Friday, June 30, 2006

SoulConnect...Returning to Reality

It’s that time of year when many of us are off to enjoy our vacation. We’re planning a little get away just to rejuvenate, and escape the rat race for a little bit. A friend of mine reminded me that sometimes our return from a vacation, or time away, is a jolt to our system. I think they said something like. “I’m returning to reality.” The fact is, when we return home our work is waiting, the lawn needs mowed, laundry needs done, and the routine of life waits for us. The question is. Is that really our reality? Is the routine we find ourselves in, day in and day out our reality? Or, is our routine the escape from a life we have constructed for ourselves so we don’t have to deal with the truth/reality of life?

It’s not an easy question, and I suppose it’s not a question most people think about a whole lot. We mostly think about what needs to get done. We tell ourselves that we’ll find time later to reflect on the depth of what we do with our lives. We’ll wait till later to learn how it all fits together with what we most value in life. So we go on vacation. We get away from the hassles of life and just enjoy being in the moment, able to appreciate the simpler things that we just don’t notice in the daily routine. As the time to return home nears, we begin going over in our minds all that awaits us as we return. Maybe some unfinished business, a desk that is a mess, all the emails that will be waiting, and the bills that came while we were gone. We begin to remember how we’ll have to make up for lost time and catch up for being gone. Our time away begins to fade into our time of return. And we miss again the greatest gift of God’s reality for us. For the time away is our reality in the midst of routine. I believe our time away is a glimpse into what is most important to us. Yet somehow we convince ourselves that it’s just not reality. So we return to the reality that we have constructed as “the world that is.” We are convinced that truly enjoying life happens somewhere else besides where we are.

I’m not suggesting that we ought to escape the rigors and responsibilities of daily life. Nor am I saying that routine is somehow limiting. I’m simply suggesting that life is to be enjoyed; all of it, each day. I’m suggesting that our lives should be a time of returning. Returning to seeing the goodness in God’s creation, returning to love and build up, returning to persevere in places we would rather not; returning to live as if what we value, and what we say actually matters. Where have you been? When will you return? Reality has always been with you. Thank God.

Pastor Steve is blogging!

Hey Horizons,

Pastor Steve Todd promised us he'd blog about his decision not to drive or ride in a car around Lincoln during the month of July. Visit Steve's blog today, his first post is already up. There is a link to Steve's blog on the right column of this blog, just under the link for the Horizons Web site. We'll also get a link up on the Web site.

Feel free to comment on any of Steve's posts and give him some feedback, but your comments won't appear immediately. Steve will be moderating the comments to his blog the same way we moderate this blog. I think it's going to be an interesting month.


Thursday, June 29, 2006

Vacation Bible School

Are you ready to party?

Soon it will be time again for this year's Vacation Bible School, FIESTA! If you haven't already, mark your calendars for July 30th - August 3rd from 6:30 to 8:30. We have fun Bible-based activities for kids and youth, birth through 6th grade and a Bible study for parents. So plan to bring the whole fam.

Okay, you might not believe what I am about to say, but it is true. I counted and recounted. As of today we have 122 volunteers signed up to volunteer. Yes, 122. Isn't that totally amazing! I think so! And what's even more amazing is that we still have a need for about 15 more.

If you enjoy talking to people, care about kids, love Jesus and like to get a little crazy then consider signing up to be a Fiesta crew leader. You can sign up by responding to this blog. And, well, everyone's doing it! :)

Also if you haven't signed your kids up yet, consider doing so soon so that we can do our best to plan. You can sign up on Horizons' Website. We are planning for 225 kids.


Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Join the Sunday clean up crew

Our Horizons clean up crew needs a few more people each Sunday to help get our building back in shape after church.

This is a task the whole family can help out with and takes 1-2 hours each month. You can sign up for a specific Sunday in the month and remember in July there are five Sundays.

Here's what the group takes care of:

  • Vacuum and wipe down tables in DiscoveryZone, The BOB, Nursery and Toddler areas.
  • Clean restrooms.
  • Clean floors and tables in the atrium.
  • Sweep floors in the Worship Center.

Many of the team members have been cleaning more than one Sunday a month since the building opened and many people need a break during the summer for vacations. Contact Carol H. at 486.3929 or email


Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Five questions with Trever Rook

Hey Trever, for the three people at Horizons who don't know you, tell us a bit about yourself and your background, and how you came to Horizons and Christ.

Who are the three people? Do they know how lucky they are!?A bit about my background...(this must really be a slow blog day) well, I was a stand-up comic in the 80's. I wasn't a good one. As a matter of fact, I was terrible.

But it did get me a job in radio for a while as morning show funny man.

I worked for two stations. Both stations were sold/placed under new management, and I was fired along with several other employees. I'm told that's what they do in radio. That's why I did not go back. (I'm not much of a gambler.)

I then went on to produce the news at channel 10/11. (why they would hire a comic to produce their news is beyond me.) After that I moved on to BryanLGH, where I make educational videos. It was there that I met my best friend and loving wife Jackie. (She's the cute one beside me at church.)

She was going to Horizons with her two sons Matthew and David. I decided to take my son Trevin and check it out. My first visit was a service in which the youth group talked about their experiences with the Mexico mission trip. (I think it was their first.) I was very impressed.

What also impressed me was when Steve introduced himself to me. He made a point to make me feel welcome. I had been going to a larger church at the time and was missing the personal touch of a smaller community. It's funny. As Horizons continues to grow, I see that we still have that small community, personal touch. I'm not sure how we do it, but I credit Steve's leadership for that. (I'm sucking up because I want to get a job at Horizons.)

What is your DVD all about and who are these puppet characters?

I started working with puppets because I was too shy to face the cameras myself. The shows are just some cheap slapstick fun that hopefully will get some giggles. Erving is actually based on myself. I have always struggled a bit with insecurities and low self-worth. Erving is my way of using comedy as a bit of therapy I guess. The DVD is being sold through my Web site.

It's also up for sale on (it's got some good reviews there, along with one really bad one. Someone really hated it!)

Why did you decide to donate two months' worth of proceeds to the People's City Mission here in Lincoln?

I was out there to make the promo for the church and became very moved by the people there. Being a recovering alcoholic/drug addict, I know that I could have easily ended up in a similar situation. I often wonder why God allowed me to face some scary things in life, but spared me from other things. Perhaps it helps us to become more empathetic to others and their situations. As I drove away, I could see the city change. The cheaper buildings quickly turned into modern suburbia. (We do a good job of hiding our homeless here.)

I could not get the children out of my head. I kept wondering what it would be like to grow up homeless. And being a comic, I kept wondering how often they smiled or laughed. I felt I should do something and the DVD was about to go up for sale. I thought maybe I could turn some comedy into some food and maybe even some smiles. I hope to do more.

Excluding any member of the trinity (God/Jesus/Holy Spirit), name one person you'd like to meet and tell us why.

I'd love to meet Jamie's hair stylist. He does a much better job of covering his bald spot than me.

Actually most of my influences are in heaven now. I'm a huge fan of classic comics like Laurel and Hardy, Buster Keaton, 3 stooges, etc.

If your life was made into a movie, which actor should play you?

Probably the same person that would be picked to play Ziggy if his life was made into a movie.

Thanks, Trev!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

How did you get plugged in at Horizons?

Remember when you first came to Horizons?

We've had some interesting conversations lately about helping people get connected at Horizons. Those who have friends attending have a built-in connection, others who come by themselves and don't know anyone have to make those connections on their own.

Think back to your first experience at Horizons: Who or what got you involved right away? Was it an event, a serving opportunity, or a class? Did a Horizons member play a role in helping you get connected?

We've been members for about four years and Horizons has grown to where most Sundays I see many people I've never seen before. A few weeks ago I was chatting with another mom while our kiddos had their doughnuts and come to find out they'd been attending for more than a year! How does that happen?

Today I took the opportunity (read: summers off from DiscoveryZone) to take a few hundred pictures for the new Web site. I got to watch people before, during and between services and I got lots of great shots of people talking, laughing, hugging, and just having a great time seeing friends and catching up. Very cool to see all this connecting going on...stuff I normally don't look for. I'm convinced that's why Horizons exists: to build relationships with each other but ultimately to build the most important relationship with Christ.

If you have a comment or opinion about helping others get connected, post them here or you can email me at or Pastor Steve at


Friday, June 23, 2006

Be cool. Be a Horizons Host!

Our Host Team at Horizons is looking for a few friendly, welcoming people who are interested in joining the team. If you are gifted with a desire to meet, greet and make others feel welcome and relaxed, contact Mary Lou (488.0843;

Host Team is a great starting point for serving at Horizons. You're able to serve and attend Worship-Celebration during the same time, you work with a lot of other fun people and you get to meet guests, members and attenders each week. The team has a 3-month schedule that rotates so that you serve every Sunday for a month, then have the next two months off. It's a great way for new members to jump in, start serving and meeting people and really get connected at Horizons.


How do you spell jetlag?

What should have been a late arrival in the 11 p.m. range turned out to be the 3 a.m. hour thanks to a several hour delay in Phoenix yesterday. Tough on adults, tougher on a 2.5 year old. Mace made a new friend along the way, so he was pretty happy with the delay...more time to play.

We spent nearly five days in Port Townsend, Washington staying at historic Fort Worden state park for a family reunion. Its claim to fame is having An Officer and a Gentleman filmed at the Fort and around the PT peninsula. Ironic since another Debra Winger movie, Terms of Endearment, was filmed here in Lincoln.

It's good to be home. I have a stack of emails to get through...if you're waiting for a response from me, hang tight a few more days while my brain makes its way back. Also, if you've been thinking you'd like to help out with the content (text and pictures) for the new Web site, send me an email. Starting Monday, we are in 5th gear.

Thanks to Candie, Jamie, Jaime, and the Mexico sponsors for keeping the blog going last week, I loved catching up on the posts this afternoon. Coming soon will be a report from our men's rafting trip and some very cool announcements. Stay tuned!


Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Mike's Brag Session on Jesus

MAN! I hope you were all there to experience what God was doing last Sunday. He was doing some stuff! Some big time stuff! By the time second service was over, I don't think there was hardly a dry eye in the place. Mike's passion for Jesus and the mercy he's shown him in his life was contagious. It was so powerful to hear his testimony. Not just because it was so shocking, but because Jesus has healed him, his mother and many others when things seemed hopeless.

It's amazing to me, when I look at my life and how much I've been blessed by God's hand, how ungrateful and bored I am about it. But when someone's life is changed so drastically, the contrast is enough to make them want to shout it from the mountain tops until their dying breath. It makes sense given the way we are as humans, but it sure doesn't seem right, does it?

The real question is what we are going to do with the encounter we had on Sunday. Are we going to stop taking our new life in Christ for granted? Are we going to start helping people based on their need, instead of their worth? Are we going to be the kind of light that Christ was to the world? Will we take notice of the mercy God has shown us in our life and respond by surrendering our whole life to Him? I hope that we allow ourselves to be changed by what the Spirit did that morning. And I hope, that until our dying breath, we too can brag on the Jesus whose mercy knows no end.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Toddlers and 2s

Hi, my name is Jaime Frey. I am the new Toddlers and 2s program teacher. I am so excited as our new program is well under way. I have been a part of the Horizons community for about a year now. I grew up in Humboldt, NE. Cory and I have been married nine years and have two children, Katie (4) and Hunter (2 1/2). I previously taught first and second grade with Lincoln Public Schools and am now a preschool teacher.
In Toddlers and 2s we are working to introduce Bible truths to children aged 18 months through 2 years in ways that are simple enough to keep their interest, yet meaningful enough that they begin to understand how much God loves them. We are doing this through songs, bible stories and hands-on activities. Please join us by volunteering in our room and by praying for us.

July 3rd Party

Grab a friend and come to the country for an evening of fun! We’ll be featuring music from the 70’s, a bonfire (smores!) and be sure to bring your most impressive fireworks! Burgers, hot dogs, drinks and table service will be provided. Please sign up to bring one item at the info table. Lawn chair and jacket suggested. This adult party (college on up) is a great opportunity to meet someone new! Directions to the Boecks are at the info table. No alcohol, please. Questions? Jerry 366-4501

Friday, June 16, 2006

Youth Mission Update Friday night (last one!)

"It feels good to be in America," Jerry B. said tonight from Tucumcari, New Mexico. The group got an early start out of Mexico with about an hour to get through the traffic at the border. The trailer was inspected and it took about 30 minutes for them to check out Marcela's (she's our Brazilian exchange student) paperwork.

Tonight the group is hanging out at the pool and hot tub of their hotel, reading the Horizons blog, checking email and their myspace pages.

The theme song for the week has been the Steve Miller Band's Dance, Dance, Dance. Apparently, it has kept everyone rockin' and their spirits high, both generations. Julie B. said they listened to the song all the way to the job site and back. "All day, everyday," she said. Julie is happy to be back in the states but said the trip was a great experience and she has been reminded to appreciate what we have here.

Julie said she and Jen have really bonded. They are in the same HOME group and when Julie first decided to go on the trip, she was the only female and there were only 4 adults. She asked Jen to consider coming along -- she works for the school district and would be on summer break. Julie said Jen decided in less than 24 hours to go.

This was Julie's first trip with the youth group. She wanted to go last year but couldn't. "I thought about it and prayed about it. I felt God was pulling me in this direction."

Jerry said their goal is to start out at 7:30 tomorrow morning and with losing an hour getting into Central Time, they figure they'll get to Lincoln around 8:30 p.m. Tonight's plan is probably another game of Mafia. Jerry said they all played for about three hours the other night and it was a lot of fun.

Real showers. Clean clothes. Pool. Hot tub. Pizza Hut.
Welcome back!

It's vacation time

Hey all,

Just to let you know, the family and I'll be leaving on a jet plane tomorrow for Seattle until Thursday. I've got some administrative help to keep up the blog, but hang in there if things are a bit slow to post. I'll be within spitting distance of Microsoft HQ but as I understand it, we'll have limited Internet access.

Upon my return, I'll be knee-deep in writing/rewriting/editing the content for the new Web site. Anyone wishing to jump in and help with that may email me next week, Friday or give me a call at home, or contact the office, 420.6600, and leave a message for me. We need to write briefly about every facet of Horizons, so there's lots to do. We are definitely ontrack for a late Sept. launch of the new site.

Later I'll have the last youth mission update.
Have a great week.

People's City Mission Guest on Sunday 6/18

Don't forget, this Sunday on Father's Day, Pastor Steve will be interviewing a guest, Mike H., who works at the People's City Mission downtown. We've been running preview videos of Mike telling pieces of his story and how he came to be homeless.

One of the videos of Mike is posted on our YouTube address.

Have a great weekend and remember to keep our rafting trip guys in your prayers.


Softball tonight!

Hey softball fans!

Both of our Horizons teams are playing tonight. Here's the schedule:

  • Horizons I, 8:15 @ Cooper (6th & D streets)
  • Horizons II, 6:15 @ Cooper
Go Horizons. Go God!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Youth Mission Update Thursday night (part 2)

The group got back to camp tonight and they were tolerating a pretty bad dust storm. Their tents and shade canopy blew down, they were trying to eat dinner and those who had taken a shower found themselves dirtier than before the shower.

Jerry said they had a good day, working hard all day long to get the stucco done and the roof done. Carly B. and Sarah N. brought a can of yellow paint and they painted some extra trim around the windows. Another finishing touch the group did was they made a cement step. Sarah also brought two planters full of silk flowers and put them underneath the windows.

Jerry said the end of the day was pretty exciting because the family had all taken showers to get cleaned up to be presented with the keys to their new home. The group chose Elizabeth "Biz" W. and Jim H. to hand over the keys, and Marcela presented the family with a Bible. Jerry said the family's new house was the nicest looking house in the neighborhood, quite an improvement from how they were living yesterday.

The group's plans for a big party tonight were dashed by the dust storm. Tomorrow, they will pack up and start the two-day drive back to Lincoln. Jerry gave huge kudos to Julie and Jen for keeping them well-fed and happy. Apparently, Julie's Rice Krispies treats and Jen keeping them stocked with Pringles kept everyone going.

Now, the group has probably learned a lot about themselves and each other. Dave B., one of the adult sponsors otherwise known as "Gart," was discovered to have a gift that no one knew about: he can communicate with chickens. Good to know.

We'll have one more update tomorrow night. Thanks for reading and keep our group's travel over the next two days in your prayers.


Youth Mission Update Thursday night

The house is done and our crew is heading back to camp. More later tonight.


Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Youth Mission Update Wednesday night

The group did some catching up this morning because they got a few hours behind yesterday. Jim H., a graduated senior, said the walls are done and most of the roofing is done. Tomorrow they will finish with stucco and add the roof shingles.

Sometime around 2 p.m., Derek S. stepped on a nail...not a bad injury, he worked the rest of the day, but they contacted his mom, who called his doctor and he was due to have a new tetanus shot and was told to get one within 48 hours of the injury. Tonight when they called, a few adults and Jim H., were driving around the city to find a hospital to get Derek a shot. I talked to Derek, he really is fine and isn't hurt.

Tomorrow is the last day to finish the house and once done, they will turn over the keys to the family, take lots of pictures, then return to camp for the last night in Mexico. They'll start back early Friday a.m. and be back to Lincoln Saturday night.

More tomorrow night,

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Youth Mission Update Tuesday night

Our group is hanging in there. Today they worked in 116° heat with no breeze.

One of the students, Sarah N. told me the crew drank more than 30 gallons of water just today (not including ice) but they did get the walls up. Sarah said they'd hoped to get the roof started, but didn't get that far.

Kelsey celebrated her birthday in Mexico. They had dirt pudding thanks to Julie B. and Jenn B. and the group sang Happy Birthday.

A few people weren't feeling great today, some had to take breaks because of the heat but everyone is still fine and healthy. After the long day of work, the hour plus drive back to camp, Jerry said a group from Dallas, Texas was playing around with a football and our kids joined in. Talk about energy!

Sarah said the family the house is for hasn't been around much like families in past years that were really involved and wanted to get to know the kids and connect with them. This family is a bit older than most and Jerry the said their level of poverty is just about as low as it could be, more so than others in the area. The couple's youngest son, Jose, is 13 and Sarah said he does hang out with them a bit and talks with them about random stuff, or laughs at the silly things they do. Yesterday, for instance, Jose helped them mix the cement by hand.

Sarah said the best part of the trip has been the group. She's been able to get to know everyone better and have one last trip with the graduated seniors. "A lot of them won't be coming back," Sarah said. But the best part she said about going to Mexico (this is her fourth trip) is the reminder that all she has is from God and He wants her to help others.

"It shows how strong you are and reconnects you with God," Sarah said. "We're privileged, and that's from God so we don't have to apologize for that, but we should be helping people who aren't. You can forget that when you're busy with school, so this helps bring it back to the front and makes me think about it."

Then there are the chickens.

Jerry said a lot of the Mexican families have chickens. The group wakes up to roosters near the campground. When they're working, there are chickens wandering around. Jerry said it was a common thing to be working on their hands and knees and then have a chicken run right by. Jerry said for the most part they are in cages, but not always. He said it makes for "smelly, interesting conditions."

"It's pretty rancid at times," Jerry said.

Jamie B. had posted a question to the group asking how they were enjoying the bucket showers, Jerry said you'd be surprised how refreshing a shower can be from a five gallon bucket after the work they'd done all day.

But the group is doing well, Jerry said they are eating great food thanks to Julie B. and Jenn B., and tonight the group was sitting around together with Chris B. and Colin H. who brought guitars and were singing worship songs.

All of today's posted messages were delivered. More tomorrow night.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Youth Mission Update Monday night

This was a really late night for our youth and sponsors. They got out of the job site just before 8 p.m. and then had an hour and 15 min. drive back to camp. They were hungry, tired and in need of showers when Jerry called.

Today's work involved clearing the land and leveling the ground. Jerry said that work alone lasted until 1 p.m., then it was on to pouring a 20' x 22' slab of concrete that they mixed by hand. That completed the day. Jerry said it was "the toughest thing I've ever done as far as physical labor." Interim youth leader Mark A. said the kids were getting along great and truly working hard. He said he'd much rather do this work with the high schoolers rather than adults because adults would be too serious about the work and this was more fun.

This is Mark's fourth consecutive year in Mexico. He said the weather's been hotter, but when they left the site, Jerry's truck registered 102°.

Now about the Barraza Mota family: The husband and wife are in their late 40s, they have four children in their teens and older, and one of the oldest has a child who lives with the family. The husband works as a security guard and makes $80/week. They have no car. They've been living in a shack made up of walls of pallets that have cardboard tacked to them. Jerry said you can see 1000s of these. "It's an ocean of people who have nothing," Jerry said.

Mark said they all talked last night about what they're learning about themselves, about God and why they are there. "God's going to stretch us and test us in different ways," Mark said. He told them they'd all get to a breaking point and wonder why they are there. "We're told to serve," Mark said.

Tomorrow's work includes getting the house framed and if there's time, starting on the roof. Jerry said they don't get to work past 8 p.m., they are rushed out and escorted from the area because it isn't safe after dark. Jerry said they're having fun, there have been no injuries and they are all drinking tons of water.

More tomorrow night. Sorry we don't have any new pictures, they've been trying to send some but the technology isn't working. We'll have to see them when they return. For those of you who left messages on the blog, they've been delivered. Thanks for posting!


Christin's Kenya Update 6/12...last one!

hey everyone!

so this is my last kenya update for the rest of the trip. it's monday afternoon here, and i leave on thursday, so things are going to get interesting. i will still be checking my email though, so if you have some amazing news you just have to tell me, feel free :)

we got back last night from mombasa. we spent 3 nights there as our final recommended break from NLH. it was paradise. our hotel was amazing, the food was good (mostly), and the sun was shining. when we first arrived, we were just exhausted from everything, but now we are ready to go and go hard for the next 3 days or so.

i thought i would explain a little what most of the living conditions are like for a majority of the population. first, they live in shacks that are not much bigger than a king size bed. the walls are either made of mud/grass or tin and the roof is made of the same material then with a metal sheet above it. in the slums, they actually pay rent to live there. the floors are dirt, and they are maybe 3 windows that are smaller than one square foot in size. so it's very dark and dirty. houses are crowded together, and everyone walks through mountains of garbage. most don't wear shoes. being there, seeing that, day after day, really wears on a person's reality. i'm not even shocked anymore to see hundreds of houses like that, a 7 year old boy squatting in garbage digging for something, a lady filling water bottles out of a mud puddle. no longer do these things shock me, i hardly register them because it is so common here.

young children run around by themselves in the most dangerous parts of the city. places in the US where we would feel uncomfortable letting our 12 year old walk to school, they let 3-5 year olds out by themselves to run around and play in the garbage. it's a lifestyle that is so hard to explain, so hard to accept. where we are shocked that this is happening, they literally have no choice. it's either force your child to sit inside a dark house all day or let them run around. however, many of them have amazing faith in God and are good people.

it's hard to explain the difference in Americans vs. Kenyans. i would say that a lot of it comes down to this: americans do, while kenyans wait. for instance, americans generally do what needs to be done. if money needs to be raised, blood needs to be given, people need to be helped, they do it. kenyans wait to be told what to do. for the most part, they seem to lack the initiative and drive that americans pride themselves on. obviously, not all americans are like this, and neither are all kenyans, but it holds true in many situations. while many americans hope and pray for a miracle, they still get up every morning and go to work and look for opportunity. kenyans seem to wait for divine intervention while not putting forth the effort. it's so different, and it's something that is so hard to change.

so, moving on to things here at NLH. first, they are going great. so many of the babies are growing and improving every day. it's hard to believe how much one small human can change in 4 weeks. how they can gain strength, smile more, and be so much more happy in general. the last week has seen many of the children have adoptions finalized. one in particular, eda, has been really difficult for me. if you didn't know, eda was my absolute favorite. she had this amazing personality that was already evident in a 5 month old. it's hard to explain, but there was no way that i was not going to connect with eda. she was just too cute! she was adopted last wednesday, and i'm so thrilled. she deserves a loving home and every opportunity. at the same time, it's also so sad that i will never see her again, never see what kind of woman she becomes, never see what her strengths are, and how her laugh changes. it's hard to explain, but i'm sure many of you get my point! morgan and i know it's going to be hard leaving this babies. unlike when someone moves, here, you will never see or speak to the babies again. they will move to different homes or be adopted. their names will change, there will be no pictures of their life at NLH. it's so strange to think that these babies have been such a big part of our lives here and have made such an impact, and once we leave, there is no way that we can keep in touch with them.

well, this email is pretty depressing i think. so sorry about that. even so, i am having an amazing time here and i'm so thankful that i was presented with this opportunity to make such a huge difference. i miss all of you and i'll be home soon (friday evening!)!


Sunday, June 11, 2006

Youth Mission Update Sunday night

I just spoke with Jerry B. (far right) and they have arrived at their campsite, are settling in after hot dogs for dinner and the kids were playing football. It was 9:20 CST when we talked (they are on Mountain time) and it was about 98° -- cooler than the 106° when they arrived.

"Everything went really well," Jerry said. "I can't say enough about this group of kids. They're all best friends. I'm going to be the one to benefit the most by being with these guys."

Jerry said they had no problems crossing the border, although his trailer got checked over. When they got to camp, about five miles across the border from El Paso, Dave B. (far left) built a shade canopy out of tarps and 2x4s. Jerry described the campground as a 150 x 300 feet gravel parking lot. There's no grass, no trees, just rocks and sand.

The rest of the evening Sunday will be everyone taking their showers. Everyone gets one five-gallon bucket of water per day for their shower.

Jerry said the area they'll be working in is different than in past years, it's in the way south area of Juarez and it'll take them an hour to drive there in the morning during rush hour. The extra two hours of travel time is going to make for some really long days. They'll start out at about 7:30 a.m. They don't know anything yet about the family they'll be helping.

There are five groups at the campground this week, all there to build houses. Jerry said they've met two groups so far, one if from Grand Junction, Colorado, the other from Kansas. They'll try to do some socializing tomorrow night and take more pictures after the cameras get time to recharge.

They are looking forward to a really hot night and temps over 100° tomorrow.

More tomorrow night,

New Covenant Community Church visit today

Today during the 11 a.m. hour, I visited New Covenant Community Church over on 84th Street and Old Cheney Road. We have some things in common: both belong to the Willow Creek Association, we like louder-than-most worship music, and primarily there's the love for Christ that pumps through each congregation.

If you don't see too much of me during the summer, it's because I'm out visiting other Lincoln churches to see how we each communicate the message of Christ differently. We know that Horizons is not the perfect fit for everyone...but what's cool about big C church is that there will be a church that is the right fit for just about anyone out there, no matter where they are in their journey.

It is very different going to another church as a visitor, without knowing anyone there. Believe me, I wouldn't have done that alone even a few years ago. But it was a good experience. I got to hear an interesting guest speaker, Bob Anderson who heads up Christian Challenge at Kansas State. He has been on a sabbatical and talked of his experiences with tribes in Africa, Muslims on the east coast of Africa and Hindu believers in India.

New Cov is also partnering with the Sidewalk Sunday School program through St. Mark's that we've supported. The first meeting was Saturday and it sounds like there was a huge turnout! I'll get more info about that soon.

Please join me this week in praying for New Covenant, their pastor and all that they are doing to share Christ with others.


Youth Mission to Mexico - June 11

Our youth and their adult sponsors got off to a great start Saturday for the trip to Juarez, Mexico. Really great to hear from Jerry and the crew during first service. Did technology work as well second service?

As soon as I hear from them, I'll get their updates posted.


Friday, June 09, 2006

If you're wearing pink, send us your pictures!

This is for all of you who are wearing the pink t-shirts for to raise money for Tracy DuPont, the Lincoln wife and mom fighting cancer. If you're going out of town this summer take a digital picture of you wearing your PINK and let us post them on the blog and later we'll add them to the new Horizons Web site. We'd love to see all the places the shirts will be traveling to this year. If you've already taken some, send them to

Don't have your pink t-shirt? Visit the Web site:
or you can also talk to one of the guys wearing pink at church Sunday for info on how to buy one.

And don't forget, Saturday a.m. the MBA chicken people are selling discounted chicken at the Super Saver on Cornhusker Highway and 27th Street with all the proceeds going to Tracy's Angels.


Softball tonight!

Hey softball fans,

Since Nebraska's not going to the College World Series, come out and watch one of our Horizons softball teams tonight:

Horizons I, 7:15 at Cooper, 6th and D streets.
Horizons II, 6:15 at Ballard, 66th and Kearney streets.

Go Horizons. Go God.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

June 7 SoulConnect...Living on the Edge

On my I-80 commute from Lincoln to Omaha I saw something peculiar. On one side of the interstate stands a sturdy old white barn. It is fairly well preserved. It is not being used any longer. There are some hay bales scattered around it like it might be used for some storage. But it is clearly not serving the purposes for which it was originally built. Across from the barn, on the other side of the interstate stands a huge yellow crane hoisting large steel bridge beams as a new bridge is being erected for that part of I-80. Every day I drive between the two. They stand in contrast to one another. They are a picture of the past and the future in the present. Quite literally, as I drive by them, I am on the edge of what was and what will be. Our days of faith and life are like that.

We stand on the edge of what was and what will be. In our “be all you can be world” we are encouraged to strive for tomorrow, move beyond yesterday and, well, get through today. What a way to live. Wake up, take a shower, grab some coffee take a deep breath and hope to God you can get through the day without any major hassles or hang ups. I think many of us live this way today. Daily life has simply become a stepping-stone on the way to some other day that is bound to be better. Retirement, grown kids, paid bills, more time to relax, etc., become the future that calls us away from today. So today becomes a time of constant preparation and anticipating the day “when…”. Or today is simply an escape from yesterday, and a time to brace for tomorrow. And then there’s God, who wants a relationship with us today. But our schedule is so full. And today isn’t even Sunday.

Jesus said. “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.” (Matthew 6:34) Don’t worry about tomorrow? Are you kidding? Have you seen the price of gas, and my salary isn’t getting any larger, plus my kids need braces, I need a new red sports car, and our eight thousand square foot house is getting kind of cramped. I have to be busy planning and conniving my way through today so tomorrow won’t be such a shock.

Here’s my question. What is today if it is not a day to live as if we know what it means to love one another as God loves us? What is today if we ignore that the sun came up and the sun went down, and the very same thing will happen tomorrow? What is today if we choose to see the worst in people and not the best? Yesterday stands forever in our past as that which formed and shaped us into who we are today, still loved in God’s sight by the way. That is grace. Tomorrow lies before us as a complete unknown, except to God. That is faith. Today has arrived and we must live in it. Welcome to the journey.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Encounter tonight, June 6

Don't forget: tonight is Encounter, our monthly postmodern worship service from 7-8 p.m.

Never been to Encounter? It is quite different from Sunday Worship-Celebration. Think of everything that Horizons is: relaxed environment, casual setting, Christ-infused atmosphere. Now take that to another level that is more introspective, more self- and God-directed.

Jamie Brown will be providing the music, but the Encounter is between you and God.

There is no "order of service," no sermon, there is communion but everyone participates when and if they desire, there's no set way to worship...if you want to sit back and close your eyes, cool. If you want to stand/kneel/jog-in-place while working out your stuff with God, Encounter is the place.


Monday, June 05, 2006

Christin's Kenya Update 6/4

hey everyone!

just wanted to send out a quick update on what's been going on here in nairobi. after we got back from our trip, we have been spending a lot of time at NLH. things are going great there, and the babies were so excited to see us again. it was amazing to feel all of that love from such little people!

saturday at NLH was a party for their 12th anniversary. they had a big "party" where everyone could come back and it really created a great atmosphere for all of the older kids and kids that had been adopted from the program. it was so neat to see the nurses recognize kids as old as 7 or 8 and remember them from their time at NLH. the families were amazing, and you know that these kids have truly been blessed to find such loving families.

we found out that over half of the people who work at NLH actually live in the slums. they make about 5000 shillings a month, which is about $85. one lady, emily, has to support her brother, two sisters, her mother and her son on that. transportation from kibera (the slum she lives in) to NLH costs 80 shillings per day. it's amazing that people like her can be living in such horrible conditions and literally faced with life or death choices every day yet come to NLH and give these babies so much love and compassion. I am simply amazed.

as for some fun things, morgan and i went to an animal orphanage today. i petted a cheetah. not kidding, i really did. the pictures are amazing! we are also going out tomorrow to a restaurant called carnivore. it is a huge place and really popular, but guess what they serve? meat--lion, giraffe, elephant, crocodile, zebra, etc. so after i have gotten to see all of these animals, i'm going to eat them! nuts, i know, but it should be interesting! and, we found a place that delivers pizza, so finally i'm going to be having something other than tea and rice for supper!

the babies at NLH are making such progress. just being around them and seeing them improve, grow and develop is such a phenomenal thing. even the pictures from our first days there are so different than of the babies now. it's just incredible what 2-3 weeks of love, food, and hugs will do.

well, i said a short update so that is that. i miss all of you and excited to come home and share my experiences!


Friday, June 02, 2006

June 2 SoulConnect..."Waiting On God"

There is a story in the Bible where Jesus gets word that a close friend of his, Lazarus, was very sick. Upon hearing about his friend Jesus stayed where he was for two more days. The family and friends of Lazarus were gathered. Everybody was waiting, and Jesus decided to take his sweet time. By the time Jesus arrived, Lazarus had died. In fact he had been in a tomb for four days. Jesus was late and folks were none too happy. They said things like, “Jesus, if you would have been here Lazarus would not have died.” Jesus takes a little heat for taking his time, but soon turns his focus toward the dead man in the tomb. Giving thanks to his Father, God for hearing him, Jesus calls forth Lazarus from the tomb. “Lazarus, come out!” Lazarus comes out in his grave clothes, bound at the feet and hands, resurrected to new life. And what does Jesus do? He turns to the crowd and says, “Take off his grave clothes and let him go.”

In many ways we are like the folks in the Lazarus story. We’re waiting for Jesus to show up in the midst of some deep need that we have. Often it seems that God is taking his sweet time, if even showing up at all. We run to God and exclaim, “If you would have been here this would not have happened!” Too often we bind one another up with our own, self-centered expectations, become offended when things don’t go our way and then wait for God to show up and fix it. I believe the power in this story comes at the very end when Jesus turns to the crowd that is present and says, “Unbind (take the grave clothes off) him, and let him go.” We are reminded that as we join together in Christian community, we have the responsibility to nurture one another into faithfulness. We are called to bear one another’s burdens, and unbind our brothers and sisters so that they can fully experience new life in Christ.

The good news is that God has already arrived and through the life and teachings of Christ, God turns to us and says, “Unbind him/her/them, and let them go.” Let us walk this new life together, unbinding, and walking with our neighbor and experiencing this new life together.


Thursday, June 01, 2006

Wanted: Your digital pictures

Our new Web site will be loaded with photo galleries and right now, we're making a big push to collect the first pictures that will be available when we launch the site this fall.

Here is what we need:

  • HOME groups. Group shots, study shots, hanging out and having fun shots, families, service projects, anything being done by HOME groups, we need pictures. And, we need pictures from ALL the HOME groups to present the wide variety of those involved.
  • DiscoveryZone kids, aged toddler through 4th grade. We need group pictures, kids doing crafts, singing, dancing, having fun, learning, praying, serving...whatever our kids are doing during DZ, we need pictures.
  • NurseryZone. Babies, moms, care-givers, babies playing, kids getting signed in, a row of diaper bags, anything cute.
  • Youth. We need the 5th & 6th graders, and the 7th & 8th graders doing all the stuff they do weekly. They worship, they study, they hang out, they pray, they help others and each other. We need lots of pictures of these young people in action.
  • High School. Hang times, lock-ins, outings/events, mission trips...we need so many pictures so that any visitor can see how involved our teens/young adults are.
  • Ministry groups. We need pictures of our Host team in all areas including being outside in the rain or other elements, info center workers, Hospitality group, all doing their thing and helping people. We need pictures of people serving throughout Horizons and throughout the week.
  • Sunday and everyday. We want people at Horizons on Sunday...even milling about and talking before, between or after services. We also need pictures of Horizons people doing things outside our building such as serving at the Mission.
  • VBS. Fiesta! begins July 30 and we will need as many different pictures as we can so people can see next year the fun that was had this year. If you're going to be at VBS, take your camera.

We also need pictures that speak to our mission: Leading seekers and doubters to experience transformation as devoted followers of Christ; and pictures that highlight our core values: People, Prayer, Serving, Community and the Bible.

Start snapping away and you can email your digital files to me any time, or burn a CD for me and leave it at the Information Center counter any Sunday. We prefer jpg files. If you don't know what that means, send me an email.

Thanks for your help!


Christin's Kenya Update 6/1...About Brad and Angelina

Hey everyone!

well, I'm back from the safari, so no worries, I didn't get eaten by a lion or attacked by a rhino. It was an amazing experience and one that I would highly recommend! We were literally about 4 feet from lions, buffalo, cheetah, topi, impala, gazelles, etc. etc. I will have some great pictures to share with anyone who is interested. We stayed at two amazing places. They were like five star hotels in the middle of the African wild! It was unbelievable. I even took pictures of the rooms, so you can see them, too.

we stopped at a Maasai village while we were on the safari. It was insane! They live in huts made out of cow dung that are about 20x20 feet. They have huges holes in their earlobes--some were so big they wrapped their lobes around the top of their ear to get them out of the way! I took lots of pictures, too. And, interestingly enough, I was nearly married off. On our way, a maasai warrior offered our safari driver, Robert, 10 cows apiece for us to marry him (in Africa, you can have more than one wife). Then, when Robert laughed and said no, he offered 15. Robert said that's a pretty big honor because he didn't even know we were American or if we were educated. Yeah, ok, whatever. I don't care how many cows are offered, I'm not going to marry some Maasai warrior.

so I know you are all curious about this brad and Angelina subject line. Well, I know how some of you were saying that I was going to meet them because they would randomly show up at NLH, well... Obviously, they didn't come cuz they had their baby--LOL. But shaggy did come. Yeah, shaggy the rapper from the US that's not even cool anymore. So watch out. It was really weird. And we didn't take pictures, so don't ask!

yesterday we had our first arrivals at NLH since we've been there. One came from the police, Jeff, and two were transferred from another orphanage. Jeff was found abadoned by the police in what I understood to be some type of drainage ditch in the slums. It was the saddest thing I have ever seen when he came in. After he was checked by two doctors, we got to hold him and see firsthand what kind of shape they are in when they come in. I would guess that Jeff is about 6-8 months old, possibly closer to 8 months. The thing is, his head is about that size, and he's about that long, but he easily weighs under 10 lbs. Just for an example, his forearm is the size of my thumb. His arms and legs aren't chubby and contain almost no muscle at all. When I held him, I could feel every single one of his ribs through two layers of clothing. It was the most shocking, unbelievable thing. Looking at him, you could see in his eyes that he was scared to death. All these new people and not used to any attention or love at all. Finally, after holding him and talking to him and touching him, he finally smiled and ate. It was the most rewarding experience.

It's hard to imagine having a baby and taking care of it for awhile and not being able to feed it and love it because there is simply not enough food or money. I can't even imagine how people cope with that and how they live day-to-day in those types of situations. And it's not an uncommon thing here. Everyday, people here have to make decisions about which one of their children will go to bed hungry or if they need to eat and then all of the children will be hungry. Here, babies are abandoned because their mothers are in the sex trade, rape, incest, etc. Some perfectly healthy babies are left because they are half-white or half-Asian. Many that are born with problems due to poor pre-natal nutrition are abandoned at well. It's so sad what can be prevented simply by living in a different place.

Well, now that I wrote one of the most depressing emails ever, I just want to make sure that all of you know that I'm still having a good time and really enjoying my experience here. Thank you for all of your thoughts and prayers, they are greatly appreciated!