Google Doesn’t Have All The Answers

Ever since my wife and I moved to Northglenn from Loveland, we have struggled to find a church.  There are many Lutheran churches in our area, however the ones we were finding (via Google) were not of the same denomination that we both had grown up with.  We stepped outside of our comfort area to explore what results Google showed us.  Service after service, we were excited to be in the Lord’s house, but it didn’t feel like it was where we belonged.  We had exhausted our Google search results, so the only thing we felt that was left was to put it in God’s hands and wait for him to show us where he wanted us to worship him.

While out driving on a weekend, we drove by St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church.  The church was not more than 7 or 8 miles from our house, however wasn’t included in our Google results.  After returning home, we searched the web trying to find the denomination of the congregation and was surprised to find it was ELCA, exactly what we were looking for.  We had no choice but to attend a service the next day and see if maybe this church was where we feel comfortable praising God every week.  After arriving 10-15 minutes at other churches and being the first ones there, we decided to show up about 5 minutes early.  As we entered the parking lot, there was a pleasant amount of cars, which assured that there was a service soon to start.

As we found our way to a pew, it didn’t take more than a few seconds to notice that we were the youngest people in the congregation.  The next youngest couple attending the service appeared to be in their early 50’s.  I will be the first to admit that I got worried very quickly that this church was not going to be for us.  As the worship continued, it reminded both of us of the traditional services we attended growing up in the Midwest.  As we walked to our car after the service, we glanced at each with a smile.  We feel like God has answered our prayer and shown us where we are to worship him.

Update: After attending three services, we are still very happy with the congregation and the members.  Everybody has been very welcoming and we look forward to the single service next week, which will combine their traditional service and their contemporary service.

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Motivation Starts From Within

“Great moments are born from great opportunity.
And that’s what you have here tonight, boys.
That’s what you’ve earned here, tonight.
One game.
If we played ‘em ten times, they might win nine.
But not this game. Not tonight. Tonight, we skate with ‘em.
Tonight, we stay with ‘em, and we shut them down because we can!

Tonight, we are the greatest hockey team in the world.
You were born to be hockey players — every one of ya.
And you were meant to be here tonight.
This is your time.
Their time — is done. It’s over.
I’m sick and tired of hearin’ about what a great hockey team the Soviets have.
Screw ‘em!
This is your time!!

Now go out there and take it!”

~Herb Brooks, 1980’s US Olympic Hockey Coach

As I write my first blog post, I remind myself of my favorite inspirational quote.  I will admit that the movie, Miracle, educated me about this great feat in American sports history, however this movie is a great example by how I feel we should live our lives.  In this world, people expect us to fail and I believe people find a sense of relief to see others fail.  Growing up I had an incredible support group of family and friends that wanted to see me succeed and I’m very thankful for that.  Of course my parents were my biggest supporters, but also were the first people to inform me of when I screwed up.  I grew up trying as hard as I could to succeed at whatever task was in front of me: doing my best at sports practice, getting good grades, or living my life as a human here on earth.

I remember hearing many times growing up that “the real world is tough and not easy.”  Growing up with the support staff I had, I had a hard time thinking what the comment meant.  Was the only people who were going to like me end up being the support  staff that I already knew? I often pondered over why the world could not be as encouraging as my support staff was, whether they were a close friend or complete stranger.  Why are new’s stories more often about people screwing up?  Our society is more focused on seeing everyone else fail, rather than reaching a hand out and helping someone in need.

I am moved by the minority of people who I meet, know, or hear of that are embracing the complete opposite.  Less worried about themselves, they wake up everyday to better the world.  I challenge you, as I challenge myself every morning, to reach out and help someone in need or make a difference.  This doesn’t mean giving away your life savings or any money at all.  A courteous hi or hello to someone who might not be expecting it is a simple gesture that can better this world.  I can’t force motivation on you though, you must discover from within what is important to you.

Are You Sick Of The “What If” Game?

This evening I had a conversation with a good friend about some changes that he is making in his life and it reminded me of a phrase that I find myself asking less, but it still happens…”What If?”  What if I would have done something differently? What if I would have done something instead of nothing at all?  Growing up I found myself asking this question quite often as I grew up very conservative, not wanting to screw up or more commonly, disappointing my parents.  As I have grown older I still find myself striving to be good enough for my parents, my friends, & my bosses.  The reason for my bosses is an easy one to answer as I hope to stay employed to make ends meet financially. But why my friends and family?

Family and true friends should love/like me for who I am, not deciding by what accomplishments I’ve achieved or looking at the times where I might have not done the right thing.  You could argue that these are the things that make us who we are, but these individual events don’t summarize our lives entirely.   Achievements, good-doings and also unsuccessful attempts or failures are learning opportunities for personal growth.  If we don’t take chances or do things we normally wouldn’t, we remain in a stalemate.  But by asking a girl out, volunteering your time, or doing a task you normally would shy away from, we grow.  The result might not be what you anticipated or wanted, but that event helps mold us.  Rather than being worried about our expectations not being met or what others will think of us, I challenge you to jump or leap or dive! I believe that there is a reason you were brought to this point in your life…take a chance and learn from it…or keep asking yourself, What If?