Thursday, April 28, 2011

Big Day Coming

A little less than two years ago I was part of launching a dream. The dream was to see one million Christian teens involved in a single day of service in cities across the U.S. Eventually this dream came to be known as 1 By Youth. The very first event happened in Manassas, VA in April of 2010. Since then other cities have joined the movement of youth service. But one big part of the dream was to see 1 By Youth come to one of the largest cities in the country.

On Saturday, May 7 that dream will become a reality when 1 By Youth comes to the west side of Chicago. The inaugural Chicago event will bless the people of the Austin and West Garfield neighborhoods. I'm particularly excited about this because God's blessed me with a unique opportunity. In January I left Group Cares and the team that created 1 By Youth to join the team at Lutheran Church Charities. On the day of my departure pieces fell into place for me to take on the role of Community Director for Chicago 1 By Youth on behalf of Lutheran Church Charities. So now I've gotten to see this awesome event from both the national and local sides.

Here's what I can tell you...1 By Youth IS AWESOME! It's an awesome concept, an awesome mission and an awesome opportunity to change all sorts of lives with the love of Jesus. It's the simplest way to engage young people in service within the context of a big event with lots of Christian youth. It deserves to become the next big movement of youth service...and I'm not just saying that because I had a hand in creating it! This event is local, powerful, simple and effective.

I encourage you to become a fan of 1 By Youth and work to bring it to your town if it isn't there already. The goal of one million youth is very real but will take the energy and excitement of many to make it happen. Join us and change lives everywhere.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Never Too Late

The deadline for the early price for our mission trip to Kenya has passed. That doesn't mean you can't go with us. It just means that, in order to keep costs in line we need to charge $100 more per person for future registrations. I'm hoping this doesn't deter those of you who just needed a little more time to consider joining the team. There are still spaces available and there is still great need among the orphans and blind children of Kenya. If we reach 20 registered folks there could be a rebate available for those registering late. I can't promise that, but it's not my intention to take advantage of anyone. We just need to be able to cover our costs and have sufficient funds for the work we'll be doing in Kenya.

I hope you'll still consider joining this team. It's never too late...

Monday, April 11, 2011

What's It Worth to You

Let me start by saying, again, that I know $3500 is a lot of money. But only when you look at it separate from any frame of reference. For example, if I offered you a 2011 Mercedes Benz SL550 hard top convertible for $3500 you might just do anything possible to come up with that money. Or maybe I'm the only one who dreams of that car. How 'bout if I offered you a seaside vacation home in Costa Rica for $3500. Don't you think you could find the money somewhere to take that deal?

So, what if I told you that for $3500 you could forever change the course of a child's life? What sort of effort would you make to get that money if you knew it would provide an opportunity for you to change the lives of nearly 200 children? Would you ask friends and family to contribute? Would you invite your church to sponsor your efforts? We go to extraordinary lengths all the time to see that we can get the best possible bargain. Just think of all the times you found something you wanted and did whatever it took to acquire that thing.

I'm inviting you to be a part of something that you won't be able to drive or live in or put on a shelf or plug-in and watch. I'm asking you to consider joining me on a mission of mercy and compassion to children in Kenya who desperately need to be cared for. I'm asking you to sacrifice a little more than a week of your time and find about $3500. This is the opportunity of a lifetime and I guess the only question left is...what's it worth to you?

Thursday, April 07, 2011

At Our Very Best

Spent a great day today amongst mission minded pastors and their spouses. Met and heard the President of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, Matthew Harrison, speak today. He stressed that mission is an expression of our faith. As one who spends much of his life planning, organizing and leading mission - whether a single day of service in the city of Chicago for 1000 or more volunteers or a medical mission trip to Kenya with a team of 20 - it's so refreshing to spend time with folks who get it. We are created by God to be relational, to care for others and to express the love of Christ in real, tangible and meaningful ways. Sitting in our churches waiting for people to come to us is unacceptable! Writing checks and expecting others to do the dirty work is not much better. We Christians are at our very best when we are serving people in need driven by the love of Christ. It's my dream that the day will come when the church is always...always at her very best.