Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Please Take the Mic

A Prayer for Today

"O Lord, open my eyes that I may see the needs of others, open my ears that I may hear their cries, open my heart that they need not be without succour, let me not be afraid to defend the weak because of the anger of the strong, not afraid to defend the poor because of the anger of the rich. Show me where love and hope and faith are needed, and use me to bring them to those places. And so open my eyes and my ears that I may this coming day be able to do some work of peace for Thee."

"No one is too weak, too vile, too unimportant, to be God's instrument. . . . No Christian should ever think or say that he is not fit to be God's instrument, for that in fact is what it means to be a Christian. We may be humble about many things, but we may never decline to be used."

- Alan Paton (1903-1988)

Lifeguard with a Sense of Humor ... HILARIOUS!

Monday, August 30, 2010

My Niece Working Out with My Dad

Jim Wallis on Glenn Beck's Rally

Great words of wisdom from Jim Wallis!
This coming Saturday, August 28 will mark the 47th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, where King delivered his famous "I Have a Dream Speech." Glenn Beck has chosen this day to deliver his own speech from the steps of the Lincoln memorial.
On that same morning I will be speaking at the dedication ceremony of a work of public art that commemorates the words and legacy of King. It is not a protest. Rather, it is an opportunity to reflect on what this great American had to say and is still saying to our country today. Whenever we take the time to collectively consider what that dream was, we all benefit.
My picture has graced the Glenn Beck blackboard a number of times over the past year. I am quite sure that if the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. were alive today, he would have been on Glenn Beck's blackboard long before I would have ever been considered. That is because Martin Luther King Jr. was clearly a Social Justice Christian . . . READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

"Adam: God's Beloved" by Henri J.M. Nouwen

I just enjoyed reading the short, beautiful, and moving book Adam: God's Beloved by Henri J.M. Nouwen. Nouwen was an academic who relocated to live and work in the L'Arche Daybreak Community - a community for the handicap and people with disabilities. He was given the task of caring for a severely handicapped young man named Adam. Though awkward at first, Nouwen began to experience a deep work of God in his own life through Adam. "Adam could not speak, or even move without assistance. Gripped by frequent seizures, he spent his life in obscurity. In the eyes of the world he was a complete nobody. And yet, for Henri Nouwen he became 'my friend, my teacher, and my guide.' It was Adam who led Nouwen to a new understanding of his Christian faith and what it means to be Beloved of God." (From the book jacket.)

Here are some quotes from the book:

"The divine became manifest in the human so that all things human could become manifestations of the divine." (p. 50)

"The 'Christ event' is much more than something that took place long ago. [Incarnation] occurs every time spirit greets spirit in the body. It is a sacred event happening in the present because it is God's event among people. . . . It is God's ongoing incarnation whenever people meet each other 'in God's name.'" (p. 54).

"[Adam] seemed to be without concepts, plans, intentions, or aspirations. He was simply present, offering himself in peace and completely self-emptied so that the fruits of his ministry were pure and abundant." (p. 64).

"I still remember a woman visiting the New House, walking right up to Adam, and saying, 'Poor man, poor man, why did this happen to you? Let me pray over you so that our dear Lord may heal you.' She motioned the assistant to make a circle around Adam to pray. But one of them gently tapped her on the shoulder and said, 'Adam doesn't need any healing; he's fine. He is just happy that you came for dinner. Please join us at the table.' I do not know whether this visitor was ever ready to be touched by Adam, to see his wholeness and holiness in his brokenness, but she did come to realize that everyone in the house was very happy with Adam the way he was." (p. 68)

"While at first it seemed quite obvious who was handicapped and who was not, living together day in and day out made the boundaries less clear. Yes, Adam, Rosie, and Michael couldn't speak, but I spoke too much. Yes, Adam and Michael couldn't walk, but I was running around as if life was one emergency after the other. Yes, John and Roy needed help with their daily tasks, but I, too, was constantly saying, 'Help me, help me.' And when I had the courage to look deeper, to face my emotional neediness, my inability to pray, my impatience and restlessness, my many anxieties and fears, the word 'handicap' started to have a whole new meaning. The fact that my handicaps were less visible than those of Adam and his housemates didn't make them less real." (pp. 77-78)

"Adam clearly challenged us to trust that compassion, not competition, is the way to fulfill our human vocation." (p. 90)

"Substantial parts of our success, wealth, health, and relationships are influenced by events and circumstances over which we have little or no control. We like to keep up the illusion of action as long as we can, but the fact is that passion is what finally determines the course of our life. We need people, loving and caring people, to sustain us during the times of our passion and thus support us to accomplish our mission. . . . That, to me, is the final significance of Adam's passion: a radical call to accept the truth of our lives and to choose to give our love when we are strong and to receive the love of others when we are weak, always with tranquility and generosity." (pp. 90-91)

"Death is such a mystery, forcing us to ask ourselves, 'Why do I live? How do I live? For whom do I live?' and also, 'Am I prepared to die . . . now . . . later?'" (pp.101-102)

"We cannot circumvent our grief. We cannot shorten it. We have to give it time, much time." (p. 118)

"Every time I told [Adam's story] I could see new life and new hope emerging in the hearts of my listening friends. My grief became their joy, my loss was their gain, and my dying their coming to new life. Very slowly I started to see Adam coming alive in the hearts of those who had never known him, as if they were being made part of a great mystery. . . . Is this when is resurrection began, in the midst of my grief? That is what happened to the mourning Mary of Magdala . . . for the disciples on the road to Emmaus . . . for the disciples in the upper room . . . for the grieving friends of Jesus who went back to fishing in the lake. . . . Mourning turns to dancing, grief turns to joy, despair turns to hope, and fear turns to love. Then hesitantly someone is saying, 'He is risen, he is risen indeed." (pp. 119-120)

"His mission is fulfilled. Yet it is not over. It will never be over, because love is stronger than fear and life is stronger than death. Adam's love and Adam's life are not meant for corruption. They are eternal, because they are part of God's love and God's life." (See John 16:6-7, 13) (p. 122)

"I know that I couldn't have told Adam's story if I hadn't first known Jesus' story. Jesus' story gave me eyes to see and ears to hear the story of Adam's life and death." (p. 126)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Baseball Manager Temper Tantrum ... Funny Stuff Here!

Mets Game with Family & Friends

Friday night we were given tickets to go to Citi Field to see the Mets play the Astros. I know, I know ... I'm a Yankees fan and it borders on sacrilege, but it was free. :) Actually, we've seen the Mets play twice now, and both times it was against the Astros - in 2005 we saw them play in Houston. We went with our good friend Stan Kubica, my buddy Tommy LaBarbera, and father and son Mike and Pete Ladenheim. It was a great time. Thanks for the tix Stan! (Mike & Pete came late, and we forgot to take a pic of them. Sorry boys!)

Great Time With Friends from El Salvador

This past week we had the great joy of having some of our very good friends from El Salvador come and stay in our home. Carlos, Raquel and two of their three daughters - Gracia and Laura (unfortunately Deborah had to return to El Salvador early for work) were with us for a few days while visiting the states. We became close during our years at Regent University when Carlos and I were both students and our families lived in Regent Village. What a wonderful time we had reconnecting!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Serve & Swim Week 4

Last night we handed out almost 200 bottles of water to people outside of Waldbaums, helped Pastor Rich Collingridge unload some supplies for a bathroom he's building, and assembled 25 computers for a local school. We then had a great time swimming and sharing about our service experiences.
See all of the pictures from the evening here.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Youth Choir

My New Niece!

Congratulations to my sister April and her husband Lalo (My wife's brother in case you didn't know. I'll give you a minute to do the math ... it's not incest, I promise! lol!) on the birth of their 4th daughter, Sophia Jane who entered our world yesterday weighing in at 8 lbs. 6 oz. They did have a scary moment last night when Sophia stopped breathing and started turning blue in the nursery. They transferred her to the NICU where they are monitoring her for the next few days to try and determine why she stopped breathing. So please pray that they can figure it out and that it won't happen again.

Harvest Fest with AFTER EDMUND!

Tickets on sale at www.itickets.com
Click on poster to enlarge and see details.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Awesome Thoreau Quote

As one who is involved in sowing into the lives of others this quote in Walden by Henry David Thoreau really spoke to me when I read it this evening. It reminding me of the need to constantly recognize that God is doing so much more in people's live than what I am involved with. I need put my faith in Him and trust that He is doing something far beyond what I can see or understand. This relieves me of so much pressure. Knowing that He is the Lord of the Harvest and that I am simply a worker in His field is a source of great comfort.

"We are wont to forget that the sun looks on our cultivated fields and on the prairies and forests without distinction. They all reflect and absorb his rays alike. . . . Therefore we should receive the benefit of his light and heat with a corresponding trust and magnanimity. . . . This broad field which I have looked at so long looks not at me as the principal cultivator, but away from me to influences more genial to it, which water and make it green. . . . How then can our harvest fail? . . . The true husbandman will cease from anxiety, as the squirrels manifest no concern whether the woods will bear chestnuts this year or not, and finish his labor with every day, relinquishing all claim to the produce of his fields, and sacrificing in his mind not only his first but last fruits also." (Henry David Thoreau, Walden, "The Bean-Field" (emphasis mine)).

Monday, August 23, 2010

What Old People Do For Fun

"Tension" by Kevin Mahaffy Jr.

Sometimes I want the dark

Sometimes I want the light

Sometimes I am wrong

Sometimes I am right

Sometimes I long for quiet

Sometimes I long for loud

Sometimes I long for sunshine

Sometimes I long for cloud

Sometimes I want chaos

Sometimes I want peace

Sometimes I suffer famine

Sometimes I enjoy feast

Sometimes I win

Sometimes I lose

Sometimes I’m told

Sometimes I choose

Sometimes I want to love

Sometimes I want to hate

Sometimes I want to give

Sometimes I want to take

Sometimes I like risk

Sometimes I like safe

Sometimes I let it go

Sometimes I chafe

Sometimes I follow

Sometimes I lead

Sometimes I write

Sometimes I read

Sometimes I want to listen

Sometimes I want to talk

Sometimes I want to run

Sometimes I want to walk

Sometimes I want a lot

Sometimes I want a little

Sometimes I like it grand

Sometimes I like it simple

Sometimes I want to stay

Sometimes I want to go

Sometimes I want to say “yes”

Sometimes I want to say “no”

Sometimes I want the stage

Sometimes I want a seat

Sometimes I want things messy

Sometimes I want things neat

Sometimes I feel young

Sometimes I feel old

Sometimes I like the hot

Sometimes I like the cold

Sometimes I want home

Sometimes I want away

Sometimes I want serious

Sometimes I want play

Sometimes I want to live

Sometimes I want to die

Sometimes I want to quit

Sometimes I want to try

Sometimes I want more

Sometimes I want less

Sometimes I try to hide

Sometimes I try to impress

Sometimes I want big

Sometimes I want small

Sometimes I want nothing

Sometimes I want it all

Sometimes I want to build

Sometimes I want to break

Sometimes I want to sleep

Sometimes I want to wake

Sometimes I act good

Sometimes I act bad

Sometimes I feel happy

Sometimes I feel sad

Sometimes I'm the teacher

Sometimes I'm the student

Sometimes I am reckless

Sometimes I am prudent

Sometimes I have answers

Sometimes I have questions

Sometimes I receive advice

Sometimes I give suggestions

Sometimes I prefer alone

Sometimes I prefer company

Sometimes I prefer few

Sometimes I prefer many

Sometimes I want to save

Sometimes I want to spend

Sometimes I want the beginning

Sometimes I want the end

Sometimes I am strong

Sometimes I am weak

Sometimes I want to hide

Sometimes I want to seek

Sometimes I’m the adult

Sometimes I’m the child

Sometimes I am tame

Sometimes I am wild

Sometimes I want to ride

Sometimes I want to drive

Sometimes I struggle

Sometimes I thrive

Sometimes I want it now

Sometimes I want it later

Sometimes I’m the problem

Sometimes the mediator

Sometimes I want to fight

Sometimes I want to surrender

Sometimes I’m the aggressor

Sometimes I’m the defender

Sometimes I want the sea

Sometimes I want the wood

Sometimes I feel I couldn’t

Sometimes I feel I could

Sometimes I want to lift

Sometimes I want to drop

Sometimes I want to start

Sometimes I want to stop

Sometimes it seems like heaven

Sometimes it feels like hell

Sometimes I want to laugh

Sometimes I want to yell

Sometimes I miss yesterday

Sometimes I long for tomorrow

Sometimes I’m filled with joy

Sometimes I’m filled with sorrow

Sometimes I want ignorance

Sometimes I want to know

Sometimes I want to catch

Sometimes I want to throw

Sometimes I’m up

Sometimes I’m down

Sometimes the big city

Sometimes the small town

Sometimes I want subtle

Sometimes I want drastic

Sometimes I want cutting edge

Sometimes I want classic

Sometimes I’m conservative

Sometimes I’m liberal

Sometimes I color in the lines

Sometimes I scribble

Sometimes I want slow

Sometimes I want speed

Sometimes I have

Sometimes I need

Sometimes I want to receive

Sometimes I want to give

Sometimes I’m full of revenge

Sometimes I’m willing to forgive

Sometimes I succeed

Sometimes I fail

Sometimes I want to stay

Sometimes I want to bail

Sometimes I want it secret

Sometimes I want to tell

Sometimes I'm the hammer

Sometimes I'm the nail

Always this is me

It’s true so I mention

All this is we

Life is lived in great tension

Copyright 2009 by Kevin Mahaffy, Jr.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Friday, August 20, 2010

Yankees Game with Family

Had a great evening taking Ady and the girls to Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. The Bombers bombed and got blanked by Seattle, but I guess they have to show their humanity once in a while. Nevertheless, it was a fun night together as a family. My girls can say they saw the Yankees in both the old stadium and the new one. What a privilege! Click here to see all the pics.

Planning or Acting

I woke up with an interesting thought this morning. It's my day off, and as I lay in bed trying to fully wake up, I began to enjoy the fact that I didn't have anything specific scheduled to do. My first thought was, what am I going to do today? I then came up with my plan ... I'm going to get ready, then I'm going to make some coffee and spend some time reading my Bible. Then I realized ... how often do I set the agenda for my day which includes spending time with God? How often do I plan on spending time with God but then things happen to interrupt my plan and it never happens? What would it be like if actually spending time with God became the instinctive starting point rather than something I planned on doing? Sometimes God becomes part of the plan rather than the plan being dictated by Him. Obviously habits are formed initially through planning, but is not the purpose of discipline to become undisciplined. In other words, I discipline myself in something so that eventually I don't need discipline to do it - it just becomes second-nature; part of who I am. When I come up with a plan to spend time with God, am I not in essence beginning my day with "My will be done"? Selah.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Free Slices of Pizza for 125 People!

Last night we picked up trash around a local park and gave 125 people FREE slices of pizza thanks to our great friends @ Buona Sera. This is the second year we have done "Serve & Swim" during the month of August. We take the students downtown, do a service project/random act of kindness for about an hour, then head to one of our student's house for a pool party. It's a surprise blessing to people in the community and a lot of fun for our students. It's proven to be a big hit each year.

David Off to Spain

Yesterday David headed off to Spain where he will be living and teaching English for a year. Before he departed he came over to my house and we had breakfast together. I made French toast. Only afterward did I find that funny ... I( made him French toast in honor of him going to Spain. LOL! He has been such a blessing and a great leader at Planet Impact for the last few years, and while I'm sad he won't be around this year, I am super proud of him for taking on this great adventure. He's blogging at: Davila en Espana. Follow him to keep up on his experience!

Planet Impact Summer Pics

Click on the following links for pics of each of the events:

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

What I'm Reading

Here's one of the many books I'm currently reading. Click HERE to order.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Making Sense of Church by Spencer Burke

Just finished reading the very excellent book Making Sense of Church: Eavesdropping on Emerging Conversations about God, Community, and Culture by Spencer Burke. He beautifully lays out the differences between the modern church and the postmodern, emerging church and offers new images for ministry in the postmodern context. Reading the contrasts between modernism and postmodernism was quite emotional for me. I am a postmodernist living and working in a very modern context, and trying to patiently live in that tension is quite an undertaking. I am sure many others are experiencing the same dilemma. May the Lord grant us grace and wisdom in our decisions and relationships.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Niagara Falls & Upstate NY Pics

Last week we drove upstate to visit our students at Camp Shiloh. We spent an afternoon them and visiting with the folks at camp. In the evening we drove to the Rochster area where we visited Adriana's best friend Erika, went to Niagara Falls and rode the Maid of the Mist for the first time, I got to see one of my best friends from high school, and we got to visit my grandparents. We were not expecting to see Grandma & Grandpa Larkin, but after texting them a picture of us at the falls, we found out they were only an hour-and-a-half away at my aunt and uncle's home near Ithaca, NY, so we made arrangements to swing out and have lunch with them on our way home. They live about 9-hours from us, so we couldn't pass up the opportunity to connect. We haven't seen my Grandma in 3 years! We had a nice time together.

View the entire album here.

14th Anniversary NYC Dinner Cruise

See the entire album here.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Shepherding a Child's Heart

Finished reading a solid parenting book called Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp. Practical and an easy read. Recommended.

100th Birthday Speech

This video is of the mother of John Ruthven, one of my seminary professors. Very moving!

Beth (Bessie) Ruthven was born in Manitoba, Canada on 1 December, 1908. She was 3 when the Titanic sank, 9 when the Armistice was signed for World War I; she was almost 12 when the first commercial radio station aired; she lived through the Great Depression as an adult; was 36 at the end of WW II; 39 when Israel declared itself a nation (a very moving event for her); and 60 when the first man walked on the moon!
In her lifetime she planted a number of churches by herself, then with her husband, John Marshall Ruthven (d.1994). Her last church was the Lincoln Christian Fellowship, started in 1956. Beth moved to Canada to retire in 1986. She now lives in Shepherd Lodge, Toronto.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

World's Farthest Basketball Shot

Walt Mueller in Serious Bike Accident ...

Dear friends of CPYU,

CPYU's founder and President, Walt Mueller was in a serious bike accident on Friday, July 30th. Please pray for him and his family. He suffered 8 broken ribs, a punctured lung, as well as a fractured collarbone and many bumps, bruises and abrasions. His injuries are not considered life-threatening, but he remains in the hospital and he is experiencing substantial pain. God's healing power has been demonstrated over the last couple of days as Walt has made some improvements. However, a long road to full recovery remains. Walt and his family would really appreciate all of your prayers.

Please feel free to visit Walt's Facebook page or CPYU's Twitter account for periodic updates and more information.

Trusting in God,
The Staff of CPYU

Sunday, August 1, 2010