Posted on June 8th, 2012

What an incredibly busy, but fun day!  We got to celebrate Angelica's 18th birthday at a great little pizza place in Canon City.  Canon City where I began my ministry, so it's always fun to share the city with our group.  We decided to spend our day in the Colorado Springs area.  Garden of the Gods is so beautiful and definitely worth the trip if you are ever in the area.  Pictures can't do it justice, but I'll include some anyway.  Everyone had a great time climbing on the rock formations and running around.  We spent our afternoon in Manitou Springs.  It's a beautiful interesting little down on the edge of the Springs.  Think Venice Beach in the mountains.  It's a fun quirky place to visit.  We have one more full day left in Colorado and I'm sure we'll make the most of it. 
Below is Thursday's devotion. 

All the persons of faith I know are sinners, doubters, uneven performers.  We are secure not because we are sure of ourselves but because we trust that God is sure of us.
                            - Eugene Peterson, A Long Obedience In The Same Direction

Before you start this morning, take a couple of minutes to sit quietly and just look around and then pray that God will teach you something about Him and yourself today.  As you read, underline anything that jumps out to you and put a question mark by anything that doesn’t make sense. 

What’s most scary about change for you?  For me, it’s the unknown.  When I hear the word “change,” the word “security” doesn’t immediately come to mind.  I like to think that I approach life as an adventure, but honestly I like knowing what to expect.  I like to know how the story ends just to make sure that it’s worth sitting through.  What if it doesn't end the way I want it to?  What if it’s a huge waste of my time?  What if it’s a sad ending?  But honestly, life without surprises can get pretty boring.  Sometimes I envy my boys.  Aiden, and Paulie a few years ago, can’t swim but he has no problem jumping in the pool if I say I’ll catch him. 

What if life could be an adventure and still be secure?  What would it be like to just jump and trust that God will catch you?   
Read John 6:1-15, 25-35

What initially jumps out to you in this story?
What do you think Jesus wanted his disciples to learn from this event?  What does He want you to learn from this story?
Who are you most like in this story?  Why?
Are there any problems in your life that seem to have no solutions?  What are they?
What would it be like to let God take complete control of your life?  Would it look any differently?  How? 

I think that doubts are a normal part of life and I think that sometimes we feel guilty in those moments when we are having trouble believing.  It’s as if we think that  God will be offended or be mad at us for questioning him.  Sometimes it’s tough to see how God can bring us through something and use our experience for his glory.  Sometimes it’s just tough to see God at work around us, at work in us.  The Bible is full of stories about people who had questions and for whom God provided answers.  God is big enough to handle our doubts.   Use today’s journal page to write a letter to God asking Him your questions and sharing your doubts with Him.  Pray that He will speak to you and answer your questions, like He’s done for so many throughout history!

Posted on June 7th, 2012

I'm always excited when one of our students sees it, when they actually see God at work around them for the first time.  This is typically the part of the week where the times alone with God and the self reflection start to break down the walls and open a path for God to meet with us.  Last night we had a kid stand up with a huge smile that he couldn't wipe away and say that the he was finally honest with God and that for the first time ever felt God's presence.  It's a moment that he will never forget and that will change him forever.  How can we not be changed by an encounter with God.  I'm excited to see how God moves in the rest of the students lives the rest of the week. 

Today we got to see God's handywork on horseback.  For several in our group it was their first time on a horse, so we may have ruined future rides for them.  I can't imagine riding in a more beautiful place.  They all did amazing and conquered another fear.  I'm proud of our groups willingness to try new things and be stretched beyond what is comfortable for them. 
On Wednesday we continued with our trek of Jesus' encounters with people in John.  Below is Wednesday's devotion.

"Earthly love...is temporal and slight so it has to be given again and again in order for us to feel a sense of security; but God’s love, God’s voice and presence, would instill our souls with such affirmation we would need nothing more and would cause us to love other people so much we would be willing to die for them.  Perhaps this is what the apostles stumbled upon."
- Donald Miller,  Searching For God Knows What

Before you start this morning, take a couple of minutes to sit quietly and just look around and then pray that God will teach you something about Him and yourself today.  As you read, underline anything that jumps out to you and put a question mark by anything that doesn’t make sense. 

I believe that we are changed by our experiences, the good ones and bad ones alike.  We’re changed through our relationships with friends and family and, when we let ourselves, we are changed every time we encounter God.  I think it’s in those moments when we catch a glimpse of God and what he has for us that we are changed the most.  Really, how can we not be?  There are some experiences in life that we can never shake, no matter how hard we try, even if we don’t completely understand them.  15 years ago I met God at Mt. Princeton.  I wish I could map out that morning and recreate that experience for you.  I just know that for the first time in years, when God spoke I was ready to listen.  I’ve never been the same.  In our reading today we get to peek in on someone’s encounter with Jesus.  Read John 4:4-30, 39-42

What initially jumps out to you in this story?
In what ways can you identify with the woman in this story? 
What does this story reveal about God’s attitude towards you? 
How does it feel to know that, just as Jesus sought out an encounter with this woman, that he wants to spend time with you this week?
How/When has God demonstrated His love for you?  This week?

“When we least expect Him in our lives, Jesus shows up.  Sometimes when we are actively trying to avoid anything that would remind us that our lives are not as they should be, we find Jesus waiting in the very place we have run to hide.  Jesus never forces himself on us, but he does have an uncanny way of interrupting our thoughts and actions with truthful questions and challenging ideas.  Think about the times Jesus has showed up in your life, as a way of starting a life-changing episode with you.”* - Max Lucando, The Gospel of John

Posted on June 6th, 2012

What an incredible day!  Everyone has gotten settled in and we're quickly getting into the rhythm of the week.  We started our week off on the Arkansas River white water rafting.  The water was a bit low, but we all had a great time.  I was so grateful that we rented wet suits. The water was 42 degrees and completely took your breath away at times. Tyler T. got to try his hand at guiding our raft, and did a great job!   We had a few people take a swim, but that's just part of the fun. 

After a great lunch cooked by our wonderful raft guides we headed up to Cottonwood Pass and then hiked up mountain.  We got a great picture of our group at just over 13,000 ft. standing on the continental divide.  I was really proud of everyone for making the hike.  It definitely wasn't easy in the thin mountain air.  Our real goal was to find some snow, and we definitely did that.  There were several large patches of snow that we were able to play in.  The real treat of the hike was view from the top.  It was truly breath taking!

Our evening devotions and quite times are going really well.  For some of the students, sitting by themselves for half an hour reading and praying is quite a stretch.  Pray that they will be able to sit, be still, and listen to God.  We've been talking a lot about who we were created to be a children of God.  We've had some great conversations already and I'm seeing walls come down.  I can't wait to see where God takes us the rest of the week!

Below is todays devotion.  I hope you'll join us as we walk through Jesus ministry in John.

Tuesday - Time With God

Every day we’ll spend some time reading the Bible and listening to God.  This is your time to spend with God, to pray, to read, and to hear what it is that he wants to tell you.  God may speak to you this week through his word, through creation, through someone else, or through that part of Him that he has put in your heart.  As you read, underline anything that jumps out to you and put a question mark by anything that doesn’t make sense. 

Before you start this morning, take a couple of minutes to sit quietly and just look around and then pray that God will teach you something about Him and yourself today.

Read John 8:1-11

What jumps out to you in this story?
What did Jesus see in the woman that everyone else couldn’t?
Which group or person in the story do you identify with?  Why? 

We’ve all made mistakes.  No one is perfect.  That’s not an excuse, just a fact.  Even on our best days we’re are still flawed.  I am constantly blown away by the fact that God can take a flawed person like me and use me for His glory.  What baggage are you carrying with you?  Is it keeping you from God?  Is it keeping you from seeing yourself as God does? 

I’ve always wondered what Jesus was writing in the dirt.  Whatever it was it made everyone uncomfortable enough that they all left.  I’ve always imagined that as He knelt down He started writing “sins” in the dirt.  Greed, hate, selfishness, adultery, lust, idolatry, abuse…  At some point he had just about covered everyone. 

What word would make you most uncomfortable?  Which word would have made you walk away?  Write it in the dirt in front of you.

Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”  What does that mean to you?

All too often we define ourselves by our triumphs or failures.  That’s what the crowd was doing to the woman.  But, we are defined by God and he calls us a masterpiece. 

Erase the word you wrote in the dirt and replace it with
MASTERPIECE.  Read Jesus’ last statement to  the woman 1 more time!

Posted on June 5th, 2012

Our house number has changed.  It's 719-539-8674.  Sorry for the confusion!

Posted on June 5th, 2012

After a night in New Mexico we finally made it to our home for the week.  Our first stop yesterday was in Canon City to do a high ropes course.  I was really excited and impressed by all of our students!  Even though many are afraid of heights (I tried to convince them that were really afraid of falling from high places as opposed to heights) they were able to successfully conquere all of the high elements.  We begin all of our trips up here with a trip to the ropes course.  It really provides a great opportunity for them to learn to work as a team and see that they can accomplish more than they had ever thought!  The challenge was to as far as you think you can, and then to go one step further.  That theme will follow us through out the week!
We jumped head first into our devotion time and I'm excited about how God is going to work in the lives of our students this week!  They are already asking great questions and doing some great self reflection!  Keep praying that God will move this week!





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