Thursday, February 28, 2008
Baby Buckeye 24 Weeks
Actually got Dru to smile on this one. This is the little guy at 24 weeks now. Dru and I have been moving furniture around in preparation for the big day in June. I have to admit that it has been a bit fun to prepare. Dru says that we have to start thinking about registering. Ugghh...not looking forward to that. I can say that we have been blessed by Dru's family and several of our friends with a plethora of baby items to use. We can't thank you all enough.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Pray for Athan
Thursday, February 14, 2008
India Part 4
How I am Being Called to Apply Servant Leadership to My Anticipated Ministry Future
Dru and I have a dream of opening a half way house in the inner city area of
First, each one of us needs to be right with God on an individual basis. This will require daily retreat into the Father’s arms to be replenished and revived for our daily work. As I have stated before, without the close relational connection with God then all is in vain. If we do not have a heart for the creator of those we are ministering to, then how can we expect to have a heart for the created?
Second, Dru and I need to have a solid relationship built on the foundations of the Trinity. Cyclical love needs to be the order of our lives together. How can we expect to be selfless with others if we continue to be selfish in our own relationship? Our union and commitment to one another has been established and it is now time for kenosis to take hold.
Lastly, giving constant attention to the above two should allow us, or better put, give us the strength to minister to those we are called to minister. My prayer is that we are able to truly see the faces of the other and care for them the way Christ cares for us. All of this is in the hopes that they in turn will be able to see the love of God and come to a relationship with Him.
Richard Foster speaks of the disciplined life in his book Celebration of Discipline. He states, “We have only one thing to do, namely, to experience a life of relationship and intimacy with God.” It is through the time tested disciplines of the church that this can be accomplished. Again Foster writes, “The purpose of the Disciplines is liberation from the stifling slavery to self-interest and fear. When the inner spirit is liberated from all that weighs it down, it can hardly be described as dull drudgery. Singing, dancing, even shouting characterize the Disciplines of the spiritual life.” A true servant leader should live a disciplined life. If I want to be set free to do God’s will then I need to better discipline my own life. Banishing my own selfish will is going take constant effort even to the point of working “out my own salvation” on a daily basis.
I conclude this servant leadership reflection with a short prayer:
Lord of Lights, illuminate my life so that together we can root out the deep sins buried beneath the surface of my soul. Dig deep into the caverns of my heart so that I may be purified from all unrighteousness for your names sake. God grant me the grace to overcome the sin of self-doubt and give me the heart of a humble servant. One who does not wish that his own will be done but rather that your will be done. Give me the strength to discipline my life in such a manner that is pleasing to you. I thank you for your abundant grace and all that you have accomplished in my life thus far. I pray all of this in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit who lives and reigns with you forever and ever. Amen.
Monday, February 11, 2008
Baby Buckeye 20 Weeks (Now 21)
For those who have not heard, Baby Buckeye is a BOY!!! Here are a few pictures of Dru and the growing belly as well as the kid in action in the womb. (Black is at 16 weeks, Blue is at 20 weeks.) Judge for yourself whether Dru is growing or not. She has been wearing maternity shirts more recently and is just beginning to think about the pants.
India Part 3
I have spoken briefly about my inability to give of my whole self even in intimate relationships. I believe this is primarily due to the issue of self-acceptance. Put another way, I know that I have a problem accepting grace into my life. God has certainly been working with me and stretching me through the course of the trip and beyond by saying, “My grace is sufficient for you.” Seamonds writes, “Thus gracious self-acceptance, delighting in ourselves because God loves and delights in us, is an essential aspect of spiritual and emotional maturity.” If I can not come to terms with the reality that all of my sins have been paid for, sins of the past, present and future, then I will be hard pressed to take the next step on the road of Christian discipleship.
The greatest example I can think of involving self-acceptance and the reality of grace given unconditionally were the orphans at
Keeping the above experience in mind, I am also learning that God takes the opportunity to shake us up a bit so that we can realize and be appreciative of His good gifts. It was a gift and a privilege to have the opportunity to fly half way across the world and visit God’s people in
A second area which God is stretching me in leadership is in the temptation to be relevant. I worked as a youth pastor in the two years between my undergraduate program seminary. Relevance to the youth was highly touted and trumpeted in the youth leader circles of which I was a part. The question was always, “What can we do next that is cool so we can get and keep their attention?” The problem was is was always self defeating. Nothing cool ever kept their attention. Towards the end of my brief career, I began to question this tactic and I have been even to this day, but old habits die hard. Nouwen states, “The leaders of the future will be those who dare to claim their irrelevance in the contemporary world as a divine vocation that allows them to enter into a deep solidarity with the anguish underlying all the glitter of success, and to bring the light of Jesus there.” This tells me that we should make a clear break with relevance and concentrate on relationships instead. Namely, infusing or bringing others into a relationship with Christ. Relevance is objectifying and filled with propositions. Relational is subjectifying and filled with the reality of Christ. Relevance always looks for the next big thing. Relational always gives concern for the care of the person.
This was all confirmed to me on this trip. Richard Bates and I had a brief conversation about what it took to be successful in
 NKJV, 2 Corinthians 12:9
 Seamonds, pg. 127
 Nouwen, Henri J. In the Name of Jesus.
Monday, February 04, 2008
India Part 2
It is hard to remember the moment when I most felt like a stranger in a strange land. Perhaps it was the process of gathering our baggage’s at the airport, or the actual bus ride to our destination where I was able to see the crowded cities and rural scenic routes. Either way I certainly had the feeling of being a stranger which consequently involved a total abandonment to the will of God. I have always known of the importance of having this kind of experience some time in my life, but I was unaware of exactly how valuable it would be. Even now I am finding it difficult to express in words the impact of the realization of being a stranger in a strange land. All Christians should have a feeling of being in a strange land for we truly are not at home. This sense of abandonment showed me how complacent and comfortable I had become in my own cultural surroundings without giving much thought to the reality of God’s Kingdom and bringing it to fruition here on this earth.
On this trip, many of the comforts of my life were stripped away and it was confirmed to me that my life is filled with wasteful and unneeded items. Simplicity should be the order of my life which is why I intend to implement Richard Foster’s ten simple suggestions towards simplicity. They are:
“First, buy things for their usefulness rather than their status. Second, reject anything that is producing an addiction in you. Third, develop a habit of giving things away. Fourth, refuse to be propagandized by the custodians of modern gadgetry. Fifth, learn to enjoy things without owning them. Sixth, develop a deeper appreciation for the creation. Seventh, look with a healthy skepticism at all ‘buy now, pay later’ schemes. Eight, obey Jesus’ instructions about plain, honest speech. Ninth, reject anything that breeds the oppression of others. Tenth, shun anything that distracts you from seeking first the
Through prayer and perseverance I know that God will grant me grace enough to become the sort of person who is able to live to these standards.
To put it quite bluntly, I am a hard headed, stubborn person who many times prides himself on withholding feelings which in turn results in becoming non-present to those I am around. Because of this attitude I tend to be reserved or even withdrawn from fully giving all of myself to people. This trip has taught me that the love of Christ calls for full abandonment of all our senses, feelings and even our entire lives. We can see Christ’s abandonment through His incarnational life and His ultimate sacrifice on the cross. With this example in mind, I found myself being able to live outwardly as opposed to living inwardly. I could fully give and minister to the locals we had traveled so far to be with. In fact, to simply be with them was the entire point. We were not sent to build a house or dig a ditch, although those should be regarded as highly important, we were simply sent to love and be loved as Christ loved. Presence is perhaps the greatest gift one can give to another. Thanking God, I can say with wholehearted assurance that I gave the gift of presence to those I was able to on this trip.
 Seamands, pg. 82
 Foster, Richard J. Celebration of Discipline. 3rd ed.