Being a Christian in today's world is very hard. But do not let that scare you, anything worthwhile is worth working for. Being a Christian can be hard but it can also be fun. That is my objective, through my own stories, stories of my friends and a lot of plagiarism (Just kidding, only a little plagiarism.), I am going to show that you can be a Christian and still have fun!

the most wasted of all days is one without
laughter - e e cummings

Monday, July 11, 2005

  What a weekend!

Well, the end of an era is close at hand. At the end of the summer I am stepping down as the 10th grade Sunday school teacher. I have held this responsibility for the past five years and it is been such a blessing. Our church is growing by leaps and bounds. The problem with that is it is hard to teach 20 to 30 kids all by yourself. So while I am stepping down as the tenth grade Sunday school teacher, I am stepping up to be an 11th grade Sunday school co-teacher. I am stoked! I will be working with Vicki, she is a very talented teacher, and where I lack on extra after church activities, she is a genius. She can plan and make any event successful. I am lucky to remember to send out fliers to let people know we are going to do something. But what I like most about Vicki is she hates to lose and she has a devious mind just like me. In other words, I have met my match when it comes to pranks, games and all around foolishness, especially when it comes to our Sunday school kids. My wife and kids love her and they were excited for me when they found out we were going to be teaching this upcoming year.

This weekend was our first official Sunday school class event together. Vicki plans this big weekend trip of camping, funyaking, swimming, eating, jumping off of bridges, fireworks, and so-on and so-forth. Oh yeah I forgot, volleyball, how could I forget that. Vicki's team 0 wins, Joe's team 5 wins! Not that I am rubbing it in or anything. (Remember, Vicki hates to lose.) So Vicki planned this whole extravaganza and all I have to do is drive a van and eat. How cool is that!

There were a lot of highlights this past weekend. I jumped off of a forty foot train trestle into a freezing rain swollen river, TWICE. Almost got bit by a snake. Tried to go down a set of rapids in my funyak backwards and was tossed out into the freezing rain swollen river. Drove in a van with eleven eleventh graders for four hours, each way, while they yelling, singing, putting sweaty head bands into peoples mouth, and just plain being cool teenagers.

But there was one highlight I would really like to share with you guys. Sunday morning around, oh I guess it was 4, I heard people talking. I know who it was right away because these guys have very distinguishable voices. And these guys aren't whispering, they are talking loudly. Not to mention their tent is only five foot from my tent. And for those of you who have never slept in a tent, you can hear EVERYTHING for miles when you sleep in a tent. After about an hour of listening to them in my half asleep state I decide to get up and tell them to go to sleep. Here is how the conversation goes:

Tyler: (Yelling) "What in the world is that?"

Dusty: "ARGGGG! Dang it Joe you scared us."

I was just standing outside their tent.

Dusty: "Joe, stick your head in here for a minute."

A few thoughts went through my mind. Like, "Oops, sorry Joe we didn't see you standing there when we threw out our cup of water. Or "Joe, while you have your head in our tent can you take our pet snake out for a walk." Or my all time favorite, "Joe, can you take a sniff and guess what we had for dinner." I wasn't falling for any of it. I wasn't born yesterday.

Joe: "NO!"

Dusty: "Joe, man, you have got you hear this."

Joe "NO!"

Dusty: "I am serious, you have got to hear Tyler's story."

Joe: "OK" Bending down covering my face in case paint balls come hurling out of the opening of the tent.

Tyler: "Dude, I know there is a God. Just look around at all the different beauties, tastes and sounds. I also know I am here this weekend for a reason. My girlfriend called me early this morning and told me they were going to Savannah unexpectedly. If she would have stayed home I never would have taken Dusty up on his invitation to join you guys."

Seth: Half asleep. "Me sweepy."

Tyler: "Then I got mad at Dusty about something he was saying earlier this afternoon and when he tried to get into the tent tonight I fought it. But he got in anyway. Then we started talking about it and we got things straighten out. If he hadn't done that we would have never started talking about other things. Like I said, I know there is a God and I also know I am not living for Him like I should. So, Dusty and I decided to take a walk."

Joe: Thinking to himself. "These guys left the camp site without letting anyone know, after lights out. I am going to kill them but I want to see where this story is going." So I didn't say anything.

Tyler: "I told Dusty I was ready to make a decision but I didn't know what to do. Dusty talked to me and I accepted Christ as my savior."

Dusty: "How cool is that!"

Joe: "That's pretty dang cool guys"

Seth: "Has anyone seen my blanky?"

Dusty: "Sorry about all of the talking but we are pretty excited right now."

Joe: "I guess so! "

Dusty: "I have always been nervous about talking to people about Jesus, but tonight it all just came together like someone was telling me what to say. I know God was really working today."

Joe: "Guys, I am so excited for you. Let's try to get some rest and we will talk some more in the morning."

I went and crawled back into my tent and laid on my slow leaking air mattress. I was laying there listening to the guys still talking. I thanked God for letting me be a part of a great weekend. As the sounds of crickets started taking over the sounds of two young men's conversation. I heard one final thought.

Dusty: "God, this is awesome!"

(I tried to write this conversation down word for word, but remember it was 4 in the morning and I can't remember what happened 10 minutes ago let alone a few days ago.)

The Bible says that the angels rejoice whenever someone makes a decision to follow Jesus. They had two people joining them that night. I couldn't sleep the rest of the night.

I did nothing this past weekend but drive a van and cut up with a bunch of teenagers. All Vicki did was put together a camping trip (actually it was a little more than that, but you catch my drift.) All Dusty did was invited a friend and listen when he had questions. Then did his best to answer those questions. And I know there are other people in Tyler's life who had an impact on him making this big decision. Tyler is a good friend of our pastor's son, Charles. Tyler has spent the night at the pastor's house and has been around the whole family at any given time. God has been preping Tyler's heart for this night for a while.

My point, you don't have to be an evangelist to lead people to the Lord. Just be willing to do SOMETHING. Whether it is taking some kids camping, inviting someone to church or a church event, driving a van, taking someone some food, or just listening to a friend when he or she has something to say. As my brother always says, if you do what God asks you to do, He will bless your socks off!

You know what? I never did get on to those guys for leaving the camp site. I think I will let them slide this time.

Rememeber, Don't tell God how big your storms are, tell the storms how big your God is!

God bless, Joe

What a weekend!


At 5:42 PM, Blogger whaaaat! said...

Awesome! Praise the Lord! Also a great example of no such thing as coincidence. God was definitely involved in using so many to bring this young man to Christ.

At 5:53 PM, Blogger Joe said...

It absolutely does not get any better than that!

At 8:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found the perfect song! Mercy Me
"The Change Inside of Me" You need to download it and listen to it. It's an awesome song.
Love ya,

At 8:09 PM, Blogger jettybetty said...

This is awesome!

At 8:33 PM, Blogger Bar Bar A said...

Joe, incredible story, thanks for letting us hear it and experience a bit of it with you. God is sooooooooooooo good.

At 10:13 PM, Blogger Jot said...

Wow! What a blessing! Thanks for sharing it with us!

Peace, love and praise!


At 12:20 PM, Blogger Orikinla Osinachi. said...

I posted the message on your blog header on the Open Board of the forum on and that is the only blogheader I have done so for. Because, your spirit speaks volume of who you are.

Sunday School teacher of even 30 students should be very exciting. I preached in Public transport buses in Lagos, Nigeria for over 10 years. Preaching to about 40-70 passengers who are total strangers to you. And even during the bloody political riots in Lagos, the Holy Spirit led me to still venture out to preach Jesus Christ to those who are hurting and to comfort the broken hearted and invite them to come to the only refugee for our souls-Jesus Christ.

Please, enjoy sharing the Word of God with as many people as possible.
For this our great harvest.

At 2:50 PM, Blogger Nancy said...


What a wonderful experience it must be to teach such a lively bunch! Great story of someone opening their heart to the Lord.

God Bless

At 2:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awesome!!! That is great stuff, man. You rock, like Peter.

At 3:54 PM, Blogger Storm Trooper said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 11:30 PM, Blogger *~Tey~* said...

That's a nice reminder to people like me who are good at loving people and being there friend, but not too good at the evangelist thing. thank you joe

At 5:38 PM, Blogger steve said...

God is good!

At 8:09 PM, Blogger The Thief said...

That's what it's all about...


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