Friday, December 24, 2010

christmas eve

i had the opportunity to attend a christmas eve service at red rocks church in golden this afternoon. it was alright and short and packed. it was the 2PM service so i figured it'd be pretty small. i was wrong. there were like a 1000 people there and the back was packed with people standing. that's pretty cool. cool because like five years ago red rocks was non-existent. god's definitely blessing those guys which i'm a fan of.

anyways, before we took communion the pastor asked us to reflect on two questions: "where am i failing god?" and "what am i thankful for?" those are kinda big questions to ask yourself during the happy christmas season, right? but it was cool cause i like asking myself questions like that...but i don't do it enough.

(cue perfect segway here)

i have lots of areas where i know i am failing god but i'll refrain from sharing them with the blog world. i'd probably be more then happy to share them with you in person though, you just have to ask.

i have a whole lot to be thankful for. obviously, that list starts with god. and i don't mean to say that flippantly, he has really changed my life in the last couple of years. and for that i am thankful. he's saved me from a lot. and blessed me with some amazing experiences and opportunities. i'm reminded of psalm 118:1 where the author says, "give thanks to the lord, for he is good; his love endures forever." it's true, he's good...and his love endures...even when i fail him...he loves me. and that love endures forever. for-ever-ever? for-ever-ever.

but my thankful list continues with you. you, the people out there who believe in me, the people who pray for me, the people who have supported me, the people that "randomly" come across my blog or facebook. i'm thankful for the over 200 people who read my last blog (or the person who clicked refresh a lot) and i'm thankful for my family...thats us the other day.

as you've read, i'm working at a new church in denver and starting seminary in two weeks. i need your help. i need your prayers and honestly, i need your financial gifts. i can't do this without you. will you prayerfully consider giving? you can do so here, be sure to select my name when selecting your gift in step four.

why give?
i'm working at new denver at least 2o hours a week. i connect people with local service in denver and we have started a global missions initiative in guatemala, i help lead a young adults group and i am helping lead volunteers on sunday. in order to lead others into a developing relationship with jesus christ and to help the church grow, i am praying that you'll financially support me so that i can work at the church based off of your donations alone.

seminary is expensive ($445/credit) but i know it's necessary for my life. i felt god calling me to seminary and have felt confirmations of that calling lately. i'll be studying biblical studies-new testament and hope to graduate in a couple of years. after graduation, i'm hoping to become a pastor that connects others with jesus. again, that sounds pretty flippant and easy but it's not. i need god...and you. in my ideal world, i could get through school without taking out loans. so that's where i'm asking you to step in and pray about giving.

how much do i need?
this might shock you but i need $19,200 for the year. i know, thats a lot. if it helps ease the shock, i intend on paying my seminary education through the money i raise...and living off the little bit left over. it'll be like ramen college days on steroids...or something like that.

so if you've made it this far...thanks for reading. would you honestly take a minute and pray for me? that's a lotta money and it stresses me out so your prayers would help a lot...and school's gonna be really hard. but would you mind giving? any amount helps immensely. seriously. i'm praying and hopeful that god will bless me through you...and your friends...and your relatives. spread the word.

(i was asked to dedicate a friends baby last weekend, an honor)

merry christmas. may each of you have an amazing holiday with your friends and family. and may you remember jesus always.

god is love, nothing is impossible.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

second chances

if you’ve followed along for a bit, then you know that i was a cop. it was cool. kinda. i was also on the SWAT team. again, kinda cool. but not really.

let me tell you a story about how awesome god is.

in july, 2007 i was training a “rookie” (cop talk for a new person) and thought i’d stir up a little action by going to arrest a guy (who i’ll call jeff). jeff was wanted for a DUI which isn’t a huge deal but the bond was $50,000 (to get out of jail, that’s really high).

we showed up and found jeff sitting in the backyard with his wife and neighbors. as soon as jeff saw us he ran inside the house and locked all of the doors. not a big deal, right? right.

however, jeff decided to grab his little kid and his pistol and walk around the house. as you can imagine, the stakes were raised a little bit and we tried to get him to come out of the house. but jeff didn’t want to. and then jeff’s wife told us that she was worried because he was suicidal and she thought he might hurt their child and kill himself.

so the SWAT team came out.

i was pretty excited. it was my first SWAT call out and it fell into the category of a barricaded gunman/hostage situation…so i was excited. but my excitement faded into boredom rather quickly as i was put on a perimeter spot and had to stand in front of the house, hiding behind a car, for the next 4-5 hours.

anyways, jeff refused to talk with our negotiators so after 4-5 hours, the team forced entry into the house. the part of the team that went in the house safely removed the kiddo and arrested jeff. in the process of being arrested, jeff received a large gash on his forehead which required lots of stitches. so, my rookie and i went to the hospital and sat with jeff while he got stitches. i don’t remember a lot of our conversation but i remember jeff being a nice guy and him continually apologizing for not coming out of his house and putting his kid in danger.

fast forward to november, 2010. i show up to one of my best friends wedding at a church in denver to decorate the reception hall. as soon as i get there, i see a guy that looks a lot like jeff. i started to freak out because as a cop, i carried a gun everywhere for just this situation…the situation where you run into someone who will recognize you and want to take revenge on you. but i’m not a cop anymore so i don't have a gun...and jeff doesn’t know that i've moved on in my life.

i had no clue what to do. at first, i denied that it was him. then i saw the scar on his forehead so there was no denying that it was him. for lack of a better plan, i just avoided him and prayed about what to do. that might sound lame but it’s what i did. i prayed. and i felt like i should talk to him. but i didn’t. i left…hoping that he’d leave too.

i came back to the church an hour or so later for the rehearsal and decided to search for jeff. i found him in the upstairs of the church, cleaning.

“hey jeff, do you remember me? i’m dan from the police department. how’s life?”

“yeah, i remember you. that was a crazy night, huh? this might sound weird but, thanks for arresting me. i had backslid (a christian word for reverting back to sin) and my life was a mess. that night was a wake up call and it got me back on the right track, so thanks.”

he offered me a seat and we sat and talked for about thirty minutes. we talked about him coming back to faith and me coming to faith. we talked about our stories. we talked about our dreams. we talked about what god was doing in our lives. and we talked about how god is a god of second chances. you see, jeff’s on staff at the church doing maintenance and men’s ministry and i’m working at a church and starting seminary.

“What’s the Lord doing in you? Been praying for you. Glad you're my brother.” –text message from jeff this afternoon.

god is love, nothing is impossible.