Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Experiment...

For several months my family and I have been doing an experiment… No, this is not a pyramid scheme to get you to buy in to the program but I would love to tell you very briefly about it and what I’ve learned.  Essentially, it is giving up specific things each month for seven months so you can learn more about yourself and the abundance of excess in our lives (It all started with a book and now there’s a study too)!! 

Courtney and I have gone through several months at this point and have learned a ton each month, and this month has been no exception.  For the past 24 days the Berg household has given up all media items… That’s right: Movies, TV, Music, Apps, Yahoo News, ESPN and, outside of professional use, even: Cellphones & Computers!!  Though it most definitely hasn’t been easy, down right awful at times (missing the BCS Championship games and now the Super Bowl this Sunday), with only a handful of days left I’m kind of sad that it’s drawing to a close.  I’ve come to greatly enjoy “the silence” of my home (well, after the kids are in bed), the incredible conversations while just doing the day-to-day errands without the radio, the fact that the kids come home and immediately want to play a board game or shoot some hoops and “the honeymoon” period my wife and I have found again with card games, reading together and even just talking!!

Rereading the paragraph above I realized that just those things could be the focus of this post:
  • Turn off the TV and get on the floor with your family
  • Dust off the board games (or go get a new one)
  • Schedule a mandatory date night once a month
  • Maybe even power down the cell phone once a week

BUT that wasn’t why I started this post… The biggest thing that has happened this month of “no media” was my eyes being opened AGAIN!!  Ten years ago Courtney and I made goals for our family of two: No TV in the bedroom, Leave the cellphones in the car on dates, Buy a new board game once a month, etc.  But over the past decade we lost focus and became desensitized to the world around us!! Many “what ifs” (what if there’s an emergency, a crisis, a disaster) in our lives seemed to demand our constant attention and connection to technology and not meaningful connection to each other and to our family.

So with our fast winding down I’m praying for a couple specific things, will you join me?
  • May I take a little time and evaluate where I am right now in my walk…
  • May I be honest with myself and God, asking His Spirit to give me great leadership in making new boundaries (or even old forgotten ones)…
  • May I set aside time for faith talks and even provide uninterrupted time so faith walks can happen with my family…
May Jesus bless your discipline and our community here at New Beginnings!!

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” Psalm 139: 23-24

What is one adjustment you could make in your day-to-day to open up a little more time and focus for your family!?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

When paths collide...

For more than a decade now I've been in full-time ministry, specifically, working with teenagers!!  
I know, I know for some of you this sounds more like a disease or at minimum a disorder...we're not ruling that out quite yet!!  But truthfully, when you've seen what I've seen, life-change among young men and women, you can't help but want it for more students!!  

One example that comes to mind is Taylor (Whom we refer to as T-Doe)... When I met him he was a little 8th grader moving into his 9th grade year at a big new school across town!!  I remember having him, and a few others, in an early morning bible study each week.  We would joke around, eat some donuts and if we were lucky, maybe even get around to talking about Jesus before I took them to school (because they were not old enough to drive themselves yet).  Over the years he began to get extremely passionate about the service projects we did and the need to "share Jesus' love with everyone we met".  I'd like to say that his passion and focus was all me BUT Taylor has an amazing family who always supported him (and his brothers).  Over the years I watched as his mom and dad found ways to encourage this passion, from taking him to a local soup kitchen on weekends to even providing some finances when he had a "big idea": Serve-a-thon (which still happens every Spring Break in Oklahoma)!!  

Taylor got "Faith Mission" and his family understood that this was an important step of his "Faith Map"  (before we even had names for these things)!!  But that's not the point of today's post... Last week Taylor decided to invite others into a project he has been doing over the past handful of years (See video below).

With this short video he began to ignite the flames for others among a new generation!!  So with the challenge accepted two of our guys D-Groups from NBHighSchool took over South Tulsa invading grocery stores, gas stations and fast food restaurants delivering Valentine's to ladies working.  
They used their own money and purchased cards, candy and even roses to hand deliver and share a little of Christ's love!!  The stories are amazing and smiles, tears and hugs they received will live on for a long time.

I wish we had video but getting them to smile and take the picture was already a big ask!!

For me, this is the sweet spot of my job... Not every teenager or young adult is consumed with self or even walking around entitled.  Not that Taylor is perfect but he is following the example he saw in Scripture and through the support of his family and church he continues to change the world (literally)!!  To see old youth set the stage for new ones is so exciting to me!!  To know that many of the students pictured above have committed parents that are not only ready but are already engaged in the "Faith Map" with their teens, is why the future of New Beginnings and NBHighSchool is so exciting.  

However, the journey ahead isn't going to always be easy... We are going to have to work together (in prayer, service and support) to do what we have all been called to do: "to Love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength...and our neighbor as ourselves" (Matthew 22:37-39)!!

What can you do TODAY to make someone's life better!? 

Below is the video Taylor and a friend did his very first year of doing the FFVD (Fast Food Valentine's Day)... Please check it out (at least watch the last 30 seconds)!!

*Want to hear more about Taylor's ministry... Click on this link: Reach Ministries
**If you just love seeing smiling faces... Here's the 2011 video and this years (2013 video)!!