been busting at the seams during second service on Sundays. The last two Sundays, there were not enough seats and there were chairs back to the back wall. In some ways you could say, this is exciting and fun. I would agree – it is fun! But then I think about February 13th — we’re asking everybody, not just a few people – but everybody to bring a guest. What if we all actually did?? Right now there wouldn’t be space to hold them all. But it’s bigger than one Sunday — what if God is at work in our church in an exciting way right now and as leaders, we need to respond to this? I don’t have a lot of answers, but it’s definitely at the top of my head right now and we’re beginning to think it through.

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Explaining the Unexplainable

So there I was Sunday morning, sitting in a worship service, the second one of the day – going through my thoughts in my head of what I would share, taking in the experience and once again being caught off-guard by a tangible “spirit” or should I say “Spirit” in the room. Maybe caught off-guard is a little exaggeration, but it never gets old when it happens. Sure as I write the message the week before and as I drive in at 6:45am praying — I am expecting and believing that God will show up — but when He does, it’s still breathtaking. I can’t really explain it. Sure I may try to point to my brilliant point, or my “pain in your side from laughing so hard” piece of humor (I hope you’re reading the sarcasm here) or even to the perfect placement of a song or a video. But the truth is it’s none of those things, or all of those things — it’s God, Himself, choosing to show up and use what we’ve put together to accomplish what only He can. But it’s also the people – it’s people who are willing to “go there”. Sure I’ve been a part of services that were well put together, had the perfect songs, an emotional plea, a connection — yet they fell flat. So what I’m saying is it’s not just what’s done on the stage, it’s what’s done out in the room too. And somehow, when those pieces come together there’s a kind of “magic” that can happen.

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Partners in Evangelism

My whole life growing up as Christian, I always knew I should share my faith with non-Christians. It was easy to create shame and guilt in my life by simply bringing up the topic, because I knew I should, but I wasn’t really doing it. I don’t think I’m alone. I believe there are many Christians who know they should share their faith and even want to see certain people they know become Christians, yet they don’t act. Maybe it’s the fear of rejection, maybe it’s the fear of looking dumb, maybe it’s not knowing what to say or just waiting for the “perfect” opportunity that never seems to come. When I was younger and wrestling with this reality, I said to myself, “if I’m ever in a position where I can help other Christians to live out this aspect of the mission, I want to do something.”

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Guest Blog: Lisa Stonehouse — Warm OJ and Raisins

I’ve talked with Lisa and she may offer some periodic blog posts for you all to read — she’s awesome, but I’m a little biased, but I think you’ll enjoy what she has to say, she is definitely a better writer than I am! So here ya go:

Warm OJ and Raisins

So I’m sitting here in the living room this morning viewing breakfast dishes on the table and the jug of orange juice that should be back in the fridge by now. There’s a package that arrived over a week ago that still hasn’t found it’s place, pillows strewn about the floor and an open box of raisins sitting on the side table that Christina was snacking on before dinner last night. Jessica and Sydney are on their way to school and Christina is still sleeping in her crib. And here I sit – with a laundry list of things to accomplish in the house today – I sit in quiet.

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