Monday, July 26, 2010

From 2 to 7 TLY Water Baptism Service

My favorite event each year hands down is definitely our Third Lane Youth Water Baptism service. We have been doing this since 2008. Each year there is something about the day that inspires me and leaves me with memories that I will never forget.

The first year it rained cats, dogs, and hamsters. You name it. That was one crazy storm.

We went to Pinchot Park anyways.
We cooked hot dogs under umbrellas.
We had a worship service.

And as we worshiped, the storm cleared and we had our first baptism service.

The first year we were the only ones there, the second year it was a beautiful day and there were lots of other people there too. That is to say, not just people from our church.

It could be a little intimidating to baptize in public like that, but it made an impression on me that these students were proud to get baptized amongst the on-lookers.

Most of all, it's the people getting baptized that truly make this day unforgettable.
It is not an easy thing to stand up in public, its another thing when you stand for Jesus in public.

This year was different than any another year.

It wasn't just students getting baptized this time.

Over the past number of years we always a had a good group signed up to take the plunge.

This year we had two signed up.

Not that numbers are everything. I am definitely not a numbers guy, but I just really believe in water baptism as one of the bench mark moments in your walk with God. I don't want to see anyone miss an opportunity.

As we closed our worship service this time I shared a verse from Acts 8 about Philip and the Ethiopian.

"35Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus. 36As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, "Look, here is water. Why shouldn't I be baptized?" (Acts 8.35-36 NIV)

I think sometimes we complicate things to much in the church.

When you step out in faith and call a Holy Spirit audible there is always a fear of a fumble. What happened during this service was definitely a touchdown in my book. (That's the analogy you get when you fall asleep watching Sports Center.)

We had a grandmother come forward, a parent, and a brother and sister. Even before the service we had a parent call to see if their child could get baptized.

It is an amazing thing to see that type of momentum take place; from two to seven. (see the sports analogy works)

We recorded testimonies this year for the video from students who got baptized in the years previous and this year as well.

I love hearing the students share their heart.

These individuals ministered to me, if not more, as much as I try to minster to them.

So don't just take my word for it... (Reading Rainbow anyone?)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Landslide

I remember the first time I met Jeff Rosinski. It was orientation at Valley Forge Christian College, and I was excited and scared. New places can have that effect on me - on lots of people I suppose.

There was this one blonde haired guy cracking jokes and wearing a blue tie-dyed "Greatful Dead" T-Shirt. Upon a closer look it read, "Greatful to God, Dead to sin." It was a little cheesy, but it made me laugh. I liked this guy immediately.

Jeff was my first friend at Valley Forge, and probably one of my best friends during those years. We definitely had our moments like most friendship do, but we had some great times too.

Joking in the back of the class.
Playing tennis and talking about girls.
Working in the school cafeteria and thinking we were cool.

Some people are the type of friends that no matter what season of life you are in, you can get together and pick up right where you left off, never missing a beat. Jeff was one of those friends.

We also listened to music a lot.
He turned me on to Garth Brooks and Dave Matthews Band.
I turned him on to the Smashing Pumpkins and Bob Dylan.

One song in particular that Jeff loved (and would steal my CD and have me play all the time) was the Pumpkins cover of "Landslide."

He loved that song.

Listening to the song now and reading the lyrics it's ironic, it is beautiful.

The imagery of mountains.
The honesty of fears.
The changing seasons of hope.

It's a song about growing up.

On the surface Jeff could come across as the typical college guy, but when you got to know him he was deep.

Jeff was a thinker and writer.

During those years we both wrote poetry a lot.
It is cool to go on Jeff's Blog and still see him writing poetry.

I haven't written that much poetry since college.
I think that will change.

When I think of this life, I think that we are all running a race, and as we cross the finish line we cross into eternity.

"Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win!." (1 corinthians 9.24 NLT)

Jeff always ran to win.

Jeff always ran faster than me.

I look forward to seeing you again friend and I know you are waiting at the finish line where life meets eternity.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

My Hero Is A Christian


Christian means different things to different people. The particular Christian that I am talking about is my cousin Christian. He was married a number of months ago in Tulsa OK where he met his wife Amanda.

This past weekend they had a marriage service for the family in Philly and I was able to be a part of the festivities too. My job was to do the Unity-Candle section of the ceremony.

It was a pretty moving service.

My cousin Christian means the world to me, he is more than a cousin, he is like a brother to me.
In the Italian culture family is a big deal, the fact that Christian is getting married is a big deal.

September will mark 12 years from when his mother Sue passed away from a five year battle with Breast Cancer.

Sue was a striking women in beauty and in her walk with God.

She had a laugh that was contagious.

Aunt Sue had a big heart and just being around her you felt lifted in your spirit. There were many times as a teenager I would take the bus to NJ to hang with my cuz and his fam. Those years were probably the hardest of my life and my Aunt Sue was always there to be an encouraging source of strength and give me the courage to be myself and trust God.

As much as my Aunt Sue was a huge inspiration in my life even more so to her son Christian.

They talked a lot.
They fought a lot.
But they hugged even more.

She was the most important person in his life...most important women in his life.

Christian and I were roommates in college.
We took many walks and talked about many things.

When you're in your twenties guys always talk about girls.

(Hope of finding the one... well at least at bible college they do.)

He shared thoughts that broke my heart of what it was like to lose a mom at age 17.
He shared fears that I would never be able to handle if I was in his shoes.

He shared his heart.

Christian has now found someone to share his hopes and fears...his heart.
A special young woman to be an inspiration to his embattled soul.

I am inspired by people who have preserved thru great obstacles and tragedy and still believe in God.

That is true faith.

Christian has preserved.
Christian has faith.

I am rememinded of verse that is quickly becoming my favorite verse for this season of my life...

"I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world." - John 16.33 (NLT)

In an age when people invent new ways and excuses to behave however they want, Christian had every right to use his mother as an excuse, he never did.

Christian is a hero to me that still holds on to his faith in God and has found a hand in his to walk in a new journey of hope together.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Lebron A King Misunderstood


I was not surprised with Lebron James "Decision" to go to Miami. He will now have a legit shot to win a title with some of the greatest players and greatest guys in the NBA Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh.

In a country that loves superstars loves super star teamups like The Big Three in Boston, Kobe and Gasol, Brady and Moss, the calibration of talent with these teams was always met with high praise, however it is different for Lebron.

I am having a hard time figuring out why there is so much hate for a guy who has done nothing but kept his nose clean and makes some pretty funny commercials.

He does not dog fight.

He does not have rendezvous in Colorado.

He does not have a wife that swings a golf club like a WWE star.

He is a good guy in a sport-world with a lot of selfish guys...right?

In my life following sports I have always seen "Big Stars" take "Big Money" to have the sole spotlight to further their "Big Ego."

The Alex Rodriguez

The Albert Haynesworth

The Manny Ramirez

Just to name a few.

So here comes Lebron choosing to go into a situation with LESS MONEY and to SHARE the SPOTLIGHT with two other superstars to WIN a CHAMPIONSHIP.

Instead of having a press conferance to announce his decision he has a TV Special that will raise money for the United Way, pretty cool right?

Wrong.

Since the media were not invited to the party its time to trash the host.

Lebron chose not to go to the major sport markets like New York and Chicago so of course they are going to make him a villain. If Lebron chose New York and not Miami he would be hero, but he didn't, so he is not.

I guess thats what you get if you miff off the biggest news media outlet in world.

"It takes one player to be a superstar it takes a team to be champion," James said last night in his statement on ESPN.

In a culture that values money and individualized fame it is refreshing to see a star be able to communicate the importance of team and how the best way to reach goals are to reach them together.


Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Most Inspiring TV Family Is In A Commercial

There are not many family sitcoms anymore on TV these days. It seemed like there were so many great shows in 80s like The Cosby Show, Family Ties, and Growing Pains just to name a few.

Even in the 90s with Boy Meets World, this was my show, how could I not relate to this kid, he had curly hair, from Philly, and his dad would wake him up to watch The Phillies.

When I think about family sit-coms today the first one that comes to mind is The Simpsons. Actually its the longest running sitcom still airing today. Probably because its funny, it doesn't take itself to seriously, and the kids never age.

I love Homer Simpson but I don't want every TV dad to be like Homer.

There are just not many dads on TV anymore that I want to be like, but there is one in a commercial.

ATT released a commercial that I have scene many times, I still don't remember the name of the phone that they are pushing, but I remember the dad.

Its a brilliant TV spot about a future president that you see in flashback style glimpses of his life growing up and then it ends with a moment on a train when his parents first meet. Even if you are not married and have kids, you wanna be the type of guy that follows his heart and approaches the girl on the train. Its a cool commercial, but it is also an inspiring commercial.

It's inspiring because its about a family, and its about how the little moments matter.

Moments like little tug of the arm the wife gives her husband after many years.

Moments like the pat on the head while walking and talking with you son.

Moments like the time a mother takes to teach her son about music.

Life is in the moments.

There are not to many things you can watch on TV that makes you proud to be an American or inspired to be a dad, this commercial does both.