Take Your Family on a Mission Trip Today, For Free!

Have you ever wished that you could expose your children to life in another country? My wife Cyndi and I have four kids, and it would be really difficult for us to pull together all of the finances that we would need to bring all four of our kids oversees. But, this weekend, our kids had a chance to be on the mission field. Within 20 minutes of our home is incredible diversity. I was recently told by Eden Prairie’s Chief of Police that Eden Prairie is home to 16,000 Somalians. Drive a little further into Bloomington and you’ll find a thriving Hispanic community. Drive just south into Shakopee and you’ll see large numbers of Russian immigrants.

We live in an exciting time.

This weekend, I took my family to the Midtown Global Market in Minneapolis. You can visit their website by going to http://www.midtownglobalmarket.org. The Global Market is an amazing place. You can visit people from Guatemala, El Salvador, Somalia, Sweden, Israel, Turkey, the West Indes, Mexico, and more in less than one hour. My friends, Jamal and Shadi opened a branch of their restaurant, Safari, in the market this past Sunday. Safari is a phenomanal Somalian food restaurant. As I ate with my kids we had spiritual conversations about what was giong on around us. I spent time talking with a family that had recently immigrated to the States from Mexico. It was fun getting to talk with them about our mission trips to Central America. Cyndi talked for several minutes with a shop owner. She told the owner about Mexican pralines that can be purchased from a distributor in Texas. The shop owner was so excited. She even exchanged e-mail addressses with Cyndi. We listened to Salsa music and Irish music, and we wondered at our incredible God who created the world with such beauty and diversity. As different as each person is, as unique as each culture is, we are all created in the image of God. Aren’t you glad that our loving God loves people regardless of our view of Him? Christ’s heart beats for all those in the Market who have never considered who He is. May God use us to reach those around us.

Why not take your family on a mission trip this week? It’s really easy to engage in conversation at the Market. People want to talk. There are dozens of restaurants that share a common eating area that encourages communication. There are several chess sets waiting for people to play. There is live entertainment every weekend, featuring the music of different cultures. And, the food? It’s so interesting to try the foods from the different cultures. The Midtown Global Market is located on the corner of Lake and Chicago in Minneapolis. Go, you’ll be glad you did.

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8

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Fall Retreat This Weekend

The Wooddale Senior High Fall Retreat takes place this weekend at Lake Geneva Christian Center in Alexandria, MN. This is a phenomenal way for students to connect with each other and God at the beginnnig of the school year. Because of some misinformation that we were given, this retreat is taking place on the same weekend as homecoming at many of the top schools that we draw students from. Please pray that God will work with the students that we have coming. There are over 65 signed up already. We’re praying that God will bring in another 20 students in the next two days.

The theme of our retreat is Uprooted. We’re talking about the parables in Matthew 13:1-30. If you haven’t read it recently, here are the first 30 verses from this incredible chapter of the Bible:

Matthew 13
The Parable of the Sower
1That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. 2Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. 3Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9He who has ears, let him hear.”
10The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?”

11He replied, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. 12Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. 13This is why I speak to them in parables:
“Though seeing, they do not see;
though hearing, they do not hear or understand. 14In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:
” ‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
15For this people’s heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.'[a] 16But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. 17For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.

18″Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path. 20The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away. 22The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. 23But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

The Parable of the Weeds
24Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.
27″The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’

28″ ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.
“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’

29″ ‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. 30Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’ “

Please pray that God will speak to our students this weekend. The passage naturally yields itself to a farm theme, so we’ve go some really fun activities planned including a square dance and hay ride. If you are a high school student in the Twin Cities and want to join us this weekend, give our office a call at (952) 944-8360.

The Gathering Starts This Sunday

It’s been a long process, but this Sunday night, at 7:00 PM in the Great Room of Wooddale Church, the Gathering will begin. This is a five week pilot of an alternative worship service. I’m so excited about the potential that this service has to reach people for Jesus Christ. So many of the students that I work with are making plans to attend The Gathering and to bring friends with them.

This past weekend my family and I spent some time with some of my friends that are seekers. They were so excited about the concept of The Gathering. I’ve included a video in this post so that you can see what the Gathering is all about. Let me know if you have any questions.

Get this video and more at MySpace.com