Every year at MMS for the last five years a group of us have met each morning before breakfast for a short time of Bible discussion, prayer, etc. The last couple of years, Rod Trent has helped us get a meeting room at the event…am expecting he will be able to do so again this year. I will post more details about the location and specific times closer to the event. In the past we have met for about a half hour while allowing time to grab breakfast and get to the first meeting. Probably will end up being something like 7:15-7:45 or 7:30-8:00 Monday-Friday. Might need to adjust a bit this year since both of my speaking sessions are currently scheduled for 8:30am!
Look forward to seeing you there. If you are planning on coming, please leave a comment below or email me via my contact form.
This is a message for anyone going to MMS 2011 in Las Vegas who would be interested in coming to a morning Bible study/prayer time. This will be the fourth year running that a group of us have met before breakfast on Tuesday through Friday mornings at the event. The group has varied from year to year based on who was able to come to MMS, but we’ve had a good turnout and some good connection time every year. I’m looking forward to reconnecting with some of the “regulars” as well as meeting some new folks.
This year I will be leading the study time again and will be taking us on a brief tour of the book of Romans. My current plan is for the first day to be a high level overview of the book and the other three days to specifically look at Romans 12. I’m early in the prep though, so that could change!
If you would like more info on the study, please email me to let me know. Same as every year, I won’t be posting location on the blog to protect the privacy of whoever is hosting the study…I will be emailing specific location information to those who email me.
Looking forward to seeing you there. Two weeks and counting!!!
This announcement is a bit late this year because I wasn’t sure that I was going to be able to come to MMS. I got the clearance to go last week, so I’ll see you in Vegas!
For the third year running we will be having a morning Bible Study/Prayer time. Details are still being nailed down, but plan on meeting with a group of us to get the day started on the right note. This year I have asked a very good friend of mine (Tim Benjamin) to lead the sessions.
If you are interested in coming, please use my Contact Form to send me a note. I’ll email specific location and times to those who are interested (I won’t be posting the specific room number on my blog in order to protect the privacy of whoever is hosting it.)
Last year before MMS, I put out a call to see if anyone was interested in doing a Bible study during the week of MMS. I got a lot of very positive response, and so last year a group of us met in the morning before breakfast and spent some time studying the book of Philemon before the day started. Rod and Megan Trent volunteered to let us use their room to host the study. Around Thursday of that week, someone in the group mentioned that being the “1st Annual MMS Bible Study”.
So…who’s ready for the “2nd Annual” study? We are going to change the format up a bit this year. We’ll probably spend a bit more time in praise and worship than we did last year. Also…last year I intentionally chose a book of the Bible that people were likely to be unfamiliar with…this year we will be looking at a book that people are more likely to have read…Philippians. Specifically we will be looking at what that letter has to say about the way we treat those around us. I also plan to do a similar Bible Study at TechEd in LA this year.
So…who’s interested? If you are, please either send me an email or use this blog’s contact form. Let me know which of the two (MMS, TechEd or both) that you are interested in.
Looking forward to seeing you in Vegas or LA!
Over the years I have done a lot of Bible memorization. Mostly a verse here and there…dealing with specific issues that I wanted/needed to improve in my life. At one point in college, I listened to a sermon from a pastor in Texas named Tom Nelson (link and link). Tom was talking about Scripture memorization, and related how after college he memorized a huge section of the New Testament…basically Romans through Jude. Just looking at the Bible on my co-worker’s desk…that is approximately 170 pages. If you quoted him a verse, he could paraphrase the verse before it and the verse after it. Wow.
So, I set up a challenge for myself in college…to memorize a book of the Bible. I choose the book of Philippians…partly because I had already memorized several verses in it, and to memorize the book I would just need to learn the connecting sections. It took me about three months, but I eventually nailed it.
Many people have commented that they would like to memorize Bible verses, but it’s hard and they struggle to do it. Over the last year, I have been memorizing Bible verses with my five year old. She memorized one verse a week for each week of last year. You can read more about that on the Bible Memory Page.
Here is the process I have gone through with her. It should be easily transferable to you. Heck…if my five year old can do it…so can you. But then again…my five year old can also deploy Vista, Office 2007, Acrobat, etc to seven computers in 30 seconds. :-)
- We break the verse up into five sections that we memorize one at a time over five days.
- I read the nightly portion of the verse (starting with the reference) to my daughter five times, and then have her quote it to me until she gets every word perfect.
- Once she has it perfect, I have her quote it perfect five times. We repeat that every night, and by the end of the five days, she can nail it easily.
- The other two days of the week we spend reviewing the verse of the week as well as a lot of the other verses that she has memorized.
The Bible Study at MMS was really good. We spent four mornings going through the book of Philemon. We met in Rod and Megan Trent’s suite at the Venetian. It was a really good time to start the day off with a song or two, a bit of prayer, and some time in the Bible before heading into the crazy MMS schedule. Over the course of the four days we had about fifteen different people in the study. There was a core group that was there every morning. Some people flew out early or were unable to come on certain mornings. It was really neat to be able to connect with people on a personal/spiritual level in the midst of a massive IT conference in the midst of “Sin City”. The picture below was taken Thursday morning. As a group we agreed that this was the “First Annual MMS Bible Study”. Very cool.
From left to right…the “Redfly Guy” (don’t know his name), Brian Leary, Tim Benjamin, Matt Dewell, Joey Gleason, me, John Nelson, John Hendricks, Rod Trent, and Megan Trent. Someone gave Megan the nickname of “myITforum Den Mother”.
Thanks to all of you who responded that you are interested in the Bible study that I will be leading at MMS. There are currently ten of us that I know about. I’ve heard possibilities of others who are interested, but they haven’t let me know. If you know of others who are interested, and especially if you know of others who are planning to come, please let me know who they are. I need to make sure that we have a place big enough to meet.
The Bible study plan is to meet in the morning before breakfast for a max of a half hour. I know the schedule is busy…especially for one of the presenters who is hoping to come to the study. I will hold us to ending on time. We will meet Tuesday-Friday mornings from 7:00-7:30.
Where will we meet? Rod and Megan Trent have graciously offered the living room of their suite at the Venetian for us to meet in. I’m not posting their room number on the blog…if you want to come, you need to contact me!
The plan is to spend four half-hour sessions on the book of Philemon. It’s a book that I taught through in the LIFE group that I lead at my church. It’s a short little book…only 25 verses, so it is very doable to cover this book very well in that timeframe. I will be taking an “onion” approach to the book. Each day, we will peel back another layer. You will learn something deeper about the book each day.
What can you do to prep? Read Philemon a couple of times. It only takes about five minutes to read it. Get a feel for the book. If you are like most people, you’ve never read it. If you wanted to refer to some of the material that I’ve gone through with my class, you could look at this page, but it is not required at all.
Looking forward to meeting you folks face to face. It’s going to be a fun time.
After my post earlier in the week about the possibility of having a Bible Study time at MMS, I got some great responses, so the Bible Study is on! For those of you who have let me know that you are interested, I will be sending you details later about what/where/when. If you are interested, but haven’t let me know so yet, please do. It will help me make sure that we have a place to meet that is adequate in size.
I want to give a big thank you to Rod Trent for mentioning the Bible Study on his blog and featuring it in the myITforum.com Daily Newsletter on April 9. That definitely helped get the word out faster than my little blog!
So…if you are interested or would like more information about the Bible Study, send me a message. If you know of others who will be at MMS and might be interested in the Bible Study, please let them know about it and have them contact me.
Over the last couple of years I have made contact with quite a few people in the SMS/SCCM community who have let me know that they are a Christians. Typically the conversation came up when they found out that I work for a non-profit ministry.
Last year at MMS I wondered if there would be any interest in having a Bible Study or prayer time during MMS, and wanted to throw out this idea to see who would be interested, and if so what type of time people would be interested in. Right now the idea is really wide open. Some ideas of what it could be…
- A daily 15-30 minute Bible Study (before breakfast maybe?). I could adapt the material that I have been teaching at my church on the book of Philemon.
- A single longer Bible study at some point during the week.
- Daily short prayer time.
- Any other time for the above that could work with the really busy MMS schedule.
So…what level of interest and availability would you have for something like that? Let me know via my contact form, and I will gather the responses and send out an email to let you know what (if anything) we will end up doing.
[Update: The Bible Study will be happening. Check out this update. I still need to know if you are interested so that I can arrange for the proper size place for us to meet.]
Every night, my wife and I read a portion of the Bible to our daughters. Typically, Julie reads to our eight year old, and I read to our four year old. Marybeth and I are going through a Children’s Daily Devotional Bible that my wife found in a used book store. It is in the Contemporary English Version. It covers a year and has five reading sections per week. In each section you read a portion of the Bible, and at the bottom of the page it has a portion of a sentence (Bible verse) for the child to memorize. Over the course of five days, the child memorizes a verse. Two days a week are “review night”…going back over previous verses that she has memorized to solidify them. Over the course of the year, the kid memorizes 52 verses.
Marybeth just finished memorizing her 37th verse. Keep in mind…she is four years old. Last night was review night, so we were going back over previous verses. We walked backwards from the verse we had just finished (Luke 24:46) to the last one that she could remember last night (Psalm 103:1). She was tired and basically quit trying at that point. Anyway…she went back through 16 verses pretty much on her own. On several I had to give her the first word or two, but she nailed the rest.
Now as for me…in hindsight I should have been memorizing the verses along with her, but I didn’t. I’m starting now to memorize the verses with her. I have also posted a page on my blog that highlights the verse that we are currently working on. If you want to, you could memorize it along with us. I’ll update the Bible Memory Verse of the Week page at least weekly. I haven’t decided yet if it would be best to update it daily with the current portion, or weekly with the whole verse of the week. I also put the verses that she has already memorized on the page as well.
This week I’m in Pennsylvania. Our daughters stayed with Julie’s parents while we were at a conference in Colorado. In flying back to pick them up, it was tremendously cheaper for us to fly into Philly and get a rental car than to fly directly to central PA. We ended up getting a nice upgrade car to a Dodge Charger. I just found out that it has Sirius satellite radio and was flipping through the channels to see what was available.
While flipping through I came across a few people talking. One was talking about a rough childhood and how it has affected him on into his adulthood. The others on the radio with him were acknowledging that all that he said was true…but at the same time giving him a hard time about it.
This guy sounded distrustful of people. He admitted to being terrified. He reflected back to when he started on the radio in Detroit how he would do nothing other than sit in his hotel room between radio shows. He wouldn’t even go out to eat…just get food and go back to his room to eat it. He seemed to be controlled by fear. He seemed to have no freedom from the issues that controlled him.
As I listened more I got intrigued and drawn into this guy’s story. Here is a man who is in such need of Jesus in his life. The healing that Jesus could bring to this man’s life. The freedom that he could experience. The change in his life. The freedom from control. Ability to cope. And if surrounded by a loving community of Christ followers, the environment to grow through his fears over time and be an instrument that God can use to influence the lives of countless people.
As I listened more I realized that this is a man who has done much with his radio show that the Christian community simply cannot approve of. He has in fact been demonized by the Christian community. But regardless of what he has done, this is still a man for whom Jesus himself died. His sins, though many, are in reality no worse than my sins, which are also many. Any sin separates us from God and makes us in need of the saving power of Jesus.
Instead of continuing to demonize this man, let’s pray for him. Pray for him to allow Christians into his circle. Pray for those who are already in his circle to come to truly know Jesus and be able to have an influence in his life. Pray for him to seek after God who promises that if we will draw near to him, that he will draw near to us.
For that matter, undoubtedly you have people in your life with rough edges. People who just aren’t that pleasant to be around. People that annoy you. Who hurt you. Who are offensive. Who are not easy to love. Love them anyway. Care for them. Express concern for them…and not just spiritual concern. They might only listen to the spiritual concern after seeing for a long time that you have true concern for the rest of their lives as well. It could be that it is only through you that they will be able to come to see and know and love the true Lover of their souls…Jesus.
Who is this man whose life started me writing? Some of you may have already guessed. Howard Stern.
Julie and I went hiking yesterday. We climbed Horsetooth Rock just outside of Fort Collins, Colorado. As we were going along the hike we kept thinking of parallels to life as we went along. Here are some of the thoughts we had…
As you go through life, realize that there is a path that God has laid out for you. Stay on the path. You can still travel if you aren’t on the path, but the traveling is much more difficult.
As you go on the path, take time to stop and enjoy the scenery. If you do, you will get some needed rest. You will sometimes be able to see where your path fits in with the world around you. As you see the world around you, you will be able to appreciate both the particular path that you are on as well as the beauty of the world where you are traveling. When you start down the path again, your legs will have a bit more spring in their step.
Sometimes the path you are on can look really rough ahead. If God has called you to that path, don’t be afraid of the path, stay on it. He will pull you through.
As you go along the path, take along a friend. Don’t leave them behind. The path is much more enjoyable when traveled together.
If you slip off the trail, you could have a pretty bad fall ahead of you. If you have your friend with you, they can help to pull you back up.
Try to keep your friends from doing something stupid, or at least if they do, take a picture of it!
As you go down the path, take time to notice the small things…sometimes they are the most beautiful.
Many times as you are traveling along the path, you will not be able to see the end of the path.
You need to keep your eyes on the path and the signposts that God has put in place. They will guide you to your destination.
As you tackle obstacles along the path, take time to celebrate those victories.
There are times on the path to be extra careful and serious.
There are times on the path to have fun and be silly.
As you go along the path, be sure to always lean into the Rock.
When you get to the end of the path (and eventually you will), the view from the top is more amazing than you could have imagined.
Lastly, at all times along the path, be sure to give praise to God who created you and designed your path.
Yesterday I took part in a “Day of Prayer” that our ministry takes part in twice a year. During the day we sang a song.
Lord I lift your name on high
Lord I love to sing your praises
I’m so glad you’re in my life
I’m so glad you came to save us
You came from heaven to earth, to show the way
From the earth to the cross, my debt to pay
From the cross to the grave, from the grave to the sky
Lord I lift your name on high.
Over the years as I have heard that song, different aspects of it have affected me. It takes the whole spectrum of what Christ did and puts it to song. He was in heaven, and he came and lived on earth…during which time He showed us how to live. He was crucified to pay for our sin debt. He was taken down from the cross and laid in a grave. Three days later He rose from the grave and eventually ascended into heaven.
Today the word “grave” struck me. The most vivid memory I have of a grave was at my dad’s funeral. I was twelve when he died of cancer. After the graveside service, I retreated back to the front steps of the church next to the graveyard. I saw them lower the casket into the ground and saw my uncles start shoveling dirt into the hole. That was and still is a vivid memory. It was a “finalizing” moment. My dad was not coming back. He was in a pretty box underneath 6 feet of dirt. It was over…my best friend was gone.
That is how Jesus’s friends and family felt as well. They saw him die on the cross…after being nearly beaten to death by Roman guards. They saw him taken down from the cross and placed in a tomb. They saw the gruesome results of the crucifixion. They knew that it was over. He wasn’t coming back. Some of his friends went home and prepared the spices and ointments that were used at that time on the body as it was put in the tomb…so that they could come back later to finish preparing Jesus’s body.
But when they returned on the first day of the week, Jesus’s body wasn’t there. He had come back to life. Yes he had been dead…very much so. But death had not conquered him. He was no longer there. The stone had been rolled away. In our time, I don’t know what it would look like. Would all the dirt over the coffin just move…seemingly on its own? Would Jesus have dug his way out and come out through a hole in the ground? What would it have looked like?
I don’t know…but as vivid as it is to me that my dad is still in the grave…that the dirt that my uncles threw into the hole…that dirt is still there…unmoved in twenty three years. Just as real as that is…it is just as real…even more so that Jesus is NOT in the tomb He was laid in. He is alive; He is in this world; He lives; He touches hearts and souls; He changes lives. He can change your life. This is not some trite statement. He has changed my life in very dramatic ways. Maybe I’ll have to create a blog entry about that. I guess the key question is…since he can change your life…Will you let Him?
When Julie and I are in a public area or parking lot with our daughters, we make sure we hold their hands. We keep them from getting lost in a crowd or from getting hit by a car. We know where the dangers are and keep them safe.
Today I was walking out of church with my four year old. We were approaching the parking lot, so we were holding hands. As we were walking along, her shoe caught on something and she tripped. Because I was holding her hand, I was able to pull her up and keep her from falling. Had we not been holding hands, she would have at least fallen, and probably would have gotten hurt on the sidewalk.
It struck me at the time that this is a lot like life. There are lots of things out there that want to trip us up. Some are physical dangers like I am protecting my daughters from. Others are spiritual in nature…temptations that if acted upon could destroy our reputations, our families, our lives. Some of these dangers we can see, some we can’t. What can protect us from them?
How about if we hold onto Jesus’s hand? He wants to walk through life with us. He desires to protect us and keep us safe from the garbage that gets thrown at us. If we are holding his hand when the trial hits, He can pull us up and keep us from getting hurt. As long as we don’t rip our hand out of his, He will keep us safe from the temptations that could destroy us.
Yesterday I took my daughter Laurel to a couple of easter egg hunts. The second hunt was at a very large church here in Orlando. Part of the free “festivities” at this church was a climbing wall. As soon as Laurel saw it, she wanted to do it…so… off to the climbing wall.As I am watching some of the other kids climbing, I’m noticing that as they get higher up the wall, several of them were shifting to the left of the straight up path. As they kept going on that route, when they got closer to the top, the cable they were attached to would actually pull them off the wall…because they were three-four feet off center of where the cable mechanism is attached at the top. So, I told Laurel to just go straight up and not slide to the side.
So as she is climbing up, I’m noticing her moving to the left. I gave her a bit of time to see if she would self correct. When she didn’t I called out her name. She immediately started looking around until we made eye contact. I told her to move to the right, and she saw what was going on and got back on track.
So…what difference does this make? Why am I writing about it? Because a spiritual truth struck me as soon as she started looking for me.
There was a large crowd around the climbing wall. Very large crowd. There was a lot of noise. There was a Christian band playing in the background. Lots of distracting things…not to mention the focus of a seven year old who is hanging on for dear life fifteen feet off the ground. But when she heard my voice…her father’s voice…she immediately started looking for me to find out what I had to say. And when she heard me, she remembered what I told her before she started, corrected and got back on track.
We live in a noisy society that is full of distractions. There are so many things that want to pull us away from the path that God has mapped out for us. He has uniquely created each of us with certain gifts and strengths. He has given us a path to follow…if we will only follow it. There are even things that look good…like the other handholds that the kids were following off track…but they aren’t the best things. For that matter, sometimes the best thing for us is more difficult than what we would like…and we reach for a handhold that is off track…never realizing that we just settled for second (or third or tenth) best.
The key for us is to be able to decipher our Father’s voice in the midst of life. We need to be listening to God as we read the Bible. Then when we get in the midst of our day, we need to listen for His voice guiding us back where we need to be.
Over time I have definitely lost a lot of my southern accent. My first time out of the deep south…on a missionary project in New Hampshire…there was a guy from New Mexico that wasn’t even sure I was speaking English. :-) Being around people at work from all over…and the fact that my wife is from Pennsylvania…I have lost most of my accent. However…
If I go back to Mississippi for even a short time; I begin to pick up the accent again. Within a week or two, it has gotten pretty strong again. It is a very natural occurance…my voice is going back to it’s roots. In a different way, my wife will pick up the accent of nearly anyone she is around. It’s been funny hearing her on the phone with someone in England…within ten minutes she is starting to sound British.
Now…why am I noodling on accents? It occurred to me recently that there is a spiritual truth that can be learned from the accent effect.
We live in a “fallen world”…a world which is significantly different than it was like at creation. As humans…descended from Adam and Eve…we have an innate propensity toward sin. We are not perfect. We will head toward what is “natural” to us unless we put safeguards in place to protect ourselves. Our natural tendancy is to sin…to desire things that are not of God. We tend to act like those that we are around.
What safeguards do you need to put in your life to protect yourself from yourself?
Driving to work this morning, I was listening to the song “Watching You” by Rodney Atkins.
http://www.rodneyatkins.com/content/VIDEOwy.html (select from the drop-down list)
The song is about a dad and his son. It goes through a couple of episodes where the son is doing things that the dad asks where he learned to do them…one is cuss, the other is pray! In both instances the son responds with:
Let’s take it a step further…Are we watching Jesus? Are we watching to learn what He is like? Do we know his likes and dislikes? Do we care? Are we wanting to be like Him? Do we want to become the kind of person who does what Jesus does…simply because it is what Jesus does?
“HE SAID I’VE BEEN WATCHING YOU DAD, AIN’T THAT COOL
I’M YOUR BUCKAROO, I WANNA BE LIKE YOU AND EAT ALL MY FOOD AND GROW AS TALL AS YOU ARE
WE GOT COWBOY BOOTS AND CAMO PANTS YEAH WE’RE JUST ALIKE, HEY AIN’T WE DAD
I WANNA DO EVERYTHING YOU DO SO I’VE BEEN WATCHING YOU”
As I listened to it, I thought about what application it could have in our relationship with out Heavenly Father. The illustration breaks down a bit with the cussing part, but we can learn a lot from the interaction that kids have with adults.
This kid had been watching his dad…both the good and bad things. He wanted to be like his dad. He could see the things that his dad liked and wanted to be the same way.
My heart’s desire is to be able to see what Jesus is doing and for that to be what I desire to do as well. I want my life to reflect the work that He is doing in living through me.
Today has been frustrating. I have so many things in my mind. So much that I need to think about and take action on. So many things swirling through my mind. And I can’t seem to concentrate on any of them long enough to really do anything about them. I have projects around the house to work on. I need to fix Julie’s van. I need to take the van to get body work done. Investment decisions. Need to work on raising support. SMS…good grief SMS. There is so much to do with SMS…and I can’t THINK long enough to map out the plan. Exercise. Purchases that I want to make.
I need God’s help to concentrate. Like I was telling Philip recently…it’s entirely possible that God designed this weakness into my life to cause me to depend on him. Kind of like the quote that I have taped to my computer…Matthew 20:32 “What do you want me to do for you?” That is the story of the two blind men asking for help. It’s very obvious what they want…come on…it’s two blind beggars asking for help…what do you think they might want? Yet…Jesus asks them “What do you want me to do for you?” It’s not like he didn’t know what they wanted. Still…he wanted them to ask…to acknowledge their desire and dependance on him. Jesus still wants us to ask.
Where that has me…it’s entirely possible that Jesus has built a weakness into my life…an inability to handle lots of details without depending on him. He wants me to ask for help…to acknowledge my need for Him. To invite him into the details and ongoing aspects of my life.