Thursday, September 27, 2018

Leaving Space for God...

Last weekend my family had an opportunity to travel with the church’s youth group to Camp Lutherwood in Utah.  This camp is located right in between Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks.  It was the perfect time to get a glimpse of the fall colors and escape from the heat of Las Vegas!

Ready for a weekend of adventure!
There is something mysterious about these trips that I always look forward too.  Something changes within the youth, my family, and in even in me…  Just taking a moment to breathe, hike through the canyons, and watch the stars come out at night changes the way I look at the world.

Our theme for the retreat was based on a scripture passage from Mark chapter 8.  Jesus asks, “Who do you say that I am?” It struck me on this trip that many of us never really take time to think about this question.  We may have doubt when we look at Jesus, or we may recast Christ to be whatever we want him to be.  In the end, most of us miss the true meaning of the love and forgiveness that Jesus really stood for.  Without understanding God’s love, I don’t think any of us can really understand who we truly are either. 

On this particular trip I heard kids talk about all the terrible names they had been given.  It’s easy to let these names latch on to us… and sometimes they can even destroy us.  However, I believe our job in the church is to share a different story.  We are to offer the truth of God’s Grace.  I am thankful for the opportunity this trip offered to share a new story, in spite of the evil around us…

I think we all need to be intentional about remembering that God made us all in God’s image.  I hope and pray that all of you would leave a little space to remember your true identity.  May you know you are loved, and may you feel God’s peace!


Fish weren't really biting, but certainly a fun day out!

Lutherwood is a pretty amazing place!

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Everything Changes, and it's a Blessing!

So… a lot has happened since the last time I posted! 

Welcome to the world Isaac! 

Isaac Conyers Ward came into the world on August 17, 2018.  Both mother and child are fine, and since he is our second child, the older brother is adapting as well as can be expected…

My wife and I have spent months preparing for this moment, but personally I still feel a little dazed!  Sure I can paint a room, buy diapers, and set up about 100 different baby rockers… but in the end, I feel like I’m just winging it! 

It is impossible to prepare for all the sleeping issues, the eating issues, and the general mess that has come...  However, I was able to take a couple of weeks to just be with my family.  We had time to adjust, learn, and just soak in our blessings together.  Personally, I needed this time to really appreciate what had happened!  In many ways, I think we all need to leave space every day to feel God’s presence, whether we have kids or not.  Each day we can (and should!J) prepare to the best of our abilities, but life is really about the curve balls we aren’t expecting.  In our scripture passage this week, we are going to look at these unexpected moments and ask how we should respond.  Do we close ourselves off out of fear, or do we take a leap of faith trusting that something greater will be there to embrace us in our time of need?

Today, I hope you can take a leap of faith.  I pray you would know that there is a greater love that will never let you go.  I hope you can take time to appreciate this love.  May the unexpected bumps in the road be a blessing and adventure for you instead of a curse!  May you feel love this week!

Just for fun, here are a couple more pics...


Not sure how he feels about all his new outfits,
but I think he looks great!