Saturday, August 18, 2007

Currently Reading
Living Insights Study Bible
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Jasper Speaks:

So, life is hectic and that is why I have not updated much. No sign of it slowing (it is only going to get busier) so we will see how much I can keep up with everyone. Teacher week was okay. I was only required to be there Monday-Wednesday but ended up there Thursday and Friday as well. I think my room is ready to go (thanks to Jon, Kevin and Michele for helping with the hard parts!). I am a little stressed because there is so much more teacher accountability here. Some things about the View weren't so bad. The entire time I taught there I was only evaluated three times and never for more that five minutes. You could do your own thing a lot there. Here I will have to be more accountable and I guess that is good. You all know how much I LOVE being int he classroom but I know this is where God would have me for such a time as this.

I went to a funeral today. It is my third of the summer. All three were for young people. The oldest was 52. Today was the funeral of a friend from church Lashon Rhodes. She was thirty-three. Last Friday she got out of her car and started into her building to work and collapsed and died. We still don't know why. I didn't know her all that well and today's funeral made me really regret that. The stories that were told about her were beautiful. She was such a vibrant, Christlike person. She was a lawyer who was working as a probation officer in the city. Her friends and co-workers spoke of the joy that she ALWAYS displayed. What I remember most about her was that she always was smiling. Hers was a big, beautiful smile that really did make you feel better.

The funeral hit me in a couple of odd ways. They showed a slide show of her life in the beginning and I almost started crying immediately. I had only known her for about a year but "watching" her grow up before my eyes, brought me to a low point. Her youth was so evident. Her best friends sang "In The Garden". This has never been my favorite hymn by far but these ladies sang it so beautifully. Again, I was moved to tears.

Several people shared stories of her and the common theme was that she displayed "something special". I know that was Christ in her life. The hardest part for me was the final viewing. Jeff and I were sitting very close to the family. After the congregation had gone past the casket, the family went pew by pew until finally her parents stepped forward. Lashon was not married and moved back to St. Louis a few years ago and was living with her mom and dad. This is the first funeral of its kind I have gone to as a parent. My heart was breaking watching them say goodbye to their daughter. Final caresses of hair and straightening of her clothing and tear filled goodbye kisses reached into my parent heart and I hurt so much for them. When her father sat, he shook sobbing in grief.

One thing that I took away from the funeral however, was the certainty that Lashon had displayed Christ in an authentic and vital way. There were so many people there whose lives she had touched. When Pastor was speaking he highlighted that Lashon was the same age as Christ when He died. Pastor said that it is hard to think about such a young life being cut short, however, in thirty-three years Christ changed the world. He reminded us that in thirty-three years Lashon had changed many lives. He read to us from her Bible. He spoke from the highlighted sections that mapped out her relationship with Christ. As He read these words of Life, many shed tears but found hope in the same God that Lashon had lived for.

The whole day makes me sit in reflection of my own faith. Do the people around me who don't know Christ still see Him in me? Am I living an authentic faith that makes people sense there is something "special" about me? Will a Pastor stand over my casket one day and proclaim that God used me to change lives? I don't know that I have ever left a funeral with such a sense of challenge to live out my faith in a more real nature. Jesus loved me and lives in me and others need to know that not only from my position in the church and the words of my mouth, but in the joy I radiate that springs from a heat that is redeemed. God taught me that through Lashon today.

Although it seems rather petty in comparison, the deal we had on the house doesn't look like it will work out. The seller is being a pretty big nuisance as we are backing out of the contract. I think it will all turn out okay but God continued to close doors on this purchase and so, we think He is telling us to just walk away. We will know for sure in a week if there will be any repercussions to our decision on the part of the home owner and the lawyer he keeps talking about. Our people seem confident that we are VERY sure that the market is so bad in this area that this is NOT the time to buy. We are good with that. We were just waiting on resolution to our housing life and God gave it to us.

There are other factors contributing to my crazy life at the moment and some of you have been praying for me about them. It seems God may be narrowing His work and leading us to make a strong decision soon. Please pray for us as we continue to seek Him. I pray that in all I do that I, like Lashon, will radiate Christ wherever I go.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Jasper Speaks:

So, one of the skits Kerusso does is about a young girl who is fighting the things of the world and trying all these things to fill the empty space that is within her. This is the empty space in all of us that only Jesus can fill. We always follow this skit (appropriately called EMPTY) with a movement to the son "Total Eclipse of the Heart". Where the skit is all original the movement is one that has been around in various forms in youth ministry for years. Tonight I found an updated version of that movement I would like to use next time. It is using the song "Everything" by Lifehouse and I thought I would post it here for you to see:

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Jasper Speaks:

I haven't had much blogging time as life is CRAZY right now. The house looks like a go but again, until I am sitting in it, I will be skeptical. I go back tomorrow to start new teacher training. I REALLY don't want to teach again. I do, however, want to eat and have a place to live so here I go. Below is a survey that Tracy sent me a couple of weeks ago. I finally filled it out so here it is. You should send me your version.

Tired of all of those surveys made up by high school kids?
'Have you ever kissed someone?'
'Missed someone?'
'Told someone you loved them?'
'Drank alcohol?'...

Here are 50 questions for the people who are a little more mature~

1. What bill do you hate paying the most? It used to be cabel but now wejust steal it. CCCS becuase it seems to never go away.

2. Where was the last place you had a romantic dinner?
Gianino's. We actually had a date night thanks to Samantha Bozarth

4. If you could go back and change one thing what would it be?
These shoes. They hurt.

5. Name of your first grade teacher.
Ms. Kowlanowski (Why make first grafers tackle sucha name!)

6. What do you really want to be doing right now?
Watching a movie in a movie theater.

7. What did you want to be when you were growing up?
An artist but I can't draw. Then an actor but that didn't work out either.

8. How many colleges did you attend? Three for undergraduate stuff (although MOBAP REALLY wins the longevitiy title) and one for grad studies.

9. Why did you choose the shirt that you have on right now?
because I have to be Jeff today at church so I had to dress up.

10. What are your thoughts on gas prices?
they are getting better but GEEZ it is sad when 2.41 a gallon is "better"

11. If you could move anywhere and take someone with you?
Today, our new house with my wife and kid and no Ben Mosesely on the couch!

12. First thought when the alarm went off this morning?
I cansleep unitl seven and still make it on time (and I did)

13. Last thought before going to sleep last night?
Lord give me wisdom

14. Favorite style of underwear?
Boxer briefs

16. What errand/chore do you despise?

17. If you didn't have to work, would you volunteer?
Yes. Can I sign up for that?

18. Get up early or sleep in?
I used to be such a night owl but my schedule forces me to get up early so even when I can sleep in I only stay in bed until like 8 AM. That sucks.

19. What is your favorite cartoon character?
Fred Flintstone and Stewie Griffin

21. Have you found real love yet?
Yes. First in Christ, then in Kendra.

22. When did you first start feeling old?
Sonmetimes I still feel like I am 23. Then my back hurts and I look to see how much my hair has gone away. I hate being old.

23. Favorite 80's movie?
Steel Magnolias and Chariots of Fire

24. Your favorite lunch meat?

25. What do you get every time you go into Sam's Club?
Milk cause the baby needs it and it's cheap!

26. ocean or lake? Lake. Sand gets in the weirdest places!

27. Do you think marriage is an outdated ritual?
God ordained it so --- NO.

28. Do you own property?
Couple of cars. And don't start me on the house thing. I think I am in the process of owning it but it makes my stomach hurt to think about and I need to find my happy place because it has all been so stressful!

29. Favorite guilty pleasure?
Reality TV

31. What's your drink?
sweet tea. Sweetend with Splenda (God's gift to fat people) these days.

32. Cowboys or Indians?
Uh, I thought this was an adult survey this is a dumb kid question. Indians we stole their land.

33. Cops or Robbers?
See above for snide remark --- the white Jasper says Cops the black Jasper says the Po-Po framed the robber.

34. Who from high school would you like to run into?
It would hurt to run into anyone. I would like to see Yolanda Singleton, Mik Simpson, Renee and Sandee Hadley and Chuck Freeman.

35. What radio station is your car radio tuned to right now
91.5 been on a Christian talk radio kick lately.

36. Norm or Cliff?
Norm. Cliff talks too much. Way too much. I hate people who spout out facts and have neothing to really contribute to conversations.

37. '
The Cosby Show' or 'The Simpsons'?
Family Guy

38. Worst relationship mistake that you wish you could take back?

39. Do you like the person who sits directly across from you at work?
At church I sit in a big room by myself. I guess Dale is the closest person to me physically and to not like her is a lot like not liking your mom. Plus she is the most powerful and great Oz of Parkway.

40. What famous person would you like to have dinner with?
Julia Roberts. Since I was 17 years old.

41. Indoors or Outdoors?

42. Have you ever crashed your vehicle?
Twice but never my fault so I have rockin' insurance,

43. Have you ever had to use a fire extinguisher for its intended purpose?
No nor have I used it for other purposes.

44. Last book you read for real?
Gripped by the Greatness of God by James Macdonald. INCREDIBLE read. Right now I am reading a stupid novel 'cause Fort Zumwalt had people on crack pick out the novels I have to teach and I have only even heard of like four out of 15 or so. They all suck and I have to read SO MUCH!

45. Do you have a teddy bear? No but I am Kendra's teddy bear.

46. Strangest place you have ever brushed your teeth? On the porch at camp.

47. Somewhere in California you've never been and would like to go?
Nope. Been there. Done that.

48. Do you go to church?
Yes and sometimes I even get paid to go!

49. At this point in your life would you rather start a new career or a new relationship?

50. Just how OLD are you?
37 and 10/12 years old. Uck!