Saturday, August 29, 2009

Mexico Missions Trip Slideshow

Mexico Missions Trip from Ken Kistler Photography

These are some of the pictures I took during the Mission Trip to Mexico. I pray the Lord never lets me forget some of the lessons I learned during those eight days.


David and Suzanne from Ken Kistler Photography

I'm a little frustrated with YouTube right now. Great concept and a great help in the past, but my video needs are slowly outgrowing its capabilities. I'm experimenting with a new hosting site. Here's what I've been able to try so far.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


This morning I woke early to get on my computer, not to surf the web or even work on lesson plans, but to video chat with my students. What a joy! It wasn't long, only five or ten minutes, but I enjoyed seeing their faces. I liked to see the high school guys had grown even taller. The girls had not grown in size, but each one acted a little more like a mature Christian lady. What a blessing to see just a small point in their lives which evidences not only God's working in their physical growth, but God working in their spiritual growth as well.

After the students went to class I slipped up to the shower, pulled on a button-down collared shirt, poured a bowl of cereal, and opened my Bible to the book of Psalms. What scripture to read on this my first day of school at Santa Clarita Christian School and the eighth first day of school as a teacher?

I found the words at the end of Psalm 59:
But I will sing of your strength; I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning. For you have been to me a fortress and a refuge in the day of my distress. O my strength, I will sing praises to you, for you, O God, are my fortress, the God who shows me steadfast love.

These verses speak to the past and present. God has been the strength of the psalmist in the past, and God will continue to be that strength in the present. He's been and will be a fortress. He has shown and will show steadfast love.

I'm not exuberant this morning, probably because of my ongoing lack of sleep, but these verses perfectly fit the day. They're neither excited dancings about God's goodness, nor are they calls for the Lord to smite the wicked (though that may be more my tone after working with Junior Highers all day). The verses simply state two wonderful truths. God's always been there. God will always be there. He strengthened me on my first day of school at FBCS in Butler with a class of 8 students 7 years ago. He'll strengthen me today at SCCS with a total of 101 students.

This is God . . .

Friday, August 21, 2009


The walls are starting to close in, evidenced not the least by the fact I just spelled "walls" as w-a-a-l-s-s.

Block plans are due today.

Syllabuses should be turned in today.

The lengthy faculty manual is to be read by today.

Unit plans, due Monday.

Lesson plans, due Monday.

Classroom setup, due Monday.

Slideshow for a bride and groom, due next Saturday, but they're clamoring to have it early.

I NEED a dresser for my bedroom. The shelves in the closet can only hold so many jeans, t-shirts, socks and underwear. No, this isn't a necessity on the To Do List, but my OCD personality ignites every time I step into my unorganized bedroom.

First day of school, Tuesday.

I'm really feeling the pressure. Part of this is good. I'm not messing around. I'm not wasting time, which I feel often can be the bane of my existence, but I also feel like the walls of this new job are about to topple down upon me.

Ok, venting done . . . I know what I need. I've got to set my textbooks aside for a few moments this morning and dig into the Word. I need to trust in the Lord, with all my heart, and not lean on my own understanding. I must remember the verses from several days ago. God is a VERY present help in trouble.

Why art thou cast down, O my soul? Why art thou disquieted within me? HOPE IN GOD!!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

This is God!

What a blessed morning in the Word!

Some mornings I prefer silence for my time in the Scriptures. Other mornings I need music, whether to cancel the noise of traffic, people, or ten thousand other concerns vying for my mind's attention.

This morning I strolled out to Dave and Keara's covered patio, slipped on my headphones, and chose the Chris Tomlin playlist from Itunes. I didn't even glance at the first song but opened my Bible to Psalm 48.

The song? Our God Reigns by Chris Tomlin, Charlie Hall and others. They began to sing, "Our God reigns, our God reigns, forever your kingdom reigns . . ." as I read, "Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised in the city of our God . . . We have thought of your steadfast love, O God, in the midst of the temple. As your name, O God, so your praise reaches to the ends of the earth. Your right hand is filled with righteousness. Let Mount Zion be glad! Let the daughters of Judah rejoice because of your judgements!"

What a refreshing way to start the morning- a reminder from God's faithful word of the preeminence of our King.

I couldn't ignore the last verse of the chapter though. "That you may tell the next generation that this is God, our God forever and ever. He will guide us forever."

This is God! Man, how often do I stand before someone and say, "Look! Look at this! This is God! This is the creator of the Universe. This is the one who sent his Son to die for your sins. Look! This is God!"

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The New Chapter

I truly hope you've visited our site on the Mexico Mission's trip. What a blessing! God used that trip in my life in many countless ways. Yeah, ok, so I know it's sort of a cheap, rip-off to blog through use of video camera, but that's the way it had to go. Hopefully I can snag some spare time this week and actually write some thoughts about the trip.

This morning I woke bright and early at 4:30 am. Sounds terrible, I know, but in Eastern standard time it was actually 7:30. I'm kind of hoping not to slip into Pacific time. I'd love to be in bed every night by ten and up by 5 or 5:30 at the latest. Perhaps that's a bit of wishful thinking, but so be it.

The main event of today and the next four days is Teacher's Inservice at Santa Clarita Christian School. A new school. New rules to follow. New staff to work with. New students and families to meet. New curriculum to teach. New place to live. New . . . new . . . new . . . To say I don't have a few butterflies in my stomach would be a lie.

God has been so good. I type this on a covered patio behind my sister's new apartment. When I walked out here the stars glistened above, crickets chirped from the lawn, and a crisp chill still hung in the air. I flicked on the Chinese lanterns hanging above, set down my textbooks and laptop, then flipped open my Bible to the book of Psalms. Here's what I read.

Classroom Level:
You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness. Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions. - Psalm 45:7

This made me think of the classroom I'll be leading next Monday morning. Love righteousness and hate wickedness. Isn't that one of the basic elements of Christian school classrooms. Praise students who love, honor, obey, respect. Discipline those students who hurt, mock, disobey or rebel. What's the result when we teach like this? Gladness and joy in the classroom. Students know that you'll defend and help them, punish wrongdoers, and stand for what is right.

Life Level:
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble . . . Psalms 46:1

It's been a crazy last three weeks. I've shot two weddings, led a mission trip to Mexico, left the home of my last seven years, preached in different churches, said Goodbye to countless friends and family, and step into a new chapter of my life. All through that time I've been battling anxiety. No, I'm not one to fret over every little thing, but I want to do things right and I want to do them well. I want to fulfill my commitments to the best of my ability. What a blessed assurance to read this passage this morning. God! God is our refuge and strength. I could write for days on that! A very present help - not distant help, not even merely an existent help - a very present help. He's here with me this morning. He's helping me, protecting me, guiding me. Oh praise his name!

Universe Level:
Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. Psalm 46:10

Be still . . . yeah . . . that's a little convicting right now. Action has animated my entire being for the last three weeks. Thankfully each morning in Mexico I found time for a blessed stillness. Blessed quietness, holy quietness, what assurance in my soul . . .

God will be exalted among the nations and across the earth. He will. There is no doubt or question in that thought. He will be exalted! How does that affect me? Will I exalt him in my life now or wait until I'm forced? I try to make the right decision to that question everyday, but now I face a new question? How will I help my students exalt the Savior of this world? What can I do? How can I serve? How will I teach them?

Lord, let me be faithful to exalt righteousness and discipline wickedness in my class. May I know the blessing of your presence whether I "feel" it or not. Help me, Lord. Help me to help my students exalt you with their life.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Off to Mexico

The title is a bit of a misnomer . . . as I'm already in Mexico City. I'll be blogging at our Mission's Trips site:

Here's the address:

Hope you enjoy!