Category: Finer Things

Why do I feel much better about myself when I drive a cool car?

GTR side view

This was my car for the weekend.  It’s a Nissan GTR with the nickname “Godzilla” because it devours other exotic cars.  It’s one of the fastest cars on earth.  My dear friend John loaned it to me.  On Saturday I went to the student org Madison Motorsports car show at JMU.  It was awesome.  Very well run and lots of cool whips all over the place.  Several things I learned this weekend:

  1. I love cool cars. (check out pics below)
  2. I am such a novice when it comes to how cars work.
  3. I still like to drive fast. Very, very fast. Too fast.

Sidenote:  the best thing that could have happened to me was getting a ticket for going 90 mph when I was 16.  And I didn’t tell my parents until it came the mail.  Had to get a lawyer and everything.  Maybe that can be another post sometime in the future.  Don’t tell my mom.

  1. Fast and Furious 7 isn’t the most realistic movie.  But I still liked it.  A lot.  “That’s the thing about street fights, the street always wins.”  “Time for daddy to go to work.”
  2. I feel much cooler and better about myself when I drive a cool car.

Question:  Why do I feel so much better about myself while driving a sports car?

Answer:  Because I’m still insecure.  I’m still trying to impress people. I want still want people to like me.  I want people to see me in this car.  An expensive car communicates money, power, status, attractiveness, and more.  But it’s all a lie.  There will be a time in our life when we can’t even drive anymore.  And no one gets to take their car with them when they die.  It was so sad yesterday when I traded the cherry red monster for my 2008 mile 4-cylinder Honda Accord.  One car costs $100,000 and the other has 100,000 miles.  But that’s OK.  I’m still working on being secure enough to where I can enjoy fast cars for what they are, and enjoy the driving experience without worrying about what people think.  Until that time, I will continue admiring and driving performance cars whenever I can.  Because I need a lot of practice.  On the road and in my heart.

corvette stingray
warning sticker may consume small pets
GTR back view

car and plane mix tape 3


To whom much is given…

Much is required. This is the end of one life-changing adventure, and the beginning of another.

This is our last post of the trip. It is from Meredith Cotton, a rising senior at JMU. Our group is on the way to the airport right now.

Today is our last day of this eye-opening, life changing journey!! As Jonathan described in his post, the last few days have been a transition in our trip as we’ve moved from packed days filled with exploring the Holy Land to serving at a Young Life camp in Palestine! It’s been so fun to dance with the kids (especially last night when two 13 year-old girls showed Chelsea and I up on the dance floor), play in the pool with them, and play games with them. But the most beautiful part about our role here is that we’ve had the honor of praying as we sit and listen to Yousef speak truth in Arabic at Club, to pray while the kids are having their Cabin Time (a time for the kids to be with their leaders in their cabins to reflect on what they learned, heard, or felt during the talk), and to plan different activities for the kids behind the scenes. It has been so humbling to be able to step into a lowly role that doesn’t result in recognition. In these last two weeks we’ve been absolutely showered with God’s presence and filled to the brim with His love. How fitting that we are able to finish our trip with being emptied by showering that love we’ve received on these precious kids? This morning we got to hear from some of the local leaders as they shared some sweet stories about what their kids have experienced throughout camp. It’s so evident that God is moving in big ways and this camp could be the start of a life-long relationship with Jesus for these kids! They’ve not only heard truth verbally but they’ve also been able to experience the joy that comes with living life with Christ through all the fun we’ve been having  After all- our God is a God of celebration! (If Jesus came to our dance party last night, he probably would’ve showed Chelsea and I up too  Check out John 10:10!) It would be beautiful if you could pray for these kids alongside us- that what they’ve heard, seen, and felt here would stick and resonate deeply in their hearts (especially in the next few weeks as they leave camp and go back to their day-to-day lives in the West Bank). What a privilege and honor it is to be co-workers with Christ. Why he wants to use such imperfect people I will never understand, but I’m so humbled and thankful that He does because it is such a gift!  We’re looking forward to seeing you back in the states!!


Video From Camp:


Camp has begun…

  • Young Life Westbank
  • The view from the top
  • Young Life Camp Isreal
  • Party by the pool

This is from Jonathan Bowman, a rising junior at JMU:

Three days ago we completed the touring portion of our expedition. What better way to relax than by entering the inner city markets of Jerusalem to test out our haggling skills. Can you say intense? The trick was to bring Will Jarrett with you, he’s 6’7. Ornate garments of red and purple and many other colors lined the narrow corridors of the busy market. Loud shouting, a varied palate of language and accents, and some very, unique smells. After some delicious schwarma (pita and seasoned beef or lamb), we began to shift gears in preparation for the service portion of the trip.

Tuesday night, we left the inner city of Bethlehem, and traveled to a new resort a few miles outside of Bethlehem. It is this resort that we are hosting Palestine’s 3rd Young Life camp. All we could do was pray, and all we have experienced is tremendous blessing. Yousef, the camp speaker passionately shares the gospel with the 100 (exactly) kids who are here at camp. Hunter Lambeth runs the behind the scenes operations, keeping the camp running smoothly.

The camp staff refers to our group from JMU as the “work crew” while we are here. Our jobs include everything from helping with meals, cleaning up rainbow ice cream puddles, leading music and games at “club,” and making them laugh as much as possible. We want to give everything we have so that the kids are having fun, but more so that the kids are seeing a little piece of Jesus. The kids have been blowing us away with their energy.

Please be praying for the high school and middle school kids as Yousef will be sharing with them their need for a savior today. Pray for open hearts and minds. Pray for kids to think objectively for themselves. Yalla yalla!

Check Pete’s facebook for some videos of the action so far. Alysia Wood has posted 2 videos.

WATCHH OUUTT! Party by the pool Young Life Camp Isreal The view from the top


He is not here. He is risen!

  • The Garden Tomb
  • The Church of Holy Sepulchre
  • Inside the Tomb
  • The skull face
  • Inside the Church

This is from Zack Miller, a recent graduate of James Madison University:

After seeing eight sights in one day, the most impactful part was the vast difference between the Church of the Holy Sepulchure and Garden of the Tomb, two possible places Jesus died and was buried.

The Holy sepulchure is thought to be the place of Jesus’ crucifixion and tomb by many, while this lesser known spot, the Garden of the Tomb could also be the place of the same thing. What struck my heart was the very noticeable difference of the reason people were at each location. The church was packed with people who seemed to be worshipping the place rather than the person. Huge lines just to see a place amazed me and while it was supposed to be a holy place, it seemed more like a tourist spot to take pictures and carry out traditions. Meanwhile, the garden was quiet but had just as much, if not more justification of being the actual location of the crucifixion and burial of Jesus. While the place was beautiful, we were encouraged by our trip leader Pete to recognize the place yes, but more so worship and love the fact that it is why that matters so much more than where. Who cares where the tomb is because no matter the location, it is empty! We praise and give our lives to a living God of love. Respect traditions yes, but it seemed that the church and tangible things (such as the “possible” rock that Jesus was laid on after he was brought down from the cross) became idols, more important than the sinless man who gave his life so that we could experience eternal life and love through his death. I love how the Lord works, because I expected the church to be very meaningful and emotional. However, a quiet space, where I could feel the Lord’s presence had more than being surrounded by people just looking to visit a place had a much greater impact. Come and see the places, but go forth and know He is Risen!

Inside the Tomb The skull face Inside the Church

The Church of Holy Sepulchre


Up to Jerusalem!

This is from Meredith Cotton, a rising senior at JMU:

Hezekiah’s tunnel
Southern steps of the temple
Yad Vashem Holocaust museum
Tunnels under the Western Wall
Garden of Gethsemane

Dunanananananana Batman

Today was our first day in Jerusalem! It was pretty jam packed! We run where Jesus walked  We started the day going to King Hezekiah’s tunnel where we walked through a 1600 meter tunnel filled with water up to our shins/knees at times. (Considering I’m not the biggest fan of dark tunnels, I was not incredibly enthused as we walked through but I kept telling myself to be like Batman and face my fear head on since that’s the only way to conquer it, hence the title ) Then we went to the southern steps of the temple where the Ark of the Covenant was kept! It was incredible to sit on the same steps that led to such a sacred temple. After that, we went to the Yad Vashem Museum which was a Holocaust museum (similar to the one in D.C) except this one caused a little more of a heartstrings tug for a lot of us! As we kept trekking through our packed day, we made our way to the tunnels under the Western wall where we got a tour and explanation of the original architecture from 2,000 years ago (Are you seeing a pattern with the tunnels? Talk about facing fears head on!!). Last but not least, we went to the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus knelt down and cried out in anguish to his Father as he knew he was about to face the most immense suffering on the cross. That awful injustice that we learned about today at Yad Vashem parallels the awful injustice that Jesus faced. He experienced persecution, racism, betrayal, and so much more. It’s incredibly hard for me to think about the injustice and brokenness that is so evident in our world, but what we learned and reflected on today in the garden showered us with hope. That day in the garden, Jesus felt stripped of his dignity, betrayed, and absolutely crushed, but in that moment of despair, He chose to go through with what he knew God’s will was because he knew YOU were worth it to him. On that cross, he took all the brokenness in this world upon himself so that he could set us free from the chains of this world (injustice, sin, fear, and so much more!) We were able to sit in the place where the road to redemption began and we were won! Praisin’ God for this truth: “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God”  We love you! Thanks for your continued prayer!