Why We Love Zanesville – Blackhand Gorge

It is hard to believe but we’ve been Zanesville residents for over a year now. This year has gone by so fast. It has been a packed full 365 days in my new role as Lead Minister at North Terrace. Before we moved here I was talking with a neighbor of mine in Orlando who didn’t have a lot of good things to say about moving to Ohio but I am certainly glad we didn’t allow her opinion to taint our perspective. This place has quickly become home for us so I thought I would take some time to blog about what we love about living in the Zanesville area.

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Our 1st day in Zanesville (May, 2013)

So in no particular order, I will start with a place we just discovered for ourselves yesterday…Blackhand Gorge State Nature Preserve

A sabbath is not only a good thing but we were made to need them. It was Janie’s idea for us to spend Memorial Day exploring Blackhand Gorge which is only about 15 minutes from our front door. So we packed up the boys’ bikes and our cooler and hit the trails. Check out the photos below for more from our trailblazing, rock skipping trek. 

There’s a lot to love about living where we live but this place is definitely high on the list. Can’t wait to have more adventures with my crew here. Looking forward to sharing many other things we love about Zanesville. 

I’d be interested to hear in the comments below from those of you who have lived here A LOT longer than we have and what you love about this place. Is Blackhand Gorge on your list?

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He Said, She Said

This past Sunday I shared the stage with Janie as we kicked off the “He Said, She Said” series at North Terrace. One of our core values at NT is one more family strengthened so this series is meant to build up God-honoring marriages.

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I love this girl more every day and I’ve learned so much from her through our marriage. I was thrilled for the opportunity for others to get the chance to learn from her too. Here’s the video from Sundays message.

February 16 Worship Message from North Terrace Church of Christ on Vimeo.

Jackson for President

It is “P” week in the Mehaffey house and mommy is teaching Chase and Jackson about the Presidents of the United States. I wish we still lived close enough to Walt Disney World to go to The Hall of Presidents attraction at the Magic Kingdom (and to escape the current subzero temperatures in Ohio) but instead we are holding an election for President.

I just received this email from Janie:

The first candidate for President of the Mehaffey States has officially declared his campaign. See attached propaganda. It’s going to be a tough race.

PS He wants me to tell you he loves you. How’s that for persuasion?

Jackson Campaign

I love his campaign slogan. If Jackson really was elected President he would seriously play Disney Infinity non-stop and make his chief-of-staff run the country.

Can’t wait to see Chase’s election campaign take shape. But how in the world do I vote for only one? It’s not like I live in Chicago.

Update:
I tweeted out Jackson’s photo to let @DisneyInfinity know about Jackson’s campaign slogan…
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And @DisneyInfinity responded:
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ACLU vs. East Muskingum Schools – How Followers of Jesus Should Respond

The Ohio chapter of the ACLU is threatening a potential lawsuit against the East Muskingum Local Schools if they don’t remove a portrait of Jesus that has hung in the school hallways for decades to memorialize a teacher who passed away. The school board will meet tonight to determine the appropriate action. (Here are the links to the news stories from the Columbus Dispatch and the Zanesville Times Recorder.)

The ACLU may win and mark it up as another victory for “freedom.”

They can have the painting, if you ask me. (Not exactly the response you were expecting from a minister of the North Terrace Church of CHRIST, was it?)

Let me explain.

Here’s how we as followers of Jesus should respond.

The teenage Christ-followers who walk the hallways of John Glenn High (as well as Zanesville, Tri-Valley, Philo, Maysville, etc.) should respond by displaying compassion and kindness to their peers who are treated as outcasts. They should be pursuers of peace and defenders of the bullied and the oppressed. In their studies, they ought to work at it with all their heart, as working for the Lord. They should show respect for their teachers and be seekers of knowledge and godly wisdom.

The educators and school officials in our region who love Jesus, they should respond by being on their knees, praying for the students every morning before they arrive. Their uncanny patience and unexplainable willingness to serve the students should be their identifying mark.

Christian parents, our response should be waking up to our God-given responsibility to pastor our children and teach them to love the Lord with all their heart, with all their soul, with all their strength and with all their mind. Our response should result in our kids seeing our commitment to Jesus in real and relevant ways.

All of us should respond by devouring God’s Word daily as He speaks to us through His living and active book. We should respond through prayer for our community, our leaders, our educators, our students. We should respond by gathering together in our Bible-believing and Jesus-loving churches so we can be challenged, encouraged and celebrate the work God is doing in our corner of the world.

Legislate public prayer out of school. Take down the Ten Commandments from our houses of justice. Take the portrait of Jesus. Truth is, no man, no organization, no man-made law can stop the power of God working through his people who are in Christ Jesus.

Imagine with me for a minute. What if the thousands upon thousands of people (children, teens and adults) who are disciples of Jesus in our area responded in the way I just described?

There would be no need for an artist’s rendition of Jesus hanging on our school’s walls.

The real thing would be walking the halls.

A Letter to Jackson: On Your 4th Birthday

Photo Oct 17, 9 04 22 PMHappy birthday Jack Jack!!!

This is the birthday you have been longing for! Sixteen year olds can’t wait to get their drivers license. Twenty-five year olds look forward to their car insurance rates going down. You’ve been counting down the days until you were four so you could battle Darth Vader at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Now you just have to wait a little bit longer until our December vacation.

There is so much about you that I love, it is impossible to convey it all in a blog post (or in a lifetime for that matter). I not only admire the uniqueness God has created in you but how you have embraced it at such an early age.

For instance, you are the most committed kid I’ve ever known. When you find something you like, you are ALL IN. Every year I interview you and Chase before your birthdays to find out what your favorite things are. With Chase I never know what he’s going to say cause he dabbles in lots of things but with you I know exactly what you are going to say.

You ALWAYS want to fight with lightsabers. (I’m warning you again Vader).

You ALWAYS want to play Disney Infinity.

You ALWAYS want a Coke Icee.

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You’re also committed to healthy foods which is really impressive! You are the only kid I know who goes to Subway and orders an adult salad with lettuce, cheese, extra tomatoes, cucumbers and NO DRESSING. You never want ketchup, you never want sauces of any kind — you have zero tolerance for dips…except for chips and salsa. In contrast your brother would dip YOU in ranch dressing if given the chance. Yesterday I took you and Chase on a daddy/sons dinner date to Buffalo Wild Wings and while Chase and I pounded down the chicken wings you were content with celery, mandarin oranges and french fries (I didn’t say that everything you eat is healthy… just most of it).

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Jackson, you bring joy to so many people. There is something so special about you that makes people smile when you walk into the room. This has been the case since we met you in Taiwan back when you were 7 months old, but the new thing is now you’ve started noticing it and I think you kind of like the attention.

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In my very first “Letter to Jackson” blog post I wrote, “You were born to be center stage.” I had no idea how prophetic those words were.

A few months ago at the Child Dedication Service at our church we had so many families who wanted to commit to raising their kids under God’s way we couldn’t fit everyone on stage. We ended up lining up in front of the stage on the main floor. As your mother and I held you and Chase during the service I could tell you were mad about something and then you said, “I’m mad cause I wanted to be on the stage!” 

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Well, last week you made your onstage debut. You came out dressed as Mr. Incredible and helped get the word out about the upcoming Fall Festival to our friends at the North Terrace Church. When I asked what you were going to do with the invitation in your hand you proceeded to melt every heart in the auditorium when you said, “I’m giving it to my friends who live next door…cause I love them.” Jack Jack that made me so proud. But seriously, can you please take off the Mr. Incredible costume? You’ve worn it for like two weeks straight and we still need it for Trick or Treating. (Remember what I said about you being ALL IN?)

DSC_2426Needless to say, little man,  you are going to be a four year old with a lot of flair. And I wouldn’t want it any other way.

I still can’t believe I get to be your daddy. Happy Birthday.

I love you, buddy.

Your Dad