Tuesday, January 31, 2006


clutter, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.

So I saw this graffiti on the street where my friends Todd and Lindy live in de Pijp in Amsterdam. As I was walking down the street, I just thought--that is a profound statement.

Everywhere I go, and look I see clutter. It really is even in my head. It seems like there are a million ideas racing in competition in my head at any given moment. I float from thinking, "When am I going to clean my gutters?", to "What am I going to eat for breakfast?", to "I wonder what that passage of scripture meant to its first readers?", to "I need to get that project started?" And then I think, "Am I forgetting something?"

I don't know if anyone on the planet can relate, but it seems difficult to get out of the clutter. One of the ways I've found to "unclutter" is to practice solitude. I go for walks. I reflect. I get rid of the noise in my head--all of the competing voices and thoughts. Then as the din subsides, I begin to hear the one Voice that brings order into the chaos.

When I listen to that Voice, order comes into my mind. When I listen to that Voice, I begin to be able to structure my day, and the space in which I live to reflect some degree of order instead of chaos.

Do you feel cluttered in your life? Take some time to connect with God, and then allow Him to lead you as you and He work together to tidy up the clutter together.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

The Drive By

This morning, while en route to Thomas, WV, I rode by my tribe's land. It was weird. I started feeling sick. I was flooded with emotions. It was the first time I had been by the area since 2004. I didn't stop because I was in somebody else's car. It was a bit overwhelming, the whole experience.

The best comparison I can think of is driving by an ex-romantic interest's house. It's like going by a place where there are so many memories, and as you go by, you are gripped with the emotions of all of the memories, good and bad. Then you are also gripped with the reality that you can't ever go back. That is a painful reality to deal with.

I'm still reeling from the experience. I would appreciate prayers for the Shawnee people. My heart breaks over the reality of what is, when I think about what could be, and what once was.

What's really sweet is that the whole rest of the day was awesome. It was just a lot of fun to be on the road with cool people, and they were willing to listen to me walk through my gut-trauma during the day.

It just hit me as I was writing--God went there before me. And He has been there with me all along.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Ecological Footprint

When I was in Amsterdam, my friend Saander told me about a website that computes your ecological footprint. Your ecological footprint is a composite of the amount of land that it takes to sustain your lifestyle.

I've been riding a bike a good bit, and I've walked for years, so I figured I would do pretty well in this little quiz. Unfortunately I was dead wrong. According to the website, there are about 4.5 biologically productive acres available per person. Living and travelling the way I do, it takes approximately 15 acres of land to sustain me. If everybody in the world lived like me, we would need 3.4 planets!!!

If that isn't crazy enough, I am reading my results with the very real understanding that I'm not the norm. Most people drive much more than I do, and use many more resources. In fact, the average American needs about 24 acres to sustain their way of life.

Because of my way of life, it seems that others must go without. In order for others to have more, I need to yield more. It's pretty scary to think about the implications of this from the perspective of faith. God has entrusted us with an earth full of resources, and yet a few of us are using up a large amount of those resources.

Take the test and leave a comment--what's your ecological footprint?

Monday, January 23, 2006

Sunset from the Backporch

Sunset from the Backporch, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.
One of my favorite parts of my place in Morgantown is the view. I get to see some of the most beautiful winter sunsets from my deck.

It's pretty cool to take some time, slow down, and enjoy a sunset. Sometimes the most amazing sights are going on just outside our house, and we just get so busy that they pass us by.

Many of us drive long distances to enjoy a beautiful sunset, or sunrise, or a misty morning fog. These are a regular part of my life here in Morgantown that I tend to take for granted.

Every time I return from travel, these hills seem to embrace me upon my return.

No wonder West Virginia is considered "Almost Heaven."

Be sure to take some time and enjoy beauty with which God has surrounded you.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Knowing Your Limits

I've really been having this point driven home to me lately. I am limited. I am a finite being. There is only so much I can accomplish in a given day. This is reality.

I'm not complaining. I am simply acknowledging. I have limits.

i set big goals for myself. Somebody once told me that we tend to overestimate what we can accomplish in a year, and and underestimate what we can accomplish in five years.

I tend to overestimate what I can accomplish in a day. It's nearly 4PM, and I've been at it for most of the day. In 2.5 hours, I will have a meeting that will take me to 9-10PM. My day will be nearly over.

I was able to see many good things come to fruition today, but I didn't get done with everything I had hoped.

I like the fact that I am being confronted with this truth--I've been talking with a group of people about stewardship of time. Here I am feeling the weight of that stewardship in my own life.

what about you? Has the new year exposed your limitedness? How are you prioritizing to "make the most of your time because the days are evil?"

It's a challenge we all face, and it is helping shape us into who we were meant to be.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

MCI Center Bound

Well, what is a mountaineer fan to do when he is offered an opportunity to watch his team play in the nation's capital?

Go of course!!!

Sunday Feb 12 WVU vs. Georgetown . . . and I will be there!!!

I'm pretty excited both for the opportunity to see the mountaineers play and for the opportunity to see a few friends who now live near the nation's capital.

The whole day should be a "capital" experience.

Let's Goooooooooo Mountaineers!!!


Did you know that in ancient Israel, a jewish boy between 10 and 12 years of age had the entire torah memorized. Really disciplined children would memorize the entire old testament by their teens. Could you imagine it? Imagine having that large portion of the Bible memorized before college age. That was the norm back in those days.

In the middle east, devoted muslims memorize the Koran by age 18. This is the equivalent of memorizing the entire new testament.

I once heard someone say that if a college student started memorizing two verses per week, they would have the entire new testament memorized before they were 40.

But our modern western world is a world of competing distractions, we don't memorize much more than our social security numbers or student IDs. We convince ourselves we don't have good memories, but that simply isn't the case. (We know too many advertising slogans and commercial jingles to convince anyone of that, not to mention song lyrics, names of celebrities, etc.) But imagine for a moment, if we applied ourselves singularly to memorization of the sacred text. We would be carrying small portions of sacred scriptures with us wherever we go. Imagine how the sacred text might find its way into a conversation at an appropriate moment.

This semester, one of our canvas groups has been issued a challenge. We are going to try to memorize the book of Philippians. Not all of us will take hold of the challenge (So far there are two or three of us), but imagine having this encouraging and joyous book in our minds as we go through trials.

Have you ever considered memorizing a passage? Would you like to join us in our endeavor this semester? I hope you will consider taking the time to let this discipline shape your life for the glory of God.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Without Access

Over the last few days, I have had a myriad of insights that would have been blog-able (I think I just invented a new adjective). Unfotunately I haven't had access to the internet.

The past week consisted of a couple of retreats, and the interesting thing about these retreats is that they felt less like retreats for me. The first one was a planning retreat for the staff of the community church with which I am affiliated. We spent three days in a cabin on a mountaintop in the middle of nowhere. We prayed, we shared our lives, and we worked. We began planning for the adjustments necessary for this small community church to make the adjustment of moving into a facility four times its current size and farther away from town. There is much to think about with regard to the move.

At the same time, I was trying to assess the future of our campus church service in downtown morgantown. I drove from the staff retreat to a retreat 20 minutes east of Morgantown for our campus church. While this retreat was also tiring, it was a different kind of fatigue. We explored our life visions, we prayed together. We worshiped the Lord, and we wept together. Weeping is a good thing. I could write for a while about that, but I will save it for another time. I feel like the weekend retreat was monumental in the lives of many. One person has already come to know Christ as a result of our time together. Isn't that amazing!!!

Sunday we gathered at h2o and started off the semester with a really cool service. It was a lot of fun for everybody, and we took left-overs from our retreat and had a big lunch at my house. About half of the congregation showed up!

Tonight we are starting a brand new Canvas Group in one of the dorms at WVU. I wonder what God is going to do through this faith venture? We are also trying to come up with a cool name for it--if you've got any ideas feel free to float them my way.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Getting in the flow

The new semester has started, and I have my first class tomorrow evening. I did something new for this semester. I actually read one of the required texts before the semester started. It made reading a bit more enjoyable knowing that I didn't have to get it done by a particular deadline. Of course, I realize the fact that I read ahead probably makes me a geek, but I can deal with that.

I rode my bike this morning for the second day in a row. It was another warm day, and I played some basketball with a couple of buddies. My friends Brett (whose wedding I presided over last summer) and Ryan (brett's brother). My friend JR Pittman showed up with his fiance Christy too. So it was like an early morning basketball party.

I rode back home and grabbed a quick shower, and I am starting to prep for a week of planning and retreats. Tomorrow, after class, I leave for a planning time with the community church I work with. This afternoon, I go with my buddy Aaron to make some last minute arrangements for a retreat for our campus church.

Seems like lots of stuff is happening, and it is really easy for me to put the focus on myself and what I can do instead of on God and what He is doing at times like this. Do you ever feel this tension? I think part of getting in the flow is letting God lead in the dance, and realizing that all of our hard work isn't the focus. The focus is the work He is doing in us so that He can do even greater works through us. That is a comforting thought.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Ik Fiets

I'm sure my spelling is atrocious, but I rode my bike for the first voyage of 2006. It was an uncharacteristically warm 60 degrees today in Morgantown so I rode to the gym and worked out. My roommate Nic (who is living in Martinsburg for the next month) would be so proud of me for going it alone. It was kind of odd though. I raced over on my bike, and started going through the circuit. I was going really fast through the workout and I stopped for a minute to talk to this guy Jeremy who has been coming to h2o off and on for a while. As we were talking I had a strange feeling come over me. I started to get dizzy like I was going to pass out. I had to excuse myself from the conversation, and get some water. Then I slid down the wall by the water fountain, and just chilled for a bit.

I started thinking about those warnings about stopping exercise when dizzy, and consulting a physician before starting any fitness programs (stand warnings for everyone in the United States). I started wondering about my own mortality as I sat there light headed. I think I just went at the workout a little to zealously, and on an empty stomach.

It was great to be able to start off the year with a little cycling. As long ast the weather holds out, I hope to make it a little more of a routine. Over the last few months, I have been thinking about stewardship in some pretty broad terms, and I think that biking gives me exercise, and it also allows me to be more financially frugal (no gas money) and not pollute the earth.

It takes a little more time to get around town, but it is well worth it I think.

If only Morgantown had bike lanes like Amsterdam.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Like a bicycle . . .

I'm too tired.

I'm feeling really jet-lagged right now.

I woke up at midnight Wednesday January 4th, and went to sleep at 2AM Thursday January 5th.

Last night I had a long talk with a good friend who wants to start following Jesus.

I went to bed at 2AM again.

Today I tried to help my parents set up a computer desk, and a new wi-fi network. It wasn't without its share of difficulties.

It is now 11:21PM--and I'm really tired.

I think I am going to eat some popcorn with my dad and go to bed soon.

I'm beat like a drum.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Gelukkig Nieuw Jaar

2006 on the Dam, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.
Happy New Year!

It seems so long ago . . . 2005 is but a memory now. I have been going so much and spending so much time with people, it has been difficult to blog.

I believe I was the first Shawnee to see the year 2006. Along with a few hundred thousand other people, I celebrated New Year's Eve on the Dam square in Amsterdam in front of the Royal Palace. (This is Amsterdam's Equivalent of Times Square in NY).

People gathered from all over the world to explode into the new year. Why explode? Because New Year's is one of a select few days when vuuwerks (Fireworks) are sold in Amsterdam.

Lot's of people and lots of fireworks. There was no official fireworks display like back in the states, there were just thousands of random fireworks being set-off in the city.

The air smelled of gunpowder, and the unsuspecting would have thought the city was under attack. The fireworks went on through the night, and fires burned throughout the city.

It was a pretty wild time.

What did you do for new years?