New Building Project Website!

 

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As we prepare for the final push into completing the first phase of our building project, we have built a website to keep our friends and extended families up to date on what’s happening! Latest news, video blogs, construction photos and even online donation features are what really drive the power of this site! ¬†Visit the site today to find out more at http://itstimeforsyracuse.com.

The ebb and flow of suffering and comfort

For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.
-2 Corinthians 1:5

I started 2 Corinthians today and this was the verse that jumped out at me. I never equated my suffering with the suffering of Christ…most reasonably since my suffering just doesn’t compare. I never thought of Christ’s suffering being a part of my life. ¬†Sure, I understood that to be the ultimate prize – to suffer for Christ as He did for us, but I didn’t think it a real possibility.

This world has a lot of trouble and many suffer a great deal, even in our part of the world. I am thankful for comfort of Christ as the suffering of Christ would leave me decimated if not for the comfort of Christ.

I pray for comfort for all of my friends today. How long, Lord, must we sing this song? My spirit is willing but my flesh is weak.

A Rainy Day

I love the rain…even a little light rain when I’m golfing. Today is one of the few rainy days that we get here each year in Utah and while rain clouds are typically figurative of negative things in our lives, I am encouraged by it today.

You see, today the rain is good because it is melting the snow in my backyard.  I am so ready for spring and the rain today promises that while things look bleek now, the grass that is showing underneath still has some green to it and is ready to start flourishing again.

Things have felt like that at Lakeside lately. ¬†We’ve run out of money and we don’t know where the rest will come from. ¬†However, God is bigger than our financial needs and I believe he will provide. ¬†For the next couple of months, we will continue to meet in our renovated garage…but I think that my spirits will be picking up because I can see what’s coming next. ¬†A new building. ¬†A fresh start. ¬†A place where families can grow closer to each other and closer to God.

I want to ask all of you to continue praying with me. ¬†Continue coming. ¬†Continue sharing. ¬†Continue giving. ¬†Continuing believing. ¬†The storm clouds are about to part…

Get Real

So this week I went to my regular Tuesday night basketball game at one of the local LDS churches. ¬†I have been playing there for a few years now and have made friends with some great guys. However this week was one of the first times that I got real with any of them. It all started with a joke and before I knew it, one of the guys was asking me what our church’s stance was on sexual purity. ¬†Okay, so I’ll give you a moment to digest that…and then I’ll continue. ¬†Long story short, after explaining what we teach, I felt this was an enormous opportunity to share about struggles I’ve had and how I believe that we have to start being open about stuff like this.

One of the hardest tasks I’ve had to live up to in my life is being a faithful husband with my thought life. I’ve struggled with it since before I was married, but I don’t share about it because it’s one of the “uglier” sins. Nobody feels comfortable talking about that. But something happened to me on Tuesday night and I realized that I wasn’t comfortable putting on a fake front to this guy who is a genuinely nice guy and really listened to my story. To tell you the truth, I think he really grew to respect me a lot more for it. By the end of the conversation, the guys were even thinking of looking at a resource site that has really helped me out a lot.

I hope they do. ¬†I hope I get to work with those guys more and try to help more guys be better husbands. In the meantime, I plan to continue playing ball and hopefully being a lot more “real” with the people that I normally try to look perfect to.

Love Builds Up

I recently had a talk with a young man about his thoughts on God, the Bible and postmodernism. ¬†I left that meeting feeling like I really need to focus on learning more about the world’s philosophies purely for the purpose of being able to share the gospel in a way that is relevant to them.

I have talked about this with a couple of friends lately and they challenged me on it.  I thought they were wrong, but I read something in scripture today:

Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.  The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know.  But the man who loves God is known by God.
-1 Corinthians 8:1-2 

The thing is, the mantra that I’ve adopted with people about evangelism lately is “You shouldn’t try to make the gospel relevant. ¬†The gospel is relevant.” ¬†It’s a message that has resonated with generations for over 2000 years. ¬†What makes me think that more knowledge will make the message more effective? ¬†The bottom line is that only the Holy Spirit can change a heart.

I have a new New Year’s Resolution. ¬†Not to learn more. ¬†Just to love more. ¬†And in the process, to know and be known by God.

A New Year, A New Habit

2008 was a big year for me in at least one way: I really tried all year long to have a consistent personal time with God. ¬†As I look back, I see what an impact this had on me. ¬†There were small stints along the way when I got out of the practice, but it was usually not more than a few days.¬†Over Christmas, I found it tough to keep up with all of the traveling and parties and seeing extended family so much, but I’m back at it now and I want to start something new.

Over the last year, I have got into the habit of journaling and I’ve really enjoyed it. I am hoping to now branch out and blog about this from time to time. ¬†The reason is that sometimes I write about personal things and those I will keep to myself. ¬†However, other times I just write about how God’s Word is speaking to me and I would love the opportunity to share that with others.

So consider this a heads up and if it inspires you to do the same, you can always comment back on any of my blogs at https://lakesidelife.org.  Happy blogging!

Inspired by Lezak

So I have had Olympic fever all week.¬† I’ve been watching an awful lot of the coverage and I always seem to get addicted when the Olympics roll around.¬† For me, sports have so many applications to real life.¬† That’s why sports movies tend to be so inspirational.

By now you have probably heard of the US Men’s Swim Team’s dramatic victory in the 400 meter freestyle relay.¬† The French team had told the press before the meet that, “We’re going to smash the Americans.¬† That’s what we came to do.”¬† These words were spoken by French swimmer Alain Bernard, who was the current record holder for the 100 meter.¬† He was going to anchor the French team, swimming the last 100 meters of the relay.

Things did not go well for the Amercans…in a relay, they rely on Michael Phelps to get them off to a great start and give them a lead.¬† However, as Phelps completed his part of the relay, the Amercans did not have the lead.¬† In fact, going in the last leg of the race, the Americans were still a length behind the French and it all came down to Jason Lezak…32 years old, against the world record holder Bernard, for 2 lengths of the pool. ¬†

By the time they touched the opposite end and began the last 50 meters, Lezak still had not closed the gap at all.¬† This is the best part…it was at this point that Lezak looked at Bernard to his right and briefly abandoned hope.

“The thought really entered my mind for a split second,” Lezak said. “There’s no way.”

However, as soon as the thought entered, it was wiped away by quite a different perspective…

“I changed,” he said. “I thought, ‘That’s ridiculous. I’m at the Olympic Games, I’m here for the United States of America. I don’t care how bad it hurts, I’m going after it.’

Long story short, Lezak swam the race of his life…gaining on Bernard steadily over the last length of the pool, and at the end barely outtouched him…breaking the world record and giving America the gold.

Over the last year, I am sure the same thoughts entered the minds of many of us.¬† I remember the meeting on Sunday morning where we all had a chance as a church to discuss the proposed purchase of property.¬† For most of us, while we liked the idea, I think we exhibited the same momentary fear that Lezak had.¬† There’s no way.¬† We’re too small.¬† We’ve never given over $5000/month and now we have to give over $8,000.¬† We don’t have what it takes.

However, in spite of our fears we decided to press on, saying¬† “This is ridiculous.¬† We’re doing God’s work here.¬† We don’t care how much it hurts, we’re pressing on by faith.”

In the end, it has been and will continue to be a tremendously rewarding experience.

I’ve posted the video of Lezak’s swim below. ¬†You gotta see it. ¬†I encourage you to thank God today for the opportunity He has given us to be a part of something so special.