All the work seems to be done and with an hour to spare. The house has been cleaned, inside and out. SG is about to bathe and get ready. Anita and I are showered and dressed and as if she were taught somewhere in the last year, Rylee is miserable.
Why is it that children seem to be absolutely terrible or unhappy on the day of their party. It’s an astounding statistic I’m sure. At any rate, pray that we make it through the next few hours without a hysterical blowup. And of course, thank you God for giving us such an eventful, dramatic and blessed family.
Working in the yard is strange situation. At times I avoid it like the plague and then other times I can’t wait to get home and get started. Either way there is this incredible sense accomplishment and pride when I’m finished. I stil hate flowerbeds and I’m quite sure I will never truly understand their purpose but I love the way my yard looks when I’ve spent a few hours working on it.
By the way, if you’re reading this and planning on attending Rylee’s birthday party tomorrow, please don’t cirtique my efforts. Simply say, “Yard looks great Phillip” and enjoy the party. I don’t believe I would react well to “pointers” after two days straight of yardwork.
Anita has been working like a true Irish woman getting the kitchen finished for tomorrow. She painted the doors of all the cabinets and our old neighber and friend Brian came by yesterday and put up our molding. The kitchen is looking quite nice.
I can’t help but think of all this fuss we’re going through for one little birthday. Redoing the kitchen, overhauling the yard. I know it’s a tad Sunday Schoolish but it reminds me of “the place He’s preparing for me.” If Anita and I are doing this for just one birthday, think of all God has done and is doing just for us. It’s humbling to think that He would even care much less work so hard to please and bless us.
So Rylee is turning one next week and in honor of her wonderful little life we’re having a small birthday party on Saturday. This presented a great opportunity to do some much needed home improvement and major yard work. After careful consideration and evaluating our decision to undertake all of this work I can say with full confidence that I am an absolute idiot!! What the crap was I thinking?
Oh, and also, flowerbeds are for suckers. I have a strong suspicion that they are a creation of the devil himself. Is the word weed synonomous for demon-plant?
You’d be surprise what a ruckus a little airbrush could cause. On our way our of the water park yesterday one of my friends bought me an airbrush tattoo. I took a picture and sent an email to my sister and my mom. I also made the picture my default myspace picture.
I love the different reactions. Most people love it and I think were hoping it was real. Others gave the passive disapproving “huh.” And still others know me well enough to be suspicious of the authenticity. Either way I do like how it looks. Yes, it is bigger than I would get but I’m not saying no to the possibility of getting one in the future.
My biggest argument against tattoos is the financial element. Given my current financial situation, I believe it would be bad stewardship. Many people believe that tattoos are unbiblical. More than likely they believe that because some legalistic preacher told them so and they believed it without researching themselves. I hate it when that happens. Don’t even get me started on Jay Strack and Facing the Giants with the whole, ”Do not fear is in the Bible 365 times” farce.
I know plenty of incredible Christian men and women with tattoos and plenty of incredible Christian men and women who are seriously overweight. Which one is doing more damage to their temple?
Today our Middle School team is off to do some research at Lake Lanier. After Boot Camp it’s tough to get right back in the swing of things and start working on another event, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.
Okay, I’m not being completely honest. We’ll be spending the day in the water park. We got a bunch of free passes and our team deserves a day off having fun relaxing in the sun. We are planning a fall retreat to Lake Lanier so one could say that we’re doing some quality and safety control of the water park.
At any rate we’re going to have some fun today. I can’t say enough about how impressed I am of everyone’s effort. We’ve gotten some emails from some of our leaders (Thank you leaders! You really know how to make us feel like we’re serving God well.) that give us a look inside their small groups at what God is doing. If any of you leaders have a blog, I’d love to read it. Especially if you’ve posted about Boot Camp or InnerMission.
What can I say about Boot Camp? There really aren’t words to explain what happened up on top of that South Carolina mountain. After ten years of student ministry, this camp is still my favorite! There just isn’t anything like taking 250 almost teenagers and somewhere in the realm of twenty-five small group leaders, watching them connect in a way that could last for the rest of their lives and seeing them encounter and respond to God in a way they never have before.
We only had two students go to the hospital (some stitches and some glue…yeah I know, GLUE?!?) No serious drama, which is quite amazing considering all the brand new volunteers and the sixth graders they were dealing with. You never really think about a student’s first time away from home until you see the fear in a parent’s eyes and walk the student fighting homesickness through the weekend.
All in all, everyone handled the weekend pretty darn well. I am very excited about hearing the stories from our leaders. To see so many students stand and ask Christ to come into their lives was truly a privilege. Thank you leaders for all you did this weekend. Your lack of sleep and pounding headaches will have an eternal effect. I know many of you were the first person those students confessed Christ to. Enjoy what God is doing with you.
Staff and interns of Browns Bridge, Buckhead and North Point Churches, I still can’t understand why I’m allowed to be on the same team as ya’ll. I’m so thankful to work along side of you. What you were able to create, produce, and coordinate is inconceivable. To watch the individual talents and gifts come together in almost perfect formation is amazing. Thanks for giving so much of yourselves to introduce Jesus to these sixth graders. It was an incredible camp. Well done!!
Boot Camp starts tomorrow morning and it really is incredible to see quality individuals pull together as a team and accomplish difficult tasks with ease. For the most part, I am in charge of Boot Camp, our summer camp for 250 of our rising sixth graders. To say I’m in charge is mostly to give someone to ask questions for a final answer or blame when stuff goes wrong. I am more than willing to be that person.
Our staff has been through a lot of transition over the last couple of years including a significant transition in the last nine months. One thing we have learned over this difficult season is focus. This staff is hard working to the point where the job isn’t done unless it’s done to the best possible solution.
Another piece of the puzzle that makes this summer so enjoyable is the exceptional intern staff working with us this summer. They are self-starters with humble hearts. I am truly impressed with these young men and women.
As we arrive at the church sometime before dawn tomorrow I know we are about to experience the most amazing event we have ever had the privilege of being a part of. These students are going to come back with memories they will never forget. They will come home exhausted, encouraged and changed. I love what I do. I love who I work with. But mostly I love who I work for. Thank you God for allowing some young punk to introduce students to you for the very first time. You are amazing!
Okay this is going to be a strange subject for a post but when you experience things or situations that make you stop and notice you just have to share them with others. Please understand that this post in no way diminishes the appreciation or relationship I have with other people in my family but I have to share about my Mother-In-Law.
For most men when speaking of a Mother-In-Law, they are in an agitated or physically ill state. I however am not. My wife’s mom Billie (yes her name is Billie) is often times referred to as a saint. She would argue against that which her humility only adds to the reasoning. Over the decade that I’ve known her, I could count the times I’ve seen her angry…wait, I don’t think I’ve ever seen her truly angry. She is a rock for her family. She has always given when it’s asked and many times even when it hasn’t been. Whether time or money or anything else anyone could ever need.
The prompting for this post is a phone call I received last week while I was away speaking at camp. I had to drive down the mountain each day to get a signal on my phone. About midweek I was checking my voice mail and I had one from her. She was calling to simply tell me she was praying for me and that she was grateful to have me as a Son-In-Law. She also said that she loved me. In case you didn’t understand…that’s a big deal. Mother In Laws don’t traditionally call just because; at least not without agendas. They also aren’t known to bypass the awkward barrier and say, “I love you,” to a child they didn’t raise.
All that to say, the bar has been set and I am a blessed husband. Anita, you’ve got a lot to live up to. I know you can and will be an incredible Mother-In-Law one day. With the anguish and frustration our Son-In-Laws will have to endure with me, they’ll need you.
To Billie, thank you for all you do for our family. Thank you for loving your daughters, grandchildren and even your flawed, stubborn Son-In-Law. You are loved and appreciated. Have fun with Rylee this weekend.
To my Mom, thank you for loving me so much that it takes someone really special for me to notice. I have never been alone or unloved thanks to you. I’ll share about the Mom you’ve been but I’m sure that will be a two-part post at least. It’ll take one alone to explain the birth of Bobby. I love you.
I’ve heard it said, “Great leaders aren’t afraid to hire people better than themselves.” I wish I could fall into either of those categories but I have observed some things that have reminded me of that quote.
For starters, I was out of the office all last week. My boss was gone for half of it and another key person on the team was gone for the week as well. In the past, that equals a lack of productivity for the team. However, this week our interns did more work than some of the years past intern teams completed all summer. Their hard work has given us a lot more freedom and room to breathe this week. Sure there is still plenty to do in preparation for Boot Camp (summer camp for rising sixth graders) but knowing how much is already done allows us to focus on the details. Good thing too. This is our biggest Boot Camp in history. We’ll be taking somewhere in the range of 240 – 250 sixth graders to camp. Along with their leaders and our team. It’s going to be crazy go nuts. (Obscure Home Star Runner reference)
On another note, my wiffle ball team is amazing. If you remember correctly, my former softball team was unable to win a single game in the entire season. The soccer team I coached won three of the last five…okay, three games total for the season. I was asked last minute to Captain a team for our interoffice wiffle ball season. I was able to pick all but two or three of the people I wanted for my team. It shows. Right now we sit happily with two wins and zero losses. I had an off day and my team still won 6 – 2.
I say all that to … well, brag a bit but also to show that sometimes the most success comes from finding people who work well together and letting them do their thing. Even if it means that you do less yourself. As a person who has had a difficult time letting go of ownership to others, I see not only a huge advantage to giving people opportunity but a necessity. If we don’t hire or pick or pull together the right people AND let them work, play or execute we will have a limited success rate. Where would any of us be if someone older and wiser hadn’t given us our shot? What would we have learned? Christ handed his entire message and ministry to eleven men. Yet we get antsy about letting an up and comer handle something without giving us the credit. It’s time we got over ourselves and started pouring into the cups of people who will “do even greater things.”
I’m finally in the ATL! After a long but enjoyable week at Camp Awanita, I was greeted by hugs, kisses and freshly baked brownies by my wonderful family. I love having the opportunity to serve other ministries. Thanks to my amazing wife and incredible church, I am able to take advantage of opportunities like that several times a year.
There is nothing like coming home to a little girl screaming “Daddy” and jumping into your arms. Savannah Grace, for all her three-year-old frustrations, can be the most loving little thing in the world. I know we’ll get through this phase eventually. It was so nice to just sit at the pool with Anita and the girls yesterday afternoon. I am so thankful for the simple little treasured moments we get to spend with them right now.
I must also thank the team over at Fellowship Bible Church. Ya’ll are doing some great things for your students. When I was a student, you wouldn’t think of asking a neighboring Youth Pastor to speak for your students. I do not miss that competition factor that so many churches struggle with even today. Matt Deuel is a great Youth Pastor and I’m grateful to call him a friend. You’ve got a great group of students over there! Thanks for setting me up for success all week and serving me well. I look forward to working with ya’ll again sometime.
I wish other Student Pastors could see beyond themselves and see the potential for what could happen if they started working together to accomplish bigger things. That is one thing I definitely learned from my time in Mullins, South Carolina. It doesn’t matter who gets the credit. It ultimately doesn’t even mater whose group is bigger or has a better band or the coolest room. What matters is if we are doing everything we can to allow God to change the lives of students. Thanks for using me God. I’ll never understand why you continue to allow me to serve You this way, but I am so thankful.