Monday, March 31, 2008

Boo Hoo

The Royals beat the Tigers 5-4. Sniff. Sniff.
Oh well, one down and 161 to go!

Go Tigers!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

More Family Pictures from El Salvador

Good Friday in El Salvador

Good Friday in El Salvador is not like Good Friday in the States. Here in America, it seems that many people are oblivious to the day of Good Friday. Stores are open. Mail is delivered. Many churches have services, and a few people even show up. But for the non-religious, Good Friday is a lot like Flag Day. Where the response might be, “Huh… it’s Good Friday? Oh. OK. Zzzzzzz.” The implication is that it’s OK if you want to remember Good Friday, but most folks will go about their day without much notice or concern or care that it’s Good Friday.

Not so in El Salvador. There is no mistaking it’s Good Friday there. Shops, schools, and government offices are all shut down. And many of the streets are transformed into an art gallery of sorts. Individuals and groups make beautiful “rugs” out of sawdust (don’t think of these creations as a bathroom throw rug but rather they are more like giant colorful murals where the street pavement becomes the canvas) on which later in the day processionals of people will walk or even crawl over them as an act of penitence for their sins of the past year. As people are working on their murals and others are watching, street vendors and people are milling around and enjoying the festivities of the day. Since we left before Easter, I have no way of knowing, but I was told that the emphasis on Good Friday is way bigger than it is for Easter.

For everybody in the country, religious and non religious alike, knows that it is Good Friday.
Here most people know it is Easter. They may not remember Good Friday, but they know it’s Easter Sunday. Prior to Easter, every retail store had huge displays of candy and bunnies and spring time colors. Churches sent out invitations and placed banners in their lawn. On the day itself, at least some stores are shut down. (Since we had been gone the previous nine days, there was no milk in our house. On Easter afternoon, I made a quick run to Price Chopper for milk and discovered that the store was closed. Good for Price Chopper. Bad for my Cocoa Krispies.) Since it’s a Sunday there is no mail delivery, no school and no government offices open. And even the TV networks might show religious movie classics like Ben Hur or The Ten Commandments or have some religious type programming. One way or another, most folks even if not religious know that it is Easter.

So here’s my question: Which is worse: To make a big deal that it’s Good Friday but forget about Easter, or make a big deal that it’s Easter but on Monday go on as if Easter never occurred?

We are a few days past Easter now. The candy is probably gone. The Easter baskets put away for another year. And besides a few strands of that fake plastic grass hanging around on the living room carpet, most outward signs of Easter are gone. School and jobs and life have gotten back to normal. So my real concern is: Is the wonder of Easter still in your heart? Have you packed the Easter Joy away with the baskets, bonnets and Easter bunny knick knacks? Or is the power of the Resurrection still making an impact on your life? Are you still rejoicing that we “serve a Risen Savior who’s in the world today”? Isn’t that what matters?

Long after the last Peep is eaten and the last jelly bean is gone—I hope that the power of the Resurrection is still making a life altering impact in you.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Back Home

Home Sweet home. Or should I write... church sweet church. Maybe both. It is good to be home. Good to be at Central for Easter Services. Good to see so many people praising the Lord. I snuck into the Spanish Service this morning-- that was good too.

Here was a switch... my luggage made it home with me!

I loved El Salvador... loved all that we were able to accomplish. But it is good to be home!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

I am missing Holy Week at Central

I am going to miss our Maundy Thursday and Good Friday Services. Tonight we will be back at the Santa Techla church for a good-by service with our brothers and sisters from here. Tomorrow we will expereince Good Friday Central American Style. I think it will be a very interesting day.

See you Easter Sunday!

From El Salvador with Love

I am writing from beautiful, sunny, warm, El Salvador. As we have traveled from the El Alamo International Hotel (to call our accommodations a “resort” would be a stretch… think of it not as a Motel Six, it is more like a Motel One and a half), I have seen the following reminders of home: a McDonald’s, Burger King, Little Caesars, lots of Pizza Huts, Subway, Mister Donut, KFC, Wendy’s and Bennigan’s. In other words, you could get high cholesterol just as quick in Central America as you can in the Center of America. Fast food joints notwithstanding, there are plenty of differences between El Salvador and Lenexa Kansas. Dorothy was right; we are not in Kansas anymore.

Still, this past week the 52 folks from Central have involved ourselves in construction, VBS kid’s clubs, painting a school, visiting an AIDS orphanage, holding medical clinics and showing the Jesus film. We usually leave the hotel by 8:30 AM and don’t return until 8:30 PM. They’ve been long, fun, tiring, exciting days.

On Sunday night, before any of our “real” work began, we had a time together with the whole team and I challenged the group. I told the team that we could come down here and buy a few trinkets in a souvenir shop like any other tourist, take a few pictures of palm trees and smiling children and go home unchanged. Or we could allow God to move us. Change us. Transform us.

I think he has been doing that.

Today, I spent the morning on the construction site and then went up an active volcano to the sight of our VBS and Medical clinic. I hadn’t been out of the van for a minute when my son Ben—who had been at the site all morning-- came running up to me. It was obvious he was excited.
“Dad, dad… guess what happened this morning?”
“I don’t know, Ben what happened?”
Usually when Ben displays this kind of excitement something goofy has happened like a bird dropping its, well droppings on his mother (that hadn’t happened…. yet. A little later in the day, a bird with the precision of a Patriot Missile would zoom in on my dear sweet wife’s head. An event, by the way, that would cause a couple of El Salvador boys to laugh hysterically for a long, long time.)

Ben proceeded to tell me that while he was out that morning inviting children to the VBS, he had an opportunity to present the “evangicube” to a man and lead him to Christ. I know the Bible says that all of heaven rejoices when one lost sheep comes home. But, I have to tell you if heaven was half as excited as Ben then they had quite a party over Javier coming to know Jesus! I hope it’s the first of many such opportunities in his life.

It’s been a great week… we have just a couple more days and then we’ll be heading for home.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

From El Salvador

I am writing from El Salvador-- where God has already been at work! If you haven't yet-- check out the church website: and then click on the El Salvador Blog Button. Different people from team are writing each day. And there are pictures too! All in all--it has been pretty cool!

Yesterday, was our first work day. Construction, VBS, a Medical Clinic (that saw I think 108 patients), and a showing of the Jesus film. We left at 8 AM and got back around 8:30 PM it was a long, wonderful day!

Today, I stayed behind to work on my Easter Message-- I'll see you on Sunday.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Happy Anniversary

Twenty Years ago today the most beautiful woman in the world walk down the aisle of the Westland Church of the Nazarene and said that she would love me always... for better or worse. Karla has kept her promise for these twenty years, and I have kept mine to her. I love her more today than ever!

It's been a wonderful ride... and now we will head off to El Salvador with our boys and fifty of our closest friends.

EL Salvador Blog

Hey the Mission Team to El Salvador has a Blog! Click on our Website: and then click the El Salvador Blog

A Praying Church Board!

Last night's Church Board Meeting... was my kind of meeting. After getting some of the necessities out of the way (treasurer's report, reviewing the past meetings minutes, etc.), we got down to the most important work of the church: prayer! We prayed.

The board and pastors broke into five separate groups and covered all the areas of the church. We were in the powerhouse, the student center, the worship wing and the adult fellowship area. We were in the church offices, nurseries, food pantry, library and fellowship hall. And finally we all gathered in the Sanctuary.

Every pew was prayed over, every person that will be sitting in those pews in the next couple of weeks was prayed for too.

If God is going to work at Central it will only happen as we all pray! Your Church Board is leading the way!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Busy, busy, busy

What a busy weekend at Central. All five services (2 English services on Sunday morning, one at night, a Spanish service on Sunday morning and an Arabic service on Saturday night) were great! Wow the Lord was with us!!!

We also had a Game Night gathering on Friday Night-- lots of fellowship happening. That's always a good thing. An Executive Committee meeting on Saturday Morning-- we have such a great leadership team. We had a meeting to explore revamping our Men's Ministries on Sunday afternoon--(25 men and Pastor Molly were there.... what a great group!), a meeting to get our Mission team ready for the VBS's that we'll be running in El Salvador, and a gathering to pack bags for El Salvador.

God is doing great things at Central!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Two and a Half Weeks

A good vacation lasts about two and a half weeks.

I wish a tank of gas lasted for two and a half weeks.

Half a month is just shy of two and a half weeks.

Seventeen days is two and a half weeks.

If you walked 25 miles a day, in two and a half weeks you’d be in Chicago.

To get over a cold takes about two and a half weeks.

Usually the World Series takes about two and a half weeks to complete. (Sorry Royals fans this is the Tigers year to experience those two and a half fun filled weeks!!!)

To get a letter via “snail mail” from Lenexa, Kansas to missionary Rod Green in Amman, Jordan would take two and a half weeks.

To paint my house might take two and a half weeks. (It would take me a week and half to paint it, and it would take a week for a real painter to repaint it right.)

Darrel and June and Hannah equal two and a half Weeks. (Actually that’s three Weeks-- the whole family equals six Weeks! For you non-Centralites, the Weeks family is one of Central’s finest. June is our church librarian and does a great job. Have you checked out the library lately?)

The difference between a good haircut and a bad one is about two and a half weeks.

I wonder if the Jayhawks will still be playing in two and a half weeks. (Anyone remember Bucknell?)

In a dog’s life, two and a half weeks is like seventeen and a half people weeks. Woof. Woof.

For me to run a marathon, it would take two and a half weeks (and two and a half gallons of Ben Gay).

Two and one half weeks. In just two and a half weeks, God could completely and totally transform our world.

Look at what is happening in the next two and a half weeks…

• 52 Centralites will be in El Salvador by the end of next week. 52 people constructing buildings, leading VBS’s, organizing dental clinics, participating in medical clinics, painting and cleaning and worshipping and evangelizing and praying. 52 people trying to do as Jesus commanded to “go into all the world….”
• Our Spanish Service will have it’s official launch on Easter (although it actually began “unofficially” last Sunday)
• A meeting to refocus and retool and revitalize our Men’s Ministry is this Sunday at 5 PM. all men interested in being a part of this are welcome to attend!
• Our Arabic Service continues after it also had a good start last weekend.
• Holy Week Services are one of the highlights of the year. I am excited about the Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday Services that are being planned. Each will be different. Each will be meaningful!
• Easter Sunday Services will be AWESOME! Have you invited someone yet? I heard of a survey that said 82% of unchurched people say they will come to church if a person they know invites them. 82%! That means your neighbors and co-workers and fellow students will more than likely attend an Easter service if you simply take the time and care enough to invite them. Will you invite them?

Just imagine—dream a little—think and pray how God can use all of these events for his glory and you’ll begin to feel the excitement that I do about the next two and a half weeks!

So Central Nazarene, please know it is vital, imperative, necessary, crucial, yes absolutely essential that all people who love the Lord and love Central are praying. The next couple of weeks could be the most important weeks in someone’s life… so pray! Pray like you’ve never prayed before. Pray that God will work. Pray that lives will be changed. Pray that God will give you the courage to invite a friend or neighbor to Easter Services. Pray that these next two and a half weeks will be some of the best weeks our church has ever experienced!

Monday, March 03, 2008

A Historic Weekend at Central

What a weekend at Central. Historic! We had five services... count them five. All were terrific!

On Saturday Night we had our first Arabic service. 17 people gathered. We ate (some ethnic food, some pizza), we sang and praised the Lord, prayed and heard a wonderful sermon. It was awesome!

Sunday Morning, we had our regular two morning services. God was with us as we continued in our Lent Sermon Series, "Stories from the Upper Room." Again everything was good!

At 11:00 in the student center was our first Spanish Service. Pastor Jaime preached their was good music and praise. Over thirty people were worshipping. This is a service that we had been planning and praying about for about eight months and the day finally came! Praise the Lord.

And service #5, was our Sunday @ Six Service. It was a wonderful night of praise and testimony and digging into God's word!

What a great weekend!