Week 2

Hey everybody, 

So you’re catching me at the end of a pretty crappy week. The scale seems to be laughing at me right now as it tells me that I’ve only lost 1 pound this week, but I’m actually feeling lucky that I lost that much. I went off the wagon twice this week. I’m not going to use stressful circumstances as an excuse, so I’m looking forward now to righting the ship this week. 

Things I learned in week 2:

1. Exercise is awesome. I managed to get several quality walks in this week, and each one lifted my spirits, cleared my head, and helped me to focus in on my goals for a while. They just need to happen more frequently now. This week, I am going to start in on the workout plans that my bro Justin A. has been sending my way. Really excited!

2. Having healthy ready-to-eat food options at hand throughout the day is going to be important for me. I’ve found a handful of healthy meal recipes that I’m really enjoying, but they all require some time to prepare. Both of my failures this week came when I was over-hungry, tired, and not up to cooking at all. Sooooo, keeping some easier options around may have prevented some dietary mishaps.

Anyways, I’m hopeful about week 3 and ready to get after it!


OKC 2011 pics

Here are a few pics from our first 3 days!

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OKC 2011

Hey there everyone,

We are now 3 days into Oklahoma City Servant Leadership 2011 and have just completed our first day on the work site and I think it’s high time for an update!!

I will post a bunch of pictures in a seperate post after this one, and I’m sure that you will get the chance to hear the nitty gritty about the trip from one of our students or leaders soon, so I am just going to spew forth some high points and observations from the trip so far.

– Amazing group of students and leaders. The sense of purpose and the desire to serve and grow with this group is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before with high school students. All of you parents and loved ones have a lot to be proud of!

– One of our vans smells like shrimp. Thanks Know Sweat crew 😉

– Spending our first night in Joplin was an eye opener. We booked our hotel arrangements months ago, before the tornado, and after seeing some of the devestation in person, I’m simply amazed that the death toll wasn’t significantly higher.

– Amidst that devestation, it’s impossible to avoid the signs of hope in Joplin. Speaking with people in our hotel and at the restaurant, nearly every person told a story of God’s Grace and a community that has banded together to get through it all. One billboard entering town said it best. It said, “No tornado can destory our love for each other”.

– Our group did a great job on our first day at the Tapestry project. Cleaning rehabbed apartments that will soon be occupied by people in need, mowing lawns, going door to door to invite children to summer camp, teaching a lesson on Daniel and the Lions Den to about 20 neighborhood children, preparing and serving lunch, and having an epic waterballoon fight were all among the days activities. The kids went after their work with enthusiasm and excitement.

– 103 degrees is unbelievably hot! Wow!!!

– This is just the beginning. Tapestry tells us to expect as many as 50 children to show up for day camp now that the word is out and there are lawns to be mowed, apartments to be painted, and weeds to be whacked. Can’t wait!!

Please continue to pray for our group. Pray that God will continue to stir in our hearts and use us for his good work.



So we have been back home from NYC Servant leadership for two days now, but my mind has yet to arrive home. It’s still stuck in new York, scrambling and trying to process all that went on and the impact that the trip had on me and hopefully on the students as well.  After two days like that,  I’m left with a few solid impressions that I’d like to share.

– I’m incredibly proud of our students. Not just because they completed the tasks that were assigned to them, but because they attacked them with gusto, because they went above and beyond and sought out places to help where they weren’t asked to, and because they were constantly looking to break out of their comfort zones in a culture that was foreign to them.

– NYC pizza is overrated. I’ll take a pie from Lou Malnati’s over that any day.

– One concept that really stepped forward in my mind this week, and I’m hoping really resonated with the students, was the concept of accountability and mentoring. Tim Homa delivered a fantastic message on Thursday night about having a “Paul” in our lives to speak truth to us and how essential that is in our personal spiritual growth. So, I’m praying now that all 21 students who were along with us either have, or are praying for, a Godly adult to come alongside of them and say the hard things that need to be said to help them grow (and also praying for those Godly adults in our congregation to hear the call to step up and fill that role).

– Anyone who hasn’t seen this yet needs to: (This is an original song performed by members of the Youth ministry that we worked with at points during the trip)

– I am posting pictures like mad over at the Parkview Student Ministries Facebook page, so stop on over and peruse!


Blessings and Bacon!


Hey everybody. Wow, Quite a bit happening out in NYC. Thought I’d give you guys a speedy update before anyone gets the wrong Idea (Mr. Perkinson ;)…..

So, how to sum up the last few days…..service, worship, Times Square, Ground zero, Staten Island Ferry, disappointingly small statue of liberty, St. Paul’s Cathedral, loads of awesome NYC food, Ray’s Pizza, torrential downpour, conveniently located poncho salesman, and what may have been the first ever game of ninja on an NYC subway.

So we’ve got three work days in, and have now gotten two days in at our respective locations. Team 1 (Or team ninjaunicorn) has been serving at Freedom Chapel and it’s accompanying thriftsore which helps to fund one of the most successful addication rehabilitation programs in the country, the Long Island Teen Challenge. The work there has consisted mostly of cleaning, sorting, and basement trench filling. One of the coolest things about this location is that the majority of the staff members of the church and thrift store (including the senior pastor) are recovered substance addicts who chose to stay and follow God’s leading to minster to others who are trapped in the same cycle they once were.

Team 2 has been serving at Christ Tabernacle Church in Brooklyn. I can’t speak as much on this site because I’ve been leading team 1, but Chase has told me that they are partnering with the church on a number of projects and that the students are having a blast and working their tails off.

Well, I’m about to drop. We’ve got a busy day tomorrow before our drive home, so please be praying that our attitudes stay positive and that God will keep us safe and use our efforts for the greatest possible good.


A picture’s worth a thousand…..

So, we had a good but exhausting day today, so I’m just going to leave you all with some random pics from our first couple days and then I will try to update tomorrow on the goings on.



A walk in the park….

So the phrase “a walk in the park” usually refers to an easy task to complete. Well, that carries a bit of irony for us after our first work day in New York. We spent the better part of our day working in Flushing Meadow Park on a beautification project and I can assure you that it was not quite all that easy 😉

After a hearty breakfast and some teaching on humility from a youth pastor named Brian Boom, we made our way across the Tappan Zee Bridge and through some authentic NYC traffic. Once we finally reached our destination we were given rakes and garbage bags and spent the better part of our morning cleaning up garbage, leaves, and other detritis along a road side within the park.

Then, after popeyes chicken in the Flushing Meadow art museum, we got back to work. This time it was with pointy sticks and more black garbage bags to clean trash from another section of the park. At the end of the work day we climbed into our vans basking in the knowledge that we had  shed some serious sweat to help others.

We then closed out the evening with a little team building time at an incredible mall, complete with temporary tattoos and rides on a ferris wheel (Why don’t Illinois’ malls have those?) and with a much needed lesson on the rules and regulations of the game “Ninja” from our very own Courtney Hoekstra.

Now it’s off to bed to recharge for day 4!

Numbers 12

Miriam and Aaron Oppose Moses

1 Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses because of his Cushite wife, for he had married a Cushite. 2 “Has the LORD spoken only through Moses?” they asked. “Hasn’t he also spoken through us?” And the LORD heard this.

3 (Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.)

4 At once the LORD said to Moses, Aaron and Miriam, “Come out to the Tent of Meeting, all three of you.” So the three of them came out. 5 Then the LORD came down in a pillar of cloud; he stood at the entrance to the Tent and summoned Aaron and Miriam. When both of them stepped forward, 6 he said, “Listen to my words:
“When a prophet of the LORD is among you,
I reveal myself to him in visions,
I speak to him in dreams.

7 But this is not true of my servant Moses;
he is faithful in all my house.

8 With him I speak face to face,
clearly and not in riddles;
he sees the form of the LORD.
Why then were you not afraid
to speak against my servant Moses?”