Monday, July 31, 2006

Fiesta! By the numbers -- night 1

I almost forgot to post these. Here are the amazing numbers Erin put together from the first night, Sunday, of Fiesta! @ Horizons:

  • Volunteers: 171 (I am sure I have missed a couple)
  • Kids Registered: 275
  • Kids Attended First Night: 239
  • City Mission: 24 (will vary each night) 20 night one

While it's really cool to see that 275 kids were registered for the week, I think the 171+ volunteers shows that Horizons has a heart for serving. Awesome.

Go Horizons. Go God.


Fiesta! night 2

I spent many years going to Vacation Bible School as a kid. I still remember learning about Jesus, about working on a service project to feed hungry children in remote lands, and those craft projects where you hammer nails onto a patterned board and then wrap thread around the nails to make a picture of owls. (Yes, this was the 70s.)

Vacation Bible School is different now. But that's because kids are different in 2006 that we were. We deal with many of the same issues, but kids now have to deal with even bigger issues too and sometimes at much younger ages than we ever did. The generation we're hosting at Horizons this week for Fiesta! is living in an era of uncertainty and insecurity. It's a treat to get to talk with them and listen to their ideas of how they can keep Jesus #1 in their lives every day. And an even bigger thrill is sitting with them and praying. My group tonight, as Pastor Steve led the entire Fiesta! in prayer, all held their arms up to the sky while praying. I joined them and it was definitely a prayer I'll remember.

The tag line for Fiesta! is "where kids are fired up about Jesus." Well, they are fired up alright. Their faith is remarkable and their love for Jesus is so pure.

It's definitely not the VBS I grew up with. We never raised our voices. We didn't sing loud, rowdy songs that involved jumping, stomping and a cha cha line. I know it wasn't nearly this exhausting and it wasn't even close to this much fun.

More tomorrow.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Fiesta! Picture this

This is the sweetest picture and pretty much says it all about Horizons' Vacation Bible School.

Thanks to Erin for the picture.


New Web site update

This is a busy time preparing to launch the new Horizons Web site. Here's an update of where we are with the designers/programmers, and what to expect in the next 6-8 weeks.

Earlier this month, we approved the home page design and Tuesday this week, we'll get a look at the secondary pages. It's exciting to see the look of the new site and think of all the new features we'll be able to take advantage of.

Our eTeam is working on getting pictures taken and writing all of the content for the site. Anyone interested in writing short pieces about various ministries/events for the site may email me at We will always have room for more people who want to write, proof-read and/or edit. If you are a ministry leader at Horizons, you should definitely contact me to talk about your team's area of the site.

Later this month, the Aspire!One team will be training us to use the administrative console so that we will be able to upload our own content and continually keep the site fresh, informative and interesting. After a few of us master the system, we'll be working with others to train them on the site for information updates. The advantages of the system are that no one will have to know any programming languages to write and upload content -- it's very user friendly.

We are currently planning a mid- to late-Sept. launch. We'll see how that goes, but you'll get plenty of notice for when the site goes live.

If you have good quality, digital pictures of any Horizons events or mission trips or even HOME groups, you can email them to me, or burn a disk and leave them at the info table any time. We will have room for 100s of pictures.


What a party! Fiesta! night 1

Wild times at Horizons Community Church. Put a few hundred kids in the building, add in another 100+ adult and youth volunteers and what you get is enough energy that, if you could contain it, you could power the state of Rhode Island.

Our first night of Fiesta! was a ton of fun. I have a crew of four girls (thanks, Erin!) which is such a change of pace from all the boy stuff I live with at home. My girls are going to be in the following grades: first, first, second and third. A nice mix of ages and they seemed to get along well. Our first game (running with a blanket filled with water balloons we had to try not to break) was a good team effort and we managed to work together well and didn't get too wet.

I forget to take the camera, so after I get some pictures tonight from Erin, I'll post some of night one. Our organizers have done some really fun stuff...Derek and Chris -- you guys were pretty crazy tonight and my crew loved watching and screaming. I hope to have my hearing back before tomorrow night.

More later.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

It's not just a party, it's a Fiesta!

These are exciting times at Horizons Community Church. Vacation Bible School begins tomorrow night, Sunday, with Fiesta! I'm not sure I'm ready -- maybe a nap is in order tomorrow afternoon. I'm looking forward to meeting my crew for the week.

Please keep all of us at Fiesta! in your prayers. I'll be blogging each night after Fiesta! and even posting some pictures. Of course, if you're that interested, you should just come to the Fiesta! and help out in whatever way you like. Contact Erin, if you're feeling like coming to the party.

See you at Fiesta!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Church for Cyclists (and others)

Our very own cycling evangelist (that's Pastor Steve) will be offering an early Sunday Worship service for those on the go: cyclists, joggers, walkers...ok, even drivers are welcome. See Steve's blog for more info (link to the right).

Dates: All four Sundays in August.
Time: 8-8:30 a.m.
Place: On the grass east of the church building, north of the parking lot.

Won't it be cool to see people coming to church wearing colorful biking clothes?

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

SoulConnect..."The Questions We Ask"

The questions are many in this life. Name your question. When I was a boy I asked so many questions that I am sure my parents nearly lost their minds at times. As many questions as we ask in our younger years, I find that as we grow older it’s answers we prefer. I see it in politics, families, and corporations, even churches. Some times we get answers to questions that we aren’t even asking. Many times we give quick, shallow answers. But the questions we hold deep in our soul are rarely answered by the quick, slick, easily marketable answers our culture seems to be comfortable with. Still answers make life somehow easier. There are no quick fix answers to the deepest questions in our lives.

As cold as it may sound the questions on most people’s hearts and minds are not about global warming, world hunger, or whom Paris Hilton is dating. Most of us are looking to get through another day without losing our minds. Or, we are wondering how we can make ends meet, or live in a way that has some deeper meaning besides maintaining an insanely out of control lifestyle. These questions seem to get lost in the quick answers of really smart people who have come up with a quick and easy multi-step formula to solve really big, really important things. And still we have questions. But why do we insist on coming up with answers, easy answers, even before we really ask the questions? Good question. I think it’s because we are more scared of the questions than the answers. And, it’s more impressive to have the answers.

Certain questions challenge our character, and we don’t want people to know who we really are. Other questions reveal how much we don’t know. Still, other questions just reveal too many other things in our lives that are simply best left alone. Some of us seem to have arrived at a point in life where we believe that we’ll just coast on the easy answers, and the tough questions can be dealt with some other day or by somebody else. I believe Christ invites us into the questions with the answers to life that nobody wants to hear. I believe we are tired. We’re tired of the answers that keep coming but leave us frustrated and unfulfilled. Our deepest questions seep into our lives creating insecurity, fear, and depression. And still, relentlessly, the questions come. Until one day we simply stop asking and opt to exist in the shallow answers of the world. Jesus said this. “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Through Christ, God invites your questions. Each day God invites you to walk gently, to listen and learn, to seek answers the answers that the world simply cannot provide.

The questions in this life are many. Christ lives in the questions. His answers are your freedom. Enjoy the journey.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Let's have more Sundays with Sundaes

We didn't get to stay for the entire presentation, but judging by the good-sized group Sunday night and the interest in the speaker, Dan Sedor, Horizons' first Sundaes on Sunday was a big success.

We joined 50+ people at Horizons -- a mix of old-timers and newcomers -- for a great ice cream social time and then sent the kiddos off to play so we could listen to Dan. He had some great suggestions for us to be more comfortable when meeting new people. Maybe this Sunday there will be a few more new conversations started between strangers.

I got to meet some interesting people who are all pretty new or just returning to Horizons. Here's a quick shout out to Judy and Jim, and Jerry who we shared ice cream with. Jim, hope your tooth is feeling better! I also met Carol during an exercise Dan led. All I have to say to Carol is, "you look marvelous!" I look forward to running into you all some Sunday.

A big thank you to our People Values Champions Vicki and Mark D. who organized the event. We are already looking forward to the next one.


Saturday, July 22, 2006

Pastor Steve & the Lincoln Journal Star

If you don't get the Lincoln Journal Star, you can check out the feature on Pastor Steve's July bicycling here that is on the cover of the Values section.

Go Pastor Steve! Go God!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Sundaes on Sunday THIS WEEK

Sunday, July 23 (yes, that's this week!), will be the first Sundaes on Sunday at Horizons from 6-7 p.m. Bring the family (games for older kids and nursery for the little ones will be available) and join us for ICE CREAM and all the toppings along with a guest speaker, Dan Sedor.

For those who don't know: Horizons Community Church is located at 3200 Grainger Parkway, Lincoln, Nebraska, 68516. Here's a map.

Dan will speak for 30 minutes, starting at 6:30 p.m. He'll be talking about verbal and non-verbal communication. Why should we care?

You know that awkward feeling you get when you're talking with someone you've never met at Horizons and you don't want to ask if it's their first time visiting because at that point they always say something like, "I've been coming here for a year," and everyone ends up embarrassed. Well, Dan is going to give us some tools to become more comfortable talking with people new to us and new to Horizons. This will be useful at church, useful at work and maybe even at home (unless you have toddlers and teenagers).

Sundaes on Sunday is brought to us by our People Values Champions, Vicki and Mark D., because you know people matter to us at Horizons, and people matter to God. See you there!


Sunday, July 16, 2006

Visit to CrossRoads Church Sunday

I'm back to visiting area churches and Sunday during second service I attended Worship at CrossRoads Church, Superior and 40th streets. It is a small, non-denominational church but what a stand-out group!

We were greeted before we walked inside by a woman signing up kids for VBS, then once we got inside, we were helped to the nursery to get Mace settled. He was so excited to have a whole room full of toys to explore, he didn't even look back to say "see ya, Mama." (When it was time to go home, Mace didn't want to leave!)

My mom went with us and she and I sat in the second of maybe four rows...I didn't count. I was encouraged to see a staged filled with plugged-in stuff...they are all electric including drums.

One thing completely evident at CrossRoads is their love for Jesus and their love for people. Worship leader Brian Ubben talked a bit between songs, and you can really tell this guy wants to be all that God wants him to be and to be real with others about his journey. Brian obviously has a passion for Jesus. He's down-to-earth and honest.

Pastor Dan Thompson gave a solid message about letting God heal internal wounds. Pastor Dan is casual, laid-back and reminded me of Southern California with his sandals, cargo shorts and print shirt. Like I said, these people are real...everyone wearing whatever they were most comfortable wearing...not unlike Horizons.

We have heard the saying that we need lots of different churches because there are lots of different people. We know that Horizons will not be a perfect fit for everyone. Getting to know our other Christian churches in Lincoln will help us help others find the right fit for them. One of our visions for the new Web site is to have a section just for that purpose, to direct visitors to other Christian churches that may be better suited to their needs, style and comfort-level.

Oh, speaking of comfort, CrossRoads has awesome chairs.

Please keep CrossRoads Church in your prayers this week.

God's house rocked today

If you missed Worship-Celebration today, you missed out. Worship Team rocked big time with a special piece, "Never alone," sung by Julie and Rebecca (two amazing voices!) while Jamie & Co. kicked in with electrified, amplified guitar/bass, drums and keyboard. Awesome way to get into that Worship frame-of-mind.

Great job, everyone! God Rocks!


Saturday, July 15, 2006

Horizons' got Game

We spent Friday evening at the Cornhusker State Games opening ceremonies at Seacrest fields...they put on a great show and, in spite of the heat, there was a huge turnout of families including lots of Horizons' families.

Enjoy the games, everyone.
Go Horizons. Go God!


Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Horizons this week

I hope you're having a great week. There's lots coming up at Horizons -- not just this week but during the summer and fall. I love all the opportunities we are able to provide families and the community to connect, get involved or just have fun. Here's the drill down for this week:

  • VBS starts on July 30 and next week there will be crew leader training either on Sunday, July 16, 4 p.m. or Wed., July 19, 6:30 p.m. Pick the session that works best for you and call the office to let them know, 420.6600.
  • There's still room if you haven't signed up the kiddos and yourselves for Fiesta! starting July 30. Remember there will be a parenting study for adults, so plan to hang out with other parents while the kids have a wild time.
  • Dinner for 8 is now taking sign-ups. This is a great opportunity to meet others at Horizons, some who have been members for years, others who are new or anywhere in-between. The groups will have dinner together once each month for four months. Call or email the office, or sign up on Sunday.
  • Horizons golfing guys, the league is getting formed and starts Aug. 7. Make a note on your Gold card Sunday.
  • Sunday Series: Pastor Steve begins a new series Sunday called "Getting to know the God of Abraham." This Sunday will be "The God whose purpose is blessing" and comes from Genesis 12:1-8.

Let's keep our staff in our prayers this week. There's a lot of work still being done to get ready for VBS/Fiesta! and then of course there's Steve on his bicycle every day. We're also mailing out 5000 postcards inviting our neighbors to Fiesta!, so pray that our unchurched neighbors will come and check us out!


Monday, July 10, 2006

Praise God and pass the Kleenex

Sunday Worship-Celebration was thoroughly enjoyable...listening to Pastor Craig Finnestad talk about the new church he and his team will be launching Sept. 10 in Omaha, The Water's Edge. Then that video he showed, about Father and Son, Dick and Rick Hoyt in the Hawaii Ironman triathalon. Not many dry eyes after that.

Visit the Team Hoyt site for more information about the DVD and their book. They have an amazing story.


Thursday, July 06, 2006

It's Softball Tournament Time

Both Horizons I and Horizons II will be playing in the tournament starting tomorrow night, Friday, July 7, with games at 6:15. See the schedule below, pick a game and get out there to cheer on our Horizons' players.

Note: If Horizions II wins its 6:15 game, they ALSO Play at 8:15 that night...It's a single elimination tournament. Here's the break-down:

HORIZONS I - July 7 - 6:15 p.m. at Ballard - Opponent Eastridge
IF Win Play July 14 - 6:15 p.m. at Ballard - Opponent Southview Baptist
IF Win Play July 14 - 8:15 p.m. for Championship

HORIZONS II - July 7th - 6:15 p.m. at Cooper - Opponent Berean Blues
IF Win Plan July 7th - 8:15 p.m. at Cooper - Opponent St Lukes UMC
IF Win Play July 14th - 7:15 p.m. at Cooper
IF Win Play July 14th 8:15 p.m. for Championship

Go Horizons. Go God!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

What a great night!

A huge thanks to Jerry and Teresa B. for hosting Horizons Monday night.

It was a treat to get out of Lincoln, send the kiddo off to grandma's for the night, and spend time with our church family. Seems we're all so busy on Sundays that we don't get many times when we can just sit and talk, play games and laugh.

Jim and Melanie should be really proud of themselves for making it to the badminton finals against Chris and Jim H. Youth triumphed, but they had to work for it. Eric and I got beat nicely by Steve and Trish in the first round...but we rallied for the throw-the-washer-in-the-hole game and won in spite of some really large bugs (but probably not as large as Tony D. kept telling me) getting in my way.

Lots of fun. Music we haven't heard in decades. Fire. Good food. We'll get some pictures posted.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Horizons party in the country

See you all out in the country tonight. If you don't have directions, scroll down the posts to find the July 3 party details along with Jerry's cell phone number.

  • Bring a chair.
  • Bring a jacket.
  • Bring adults (college-age and up) only.
  • Bring something edible to share with everyone.
  • Bring fireworks!
  • Bring NO alcohol.

Eric and I are looking forward to dropping off Mace at Grandma's house for his first sleep-over. Hopefully, Grandma is well-rested.

Don't miss the party!