Daily it seems that these words cross my mind. Something else, going wrong, unexpected, tragic, discouraging. In those moments hope seems to fade. My response is to create my own reality. I tell myself that it won’t last, or it isn’t really THAT bad. It’s not biblical…well not until now.
Romans 8:19 “For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are.”
This verse is sandwiched in a passage where Paul laments the damnable position of all mankind. He points out that even creation is suffering because of everything gone wrong. But he does not draw a wholly negative picture. There is the anticipation of a future glory. A day when all is as it was intended and should be.
In his commentary on this passage, William Barclay summarizes the situation like this:
“The Christian is involved in the human situation. Within he must battle with his own evil human nature; without he must live in a world of death and decay. Nonetheless, the Christian does not live only in the world; he also lives in Christ. He does not see only the world; he looks beyond it to God. He does not see only the consequences of man’s sin; he sees the power of God’s mercy and love. Therefore, the keynote of the Christian life is always hope and never despair. The Christian waits, not for death, but for life.” (emphasis added)
As a Christian, by faith I accept that God has redeemed me through Christ Jesus. This redemption is not complete until I am able to enter into God’s presence. And so while the world all around me seems to fall apart, I take heart in a different reality.* A reality that will bring hope from despair. A reality that is only found in Christ.
(*Qualifiers: 1. My life is difficult, but not falling apart…it just seems like it sometimes. 2. Denial of reality can lead to unhealthy views of oneself and situation. Denial must be balanced carefully by an honest assessment of whatever your situation might be. Are you contributing to the downward spiral by not owning up to your part of the problem(s)? Overall our attitude and outlook should be positive and hopeful. We know how it all ends and who wins.)
A quick note about this series of photos. If you haven’t heard, we have experienced a wide extreme of weather here in Tulsa over the past month and a half. I think this series of photos encapsulates those swings quite nicely. I hope you enjoy!
My mother-in-law is a Master Gardner. Which basically means that when it comes to gardening, she can beat up your mother-in-law. It also means that she keeps some pretty amazing gardens at her house. I’ve watched her over the years transform various areas of the yard into beautiful landscaped pieces of art. It’s a lot of hard work.
It’s fall now and you can tell everything is in a natural state of decline. Some of the flowers are still blooming, but get lost in the piles of leaves or dying plants. It is a shame to see all that hard work begin to fade away. I realized that there are two seasons that you really get to enjoy the beauty of all the work put into a garden. In the spring the aesthetic beauty is amazing and in the summer the fruit is just as tasty.
You’ve probably heard people talk about the seasons of life. Well I have realized that not only is it important and beneficial to identify those seasons, but to also enjoy them. Right now for me I am in a season of harvest particularly with my “career”. There have been so many summers and winters spent cultivating, weeding and sowing. Now the fruit is beginning to be harvested. Just as much as I want to enjoy harvesting the fruits of my labor I want to enjoy being in this season. I know that it will end. There will be another transition. Another season of tilling the ground in preparation of a new crop.
But before I get there.
Breathe in. Breathe out.
Soak up the scenery. Enjoy the moment.
What season are you in? How can you enjoy the moment, even if it is difficult?
I realized this morning that I don’t like referring to my work as “my job”. Job now has the connotation of forced labor. I’m one of the lucky ones that has a calling. As Media Director at Literacy and Evangelism International I spend at least 60% of my time focused on things that I am passionate about and are areas of strength for me.
But this isn’t about me and my awesome “job”.
I realize that there are many people in my life who have invested in me and helped me learn about myself and God’s design for me.
So, like a winner at the Oscars, here is my acceptance speech:
“First, I would like to thank my parents and my family. They have always been a source of love and encouragement. My dad has taught me the value of hard work and not feeling sorry for yourself when things get tough. My mom has shown me what grace and hospitality are all about. My brothers and sister who are always so much fun to hang out with have taught me the value of family love and care. My extended family who have accepted me and trusted me to make decisions about moving their daughter and sister (and granddaughter and niece) away from her home. I would like to thank Mike Miller as a long time friend and mentor. Mike took me on my first international mission trip and since then has continually invested in me as a leader. I would like to thank The Heart Church who has been so gracious to allow me the space and time to focus in on my strengths discovering more specifically what it is that God has called me to. I would like to thank Dave Jewitt and Your One Degree for guiding me and spending so much time and caffeine on helping me to discover God’s specific DESIGN. And of course, thanks to my wife Missy and my daughter Eve, who have been my source of inspiration and perseverance. It is because of you two that I want to be the best that I can be! Thanks for all your love.”
As the music starts up and the announcer starts to talk over me…
“And of course I’d like to thank Jesus Christ who is the One who makes all things possible…”
How would your acceptance speech go?
Thought I’d share a few recent pics.
Yes. Official it is. I will be leaving my position at The Heart Church to become the Media Director at Literacy and Evangelism International. LEI is a mission organization founded on teaching people how to read using scripture in their own language. I will start at LEI on June 1.
Am I excited? Yes!
Am I nervous about fundraising for this new position? I am confident that this is what God is calling me to and I am confident that he will supply everything we need.
Is it hard leaving The Heart? Yes and no. Yes it is going to be hard to no longer officially be on staff and to give that up. The great thing about this job is that LEI is located here in Tulsa so we do not have to move and we will still be able to attend The Heart.
What will I be doing? As Media Director, obviously a lot of media related work. This is a new position for them and a first for me so alot of this will be learned on the job. Making video content will be high on the list as well as other website and social media. Another priority will be digitizing alot of what LEI already had in place in terms of training. So I’ll be editing and post a lot of video training on the internet. Since LEI works around the world I’ll also have opportunity to travel and share stories of what God is doing through LEI and other partners to further the Gospel.
Do you need support? Yes. We will need lots of help in making this happen and we are in the process of putting together a game plan. If you can’t wait, no problem. Let me know and I’ll get all the information to you necessary. (LEI is a non-profit 501(c)3 so your donations will be tax deductable. Chances are you will be hearing from me personally in the very near future so go ahead and ask God what He wants you to do.
What does Missy think? She’s super excited! We have come to this decision together and are committed to tackling this transition together.
What does Eve think? She’s happy. This change won’t affect her too much directly though I may have to travel a little more.
What about Niger and missions at The Heart? Great question. I still plan on being involved in missions at The Heart and as much as I can provide leadership and vision for this ministry. I am keeping my commitment to the Board of Hosanna as well and look to continue furthering the cause of HIS in Niger.
So there you have it. For some of you this might be a surprise and if you have any other questions please do not hesitate to give me a call, drop me a line or simply leave a comment!
Even though today is Free Tea Day at your local McAlister’s Deli I chose to drink the Kool Aid. Not just sip it but tip the jug and chug! For me drinking the Kool Aid is reading the latest news about controversial events or reading all the blog posts about what’s right and wrong with the Church.
It gets my blood pumping.
It focuses my mind.
It makes me feel engaged and intellectual.
The end result though is devastating. I get mad. I think I’ve got all the answers. My spirit rises on the wings of my arrogant thoughts and knowledge. I have to remind myself that our battle is not against flesh and blood. I’ve got to focus the battle against me. Not the events and news happening 1000 miles away. Not the rantings of some anonymous or not so anonymous blogger. Its me and every selfish desire that places me above all else. The cure is not blissful ignorance (I will still be keeping up on current events, probably cutting back on the number of blogs I read though). The cure, I think, for me is to slow down. Think more. Talk less. Respond less. I don’t know.
What Kool Aid have you been drinking lately? What’s your cure?