Thursday, January 31, 2008
India Part 1
After visiting India a few weeks ago, I was required to write a 10 page reflection paper on the experience as it pertains to Servant Leadership in order to gain full credit for the class I was taking. I have decided to go ahead and post the paper here since I really do feel that it sums up a lot of what I learned on this trip. Hopefully you will enjoy it. It's hard to say exactly how much this trip has impacted my life because I am sure that even later in life I will still be learning lessons from it.
Biblical and Theological Foundation of Christian Servant Leadership
Christ’s relationships with the Father and the Spirit preceded his kenosis, or self giving love which is found in the story of His incarnation, death and resurrection. Philippians 2:5-8 states,
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death on the cross.”
Paul admonishes me to put on the mind of Christ. This can only be done if my life is grounded in constant relationship with Christ. How am I to have the mind of Christ if I am not in daily communion with Him? To believe that I can have a servant’s heart without knowing the servant of all servants would be utterly foolish.
It is true that the “trinitarian circle where the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit indwell and are indwelt by one another is open, not closed.” Continuing to use the model of the Trinity for ministry leads me to believe that not only should my personal life be indwelt by Christ, but I should dwell and be indwelt by my fellow believers or even those who I am attempting to serve. By this I mean that I need to humbly ask Christ to give me the ability to let down my personal defenses. Put another way, I need to live my life as an open book. As a human being I have a tendency to put up barriers which stifles and snuffs out relationships. Through prayer and communion I believe these barriers can be consumed by the love of God so that healthy, fruitful relationships will be born. Now, if these human relationships are truly Trinitarian in nature then they will also be bathed in a natural outflow of giving and receiving. Selfish tendencies will be put on hold and selflessness will be the rule of the day every day.
This is not to say that I, as a minister, am called to give free reign or control of my life to those I am ministering to. The Father, Son and Spirit should always possess the controls of my life. Again, Christ proves to be the righteous example of this. The Gospels are full of instances where Christ is seen retreating from the crowds so that He could be filled and renewed by intimate fellowship with His Father in Heaven. If He had allowed the crowds, or even the Disciples, to dictate His schedule then they would have run Him ragged. This may be a stretch, but even He might not have had energy enough to fully function with a true servant’s heart. I too must learn the discipline of retreat. Retreating from dire situations gives a chance for much needed reflection. This reflection and meditation helps to renew both the body and spirit. It also allows for a freshness and renewed vigor to be pumped into the life of the work being done. Without retreat there is always the constant threat of an overwhelming feeling of despair, loneliness, depression and finally utter defeat. I pray that God gives me the foresight to know when it is time to take a retreat on a daily, weekly, monthly, and even yearly basis.
Lastly, servant leadership shows a genuine care and concern for the other. I must find a way to recognize my own faults and failures and not blame them on others. Recognizing my faults and failures and attributing them to me allows me to humanize the other. By humanizing the other I can then begin to form an intimate relationship with them. Forming an intimate relationship frees me to genuinely care for their needs and concerns. It frees me to serve without expecting compensation and this freedom gives me the willingness to “put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering” so that I can bear “with one another” and forgive “one another.” Above all, I can begin to love with the pure love of Christ.
 Seamands, Stephen. Ministry in the Image of God: the Trinitarian Shape of Christian Service.
 Radmacher, Earl D. The Nelson Study Bible: New King James Version.
 Seamonds, pg. 145
 Arbinger, Institute. Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box.
 NKJV, Colossians 3:12, 13 pg. 2016
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Put 'Em Up
My nephew was gettin' fresh so I had to show him what's up. You can see more pictures of Micah here.
Friday, January 18, 2008
Baby Buckey Picture Week 16 (Now 18)
This was taken just before I left to go to India. (Thank you to Dru for keeping you all posted by the way. I think she would be pretty good at this here blog thing don't you?) We'll take another one in two weeks. Dru and I have an appointment this morning at 10:30. It is our 18 week check up. I don't think that there will be an ultrasound to find out the sex this week but if there is I will certainly keep you posted.
Oh yeah, just so you know, there is already a difference in Dru's tummy from this picture till now. I noticed when I got home two days ago. It's a bit surreal but definitely cute.
I put the other picture on just cause I like it!
Thursday, January 17, 2008
First of Several
P.S.-If you have a facebook I have posted all of the pictures I took on the trip. You can look at them there.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
REPORT FROM INDIA -- relief!
In the meantime, thank you for praying. Your offerings to God and His grace have allowed Adam to complete this journey in one piece. Love to you all.
Sunday, January 13, 2008
REPORT FROM INDIA -- phone call #6
REPORT FROM INDIA -- text message
While Adam's been gone, God has reminded me of an important lesson. The first time He made me realize this was about six months before we were married. Now that we've spent the last three and a half years together, He knew I needed to be reminded of one of His truths.
Let me begin by saying I dreaded Adam's departure. I knew that this was an amazing opportunity and that we needed to make whatever sacrifices necessary to provide for him to go to India, but my selfish heart desperately wanted him home with me. I had already played through all the horrible possibilities -- even thinking about having to raise our child alone. God has never lifted His protection from us, and yet I allowed myself to consider all the what-ifs, completely disregarding the power of the Holy Spirit.
Well, instead of teaching me a lesson, worthy of my behavior and lack of faith, that included two weeks of misery, self-pity, and tears, God decided to extend His grace once again in my life. I have spent the past 12 days with friends, at work, and at class. I haven't been sick, I haven't cried (since I left the airport), and I haven't once had bitter feelings towards the class that Adam's been experiencing. I've felt safe in my home by myself, and have worshiped with my church family without my spouse.
It's been a wonderful opportunity for me to remember that Adam doesn't provide my safety. Although he may act as God's instrument in doing so, the safety does not come from him. Adam does not allow me to find joy in my life. I'm blessed to share joy with him, but that joy comes from the Holy One who created both of us. Adam is not the reason I am on this earth, and his approval is not what drives me every day.
I'm sure to any of you readers, this is not a new concept. However, from the perspective of a 26 year old, it remains an overwhelming comfort and mystery. Before he left, Adam and I were discussing how difficult it is to accept a compliment, because we realize the only reason we accomplish anything is because God allows us to and gives us the means to do so. In light of that discussion, I wanted to take this opportunity to give glory to God's grace and mercy and the effect it has had in my life recently.
Thank you, Holy One, for continuing to journey with me. Thank you for showing me Your mercy. Thank you for protecting my sweet husband. Please continue to protect him as he travels home this week. Please continue to look past my countless downfalls and fuel the servant that lingers somewhere within.
Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.
Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.
Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me. AMEN.
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
REPORT FROM INDIA -- phone call #5
Adam's voice sounded tired, but he said that he felt fine. Although he didn't get sick during the past 24 hours, he had to spend the whole day in bed getting his strength back. He's eager to get to work with the children, students, and teachers there. While he was sick in bed, several of the kids kept asking Ryan, "Where is Adam?" :)
Thank you for the continued prayers, and please add Ryan and their other sick classmates to your thoughts.
Dustin and Matthew -- I remembered to give him your message this time!
Monday, January 07, 2008
REPORT FROM INDIA -- phone calls #3 and #4
The next phone call I got was a little before 9 this evening, which was 7:30 am their time. Ryan told me Adam was doing much better and that he had been able to sleep through the night without being ill. He still hadn't eaten anything, but the nausea was tapering off. Then he handed the phone to Adam so I could talk to him myself. He sounded tired and weak, but I could tell he was beginning to feel better -- he had a hopeful voice. He said he was lucky to be feeling better already because another guy from their class had been sick since the 2nd day they got there. Obviously, we only spoke for about a minute or so, but it was wonderful to hear him. I asked him to have Ryan call me if he began to get sick again, so hopefully I won't hear from them anytime soon!
I apologize to Dustin and Matthew -- I was too busy asking him about dehydration and telling him that he's been covered with prayer, and I forgot to give him your message... However, I'll remember it next time.
Thank you all for praying for Adam, and for me, during his trip. Oh! Please note that Adam doesn't want me to tell him who wins the championship game tonight. I'm taping it for him and he wants to find out himself. So, if you discover that you're tempted to share the news either in a blog comment, email, or voice mail, please respect his wishes and keep it under your hat! If nothing else, do it for my sake. The only time he's tough to live with is when he's disappointed about something pertaining to Ohio State. On that note -- Go Bucks! I hope they slaughter LSU.
Sunday, January 06, 2008
REPORT FROM INDIA -- phone calls #1 and #2
I've already been blessed to hear his voice twice! I was hoping to get two phone calls total, so receiving two in 5 days is more than wonderful. The first one came Thursday night during the 4 hour bus ride from the India airport to the place where they're staying. The conversation was about 2 minutes long. I could tell Adam was tired, but hanging in there. He had been traveling since noon the previous day, so I was relieved he was only a few hours away from a place to rest. The only report from that phone call was that they had arrived safely in India and were almost at their destination.
This morning, I was thrilled to hear from him again. We were able to talk for 3 1/2 minutes this time, and he had much more to share. He said he was in no danger of losing weight, because they're being fed very well. I asked about the food, and he said they're American-izing it by not making it as spicy as they normally would. Apparently it's tasty and filling. They have toilets indoors to use, as long as they get a bucket of water to flush it, so there's no discomfort there. He said it's kind of like camp.
So far he's been given two nicknames. Some of the kids call him "Donnie" after the captain of the India cricket team, who he apparently resembles, and there's a lady who calls him "Satina" which means the strong one. :) I immediately thought of the movie "The Count of Monte Cristo" where the main character is given the nickname "Satara" which means driftwood. ... I think Adam has the better of the two.
Anyway, he sounded very happy and energized. Earlier that day he helped lead the music during worship, and our buddy Ryan Strebeck gave the message. I'm sure the two of them will continue to help during worship throughout the next week and a half.
Obviously, I miss him more than I can say, but I'm grateful that God has given him this opportunity to serve other people and learn from them in the process. Please continue to pray with me for his safety and his spirit, along with the other students and their professor.
(On a side note, we are in week 16 of our pregnancy -- according to one of the books the doctor gave us, Baby Buckeye's fingerprints will begin to develop this week. !!! It's both amazing and a little freaky that the identity of our child is being formed by God right this very moment. Adam took a picture of my stomach at 4 months before we left to take him to the airport, but I'm not very blog savvy...so that won't get posted until he returns. The doctor says we should know if it's a boy or a girl sometime soon, so we'll share that big news as soon as we find out.)