Monday, January 30, 2006

call me crazy

but i think John Cusack is one of the cutest people on the face of the planet. I love his acting style. He's one of the few actors I've seen who can play boyishly innocent and charming, or wordly and tough. And he's great at both. Totally believable. He's not "pretty". He's handsome. Even when he was younger he was handsome. I like handsome. Give me handsome over pretty any day. Add "talented" and.. well... I'm a fan.


Friday, January 27, 2006

to go or not to go...

This is Amsterdam. It's the most beautiful city in the world. It's also more devoid of God's presence then any place I've ever been. When the government built it's City Hall, it was intentionally built so that it was higher than the tallest church spire in the city. Their point was that Amsterdam relies on commerce and government, not on God.
And yet, the people are wonderful and diverse. And the city is breath-taking. Last Spring, a team of us from Genesis spent just over a week here, working w/a church called Zolder50. I fell in love with it from almost the moment I stepped out of the train station and on to the streets. I cried when we left. On our way back from Kiev, we stopped in Amsterdam for just 24 hours, and even then I cried.
A team is going back this Spring, and I'm torn on whether to go or not. On the one hand, I have so much going on already. Time and engery spent fundraising and preparing for this trip is time and energy I could spend on my book, or Project311, or cultivating more writing business. And I didn't do so well with the fundraising for Kiev. In fact, I did really, really badly. Which makes me extremely nervous about fundraising again.

On the other hand... it's Amsterdam.
And it's Zolder50A church that's being built by people who focus on developing relationships, planting small group churches, and reaching out to people in the Red Light District. It's a church of people who play soccer in Vondel Park every Sunday so they can invite the spectors and build relationships. It's a church of people who are doing church right. It's wonderful, and magical, and so completely covered by the annointing of God that even their worship *practices* move me to tears. And they're not only a church. They're my friends. We email, talk on the phone, share our struggles, victories, and defeats.

I desperately want to go. But is it right? Is it wise? I know that God is far less likely to consider perceived circumstances, like I do. But does that mean they should be ignored all together? I'm torn.

Torn torn torn torn torn.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

straight from the horses mouth

one of my clients has asked me to write an article about the de- and re-forestation of New England. It seems that when New England was first settled, alot of the forest was destroyed to make room for agriculture (crops, livestock, etc..). When the farmers began to move farther west, those who stayed in New England began trying to rebuild the forests and wildlife.
In my research, I stumbled across this, which is an original document about "western planting" from 1584. It's a discourse written by Richard Hakluyt, about the purposes of discovering and populating America. Verbatim, this is his first "bullet point", if you will:
"That this westerne discoverie will be greately for the inlargement of the gospell of Christe..."

People keep trying to ignore the fact that this nation was founded by people who had faith in Christ and a godly fear of the Lord, but there's your proof. The first settlers came also as missionaries, to whomever might be here to listen. They intended to found a nation which would have Christ as it's foundation, and which, collectively, would further His Gospel.
Everyday we get futher and futher from our roots. From the orignially intended purpose of this nation. And everyday we pay the price for it.
So the next someone tries to tell you that this nation wasn't founded on Christian values, quote Mr. Hakluyt (if you can figure out how to pronounce his name). And keep praying for our nation.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Last night I reconnected with a friend I had been really close to back in the old Temple Baptist days. In fact, I was maid of honor at her wedding.
I'm not sure what happened. Why we lost touch. I think I started drifting away when I got wrapped up in youth ministry, and we eventually just grew apart. But yesterday I went over and met her two little boys. She and her husband adopted them from a Russian orphanage. It was so great to meet them, and to sit and chat w/her for a while. I've missed her. We've both made a commitment to spend more time together, get our friendship back on track, and I'm so glad. To be honest, I wasn't sure if she'd be willing to let me back in so quickly. But she is. And it's great.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Today's Discoveries

I love discovering new things. Today, I discovered two that are worth noting.
The first is a band called VAST. You seriously have to check them out. The music is awesome. Though, I think this is a NIN-type thing and it's only one guy, not an actual band. Regardless... check 'em out:
Good, good, stuff.

The second was this-

No, it's not a joke. This is a real book.
Here's the summary, verbatim: "The best-selling author of 'Get Anyone to do Anything' offers a one-of-a-kind guide that gives you the psychological tools to reshape anyone into the person you want them to be."

::begin sarcasm::
Finally! I can stop having to be mature, stop having to learn to accept people for who they are and *finally* make them who I want them to be. Where has this book been all my life!!!
::end sarcasm::
The sad thing is, this book will probably sell a lot of copies. Makes me want to write a counter-book "How to Change You", and teach people how to stop being so judgemental and unaccepting.. kinda like I'm being about this book. :-)

So.. to summarize... I highly recommend my first discovery, highly *don't* the second. :)
Ah... the joy of discovery.

Oh! and the Lion's have a new coach. Sounds like he's pretty tough. Guess we'll see what he can do.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

this is me. standing in the middle of every direction my life could go, not knowing which arrow to follow.
and i'm sick of it. for the last couple days i've been sure i want to pursue something more serious in counseling. but tonight, someone told me that they've never known anyone more equipped or called to live production..
and i'm so tired of trying to figure out which way to go.
there's so much i love to do. so much that i feel i do well. i don't mean that arrogantly. but i love to write, i love to counsel people, i love to speak, i love live production, i love youth ministry. and to some degree, i sense God's hand when do all of those things. so how do i know for sure? i'm so sick of being pulled every which way.
the truth is.. as much as i enjoy all of those things, nothing has given me a greater sense of satisfaction or accomplishment then when i was the Event Coordinator at my old church. helping pull together an event, then standing in the balcony watching an audience enjoy what you've just done... there's nothing like it. i would go home every night, exhausted, but feeling so content, so certain that i'd just done what i'm meant to do. and yet there's this burden for young people. a call to youth ministry.
so maybe i look into working at a camp like spring hill or something 'till we get Project311 up and running.
i don't know. i'm just so tired of feeling pulled in so many directions. i wish God would just write across the sky.. "stefanie hamilton... i want you to do this..."
i'm tired of guessing. of not being sure.
i'm frustrated. i'm done thinking. and i'm exhausted. so i'm going to bed.

Monday, January 09, 2006

ok, the diagram is kinda hard to read, but the green line is what's called a "free-return trajectory".
yesterday i bought the book written by Jim Lovell that inspired the movie Apollo 13. I'm a closet science geek. Not so closet anymore I guess, but I love this stuff. There's something deeply poetic about the way the universe works, and I love learning about it.
A free-return trajectory is a path that uses the earth's and the moon's gravitational forces to propel a spacecraft around the moon and back to earth again. It's called a "free-return" because it is, in essence, automatic. With some minor course corrections, a space craft will automatically be whipped around the moon, and pulled back into the Earth's orbit, simply because the Earth's gravitational pull is so strong. The Earth's gravitational pull is so strong, in fact, that a spacecraft traveling at 20,000 mph when leaving Earth's atmosphere will have been slowed to under 5,000 mph by the time it reaches the moon. The moon's gravity will temporarily grab hold of the spacecraft, but as soon as the craft rounds the moon, the Earth's gravity begins to pull it back again.
What an elegant, beautiful analogy for the pull God has, or would like to have, on our lives. Specifically on our hearts and souls. While it's true that smaller, less significant things can temporarily pull us away, God's "gravity" is always stronger. We don't stay away by accident, but by choice. Just as a spacecraft has to make a concerted effort to remain in the moon's orbit, so we have to make the same effort to orbit those smaller objects that try to pull us away from God.
Some people would probably come to the conclusion that the concept of the "free-return" says more about the pull that the wolrd has on us, but I don't think that's accurate. The larger object always has the greatest pull. There is no object larger than God. But the futher away you get from the larger object, the more you can be pulled and influenced by the smaller objects. The smaller objects don't affect us because they're irresistable. They affect us because we've gotten too far away from the one object that is truly irresistable. And yet, the gravitational pull of the larger object is still there. When we round the "dark side of the moon" and come back into the light of the lunar sunrise, the object is still there. And it will begin pulling us back home. If only we'll let it.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

i keep reading all these "farewell to '05, hello to '06" posts.
maybe i'm just old, but the new year thing didn't do much for me this time around.
here's where i sound either cynical or just lame.
i don't get it.
there are some things worth celebrating. accomplishments and such. but the new year... it kinda happens whether you do anything about it or not. and the resolutions thing... why wait? why wait for the clock or the calendar to tell you it's time to make changes you've been wanting to make?
it's a new year. and i'm still me. same vices, same struggles, same uncertainties. sure, i'd like some of those things to change, but a new year doesn't make me any more or less inclined to change them.
.... ok... here's the cynicism.. there's nothing magical about the new year.
there's something magical about you.
and about me.
and about the One who made us both.
and that magic is real. and it gives us the conviction and strength to live life the way we're meant to. it's just as real and powerful on June 1st as on January 1st. at noon as it is at midnight.
so make changes, if you want to make them. live life differently if you know that's what you need to do. because you can do it. not because it's a new year, but because you have what it takes. and if you don't, you have access to the one who does.