Monday, August 31, 2009

Hotel Hotel

A classic youth ministry video that my daughters wanted to watch tonight, so you all get to enjoy it as well!

What Good Will It Be If I Gain the Whole World But Lose My Family?

While I absolutely cannot stand country music, the message in this video speaks to why I am passionate about breaking the stereotype of pastors. This video assumes pastors functioning in a traditional, Western, modern way. One of my former pastors used to preach "family first" and, using a play on the words of Jesus, said: "What good will it be if we gain the whole world but lose our families?" I battle against these temptations regularly, and I am far from perfect, but by God's grace I hope that I am moving toward and modeling a different, more healthy kind of pastorship. Selah.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Tremendous Daily Meditations!

Last week I happened upon a link to the Center for Action & Contemplation. I signed up for the free daily meditations by Fr. Richard Rohr, and have been blessed and challenged by his reflections each day. If you would like to sign up to receive these great little devotionals, you can do so here.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

My First Picture

Dad just sent me this picture - the first one ever taken of me. Sleep is still one of my favorite things to do. lol! April 21, 1976

Friday, August 28, 2009

Down to One - Embrace This Pain

My friend Dennis King is the bassist. Good stuff!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Youth miniStarZ

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Last Serve & Swim

Tonight was our final Serve & Swim of the month. We broke up into 8 different groups picking up garbage on the streets of downtown Smithtown and prayer walking as we went along. It was really great and we had probably 20 bags of trash in just one hour. Afterward we went to the Jainarine's house where we swam, ate, and laughed a lot. It's been an awesome month!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Sunday - Tuesday

On Sunday the London team attended our second service. Pastor Brian greeted the congregation with team mascot Busby Bear in hand. It was a riot! During the afternoon we had a fun time playing and relaxing at a pool party at the Fenimore home.

On Monday we went to the home of a 91-year old woman just around the corner to clean her yard which was overgrown. I had discovered that she was recently put into a nursing home, so no one had really been keeping up with the yard work. For two hours we removed tree branches, vines, etc. and cut the grass. About an hour in her son came by the house to do some work inside and his jaw dropped as he saw our team working. All he could say was thank you and that he was just blown away. Before we left, we circled around Joe and I prayed for him and his family. He was extremely grateful for our kindness. After a much welcome stop at 7-11, we went to Hobbs Farm in Centereach and worked the rest of the day clearing two fields of weeds so that the watermelons and squash that were hidden below could grow. Hobbs Farm grows and gives food to the poor of Long Island. To date this year they have given away over 5,500 lbs. of food and could give away even more if they had more volunteers to work the land. We were happy to have helped and know that our service was a great blessing and encouragement to Ann who volunteers full-time to run the farm. When we finished our work we prayed for Ann and headed home to clean up. That evening we took the kids to the mall and then enjoyed a nice final meal together at the Cheesecake Factory.

Today I was back into the office for our pastoral staff meeting. At 2:30 p.m. we loaded the London team into the shuttle and drove them to JFK to fly home. We had an amazing week serving Jesus together. You can read about our adventures on their blog.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Friday & Saturday

Yesterday morning we were up early and on the train into the city. We got up to Harlem at 10 a.m. and worked on the New York City Relief Bus until 2 p.m. feeding the needy and assisting them in getting connected to rehab programs, housing, local churches, etc. That evening we visited uptown Manhattan and then spent the night in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn at Living Waters Fellowship. This morning we helped the church with their community breakfast and children's sports program. This afternoon we took the train back to Long Island. After some down time and dinner we took the team out to prayer walk downtown Smithtown. It was an awesome time and a real privilege for me to facilitate and observe students growing in their sensitivity to the leading of the Holy Spirit and their boldness to pray for the needs He brought into their hearts.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

More of the Same

Today we again did a food truck with Lighthouse Mission, this time in Port Jefferson Station. We fed probably 75-100 people, and also made balloon animals and did face painting for the children. This evening we gave away free pizza and soda to about 100 students a Sunken Meadow State Park. The students were there as part of a summer program hosted by the Smithtown Veterans. It is out second summer partnering with them to bless the students of our community. Tomorrow morning I am off to New York City with our London Team where we will be working with the New York City Relief Bus and helping with a feeding program and children's program Living Waters Fellowship in Brooklyn. All glory to God!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Loving People by Serving

I've hardly had any time to blog these past few days. I've been very busy, constantly shuttling our London team around NYC and Long Island doing outreaches. On Tuesday the team worked on a farm that grows food to give to the poor. In the afternoon we went out east and did yard work for a woman who was recently diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. Her children were absolutely in shock and blown away that we would come out and do such a thing. The daughter commented to me, "I can't believe how hard they are working. They are really hustling!" When we were done we had removed tons of garbage, branches, bags of leaves, etc. They said they have never seen their property so nice. Before leaving we prayed with the children. We later found out that some ladies had gone in to meet with the woman while we were cleaning, and that she had accepted the Lord. Wow! And to think that it all happened because we were willing to go and do yard work!

Today we partnered with the Lighthouse Mission and worked in Central Islip unloading and distributing a truck of food and clothing to the needy. The students from London shared testimonies and prayed with people, and we ministered to approximately 150 people. This afternoon they helped move three pallets of bricks for one of our pastors who recently moved, and also prepared bags of candy to be distributed to local businesses. At 5:30 p.m. we joined up with over 60 kids from our youth ministry for our August Serve & Swim, and hit the streets going from business to business giving away the bags of candy. I also made a contact in Waldbaums and he allowed us to set up tables and give away free bottles of water to people. As they were doing that others collected shopping carts from the parking lot and picked up trash. Several people stopped and asked us what we were doing and why, and we just told them that the love of Jesus compels us. In the end we gave away about 150 bags of candy and 175 water bottles. That's over 300 people who were touched with simple kindness and the love of Jesus in our town today! Of course, when we were finished serving, we went to Lily's home and ended the night swimming, eating, sharing, and praying. So fun!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Bowery Mission

This morning I was up at 5:30 a.m. after just 2 1/2 hours of sleep and off and running. I met our team from London at the train station and we headed into the city for a day of work/ministry and some sight-seeing. We worked for 5 hours at the 125+ year old Bowery Mission (the red brick building seen above) preparing and serving lunch to hundreds of people, sorting donated clothes, cleaning, as well as leading the noon chapel service. We did a ton of work and the team was outstanding. After that I took them to the South Street Seaport, the Staten Island Ferry from which we saw the Statue of Liberty, and Chinatown where the team did some shopping. We arrived home at 8 p.m. and enjoyed a nice dinner together prepared by our chef John Long. I am totally wiped out! I will sleep good tonight. May fruit remain!

Hosting Missions Team from London, England

Yesterday we excitedly picked up a missions team of ten people from London, England whom we are hosting for a week-and-a-half of ministry. We worked with them two years ago in London, and their youth were inspired to go on a missions trip of their own. Today we are thrilled to see their vision become a reality and glad that we get to be partners again in kingdom work. We will be doing many things together across Long Island and in New York City. If you would like to link up with us, drop a comment (sign your name) and we'll let you know what we're doing and how you can help.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

First NFL Game & Breaking Down in the Bronx

On Thursday a friend called me and said he had 2 tickets for the front row on the 50 yard line at Giant's Stadium to see the Jets pre-season game against the Rams for the Friday night game. Having never been to an NFL game I jumped on it, and on Friday afternoon Ady and I drove to the Meadowlands for the game. The tickets included access to the Stadium Club restaurant, so before the game we enjoyed an awesome buffet. We then made our way to our seats just 10 yards behind the Rams' bench. The game was quite enjoyable, and during half-time we even connected with our friend Jimmy, his son Vincent, and Pastor Todd and his son Taylor who were also at the game. A guy came down to us and asked in we were a Hollywood power couple and wanted to take our picture. Actually, I think he was a smoothy who just wanted a picture of my beautiful wife, but we had fun and then had him take a picture of us with our camera. The one sad note was a Rams fan who was there with his son who was being loud and obnoxious. No big deal for us - in fact, we had fun laughing at his boisterous ways, but sure enough he got into it with another guy and they almost got into a fight. The security guard separated them, but near the end the Jets fan got up to leave and just had to start in. They cursed each other out and got in one another's face. During this time we were caught up watching the guy's little boy who was terrified of what was happening. He was trying to be courageous, but his lip was quivering as he horrifyingly watched his daddy almost get into a fight. The security guard then went to the guy and told him he would have to leave. The poor little boy! His excitement of going to a pro football game with his daddy. Daddy got obnoxious and couldn't control his temper. Not their evening out together had turned into a sad disappointment. As they were escorted out the little boy was crying as the dad walked out proud of his manliness. It was so sad! All this boy is going to remember is how the night ended. What a sad legacy!

After the game we drove home. After a bit of traffic on 95 we were cruising down the Cross Bronx about to get on the Throg's Neck Bridge when suddenly I got a flat tire. We had never had to use our spare, so when we went to find it, we were surprised that there was not one in the back. We drove to the nearest exit - about 1/2 mile up - and got into a gas station. There, looking through the manual, Adriana found that we might have a tire under the middle of the vehicle in between the front seats. Sure enough, there it was. I figured we would be on our way in five minutes. Unfortunately, the spare tire cover would not come off, and for over an hour I tried unsuccessfully to remove it. Finally we called the insurance company who said they would send someone out to help us. A half hour later they called me back to inform me that we were in a restricted area and they would not be able to help us. Dang Bronx! I tried for another hour to no avail. Finally, at 1:30 - 3 hours after we got our flat - I was sweaty and exhausted, and I told Ady we would just sleep in the van and deal with it in the morning. She was not keen on that idea and decided to go into the gas station to see if they had some tools. Tools were not going to help, but I wasn't going to stop her. A couple of minutes later she came back with a number for a 24-hour tow company. We called and the guy said he would be to us in 20 minutes. He ended up towing us a couple of miles to a 24-hour tire-repair place. For about $100 we were towed, got our tire plugged, and got on the road home. (Even the tow guy and the tire repair guy could not get our spare off. Crazy!) We got home just before 3 a.m. and I have never had a more satisfying shower or better night of sleep in my entire life. What a fun date with a memorable exclamation point at the end.

The Lord's Prayer by 2-Year Old ... Absolutely Adorable!!!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Martin Luther on Violence

"I will preach, speak, write, but I will force no one; for faith must be voluntary .... Do you know that the devil thinks when he sees men using violence to propagate the Gospel? He sits with folded arms behind the fire of hell, and says with malignant looks and frightful grin: 'Ah, how wise these madmen are to play my game! Let them go one; I shall reap the benefit. I delight in it.'"

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Serve & Swim Recap

Tonight @ Planet Impact

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The North Fork

For our anniversary yesterday Adriana and I enjoyed listening to some Frank Sinatra and taking a relaxing, peaceful drive through lush vineyards and farms to Orient Point at the end of the beautiful north fork of Long Island. Along the way we stopped at Raphael's Vineyard which was featured on The Apprentice a few years ago, a lavender farm, and walked along the beach. Later in the evening we went out for a very nice Italian dinner.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Happy 13th Anniversary to my Beautiful Bride!

Today Adriana and I are celebrating our 13th Wedding Anniversary for the second time. (We got married twice for those who don't know. And there was no divorce in between. April 28, 1996 in the U.S. and August 10, 1996 in Mexico which was our church wedding.) I am grateful to God for blessing me with such an incredible and beautiful woman who challenges and sharpens me every day.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Home from Camp

Just arrived home from a week at summer camp. Really awesome time meeting with God, having fun, and making new friends. I was privileged to be the speaker for the camp and had a blast sharing God's Word with such cool people. Will post some pics when I have a chance.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Daughter #2 Rides 2-Wheeler!

So after my eldest daughter learned how to ride her bike last week, the younger one decided to go for it all by herself yesterday. Borrowing another girl's bike here at Camp Shiloh, she took it on the grass, and with no help from anyone, taught herself how to ride a 2-wheel bike in just 15 minutes. She came running in the house to tell us. We were not sure whether to believe her, but when we went outside, she was racing around at top speed. Wow! Go Natalia! So proud! I will put the video up when we get home.

Having Fun @ Camp Shiloh

Hey everybody! We are alive and well and having a fun time at camp. I was violently sick Saturday night and it was a real miracle I even made it here. But God is good and after a rough day Sunday yesterday I seemed to be through the worst of it and today I am much better, thanks God. Sunday evening the kids got registered, had dinner, and in the evening had an opening chapel at which Pastor Laurie Crowley gave a great message to open the week. Yesterday was full of activities including kayaking, swimming, water skiing, tubing, etc. They also had team competitions climaxing with a slip & slide water balloon race which was quite comical to watch. In the evening I spoke at chapel about the glory of God, laying the groundwork for our messages this week based on Isaiah 60:1-3. At the end of the message dozens of kids came forward and made commitments, and this morning we heard reports that several kids received Christ for the first time. So exciting! This morning we had skill classes and chapel. The kids are walking to lunch right now as I look out the window. The camp is posting daily pictures and videos on their website Blessings to you all! Thanks for your love and prayers!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Off to Summer Camp!

In just a couple of hours we are off to summer camp! My computer is going in the shop for repair while we are gone, so I am not sure if I will be able to post pics here on the blog. Check back to see, but I am not sure. You can visit the camp website, and I believe they will be uploading pics throughout the week: - PK

Newsboys Concert Pics

Check out my pics from the Newboys Concert in NYC July 31st! Click here to see.