Tuesday, December 20, 2005

We are just 5 short days from celebrating Christ's birth. I know we all strive to make celebrating His presence a lifestyle. I know I often fail. Falling short, seems at times to come so very easily. What a priviledge and blessing to know and be known by a Savior who disregards our foolishness, as we strive to lay down our lives for Him.

Beej was no different. When I read his writings, I am often struck at how few times he writes of failure...though when he did, it was clear that he was pierced by it's presence... and how many times his writings were hope-filled, and nourishing. Both to him, and to me. As a father, I am so very greatful that he left such distinct pathways into his relationship with Christ. Especially now, I can enjoy how the Lord worked in his short life. Even though I knew he was unusual in life, I am moved each day at his depth, and embrace for the Savior.

I want to share Beej's call to ministry with you... in his own words. He was 12 when he wrote this. At home, I have an antique painting in a most unusual frame, which depicts Christ at the same age. How He actually looked is unknown to me, but his reflection comes through in Beej's testimony:

"A CALL TO MINISTRY"

"All my life I've felt the possibility of being called into ministry. Although I took it lightly, lately, I've had a burden to inform as many Christians and non-Christians about Christ and being like Him.

On Monday morning after I finished my "sealed orders" (devotionals) I let my mind wander to find out what God wanted to tell me. Almost immediately, my thoughts were on the ministry. So, responding, I prayed that God would affirm this inkling. Sometime during the week, a speaker said that God wanted to tell each individual at camp something. I immediately thought about the ministry. "Is God trying to call me into the ministry?" I thought, "Lord please show me if this is what you want to tell me this week.

On Thursday, the "Meat" side of "sealed orders" was titled "What's next?" It talked about what God wanted for us next: after we got home from camp. I concluded my "Sealed Orders" by asking myself what God wants for me next.

Once again my mind landed on the ministry. It was then that I realized that God was calling me into the ministry; but I didn't want to make the wrong choice, so once again I prayed for affirmation. That night, Big John talked about being called into the ministry. I finally realized that God was affirming me.

As that night wore on, I felt more and more sure about being called into the ministry. Then I prayed for courage, Christlikeness, and humility as I faced the profession that God is leading me to."


I cannot help but wonder if the painting of Jesus at 12, was to portray the time He was away from his parents, and in His Father's house. Much like Beej's time at camp was designed to be (okay, so Deanna and I were actually at camp too, but our interaction was virtually non-existant...by design).

Our children are often capable of more than we give them credit for. I Praise the Lord for men like Big John, who have helped shape my sons life. For those of you at the calling, he was the bearded man who directed, and at times interrupted (for our sakes) the flow of people there to share with us. For those who were not there, he has been in ministry for a lifetime. Serving behind the scenes, always making sure sound, lights, stages and people are ready at appropriate times. He brought us breakfast most everyday for the 6 weeks we were in the hospital. He stood by us closer than most could, because he knows how to play the "supporting role" better than any. He has been on virtually every youth mission trip ever taken at Northside Baptist. If credits ran at the end of the trip, his name would be found near the "key grip's" as he never seeks the limelight, but always meets needs. Things get done when Big John is around. He makes you want to serve, by his ministry approach.

He has shaped many young lives similarly. Too few are willing to serve in this way, or even understand how to. Every ministry needs a Big John. Every student needs a Big John. Praise God that He has Big John, and molds lives through him.

He and Beej, called each other "BJ". He invested much in my son. He financially contributed a lion's share, so that Beej could go to Peru, two years in a row. He has blessed our lives, and that of our children. Whitney lived with he and his family for her senior year of high school, so she could finish where she started, when God called us elsewhere. He has left his four-wheelers at our home for recreational use on many occassions, only to receive them back, wrecked. Never a cross word spoken to us as a result.

He knows what is important in life, and he helped make sure my son did too. Thank you Big John, you have blessed us, and we are most greatful!

brent (dad)

Tomorrow we head to Kentucky to be with family. We will be there until Friday. We are uncertain of computer access, but will try to share as we can. Tonight we intend to see MercyMe in their last Christmas concert. Please pray for them, as I am sure they are weary.

18 Comments:

At 10:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beutiful! I am praying for your family. Enjoy the concert tonight! We will be there too!

In Christ,

Your friend in Noblesville, IN

 
At 10:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is amazing that BJ was only twelve when he wrote that entry. He's a pretty amazing kid - which in turn is a reflection on his parents!

I hope you have a safe drive to the Bluegrass State. Enjoy your time with your family.

Have a blessed Christmas.

 
At 10:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey family
i miss you all so much. im sorry i missed you last sunday i heard you were all there. i just want you remind you that i love you and that each of you continue to amaze me. this is not about me but i have learned to much from bj and from just being loved by the 5 of you throughout the years. I know that as i go to college and grow out of the comfort of NSM, i will forever carry the lessons that bj has taught me and the lessons that you all have taught me. How to love no matter the circumstances, how to forgive and how to live. I love each of you. thank you again for being who you are and for being an inspiration to me and the world. i love you and i feel so blessed to know that we share a special bond. Thank you for loving me back. i miss you and i hope to see you soon!
Katie Waddles

 
At 11:23 AM, Blogger Lattany said...

I don't know if I told you I had the privilege of seeing MercyMe in concert, a couple of weeks ago. I thought of BJ frequently -- as they played I Can Only Imagine and because of the song I know they wrote for BJ.

I really think it no coincidence that your BJ and "Big John" BJ shared the same nickname. It sounds like they had alot in common. Like Big John, your BJ's passion for ministry and service is infectious. Both devoted their lives to service, sought to show Christ's love to others through more than just words, and had a profound influence on others.

Praying you have a most wonderful trip.

Lattany
Fairfax, VA, USA

 
At 11:36 AM, Anonymous Matt Littell said...

Brent,
Friends like Big John are truly a gift from God. They are very few and far between. We have many aquaintenance, friends that we worship with, friends from work, and just "friends", however, Those individuals that God puts into our lives, to not only help mold and shape the person we are, but to help mold and shape the people our family will be. At times they are our guardian angel, helping, and watching over us. I have many friends that I call friend, that I am sure I could count on in the time of need, but I have no friend like my friend Mike. Much Like Big John, Mike is the guy behind the scenes. But the love he exudes for me and my family is overwhelming. Mike may not be my brother by blood, but he is my brother, and my girls refer to him as Uncle Mikey! Mike has always been there for me and my family to help us and lend us the hand we need, even when we don't realize we need it. Wrecking his ATV, Truck, or whatever, would never bring a cross word from Mike. I thank God for putting people in my life like Mike.....our Big Johns!
We will pray for your safe travels to Kentucky this week.
We will watch for you at the concert tonight as well. We will be sitting in one of the suites, blessed by a coworker with connections to the "right" people.
If I don't get to speak to you before.....PLEASE, HAVE A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS.
YOUR FRIEND!
Matt Littell

 
At 12:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Deanna, Brent and family,

I have been remiss in reading BJ's site everyday for awhile. We've just added a large room to the back of our house and are in the throws of celebrating Jesus' birth and all that entails. You all continue to be a blessing to me and many others by sharing the "realness" of Jesus in your lives. I am once again, empacted by the fact that God has a plan for each of our lives and continues that plan even after we join Him in heaven. BJ's life shows that beautifully!!!!! My prayers are with you as you travel to Kentucky to be with family. I know that the power of God will sustain you through this bittersweet Christmas.

Praying you through,
Lynne in Gray, Ga.

 
At 12:04 PM, Blogger Aunt Maralyn & Uncle Ray said...

What a beautiful tribute to Big John. I was so impressed with his ability to guide each step on Thursday with such a quiet way. When Uncle RAy and I came for the few days in the hospital, we had the priviledge of getting to know him a little bit. What a big man with such a quiet spirit. I know a lot of people were blessed because of him.
We will be praying for you as you travel to Kentucky for Christmas with Deanna's family. Also the trip home and Christmas with the Higgins Family. The California family would all love to be there to have Christmas with all of you.
Enjoy the concert tonight!
Love,
Aunt Maralyn

 
At 2:34 PM, Anonymous Cedarburg Tina said...

It amazes me every time you share from BJ's journal how in touch he was at such a young age with God's grace and purpose for his life.

Bless you all as your travel to Kentucky and for your time together with family. Even though there will be an emptiness present that I'm sure you will all feel, I pray that God will somehow fill that with His divine presence and enable you to not only get through these days but enjoy your time together.

May you have a blessed and love filled Christmas as we remember and celebrate the wonderful gift of God's son...just as you will be celebrating the wonderful gift that BJ was to your lives.

Blessings, love and peace,
Tina

 
At 3:49 PM, Blogger Praying in Pink said...

We have a Big John in our lives as well. . .only his name is Frank Lamca, missionary to Peru and (now) Quito, Ecuador. Some of you will remember his sometime translations of Pastor Tito's blogs during the first few weeks of BJ's illness.

We are honored to consider the Lamcas "family," and my children all love their Uncle Frank and Aunt Julie. We have shared many tears and prayers together, and we continue to remember their important work for the kingdom.

One of my favorite parts of BJ's Memorial Celebration is that of Frank (who had ministered alongside BJ in Peru) flying in from Ecuador, then serving without public recognition as Pastor Tito's calm, clear translator during the service.

God honors those like Big John and Uncle Frank who seek to serve without spotlights and minister without mention. Someday, the first shall be last and the last shall be first. Thanks, guys, for providing some very big footsteps for us to follow. . . and thanks, BJ, for doing the same.

Christmas love along with many prayers in pink,

Marti for all the Piepers
Charleston, SC

 
At 3:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Big John, God bless you. So many want the acknowledgment of their works, yet you understood it was not about you, but Him. I pray I have the same realization and do what is right for Him, not for me! I pray that in our humanness, we take the responsibility of being a true Christian, giving without need of acknowledgment, without need of thanks -- just giving in His name for His glory, to our Lord Jesus Christ.

Lord, bless all families with safe travel, a peacefulness that can be only known through You, and a love that is everlasting, in Your Name.

 
At 4:31 PM, Anonymous Mary said...

You guys were heavy on my heart last night. I just wanted to let you know that I constantly think about you and pray for you just as much. This Christmas is going to be way different... but I pray that Christ blesses you abundantly somehow through it all. I love you so much!
Mary
Houston, TX

 
At 4:53 PM, Blogger Cousin Beth said...

Know that I continue to read and be blessed every day. Sure wish I could see that afghan. Lisa always had a knack for finding unique gifts. You've got me wanting to see your Christmas tree, too. I was so moved reading about God supplying clothes and about your dad's shoes. What another beautiful writing again today! I am always amazed at BJ's writings when I consider his age. We will be praying as you go to Kentucky. Sure wish we could be at that concert tonight, too.
We're thinking of you all the time and wish you a very blessed Christmas full of God's presence and peace.
Love,
Beth

 
At 5:49 PM, Blogger Ashley Reagan said...

Thanks for sharing once again. I pray you will have a safe and enjoyable trip. Have fun at the concert tonight! Love you guys!

Ashley Dawn

 
At 7:16 PM, Blogger Ashley Darnold said...

I will be praying for God's protection over you as you and your family travel to Kentucky! Hope you enjoy the concert, and I will surely be praying for MercyMe as well! Have a blessed Christmas! I love you all so much!

-ashley

 
At 12:51 AM, Blogger Linda Ronne said...

Thank you for once again sharing with us all. Praise God for the 'Big John's" in our lives and praise God that your BJ was sensitive to the Holy Spirt. How proud you must be, and this is just another example of Godly parents and parenting skills.
I pray your time with family in Kentucky is refreshing and that our Lord continues to minister and move in your lives. You are often in our thoughts and prayers and we thank God that He brought you all into our lives.
We had our interview with the school today for Hollie, and praise God things went well. We had a lovely tour of the school and all their facilities and will have news by the end of the week as to whether they will accept Hollie. God has given both Kevin and I a real peace about this situation and we are so thankful to Him for all He is doing.

In His Love
Linda
Shawnee,Ok

 
At 7:30 AM, Blogger Praying in Pink said...

Praying for you, Linda R.--that God will bless your family with His peace especially this Christmas. He has a plan for Hollie and He, like you, has not given up on her! Perfect Father, help each one of us who is a paren KNOW and SHOW your love during this season especially.

Merry Christmas in pink--

Marti
Charleston, SC

 
At 8:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Brent
good to see you from afar last night.

serving a very BIG GOD
big john

 
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