We Are Not Alone

24 December 2009

I ran across this the other day while getting things together for this year’s Christmas Eve service. We used it two years ago on Christmas Eve, and I thought it was still a good reminder.

Christmas Eve 2007

We are not alone.

The shepherds were alone; together in one place but isolated from normal, respectable society. Huddled together for warmth but alone watching their sheep.

Mary and Joseph were alone; passing the night of their child’s birth in a barn behind an inn filled beyond capacity. On the greatest night of their lives they were alone in an unfamiliar little village far from their own home and families.

Herod was alone and plotting to stay that way by whatever means circumstances required. Schmoozing, scheming, murdering to retain the title “king of the Jews,” a title that could never really be his.

We are not alone.

God did the unthinkable, the unbelievable, the unimaginable. God did the very un-godlike thing and became like us. He put on flesh and lived and worked and scraped his knees as one of us.

And we are not alone.

Immanuel, God with us.

God is with us.

God is with us.

Us.

You. Me. Them. We.

Immanuel, God with us.

We are no longer alone.

Merry Christmas. Glory to God in the highest and on earth, and peace to all on whom his favor rests.


What We’re Up Against

22 December 2009

Want to see why the rainwater tanks Ugandan Water Project installs are so vital? Check out this video as George Nsamba takes us on a short walk to see what was the only source of drinking water for a community in Kawanda, Uganda before the Ugandan Water Project installed rainwater collection tanks on a nearby church.

This is a perfect example of the water crisis in Uganda and why I’m driven to go. Please partner with me in the effort to provide clean, safe drinking water to communities across Uganda. Click on Support to find out how you can be part of this adventure.


This Is War

18 December 2009

Dustin Kensrue’s This Is War many be one of the best new Christmas songs of the decade, but couple it with the video below and it becomes hauntingly, wonderfully mind-blowing. Watching it made me shudder…in a good way.


Uganda Update

17 December 2009

Just a quick trip update and a thank you. I’m encouraged by the number of people who have already signed up to bring hope and access to clean, safe water. As a part of this team, you are meeting one of the most fundamental needs we have as humans. Thank you.

UgandaLast Friday I was on a Skype video chat with our Ugandan host, Pastor George Nsamba, and a couple team members. It was good to see people’s faces, ask some questions and be encouraged. I’m really looking forward to finally meeting the team face to face, though that probably won’t happen until we rendezvous at JFK in New York City on the way to Uganda.

Speaking of being encouraged, we’re nearly 25% of the way to the trip goal of $3500. A few online donations, something from an old friend and a couple donations handed to me this week go a long way. One of my youth group kids opened up his wallet and handed me everything he had on him. It was the most beautiful $8 I’ve ever seen.

That really gets to the heart of making change like this. The needs seem so big, and we feel so small. There are a few Bill Gates and Brad Pitts out there with star power or vast financial resources, but real change happens when a lot of average, every day people get together and do whatever they can. That’s what you’re doing.

I’ve set up an Amazon Wish List with things I’ll need for the trip. More items will be added, but you can link to it from the support page. You can also find out how you can help fund trip supplies.

I’ll have more updates soon. For now, be blessed and know that in being part of this team you are bringing cups of cold water to people who need a drink. That’s a very good thing.


Erin’s Holiday Debut

17 December 2009

Erin had her first speaking part in the first grade holiday program. It was a four line poem, and she knocked it out of the park. Here’s a little video of the moment.

The program also included a rendition of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker using BoomWhackers. Mrs. Duncan is the world’s greatest music teacher!


Andrew Marin

11 December 2009

Andrew Marin's bookI first heard Andrew Marin talking about what made him start The Marin Foundation on the Neue Podcast. Beyond feeling a connection with the heart and vision, I was struck by his honesty, vulnerability and passion. He didn’t hold anything back, and he didn’t whitewash who he had been. I’ve been reading his latest blog posts, and two things strike me. One, I was right about his willingness to be honest and vulnerable. Two, I need to do more than just agree with him.

If you have some time, care about people and want to see Christians connect with LGBT people in a real way, head over to his blog and check out The Marin Foundation. I really think this could be a game changer in the relationship between the Church and the LGBT community.


Online donations

8 December 2009

I am a geek. I like gadgets and tech stuff. I spend a lot of my day online, so I love the way that online giving has increased and matured.

Last year The Salvation Army launched their online red kettle drive, so this year, I signed up for my own kettle. I got a donation within 30 minutes of posting the link on Twitter. I need to promote it more than I have, but I was stoked to see such a quick response.

Yesterday, I launched the online part of my Uganda trip support strategy. Of course, I had to give a way for people to give online, so I put up a PayPal donate button, and my first online donation came in. (Thanks, JK.) This is so cool to me. It feeds my geek.

Okay, that’s all for now. And, no, that is not me in the picture.