Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Camp Redcloud!!

Hey guys!

So I just got back from a week spent in Colorado with some youth from Collide (our Sunday night high school bible study).  We were at a camp called "Redcloud" that is located right near Lake City.  It was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been!

While we were there we did some crazy things that I cannot believe we managed to accomplish.  The first day we did some low ropes activities followed by a grueling high ropes course. The second day we went rock climbing, and ALL of us got to the top of a 75 foot rock!  The third day was easily the hardest, as we did a "peak hike."  We climbed all the way to the top of a 14,000+ ft. mountain (we were the first group to summit all summer!!)  It was so physically and mentally exhausting but also very rewarding.  The view from the top was indescribable.  It didn't really sink in how far we had climbed until we looked back on our way down.  Then the last day we did some white water rafting, which proved to be a blast and a half.  Through it all we learned a lot about God, his glory in creation, and about teamwork.

Coming Up- More book reviews, plus a new blog series I will be starting tomorrow entitled "My 5 favorite quotes from Jesus."

Saturday, June 13, 2009

My Week with Autism!!

Hey guys!  I got back Wednesday evening from my week at camp.  Let me tell you, it was sooo amazing.  God showed me and taught me and loved on me so much during this week.  First a little about the camp, it is called Camp Barnabas, Texas and is a smaller sister camp of the larger Camp Barnabas, Missouri. Anyway, it is a camp for kids with special needs (mainly down syndrome and a wide variety of Autistic disorders) where they can come be a normal kid for a week while their parents get a break.

I love camps (see my post on Sky Ranch) and have wanted to work at a special needs camp for a little over a year so I was excited when I saw that they accept counselors for only one week and that going last week would fit my busy schedule this summer.  My camper was an 8 year old boy named Spencer who had autism.  He was non-verbal, which meant he rarely used words (I learned a lot of signs, haha).  He was such a joy!  He had to have been one of the most content people I have ever met in life.  A few of his favorite things: turning light-switches on and off, flushing the toilet, splashing in the pool, watching and playing the drums, and swinging on the porch with me.

Spencer seemed to see all things for the first time and was always overwhelmed with awe and wonder at the beauty and complexity of everything around him.  In many ways I felt like he was able to see and observe the world much more than "normal" people are.

I learned many things at camp, including but not limited to: 1)A love for kids with special needs and their families, 2)a confidence in dealing with Autistic kids, 3)God further revealed himself, his love, patience, and the Cross to me.  I will be back next summer- and hope to take a good group with me so we can experience more of God's grace and participate more fully in his deeply life-giving Kingdom-building work.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Heading Off to Camp...

Hello friends!
I am just about to take off to go serve 6 days at a camp for kids with special needs.  I would appreciate all of your prayers and thoughts while I am gone!  I will obviously not be blogging, or checking my email/phone/facebook/twitter..  I plan on blogging about my experience at camp next Thursday or Friday.

In the meantime, I hope you all continue seeking Christ, working for His Kingdom, and abiding in him richly!  

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Summer Book Reviews: #4- "A Wolf at the Table"- Augusten Burroughs

I love memoirs.  They are by and far my favorite genre of literature.  Recently I read a great one called “Beautiful Boy” about a dad and his meth-addicted son.  It was heartbreaking.  But sobering.  And in a real way that infuses life into my heart.

I recently read one called “A Wolf at the Table” by Augusten Burroughs.  It is a memoir about his relationship with his distant and (somewhat) abusive father.  The work is a riveting read- Augusten is a master story teller with an uncanny ability to infuse humor into even the most tragic situations.  He also has a keen eye to the realities undergirding childish thought and evaluations of situations and relationships.

If you like memoirs, this one is worth your time.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Summer Book Reviews: #3 - "Justification: God's Plan and Paul's Vision"- N.T. Wright

I respect John Piper.  I do.  Seriously.  That being said, I found his effort in “The Future of Justification: A Response to N.T. Wright” extremely lacking and disappointing.  It appeared to me as though Piper were trying to enter the academic world and tackle head on one of the loftiest theological issues circling the globe right now, and not only that, but tried to tackle possibly the greatest theological mind alive (in my opinion), N.T. Wright.  It was an attempt that failed.

Piper’s work was an exegetical and theological mess.  For instance, he declared that God’s righteousness is his utmost concern for his own glory.  Here is a tragic case of eisegesis on a meta-narrative level - one that fails to deal with the text and the train of thought present in Paul’s writings.  I think N.T. Wright does a fine job summarizing an argument that I have been following along in pieces since “What Saint Paul Really Said” and should help clear the table for future discussions.  

It is a very heavy read, however.  And I mean heavy.  It is not quite one of his academic books (see ‘Resurrection and the Son of God’) but it is well above a popular reading level.  I also appreciated Wright’s work on the biblical emphasis on the believer’s unity with Christ’ death and resurrection (Romans 6; Col. 3) as opposed to a medieval imagining of the believers unity with some sort of active obedience or treasury of merits.

If you are following along the whole “Pauline Perspectives” debate- get this book.  If you want to start following it, get this book.  If you read Piper’s book- get this book.  It is another great read from my favorite author, Sir N.T. Wright.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Transform Ministries

I recently became a 'communicator' for a non-profit ministry called Transform Ministries.  The organization is headed up by Casey Cease, who is an amazing guy and talented speaker.  Joining their team of communicators should help me increase my speaking opportunities and allow me to throw down some Jesus on even more people than I am now.  I feel very blessed to have been invited into partnership with Transform for the work of the Gospel!

If you haven't seen it, check out www.mikeskinner.org.  This is my page over at the Transform website.  Also- if you or your ministry needs a speaker, please talk to me!!  Whether it is a D-Now, a camp, a retreat, a See You at the Pole, school event, or another similar event- I would love to speak at it!!  Also, please tell your friends and ministry contacts about my new ministry and maybe direct them over to my website.  I appreciate it!