Tuesday, September 30, 2008
I recently went to Portland for the NW Youth Ministry Seminar. It’s an event that truly blesses me every year. To make this year better, I was fortunate enough to bring my family with me!
So after all our fun and time away, we set off to travel back to Medford. I remember a time, many moons ago, that I could drive myself and make it in between 4-41/2 hrs. Then I got older and slower and it was a definite 4 ½ hrs. Then I had kids… With the entire Pannell clan on board, we’re looking at 6hrs or so! So after being in a car much of the day, the kids were getting restless. “Are we there yet” was getting more prevalent, and then Haddie started crying! It was her time to eat! Despite being only some 40 minutes away, we knew it was time to stop.
We pulled over at the Hugo exit. If you know it, you’ll know there is very little there. It is “nowhereville So we stopped the van, let the older kids out to stretch and gave Haddie to Mom to eat. The sun went down and it got quite dark. After 25 minutes or so, we loaded back up and were ready to go. There was one major problem: THE VAN WOULD NOT START! There was no power when I turned that key! There had been nothing wrong and no indications, but here we were, close but so far away from home, in the dark night, with crying kids. Not the most fun place to be.
After determining I could not fix anything (which took all of 2 seconds :)), I called the Ford Roadside Assistance number in my owner’s manual. It was quite an ordeal. Some sweet girl sitting in a plush office, probably in Detroit or New York, was trying to help by getting my location for a tow truck. I wish I could have recorded the conversation. She was asking “Can you give me any cross streets.” “What about landmarks?” “Are there any businesses around?” Can you see any addresses?” I was trying to be patient. “Ma’am”…I said, trying not to be frustrated “you don’t understand where I am. There are no streets, businesses or addresses. There are trees, gravel and an interstate nearby”. She did not get it. She HAD to be sure of my location but I could not describe it. She was using technology to try and find me, but I could not tell her where I was to her satisfaction.
I pray that we never feel that way about our position in Jesus Christ. It is crucial as a foundation of Christian life, for us to see what has been completed for us in Jesus. From the Ephesians passage quoted above, I hope we see we’re embraced within that wonderful phrase ‘the riches of God’s grace.’ Once we have been saved by the blood of Christ and washed clean in His baptism, we BELONG TO JESUS! We were lost, but we have been found! We can be totally sure of our position, and can tell anyone where we are! We are safe and secure in the arms of our Father!
Brothers and sisters, are you sure of your place in Jesus Christ? All that we do is in him. We pray in his name, eat in his name, and breathe in his name. When you feel lost, you have HIS roadside assistance and assurance :). You never have to wonder where you are. You never have to struggle to figure out your location. There is peace, assurance and confidence in our lord Jesus Christ.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Wild Sweet Orange is a great band! Buy this album! The lyrics will cut to the soul
It's back!!!! (Thank God for Tivo though, I fell asleep last night before watching it!)
Pretty fun little rental
Ed Hochuli...my best new buddy
Martin Grammatica (now a Saint)..my other best new buddy
Monday, September 22, 2008
Last Sunday (2 Sundays ago) was a wonderful day. The sun came out and gave us unseasonal warmth, too warm actually (in the mid 90's) so the kids and I played outside after church. We set up their new play tent, aka "Girl's Clubhouse". Merrick loves it! Check that out:
The rest of the week was HOT! And it was busy. We had school schedules, work, meetings, meetings and more meetings! But it was good, and we made it to this weekend. We had a HUGE garage sale Fri. and Sat. to purge our home and family of the almost sinful excess we have. It was a hit and we are gonna use profits on good uses!
The highlight of that was Jude's 1st lemonade stand. He did all the work, made signs, poured drinks, moved his table etc.......His goal: enough to buy a Jaguar Power Ranger....and yes, the boy succeeded!!!!!
The lowlight was Merrick's accident! While playing in her room I heard a noise, a grunt and then a terrible painful scream. I ran in and found her laying with her face in a pool of blood! It was EVERYWHERE! Scared Daddy to death as we couldnt find where the source was......anyway.......long story short.....she jacked her tooth up. It is all crooked now with a gap, and bruised gums. We'll see if it dies! :(
Then Sunday, my busiest day, was fun. I got to be a single dad. I bought my wife a much deserved "mom's day out" to Portland for a show with my sister! So I had all my work duties AND all 3 kids on my own! We pulled it off, even hosting 24 teens at our house Sunday night for a youth bbq and devo!
What a week!
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
My little girl Merrick has now also started school. It is only a 3 hour, 2 days a week pre-school, run by my wife's best friend, at our church, downstairs from my office….but it is still school and a BIG milestone. Merrick was made for this. She was born a social butterfly. She makes friends anywhere she goes. She is going to be the life of the party for the rest of her life. Just yesterday I was changing her diapers, now I am watching her play piano and make up songs, give dance recitals, and take care of her baby dolls. And now…she is my little pre-schooler J. She is my baby with a smile that melts ice caps. I am so proud of who she is. She is a lover and snuggler. She is so hospitable even at 3. She is fun and funny. She brings SUCH energy and joy into my world. So Merrick…..have fun. Make friends. Be good. And know your daddy thinks the world of you my dear!
I believe the light that shines on you
Will shine on you forever
And though I can't guarantee
There's nothing scary hiding under your bed
I’m gonna stand guard
Like a postcard of a Golden Retriever
And never leave till I leave you
With a sweet dream in your head
I'm gonna watch you shine
Gonna watch you grow
Gonna paint a sign
So you'll always know
As long as one and one is two
There could never be a father
Who loved his daughter more than I love you
"Father and Daughter"- Paul Siomn
Monday, September 15, 2008
Friday, September 12, 2008
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Who will EVER forget that day? It is as vivid as if it were an hour ago. I have intentionally avoided all the media and TV shows, pictures etc each year on this day. I was not ready to see it again. Why re-live such a moment? Today I decided it was time to see again. It was time to remember.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
As God has loved and blessed us, so should we to others! Jesus said first love the Lord God with all your heart then love your neighbor. What a joy to live this way! It's not a chore or a duty, but it's realizing God loved and forgave us, so that we might love and forgive others, and that we may bless others too. You just can't separate people and God. You cannot practice your faith from the sidelines. Your actions to people are also actions to God. Jesus said "whatever you've done for the least of these, you've done for me"(Matthew 25:40)
Recently someone at our church loved and blessed my family very much. It was a total mystery and surprise. You know who you are. You have NO clue what you did to help us, and how God used you to once again show His provision for His children. We thank you SO much. You showed God to us!
I pray we can all live lives that bless those around us. This includes EVERYONE we come into contact with. The only way that we can effectively walk in love is realizing that our life is no longer ours or led by our desires, but it's for God! My life is not my own. Bless a soul today. Love God by loving someone in this world.
Man what a morning of mixed emotions. Our first born, and only son started school. Kindergarten kicked in for the Oak Grove Rams today. I never thought this day would actually come. How quickly 5 years has flown by! Just yesterday it seems I was holding him in my arms over his crib singing our “Night Night” song. Today he walked into a big scary school building with total confidence. I am so proud of my children. Jude is a precious boy. He is quite smart. He is very kind to younger kids and gentle with them. He LOVES God is quite the little theologian. He is a football fanatic, verging on nerd ! He is so funny. He is a deep thinker. He is a snuggler. He cares about people’s feelings. He is a thinker. He is my boy.
I struggle with the fact that they grow up. In one hand it is exciting, knowing the new adventures that lie before him. On the other hand, those adventures will bring challenges. He will meet his first bully. He will have his heart broken. Someone will make fun of him. It pains me to accept this. Other people will now have HUGE influences on his life and mind. Arghhh……..yet, I know that he will be fine. He belongs to the almighty God, and Jude is in His hands.
I love you son…..you are a HUGE blessing to me. May you be to Oak Grove Elementary as well.
Out on the ocean sailing away,
I can hardly wait,
To see you to come of age,
But I guess we'll both,
Just have to be patient,
Yes it's a long way to go,
But in the meantime,
Before you cross the street,
Take my hand,
Life is just what happens to you,
While your busy making other plans,
- John Lennon (Jude added by me!)
Saturday, September 6, 2008
Last night, several fellas from church and our sons had a father/son campout up at my buddy Mark's property. It was SO awesome. Jude had been talking about for over a week. He was pumped. The thought of games, cooking over a fire, throwing apples at cows, and NO GORLS had him elated! J It was NO disappointment. What a special night. We played capture the flag with Nerf dart guns. We threw apples at cows (you really should try it). We played football and badminton. We cooked turkey dogs and smores. We told stories by the fire. And we just loved our sons! I am so grateful to have a boy, and so grateful to have friends along with me on this journey. These are the moments that I pray God never takes from my memory! Here are some pics from the evening:
going out for a deep ball
a motley crew
Danger is my middle name
guarding their teams' flag
bedtime with best friends
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
What a great year it was at Yamhill. Tired and weary from the summer, I left for the trip not really wanting to go. What a mistake that would have been! It was a wonderful weekend. The speakers were incredible. Jeff, my friend was his usual amazing story telling, convicting, God's truth, bold speaking self. Chris Goldman may just have more huevos J than any preacher I have ever heard! He was BOLD, funny and convicting! Together they made a great duo. The praise team this year……..WOW!!!!!!!!! Man they were back! I think we got a glimpse of singing with the angels in the throne room of God! It is a joy to hear 400 teens singing their hearts out, hands lifted to the sky, eyes close, madly in love with their God. I get to see sides of my kids that are hidden at home. The breakout classes were fantastic too. Every one there took a Spiritual Gifts test. I do not think many of them had ever done that and it was a joy to watch them light up and realize God had gifted them and just what they could do with that! My favorite time of the weekend was when we broke into our own group. This 40 minutes together meant the world to me. We cried, laughed, cried more, prayed etc……I think some true healing began and some great plans were laid. So…….if you ever get the chance to go to Faith Quest, I strongly recommend that you do. There is a freedom to worship and serve there you most likely will not find in your church. It is a special place.