Tuesday, July 26, 2011

With the outside temps daily eclipsing the 105 degree mark, I wanna reflect on cooler days. BJ and I dismounting from a ski lift 6 months or so before he would go home.

I am in awe of my Savior.

I so wish I could capture the debriefing of our summer teams for you. When they assembled and told their stories of the amazing works of our Lord around the world, I was so stirred and moved.

Yet, to be honest, the conclusion of the summer trips, evokes a certain sadness within me.

Both because the work we have done for the last year, has come to a certain conclusion, and this same time elicits the remembrance of what began upon BJ's final return from the field.

I take an annual journey back through the 6 weeks of nearly 6 years ago. This morning, I reread most of our entries of his hospital stay.

I must say, I remain truly humbled at all the Lord has done!

The Lord truly redeems the pains of loss or failure, but it doesn't mean you don't still hurt.

Yesterday, Deanna and I received three letters in the mail. I believe they are reflective of all the Lord has done.

The first, was from some friends from the church we served in for over 20 years back in Indianapolis. They had just read "I Would Die for You," and were stirred by it's passion and the glory it brought to the Lord. They took us back to the time we served there and told us of how God had used our family in their lives. They even made a contribution to BJ's Hope, to continue his legacy. What a blessing!

The second was from a former student who was part of the youth group I was student minister to back in Carmel, Indiana. She was a decorated volleyball player at the high school and collegiate levels. She is now a wife and mother of two. She wrote to thank us for the impact the Lord had in her life, through our family. She had picked up "I Would Die for You," at her library, read it, and written us to reflect her thankful heart. Again, how blessed and thankful we are!

The third letter was from a thirteen year old girl from Canada. She also had read the book, and was testifying to the power of God in her life as a result of BJ's testimony! She had drawn two pictures, and and written a letter that will always be precious to us!

I share these things to reveal how the Lord continues to minister to the abiding pain of loss. That three letters would arrive the same day, all pointing to a Holy God who had impacted their lives, is terribly humbling! It's humbling because He wanted us to see that we had been a small part of their journey.

It is about the journey, isn't it?

Sometimes we try hard to make it about specific goals or achievements, but it will always be about the journey.

How do we respond to adversity? How do we respond to suffering?

The reality we need to practice, is pressing into Him. We tend to decorate our lives with other things we think will bring us fulfillment, but if we know the truth, we will always return to Him.

That is a journey. And on this journey, He redeems and rebuilds our brokenness.

There is no other god who can do what HE does.

Press into Him.


Monday, July 18, 2011

standing in front of one of the temples at the Angkor Wat (in Cambodia). Yes that huge tree is growing out of the top of the temple!

I am amazed and blessed by my Savior!

Though I have been involved in missions with students for years, it has been way too long since I had the opportunity to participate in leadership at a youth camp. Last week I had that privilege!

I am amazed at how little, mainstream church youth know about the Word of God. I do not mean to hammer them, I am just making an observation regarding the experience. I must remember that the students I participate in missions with, are focused and seeking the Lord intensely. They have a greater knowledge base of the Bible.

The result is that many of them are deeper in the Word.

What a privilege to help the Truth of His Word come to life for these students. They are truly interested in knowing Him, but have not had the tools or understanding of how to do so.

This is not intended to be an indictment of the church or the staff. This same scenario plays out across our country. What is amplified is the need for Christian adults to take on roles as mentors and/or chaperone's who take a vested interest in the spiritual growth and development of our teens.

Too often, we believe we have nothing to offer, or that we cannot possibly connect with them. This isn't true. They want to know there are those who believe in them. They want to be loved on like you and me. Each one of us can make a difference one life at a time, if we will just invest our time and pour our hearts into them.

They will fail, just like we fail. We then need to come back around them with grace, just as our Savior does with us.

Too often we try to modify their behavior without having touched their hearts.

I watched one young man this past week arrive at camp knowing few, and being very sad. My heart broke as I was informed his father had dropped him off and stated, "I need you to fix my kid."

He was a handsome young man with a quiet and gentle spirit. He was clearly hurting. Many of us spoke truth into him.

It was such an encouragement to see him surrender his life to Jesus! The transformation was measurable!!! His solemn ways broke into uncontrollable smiles.

I watched him for a day or so before receiving word that he had come to one of my sons-in-law and spoken these words... "when I came to this camp I was a sad and angry boy. I am so thankful for Jesus in my life, I am so happy, and have never felt this way before!"

We'd be having serious conversations and joy would erupt all over his face! It was truly incredible!!! This is one of the benefits of working with students... seeing lives changed.

Jesus is worthy of our time and surrender.

Now this young man needs those who will come alongside of him and disciple him. We can't afford to let these who come to Him, then fall away because we don't have time to invest.

When one comes to Christ, they have a desire to know and learn. If we don't help them, many will become distracted and return to seeking affirmation through their old sin nature. We all need people in our lives who care. We can't afford not to care about those He is at work on.

We each have a responsibility to pour into others from what He has poured into us.

What a privilege to serve our Savior and see Him change lives!

He is worthy of our total surrender.

He died for this young man, and He died for me. I must make sure I am faithfully spending time with those He cares for!


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Just wanted to let you know that I am at a youth camp in Texas this week, and will be receiving my teams back from around the world next week (also in Texas). It is an incredible time in the Lord! Be blessed!!!


Wednesday, July 06, 2011


How often do we engage in activities based on relationships? Things we initially may not care a great deal about, become interests, because of a friends enthusiasm.

When we encounter those who are passionate about something, the impact on us can be significant. In some cases, we find ourselves investing assets of all types into something we didn't previously care for.

If listed in checkbook methodology, our time, money, labor, thoughts and passions reflect where our true heart or interests lie.

As this is revealed, are we lying to ourselves?

Are we saying things are important to us that our lives reflect no investment in?

For far too many American Christians, this would be the case.

When Jesus called His disciples, what was their response?

Here were a dozen men who were going about their business, earning a living, having relationships with family and friends, and in short, living.

Suddenly, this man Jesus enters, tells them to "drop their nets and follow Him," and they do.

Just like that!

They walk away from family, responsibility, jobs, all relationships, and to do what? To follow someone they do not know, but recognize truth and passion and are drawn in.

Through the years, my passions have varied. I have been candid about this. Anyone reading probably realizes I enjoy hunting. When I begin to talk about hunting, people generally respond in one of two ways. They are usually very interested or not at all interested.

Those who are interested find common ground with me quickly. I have seen those who had a marginal interest, with no experience, become "disciples." Today, they have begun to hone their skill in this arena and are becoming proficient hunters.

I have seen other do this, when my passion lay elsewhere. Cycling, furniture building, antiques, etc.

Are the disciples in my life, following me for the right passion?

Another way to ask this is, "are my passions misdirected?"

If I am gaining more disciples by worldly pursuits (not inherently evil things) than by who I am in Christ, then my passions ARE misdirected.

Disciples in my life are those who are drawn to me and begin to walk alongside of me because of a common interest and their desire to learn from my experience.

Of course, we never call them that in today's vernacular. This doesn't change the bottom line. We develop friendships with people we have things in common with. Over time, our transparency, how we care for them, how they care for us, are building blocks in these relationships.

How many relationships do I have where if I'm honest with myself, I don't invest in them in the arena of 'growing in Christ?'

There shouldn't be any.

If we are true Christ followers, then every relationship we have, we will be intentional in pointing them to Him.

The Apostles were this way. He taught them to be. They were slow learners. So are we.

If they saw the passion and truth of what He had to say, dropped everything to follow Him, then what excuse(s) do we deploy to live by different agendas?

It's simple.


Being true followers of Christ means we will be uncomfortable.

If we have settled into routines that don't involve making Him known, then we will be known as worldly, not Christ-like.

If the measure for our Christian lives is how much we naturally (once regenerated by Christ) pour into others, then do our checkbooks of time, talents and money spent, indicate His Holiness?

Who are your disciples? What do they know of Holy, because of your investment in them?

He shows us the way, we just have to leave "comfort" to become useful tools.

Perhaps you are like me, and don't want anyone looking into your "books." We don't want to be audited in this area.

I think I just need to invest more in Him, so that I am available for Him to invest more in others.