Sunday, April 29, 2007

Going Public

Many of you already know that our family and two others have been in the process of starting a church. Since the end of last Summer we have been meeting, planning and praying.

This coming Sunday (May 6th) we are hosting a picnic at a local park. It’s really our first public meeting and we’re not really sure what to expect. We are a very casual church and our vision is to return to doing church as it was done by the early church – a real focus on relationships. More about people, less about programs.

One thing we work hard NOT to do is to judge other churches or other ministries – but we are also clear about what we believe God wants us to do – or more accurately who God wants us to be. We want to be real! This means being open about our own struggles and building relationships with others so we can all help each other.

Our vision is to build life-changing relationships with God, each other and our community. While all three of these relationship areas will always be “works in progress,” our group has been focused on the first two for the better part of a year. We now look forward to being more proactive in building relationships with those in our community.

If you are in the Newport News, Hampton, York County or Williamsburg area and would like to join us on May 6th, please go to our website and let us know (

Whether you would consider yourself a spiritual person or not, I think we would all agree that healthy relationships make life a lot more fun. So, wherever you are – take some time this week and focus your attention on the people around you – see if you can develop a more authentic relationship – you’ll be glad you did!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Thank You from a Hokie!

The response to the events at VT has been incredible. I believe the American spirit has shown up again as it did after 9/11.

While our loss as been enormous, our resolve to love those who have been the most effected continues to show that love is still able to triumph over evil.

The unity of colleges across our country has been inspiring. To see students that are normally rivals where our colors in support has brought tears to my eyes on more than one occasion. To see the many tributes from so many places has been inspiring.

I have already written about how proud I am to be a Hokie based on the response of the students and faculty at VT. I must also say how proud I am to be an American based on the way our country has embraced our University. While many would expect school unity – the unity of our entire nation is amazing -- and healing.

To all of you who have shown your love and support – THANK YOU!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Proud to be a Hokie!

This has been a week that most of us would prefer to forget. The unthinkable attack has changed the landscape of my school, our country and the world.

Yet, as horrible as the act was – the overall response from students (young and old) and faculty have shown the human spirit at its best. None of us would want to have to relive these past few days, but I’ve often heard people say that when you’re under pressure the real “you” comes out. The “you” I’ve seen in the VT community and the Hokie Nation as a whole makes me more proud than ever to be a Hokie.

These events are the type that you never forget – they will last a lifetime. But, as with all things, time tends to dull the clarity. What will be remembered is what we choose to focus on. For me, I’ll let the acts of a madman fade, but I will never forget the courage and unity of my VT family.

To the students and faculty – thank you for being “you.” You have represented us all well beyond what my words can adequately express! God Bless!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

More Thoughts on VT

As we all continue to go through the array of emotions that follow something like the shootings at VT, it's natural that we will be a different places emotionally.

Some of you are very angry;
Some are deeply grieved;
Some of you are still in shock;
Some of you are already beginning to tire of the news and move on.

And there are many many more places you may be emotionally. All of this is natural and normal.

But here's a thought: for a society who seems to continue to move further away from ideas such as - there is an absolute truth - we sure seem to all agree how horrible Cho's actions were. Maybe I should explain that a little more. We live in a world where many people have come to the conclusion there is no one truth. What works for you is fine for you, it may or may not work for me and that's okay.

But if this is true (or is there no such things as absolute truth - hmm), then why would we all agree that the actions of Cho are so wrong, so evil? My point is simply this - there is a right and wrong, there is good and evil, there is absolute truth. Therefore, as we continue to mourn and to slowly heal, will we recognize that there is such a thing as truth? And will we allow ourselves to think about the One who is Truth.

As we've seen across the country and the world - spirituality is alive and well. People who barely know each other gather together for prayer. It's times like these that we will either blame God or lean on God (sometimes both).

In my own personal life tragedies - I've found that while it's easy to blame God, the truth is God is love, God grieves over evil, and God is able to provide comfort far greater then we think is possible. I believe our natural emotions are God-given and therefore, we do not need to ignore them or supress them. At the same time, we can find peace that passes understanding in a God who truly cares.

Gather close to family and friends and let them know you love them. And draw close to God and He we draw close to you.


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Virgina Tech Tragedy

As we have watched the events of the last two days unfold on our TV screens, we find ourselves caught between disbelief, anger and the question that always comes in times like these – why?

There are no easy answers, but the God’s Word reminds us that “these three remain faith, hope and love, but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13)

We gather together to acknowledge death, but more importantly to celebrate life.

None of us know how much time we will have here on earth – and times like these have a way of bringing to the forefront what is most important.

I graduated from VT in 1990. I was Resident Advisor (RA) in the AJ dorm where the first shooting took place. I attended classes in Norris. I often reflect on my days at Tech – and if I could go back and do it all over again I would! But, as with all things, time continues to move forward. We’re not meant to live in the past. I pray that each of us will reflect on how God has uniquely gifted each of us. And that we will take real steps towards becoming the person He desires for us to be – a person of faith, a person of hope and a person of love.

In the coming weeks, life will go on – another news event will dominate the media – our own busy schedules will move us further from this day. But I hope that – in some small or large way – the reminders of the events of this week will help us to refocus on what’s truly most important.

I hope that our communities will learn to love as Christ loves. We live in a broken world filled with broken people. I encounter so many hurting people – I too am a hurting person. We have been designed for relationship and love. While the actions of this young man are deplorable – my heart aches for the life he lived. He’s described as a “loner.” I know many I would describe that way – I myself prefer solitude to crowds - but we’ve been made for relationships.

People need people.

In the creation story there’s an interesting point where God looks at his creation and calls it “good.” He then creates man and calls it “very good.” Here is man – in perfect harmony with creation and the Creator. Then God makes this statement – “It is not good for man to be alone.” (Genesis 2:18)

While creation was “good” and the created man was “very good” – it was NOT good for him to be alone. And God created Eve – to which Adam in the original language said – WOW! I don’t know if Adam said that or not, but that’s what I would have said.

My point is that God recognized, from the beginning of creation, the need for all of us to be in relationship with Him and with each other.

Our society has come to idolize INDEPENDENCE – what we need is INTERDEPENDENCE.

So, may we, as Paul wrote in Hebrews, “look for ways to spur one another on to love and good deeds.” As we move forward – let’s allow God to increase our faith, increase our hope and increase our love.

To all in my VT family and to all who grieve – my prayers are with you.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

God's Love

Wow - almost a month since my last post - sorry about that, gang.

There have been some things I wanted to blog on, but just haven't gotten to it - and I still plan to return to the "Questions Jesus Asked" theme.

One thought that has stayed with me was an article I read from Charles Stanley. He was talking about God's love and while the whole article was very good, I'll give you the cliffnote version.

His point was that while many people would consider themselves Christians - they would answer "yes" if asked if Jesus was their Lord and Savior - how many of us are really in love with God? Or more to the point - how many of us have received God's love?

We assume we've received God's love when we became Christians - and in many ways that is true. However, many of us have kept this at a spiritual level.

The way Charles Stanley realized he had not fully embraced God's love on an emotional level was when he was in a real "dry spell" spiritually. He just did not feel like he was close to God. So, he did a very smart thing and gathered some other people whose opinions and wisdom he respected. When they got together one of the men asked Charles to put his head down on the table and close his eyes. Then he told him I want you to allow yourself to "feel" yourself being held by your father.

Charles said he burst into tears - you see his father passed away when he was an infant and so he has no memory of being held by his dad.

The man allowed all of that emotion to flow out and then asked again - "what does it feel like?" Charles said that for the first time he felt the "arms" of God embrace him and hold him tightly.

Have you allowed God to love you this way? Not just the - save me from hell type of relationship, but a true emotional-level falling in love with God?

Some of you may push back from this idea. To you God is too big and too distant to wrap his arms around you - heck, He doesn't even really have arms - right?

But I'd ask you to take some time and think about this a little more deeply this week. After all, most of us have probably been seperated physically from another person, but still know what it feels like to be loved ("held") by them. So, maybe it's time for you to lay your head down on the table, close your eyes, and experience what it feels like to be held by your heavenly Father.

I think you'll discover a love and a peace that will inspire you to live - not simply exist, but live - with less worry and more joy. That's not to say this life will get easier, but your understanding of God will expand, and He will give you everything you need to get through the day.

Jesus himself said - Come to me all of you who are carrying heavy burdens and I will give you rest. Why not find some rest in the arms of the One who knows you best and loves you the most?