Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Vacation Bible School -- not just for kids!

You know it's summer when:

  • The pools and fountains in Lincoln suddenly have water,
  • You buy airline tickets for a get-away,
  • An 82° day comes as a relief, and...
  • You sign up the kids for Vacation Bible School!

Horizons already has more than 100 kids signed up and the Fiesta! doesn't even begin until July 30. That'll be one wild week. There's still plenty of room, so get your family and friends signed up to either participate or help keep the week fun and safe for everyone.

Speaking of families...did you know there is also a study parents can attend to help them deal with the big questions about God, Jesus and the Bible the kids are gonna be asking sooner or later. I don't know about the rest of you, but I can use all the help I can get in that department.

It'll be a great week of fun, fellowship and making new friends. You can register at the Web site (see the link along the right column), email candie@horizonschurch.org or call the office, 420.6600.


Friday, May 26, 2006

Good $ense Budget Course

My wife, Lisa, and I just finished the Good Sense financial management ministry course. What a blessing it has been!

We are newly-weds, so financial management is very important. This course offered a practical approach to setting a realistic budget that honors God, and sets you up for success! What's not to like about that?

Plus, we had some great time of fellowship with folks interested in finding out what the Bible has to say about a very important subject -- money.

I would recommend taking this course if:

  • You have money.
  • You want to have money.
  • You have the desire to allow God to bless you through your financial stewardship.

For us, this course came along just at the right time. And, I really think no matter where you are along your walk in life, this course would be worth your time. We are called to be good stewards of the resources God gives us. Many of us desire to be, but just don't know how. Well, the next time this course is offered, jump on board and learn!


Christin's Kenya Update 5/26

hey everyone!

as i write this, morgan and i are out doing some last minute errands, etc. before we head on our safari. we leave tomorrow morning (Saturday) and don't get back until Tuesday afternoon, so i hope we end up seeing lots and lots of amazing animals! going on a safari is really encouraged for people like us volunteering. in fact, they say you should only work about two weeks before you take a break from it all. it's super easy to get attached to the kids, and being around them a lot without any breaks really creates an emotional upheaval when you leave for home. it's hard to explain, but we each feel as though we really need this break and distance at this point.

i thought i would tell you a little about how things work at NLH. there are about 60 staff there, but at any given time there are probably only 3-5 paid individuals that are with the children. everyone else is volunteer. in Kenya, they seem to create a lot of jobs for people. for example, guards at every gate, waiters in a food court, each place of residence has its own gardener, etc. the volunteers end up doing much of what the paid staff does in regards to the children.

there are many babies at NLH who are happy and healthy, even if they are really really small for their age. however, there are some babies that really struggle and will face many challenges in their life. Lance is one of those babies. He is blind and has cerebral palsy. It's so hard because in the USA, he would more than likely have a lot of one on one time with an adult. But here, he's just one of fourteen and doesn't get a lot of attention or things done with him. He is lucky though, in the fact that NLH provides occupational therapy for him 3 times a week. Curt is another baby that struggles with many problems. We know he is blind, but there are many other things that seem to plague him. He, too, is a baby that demands attention, yet there aren't enough volunteers or individuals trained in what to do to give him the attention he needs to develop normally.

Catherine is an HIV positive baby at NLH. The last two days were some of the worst. Apparently, when a small child has HIV they are prone to many skin rashes/infections. She had one this past week that prevented her from wearing a lot of her clothing. Like other babies, when they are sick or not feeling well, they want the love and attention of being held and kept close. She wanted that too, however, the action of holding her would create pain because her skin was so irritated that it would be worse. It's so hard watching a baby cry to be held and comforted but knowing that doing so will just create more pain and discomfort.

Then there are babies like Elijah, Eddah, Edmond, and Erica who do nothing but smile and laugh and play. Plus, they all have this little 'fros and look so cute! Elijah looks just like a baby Jimmie Hendrix, I swear. And when Eddah recognizes you, she stretches out her hand to touch you and then crinkles her nose up when she smiles. Looking at these babies, I pray every night that they will find the home and family that deserves them and will cherish and love them the way they are meant to be.

So, on another note, I finally had my first good Kenyan food. I know! Exciting! It was like a big, thick, homemade tortilla that was deep fat fried. And then I put butter and sugar on it (very healthy). I don't know how that could taste bad, but it probably could here, so I was so pumped when it tasted like crispos at Amigos!

I thought I would also share with all of you the website of NLH: http://www.newlifehometrust.org/ It's great, and has pictures on it, so you can kinda see what it's like there.

Thank you so much for all of the emails! They are great and I love hearing/reading about what's going on back home. I miss and love all of you!


Thursday, May 25, 2006

May 25 SoulConnect..."Keeping Score"

We like to keep score of the wrongs in our life. Sometimes we convince ourselves that “one day we’ll pay back that neighbor who was mean to us, the boss who takes advantage of us, or even a family member that has hurt us. Our American culture tells us that we don’t need to take it any more and we have the right to put people in their place, especially if they have wronged us. There’s a different way, a better way.

The story of Job from the bible is a great story about what happens to people when their life is turned upside down. Job found himself at the point of complete despair, seemingly abandoned by God, manipulated by Satan, and beat up by his friends, Job endured criticism and harsh words from his friends. In the end God expressed displeasure with Job’s friends and demands they take a sacrifice of cattle to Job, then have Job pray for them. Basically God is telling Jobs friends to apologize. If Job had been thinking in human terms he could have chosen to condemn his friends for what they had done to him. If anyone had the right to keep score it was Job. But Job refused to take vengeance or hold a grudge. He did what God asked. He prayed for his friends, forgave them and moved forward in faith. “And the Lord restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.” –Job 42:10

We keep score so that some day we can pay back all the wrongs done to us and give people what they deserve. The problem is, we don’t know what people deserve. God knows what people deserve and still chooses forgiveness. How can we not forgive. God is a God of restoration, and renewal, not dismay and destruction. When we choose to walk in the way of Christ we choose forgiveness and freedom. When we choose the way of the world we choose bitterness, and limitations. God turns our view of payback into something sweet. Payback is not about what people deserve, it is about what people need. To his critics who asked him, “What is the greatest commandment?” Jesus responded, “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”- Matthew 22:37-39 Payback is sweet. It's about forgiveness. Enjoy the journey.


Toddlers and 2s review

There's been a lot of excitement about the new curriculum for our toddlers and 2-year-olds, and frankly, I thought we should have installed spy cameras in the classroom just to see what our adult leaders had to go through to organize these kiddos for the first time on Sunday.

The cameras didn't happen, so all my information on what did happen comes from my kiddo, Mace who is 2 years, 9 mos. Here's how that conversation went:

Me: So how was DiscoveryZone?
Mace: Fun.
Me: What did you do?
Mace: I bit Miss Andrea.
Me: Well, yeah, we talked about that already.
Mace: That was naughty.
Me: Yeah. So did you have a story?
Mace: A Bible story. There was water and a storm.
Me: Was it scary?
Mace: Jesus was there.
Me: So...if there's a storm and you're scared, who is with you?
Mace: God.

Me: What was your favorite part of DiscoveryZone?
Mace: Glue sticks.

I think it was an overall thumbs-up for Mace. Thanks to all our leaders and for our Director of Children's Ministries Erin D. who isn't afraid to take on these new and daring challenges.

Go God!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Your favorite Web sites

Hey Horizons,

Pastor Steve and I had our first phone conference with our new Web site designers yesterday and now the work begins.

One of the priorities this week is to visit several Web sites (not just church sites) and gather a list of sites we think are cool with specific reasons. Maybe it's the clean layout, the easy navigation, the style or any number of reasons.

If you have some favorite sites, please pass that information onto me, either by posting here in the comment section or you can email a list to me: lmf@neb.rr.com. Give the Web site address and a few words on why you like it. You can also find sites by using Google or any search engine and start surfing to make up your list. The more sites we see, the better for our design team to get a feel for what we like.


Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Christin's Kenya Update 5/23

hello everyone!

things are going well here.

it is now tuesday afternoon and we are done at NLH for the day. i thought i would share some thoughts and reflections as well as answer some questions that i have been getting.

first, i truly feel as though i'm here doing exactly what i'm supposed to be doing. morgan and i have been hearing a lot about places in other parts of africa where the babies are starving at the orphanages and don't wear diapers because there aren't any. i have been very relieved to see that this is not the case here at NLH. the babies are fed and as much love as possible is given to them. however, the sad part is that many of these babies were in such horrible condition when they first arrived. it's hard to describe how small these babies are in comparison to what we see back home, but for example, there is a little girl, May, who was born on January 5 and weighs only 11 pounds. Many of these babies appear to be anywhere from 2-6 months younger than they actually are. it's not possible to send my pictures, but know you'll be seeing them when i get back home.

i feel as though i have been put in the position where i can do the most good--where i can share love and give of my time. this is a very fulfilling time for me and i'm cherishing every second of it. being here makes you realize how lucky you are to be American. worse comes to worse, you can't make it in the US, the government will step in with it's programs to help. here, if you can't make it, and your family won't help, you will literally starve to death. it's quite a reality.

currently, there are about 60 babies here at NLH. if they haven't been adopted by the time they are 3, they are sent to other homes, such as The Ark, where they will live. generally, if they are not adopted by that time, they most likely won't be. one thing that is so frustrating is the adoption process here in kenya. there is an abundance of children that need homes, however, the courts make it one of the most difficult things to do. an american wishing to adopt over here would have to live here for over a year in order to fully complete the adoption. even more, they would face strict opposition in the courts in order to be approved. when there are so many people that are wanting children, it's hard to understand why the process must be so difficult.

some random facts:

1) the nuns are not trying to convert me (so sorry melissa). but i did go to a catholic church here and it was crazy! they were clapping and shouting and even the priest was getting in to it.

2) the food is still ridiculously bad. last night i ate something that looked like mashed potatoes, but you needed a knife to cut it and your fork bounced off it it. apparently, it a staple here.

3) i will not be bringing a baby home (so stop asking me!). jeez!

4) today i saw someone mowing grass with a gigantic, double sided corn knife. imagine using that to take care of your lawn.

5) i actually rode on a matatu yesterday and lived to tell about it. i know, hard to believe.

well, that's all for now. i wanted to let all of you know that i appreciate the emails, thoughts and prayers--they mean a lot to me over here.


Monday, May 22, 2006

If God asks...what will you do? Susan Sapp June 4

Our very own Susan Sapp will be speaking Sunday, June 4, at both services. The last time I heard Susan give a Sunday message was back at Scott Middle School -- has it really been that long? If you've never heard Susan, you won't want to miss. Susan speaks her mind, has great wit and truly honors God at every turn.

Susan will tell a personal story about God asking and what she had to do. See the trailer at the link below and share the link with any friends you'd like to invite:


We will e-mail a Windows movie (.wmv) copy of the trailer to our church-wide list this week which will also be easy to forward to friends. If you're not on that mailing list and would like the file, e-mail me at lmf@neb.rr.com.

See you there.

Relevant Magazine Article by Mark Gudgel

Steve mentioned the article online at Relevant Magazine written by Mark Gudgel of Lincoln. Here's the link: Seeking Truth in the DaVinci Code enjoy the read.


Saturday, May 20, 2006

Christin's Kenya update

hello everyone!

as i write this, i have just finished working a very long day at New Life Home. We started early this morning and got done around 4 pm. All of you will be happy to hear that my last suitcase arrived yesterday and Stanley (our favorite taxi driver) took us to the airport to pick it up. when i brought it to NLH today, they were so thrilled with all that was inside. in fact, i got a couple of hugs and there were definitely some hidden tears. so thank you thank you thank you to all of you who supported this cause.

the babies at NLH are divided into four main groups: 0-4 months, 4-9 months, 9-14 mos, and 14-36 mos. some of the babies have already had major surgery for blindness, club feet, etc. even in a third world country, it's amazing the lengths that are possible with modern medicine. today three more couples came in to NLH to decide if adoption was what they were looking for. hopefully, it is something that they come to realize that is an amazing gift and they take advantage of the opportunity to have one of these amazing babies in their family.

it's hard to explain, but working at NLH has shown me how much one person can make a difference and positively impact the life of a child. when i am there, it is less time a baby will cry because they are hungry, the less time they will cry for attention, the more time they will get in someone's arms and be able to feel love and care. you can tell that each one of these babies just craves attention and love. i feel so blessed to be able to share mine with them.

just as an interesting side note, i thought i would share a little piece of kenyan culture with all of you. Matatus. don't know what a matatu is? let me explain it. imagine taking a vw bus from the 1960s. now tear out all of the seats--even the drivers. got it? now paint it up all crazy on the sides. then take a bunch of really narrow, vinyl covered, kitchen chairs (ie the ones in the kitchen on that 70's show) and duct tape them to each other and to the floor. Fit at least 15 in the van. now, stuff it full of people and drive like crazy. that's how people get around over here. they are scary! our taxi driver, stanley, gets so mad at them, it's pretty funny. now, add the scenery. take I-80 and put it right where O Street is in downtown. Take out all the stoplights, signs, and pedestrian crossings. imagine the chaos. now have people walking along on the shoulders, darting between cars crossing the streets, and trying to sell you stuff in between the lanes. then, it doesn't really matter that there aren't traffic lanes. because if 3 abreast fit ok, then they can fit 5 or more. driving on a shoulder? doesn't matter. so stanley was talking about how crazy these matatus were, at the same time he's driving on the shoulder, jumping curbs, and driving in the lane for oncoming traffic. but at least i trust stanley (i pretty much have to).

So, things are going really well here for the most part. The Guest House (aka convent) has been pretty interesting so far. The nuns are nice (it's part of their job description) and Morgan and i have been getting along really well. The food is still terrible! if i have to eat another plateful of rice tonight, i might just go to bed hungry :) we can shower everyday if we want, and we do sleep with nets over our beds. All in all, things are going really well.

if you've read this much, wow. thanks. and a shout out to justin and alecia for my new beautiful cousin, olivia christine. i'm so excited to meet her!


Friday, May 19, 2006

Weekend drill down

Here's the run down for the weekend:

  • Softball tonight: Horizons I 9:15 p.m. @ Ballard; Horizons II 8:15 @ Cooper.
  • People's City Mission food drive: Sunday, bring whatever you can to help DiscoveryZone kiddos load up the food pantry.
  • Steve's message Sunday: Da Vinci & Da Bible, 9:30 and 11 a.m.

Have a great weekend!


Fact or Fiction

Okay...I haven't read the book. I might go see the movie, then read the book. Frankly, I am finding it very entertaining simply listening to the debate and discussion about The Davinci Code. Here's my two cents worth.

It's fiction. While I understand the offense taken concerning the way Jesus is portrayed, I don't understand why it is seen as such a threat to the Christian belief system. It seems to me that much of the Christian side of the debate is concerned that the Davinci Code will somehow de-value of our belief system. If our Christian belief system can so easliy be threatened by a book of fiction, then it must be a pretty shaky belief system. But what if non-believers read the book and see the movie and believe the story? Oh...I don't know. Maybe that presents a great opportunity for the Church to listen to the questions of those who are seeking. Maybe the Christian community should be more concerned about listening to the questions of the seeker than providing pre-packaged answers to questions the seeker might not even be asking. To be sure the Davinci Code raises some pretty profound questions in the minds of some people. I believe those questions have less to do with whether or not Jesus was married, and more to do with what is truth. I think the challenge for the Church is clear. Can we allow people to question and still gracefully and faithfully lead them to Christ?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Christin's Kenya update

Hey all!

Just wanted to let you know that I have arrived safely in Nairobi, Kenya. After a 2 1/2 hour delay on our first flight, getting bumped to another plane for our second flight, running through the airport, and then a really, really long plane ride from Amsterdam to Nairobi, we made it and only lost one suitcase :)

Things are much different here. There aren't any streetlights --anywhere -- and the roads are really poorly maintained. I've only seen one traffic light -- just like Geneva, NE, but with about 1 million more people. The convent is nice, if spartan. I will be so thankful to get home to my mattress, egg crate, and fluffy pillow. The food is a little iffy -- but what I expected. Hopefully, I will get used to it in the next couple of days or you can expect a much thinner me when I return :).

Today was the first day at New Life Home. The babies there are so wonderful and amazing--it's hard to imagine how anyone could just abandon them. Babies get brought there by the police and hospitals in really bad shape. Right now, the youngest they have is 4 months and the oldest is 2 1/2 years. They are at capacity for numbers right now. Everyone is really nice here and I'm excited for the adventure that lies ahead. I'm going to try and email again in the next couple of days!

Take care!
Love, Christin

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Food drive for People's City Mission Sunday

This Sunday DiscoveryZone will be hosting a food drive that supports the People’s City Mission Distribution Center.

The Distribution Center is a warehouse facility that distributes items such as food, clothing, personal care needs, furniture, household goods and appliances to the poor and near homeless. It is open six days a week, and located in downtown Lincoln, which is in close proximity to many of the people using these services.

In 2004, the Mission distributed over 600,000 meals, more than 63,000 articles of clothing, slightly over 35,000 pieces of furniture, and tons of fresh produce. These efforts helped over 10,000 people in the city. Many of the people coming to the Distribution Center are living at, or below the poverty line. They include individuals who are refugees, unemployed, physically and mentally handicapped, struggling with affordable housing, and/or unable to earn a living wage. We estimate there are more than 20,000 people suffering from poverty in the surrounding area of Lincoln.

We would like to invite you to partner with us on this project. If you are able to bring one of the items listed above we encourage you to do so. All items will be collected in the BOB this Sunday at both services. Please pray for those who depend on this ministry.

DiscoveryZone/Erin D.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Poll results

How can Horizons Better serve guests?
offer valet parking (3 votes for 21%)

open a Starbucks franchise (4 votes for 29%)

allow karaoke between services (no votes for 0%)
install an XBox at every seat (1 vote for 7%)
provide wireless Internet in the Worship Center (6 votes for 43%)

Thanks for playing!


Beyond series Lincoln Journal Star ads

Here are the four black box ads that ran each week of the Beyond series in the Lincoln Journal Star values section. We've talked here about the new ad theme in general (link: April 25 post) but not specifically about the content (other than there's no contact info). FYI: Once the new Web site is launched this fall, the Web address will replace the church name at the bottom. So, aside from contact information, what are your thoughts about the ads as a series? The ads in general? The concept? The lack of concept? The design or lack thereof? You get the idea.

As I've said before, the feedback I get is either hot or cold. You either love them or hate them.


Christin's Kenya mission trip updates

Steve mentioned Sunday that Horizons' own Christin L. was leaving today for Kenya to work with AIDS-infected children for a month. Christin will be forwarding us an update whenever she can and those will be posted on the blog. We hope to hear from her by the end of this week, so stay tuned.

If you don't want to miss any posts, you can sign up with FeedBlitz (see box on the right column) to get an email every time a new blog topic is added. It's free and the sign up procedure is fast and easy.

Pray for Christin and the lives she'll be touching this month.

Beyond - Part 4 - Eternity: Resurrection vs. Reincarnation

Steve's series, Beyond: The afterlife and the Bible, is now over. That was a fast four weeks. I learned a lot of good stuff and I always look forward to Steve's take on all these topics.

Here is Steve's study guide for this week:

Memory verse for the week: “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2, TNIV).

Monday: Matthew 11:11-15; John 1:19-23. Christians who find the idea of reincarnation appealing often cite Matthew 11 to support the claim that John the Baptist was the reincarnation of the prophet Elijah. But first we have to determine if Jesus was speaking literally or metaphorically about John being Elijah. If Jesus meant it literally, the expectation was that Elijah would return physically from heaven (since he had not died but was taken up to heaven), not that he would be reincarnated. However, based on John 1 where John the Baptist clearly says he is not Elijah, I believe we are to understand that John merely fulfilled the role of Elijah. Reincarnation is an idea foreign to the Bible.

Tuesday: Luke 24:35-49. Jesus’ buried body was gone, as witnessed by the women (Luke 24:3) and Peter (Luke 24:12). If you die today and are resurrected tomorrow, your body will be transformed into a resurrected body. You will get up, and your casket will be empty. Resurrection is a physical miracle. When Jesus appeared to his disciples Easter evening, he invited them to touch his hands and feet for two reasons: first, to prove that he was physical and not just a spirit or vision (which is also why he ate in their presence), and second, because the wounds on his hands and feet were further evidence that it was indeed he.

Wednesday: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. Paul’s First Letter to the Thessalonians may be the earliest written piece of the New Testament. These Christ-followers expected Jesus to return very soon within their lifetimes (as we all should). So when members of their congregation began dying, they worried, Will these deceased sisters and brothers in the Lord be denied when Jesus returns to take us home? Paul reassures them that when Christ returns, the dead will rise first before the living are taken up. Then “we who are still alive” (v. 15, 17) will join them, an event known as the rapture of the church.

Thursday: 2 Corinthians 5:1-10. Paul describes our current bodies as tents, shelters we live in temporarily and not permanently. After tent camping for a while, you start longing for home. In the same way we long to live not in this temporary body but in our “heavenly dwelling” (v. 2), which will be much more permanent and solid. Paul contrasts between being “at home in the body” (our mortal temporary bodies) and being “at home with the Lord” (vs. 6, 8). When we die, we will not be stuck in an unconscious “death sleep” until Christ returns, but we will be alive and at home with Christ.

Friday: Revelation 20:11-15; 21:1-4. This begins with the judgment of the dead when evil will ultimately be destroyed so that God’s kingdom will be complete. We will be the bride of Christ, beautifully adorned for him. We will be purified, not because we have been able to clean ourselves up, but because we belong to the One who took our stains upon himself in death. Our robes are white because they have been washed in the blood of the Lamb (Revelation 7:13-14). One of the great promises is that in the next life, we who belong to Christ will experience complete transformation.

Any comments or thoughts about the Beyond series? Post them here!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Dead trees

Our landscaping warranty expired last fall....and so have a few of our spruce trees. I would like to yank 'em out along with all the wooden stakes. Anybody object to this?


Friday, May 12, 2006

MOMSense is tomorrow morning @ 8:30

Hey Moms,

Don't forget that tomorrow a.m. is the MOMSense satellite simulcast. The morning begins at 8:30 a.m. with a light breakfast and the event will end at 11:30 a.m. Take a break with Horizons and treat yourself to a free, relaxed and entertaining event.

Line up those Dads, Grandparents or sitters to watch the kiddos...remember there is no childcare available.


Youth Ministry Director...the search is on

You probably read today in our newsletter the list created by the youth ministry visioning team to guide our efforts in hiring a new youth ministry director. Anyone interested in applying for the position should email their resume to: resume@HorizonsChurch.org. The new search committee will begin meeting May 25, so interested people should apply soon.

We don’t have it all figured out, but God is creating within us a vision for youth ministry that:
1. Is passionate about mentoring youth to be true disciples of Jesus.
2. Seeks God’s guidance through prayer and trusts Him to direct the ministry.
3. Is solidly biblically based, humbly helping youth see themselves in God’s Story and understand God’s Word for themselves.
4. Creates a compelling, loving and vibrant environment, where everyone is included.
5. Intentionally reaches out to youth who do not yet know Christ, using everything available to draw them to Him.
6. Dares to freely pursue creative ideas that are relevant to the constantly changing lives of youth and leads them to experience God.
7. Designs frequent opportunities that allow youth to bond with each other and with adult leaders in the hope that they will share life together.
8. Engages youth in serving the needy and the body of Christ.
9. Develops leadership among students and creates ownership by giving them opportunities to lead and serve.
10. Equips an expanding team of adults as leaders in youth ministry.
11. Involves parents and seeks to impact the entire family.
12. Is integrated into the life of the Horizons community, living out its mission, vision and values.
13. Will become a leader in the Lincoln area, supporting other churches in youth ministry.

As Steve requested in the newsletter: "...please pray passionately and persistently about the person God wants to send us and the process for discerning who that person is. Few decisions have such long range impact as the choice of a staff member."

The 13 statements are all very interesting. Any comments? Add your thoughts here.

Beyond: The afterlife and the Bible...your stories

Three weeks down, one to go in Steve's Beyond series. What do you think so far? What have you taken away from Steve's weekly message or the study guides? Was there one comment, one idea or one scripture that has stuck with you?

Let's hear some stories.


Thursday, May 11, 2006

Mexico Mission Trip Sign Up

Just a reminder, May 18th is the last day to sign up for the Mexico mission trip for all youth 7-12. $50 to me is all you have to do to sign up. Overall cost of the trip is $330. We will be leaving on June 10th and returning June 17th. Email me if anyone has questions. Thanks.


Tuesday, May 09, 2006

What's going on...this week

Here are a few things going on this week:

  • Good $ense Budget Course - begins Thursday and you can still sign up by calling the office, 420.6600.
  • Softball Friday night: Horizons I, 8:15 @ Ballard (66th and Kearney streets); Horizons II, 7:15 @ Cooper (6th and D streets).
  • MOMSense: Dare to Reach your Mothering Potential. This is a satellite simulcast event for Moms, Sat. May 13, from 8:30-11:30 a.m. Call the office if you plan to attend, 420.6600. There will not be childcare available.
  • Blood Drive is Friday, May 12, and starts at 8 a.m.
  • Sunday is Mother's Day.

Have a great week.


Sunday, May 07, 2006

Horizons' favorite nun -- Sister Jessy

Horizons was treated to a visit by its favorite nun, Sister Jessy, who runs the orphanage in India we support. Many people at Horizons are among those sponsoring the children who have been abandoned by their families and we are also supporting the building of a second orphanage in another town.

I love to watch Sister Jessy when she speaks about her work -- even the problems she's had (and yes, 44 children with chicken pox is a problem) -- she has this compelling brightness about her that always draws me in to whatever she is talking about.

For more information on Project Hope, Sister Jessy and the children, visit the Web site: www.projecthopeindia.com.


Beyond - Part 3 - Hell: Paradise Lost

Steve's "Beyond" series has been especially good for me, including today's Part 3, Hell: Paradise Lost. While I don't know exactly what hell is, what I do know is very clear: I don't want to find out.

On the drive home after second service, K-Love was playing "Breakfast in Hell" by the Newsboys. Here are the chorus lyrics:

When the toast is burned
And all the milk has turned
And Captain Crunch is waving farewell
When the big one finds you
May this song remind you
That they don't serve breakfast in hell

And there you go. Reasons enough. I'm useless without my generic cocoa pebbles. They probably don't serve good coffee either. Instant. Weak. And if there's cream, it's that powder stuff that's all soy and oily. Bleh.

Here is Steve's study guide for this week:

Monday: Numbers 16:28-33. The common Hebrew word in the Old Testament for the place of the dead is Sheol (vs. 30, 33), viewed as a place where all the dead went, the righteous and wicked alike. The King James Version 400 years ago usually translated Sheol as “hell,” which was inaccurate and misleading. Translations today may render it “the realm of the dead” or simply “the grave.” This passage portrays how Sheol was conceived as being literally down into the earth. While Israel is wandering in the wilderness, a man named Korah and his allies incite a rebellion against Moses and his brother Aaron. God punishes Korah and company by having the earth open up and swallow them, taking them directly to Sheol.

Tuesday: Ezekiel 32:17-32. Ezekiel, a prophet in the early 6th century BC during Judah’s exile in Babylon, gives a series of oracles against the nations in chapters 25-32, depicting “God’s judgment against all empires that strut the earth claiming divine status” (The New Interpreter’s Study Bible). This one portrays Egypt descending into Sheol (vs. 21, 27), meeting other military powers who have come and gone before. They all end up dead. This message inspires hope among the Jews in exile. Here we find the emerging belief that there may be varying levels in the place of the dead. In v. 23 it says of the previous superpower Assyria, “Their graves are set in the uttermost parts of the Pit” (NRSV).

Wednesday: Luke 16:19-31. The Old Testament Hebrew word Sheol was translated into Greek as Hades, originally the name of the Greek god of the underworld. In the New Testament however, Hades often simply means death. For example, in Matthew 16:18, when Jesus says to Peter, “On this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it (NRSV), the likely meaning is that death will not be able to hold his people. However, in this parable in Luke 16, Hades seems to be a place of fiery torment, separated from Lazarus’ position at Abraham’s side. One must be cautious about assuming everything in such a story is meant to be factual, much as we would not assume a story today about conversing with St. Peter at the pearly gates is meant to be a factual understanding of heaven.

Thursday: Matthew 10:5-28. Jesus gives his chosen Twelve instructions before sending them out to proclaim God’s kingdom, and he forewarns them how bad it’s going to be. They will be dragged to court, flogged in synagogues, betrayed by their families, hated by many, constantly on the run, and labeled demonic. But don’t worry about people; they can only kill you. The big mistake would be to disregard God, who has the power to “destroy both soul and body in hell” (v. 28). The Greek word translated hell is Gehenna, which in Jesus’ day was literally a burning trash heap outside Jerusalem. However, the term was also used for the place of punishment in the afterlife. This is one of the scriptures that point to the possibility that those who are not in heaven may not live eternally in hell but their souls may at some point be extinguished.

Friday: Matthew 8:5-13. In v. 12 Jesus uses a term that, among the four gospels, we find only in Matthew, “the outer darkness.” The other occurrences are in 22:13 and 25:30. Rather than being a fiery place, this term connotes emptiness and isolation as well as darkness, in contrast with the light and fellowship of heaven. Weeping and gnashing of teeth emphasizes not pain but great remorse and regret.

Memory verse for the week: “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9, TNIV).

Next week: Part 4, Eternity: Resurrection vs. Reincarnation

Saturday, May 06, 2006

The big, big world visits the blog

Since the blog went live last week, we've had lots of visitors from Lincoln, Omaha and other parts of Nebraska...but we've also had a good number of visitors both domestic and foreign.

Other Countries

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • India
  • Ireland
  • Japan
  • Qatar
  • Spain
  • United Kingdom

Other States

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Tennessee
  • Texas

The concept of "community" gets smaller and smaller the more connected we all are with the Web. Amazing times. Go God.


Friday, May 05, 2006

Keeping up with the blog by e-mail

Hey, a new feature was added to the blog today. If you don't want to keep checking the site for new posts, sign up for the e-mail update in the subscription box in the right sidebar. FeedBlitz will send you an e-mail of updates so you can stay up-to-date and save time.

It's free, easy and painless.

Happy Friday!

Friday night at the ball games

Horizons softball season openers are tonight. Get out there and make some noise:

  • Horizons I - Competitive, 7:15 p.m. @ Ballard (66th St. and Kearney)
  • Horizons II - Recreational, 8:15 p.m. @ Cooper (6th and D streets)
Our fearless coach and management team of Glenn and Toni are at the helm again this year and we're expecting a great season once again. If you haven't been to a game yet, they only last one hour and it's a nice ending to a busy week.

Rainout phone number: 441-7892 (select option 1). They will not make a decision until 4 p.m.

Go God. Go Horizons. (Go Big Yellow just isn't working for me...any ideas?)

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Serve God, serve others

One of the best ways to get connected at Horizons and feel closer to God is to dig into one of our ministry teams and find a spot where you feel led to serve. There are opportunities for Sundays and also for mid-week projects.

  • The grounds crew is looking for outdoor types to help keep our property looking great. Call the office for the contact number.
  • DiscoveryZone will be signing up summer small group leaders starting Sunday. Contact Erin at 420.6600 or erin@horizonschurch.org to pick a time slot. One hour on one Sunday during summer--how's that for an easy commitment!
  • The e-Team is gearing up for a lot of work this summer as we create all the content for the new Horizons Web site due in the fall/winter. We need writers, proof-readers, photographers (digital only), graphic artists and anyone interested in helping in maintaining the new Web site with fresh material. Contact Lisa, lmf@neb.rr.com for information.
  • Are you a natural-born party planner? Are you wired for all the details that go into pulling off a huge event? Some of the biggest events at Horizons (egg hunt, Concert on the Hill) can also be the most rewarding as we host our community and let people see who we are and what we believe at Horizons. If you're interested in the big events, mark that on your communication card Sunday or email candie@horizonschurch.org.
Contact Candie at the office (420.6600) or at candie@horizonschurch.org if you have questions about where you can serve -- there are more opportunities than what you read here or in your tan announcement sheet Sundays. You can also check out the Information Center for details or the Web site, www.horizonschurch.org.


Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Encounter tonight

Don't forget: Encounter service tonight, 7 p.m.


Monday, May 01, 2006

Guys who wear pink

Did you see the guys at church wearing pink t-shirts? Talk about getting my attention. I asked Derek S., our DiscoveryZone fourth grade co-team leader, what they were all about.


Tracy DuPont is a Lincoln wife and mom of three with breast cancer that has spread. The project is raising $500,000 (yeah, a half mil) for a bone marrow transplant that her insurance won't cover.

The shirts are part of the campaign to raise awareness of her situation and will be worn until the money has been raised. Check out the site for the full story or to get t-shirt info.


Ground rules - repost

Here are the ground rules for keeping the blog Christ-centered:

  • Be nice. You don't know who is reading.
  • Be honest. You don't know who is reading.
  • Be real. You don't know who is reading.
  • Be careful. You don't know who is reading.

I'll be moderating the discussions -- I've changed the settings so that for awhile all comments will be approved before being posted. Contact me anytime if you have any questions or concerns about a post or comment. My e-mail is: lmf@neb.rr.com.


Get connected

Lots of stuff in the tan sheet this week. Here are a few things happening @ Horizons:

  • Encounter, Tuesday night, May 2, 7-8 p.m., never been? It's a relaxing, quiet, musical time to talk, listen or work out a few things with God.
  • Blood Drive, May 12, 8-11:30 a.m., make an appointment. Give blood. Call Candie at the office for info.
  • Good $ense Budget Course, May 11, 18 & 25, 6-8:30 p.m. in The BOB. This has been organized by our Community Values Champions and the course comes from Willow Creek Community Church. Only $7 per person.
  • Momsense: Dare to reach your mothering potential; a satellite simulcast, will be Saturday, May 13, from 8:30-11:30 a.m. This is for all moms and it's free. There will be a light, continental breakfast and a brief discussion after the program. Note: there will be no childcare that morning, so line up those dads and grandparents now.
  • Sister Jessy at Horizons May 7. She'll give us an update at both services on the orphanages. There will be a lunch with Sister Jessy after second service, pizza in The BOB, with donation.
  • Softball was canceled last week for rain. This week's games are scheduled for Friday, May 5, Horizons I is @ Ballard (66th and Kearney streets), 7:15 p.m.; Horizons II is @ Cooper (6th and D streets), 8:15 p.m.
  • Registration begins next week for Fiesta!, our summer VBS program.


Blog stats...week 1

The Horizons blog went live last week. It's a partial week, but still we had 134 visitors (77 first time, 57 returning) with 487 page loads. That's cool.

Share the site with your friends, your HOME group, your ministry teams. Let me know if there's information that needs to get posted.