Tuesday, December 14, 2010


It's been a while since my post didn't begin with a picture.

I grew up with a love for American Indians. In school, I wrote papers about them. My father was from Wisconsin. His area of that state was home to local tribes. I often pretended to be, and wished I was, Indian. I have the deepest respect for their plight and their love for the land and nature. That I live in Oklahoma, the land where the "Trail of Tears" ends, is not an accident.

When my brother Brad was here for Lauren's wedding, recently, we were discussing the knives we had obtained from Wisconsin as children. Made by Indians, mine had a deer's foot handle, his was carved of bone and a metal eagles head formed the hilt. At some point, we had traded. We each still had them.

This past summer, I did not get to go to overseas to serve. Deanna and I were scheduled to take a team to South Asia, but the trip had to be canceled.

I knew the Lord was up to something, but did not know what that might be.

Over the course of those hot months, I began to receive calls from people in the area who were seeking my input into their lives. Before I realized it, new and deeper relationships were being forged.

I got to see (and still do) the Lord actively working in the lives of many. I have been discipling students for as long as I can remember. Now, I was blessed with the privilege of doing so for some mature believers.

One of these young men is in his 30's. He and his wife have become precious to me. We met through ministry around five years ago. He was very close to some mutual friends, and was working to promote an area Christian concert.

For the next four and half years, we'd come into contact from time to time, but never drew close... until this past summer. God was doing a work (and still is).

I heard from him yesterday.

He and his lovely wife have two children that have recently invited Jesus into their hearts! The family is blessed of the Lord. They are currently looking into adoption as the Lord moves in their lives. So much is happening as a result of the obedience this couple is walking in. I wish I had time to write it all down. God is abundantly good, and blessing beyond our imaginations.

We met for lunch today. He came by my office and picked me up. As I loaded into his truck, he began to try to explain something to me. He seemed a bit uncomfortable, and struggled to get the words out.

He has become a dear friend, and I was not used to seeing him struggle like this.

He proceeded to tell me how he had given a gift to two very important men in his life. One was his father. He talked of their meaningful relationship. He was trying to tell me something. I had no idea where he was going.

He told me he did not want me to feel uncomfortable.

This brother was the state wrestling champion of Oklahoma, and a highly decorated All American collegiate wrestler from Oklahoma State University. What was this "man's man" going to do, or say?

Moments before, while standing in my office, we were mid conversation. He was telling us a story. As his voice trailed off, words began to rather involuntarily leave my mouth. I conveyed that the Lord was detail interested and oriented and that many believers struggled because they were trying to handle what the Lord wanted to.

When we were in the truck, he said those words were affirmation that he was doing the right thing, as there had been several details involved in this process that led him to realize what he was supposed to do.

He said, "I have a friend who is Cherokee Indian. He is also a brother in Christ. He's made these for the other men I spoke of. One of those men is my father. The other is my father-in-law. As we have gotten to know each other over these last few months, you have spoken into my life, like a father. I know you sign your blog, "dad" each time you write. I know you have three wonderful children, but I have a sense you have many others who call you "dad." I want to give you this to exemplify the battle I know you fight for our Savior every day. It signifies the necessity of close combat. Thank you for pouring into me."

With those words (as best I can remember), he handed me a hand made knife! The handle is walnut. The blade is nickel. Brass surrounds the transition from handle to blade. The sheath is leather with my initials, and is hand crafted so that the blade slots in snugly and cannot fall out. When I slid the 9" knife out, my attention was immediately drawn to the blade. Not because I could see myself in the gleam, but because there were two letters engraved at the hilt... "BJ!"

I asked about them. He told me the Indian mans name. He said "all of his closest friends call him, BJ for short."

The craftsmanship of this knife and sheath is far superior to any I've ever owned. Honestly, I fought to hold back the tears.

My mind raced from the day we gave BJ the sword, and how he had responded. I felt similarly. I am humbled and deeply blessed. I could not speak well for several minutes.

My friend was uncomfortable because he feared I would not understand his gift.

I probably understand this gift, better than most I have received in my life!

Recently, my daughters asked me what I'd like for Christmas. I told them I needed a good knife. One I can use when I hunt.

When you receive a gift that meets many needs simultaneously, it is overwhelming. It touches something deep within you. My friend had no idea his gift would do that!

I will never forget my friend, this day, this gift or the many reasons it resonates warmly within my heart. You do not have to have an affinity for American Indians, knives or hunting, to understand what I am saying.

I believe you do need to have a relationship with Christ to understand this, in it's fullness. My Salvation is the greatest gift I have ever received. This knife and all it signifies, ties into that whole expression!

My son wrote (of receiving the sword we gave him) "With the exception of the gifts that God himself gives, one could not ask for a greater gift."

Because of my friend Matt, I understand this in it's fullness. Thank you, brother!

Below are pics of "The Gift."



At 4:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! is about all there is to say. What a gift.
Aunt Maralyn

At 3:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow is right. What an incredible gift...and the knife is great too:)!


At 7:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You never fail to bring me to tears!

At 7:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, I have never been on here before but I just read the book I would die for you. Its an awesome book, Its AMAZING the passion he had for God. His story really touched me. My mom had bought a copy for me and my brother and we both really loved it. I have told alot of my friends about it and all of them really want to read it too. I don't know right now what God is calling me to do with my life yet, if it's being a missionary out of the country or right here in my town or i don't know anything but I know that I will follow Him in everything I do. As soon as I finished reading this book, I was in my 6th hour and I felt this fire in me, I wanted to tell everyone! I looked around me and no one knew, no one knew what I was feeling they were just all goofing off, it was so weird what I was feeling compared to what was going on around me. This website, looking on it and reading some of the things makes it actually real to me, what happened in the book I mean, I'm not sure why I'm even posting on here, but to let you know his life has touched even people today, five years later. It helped restore my relationship with God again,I have missed it so much. And I'm hoping that through me, God will lead even more people to Him. Thank you so much for sharing his story with me.


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