fall conference 2011 (cont.)

its hard to know what to write other than it was one of the most powerful weeks of teaching in my life!

"Jesus is our model for life and ministry." this was a phrase that was repeated throughout the week and one that i have come to understand a bit more clearly. on the surface level it seems like a "duh" statement. but in practicality, is that true of my life? is Jesus truly my model for life and ministry? that was the question that i had to answer for myself this week. do i spend my time and energy doing the things that Jesus did? in the past i usually answered this question too quickly and said "yes" before taking an honest and in-depth look at my life, and more importantly, the life of Jesus! after a week of looking at what Jesus did, and what i do, i can honestly say that the answer to that question is a lot closer to a "no" than to a "yes."

but there is hope! the Good News for me is that the Holy Spirit, who descended on Jesus at His baptism and raised Him from the dead, is available to me as a child of God! through the dependance on the Spirit, and obedience to the Father, i can begin to live as Jesus did. it is the highest calling possible to imitate Jesus, but it is what we are called to do as His disciples!

someone said it well this week, that most of us would agree that Jesus is our model for life and ministry, yet we spend most of our time reading about everyone else but Him to determine how we should live and minister. i was challenged this week to take a closer look at the life of Jesus in the Gospels and to fall more deeply in love with Him!

dann spader, of global youth initiative and sonlife ministries, was one of the guest speakers at our conference. i am very thankful for this brother and his passion for Jesus! one of the best teachers i have ever sat under in my life.

our latvia group at conference

... and the other cool thing is that i am home again with my wife! praise Jesus!


fall conference 2011

a bunch of us will pack into two vans in a few hours and make the drive to czech for our annual josiah venture fall conference.

usually this an exciting time... but this time i am feeling a bit sad. anna is not making the trip with us :( and this will be our first time apart since the wedding. i would appreciate your prayers for hers and my heart over the next week and that it would be a blessed time for both of us... and that the week would go quickly!


the apartment 2.0

while my family was in latvia, they helped to clean and rearrange my apartment to make it a bit more "homey" and welcoming for anna. after we finished, it felt like i was on one of those tv home makeover shows because i was surprised how much i liked how it turned out!

we also had a lot of friends and family who gave us verrrrrrrrry generous wedding gifts. this allowed us to buy a few things that we needed for the apartment, like a wardrobe and drawer set for anna, and a bed that we both fit on! such a blessing!!!

we are still not 100% unpacked and settled in yet, but this will give you a good idea of what our apartment looks like now.

when i moved in (entryway):


when i moved in (bedroom):


when i moved in (living room):


when i moved in (kitchen):



just read an interesting article on usatoday.com about new research that has been done on homosexuality.

you can read it here; "does it matter if only 1.4% of people are gay?."


life themes

have you ever noticed when your life seems to take on a certain "theme" for an extended period of time? when everything that youre reading happens to be talking about the same general topic? when conversations seem to steer themselves to that topic?

well, i do. for example, in college i seemed to always be reading, hearing and studying about God's faithfulness. as this was happening, i would see His faithfulness on display time and time again in my life and in the lives of people around me. this "theme" continued for several years. the craziest thing is that now i actually believe it to be true. God is faithful. it took me a while, but i know that now. not solely in an intellectual way. but through experience.

ever had that happen? i may be alone in this. it may mean that im just a slow learner, but it seems like this is how God often teaches me. but this is the type of teaching that causes real life change. i see life very differently after a "theme" passes. i am changed.

lately, it seems like i have had more "themes" on the burner than normal. i guess i have unknowingly graduated to spiritual pre-school. and here they are:
  • God's goodness and care for His children
  • though often hard to understand, God's timing is always perfect
  • the spiritual battle that we are born into and Jesus' victory over it
  • lies that we believe to be true
i say all this to ask you, what is God currently teaching you?

i would love to hear about your "themes." feel free to share your thoughts and comments.

im off to bed.


my current jam(s)

a good friend of mine just sent this one to me...

and heres an oldie but goodie...