Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Please forgive me for more teasing, but I must share this. Last night I received the book proposal from our Ghost Writer and good friend. I read for an hour. I wept as my eyes moved over the words. I did not weep as a father alone. I cried at how humbling it is to read the words of one so young, and yet so mature. Reading BJ's writing in the format that it may ultimately come into print was an unbelievable experience. Seeing how our friend has outlined chapters, and poured herself into pulling all of this together is very moving. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

And since I am teasing already, we have received the finished version of the MercyMe song "Die for You." For those of you who have heard it, now the London Symphony Orchestra has been added. It is truly amazing to hear. How their music impacts the song is quite inspiring! It is almost 6 minutes and thirty seconds long. The cd comes out April 25th, but you can already pre-order it. Bart graciously asked me to write a letter which will be included on the cd jacket to help explain the connection. I'm sure it will be tiny, so have your glasses ready (I always struggle to read what's on cd jackets, but I do read them).

In case I haven't told you, 8 cents from each cd sold will fund a scholarship which will send others to take BJ's place on the mission field. Bart has asked us to partner with them in distributing those funds. What an incredible privilege, and significant task!

My friend (and BJ's) Eric who blogged yesterday, and a young lady from Mingo Valley Christian School are two of the most recent individuals who have signed up to take BJ's place. Eric shared that he is heading to Chile, Lord willing! The young lady? God called her directly to take BJ's place in Peru, so she is going! You guys are my hero's!!! They are both going with AweStar.

We want to hear from more of you whom God has called to take his place. It has a ginormous (or is it egantic?) impact on us, and is such encouragement! (Is that too selfish?)

I was recently visiting BJ's friend Jack's xanga site, and found the following posted. It is BJ's top 10 things he wished to do before he died:

1. Make sure that my friends that aren't Christians get saved
2. Get married to a wonderful Christian girl and have (preferably) 3 kids (at least one boy [gotta keep the family name goin! lol])
3. Go on at least 5 international mission trips
4. Make at least 1-2 CD's with my band Ice to Fire
5. Become a full-time Minister/Missionary alongside Taylor DeBaun
6. Write at least 2 impacting books
7. Get two dogs
8. Live on a big piece of land and have horses
9. See Highland Lakes (my dad's camp) become and AWESOME Christian retreat camp like InPursuit or Windermere
10. In everything I do GLORIFY GOD (I won't reach this goal because I'm human, but as Christians we're called to try anyway, so it is a goal of mine, even if I fall short)

We just never know how much time we have. Setting goals is important, but living for Christ in the moment is what we must learn to do. Lord God, I pray that we each bring you glory in this day!



Monday, February 27, 2006

Those who knew BJ, knew he used "hair glue" to keep things in place. He was as particular about what specific adhesive he used as he was how his hair looked. There are several partially used products under the sink, which he grew disgusted with for various reasons... didn't hold well, gave him white glue flakes which looked like dandruff, was a foam and he had said he didn't want foam, etc.

The glue du jour was "got2b" spiking glue, for a "screaming hold." Let me just say, I don't get it. Of course, I don't need glue, spray, or brill cream. I need a hat cause my skin covered head gets cold!

BJ was funny about his hair. He got so used to my trying to touch his stiff, 'unable to move without seismic activity' hair, that he would flinch anytime I raised my hand near his head. You'd have thought he was an abused puppy avoiding the swat of a newspaper. Of course, he knew it was all in fun, but he was hyper-protective. Perhaps that was because I loved to "crunch" the stiff follicles. It always brought about a disgusted "Daaad!!!"

He tried various styles once he discovered the glue that held the way he liked. Everything from "Ryan Seacrest" to spikes, to the rare "faux hawk" just for laughs. No matter what the style, the "don't touch" policy was in effect.

BJ used the same "don't touch" approach when it came to television. He would cover his eyes or get up and leave if a commercial or show came on that he found offensive. He would hold us accountable for what we watched (who was the parent?). I found myself changing my television or movie habits based on his convictions. Initially, it annoyed me, but soon I found that it wasn't any better for me than it was him. His standards were high. He had an unusual (for his age) ability to stand firm, and not be swayed by peer pressure.

He worked on his friends in a similar fashion. He tried to do it in love, as he would question them about decisions they were making. Though I know he grew frustrated, and so did they, he tried to be consistent, and they appreciated that.

Though she has never worn a "faux hawk," Deanna has used hair gels and mousse's for some time, as well. On our way to Tulsa a couple of weeks ago, her mousse can exploded in her bag. When she opened it, she did not realize it immediately. She smelled something she could not identify, then found spots on her only outfits which would not come out. The following morning when it was time to "crud up" her hair, the can would not yield to her whim. Then she figured out what happened.

Today, she began using "got2b spiking glue for a screaming hold." She likes the way it works too. Guess who is going to get her hair "crunched?"


I recently heard from one of BJ's friends, Roxie. She has a nearly three year old son, Brendon who has a liver disease called Glycogen Storage Disease (type 1). He will be three on March 20th, and has yet to spend a birthday outside the hospital. He has been home, but never on a birthday. He is awaiting a liver transplant. Doctors say he will not see age five if he does not get it. Please lift up Roxie and Brendon, as they battle for his life.

Friday, February 24, 2006

The time has arrived when I may share with you what the Lord is doing in our lives. In doing so, I am aware of conventional wisdom which says, "don't do anything for at least a year" (from the date of your tragedy). However, I am also aware that I do not live by the laws of convention, but by the promptings of my Savior.

So much has happened since BJ died. So much was given. The price, colossal. The cost is perpetually dear, but the Lords direction has become infinitely clear.

One of the things the Lord has done in our hearts is to stir within us the need to be as close to the front of the battle lines as possible. We have resided where He led us, but His presence is moving, and so must we.

The Lord has opened up an opportunity for me to serve Him, by raising up leadership, and and wedding them with students whom He has called to go to the mission field. My role is to oversee the "Global Passage" side of Awe Star. In effect, to send the next generation of missionaries to serve their King. To make it possible for that to happen. To select what countries we will enter. To offer my body as a living sacrifice. This is a God-sized task, one I have to completely trust Him to fulfill! My resume does not prepare me for this, only the Lord has, and will.

Many of you know that Dr. Walker Moore has been doing this for many years. He is stepping over into the "Rite of Passage," where he will focus on communicating to students and their parents about what it means to pass from childhood into adulthood through a Significant Task (please know that this is an oversimplification of role responsibilities). You can learn more about this by visiting www.awestar.org. BJ experienced this on his first trip with Awe Star, and the Lord used it to change his life and ours.

He has filled us with enormous peace through the process of contemplating this change. Deanna has been ready to go for some time. I drug my feet, waiting. Waiting and watching for the Lord to reveal Himself through this journey. I was fearful that I would make a decision based on the emotional attachment to this organization. It would be easy to do.

Two weeks ago, we went to Tulsa, (as you know) to visit with each staff member, to hear their hearts, and to consider the possibilities. I honestly was not sure this was right. In our conversations, the Lord ministered deeply to my heart through the staff, and through little nuances that noone else would have understood without great explanation. "Peace like a river" flowed over me. I was so humbled to know that the Lord my God was revealing to us His plan in such a fashion.

My last day at Highland Lakes Baptist Camp will be April 14th. I will move to Tulsa to act as "vp of international operations." Deanna and the girls will remain behind to finish their respective school years. Then, we will all head to North Africa to complete a calling God placed on our sons life, one He extended and included on ours. We will spend a month there working with a specific people group.

Upon return, Deanna and I will remain in Tulsa, and our girls will return to Indiana. Leaving family behind is most difficult. We have always been very close. That will not change... the distance will.

While we have the peace of Christ in our decision, somehow it seems appropriate to quote my favorite writer. "God, I hope you know what you're doing, cause I'm muchos scardios!" (BJ Higgins)

brent (dad)

Thursday, February 23, 2006

A visitor arrived this morning. One I am not pleased to see. One who threatens to stay without welcome. One who seems to want to haunt my shadow, to shadow my every step. I suppose I should welcome him with open arms, but he is not. He is not my friend. He is merely an acquaintance who arrives unannounced, and does not leave upon request.

I suppose if he waited for an invitation, his life would be most lonely. When he intrudes, mine becomes so. Oh I have family and loved ones close by, but his invasive attitude and abrasive personality casts them behind as his demand for attention prevails. I wish he would go away... fade into the dark perimeter of my horizon past.

I have met many who have the gift of hospitality. Perhaps if they would stay with me awhile, they could make his presence minutely tolerable. If they were here, my guest would likely leave. His predominant desire is to prey upon the quiet moments, and make them intolerably stricken with his mute but ambient black noise.

"There is light at the end of the tunnel"... when accompanied by his presence, this tunnel makes the most awkward undulations, and causes the light of relief to be lost in the twisting dark brambles of thick solitude. There are many who would offer their hand to draw me away from him, but with him I must dwell, for a moment, or an eternity, the two are blended inseparably and my focus cannot negotiate the difference.

How I long to be in the presence of "the one who... had the appearance of jasper and carnelian." To be surrounded by "the twenty-four" who are "dressed in white," to be joined with those who "called out in a loud voice, How long sovereign Lord?" and then were "given a white robe."

This guest is not welcome, yet he's concerned not with my approval, but in collecting my pain and brokenness, and using them to exploit my joy. He may not have it, it is not his to take, but mine to give. It became mine upon the day I laid down my right to myself.

I remember Him, He took my pain and brokenness upon his back, and left in it's void, joy. I remember that He is here, welcome. I am not alone with this unyielding intruder. I am reposed and found within His grasp.

Wave after wave may buffet, but my peace springs true from the Water that quenches eternal!


Marlene and Bill, you can contact me at bahiggins1259@msn.com

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

There is something about boxes and young children that make for humorous curiosity. Most parents have been through the gift giving time when their child was far more interested in the box than what was in it. Boxes are intriguing. They come in so many shapes and sizes. Some carry precious cargo and others carry, well... junk.

Most women respond wonderfully to very small boxes. They usually carry very expensive gifts. Deanna received a small box from BJ a couple of Christmas's ago... she still wears its contents on her finger.

Most guys like large boxes. The idea of getting something huge matches most of our egos. For his 15th birthday, BJ got an enormous box which contained a stereo. However, it was the small package that brought him the most joy. The sword he wanted but did not think he would get, meant a great deal to him.

I seem to be stuck in my very early youth, as I enjoy boxes... sometimes more than what is in them. There are a few exceptions.

I have collected many boxes through the years. Many are antiques, a few are not. My most recent acquisition is made of rosewood. It has curved lines, and a beautiful finish.

I have a dome top trunk which stores knick-knacks and lap quilts. An old blanket chest which contains it's namesake. A tool box off of an ancient tractor which keeps candles. A large tin document box (which belonged to my grandmother) that hides videos. A very large metal box which literally served as a car trunk on an early model automobile. It treasures a bounty of favored quilts. A cedar box which holds a beautiful white KJV Bible given by Deanna's parent's church upon BJ's passing. An old sewing or jewelry box constructed with square nails, that has a tapered spindle on top which is perfect for hosting rings. Stowed in it are old matchbooks.

I kind of like boxes. I have several more than this. I like the way they look, and how functional they are. I like that you can hide things in them.

We are so often like these. We look to have it all together on the outside, but hide away what's inside. It could be ugliness, emptiness, despair or even beauty or things of tremendous worth. But when we are unwilling to share the contents, we turn bitter and distant. Boxes were made to be opened, the contents shared. So were we.

My newest box is made of rosewood. It's my favorite. What it holds is most precious. The engraving on top reads "Our Precious BJ" October 1, 1989 - September 26, 2005.


Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Not long after BJ gave his heart to Jesus, we were at a Christian bookstore. He had brought his money with him. I don't remember how much he had, but it wasn't much. He did not fully understand the value of money yet, but was bent on finding something he liked that reflected Jesus and His role in his life. As a matter of fact, he had a better understanding of spiritual truths at this point, than that of the basics taught in school.

While I was shopping for a cd or something, BJ was running around the store looking. Though he was little, the environment was safe, so I was allowing him freedom. Before I knew what was happening, I heard his little voice at the register talking to the sales clerk. He had selected an engraved stone about 3"x4"x2". What he had chosen was an adult type selection, not something kids would buy.

The manager stood stunned at the register. Here was this tiny little guy having an adult conversation about his selection. He was explaining why he wanted it. He was also asking if he had enough money. So moved was the manager, that though BJ did not have enough, he took what little BJ had, and gave him the stone. I stepped in and offered to pay the difference, but the manager, still shaking his head at what he had experienced, declined. He said something to the effect of, "I would not take more than he gave me for any reason."

This manager, who sees "Christians" all day long, had a young boy with a changed heart and a deep devotion to Jesus come in and blow his mind. How could he have such depth, and understanding, he was scarcely big enough to be in school (remember, he was always small for his age).

The engraving says "He who pursues righteousness and love finds prosperity and honor." Proverbs 21:21

That stone adorned BJ's dresser for most of his life.

He realized that he had a Savior who purchased his life with His blood, and that same Lord was entombed behind a stone which could not hold Him. The stone was blown away, at Jesus' resurrection.

Truly, he who pursued righteousness and love found prosperity and honor! He is spending eternity with the "rock of ages."


Monday, February 20, 2006

When I was young, an event occurred that has always remained with me. Watching a litter of kittens be born. It was the first time I had ever seen anything like it. It was amazing to watch. To see the mother cat instinctively know how to handle the event... each baby was carefully cleaned, and moved aside as the next would greet us for the first time.

It was a little disgusting, but clearly miraculous.

During the summer of 2004, an abused baby kitten was abandoned at the entrance to the camp. I had never seen or heard such a loud and persistent feline. I got out of my vehicle, cradled the limp and lame baby kitten, and took it to a place of safety. I did not think she would make it. She could not walk, her front and hind legs on the left side were badly out of working order. I thought I was nursing her along to make her death a little less painful.

Much to my surprise, she began to improve rapidly. She ate aggressively, and even began to limp around. Before long, she was walking normally. She remained loud and boisterous, but was very friendly. I named her after one of our summer missionaries, Jillian... Jilly for short. She was brought to our camp home, after she healed, and became our resident mouser (and we needed one, this is the country).

During the late winter of 2005, we noticed that tomcats started to hang around. It wasn't just one or two, but several. I figured a simple solution. I closed her in the garage with a litter box and food. I had the upper hand in this little situation!

Last spring, I learned how wrong I was. Jilly was a teeny little cat. She was malnourished before she came into our possession, and had never gotten very large. It didn't take much to reveal her pregnant state.

I cannot explain how attached I got to her. When her time was drawing near, I began to hope that it would happen when BJ was home from school so he could see the miracles I had seen, first the kittens, then years later, each of my children. The day came. BJ wanted to stay home from school. I almost let him. I wish I would have.

Jilly went into labor, and it became apparent that her small size was causing complications. I had two options. Let her and the kittens die, or take her to the vet. Whether or not you are a pet lover, this decision came down to the fact that Jilly had cheated death once, and did not really have eight lives left. I could not let this happen. I took her to the vet.

Did you know that kitty c-section rarely happen? I didn't. When they told me how much it was going to cost, I could see why. I spent the money, and four little fur balls were presented. They showed me a large male that had been stuck in the birth canal. His head was kind of triangular. They told me he would probably not make it.

I brought them home, and began to call family. When BJ got home from school, he ran straight to his closet. You see, we had set up a little den in his room for Jilly. When the time to deliver drew near, she frequented that little space. It now was filled with four tiny little kittens and one disoriented mother. BJ was elated! He cuddled them up close to his face, and spoke softly to them.

It wasn't long before we noticed that there was a problem. Jilly had not delivered naturally. She had been sedated, was still woozy, and since she had not had the opportunity to clean off each of her little bundles, she could not figure out who they were, and why they had such a fascination with her underside. She resented the little invaders. They were loud, noisy, and very hungry. They knew she was the solution, but she didn't.

BJ and I worked to show her what to do. We helped her lay down, and "plugged in" her little ones. She reluctantly complied. In time, she learned her role, and even became protective. But soon, another issue arose.

Her small little body was not producing enough milk. I picked up a substitute from the vet, and Beej and I fed them with little medicine droppers. We worked hard to give them enough nourishment.

On day 5, the unthinkable happened. A small female died in my hands. I could not believe it. We wrapped her up carefully, and buried her, together. I wept for her loss.

On day 6, it happened again. This time, a male, but not the one who wasn't supposed to make it. I grieved hard. I was surprised by how much this hurt. BJ and I had tried to give them a good chance of survival, but the simple fact was, I had not gotten to the vet soon enough (during labor). We stood side by side, and buried him beside his sister.

The other two would survive. The large male still runs around our yard, chasing anything that moves. The female does likewise at my brother's camp. BJ loved on them daily.

Jilly became a good mother. She mothered the male for too long. He just did not want to stop, nursing.

A week after BJ passed, so did Jilly. The grief, though not as deep as we were already feeling, was evident. The timing was hard to understand.

Deanna and I have had frequent conversations about whether or not we reacted to BJ's illness quickly enough. If we had gotten him to the doctor earlier, could he have survived? By his symptoms, we would only have gained a day at most. That would not have been enough. We did not have earlier symptoms, or more time, because God had a plan. BJ fulfilled that plan. But not before he poured his gentle spirit into the lives of many, including, a litter of kittens.


Friday, February 17, 2006

People love recognition. It is encouraging to get noticed or to hold an "important" position. We long to feel like "somebody."

Brent and I enjoy watching the Olympics. Many heartwarming stories of determination and perseverance, plus it is amazing to watch the excellence, precision not to mention speeds they go!

Last night was our staff appreciation dinner with years of service, Teacher of the Year and "Someone Special" awards being given out with words of kindness and affirmation. Another cool program Zionsville has every year is "Everybody Counts" which recognizes each of us with our own limitations, yet we all have a voice, everyone matters.

I'm so grateful to be a Christian. It sounds so simple, but it's no small thing: To be unconditionally loved by the Creator of the Universe, no matter if you're important or not. No matter if you "win" at life or not. Not a small thing. It is one of those awesome mysteries and I wonder why more people don't grasp the concept and pursue Him.

Consider: the way people go crazy at sporting events; the way atheletes are rewarded; the way celebrities are put on pedestals and practically worshipped.

I remember when BJ was invited to a baseball game with our neighbors - their daughter was one of BJ's best friends. They loved to talk - imagine that. BJ talked throughout the entire game. His favorite subject: the things of God. His talk was not mindless chatter. Had we known his time was short would we have listened more intently?

Do we listen when the Word speaks? Psalm 111 reminds us that the "fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom."

We fear the wrong things. We're deceived and confused. We've lost sight of the basic fear of the Lord. His power and might surpass any hulk or superhero we've ever imagined.

"Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction: the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life."
Galatians 6:7-8


Thursday, February 16, 2006

Back in November, Deanna wrote about her love for flying. While this topic causes no trouble in our marriage, it is clearly not something we agree on. I can "get used" to flying. I don't even mind flying, okay... I mind it a little bit. What I do not enjoy, is the madness that accelerates at the conclusion of each flight.

When the flight is over, a free for all ensues. A plane full of claustrophobic people all intent in being the first one out the door, rise and... go nowhere! Bags are drug from beneath the seat and noggins get knocked as overstuffed overhead compartments burst open with shifted pull-behind suitcases. When did we get so unruly? There should be rules about not getting up until the flight attendant comes and releases your row... you know, like in weddings.

Yeah, I can't wait to fly again!

Last weekend, when we were heading home from Tulsa, our plane arrived in Chicago to snow. We could not get to our gate because another plane was there was waiting in line to be de-iced. So we sat for between a half hour and an hour waiting. We missed our connecting flight (which was to bring us to Indy).

After the aformentioned mayhem dance was complete, I grabbed my coat and bag, oh and my wife, and headed for the nearest service counter. I patiently waited my turn to dislodge my pent up... joy. Actually, I was very nice. While standing there I remembered what a good friend of mine teaches... "our disappointment is God's Divine appointment." So I began to watch for my opportunity. The attendant rebooked us on the next flight and we proceeded to our gate.

Upon arrival, I realized my coat was gone. I quickly retraced my steps. Staff even returned to the plane and looked for it. It was gone.

I returned to our gate. It was too crowded, so we found a nearby place to sit. While heading there, I saw another man wearing the same coat I had just lost... only he was a size larger, and so was his coat. After a few minutes passed, I noticed he had taken a seat near us. I stared at his coat trying to decide whether or not to go "make sure" it was a size bigger.

Later, while we waited, I saw him pass by at least two more times. I wanted my coat back, and I thought about not asking nicely.

Finally, our plane was boarding. I went to my seat (We were separated for this last flight due to a crowded plane, and the whole rebooking thing). Well I thought I went to my seat. I realized I had gone back a row too far. When I collected my bag and moved up, I found that the guy I was sitting beside was the same guy I had been seeing with "my coat."

As I put my ipod headphones in, I thought, this has to be my "Divine Appointment!" I started thinking about what I would say to him. The doorhatch closes, and I am instructed to turn off my "portable electronic device."

Then the captain comes on and says "we are in line to be de-iced, and then we will be on our way." We wait.

Soon, we see what looks like orange kool-aid running down the windows. Yeah, were going to leave soon. Nope. The captain again, "folks, as you can see it is snowing heavily, and by the time we get to the runway, there is a good chance we would need to be de-iced again, so we are going to wait this snow, out."

Oh yippee. Did I tell you how much I love flying? Did I tell you I struggle with claustrophobia? We sat, and sat, and waited and waited.

I started making comments to my "coat buddy." He responded in kind.

It was now time for my brother to pick us up in Indy, and there we sat in Chicago. I figure that we had just about spent as much time in the plane on the ground as we had in the air flying... from Tulsa. I sat there hoping my wife had disregarded the rules and called my brother (she has the cell phone).

An hour or more after sitting in my seat to go home, we finally started to move. That was something to Praise the Lord for, so I did!

I started up a conversation with my "coat boy." He talked quite a bit when asked questions. After a time, I started to share with him. He was completely unresponsive. I prayed for him, and continued with the conversation.

It turns out that this Divine Encounter did not result in a salvation, but seeds were planted, and that is okay. "I was obedient," I said to myself. I just think I could have done more.

Yes the situation had me on edge. Yes I spent time in diligent prayer asking God to help me not to "freak out" in the enclosed plane. Yes, God was faithful. He gave me words to share, and a way to do it.

You know, I never brought up the coat. I decided that if it was mine, he needed it worse than I did, and he could have it. I have other coats.

We finally landed in Indy. My lovely wife had broken the aviation rules, and called my brother. He did not have to stand around and wait. I can't wait to fly again.

I won't have to. I'm leaving in about three hours for Norfolk, Virginia. There is a conference on missions for the North African country we'll be in this summer. I am meeting with the missionaries we will serve with. Then I get to spend time with my sister and her family (yes, she is the mother of Joshua- keeper of the sword).

Deanna will remain behind this time, and will update you tomorrow. I'll return on Saturday evening.

Have a blessed day!

brent (dad)

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Lying around the house, mostly where he left them, are pairs of glasses and contact lenses that no longer require use. I've talked before about his bad eyesight. In one eye he had uncorrectable vision... 20/200, I think it was. The other eye was 20/uh, a little better than the other one.

Have you ever worn someone else's glasses? Bad idea! A headache begins immediately! I have often wondered what it would be like to see through Beej's eyes. I have tried his glasses on. When I do, I cannot make out the writing on the posters on the wall. If his glasses skew my vision as badly as his eyes needed correcting, his view in the world was poor, when uncorrected.

Wearing glasses is not funny, but I have struggled many times not to laugh at friends (Elsie Jay) wearing bi-focals, bobble-heading it to gain focus on what they were trying to read. Deanna has been wearing reading glasses for some time now. I teased her when she began. I often offer to hold her book across the room so she can read without them. For some reason, this isn't funny to her anymore.

Now it seems that my turn has arrived. I struggle to see my devotional book and/or Bible each morning without borrowing her glasses...Shhhh! Don't tell her! I've even found myself bouncing my head like the little dog figures that used to sit in the back windows of cars, as I try to see the news on tv after reading a passage (a feeble attempt at multi-tasking).

I still see the humor in this, even though I am the one to be laughed at.

BJ wore glasses for most of his life. His vision, foggy at best. He was a hard working young man who compensated for this short-coming, somehow. He would often leave his glasses at home on school days. I do not know how he could see what he needed to see.

His vision of the world was something he was used to. I remember how shocked he was when he first got glasses. All the details were sharp, and he was amazed. He said he didn't know the world looked this way.

How often do we look at the world with our own filters, based on our own life experiences. We accept as fact, things which according to scripture are clearly fiction. We do so because we are more comfortable believing what is less convicting.

In Matthew 9:35-36 It says "Jesus went through all the towns and villages... When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd."

Too many times when we walk filthy streets, we condemn in our heads those we see who are drunk, disheveled, or in general, have filthy hearts. We cling to the faith we have, but do not grasp the task of taking the gospel to these who are in desperate need. Our vision of the world is poor, when uncorrected.

Proverbs 4:19 says "But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble."

If they do not know, then they need someone with good vision to show them. BJ had poor vision in the world, but he had clear vision of the world. His vision was not his own, but because he had eyes for the Savior, the Savior gave him eyes for the world.

How's your vision?

brent (dad)

Ashley R. your gift was so precious to us! They've already been used, and I sadly forgot to thank you! The card you made was very meaningful. We still have it! You are a blessing!

Layla, write me at bahiggins1259@msn.com

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Last night, we celebrated (late) my brother's (Brad) birthday. We met at a restaurant as a family. We were missing some members, so Whitney added a couple college friends to keep the energy level up. It worked. But I was exhausted from watching all of the food they consumed... especially Courtney... more bread?

Deanna and I talked about how much we missed BJ at dinner. Of course you have heard us talk about his eating habits, but that is not what we missed. We missed his companionship, his conversation, his humor, and his love for his Uncle Brad.

BJ spent many nights and weekends with his Uncle when he was younger. While we were off at youth mission trips, camps, and other similar events, he was able to be where he enjoyed spending time. He could talk about cars, have his face licked by the dog (mom wouldn't let him do that at home), and have the undivided attention and ear of his most frequently seen, and beloved Uncle. They would talk for hours on end. Beej loved this time. I think it passed too quickly for him.

Anyway, the support and encouragement he received from Brad was something he thrived on. Plus, how many 30 to 40 something year olds were cool enough to play match box cars, and Risk? There was a real connection, and BJ thoroughly enjoyed it.

A few years ago, BJ, Brad and I camped in a tepee at Brad's camp. Just the boys getting together to do boy stuff, like fishing, hiking, tracking, arrowhead hunting and the like (okay, that is not JUST boy stuff). We thoroughly enjoyed the time together, and promised to do it more often. If "more often" were a geographic destination, we might actually have arrived, but since it is a fete of time and planning, it did not occur.

Anyway, BJ looked up to his uncle for each of these things, and what he stood for... Christ!

Having a brother like Brad actively involved in BJ's upbringing is what family is all about. I am very thankful for how close he lives, and how much time he has invested in the lives of each of my children. They are better adults because of the time spent by him, and many other family members loving on them, and encouraging them.

So, since Beej couldn't be with us at dinner, I ordered what he would have wanted- Halibut. Interestingly, it wasn't the most expensive thing this time.

Happy Valentines Day to you all... I pray you have the close, secure, enveloping arms of Christ to surround you, and that you love others in a like manner, on this day.

brent (dad)

Monday, February 13, 2006

The last few days have been amazing. What an encouragement it was to spend time with AweStar staff in Tulsa. They really blessed us. We wish we'd had time to spend with students and friends we know there as well.

The students of Mingo Valley Christian School are seeking hard after the Lord. They were very attentive to BJ's story, and at the end of the service, responded to the Lord's movement in their hearts by coming forward to take their stand as men and women of God, and taking BJ's place in serving. Glory to God for His faithfulness. And He's receiving much glory as students are seeking to put Him first in their lives. Please join me in praying for them.

Our time with AweStar staff was a time of tremendous peace in Christ. We believe the Lord is pointing us in a new direction of ministry, and will share more with you soon.

Over the weekend, BJ's friend Kelsey (tap-danced at his funeral celebration) competed in a Christian Dance competition. She donned her pink "PrayforBJ.com" t-shirt, and danced to "Praise You in the Storm" (Casting Crowns) complete with her own voice-overs, sharing BJ's testimony. She received much encouragement from judges for her inspirational means of bringing glory to our Savior. Thank you Kelsey for serving the Lord and putting Him first in your life, and pointing others to Christ.

We continue to hear wonderful testimonies of changed hearts and lives. That is what it's all about. Changing, or releasing our old selves that He might have Lordship and authority in all we do. Point someone to Christ today, by the giftedness He has placed within you!

Thank you for praying.

brent (dad)

Thursday, February 09, 2006

We are off to spend a couple of days with A.S. Missions staff. We will be discussing our future. I ask you to please seek the Lord, that He would lead us, and direct us in His plan and will.

We will not likely be writing until we return (Saturday pm), but as always are praying for the requests you have listed.

We have appreciated your prayer support on this journey, and we are now looking to see if the Lord would move us in this new direction.

We are speaking at a Christian School to junior and senior high students on Friday morning. Please pray that the Lord's words will be heard. We only desire to serve Him, and to bring glory to His Name.

A crucial meeting regarding the book on BJ also happens Friday morning, if you would please lift that up as well.

Be blessed in Him!

Serving the King beside you,

brent (dad)

Welcome home Lattany! Please write about your trip as soon as you can!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

From the earliest days of our courtship, Deanna has loved yellow roses. There have been many occasions where she has received them. My guess is that she might feel (though she would never say it) that there had not been enough. I am sure she would be right.

I have never met a woman who does not enjoy roses. They are so absolutely beautiful, and their fragrance is unequaled. I wonder what was on God's mind when He fashioned the rose. Perhaps that is an unnecessary question, but wow, what incredible results!

There are many metaphors for children, and their significance to mothers. Necklaces, and bracelets adorn many, with gems or figures that represent each child (or grandchild). On occasion, the flower may be one.

In our home, we have always considered our children to be our wealth. The Lord truly and significantly blessed us with ours. So many times as we have discussed who they are, and who they will become, we have been in awe of how God has molded them.

It's easy to assign blame for their shortcomings. We see their failures in ourselves first, and there is an element of guilt and frustration to it.

One that I'll never claim credit for was my sons affinity for the color pink.

Okay, I'm kidding, he didn't have any particular favor for that flavor. He simply saw an opportunity to get a rise out of me, and he took advantage of it. He bought a pink shirt, and came home from a mission trip in it, just to see my reaction (I'm not sure I'll ever forgive my lovely wife for allowing him to do so!). Anyway, he accomplished his goal. I acted as he had hoped.

After his death, on his birthday, many remember that we planted a Blue Spruce tree in front of our home in his honor. That same tree can be seen in the dvd of his funeral celebration. On the day we planted it, family and friends from all over the country circled around it for prayer. While we prayed, a single shaft of light entered our circle (and was caught on film).

The "BJ tree," as we affectionately call it, is planted in front of our home. We can view it from any front window. We decorated it with lights (no, they weren't pink) for Christmas. I often stare at it, and remember him.

About a week ago, someone secretly adorned it with a gentle hue of love. One of you seem to have known about this, and described it's color as pink. However, the rose that captures his mother's heart is yellow, and so was the one we found on his tree.

Thank you for that special act of love.

brent (dad)

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

When I was in junior high, I discovered that the Lord had gifted me in running. The longer the distance, the better I seemed to handle it. I was clearly not a sprinter. Because this came so naturally, I had a tendency to disregard my ability. This was not in the days of perpetual training. Today's athletes seem to be in the weight room or on the court of their affection, endlessly.

The thing was, I wanted to play football. I wanted glory, and I wanted it in a sport that I thought was worthy. I went out for the football team. I embarrassed myself. It wasn't pretty. My friends who were knocking me around felt sorry for me. I even saw the pity in their eyes. Humiliating!

Fortunately, I decided to try running instead. Cross Country was next. This unknown ability began to surface as I began to invest. I began to win events with noone close to me. My coaches tried to spur me on. The high school team heard about my abilities, and came to some of my meets to "push" me.

This was not the attention I sought. I was a teenage boy, who wanted what most teenage boys desired. I wanted the girls to take notice. I wanted the cheerleaders to come and cheer for me. My sport was obscure, the crowds sparse. My parents were seldom at my meets due to schedule conflicts, etc. Plus, have you ever been to a Cross Country meet? Most of the battles are fought far away from the public eye.
The people in attendance can generally see the start and the finish. Determination and victory had to come from within.

BJ liked to swim. I remember the struggle I had going to watch and cheer him on. I have such a competitive spirit, that I wanted him to crush his competition. When my children were small, I confess I was one of those soccer dads who embarrassed my wife, children and everyone else, with obnoxious screaming. BJ did not crush his competitors. It was usually the other way around. He did not seem to mind. As he strove to improve, his small frame began to take form.

He stuck to it, because he enjoyed it, and had some raw natural ability. Most of the kids he was competing against, had been swimming since they were, well... smaller that Beej, and that was saying something. He improved, and even began to win some heats. His previously awkward junior high body was taking on a new look. I even gave him a new nickname... "peck boy" (his pectoral muscles were well defined by now). Calling him this, elicited many wrestling matches and red faces. The threat of calling him this in public brought about a quick retreat from whatever issue, situation or discussion I was trying to keep the upper hand in.

BJ's ability to "stick to it," superseded my own. He was not in it for the glory. He took advantage of his role on the club team, to share his faith in Christ. Something I never did. I learn many lessons from my children. Humbling!

BJ's diligence in his walk with Christ was incredible to me. He found determination where I had looked for popularity. He found victory in Christ, where I had been self-promoting.

Though we often act otherwise, we each have a natural proclivity to embrace our Savior. It is natural because He created us. Yes, we have free will, and we exercise it often. I stumble too frequently for my years. When you have been "walking" as long as I have, stumbling should not be near as close a friend as it is.

Despite his absence from us physically, he continues to lead by example through the choices he made, the knowledge he gained, and the secure footing that exemplified his walk. Determination and victory came from Jesus. He learned to practice.


Monday, February 06, 2006

Highland Lakes Camp hosted the second weekend, winter youth retreat in a row. Students and leaders from all over Indiana were in attendance. It was the first time I had seen many of these folks since BJ passed. What encouragement, support, and love were extended. Some by words, and some speechless, through hugs.

I love to see a packed worship center, where people are offering up praise to our God. Several gave their hearts to the Lord, and others felt God's call to stand up and walk their walk.

It was my privilege to share BJ's story with this group. The Lord truly moved among us, and stirred the hearts of His children. Last weekend, many of the students were senior high. This weekend many were junior high, the age BJ was when God called him to the mission field.

I was struck momentarily speechless, when after I shared, two precious sixth grade girls came up and asked Tom (the director of the event) and me what a "mission field" was. My immediate internal reaction was "are you kidding?!" The girls asking, had seeking eyes, and were completely serious.

What an honor to explain to them that the mission field was all around us, and encompassed anyone who was not a believer in Jesus, as Lord and Savior of their lives. And to go on further and share that God called some of us across the street, and others across the seas to share His love. They walked away with the satisfaction of this new knowledge.

I met students and adults that are missions minded, and are serving. I met people who are hurting, but by His grace have been sustained. I met one young lady who at 13, knows God's call on her life, and will go on her second mission trip this summer. Many others were realizing their need to be faithful.

At the conclusion of sharing his testimony, and as "Die for You" (by MercyMe... the BJ inspired song) played, many spontaneously rose to honor the Lord, and reflect their hearts desire to take BJ's place.

Lord, I trust these were not just emotional gyrations, but further evidence of "raising a revolution!"

May Your Name be greatly praised in this day!

brent (dad)

Friday, February 03, 2006

Small groups are a wonderful thing. Churches that have developed the small group concept with their people are growing and stronger as a body. I know we have appreciated our small group at FBC so much. Even though we've just been at First Baptist for a little over a year now, we feel closer to many of the people because of the connection our small group has. The time that our small group has taken with each other every week has been a huge blessing. When my mom came to the hospital and again to the calling and funeral, she commented about our friends. She has not lived close to us our whole marriage, so she had no idea what wonderful friends we have been privileged to have, not only at FBC but at Northside as well.

Last night in small group, we discussed prayer. A basic in a Christian's life. Communication with the Father. Well, I got a little spirited talking about it because it is the crux of our relationship with Jesus. The author of the book we are studying says that prayer takes effort and is a discipline. O.K. I do understand that it takes time to purposefully pray, to make it a habit and to make it part of your routine. It takes away from our busy schedules to go, go, go and do, do, do wherever it is we are going and whatever it is we are doing that is oh so important. I'd rather quote the author who says "too busy NOT to pray."

I guess the sad reality is that many Christians do not take the time to simply talk to God. Or if they do, it is a list of requests and not a heart to heart, day by day occurrence.

To me prayer is as natural as breathing. I don't think I would make it an hour without talking to my God. I make plenty of mistakes and I need Him to help me in future circumstances. I need God to help me live in grace as I give grace.
I need God to help me be joyful. I need Him to help me fight the voices of darkness that pull me to be annoyed and jealous and want me to give in to the grouch.

Realizing our need. Is that the key?

This Proverb speaks to that: Prov. 26:12 "Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him."

I've been listening to scripture on my drives to and from school. A mother's day present last year. Right now I'm in Isaiah. I got to my favorite chapter today. A passage of scripture that was quoted to us quite often in the hospital, but I never tire of hearing it.

Isaiah 40:28-31
Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
The Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and His understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
They will run and not grow weary,
They will walk and not be faint.

Another great old testament quote on prayer: 2 Chronicles 7:14
If My people who are called by My name
will humble themselves and pray
and seek My face
and turn from their wicked ways
I will hear from heaven
and will forgive their sin
and will heal their land.

Oh merciful, sovereign God, help us to see the error of our ways. Take the scales off our eyes so that we may see You more clearly. May we seek You and not our own path. Help us recognize our sin and turn away from it! Strengthen us Father as You have promised. Help us not only make time for You, help us to make You the reason we live and breathe.

I thank you Father that You WANT to hear from us. Thank you for Your patience with us.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

What is our infatuation with clothing? Trends come and go, and we must reline our wardrobes to try and stay current (who says wardrobe?). It's more important to some than others. You know who you are. You are trying to figure out why this would even be a topic. It is just part of the American culture... and others.

Before we condemn, let's remember that we have often known people by their clothing. John the Baptist wore Camel's hair, Joseph had a brightly colored coat (many colors), the roman soldiers were clad in red with funny little hats, Adam and Eve wore... well you know, and then fig leaves seemingly came into fashion.

I certainly have outfits that I like to see Deanna in. She has always been frugal in her shopping... she doesn't go crazy buying clothing. And why do we? I remember a few times that we bought outfits for the kids when they were growing up, that they refused to wear. There was nothing wrong with them, other than it didn't fit right or look right after we got them home. How do clothes change between the department store and home? Each of our closets are adorned with apparel that we have either outgrown or simply refuse to wear.

I remember dressing the kids in matching outfits when they were young. We have some embarrassing photos to prove it. The last time we all dressed alike was a DiscipleNow event in which all 5 of us wore jeans and the black, long sleeved, "Plain and Simple," event t-shirts. I didn't used to like black. But now I see how it helps me lose a little weight, so we have become friends.

BJ had a favorite shirt. It was a black t-shirt with a white figure on the front. It was a Haste the Day (band) t-shirt. He must have worn it nine days every seven. Of course that doesn't make sense... but neither did how often he wore it. If you knew Beej, you remember this shirt well. He had a took (he hated when I called it that) or beanie (sock cap, for those of us with a bit of mileage on us) that he wore with it, and every outfit. It was also black, and had a single stitched white cross on the front... no words, just a cross. It is the one item of his clothing which still carries a scent, and it is not particularly pleasant, nor is it uniquely his... more of a dirty hair thing.

A time after his passing, we encouraged our girls to take of his what they wanted, what they would wear. It doesn't look like they took much, but that black t-shirt is gone.

Perhaps they should have divided it, somehow. I think they both agreed that it had more value, whole.

Our Savior wore a seamless white linen garment. Upon His death, even the crass soldiers saw more value in keeping it in one piece, than shredding it for each to have some... a keepsake... a claim to fame.

Fortunately, that was just clothing. It had no eternal value. His life, His blood, His sacrifice? That was eternal... it never goes out of style. No need to purchase new, because the One who purchased the original paid the price once and for all.


Students who are planning to go to with Awestar to the mission field this summer, your applications are due!!! Please get them in... yesterday! If you plan to go, send it in, please.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

I wonder how many times in our lives we make right choices, but for wrong reasons. And how does this impact our view of truth? Sometimes we don't find out until much later that our reasoning was wrong, even though we did right. I know it can result in an emptiness, that as Christians we are not supposed to experience. This leads to disillusionment.

An example that some have experienced in this, is making a decision for Christ without actually being under His conviction. His Word says "Noone can come to me unless my Father who sent me draws Him." John 6:44

I have seen the difficulty this produces in the lives of young people (with our involvement in youth ministry). Students make a decision that is based on emotion or peer pressure, then don't understand why they don't grow. Too often in churches, students have been told there is a specific age or time that they must make a commitment to Christ. They follow what they are told out of obedience to their families or elders, and lead completely fruitless lives. They are frustrated, because they don't get it.

BJ was one such young man. He had two older sisters, he had watched make decisions for Christ. Though he did not understand at the time what he was witnessing, he gained some level of understanding, as he learned about it, and watched others in the church make decisions. He decided he wanted to take part in that.

He was six years old when I sat down with him and talked through his decision, I thought (perhaps selfishly, as his dad, I was waiting for this moment) he understood. He prayed and asked Jesus to be his Savior. Then he wanted to be baptized.

He was so excited on baptism day. He was ready! When Pastor Steve stood beside him, BJ clasped his left hand with both of his. Steve was sharing about BJ's decision, and giving a brief explanation of what was happening. BJ was oblivious to those words. He was there to be baptized, and he was ready. So while Steve talked, BJ went ahead and laid back, trying to get underwater, trying to be baptized. He only succeeded in getting the back of his head wet. It truly was a comical moment.

When Steve was done talking, he finished the baptism. Beej got dunked one and a half times that morning.

Two years later, BJ joined me at a youth meeting (he was still too young to actually take part). We had a guest speaker, Afshin Ziafat. He was a Muslim convert. His family had disowned him, and cut off all contact, as a result. As he shared his testimony, BJ began to truly understand for the first time, his spiritual lostness. He prayed that night at the invitation for the Lord to save him.

He told me about it, and I was reluctant to accept what he said. After all, I had had the privilege of leading my son to Christ, and this would negate that (a little pride showing through?).

BJ's life changed after that night. His whole approach to his "walk" was filled with desire for knowledge and an understanding he did not previously have. He began sharing at school, and with anyone who would listen. If an eight year old could be radically saved... he was.

I had tried to be a good parent. I led him where I thought he needed to go... to the foot of the cross for his salvation. The trouble was, this did not coincide with the "Father drawing him." Well, his earthly father, yes, but not his heavenly one.

I praise God that in spite of my right motives, and Beej's right decision, that the Lord drew him at the right time, and changed his life, as he responded in obedience!

BJ was re-baptized at youth camp two or three years later. He knew the first time had been under false pretense, and wanted to do it right. He came out of the water with joy. He even said, "finally." He lived a life faithful to the Father, and desired to see others do likewise. He spent his life, trying to give others the same opportunity he had, to know Jesus, and to make Him known.

We can learn a great deal from this. Not that we should not share with our children. Not that we should not lead them to the foot of the cross. Just that we need to be sensitive to any lost person, and recognize that we may be a "divine encounter" for them, we may be meeting them and sharing with them, just when the Father is drawing them, through His Holy Spirit. Or, it is possible, we will be seed sowers, and salvation may come later, at the point the Father draws them.

I trust that if you find that you were like BJ, and have based your life on a decision that was made out of pure emotion or peer pressure, and have been empty and fruitless as a result, that you will take the time now to ask Jesus to be your Lord and Savior.

May the Lord God minister to you, where you are right now!