Thursday, January 29, 2009

More on the adoption

Names of our children are withheld for privacy reasons.  For our friends and family that may comment please don’t mention their names in the comment.  Thanks

I know a few are wondering how the whole process of adopting twins came about for us.  First of all we realize that God’s plan for us to have a family is through the miracle of adoption, this is how our family is growing.  Second we realized that our desire to parent was more important than the desire to achieve pregnancy or give birth.  We also know that there are children who need a family and we are a family who desires children, a perfect match.  We are amazed by a birth mom’s love for her child, to give her child the best life she possibly can.

Last summer we began the adoption process by completing a pre-application.  That was about the extent of our effort.  We were looking at the economy and thought there was no way financially we could adopt, as a result our adoption plans were put on hold.  Our prayer was that if God wanted us to adopt, He would need to drop a baby on our laps and provide financially for the adoption.

Fast forward to December 31.  I received a call from our friend at Christian Adoption Service.  She asked me if we would be interested in adopting twins.   I then called Misha and we both agreed we were up to the task, after all we weren’t pursuing adoption aggressively and God dropped a baby(ies) on our laps.  I let CAS know that the only barrier for us adopting right now is the financing.  Plainly and simply adoption is expensive and we don’t have that kind of money.  Long story short the adoption agency is working with us and with some organizations to help us raise the funds.  To finance the adoption will basically be a fundraising effort on our part and another miracle.  Because we had put adoption on hold we had no plan for financing this adoption.

We set up a meeting with the agency for January 7.  Part of this meeting would include meeting with the birth mom (people always want details but we are holding those back until the twins are old enough and interested).  While at the agency they asked us if we were ready to parent twins?  I said, “We will roll with the punches.”  Then they threw the punch, “Your babies were born this morning!”

Life comes at you fast, in a week we went from the parents of 1 to 3.  Thinking we had about 6 weeks to prepare.  Our twins arrived premature.  Both were healthy and doing well.  We were able to go to the NICU and hold and feed them.  It was incredible!

The babies were so small, I was a bit nervous about picking them up.  They were hooked to monitors and there were alarms and noises going off but that didn’t bother us because of our experience in NICU this time last year with our great-niece.  We got to hold them and feed them and they were only about 12 hours old. 

When the nurse placed our babies in our arms I immediately fell in love.  I can’t explain how that happens but it does.  We weren’t sure we could adopt again, I never thought I would have a baby girl, but God had his plans.

Our prayer request now:

  1. The babies continue to be healthy
  2. For their birth mom.  Her sacrificial gift of love is amazing to me and we want to continue to pray for her.
  3. The financing of the adoption

 If you are interested in partnering with us in this adoption please drop me an e-mail me at twinsadoption@gmail.com.

 

Monday, January 26, 2009

Contagious Last Night

Last night was much fun.  Of course I'm not getting much sleep right now due to the sleep schedule of the twinkies but I had a whole lot of coffee yesterday which may have affected my approach and delivery. ;)

Students did much hanging out, playing Skip BO, ping pong, chillin on the balcony.  Adult leaders were mingling and building relationships with students.  A couple of guests last night and a couple of return guests which is really good.   

We talked about peace last night.  Here is the outline:

A PICTURE OF PEACE

 Peace with God

. . . by him [Jesus] God reconciled everything to himself. He [God] made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of his blood on the cross (Colossians 1:20).

Peace with others

Do your part to live in peace with everyone (Romans 12:18).

Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you

(2 Corinthians 13:11).

Peace with self

. . . if the Holy Spirit controls your mind, there is life and peace (Romans 8:6).

[Jesus said] "I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give isn't like the peace the world gives. So don't be troubled or afraid” (John 14:27).

 PROBLEMS WITHOUT PEACE

 Enemies of Peace:

·       Worry

·       Control

·       Purchase

·       Procrastinate

 A SPIRITUAL “FIX”

Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, let me say one more thing as I close this letter. Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned from me and heard from me and saw me doing, and the God of peace will be with you (Philippians 4:6-9).

 Filter the NOISE (verse 8)

Investigate for TRUTH (verse 9)

X-out the ENEMIES of peace (verses 6-7)

Therefore, since we have been made right in God's sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us (Romans 5:1).

[Jesus]"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me, and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me, and you'll learn to live freely and lightly (Matthew 11:28-30).

This lesson is part of a series, All Out War, from Simply Youth Ministry.  To check it out simply click on the box on the top of my sidebar for this series and many more great resources for youth ministry in your church.  Simply's series come with everything you need to teach including promotional materials and Powerpoint materials.

 



Slipping Through the Cracks

Rick is my brother (oldest one) and has written a good post about slipping through the cracks.  So often when someone drifts away and slips through the cracks it is because they have not developed meaningful relationships in the church body.  It's not something that happens automatically, it takes effort on your part and on my part to build these relationships.  Relationships are like glue. 

 "What can we do to make sure no one is slipping away and/or falling prey to the enemy. And if you think missing church isn't a sign of that, you're likely slipping away yourself. " READ MORE

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Chaperone or Minister

As a youth pastor I can't tell you enough how important it is to our youth ministry at NHC to have adults investing into the lives of teenagers.  I learned long ago that is was stupid of me to try to do youth ministry alone.  As a matter of fact all ministry should be done together.  Part of discipleship and growing in our faith is to use our SHAPE to serve Jesus Christ and his church.  There is no possible way a youth pastor can adequately minister to more than a handful of students on his own.

We should always bring other believers along with us as we minister.   The result of years of poor teaching in the church has led many believers to understand the word, "minister", as the paid staff.  Fact is every believer is to be a minister and actively involved in ministry in his or her local church.  A believer who isn't actively serving is spiritually unhealthy just as a believer who isn't spending time alone with God or not sharing their faith.

Cruise around to different youth ministries and you will see adults helping in many youth groups.  Some adults are chaperones and others are ministers.  The difference?  Glad you asked.  Here are seven I can think of off the top of my head:
Chaperones sit around the edge - Ministers sit right in the middle of students
Chaperones stand around and talk with other adults - Ministers stand around talking with students
Chaperones help when it is convenient - Ministers have a desire to serve however they can
Chaperones keep their distance - Ministers dig right into the middle of student's lives
Chaperones are the rule enforcers - Ministers are relationship builders
Chaperones don't "get involved" - Ministers keep up with students outside of the youth group setting
Chaperones help out of sense of duty - Ministers help because that is how God has SHAPEd them
Do you have any to add?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Does your church smell?

Great post from Mark Matlock:

This past Thanksgiving dinner my cousin Connor, who has autism, was able to sit at the table with us during mealtime for the first time. It was a very special moment for all of us. 
Read More Here

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Big News!


Our family has grown!  Our baby twins were born on January 7th.  We had literally 1 week to prepare.  It has been a whirlwind of a couple of weeks.  

It's Snowing!

I've been up since about 6:00AM.  It officially started snowing at 7:48 and it is dumping at a pretty good rate.  We rarely get snow so this is exciting and my blinds are all up so we can watch it snow.  I checked the school site to see if they had cancelled school or not but there was nothign on the site stating that school is closed but I'm sure now that one flake has fallen they are going to cancel.

It will probably be with us a day or two if it stays cold since we have absolutely zero snow removal equipment in our county.  

Recliner - Check!
Blanky - Check!
Macbook - Check!

I'll be spending my morning updating our web sites. 
(after my wonderful mother-in-law cooks some sausage gravy and biscuits) 

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Who is in control?

Who is in control?

When you stop and think about your life ask yourself the question.
When you are planning and plotting out the direction of the youth ministry ask yourself the question.

God's ways are not our ways.  His plans are not our plans.  Often in life it seems I plan only to later realize God has a different plan.  This is why the "it's not about me" attitude is so important.  When looking at the big picture in the life of your church you must realize that it's not about you.  Approaching your small group, youth ministry, choir, style of music, fellowship dinner, coffee in the "sanctuary" (it's really just a room you are the sanctuary), the "it's not about me attitude" makes all the difference.  This attitude will help make being part of a church body a joy rather than a frustration.  If you are frustrated at church check your attitude and ask the question.

Who is in control?  You?  Better get out of the driver's seat and let God take over.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Tonight at Contagious

It's All Out War.  For the next 6 weeks we are taking a look at spiritual warfare.
Tonight we are checking out truth.  We live in a culture where truth is skewed.  We often don't even know what to believe anymore.  How can we trust someone when those closest to us and those who "love" us lie to us.  Take a look at the media and the news and truth can be a hard thing to find.  Sociologists say we see or hear over 20o lies a day.

For a believer truth is so very important.  The Bible says we shall know the truth and the truth will set us free.  Jesus said, "I am the way the TRUTH and the life."

Tonight we checked out:
Truth builds character, spiritual depth and confidence.
You've got to asses the truth in your life, be deliberate with every decision, establish some accountability.

Friday, January 9, 2009

I got the monkey pox!

What do you do when you are sick?  As youth pastor I think I have only missed one youth group gathering in 15 years or so because I was sick.  Not that I'm one of those that drags their half alive, coughing selves to work no matter what.  I'm actually a really big sissy when I get sick.

I was sick last week, I knew Sunday morning when I woke up that there was no way I was going to make it to church that day and most there would not have wanted to catch the monkey pox from me.  I had not been that sick in 20 years.   I put my, "I'm sick" plan into action.
1.  E-mailed the YM team and let them know they would be on their own.
2.  Put one YM team member in the lead.
3.  Knew which video they would show since it was too late to come up with a lesson that someone else could teach.

I did discover the flaw in my plan.  Next time I will have someone who knows where the video is and how to get it.  I will also make sure there is someone who knows how to turn on the sound and video equipment.  I ended up having to drive to the church to do those two things and then sneak back out the back door.  

This is why serving in a church of teams is great.  Every member is a minister.  You don't have to have the "paid guy" there to have youth group, or even worship.  Our team is the best!

Another thing I noticed was that some of our members who have come from various church backgrounds and histories are still carrying some of their baggage.  There are many churches who have this idea that the pastor is to do everything.  Problem is if the pastor is down then the church ceases to function.  We did have a few assume there would be no youth group.  I'm the youth pastor but I'm not the glue that holds it together.  What would happen if I missed next week?  Youth group would still happen.

As a youth leader what is your plan if you come down with the monkey pox?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

OK we haven't left yet had to see some pics of Gwenyth (BUMP)

My post from Gwyneth's Birthday last year:

She is bigger than I thought.  About the length from my wrist to my elbow.  Slightly heavier than they expected also.  She is doing well considering.  
She's all hooked up the equipment but is a beautiful site!
I'm in awe of the miracle of life!
Thank God Tricia and Nathan chose life even in the face of danger.
Now we are leaving.
Keep praying!

Happy Birthday Gwyneth!  Tricia I'm glad you are one tough momma.  Nate you are a great daddy.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Winterfest Pics

Don't let our cute looks fool you.


Imparting wisdom of the ages upon the minds of youth
Actually I think this was "rule time".
Jeremy Camp had some cool lights
Me striking a pose with  loyal youth leader, Bonnie, and her youth
Mikey and me rockin with Disciple

Then it started getting crazy and we had our own mosh pit going.  
Look at sneaky T behind us grabbing Mike as he jumped.
Silly youth workers!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Great Bible Reading Tool

I often read the Bible using Biblegateway.com  It is a great tool that allows you to choose the version and you can compare different versions as well as look up the footnotes and all at the click of the mouse.

Today I found that Bible Gateway has a daily Bible reading plan a person can use to read through the Bible in a year.  You can use the RSS or if you have iCal you can download it to your calendar and simply click on it and jump from your calendar right to the screen with today's daily reading.  It's pretty slick.  

If you don't already have a daily Bible reading plan I would encourage you to check this out.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Purpose Accomplished


Winterfest Trip - $175
Meals - $75
Fuel - $240
Hours of Sleep per night - 5 (average)
Lives Changed - Priceless

Two students trusted Christ as their Savior! (evangelism)  Students and adults stood together last night admitting they needed God's help in an area of their life. (discipleship)  Thirty of us living, sleeping, eating together and not one incident of drama. (fellowship)

Tonight is our last night here.  We will leave the ice rink where we are now and eat some supper then go back to the cabin for some games, movies and man hunt.  Tomorrow we hit the road home.  These events drain my energy but also allow me and the other leaders some great time to build relationships with students.

New Site is up and Running

My new web site which now hosts my blog posts is up and fully functional. You can check it out at andylawrenson.com . There is also a mon...