Monday, December 10, 2007

T-minus 2 papers to go!

I'm in the midst of finals week with two more papers to write. It's been quite an overwhelming, stretching, yet amazing semester. By Thursday night the paper writing will be over and the celebration will begin :)

I'll be back soon with some post semester commentary.
Justin


P.S. The T-Shirt sales were awesome and we're still working on raising funds for the Asbury for Darfur effort. If you didn't get one of the shirts and would like to get one just drop me an email or a comment.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Old School T's


Coming soon...
In fact, this Saturday!


Wilmore Craft Fair
9am - 4pm : Asbury Seminary Gym

Check out these Shirts!!!
The profits will go to the 'Asbury for Darfur' effort.



Thursday, November 22, 2007

Put the phone down

In our hundred mile an hour, on the go, fast paced world it seems we've always got to be connected...at least seemingly connected. People are giving up their land line phones and carrying their cell phones with them every where they go. Before you write me off as some old man trying to get back to the fifties let me say that Jeanine and I don't have a land line and we really enjoy the convenience of our cell phones (not sure what we'd do without them!).

While I enjoy the conveniences and would LOVE to have an iPhone, there are a few down sides I've noticed. They certainly make us available all the time, whether work or fun, they can cut into what used to be times of rest; they allow us to more easily screen our calls (guilty); and they open the door to an increase in rudeness and decrease in personal skills (as if we needed help). I'm pretty sure these are only compounded by the invention of what I call the bionic ear - aka - blue tooth hands free device.

I was in the drive through just this past week and I was talking to my buddy Drew. As I ordered and then as I pulled up to the window I asked Drew to hold on (sorry Drew) so I could lay the phone down and have a conversation with the person working the drive through. Just as I was getting ready to pull away he thanked me for putting my phone down - I didn't even think he saw me. I was then convicted for all the times I had driven through or walked up to a counter while I was on the phone. The people in the drive throughs and behind the counters are offering a service that I (and probably we) have taken too much for granted.

Let's show our appreciation, whether in a store or a restaurant, when we're being served - put the phone down.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

My Lady

Celebrating 26 years of a beautiful life of a beautiful lady, today! I am constantly amazed by my wife, by her depth, her wisdom, her humor, and her love.

I give thanks to the Lord of All, the Author of Love, that He has entrusted me with this gift to love, nurture and protect.

I pray that we celebrate thousands more years walking hand in hand...and then, I'm reminded that in Christ we're blessed with an eternity!

All Praise, Glory, and Honor be His!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween Transformation

I had the opportunity to preach at the Jessamine County Senior Center today and share in their Halloween celebration. The video below is to really the audio of today's message with some neat pumpkin pics. Check it out! This was one of the most fun, most interesting speaking opportunities I've had. It was a lot of fun! Feel free to check it out...BTW, I carved a pumpkin while I was talking so feel free to laugh as I trip over my words a bit and get some laughs from the crowd. Happy Halloween!
video

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A prayer from a broken heart....


There is no part of me that is hidden from you.
You have known me from before my first breath.

My life has been selfish, greedy, gluttonous and lustful.

My sin is punishable by death...hopeless death.
But you...you loved me even in hopelessness.

Unworthy, broken, lost,condemned -

You made a way for me from the deepest, darkest places.

You are my redemption; death has died and I am free!

You are the redemption for all who come!
If you saved me, surely there is none without hope!
You are my salvation! You and you alone!
- Your Child, Justin


Thursday, October 18, 2007

Fill me up -

There are few places that touch my heart the same way the North Carolina Coast does. Recently, having the opportunity to walk in the sand and surf, I was touched by the thought of the ocean as a means of grace. When I think about God's grace and God's love I think about how big it must be to cover my sin. As I look out over the water watching it reach to the horizon, I am overwhelmed by all that God has done to express His love for us. His love and grace is beyond what we can comprehend, it's even greater than all the water in all oceans of the world!

Praise the Lord!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Oh, the things you find when you're not looking...

So we're out for a nice Sunday drive...and we come across what we thought was a little strange country-bumpkin signage...



... and we laughed a little, and wondered where one would come across such a piece of art... but then we saw this...


and then this...






...and behind these two were at least 3 more... so we thought it might be best to keep driving... but then just down the road, we see this...




Clearly, it was time to go home. For all of you reading this who DONT live in Jessamine County... feel free to let your imagination wander. For those of you who do, always travel with a buddy...

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Christmas... in September?


So what if I had needed a rake to rid the yard that I dont have of leaves that arent falling? The lawn and garden section of Wal-Mart, which should still be selling swimming pool chemicals (given that it was 83 degrees today), is "decking the halls" a bit early. However, if you look carefully, you'll notice that the acoustic-jammin' santa is sporting his Top Gun shades (as is appropriate in late summer)!
So, excuse me while I find a ladder to begin stringing lights from the rain gutters...

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Four score; well, at least 26 years ago...

I must admit this is a little weird for me. I actually just read this story for the first time yesterday. It is my birth narrative, if you will; written by my mom soon after I was born. So here I am sharing it with you, the world. Don't worry it's not too graphic or gross, but if your curiosity needs piquing, I was born in the back of an ambulance! Check it out:

"I guess you've all heard that Justin Michael finally made his arrival, although not exactly as planned. I had no intention of even going to the hospital in an ambulance, let alone having the baby in one! As it turned out, there wasn't much time for choices. For those of you who haven't heard the story, here's how it went: I started into labor about 7 p.m. The contractions were strong, and came every 1 to 3 1/2 minutes. They lasted from 31 to 57 seconds, but were never regular. Because they were irregular and started so quickly, I believed it was false labor. Luckily, my mother was with me, and she, "just knew" I was really in labor, and that the baby was closer than I thought. She called my doctor and told him we were on our way. She then called a friend at the ambulance base to tell her we were leaving for the hospital. When Mom told her how close the contractions were she wanted us to call Station 31 and let them take me to the hospital, but I was still determined I wasn't going in an ambulance. A few minutes later, the ambulance called to say they were on the way (my friend had called on her own), and wanted me to let them take me in. Mom wasn't sure the ambulance would get there in time. The ambulance arrived, they timed a few contractions, and then loaded me into the ambulance. They called the hospital and, after my next contraction, we began to move. We got out of the parking lot and into the road when the baby started coming. They stopped the ambulance and, with the next contraction, he was born. It happened so fast!! It was 8:09 p.m., and the labor lasted just over one hour. After the paramedics cleaned him up, I heard that wonderful first cry, and I got to hold him; he was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen. We dimmed the lights in the back, and he opened his big dark blue eyes and looked around at everyone. I want to praise my friends and co-workers for safely delivering Justin. After the pediatrician saw him and assured us he was completely healthy, they told me the cord had been wrapped around his neck twice. They just took care of the problem without ever skipping a beat. If not for you all, I might not have my wonderful little boy."

As I read through this story, my heart is humbled. I am reminded of our human frailties and our dependence on God and others. I am grateful for God's faithfulness and His hand when I see that I may not have even been able to take my first breath.

God, Thank you for the provision of life. You are my Father, the one who brought breath to my lungs. Draw me near to you so that everything I do is done for your glory and not my own. Fill my lungs again today that I may breathe you in! It's in you that I find my hope and my delight.
Thank you for the paramedics that worked as your hand on this day, 26 years ago.
May each of them feel your presence in a special way today.
All praise be to your holy name. Amen

Friday, September 21, 2007

Acts 5:12-42

I've been reading in Acts chapter 5 for the last few days...I am both amazed and convicted. Even before chapter 5, but especially in it, Peter and the Apostles are out healing people, teaching them about Jesus Christ and many lives are being changed. The Apostles are arrested, beaten and imprisoned, then when they are released, every time, they are told not to teach or even mention the name of Jesus again. As soon as they leave the presence of the priests and scribes, they go out from the temple right back to it.

But why? Maybe it's because an angel freed them from prison? Maybe it's because they find joy in suffering? Maybe it is because God told them to teach the words of life? Yeah, maybe it's all of these things...

But what about me, what about us??? As Christians we have been set free from prison, we have been told to count ourselves blessed if we suffer as Christ did, and God has told us to Go - make disciples. Still, day in and day out I keep the message to myself. I'm afraid people will think I'm a freak for talking about Jesus, and I don't want to offend anyone. On top of that, I'm lazy. I'm not really even in danger of being beaten or imprisoned. What then...are any of these good excuses? I guess not.

Lord, I pray,for myself and anyone reading this, that today you may put someone in our paths that we may share the Gospel message with. Give me the eyes to recognize him or her. Give me the boldness to speak up and share the message and the the love that you've so willingly shared with me. It's all about you. In Jesus name, Amen.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

A Quick Word...






I'm on my way to bed, but I just had to write this down before I could sleep. Jeanine and I went to see TobyMac in concert tonight at Questapalooza. If you don't know what either of those things are, you can click on the word and check them out.

TobyMac gave two simple truths to the crowd...

(1) - God loves you! He is ready and willing to help you turn your life around. When you turn to Him there is Love and Forgiveness. All your past mistakes, they are washed away. And...

(2) - You were made to worship and adore the God who created you! Each of us has this very purpose at the center of our lives.

Two simple truths: Love centered - Life changing!

Here's definitely a shout out to Quest Community Church for a great, Christ honoring, fun-filled event!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Great Weekend in the Water

In the water of baptism. Jeanine and I just returned from a great weekend with my family in West Virginia where I got to assist in the baptism of my youngest cousin, Kayley. Family members came from all over to celebrate this sacred time together. It was great to see extended family and catch up on what's been going on with each of them. I dare to say it is unique the way that our family can gather - from the youngest to the oldest - aunts, uncles, parents, grandparents, great-aunts and great uncles - as far apart as we all live, there is a connection and love that I really cherish.

Back to the baptism side of the weekend though. Kayley is 4 months old and was baptized in the United Methodist Church that I grew up in. Now, whether you believe in infant baptism or not let me tell you what I know from this experience. 1. On Sunday, I experienced the presence of the Holy Spirit in that church like I never have before. As the light was ushered past me to the altar, my heart and mind were filled with joy in anticipation. He
stirred in a number of hearts that morning. And, 2. when taken purely and seriously, the covenant of baptism written in the United Methodist Hymnal is such an amazingly deep commitment. It is a commitment for the congregation and family of the person being baptized. Too often we treat the covenant as words on a page. It seems to me that there is power and presence of the Holy Spirit in baptism whether received as an infant or an adult. Do I have a preference, sure, but however it is done, I'm not going to limit what the Lord can and cannot do (not that I really could anyway, but it's better not to even try :).

It was quite an honor to be apart of this baptism service and I am excited to see how Kayley continues to learn and grow. As someone who was a part of the her baptism service I feel a great responsibility to do my part in leading her to faith in Jesus Christ. May He be glorified through the life of this young child!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Living vs. Existing

To live is an everyday choice... What I mean is, we can go on existing without living. Existing seems to me to be what happens when each and every day we are the same as we were yesterday. Living is striving for abundant life - a life that is better today than it was yesterday. The problem comes when we try to find abundant life on our own or when we look to possessions or other people for abundant life. We can try our hardest and fight until we have no strength left, but every time we will come up short (I know, I've tried).

Abundant life is received. Not earned, not bought, simply received. When we go looking for the wrong things, in the wrong places, clawing our way through, I dare to say, we are still only existing. But, when we open ourselves to humbly receive, then, then we can live. To live we must simply receive what the One who created us did to redeem us. When we receive the redemption, the greatest love of all, a change takes place and each day we are compelled to be more like the one who saved us.

Are there still struggles? Everyday. See it is easier to go on existing; it is easier to give up. There are things in this world that try to de-rail those who are truly living - Believe me, I struggle quite often! But, each day we have the opportunity to decide what we will do with this life; Exist or Live. The more we choose to exist, the harder it is to live, but the more we decide to live, the harder it is to exist. In living, sometimes we stumble, but there is opportunity for repentance and forgiveness, even when we fall.

I want to encourage you to click play below (you may have to wait a minute for the player to finish loading). If you've ever struggled with living I think you can probably identify with this song. For me, it captures my struggle between existing and living. If you want to live - there is hope today.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Back in town

It's official. Jeanine and I are back in good ol' Wilmore. We have arrived back in Wildcat territory, but I have to confess I'm still gone to Carolina in my mind (I'm singing it too!) Really, we had such an awesome summer! It was hard for both of us to leave Thomasville. We made some life-long friendships and saw God at work in so many ways. Many thanks to all the folks at Mt. Zion Wesleyan for their welcoming love and hospitality. We have memories that we will cherish for years to come!

Jeanine is already back in school teaching Freshman English again this year and I am trying to get re-adjusted to academic life here at Asbury. We are buckling up and settling in for our final year here in Wilmore.

May you feel the presence of the Lord in a special way today!
-Justin & Jeanine

Sunday, August 05, 2007

USNWC

Jeanine and I finally got the opportunity to meet up with my mom, Suzanne, and brother, Joseph to check out the new whitewater training facility in Charlotte. It was quite impressive. They do two hour raft trips just about all day every day and they have three different whitewater runs to choose from. They have multiple rock climbing walls and hiking and biking trails all over the place.

If I lived closer I could definitely learn to love this whitewater park. There is a lot of volume in a little area making the water a little pushy, and in constant motion. Just about every single eddy on the river is so strong that it actually has upstream flow to it. The rapids are really continuous. We really enjoyed exploring the park and watching all the rafts. The number of hard boaters was pretty low. We were able to demo some of the boats they have there, you just have to bring your own equipment. I think my favorite part was getting to ride the conveyor belt from the bottom pool to the top pool.

If you get the chance, definitely check this place out!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Hide and Seek

I had the great opportunity to preach at Mt. Zion Wesleyan today! The is surely faithful. If you would like to hear the message from today simply click on the picture below. From there you can either download the message to your computer, or you can listen to it online.

Note to Self...

Next time you go to a pool party... Seriously, where your swimsuit!










Many thanks to the teens and youth leaders that just wanted to "make sure I was baptized." :)

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Beautiful Bahamas Beaches By Boat

Well, really it was by a big ol' ship! Sovereign of the Seas









We just returned from our very first cruise. If you've ever been, you know what we mean...It was one of the most amazing experiences of our lives. If you love food, if you love seeing new things, if you love the beach or if you love the beauty of creation, you would love taking a cruise.

We took a four night cruise through the islands of the Bahamas. We stopped at the Royal Caribbean private island, Coco Cay and the capital of the Bahamas, Nassau. Coco Cay was probably the most relaxing place we've ever been. From hammocks between the Palms and the calm, clear blue water-we were looking for some real estate! Nassau was quite different, but still very interesting. There are over 250,000 people that live on New Providence Island (where Nassau is located). It was quite commercial, especially around the port. We walked over to Paradise Island where we got to go to the beach again, and where we got to see part of the Atlantis Resort. We also got to see some really cool churches, at least one of which was built in the mid 1700's.
From this cheeseburger in paradise to the midnight chocolate buffet there is non-stop amazing foods 24 hours a day. There were food options from all over the world at the breakfast buffet, the lunch buffet and the formal dining at dinner.

























The cruise itself was so amazing, but even better were our cruising partners, Matt & Sarah. Even on a rainy walk in a foreign land, we had a great time! It's always an adventure :)
We could go on for hours! If you want to see more pictures from our trip, just click on the big picture below. It'll take you to our album online. If you're thinking about cruising, we highly recommend Royal Caribbean. As they say on the ship--"Get out there!"

Friday, June 29, 2007

Show and Tell

So here are some pictures from our latest adventures here in the land of the Piedmont (we're not sure what that is, yet...)



We call it Alumni II. Seriously, it's about the same size as ol' Alumni Manor... except our neighbors don't have wild parties.











Pastor Justin, hard at work. (Actually, he's playing solitaire, but doesn't he look good??) Posh office space.








You can take the boy out of Wilmore, but you can't take the Wilmore out of the boy. We're finally sleeping in a place where you can't hear the trains, and look who has to go seek them out again...









The view from the driveway... and outlining Justin's long walk to work. So, why'd the chicken cross the road???












Contrary to appearances, Mt. Zion Wesleyan Church is not located on the side of a mountain. This is just a testament to Justin's stellar (or epileptic) photography skills!





Hard to believe this summer is half over already! We're headed to the Bahamas next week so we'll be posting more after that. See ya and Happy Summer.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Leptrascoptomologistarian


What??? Yeah, I asked the same thing. That was the role I played in last night's VBS. It's a doctor that treats people with Leprosy. I don't know if it's a real doctor, but I know I had a great time teaching the fourth graders about Naaman.

In 2 Kings 5, Naaman, the strongest man in King Aram's army is diagnosed with Leprosy - a flesh eating disease with no known cure. Even in his disbelief, his obedience to the Lord healed him after washing seven times in the Jordan River. I am blessed by this story. If you have a minute, stop in 2 Kings 5 - it's a quick read.

We used an onion to simulate the smell of Leprosy...It was pretty gross! But, who knew water and a stainless steel spoon would take the smell away...In Naaman's case, and ours - even when it doesn't make sense, obedience to the Lord is the sweetest smell of all!

Things are going well here in NC. Bible School has been a lot of fun! I will post again soon with some pictures of our living accommodations and the church.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Room to grow...

The first few weeks here at Mt. Zion Wesleyan Church have been really amazing! One of the key goals for the summer is simply growing in my relationship with the Lord. One of the first things my mentor said has stuck with me… in fact, I read these words every morning before I start my day.

“Until the burden for others is greater than the burden for yourself, you will never fully know the Power of Christ.”

These words just resonate in my heart and remind me that there is always room for growth. It is the journey of Holiness. Is Holiness what you long for? I’ve recently read that Holiness is like a bird… It must have two wings to fly… One wing is personal holiness, the other is social holiness. Without one or the other the bird is grounded.

Is your pursuit of Holiness soaring or grounded?

How are you seeing growth in your life?

Philippians 3:10-11 10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Summertime is here :)

While the season of Summer is still about a month away, another semester has come to a close. I just want to give a little shout out to the 2007 graduating class from Asbury Seminary! There is much cause for celebration!

As for me, I'm going to be interning with Mt. Zion Wesleyan Church for the Summer. So Jeanine and I will be down in Thomasville, NC. We are excited to see how the Lord works and moves in this place and time, not only in our lives, but in the lives of this community.

Sorry to be so short again, but HAPPY SUMMER!!!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Embrace Souix Falls

A dear friend of mine, Adam Weber is graduating from Asbury Seminary this month. He and his wife Becky are headed back to South Dakota where they are being called to plant a church. Filled with compassion and the message of the Gospel, many lives are sure to be touched and changed through the work of God in these two people. The church is already off the ground and ministering to people in the Sioux Falls area. I definitely want to encourage you to check out their website and pray for the church as the seek to serve the Lord faithfully.

In Love and Prayer,
www.embracesiouxfalls.com


Friday, May 04, 2007

Two Brothers...Two Marines

Jeanine's brother, Stephen (aka: Tony) graduated from the Parris Island, SC Marine recruit training facility just a couple weeks ago. It's been such an amazing experience to be a part of not only his graduation experience, but Jeanine's brother Dustin's graduation just six weeks before. We are quite proud of both of these Marines and we ask that you remember all of our Armed Forces in your thoughts and prayers (certainly including the Commander in Chief). Check out the video here, below to get a little glimpse of the celebration!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

A little adventure...ordeal even!

Just making a quick interjection here before I make the next post -
The group that I am apart of recently set out on a little adventure. Let's just say it involved 6 guys, a truck, holding hands, and some blind folds. You may at this point be questioning what I am learning in seminary...but click on the pictures below to find out more about this adventure:
http://asburyfellowship.blogspot.com/2007/04/shared-ordeal.html