Day 2 was off to a great start with a session led by Andy Stanley. He talked about the characteristics of leaders. The media classes were really cool. Used some of the stuff I learned to finish the video for Sunday morning. Yes, this Sunday morning while I’m here in Atlanta. Edited it over night and sent it via the internet to the sanctuary PC! Pretty cool. Shane & Shane had music that was “raw” for the late night session. I checked my vocabulary (raw) with the 24 year old accompanying me on the trip to make sure I used it right. I know there weren’t “big name” bands, but the House Band was pretty good. The lead male vocalist is awesome, lots of passion.

Francis Chan was really good. He forced me to look carefully at myself. What would God say about me? What are my lies? It was pretty in your face, but that’s good from time to time, right? On the website usually you get the best side of my life. All of the good things. I often wonder how to make it more real, without airing my dirty laundry. Here goes.

So here it is; pride, anger, lust, envy, greed, gluttony, and sloth are constant struggles throughout my day. Sometimes one will be much more difficult than the others. It is a cycle of ups and downs. I wished I could say I was at constant peace in my faith, family, career, etc. But I’m not. I need your prayers to walk on this planet. I need God’s help and direction – constantly. I’m embarrassed to think just how much I actually need His help, but it’s a lot. There, I said it. I’m not perfect (you all ready knew that). But now you know that I know I’m not perfect. I try, I care, but I’m just not the most righteous person on the planet. Dear God, please help me. Help those reading this to understand the need to be honest with their self before God. I pray that I can feel your presence as I take hard looks at the person I am. The man that isn’t Godly. The man that tries, but fails, but doesn’t stop trying. Amen.

The day started with a little excitement at the airport in DTW. Excitement isn’t exactly the word. I guess the FAA computers had a “glitch” that caused all of the day’s flight plans to be cancelled and they had to be re-filed. Terror Alert Levels were raised. The impact to our day was a delay of about an hour – it could have been worse.

I’m getting to know Kevin better. He is passionate for the youth, looking for ways to lead them to Christ. Beyond that, he wants to be a part of the journey of helping kids of faith, become stronger in that faith. Since I’ve been on staff at the church I’ve been holding to the motto of, “connecting people to Christ, and strengthening that connection.” Kevin seems like a great fit.

Dear God, I pray for our trip this week. I pray that Kevin learns techniques for teaching that will make him even more effective. I pray that I will grasp an understanding of the technology that will make it so clear that You had Your hand in my life. Thank You for giving those who work for and around the church the ability to use technology to glorify You.

Here are a couple of pix. We were also able to get the first part of the Sunday morning video shoot done at the airport.

I love putting Sara to bed at night. We always say a prayer together. Sometimes she leads, sometimes I do. Sometimes it is the more ritualistic Lord’s Prayer. I always keep it a surprise for her what is going to happen.

Tonight was special, though.

It was her turn to pray and she did a particularly good job. We’ve been trying to get her to elaborate more on her thoughts in prayer – graduating from 1st grade prayer to 5th grade prayer is how I put it. So she was doing surprisingly well, going past 1st grade and making it to 5th grade. And at the end she says, “God, I pray that Natalie’s sister’s dog and Dawn’s (her aunt’s) dog have a good time breeding in the garage tomorrow. Amen.” Are you kidding! That about made me laugh all the way down the stairs!

Apparently we have a breeding opportunity and our home is the “place” to be and I had no idea. But Sara’s innocence was so precious….

And then Sara confesses that she’s been crying about the passing of Grandpa Phil recently. She says she drew a picture to deal with the crying and it was a picture of a sunny day with blue skies and Grandpa and her are holding hands.

Dear God, thank You so much for this brightness at the end of the day. Thank You so much for allowing my marriage, though challenging at times, to allow for moments like these that allow me to be such an important part of Sara’s childhood. Thank You, God. Thank You for my marriage. Thank You for my children. Please help me. Amen.

All right, so Kevin Olrich is always picking on me about russhickey.com and how he enjoys reading it. So I thought, if you actually read this, leave a comment or send me a quick email. Even if it is something simple like, “i read it.” You means ANYONE – ARE YOU OUT THERE?

Hoever, this especially applies to Kevin Olrich! God bless, good night. Amen.

Nov 152009

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I remember when the internet computer lab was introduced at Southwestern Michigan College in Dowagiac, MI, in about the fall of 1993. There was a computer lab at CHS by the end of 1992 but it was primarily word processing in nature.

I remember espn.com and cnn.com and yahoo.com and netscape.com when they were first starting out. I remember the cool pop-up features that windows came out with that allowed pc to talk to pc. I remember the computer labs at MSU in 1996/97 and how quickly they were evolving.

And then the history evolves so fast I could bore you beyond understanding….

What’s my point? I came on at FBC at a time when I thought I could update their website and make it cool and more of a communication tool. Quickly after I came on board it became a Google response (less is more, go to the google webpage to get my drift). I just wanted to get the facts out quick because I all of a sudden was responding to blogs, Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, etc. As I type this, I haven’t logged in to FBC myspace in nearly a year! Amazing how the demand changes.

And I’m just starting to figure out Twitter and Facebook… I’m going to keep fighting. I won’t quit. I’m 34. But, I can understand the overwhelming feeling that my father and some of the others in the generation I’d call my elder when they just laughed as it passed them by. If you can’t keep up, you might as well laugh. I hope I remember this post when I’m at some XX age in the future.

Nov 092009

Brooklyn, MI – Becca Schott finished her freshman cross country season for Coldwater with a 56th place finish in a time of 20:07.3. Schott was the 13th freshman in her race. It was a sunny and gusty day at Michigan International Speedway with steady wind above 20mph. Schott remarked, “I could feel the adrenaline the whole way! It was a lot of fun being on the starting line with 250 runners. I’m excited to get back here again and reach some new goals next year.” Schott earned All-Division, All-Conference, and All-Region honors this year. Coach Hickey said, “I was very impressed at the number of athletes and their families and friends that made the trip to MIS to support Becca.”

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I would like to thank our new Youth Pastor for “mutilating” me. I told him I was considering etching C-H-S in to my head in honor of freshman Becca Schott’s earning the right to compete at the state meet. He said, “I can do that.” And he was all giggles like he couldn’t wait to put his mark on me. But I figured what the heck.

I’d like to say that prayer, prudence, and training went into this event. But shamefully, no. I was on a conference call in my office when Kevin stuck his head in with the clippers in hand. Then I went to his office and he had a chair (I felt like it was the electric chair) all set up and ready. He forced the apron over me and said, “relax. Mu-ha-ha-haaaa.” He calls down the hall loudly to Pastor Pierce, “we’re ready….”

Pastor shows up with the camera (laughing a little too loud) and starts clicking. He says, “Oh, I can’t wait to show this team building exercise to the congregation.”

I’m embellishing a bit of course. But it was a fun time and I’m glad everything went exactly as it did. The kids got to see my care and commitment for their effort. My co-workers got to see that, too. And EVERYONE got to see my reseeding hairline and baldspot. I’ve had better Fridays, but this one was definitely different. Thank you, God???

Galatians Study

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Nov 032009

At our staff meeting today at the church we discussed Galatians 2:20. I wanted to spend a little time on this verse so I went through the first two chapters of Galatians. Check it out and spend a little time in discussion with a close friend or with a study group. Get in the Word. These chapters are powerful and full of challenge and conviction.

Dear God, thank you for the feelings that come over me after spending time in Your word. Feelings that though I’m not always able to understand fully, I understand better today then yesterday. Please continue to direct me on the path. You are IN ME. Help me to find Your will and I pray that my actions are pleasing to You. Amen.

Nov 022009

I quit the Boy Scouts when I was very close to earning the rank of Eagle Scout. Looking back at that decision over the years I can honestly say it was one of the poorest decisions I’ve ever made. The reasons for quitting just weren’t strong enough to justify the decision. I understand there are some good reasons to quit things in your life – and that’s a personal journey. But for me I’ve since learned that quitting after making a commitment rarely results in the satisfaction or relief I think it will. By the way, I’m comparing quitting in the middle of something (an uncompleted project) as opposed to quitting after finishing something (like a term on a board coming to an end).

Lance Armstrong and Peter La Fleur from the movie Dodgeball had a dialogue that showed the different ends of the ‘quitting’ spectrum. And perhaps the long term consequences. Quite a transition in movie reviews from Rocky IV to Dodgeball!

Lance Armstrong: Could I get a bottle of water. – - Hey, aren’t you Peter La Fleur?
Peter La Fleur: Lance Armstrong!
Lance Armstrong: Yeah, that’s me. But I’m a big fan of yours.
Peter La Fleur: Really?
Lance Armstrong: Yeah, I’ve been watching the dodgeball tournament on the Ocho. ESPN 8. I just can’t get enough of it. But, good luck in the tournament. I’m really pulling for you against those jerks from Globo Gym. I think you better hurry up or you’re gonna be late.
Peter La Fleur: Uh, actually I decided to quit… Lance.
Lance Armstrong: Quit? You know, once I was thinking about quitting when I was diagnosed with brain, lung and testicular cancer, all at the same time. But with the love and support of my friends and family, I got back on the bike and I won the Tour de France five times in a row. But I’m sure you have a good reason to quit. So what are you dying from that’s keeping you from the finals?
Peter La Fleur: Right now it feels a little bit like… shame.
Lance Armstrong: Well, I guess if a person never quit when the going got tough, they wouldn’t have anything to regret for the rest of their life. But good luck to you Peter. I’m sure this decision won’t haunt you forever.

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