Saturday, June 28, 2008
I'll be preaching here in a few hours so you can be praying I will have clarity of thought and mind. We will eat a quick lunch with our close friends and then hop in the truck en route for Billings, MT. We will stay with my grandparents tonight, have lunch with some close friends in Livingston, MT on Monday, and then make our way to Coeur d' Alene, ID that evening. We will then head out for Seattle on Tuesday morning for a couple long days of unpacking the truck with the help of my parents.
Pray for safety. Pray for patience. We love you all. See you and talk to you soon.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
One thing I have been learning about from this newest read is what Claiborne calls 'the third way of Jesus.' Claiborne argues that throughout the gospels Jesus continually offers a 3rd way of approaching situations, a creative and imaginative solution that no one predicted and that catches others off-guard. For example, when an adulterous woman is brought before Jesus, he neither sides with the Jews or the woman, as would be expected, but instead chooses to write in the sand and offer an entirely different solution to the problem. Or when Peter erratically slices a soldier's ear off in Gethsemane, Jesus goes "Grey's Anatomy" on him and reattaches it. "Jesus' theological stunts and prophetic imagination surprise and alarm" (262)
I desperately desire to be a man of the Third Way. I want to dream of doing life differently. I want to imagine a world where forgiveness and patience with others totally transforms lives. Claiborne speaks of the Amish as a practical example of a third way of living. In the wake of the shooting of 5 Amish children in 2006, the colony "responded in four ways that captured the world's attention. First, some of the elders visited Marie Roberts, the wife of the murderer, to offer forgiveness. Then, the families of the slain girls invited the widow to their own children's funeral. Next, they requested that all relief money intended for the Amish families be shared with Ms. Roberts and her children. And finally, in an astonishing act of reconciliation, dozens of Amish families attended the funeral of the killer" (275).
What would my life look like if I had the creativity to respond in this manner? What would my life look like if I forgave as Christ has forgiven me? Mandy and I recently had a huge blow-up with the local dealership that sold us our car and I deeply regret the way I treated their workers. For me, the situation was black and white, my way or else, but I failed to see an alternate way of handling the situation. Pray for me as I repent of my mistakes and sort through what a life of discipleship should truly look like. What does it look like to lay down the sword of redemptive violence and pick up the cross of Calvary?
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Thursday, June 19, 2008
A Final Goodbye
I can’t believe this chapter has come to an end. What began as my first full-time job and an experiment in working with this new, strange denomination, has turned into a time in my life I will never forget and will always look back on with incredible memories. Mandy and I are truly blessed to have worked alongside you all for the sake of the gospel over the past 4 years. You have taught me so much about life and love and ministry and I am forever grateful. I cannot imagine a better group of people to live life with.
As I think back on the man I was 4 years ago, the way I lived my life, the way I looked at the world, I realize I am entirely different and owe much of that to you. An “annoying” YEAR of the theme “Peace with Justice” has eternally shaped my heart for the poor and downtrodden of this world, for the oppressed, depressed, afflicted and convicted. I’m not only not sick of talking about peace and justice, but I can no longer imagine myself at a church that doesn’t make that theme their focus.
I have also been blessed to work with such tremendous staff members. Dar, Brenda, Roxie, Duane, Cindy, Martha, and Kip have been amazing to work beside. What a blessing to work with such a great youth ministry staff and such amazing youth here. I thank you all for all you have taught me and I will treasure our time together in my heart forever. I pray that God would continue to work in your life.
If I had to offer one last word of advice, I guess I would challenge you to get rid of the religion in your life. Get rid of the petty rituals you’ve clung to just because “that’s what Christians do”. Stop living your life of faith as if it’s on a check list of things to do, and start modeling your life after the Savior of the Universe, Jesus Christ. Take seriously the words of Jesus when he tells you to daily take up your cross and follow him. Throw aside all those things that once bogged you down and run the race God has marked out for you. In the words of the Apostle Paul, “Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called…” (1 Tim. 6:12).
Grace and peace to all of you. God Bless.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
In addition to all these one on one meetings, Mandy and I will also be getting together with families from the church in the next 2 weeks, and the whole church is hosting a going-away party for us this Saturday. We are full of excitement about the adventure before us, but simultaneously full of fear and trepidation as we enter into the unknown. This is by far the hardest thing God has ever asked me to do, and I move forward with much uncertainty. I can't believe moving day has almost arrived, as it seemed so far away for so long. Pray for us during this difficult time.
Well, enough of my rambling for now. My thoughts are just a jumbled mess.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
We were blessed with great weather and a great turnout, and hope to get rid of the rest of our crap tomorrow and Saturday. This whole 'moving' thing is really starting to feel real now that our apartment is half empty. We'll let you know how the rest of the weekend goes. I guess 'pray that people will buy our crap'?
Sunday, June 8, 2008
I just got back from New Orleans at 7:30 this evening, where I had been for the past 9 days. I led a group of 28 to help rebuild the city in the wake of Katrina, and it was the best mission trip I've ever been on or led. We had such a great time, got a lot of work done, and were introduced to a new culture. I'm so blessed to have served with this group. We had 13 adults, 6 college students, and 9 high school students. I'm so proud of their hard work and great attitudes. What a great way to end my time at Asbury!
Mandy and I now sit 19 days away from moving, and it is really starting to become real. We are rapidly preparing for our garage sale this weekend, so our apartment looks like a war zone. Also, I have sort of bailed out of directing the camp I was supposed to be in charge of. I really feel like a jerk, but I really didn't know how stressed I would feel in June, and simply don't have the time or energy to devote to a week away at camp.
That's all for now. Talk to you all soon.