Thursday, December 16, 2010

a social network christmas

Someone dear from our church has just shared this amazing video with me.  I was speaking to teenagers the other night about the birth of Jesus from Mary's perspective. 

Luke 1:26-38,  “26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
 29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
 34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
 35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called[b] the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”
 38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.”
God does not always do things the way we would do them.  If we were going to announce the birth of Jesus today, it would probably be up on facebook, there’d be an amazing video on youtube, Mary’s twitter would have a dozen tweets from the angel, and probably every news channel would cover the story.  The people of Israel were waiting on the Messiah, so they would have been expecting some kind of announcement of his arrival, but they sure didn't expect this.
  I am amazed at this video because it shares my exact sentiments and thoughts about how it probably would have went down if facebook was around in 1 B.C.  Check it out and let me know what you think, and then post it on YOUR facebook to spread the good news that "Today in the town of David,  a Savior has been born to you.  He is the Messiah, the Lord." - Luke 2:10
If you'd like to listen to my other two sermons in the Collision with the King series, they are available here:

A Social Network Christmas

Thursday, November 4, 2010

re-writing a logline

Collision Youth Ministry will soon be wrapping up our series on the popular movie, To Save a Life. Last night was particularly challenging and emotional as we looked at "loglines."  A logline is a film term for a line in a film that describes an entire film, scene, or character.  We all had a chance to write our own negative loglines and past them on our chest for the rest of the group to see.  After a teaching on Luke 19:1-10, we learned that Jesus has gifted us with re-writing our loglines, and allows us to join Him in re-writing the loglines of others.  Zacchaeus was a tax collector that everyone pretty much referred to as "sinner," yet Jesus called him a "son of Abraham."  He re-wrote Zacchaeus' story, and it changed his life.  We then taped a blank piece of paper to our backs for others to read our loglines, and then re-write them on our backs.  Some of the students wrote, "I don't like the way I look," or "I'm not good enough," or "I don't have what it takes to succeed."  I wrote, "I am constantly being laughed at."  It was inspiring to see the teens take advantage of a chance to write beautiful, true things about each other as the Spirit lead us in the truth of how God sees each of us.  My perspective for my negative logline was that I have had feelings as though I'm made fun of often, but to see how it was re-written was quite remarkable.  Some wrote: "cuz you kick butt," and others changed it to: "I am hilarious," or "like Rudolph, when people see me they fill up with joy and have to laugh HAPPILY."  The only other time I've been likened to Rudolph has been when an annoying zit appears on the end of my nose.  HA!  But the one that got me was:  "I am serious about important things and have changed many lives."  Knowing that people look at our imperfections and insecurities much different than us got me to thinking that I (we) am (are) my (our) own worst critic(s).  I am my own worst critic.  You are your own worst critic.  God doesn't look at your life and say, "you aren't good enough," or "you don't have what it takes," or "man, you musta fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down."  NO!  God looks at you and he says, "Look what I created!  Isn't he/she marvelous!" and "I'm so proud of you!" and "I love you."  
   The human condition has left us depraved, and the enemy wants to capitalize on that by telling us lies so that we'll live in fear and embarassment that will eventually turn into low self-esteem and depression--IF we choose to believe the lies.  We make the choice everyday of what we will believe about ourselves.  Do we choose to believe the lies of the enemy in the form of me, my own worst critic, or do we choose to believe what God's Word says about us?  
  I have recently finished Steven Furtick's book, Sun Stand Still, where he lists twelve audacious faith confessions that he says over his life.  I've printed them out and placed them on my wall.  This is what I choose to believe about myself and my life:

1.      1. I am fully forgiven and free from all shame and condemnation. 
 (Romans 8:1-2; Ephesians 1:7-8; 1 John 1:9)
2.    2. I act in audacious faith to change the world in my generation.
(Joshua 10:12-14; John 14:12)
3.   3. I have no fear or anxiety; I trust in the Lord with all my heart.
(Proverbs 3:5-6; Philippians 4:6-7; 1 Peter 5:7)
4.    4. I am able to fulfill the calling God has placed on my life.
(Exodus 3:9-12; Psalm 57:2; Colossians 1:24-29)
5.    5. I am fully resourced to do everything God has called me to do.
(Deuteronomy 8:18; Luke 6:38; Philippians 4:13)
6.     6. I have no insecurity, because I see myself the way God sees me.
(Genesis 1:26-27; Psalm 139:13-16; Ephesians 5:25-27)
7.     7. I am a faithful spouse and a godly parent-our family is blessed.
(Deuteronomy 6:6-9; Ephesians 5:22-25; Colossians 3:18-19; 1 Peter 3:1-7)
8.    8. I am completely whole-physically, mentally, and emotionally.
(Psalm 103:1-5; Matthew 8:16-17; 2 Corinthians 5:17; 1 Peter 2:24)
9.    9. I am increasing in influence and favor for the kingdom of God.
(Genesis 45:4-8; 1 Samuel 2:26; Acts 2:37-47)
10.     10. I am enabled to walk in the sacrificial love of Christ. (Thessalonians 2:16-17; 1 John 3:16; 4:9-12)
11.      11. I have the wisdom of the Lord concerning every decision I make.
(2 Chronicles 1:7-12; Proverbs 2:6; Ecclesiastes 2:26; James 1:5)
12.    12. I am protected from all harm and evil in Jesus’ name.
(Genesis 50:20; Psalm 3:1-3; 2 Thessalonians 3:2-3)

What will you choose to believe? 
My Re-written logline


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Vacationing with the Boys

I'm amazed at the need for a vacation AFTER having a vacation. Jenni and I realized that vacationing with kids is much different than vacationing without kids. Pre-parenthood, Jenni and I could sleep in, and after we wake up decide to go to the pool or the beach, and just go no questions asked. Post parenthood, things are quite different. Waking up at 9:30 was actually pretty cool, because the boys were on Colorado time all week while we were in Daytona Beach. They never set their watches ahead, I suppose. But after feeding them, we'd then get up to decide to go the beach, and we have to get ready, get all of our sunscreen on, head down to the beach with the canopy and the chairs, walk back to the room, get the boys ready to go with sunscreen and swimsuits, pack up the beach towels and coolers, and get ready to walk out the door, but wait--we gotta make two more bottles because now it's already time for them to eat again. Sooo, we get down to the beach, and we gotta feed the boys, before one of us at a time can go get into the ocean.
Although, I'm thankful for the family we had while we were down there that allowed us some semblance of relaxation or sanity giving us moments where we could just be with each other, and have some daddy and mommy time. Like throwing the frisbee on the beach together, or sitting by the pool for 10 minutes, or going out with my bro, sis-in-law, cousin and his wife to get dinner and a movie while the grandparents oogled over the kids. It was quite a blast, but NOW I'm ready for a vacation. :) 

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

miracle of a life well lived

Over two months ago, we celebrated the miracle of life with our two newest additions to the Barbour family. What a blessing these little guys have been. During the past week, I've been confronted with what it means to live life well. On Sunday afternoon of last week we made the decision to make an emergency trip out to CA to visit my wife's grandpa (Pa). He had been diagnosed with lung cancer at 88 years old, and wasn't doing so well. We all thought it would be a good idea to get out to see him one last time and allow him the privilege of meeting his great grandsons. We were nervous about the trip because it would be the first time we flew with the boys and weren't sure how well they'd do on the flight. Our worries were swiftly ended when the boys slept through the whole flight there, aside from a little time awake to eat. I wish I could sleep that long on an airplane! Maybe if someone would hold me the whole time I could! Just not the guy next to me! LOL!!

When we arrived in CA and headed to the hospital we found Jenni's grandpa in good spirits. He seemed to be doing well in our eyes, but it was tough to see the vibrant, lively man stuck in a hospital bed. We'd been getting some different messages on how long he had left—anywhere from 2 months to 6-9 months to 2-5 years (if chemotherapy worked). Well, the family made the decision to start chemotherapy to hopefully give him some good quality of life. After one treatment, he started to go downhill even faster. Because he was at the hospital, the boys weren't allowed in to see him. We asked the nurses to make a special exception and they agreed so we brought the boys in after what we had heard was a pretty bad day for Pa. We had originally wanted to bring them in on Saturday the 22nd which was his 89th birthday as his birthday present, but because he was getting worse quickly, we thought it best to do it sooner rather than later. When we got there with the little tikes, Pa seemed to perk up. He was on oxygen at the time, but was allowed to take it off for a few minutes at a time to take some pictures. What a sight! His eyes and face lit up to meet his twin grandsons, and many of us couldn't fight back the tears as we watched in wonder and amazement at how things had changed in a matter of minutes. Now that was a great day.

The very next day on his birthday we had to leave and say our good-byes. Pa was non-responsive until grandma started reading him the birthday cards out loud. He would wake up for a minute or two as he was struggling to breath and seemed to hear everything she said. Watching my wife say her final good-bye was one of the hardest things for me. I know that Pa heard Jenni say good-bye even though he never said it back, and I know that one day we will see him again on the other side. And that will be a glorious day.

Pa Hillhouse was a great man. He was strong, compassionate, sincere, and sweet. He loved his wife, his family, and cards. He will be greatly missed.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


On Thursday (4.8.10) of last week, Jayce busted out of "prison" and came home with us for the very first time in his short 26 days of existence on planet earth. We shortly found out that Josiah would be kept for another 5 days for bad behavior (he had a brady—an abnormally slow heart rate—just hours after Jayce left—which is in my opinion, quite related and could give confirmation to him having a broken heart that his brother was gone). At whatever rate, we didn't know that we'd be grateful for getting a chance to break in our new set of parenting skills on our 2nd born son. His first night home was spent tossing and turning, eating every 3 hours, and messing up diapers like it's his job, which of course, it is. He adjusted pretty well to living with us, and occasionally he'd cry really loud just to see if we were listening and would come and hold him, which of course, we were and we did.

Sometimes, we'd just pop in to see if he was still breathing, which we knew he was because we have this pretty amazing video monitor that lets us literally "see him when he's sleeping, and know when he's awake." (You started singing, didn't you? I knew you would) Now, yesterday (4.13.10) we got to bring home our first born son, Josiah for the first time. His transition was much easier, at least for him. He didn't squirm or fuss a whole lot, and slept quite comfortably in his new bed right next to his brother. We were up late feeding both of them, and last night was my first night actually getting up around 3 or 4 AM to help Jenni feed them. She's come to the conclusion that having one baby at home isn't really that difficult, but having two definitely turns this into a full time job, with the need for a part-time assistant. So, I'm the part-time assistant, and she's the full time Mom. Man, I LOVE my new boss. In an effort to make things easy on her assistant, she got up, changed Josiah, warmed up the bottle, and brought him to bed and gave him to me so I could feed him without hardly waking up, and then go right back to sleep after she put him back to bed. I have a sneaky suspicion that this won't always be the case, but I'm grateful for a first night homecoming where I get to be a full time Dad, and part time assistant.

By the way, my boys are ONE MONTH OLD TODAY! We may as well PARTY!

Monday, April 5, 2010

...not home yet

The boys are still in the NICU at St. Joe's, and are really healthy. We are waiting on them to jump over a final hurdle, which seems to be more like a roller coaster. They have to eat all of their food via the bottle at each feeding. The boys are sometimes on their game and are downing the food like hungry little gregg's at an all you can eat wing buffet, and sometimes, they are more like little mice trying to eat a mountain of cheese. Sometimes, they do well and eat it in no time flat, and sometimes they don't finish, and it seems to take forever for them to eat just more than half.

With that being said, we are still hopeful that they will come home soon. We are all ready for them with a few final touches to be placed on the nursery (thanks to Kristen and Nate), along with picking up a rocker/glider for mommy and daddy to rock them to sleep. The car seats are already in the car--the boys passed the car seat tests--and they got their hearing screens done already and passed with flying colors there, too. Now, we are on their schedule with when they will decide to eat.

My mom flew in today from South Carolina to see the boys for the first time, and she was ecstatic. We went straight from the airport to the hospital, and she held both of them and just rocked away. I know she's already feeling like it was 30 years ago and she was holding me and Nate in her arms. But now all she has to worry about is spoiling those little monkeys rotten, while we do the dirty work! I'm betting that YaYa will be the one to push them over the edge and make them eat--after all, she did a good job of fattening me and my brother up!

here's to hoping they come home soon,

one proud daddy <><

Monday, March 22, 2010

Coming Home

Thanks for your thoughts and prayers this past week as we experienced the most amazing moment in our adult lives—the birth of our boys. This past week has been filled with celebration, anxiety, stress, and a tremendous lack of sleep. The boys have been in the NICU at St. Joseph’s hospital since they made their appearance on March 14th. Jenni was discharged from the hospital Tuesday and we had to go home without them. We’ve spent most of our waking moments visiting them at the hospital and caring for them during their “care times” which occur at 3 hour intervals around the clock. We’ve gotten to check temperatures, change diapers, feed and hold the babies, and watch them sleep. The doctors and nurses have been amazed at their progress since they were born at 32 weeks. They are even anticipating that the boys will get to come home this week! With that on the horizon, will you continue to pray for their development and growth, their ability to drink their milk and gain weight, and that they are able to keep their temperature stable. These are all factors that will get them home sooner rather than later.

There is the possibility that Jayce would come home sooner, but we don’t want that. We are asking you to help us believe that God will get both boys to a place where they can come home together with Mom and Dad. Yesterday, we were able to put them next to each other for a few pictures and the most amazing thing happened. Jayce reached over and grabbed his brother’s hand and just held it. I kind of feel like he was saying “I’m not leaving without you!” .

Thankful for your prayers,

Gregg <><


Holding Hands

Thursday, March 18, 2010

diaper change

Today I had another fatherhood initiation by my son, Jayce. As I was burping him after feeding him a bottle, I felt a nice explosion in his diaper. I could totally feel the poo come out. I told Jenni that I knew that I'd have to change that one later. Well, at the 6 pm "care time" I went over to Jayce's incubator, and slowly and dreadfully opened the diaper to find the explosion mentioned earlier. After already experiencing him pee on me, I got wise to his game and placed a diaper wipe over his weenie. "I'll teach you," I thought. Well, he's obviously a little more cunning than me because as I was changing his poopy diaper and wiping the poo off, he decided to let some more poo out--on my hand! He just kept the flow comin' each time after I wiped him off. I couldn't believe it! After getting hip to his tactics, he totally pulls a fast one on me. I guess that daddy initiation isn't for the weak or squeemish. I'm surprised that I didn't throw up right there!

All in a daddy's day's work,
Gregg <><

Monday, March 15, 2010

kangaroo: the bonding experience

I got to hold my babies for the first time today. We went down to the NICU around 2:30 pm and found out it was about time to do their "care time" where we would be allowed to hold them, feed them, and eventually take temperature and change diapers. I asked if I could hold them, and they recommended that I do the "kangaroo hold" where they put him on skin to skin to bond with them. I heard that antibodies are transferred through the skin to help them fight illness, which is incredible! When she handed him to me and put him on my chest, I almost lost it! Feeling his tiny body being warmed by mine was the most amazing thing, and it melted my heart. I can't imagine what life would be like without them in it.

Around 9 pm tonight, we were around for another care time, where I got to hold Josiah and feed him. That too was amazing! To be around while he's learning what it's like to eat, suck, swallow, and breathe in a rhythmic motion was quite something to experience. After he was done, I just held his tiny body in my arms and stared at him.

We found out that both boys are starting to show a little jaundice, but Josiah has bilirubin levels that are higher than Jayce's and looks like they'll be doing a bit of phototherapy tomorrow. Their first tanning experience!

Being a Daddy is the best!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Latest on Baby Barbours

Being a new dad is hard to wrap my mind around, especially since I haven't been able to hold the boys' yet. Jenni and I are extremely ecstatic to have the boys welcomed to the world! I just spent about 30 minutes in the NICU taking photos of the boys, and they are so precious. Josiah is doing well and breathing on his own, while Jayce has a C-pap which is giving him a little support with oxygen. Jenni and I have gotten a bit of rest, and are excited to go and be with the boys for a while before we go back to sleep tonight.

Today was definitely one of the most memorable days of my life, and I can't even begin to imagine the momentous impact these guys will have on my as a Father. I never knew I could love a human being so much, and to imagine that the love our Heavenly Father has for us compares to this has changed my relationship with Him. I just want to watch them all the time, sing quietly over them while they sleep, and care for their every need. God does that for us on a level beyond our imagination. Zephaniah 3:17 WOW!

Stay tuned for more details on our boys, and visit my facebook for pics!

Welcoming Josiah and Jayce!!

After hours and hours of labor, and some intense pushing by my amazing Super Woman of a wife, we welcomed two beautiful baby boys into this world. God is totally on the throne and answered our prayers as we were in labor asking Him to help Jenni deliver without a C-Section. And she was amazing. I am trying so hard to fight back the tears even as I think about it! I LOVE MY AMAZING WIFE!

Josiah was born around 10:45 am, weighing in at 4 lbs. 9 oz, and Jayce came out at 10:51 weighing in at 4 lbs. 2 oz. They are both in the NICU, and Josiah is off of his oxygen, while Jayce is still getting some help breathing, but they are looking amazing!!!

Jenni and I are soooo exhausted and excited at the same time, and are requesting any visitors and phone calls to be put on hold until we can get some rest. Thanks for all your prayers, and your thoughts. We are so blessed by our Father in heaven!


the proudest Daddy and Husband in the world,

Gregg <><

babies on the way update #2

It's 3:30 and things are progressing right along now, and Jenni's water broke, and she's about 7 cm now, and contractions are about 4 minutes apart. Won't be long now! Once we are ready to push, we'll be moved to the Operating Room for her to deliver, just in case an emergency C-section is necessary. We are believing God will keep Jayce in position for birth after Josiah is born, and that he comes quickly right after his brother. I'm nervous, but confident, and am relying on the Spirit inside me to help Jenni get through this. She's been amazing so far! The advent is approaching!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

babies on the way update

The time has come: Jenni and I came to the hospital yesterday morning at 6:30 after timing contractions for an hour. When we got here, they monitored her and the babies, and then gave her a drug called procardia to slow down the labor. Her cervix wasn't changing, so they moved us to another room to wait it out. At about 9 pm on March 13th, she went into labor with her cervix starting to dilate. I'm sitting in the Labor and Delivery room while she is trying to rest after getting her epidural (Thank God!) and waiting for labor to progress. Her water broke at about 11:30, so things are moving along quickly. I, however, saw a stretch of nerves come in after Jenni stabilized with the epidural and felt the need to lose my dinner, which I promptly did. Still a little sick to my stomach, and can't really sleep or rest. Now, we wait. The babies are almost 33 weeks along, which can come with its own set of complications, but we reject conventional wisdom and rely on a higher source of knowledge and strength, believing God to take care of these boys, their lung development, breathing when they come out, and the ability to get their nutrition from Mommy. I wanted to give you all an update, and thank you for your many prayers. I'll keep the updates coming as I have time, so keep an eye on this blog.

Soon to be Daddy,
Gregg <><

Monday, January 11, 2010

a new you for a new year

Every year we are faced with opportunity. Opportunity for a fresh start at a new year. A time where we can look back at our previous year and our previous goals and evaluate what went well and what didn't. As I looked back on last year I was met with joy, excitement, frustration, and disappointment as many days were filled with the gambit of emotions. At the beginning of 2009 I hadn't put much thought into my goals other than I wanted to lose weight and get fit—that's on everyone's list, right? Which is why the gym is WAY too crowded in January, and by March it's back to normal. Last year, I missed my weight goal by 5 pounds when I was at my fittest since high school. Now that I've been eating for three along with my wife, I'm 20 pounds off my former weight goal. That was my only goal for the new year of '09, and by May I was right on target to hit it, and maintained from then until about October.

    I turned 30 in December, and as I'm creeping up the hill I am resolute to accomplish my goals and be the absolute BEST version of myself that I can be. I know my 30th year is going to be the best one of my life for a multitude of reasons, but I also know that it's going to take a lot of work—blood, sweat, and tears. Nothing that is worth accomplishing is easy. I've spent more time thinking through my resolutions this year than I have in all my previous years, and I WILL accomplish my goals. In fact, at this point in January, things look promising. I've already put a big fat check mark on one of my financial goals—paying off our credit card this year. We are now free from credit card debt thanks to Financial Peace and Dave Ramsey, and we couldn't be more thrilled. Now that's a HUGE check mark!

    Among my goals, I intend to be physically healthy, spiritually mature, intellectually wealthy, financially sound, and pastorally strong. There's a myriad of goals in those categories that I'm still journeying through, but I AM resolute. Among the challenges of reaching these goals, I also have the challenge of figuring out how to be a dad—how to be a great dad. Challenges are quite often met with opposition, but this one will also be met with great joy, and the number one reason that my 30th year will be the BEST year of my life. I welcome opposition. I welcome challenge. I will overcome.

    The opportunities to recreate yourself are endless, and you are capable of it at any point in the year, and at any point in your life. Don't just jump on the bandwagon of goals and resolutions because others are doing it, but because you realize that there are opportunities for growth in your own life. God loves you too much to let you stay the way you are. He is constantly at work in your life—Philippians 1:6, "being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." His work will never be done in your life and in mine; the process of sanctification will continue until you meet Christ.

    I guess I could be labeled a "Construction Zone" because I am a work in progress. The work this year is going to be done more often, more swiftly, and more promptly as I am more open to growing exponentially now than I ever have been.