Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Day 1





Flew over the Alps to land in Aviano. Kyle & I saw a former/future coworker Angie Keen.




Landed at Al Udeid and were assigned to transient lodging (tents and bunks)

I grabbed a shower and slept from 7-12







I'll be posting more after I go where I'm going!

Miss you all!!!

Posted from my iPhone

Monday, August 24, 2009

This far; No further.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7 NLT)



In Star Trek 8: First Contact, Capt Picard has had enough with retreating from the enemy. Last night we took a stand in our household. Our pastor challenged us to pray as a family to turn the tide. In service, I thought I would wait and see what my wife says, but sometime during the day I decided to ANNOUNCE we would do it.

I'll be honest it was a bit awkward because I was expecting protests but how can fellow Christians disagree to gather together and pray? All of us knew our home needs it. So at 9PM I gathered everyone in the living room and started out. I began to pray boldly asking Christ to change the dynamics of our home. Then Judy prayed in agreement and then Josh took a turn. We then all prayed again.

God exceeded my low expectations. We agreed and lifted up our home in prayer and just asked God to change patterns of conduct which broke down barriers - or at least fractured them. Afterwards we talked like we haven't in a long time. Conversations flowed and I could tell our simple step of obedience blessed us.

So if the enemy is advancing and even friends are saying give up, I recommend you draw a line in the sand and say no more. I believe our house will never be the same. We may stumble, we may fall down, but we won't give up.

How about you?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

How Much Does God Love You?

John 17:23
"...and that you love them as much as you love me." (NLT)

"...and have loved them even as you have loved me." (NIV)

"...and loved them, even as You have loved Me" (NASB)

"...and loved them In the same way you’ve loved me." MSG

This verse astounds me. I stumbled upon it while my time in Germany was winding down. I was a little disappointed in how things had turned out. Then I hit this verse.

Jesus was praying for us (those believers to come) and in His prayer, He utters these words. Saying that the Father loves us in the same manner as He loves JESUS. He's talking about US. Loving struggling believers and JESUS the perfect ONE in the SAME MANNER. How awesome is that? Hope it blesses you!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Ruby Falls


Often when driving to Atlanta (and by often I mean 4th time), we would say let's go to Ruby Falls. I mean every barn or billboard from Nashville to Chatanooga advertises both Rock City & Ruby Falls. Well this time we finally did & it was a blast! Here are the pics



































Saturday, June 20, 2009

I have that book!!

Last week I was in a decision making class. During one of the breaks, we started talking about marriage. Someone told me to get the "5 Love Languages" book. Without thinking, I exclaimed "I have that book but have not read it!". Everone laughed .

Well tonight I was thinking about how I need to buckle down and read more & just looked at all the books I have unread (or unfinished) on my book shelf





Numerous bible studies from Kay Arthur & Spirit Filled Life (polar opposites I know)




The next shelf up has bibles, marriage books, self help, etc





And more bibles, Matthew Henry commentaries, & a Strongs Concordance that let's me look up the bible words in the Greek or Hebrew language. I asked my dad for the concordance on my 16th bday because I was going to be a pastor :). He inscribed it:



"To Stephan on your 16th birthday. May God always be with you & guide your path thru this life, Love Dad". Pretty awesome of him to write in it. That alone makes it worth keeping!

And now I can say I started reading the books on my bookshelf!

Post From My iPhone

Friday, June 19, 2009

Scotland Bike Ride

Went on a little bike ride - so much nicer riding in Scotland than Oklahoma! However, the bike I rode was a little scary - it was a reject that was nit used for the bike project.

Here are some pics:






















Post From My iPhone

Friday, May 15, 2009

Fraternity Days


Just scanned some pics from my days at ECU in Ada. I left my Christian school in beautiful Tennessee to live in Ada, Oklahoma. Maybe I should have prayed about it more...

I have an old photo album and here is the first picture in it. Zane & Curtis were being stupid. Zane did the art stuff and Curtis, well was his beast of burden. Looking at this picture is bitter-sweet. Zane passed away in November 2008 and it still is hard to look at old photos.


Wrestling in the lounge. You know me I'm not a fighter...hiding behind the camera. The guy throwing people around was Wade Hampton. He dated a girl name Beverly. I will never forget that because we pledges would sing walk like a Wade Hampton to the tune of Walk like an Egyptian. Then in monotone chant - "I love you Bev, I love you Bev." Mimicking some dude that would walk around hunchback playing with his ring.

My buddy Zane liked to pose...



and pose.



Zane Wiggins (Feb 6 1966 - Nov 2008)
Miss you brother.

Friday, May 8, 2009

@meintweet goes to Scotland


This all started with me going to morning prayer and then breakfast with our associate pastor Nathan and some Master Commission students. While I am hanging out with them, I was asked once again to go to Scotland. So to stop it, I call my supervisor figuring there was no way I could just take off two weeks of unscheduled leave in the middle of an audit. He tells me go ahead and my wife also gives the green light. So after a day of caffeine, I get hyper and say I am in. So about a month later I am heading to Scotland...did I mention I normally don't fly unless I have to?

We depart OKC early April 22 to make our journey. After 3 flights and some horrible sleep, we finally make it to beautiful Scotland. Even as I am nodding off, I know this will be a wonderful experience.

Our missionary friends in Scotland, the Blairs, live in the country near Lilliesleaf and rent a beautiful home. It made missionary life suddenly seem appealing to me. The home was actually built in 1865 and on the property there is actually a memorial tower. The missionaries son plays the fiddle and goes up in the tower sometimes to play. Exploring the area was a nice way to stay awake when your body is screaming for sleep.




Our first day in country we actually had the youth group over. Now here in the States we get spoiled with large youth groups and sometimes whole activity centers. But in Scotland the youth consisted of a few young men that don't even attend the same church. They just come together on Wednesday nights to worship via accoustic guitar and the fiddle.

What greatly impressed me was I thought we would have to pump them up but they came ready to sing and you could tell they were worshipping with their hearts. It was awesome. The missionary, John Blair mainly wanted us to just hang with them and "be real." Well with me he got more than he bargained for as this video shows - a combination of jet lag and the fiddler got to me.





Our first project was a clean up project. Right away we were making an impact on our community. Couple of Scots walking by said we would be there all day. I wonder what they thought of the Americans all the way in Scotland picking up their trash.

The ministry we were assisting is the Gala Christian Center in Galashiels, Scotland, UK. The small church was having an impact on the community. In October they started collecting bikes to send to Africa. The local newspapers advertised it and it got to the point they had to turn down bikes. They plan to continue this project in the future. Our part was loading the bikes into a container which was a huge relief to the missionary pastor!

Ghana Bike Project from John Blair on Vimeo.


Following the bike project we spent the next two days in Galashiels. First to meet folks and invite them to the Sunday service, and then we attended a Church of Scotland service and shared in the Gala Christian Center service. During my time wandering around I wound up in a historic house for some cappuccino. While in there I noticed Christian artwork and it turns out the artist was a manic depressive who was diagnosed in the States and came to know Christ as her personal savior. She expresses her walk with Christ and struggle with her disease through her art. We exchanged a few e-mails but unfortunately we could not meet.


While over in Scotland we took some time to see Edinburgh, Sterling, and I took two bike rides with the missionaries son (@thefiddleman). Here are some pictures from the castles, the streets, the parks, and the scenic bike ride. I loved it. If the Scots spake German I'd be at hem.

We even got to meet the local superhero - the Blue Cross Defender.



Although there weren't massive conversions, we were a help to the missionary family, the associate pastor and his family and the church. Plus we cleaned the place up a little :) What I took away was the sense of community the church had and how they reached across denominational lines to do touch lives in Galashiels, Scotland, and far away places like Ghana.

Finally, I want to thank countrygirlie and IJ for their huge support in my getting to go.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

My Jerry Maguire Moment

During a Sunday service, I felt impressed to share with my co-workers of my disappointment at being a poor reflection of Christ. As the night progressed, events occurred that just built momentum.

The next morning I sat at my computer and composed the following e-mail and, while hitting the send button, I said things are going to get weird!

Dear co-workers:

You are receiving this because I interact with you daily or have in the past, or you are in earshot of my cubicle.

I am struggling with writing this e-mail. Yesterday during church, I was kind of reflecting on how I convey Christianity in my conversation and actions at the workplace. I really believe I've earned the "christianish" label and really hypocrite or lukewarm would be better. No one is perfect but I feel my conversation has taken an even more negative turn. I've been negative about my faith, marriage, work, etc. In no way conveying what I PROFESS to believe in...it's like there is an [work] Steve, Home Steve & Church Steve and unlike George Castanza I NOW want my worlds to collide.

Right before 9th grade, I being an unchurched boy, asked Christ to be my personal savior. It was a 180 turn in my life that people could see - genuine joy in my life. This was a transformative experience as I went from a C student to an A student and Christ in me was a core part of who I was not just a Sunday thing.

As an adult, I've became what I despise - a religious man, instead of someone that has a relationship with Christ. A lot of it is frankly double-mindedness and not renewing my mind daily in personal devotions. Trying to walk in two different worlds. For example, crass joking and negative talking should not be a part of someone who claims to follow Christ who promises us just not life but life more abundantly.

Last night I went out with a group of young Christians that are in there 20ies to early 30ies. As the conversations wound down, one lady said I have to say something. She thanked me for being an older person that has a passion for Christ and someone the younger males can look to as an "example" or "mentor". As she is saying this, I thought, what would [co-worker names withheld] think if they were sitting here hearing this compliment? More importantly what would my wife think? Is this even remotely what they see at home or work? Would it make them want to
puke? That all the more made me want to send this e-mail to you.

So I guess what I am trying to do is apologize for the person that I have been. The last thing I ever would want to do is be guilty of turning anyone away from Christ because of my conversation or behavior. I've been content to take Jesus out of the box on Sunday and then tucking Him away for the week. Trying to live of off Sundays sermon for the week. Being too distracted with the urgent to take care of the important. And frankly it's not working for me nor does it for anyone.

I'm sorry for saying/professing one thing but acting out another. Not trying to butcher myself publicly but genuinely sorry for bringing any reproach to Christ.

I'm not looking for an acknowledgement or how I'm really not that bad. I am telling you I am and have fallen far short of what I believe a Christian should be and I am believing this is a step into making amends for that. I want my faith to be real and relevant in all of my life including my job and my interactions with you.

So now I have taken the easy step to apologize...now comes the hard part to live it. Hope you see a difference in me as I endeavor to follow Him a lot closer than I have been.
After sending it, I got up and grabbed some coffee and let it hit people's e-mails.

I sat down and read a response from my pastor that basically said bold move! So I re-read my e-mail and just said "wow!" I then said I am having a Jerry Maguire
moment. To which the guy next to me replied "the mission statement", and laughed a bit awkwardly. Another co-worker asked me what was going on with me and I just said the e-mail conveyed it and I needed to get it out. He asked if I was afraid it would be elevated up the channel. My response was no and I even included my supervisor. Another co-worker said it was encouraging and he was having similar thoughts.

It has been only one day since the e-mail went out but I have experienced pure joy in my workplace that I cannot recall. It has been liberating. I am not claiming to have arrived. I just conveyed what I believe the standard is and what I hope to demonstrate. I eventually want to demonstrate and say "follow me as I follow Christ!" I like that it is out there!

So what do you think?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Test

Trying out an iPhone app so I can blog more often since the kids hog the laptop

Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday 13th

My wife and I were silly 20 years and 1 month ago. We thought we should get married in Janaury on Friday 13th. How weird was that? I guess we should have went all out and walked under ladders and had black cats all over the church. The groomsmen and I could have worn hockey masks.

If you're considering a January wedding - don't!! Spring Summer or Fall but not Winter.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Hung Jury

But I'm deadlocked on what to post!