Monday, March 29, 2010


Here is some video from this year's Aimapalooza!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Your Garage Door Is Open

I John 3: 19-20 “This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.”

Have you ever had the experience where you’re driving to work and you suddenly have the thought, “Did I close the garage door?”

If this happens, and you live alone, it can be especially worrisome because there is no one to go check for you. You basically have to wonder about it all day, and if you’re like me, all of the worst case scenarios begin to bombard your brain. The only real way to get your mind to rest is to find out for sure. Either you have to go see for yourself, or you have to find someone to go check for you.

I lived most of my life having that, “Did I close the garage door?” feeling. Only it was a lot more serious. I wasn’t worried about my house getting broken into and losing some of my possessions. I was worried about not really knowing God’s will, not doing what God wanted me to do, not being good enough, pure enough … and losing my soul. I was worried that my garage door was open and someone was going to see all the things I had worked so hard to hide. This is the kind of worry that makes it impossible to clear your mind and just rest. It makes it impossible to breathe.

I felt this even more when I was “on the field”. I mean, surely if you’ve chosen to do mission work then those “thoughts” you can’t get rid of … those feelings that creep up without warning, those things that rob your soul of rest; must count double on your list of sins against God, right?

I struggled with this so much, that when I came back from the field I eventually just exhausted myself. I couldn’t quit torturing myself with guilt, and the sleepless nights took their toll. I finally just gave up.

I wish now that I had spent more time talking about these feelings. But I always felt there was this unspoken rule that you just didn’t talk about these things. Thankfully, God led me to a place where we do talk about these things, and we talk about them every time we get together. Nothing is off limits. It’s amazing to watch hearts begin to find rest that haven’t rested in a long time.

The greatest lessons I’ve learned seem a little silly now. They seem silly because I let such common things dominate my life for so long … let them lead me away from all that was good and holy. If I had only spoken up and let someone know. I would have found out that my struggles are not unique, nor are my questions. The uncontrollable thoughts are not sin. Wondering and questioning are not sin. Our struggles are not new … just secret. Someone has to speak first … someone has to let the secret out so the next person knows they are not alone. Someone has to let people in their garage to see that it’s full of the same stuff as everyone else.

Knowing that God is bigger than all my doubts, fears, thoughts, feelings, and secrets … gives me rest. Knowing His size and strength helps me give these things to Him to battle. He can win against them when I can’t.

And, best of all, when my heart tells me that I’ve left the garage door open and someone is going to see the real me, I don’t have to panic. I can know that God knows it all already and He loves me anyway. He doesn’t love me if I’m good, or because I’m pure … He loves me no matter what. Now that’s a thought I can rest in.

- Paige Foreman

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Joseph as a missionary- I want to slap you!

It amazes me sometimes how we gauge ourselves. I was talking to a young guy once who told me just what a failure he was in ministry. "I don't have any baptisms, I'm not making an impact, I'm wasting people's time and money." Honestly, a part of me wanted to reach across the table to slap him back into place. I wanted to grab him by the shoulders and say, "You're twenty-two! Grow up and start acting like you're not so grown up!" That's right... you heard me... I wanted to tell a twenty-two year old that he was focusing his eyes in the wrong direction, trying too hard to be the "him of the future" and not God's man for today.

I'll tell you, sometimes we just think far too much of ourselves. We get in mind exactly what it is to be a Christian, how many hours of study, how many baptisms, how much growth we are supposed to see in ourselves and others, and we find ourselves depressed and overwhelmed. You know why? Because we want to be finished products before we even get started! So, we covet the ministries of others and we lust for spirituality that God has not yet granted us. We often become an idol unto ourselves, forgetting the creator and worshiping our own selves, desiring to take a greater seat at a "grown-up table" that we are not yet prepared for. No wonder so many young ministers and missionaries lack self-control in so many areas of life. Self is always on our minds, even when we are talking about God. We can be completely selfish.

Joseph could have lived his life like a guy with a dream. He could have lived life like a guy who was supposed to be something better, something greater. However, at some point, Joseph grew up and started rolling with the punches. He stopped asking himself, "How can I be the guy that everybody will one day bow down to?" and he started turning towards God as his source of strength. That's how Joseph survived temptation in Potipher's house. Not by focusing so much on himself and his strength, but considering his Lord and God. Had Joseph been selfish, he would have given in to sin for sure. However, Joseph learned in humility and integrity to become reliant on his God always (Genesis 39). Not to live for a future dream, but to live in the moment for God. To be content with God today and not to just keep looking in the mirror all of the time.

One day, I expect you will be something great. I hope and pray for you that you find yourself reading lots of scripture, winning lots of souls, and wasting no one's time. Until then, start to fall in love with the God of the universe. Humble yourself before him and live a life of integrity. And one day, following your daily devotional or after sharing Jesus with a friend, you will remember today and you will laugh, knowing that you are no longer reading and sharing for the sake of self or others, but for the love of God.

Micah 6: 7 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? 8 He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

-Chris Johnson

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Tulsa Workshop & Aimapalooza

Dear fellow AIM Alumni,

I wanted to personally invite everyone to the Tulsa Workshop, which is coming up on March 24-27. We’re going to begin on Wednesday night(which is a new aspect) at the Pavilion and we will end with a final session on Saturday beginning at 4pm. I am genuinely excited about the speakers we have lined up and wanted to note a few that share a connection to your heritage as an AIM student. Craig Hicks(AIM ’86), Tim Rush(’90) and I(’92) are going to speak. Also, many of you will recognize Mike Tanaro and Eli Hooper, who have been part of dozens of Camp Adventures, as well as Trey Morgan, who preached in Tulia, TX(on of our area churches) for several years. On Saturday, Misty (Kirkley) Algaier’s(‘97) husband, Sean, will speak, sharing from his experience of being on last season’s Biggest Loser on NBC. This is in addition to Terry Rush, Jeff Walling, Patrick Mead and many others who are extremely encouraging and challenging speakers. You can find the full schedule at

Even more exciting to me is what happens on Friday night beginning after the evening keynote(Mike Cope). All AIM alumni are invited to be part of AIMapalooza. This event was begun out of sheer sadness. I was so sad that every year I would bump in to so many alumni and not have any time to really talk to them. We initially were going to do it at our house, but it quickly outgrew it so we have been meeting at the Memorial Drive Church of Christ building in the upstairs area. AIMapalooza is a very casual event where 40-70 of us eat and drink (whatever items that we all bring), sing, and visit, visit, visit. We officially wrap up around 11:30, but you can stay as long as the conversation lasts. It is such an encouraging event and this year we are thrilled to share with you a few of the things we’ve been working on with the AIM Alumni Association. This group is a grass roots effort to help AIM graduates come off the field with more support, information and encouragement so that their transitions can be smoother and healthier for them spiritually and emotionally. This effort is slow-going(since we all have full-time jobs), but continues to progress and, in time, we hope to offer some concrete help that will be a great blessing.

So, if at all possible, please join us at Workshop and AIMapalooza this year. If you have any questions about either, just let me know. We can’t wait to see you!

Jason Thornton

Monday, March 1, 2010


Confession: Sometimes I pretend that I’ve read a book when I’ve only read the dustcover.

It’s hard not to be a poser. And it’s hard to let go of wanting to be more than what I am.

Richard Foster, who is best known for his book Celebration of Discipline, talks about spiritual formation with a great affinity. If that terminology is new to you, it’s only a phrase that describes what happens in any life that endeavors to be formed into the image of Jesus Christ. Foster longs for how Christianity could be manifested in our world. “I dream of a day when spiritual formation has so saturated all who follow hard after Jesus that they become known to all as experts in how to live well.” That would make YOU the resident expert on how to love your spouse or children or how to manage money, how to love the least, how to suffer through hardship…

The problem is, some people want to be these experts (or write or speak as such) without having a substantial amount of spiritual formation in their lives to back it up. The result is what Foster calls “Holy Baloney.” And when those who are looking for Christ encounter it so much, it becomes harder to distinguish true Christianity from pseudo-Christianity.

I’ve certainly been guilty of wanting to appear more spiritual than I am. AIM is one of the highlights of my spiritual formation journey. But I admit being tempted to keep up with the spiritual Joneses. And on the mission field, I remember wanting to frame our newsletters in such a way to show we were always on the verge of baptizing someone. Then I felt like as an ex-AIMer, I should be able to ace all Bible trivia questions and should fit neatly into mainstream Christianity…

Look, people want the real deal. Most can recognize when someone’s posing. They sense whether or not you really care about them or if you just want to close the deal with baptism. They are keen to pick up on ulterior motives. They take note of those who talk big and seem to have all the answers.

Being an expert at something doesn’t mean being perfect. In fact, most experts agree that being an expert doesn’t come without years of research and failures in their field.

So, wherever you are in your spiritual formation journey, you are exactly where you should be.

Because the best way for you to be Jesus is for you to just be yourself.

-Angie Burns