First, there's this:
Now, on with the blog:
My last post was dripping with pain. Many of you applied bandages and other means of medical aid to that open wound and I cannot thank you enough. As I said on facebook this morning, "Today is still a tough day. But I feel much less alone. Thank you all." Then, there was a message from Leisha Stevens that elevated my heart more than I could have hoped, "(The) youth raise(d) a little extra cash for you two at youth group tonight! It is not much, but we wanted to bless you! I am going to try and get it to you before school tomorrow! :) God bless! Praying for you both!"
We go to a fairly small church. A church that has no building of it's own. We meet every Sunday by renting a gym in Kelly Middle School near River Road in Eugene. (If you're looking for us, we're on the far end that faces North Park Avenue.) We probably take up thirty or thirty-five parking spaces at the school each Sunday. We're a family. A small family. But I had no idea our family was this close.
Wednesday night the youth of our church, high school and middle school (I think), met for their regular Wednesday night meeting. They worshiped. They prayed. I assume at least one Bible was opened. Somehow, at some point, my wife and I were brought up. I don't know how and I don't know what was said. But these kids, most of which barely know me, decided to reach into their own pockets and give to us. How much they gave doesn't really matter. (Ok, it does matter to my bill collectors and creditors. But not to you or I. It's not the point) The fact that these kids cared enough about us to give what they had breaks (in a good way) and renews my heart.
I was a kid once. A long, long, time ago. I remember how important money was in high school. It was the difference between a video at home with a "buddy" or a movie out with a girl. That was the world... to me. These kids put someone else ahead of themselves. They put my wife and I ahead of themselves. I'm not saying I wasn't a good kid or didn't make sacrifices for other people. I'm just acknowledging how big of a sacrifice this was.
Repeatedly I have thanked God for putting us in this church. For giving us a home that feeds us emotionally and spiritually. I am constantly and uproariously praising Him for these people He's surrounded us by. (That includes all my friends, including you on-line weirdos who continue to risk mental instability by reading this blog, not just the one's we've found at Christ Fellowship.) But God continues to give me new reasons to praise and thank Him. New reasons to look forward to each day I have left and, on occasion, hope for more.
More on "the kids": These teens aren't anything super-extraordinary by any spiritual means. None of them have day-glow halos, dress in robes or bring wilting flowers back to life... not that I know of anyway. I know that while dealing with the few I have, well... dealt with, I've been impressed and even comforted (in the kind of way that makes you feel better about the future of our world) I have been reassured by most parents that, at home, they are typical kids. Beds unmade. Laundry dirty. Homework half-done or not at all. Resistant to much of the parenting offered to them and struggling with hormones that those of us in my age group have long forgotten the ravages besieged by on the teen body and mind. They're "normal" kids.
Normal kids who set aside their own wants and "needs" to help someone else. I've rarely been so blessed and will never forget the sacrifice this small group of kids made for Kristin and myself. I hope you won't forget it either.
Speaking of "kids", there was a time I was heavily involved with Hosea Youth Services here in Lane County. Their goal is to minister to and feed homeless you (mostly teens). It's mostly volunteers and they all work very hard on a very small budget.
Remember my small rant about Christian concerts in Lane County and how we needed to support them if we wanted them to keep coming? Remember how I said you needed to attend these shows? How the music was good?
Redemption Rocks Concerts is putting on a benefit show for Hosea Youth Services featuring some really hot music and you should really check it out:
Paul Wright and Root Down with special guests Caleb and Sol along with The Parker Brothers (Not the board-game people, the band. And, yes, I will make that joke every time I mention them.) will play at Northwest Christian University (Formerly Northwest Christian College, but I guess they got a promotion or something.) Saturday, April 2nd at 7:00pm. The show will be "emceed" by Josh Bidwell, former Duck kicker and NFL All-Pro.
And you know what? Even if the idea of "Christian" music freaks you out a little bit... You should really check it out. This is good music. Trust me, there's some "Christian music" I can't stand, just like there's a little of every music I can't stand. I wouldn't tell you it was good if I didn't think it was. Check it out. Broaden your mind a little and have a good time. You don't have to worry about anybody trying to get you to convert because they're all gonna assume you're a Christian too... just because you're there. Check it out and tell you're friends your going to explore some alternative culture. Because, it's true!