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Personal Thoughts

Dublin, Ireland
Hello friends and family. This is a site that I have created in order to keep you all informed with what is happening with the Lord's ministry here in Ireland. I pray you will find this page beneficial to you. I hope to post all of my updates on here, as well as some pictures. May Christ's peace be with you all today!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

May Pictures

Some Pictures from West Cork.

May Update

I have found my last couple of months here in Ireland to be quite full and busy. This last weekend we had a church retreat at West Cork, and this next weekend I am helping lead music at the DV8 weekend away. I am also looking forward to a one day youth event that I have been helping to plan which will take place on the 14th of June. As I look to my last full month of living here in Ireland, I find myself both excited to get home and sad to leave. You never realize the relationships you build until it is time to leave them behind. God is good.

This past weekend was a wonderful time of fellowship as we took a trip down to West Cork as a congregation. Although some people were unable to attend, those that did go had a truly blessed time. God is good and the Holy Spirit was moving in people’s hearts this weekend. It is always so wonderful to get away and spend time with others in fellowship that glorifies the Lord. I always enjoy getting out of the city and into a more country type atmosphere. The weather was absolutely wonderful, and I just praise the Lord for the time we had.

Something God really refreshed in my heart this weekend was to remind me that we are created in His image. God in the trinity is a relational God, and being in His image we are a relational people. We need it. We need that relationship with God and with others. It’s imbedded in how we were formed. We know this to be true because the most important commandment is to love the Lord your God, and the second is to love your neighbor. Relationships are what are important, not the busy things we do in our day.

God reminded me that through following Christ, I can now reflect God’s character in my own life. It is not about the things we do or do not do, but it is all about loving our God and loving those around us through relationships. I really love the concept of taking what Christ has done for me and reflecting it onto those around me. Christ forgave me even when I was a sinner; therefore, I should love and forgive those around me even if they have wronged me. Christ shows me grace and mercy. I should reflect that character in my own life and show grace and mercy to those around me. In all things we should take what God has done for us and bounce it back to those around us. We should be a reflection of God’s character. We were created in God’s image and we should reflect God’s image.

I know that some of this may seem basic, but it is so easy to slip into this idea that I have to be a Christian by doing "stuff." We are not trying to be Christians; we are Christians. We are only made righteous in Christ. Rather than trying so hard to be a good person and a good Christian, I believe we should be focusing on what really matters: relationships. That’s what God wants. He wants a relationship with you, and to reflect what He gives you onto others.

Kevin and I have both been helping to plan a youth event with other Methodist youth workers in the Dublin area. The event is going to be called “Ultimate,” and is hopefully going to be a consecutive event. The plan is to have this youth day in June, and to begin to plan for another event in December. We have a few kids from our congregation we will be taking, and our minister Bill is going to be taking some kids from our neighbor church in Lucan. I am looking forward to seeing how God uses this event, and the events to come, to impact the lives of our youth. Please keep this event in your prayers.

As I look to what is going to happen in July after I return to the States, I find myself really uncertain. I don’t have much of an idea what God has in store for me. I have continued to do my best to worry about today and let tomorrow worry about itself. However, tomorrow seems to be rapidly approaching! I have applied for the music director job at First Denver Friends Church, and am still just trusting that the Spirit will lead accordingly. Please keep me in your prayers as I seek the Lord’s will for the next step in my life. I want nothing more than to be obedient to Him.

Thank you all for being so faithful and supportive of the ministry happening here in Ireland. The things happening here would not be possible without you. His grace, peace, and unspeakable joy be with you always.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

April Pictures

Leading Music at Avoca

April Update

This past month I had the opportunity to go to a leadership conference in the UK. I traveled down with Kevin and a few other friends really not sure what to expect. Although my Friends background combated the charismatic approach, the Lord was really able to use the teaching to speak to me. The three day conference was packed full of speakers who would each speak for about an hour. After a speaker was finished, we would have about a ten minute break before the next session would begin. Needless to say, here I am a couple weeks later still trying to process all that was said.

The line that ran through the entire conference was the importance of relying on the Holy
Spirit for everything. So often we can find ourselves looking at a problem in front of us and trying to do all we can to solve it on our own. I think we sometimes forget that God knows what is going on and knows what the needs are. Furthermore, God knows the answers to these needs. We need to constantly be developing our relationship with God in order to be able to hear His voice and follow His leading.

I also had the opportunity to serve at a kid’s camp this last month. What a blessing that was. I was responsible for the music as well as being a leader for the weekend. It is always a blessing when you get to teach kids about whom Christ is, and it is even better when you have the opportunity to pray with kids about making a decision to follow Christ.

Just before the weekend came, I became sick with the flu. I could hardly move on Thursday, and often wondered how I was going to be able to do the weekend which started the next day. Although I wondered how I was going to do it, I never considered not going. I have been excited about this camp and was looking forward to serving at it.

The leadership was very nice to me and made sure to give me some slack as far as being up for the early meetings and even giving me an opportunity to rest in the afternoon. However, when I was resting I found the Lord really drawing me to his word and to spend time with Him. I thought to myself how much I wanted to just take a nap, but the Spirit kept drawing me to just rest in Him. I have to tell you that this was a remarkable experience. As I came to the word, and simply spent time with the Lord, I physically became more rested and rejuvenated. It was incredible. I did not receive some great revelation from the Lord, but God through His Holy Spirit filled me up. It was incredible!

Often times I find myself going to the word and making it about discovering something new, or having some grand revelation. I was reminded from this weekend that it is not all about getting some great new insight, but is simply about spending time with our God. It is about having a relationship with Him. That’s what He wants. He just wants us to spend time with Him so that He can fill us and give us the strength we need to carry on. When we turn to Him He gives us all that we need.

A fourteen year old boy from Jobstown who used to be in Kevin’s youth club was hit by lightning on Saturday and killed. Ireland hardly ever has lighting and it was quite surprising to me to hear that somebody was actually struck. Please pray for this situation, and pray that God will somehow be able to use it to direct people to Himself.

I want to thank you all for your continued support in all that is happening here. Please continue to pray for the church and for the city of Tallaght. May the Lord be with you in all that you do.

Monday, March 10, 2008

March Update: Refreshed

In the book of Ecclesiastes we read that in our life there is a time for everything and we will often go through seasons:

1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:

2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,

3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,

4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,

5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,

6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,

7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,

8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

- Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

I must admit that these past couple of months has been a bit rough for me, but praise the Lord that He is faithful and pulls us through even when we struggle. I am a human, and just like all of us can get easily distracted from doing God’s will. Satan is so cleaver and so subtle, that often we do not even see what is happening around us until if feels like it is too late. The good news is it’s not too late! Praise the Lord! It’s funny to me because I have been obedient to come here to Ireland, but following God’s will does not stop there. I must be obedient to what He tells me to do here as well. He does not want part of me, but all of me. In order for me to be affective in the ministry He has me in, I must be fully devoted with all my heart to the work that He is doing today. What does God want me to do today?

25"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

28"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”- M@ 6:25-34

It is too easy to get wrapped up in the future. It is too easy to make plans that may or may not happen. It’s hard to say, ok Lord you worry about my future, I’ll worry about what today. However, that is what we are called to do.

I have been reminded, and want to share with all of you, about the importance of spending time with our Lord on a daily basis. We are not to do it out of duty, but need to do it in order to function as a follower of Christ. The Holy Spirit fills us and will continue to fill us, but if we don’t remain in Christ then how do we expect to function?

“4Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” – John 15:4

It is impossible to live out our live with Christ if we don’t spend time with him in prayer. If we can learn to strip away the formalities of prayer and learn how to just speak with God how wonderful it would be. How beautiful it would be to be able to sit down and have conversations with our God through His Spirit. But this can never happen if we do not set aside time to meet with Him. If we fail to do this we will quickly become depressed and stagnate in our relationship with Him. But when we remain in Him we are filled with joy unspeakable, and assured with a peace that brings hope for the future!

Things have been rather busy for me this last week, but it has been really good. I have really enjoyed some of the different opportunities that God is providing for me here. Last Tuesday I met with other youth workers from the Dublin Methodist circuit. The purpose for the meeting was to try and start creating some events for the youth to attend. One idea proposed was to have an annual summer camp, along with other smaller weekend events throughout the year. The conclusion of the meeting was to first of all begin with a day event that we are hoping will take place in June. We have a new couple attending the church that I mentioned last month found our church through my blog. They have two children ages 11 and 13 who I hope to be able to bring to this even in June. The youth workers plan on getting together a couple more times in order to plan this event. Please be praying with us as we seek the Lord’s wisdom on how this weekend should happen.

I have mentioned the need for a full time youth worker here at the church and the need just seems to keep growing. I have spoken with Bill about the idea of meeting up with youth from the Lucan church in order to do a joint Tallaght/Lucan youth group. Apparently they have about five or six youth who are around the same age and do not have anything for them other than on a Sunday morning. I would really like to see something develop that is for them.

I have mentioned before that we have many young kids who will soon be old enough to attend a youth group. It would be wonderful to have something stable set up for them to go to when they are old enough. Please pray with me for God to raise up someone who could come and do full time youth work here. It would be easy enough for someone from the States to come and do what I am doing now. The church is more than happy to have somebody from the States to come over and live in this house and work with the church. That is such a huge blessing as it truly cuts how much money is needed to be raised in order to live here. However, God knows what he is doing and will bring the right person here from wherever that person comes from.

I am a bit nervous about our Easter morning choir performance, but am excited about it as well. We have had trouble being able to practice every week because of other things that are happening in the church. We will get to meet once more before we sing at Lucan on Easter morning. Hopefully it will be a blessing for both those involved and those listening.

When I first arrived in Ireland we had a couple at church who ended up moving to a different church. They called me recently and asked if I could help them lead music at a kids camp that they are doing the first weekend in April. I was able to go to a meeting last night and meet with many of the other leaders that will be involved in this camp. It was such a blessed time. I am really looking forward to this camp and seeing God move in these kids lives. I once again had the chance to meet new people who have a passion for following Christ and want to see His will done. I will be meeting with some of them again in order to practice for the weekend, and am really looking forward to the opportunity to serve with them.

Kevin and I are going with some other people at the end of this month to a leadership convention in England. I have been looking forward to this for a long time and we are finally getting close to actually going. Kevin had the opportunity to go to this convention last year and said that it was very good. I don’t really know what to expect, but am anxious to see what the Lord has to teach me.

As always, God is a work here in Ireland. It is a privilege to be called by the Lord and I am thankful for all He does for me. Thank you all for your prayers and your support. You play such a huge role in impacting Ireland for Christ! Hallelujah! May He fill you all with peace, comfort, and joy that is beyond description!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

February Update

How are we all doing? I hope and pray that this letter finds you all well, and that the Lord is continuing to work in mighty ways in all of your lives. We serve an amazing God who is truly always moving. What a blessing it is to be called children of God!

Many of us can still recall when the group from Ireland came over and visited Denver a few years ago. Phil was one of the two men that came a week after the bigger group arrived. Phil works in Dublin’s city center at a homeless shelter run by the Salvation Army. Often times in Phil’s work he comes across men who are struggling with drug addiction. Recently Phil was able to link up with an organization call Teen Challenge, and has been able to send a few of the people he has been in contact with through this program. The trouble has been that Teen Challenge does not have a men’s home based here in Ireland. The closest one was in Glasgow, Scotland; and so Phil has had to send these men out of the country in order to go through the program.

For a while now Phil, along with other friends from DV8, have had a vision of getting a Teen Challenge men’s home up and running here in Ireland. A lot of thought and prayer has already gone into the project, but it still needs more. Please pray for the Lord to grant these men with His wisdom.

The reason I mention all of this to you is because I am here to update you on what I see God is doing in Ireland. Keith Flynn, Kevin, and Shirley are also involved in the project and I am certain that all of you are interested in their lives as well. I am telling you thing because this project needs your prayers. God is doing amazing things; however, this is by no means going to be an easy ministry for anybody. I am thankful for this ministry, and am thankful that there will be a place in Ireland for drug addicts to go. This will be a place that not only helps them to get off drugs, but also teaches them the truth of who Jesus Christ is and how he can transform their lives. Please pray for this ministry and for all the leaders involved.

We have officially started a choir at the Methodist church and things seem to be going quite well. I originally had about 12 people come up to me and say they would like to participate, but have only had about 7 actually come to practice. However, this is a start. We are practicing an arrangement of the Easter Hymn “Christ the Lord is Risen Today,” in order to be able to sing it at the Lucan Methodist church on Easter Sunday. It has been a bit of a stretch both for me and some of the members singing, but it has been a fun challenge. Please pray that we will not simply do a good job, but that it will build fellowship through being able to sing together.

I continue to be amazed with what happens here at the Friday night youth club. It seems that every Friday I feel discouraged before I leave to go play soccer with the kids. There always seems to be something whispering in my ear that it is not worth it. However, every Friday after all is said and done I come home uplifted and encouraged. God is doing something with these kids and I believe that Satan does not like it. I believe that he will continue to do all he can to discourage me from this ministry. Please pray for me to be protected from these spiritual attacks. Please pray that God will give me the strength to persevere every week to meet with these kids. Like I said, I know that God is doing incredible things in their hearts.

We have decided to only bring the same kids back to the church every week. At first this may seem kind of harsh, but it has actually been a tremendous blessing. We are able to meet with the same kids every week, and they have actually calmed down a lot. We have a curriculum that we are using and, although the kids would not admit it, the kids seem to enjoy it. Every week I am worried that they will get board and want to leave. However, last Friday they worked on their worksheets for close to 40 minutes without a complaint. They were asking me questions, and anxious to fill out the correct answers. It was so cool to see it. It is also quite humorous to watch them as they all swear quite a lot. You are never really prepared to hear both the “F” word and “Jesus” used in the same sentence when “Jesus” is used in the correct context.

Please continue to pray for these kids as well. Pray that their hearts will be softened and prepared each week to hear what the Lord wants to teach them. Pray that they will be protected from the harsh environment they live in. Pray they will be protected from getting involved in gangs, drugs, or alcohol. There is so much trouble available to them, and is quite frightening. They need your prayers.

I have been speaking to our minister Bill about the future, and have seen a need here at the church for a full time youth worker. The church has a lot of kids between the ages of 8-12 who are soon going to be teenagers. While I have been here they have always been under the care of the children’s ministry, but they are quickly going to be growing out of that. The church is open to having somebody come from the States to do full time youth work under the same arrangement they had with me; however, that is not the only place a youth worker could come from.

I ask that you will pray with me for God to raise somebody up who will be able to be affective here in Tallaght doing youth work. I desire for God to raise up someone who will be able to tackle both church and un-churched kids. Again, I know God is working in the hearts of the kids who come on a Friday night and I would love for someone to come who would be willing to invest in them as well.

As always God’s work is continuing to take place here in Ireland. Please continue to pray for me as I seek the Lord’s will for my own life. I thank you all so much for your prayers and support. You are such a large part to the ministry that is happening here. Thank you all so much for being obedient to our wonderful Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. May He bless and keep you all.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

RTE' Television Service

Preparing for the RTE' Television Service.