Monthly Archives: April 2015

I want to be like the moon…

Full Moon

I want to be like the moon!

The moon has no light of its own. The only way we can see it is when it reflects the light of the sun.

The moon has it greatest power when it is full. When it is in perfect alignment with both the earth and the sun. When this happens, its beauty is fully appreciated by those on earth and its influence can be seen by the pull of the tides of the ocean and some people believe their own emotions are affected by the full moon.

Without the sun, the moon is nothing more to us than a lifeless cold rock that drifts alone in space 241,821 miles away. But by reflecting the sun, it becomes something of beauty and something that can sometimes take our breath way.

Yep…I want to be like the moon…but if and only if…I can reflect the light of the sun.

 

Photo credit:  Andreia Bohner

The 38 year old cookie…

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It was 1977 in Charleston, SC.  I was a freshman…a “knob” attending The Military College of South Carolina…or better known as The Citadel. I had been recruited to play quarterback and had moved up in the depth chart from 11th string quarterback to 2nd string quarterback just one week before our first game. Being part of the football team relieved me from much of the physical hazing that the rest of my classmates were enduring while I was at practice. However, from my vantage point, I was getting all I could handle in practice.

It happened to be my 18th birthday in early September of 1977. We had our last scrimmage before our first game. As I took the snap and executed an option play, the moment that I flicked the ball to my running back, my left palm was caught between two helmets that simultaneously sandwiched my palm and crushed the bones in my throwning hand…as well as my dreams.

Leaving the infirmary with a fresh cast on my left hand, I stopped by the post office on campus to pick up a birthday “care package” from my Mom. I knew it had to be something good and I rushed into the barracks and began the process of getting to my room.

The process for a “knob” to get to their room was no easy feat. We were required to double time around the perimeter of the barracks running only in two tile widths of area to one of four corners of the square barracks that marked our company staircase. Once at the bottom of the staircase, we were required to give ourselves a “shirt-tuck” which meant tightening our shirt both front and back. Then, if any upperclassman were on the stairs, we had to request permission of that upperclassman to use the stairs. Silly…but required.

The problem was that the rooms for the knobs were on the fourth floor of the barracks and getting to your room required having to run through a gauntlet of upperclassmen…and upperclassmen with nothing to do…were very dangerous.

Well, here I come with a broken hand, broken dreams and a box of goodies from my Mom and all I’m thinking about is getting to my room. Then it happens…the upperclassmen see the box….and they know by instinct that boxes carried by knobs most likely means…food.

I am confronted by a group of upperclassmen and am forced to open the box from my Mom. It contains a birthday card and a box of homemade chocolate chip cookies….contraband for knobs…a dream come true for hungry upperclassmen!

One of the upperclassmen that confronts me is Mr. Kipphut. He is one of many, but he takes my box of cookies and reminds me of the fact that knobs are not supposed to have “contraband” in the barracks and he and his friends are going to help me out. So they all take my cookies and leave one for me. However the one they leave me is crushed into crumbs and placed on the ground of the tiled walkway. It is there that they demand that I do push ups for violating the contraband policy. Since I have a broken hand, I am forced to do one-armed push ups which they have no sympathy. Each time I go down for a push up…I am allowed to eat a bite of the cookie crumbs that are on the ground and then I return back to the up position and sound off “one sir.” This goes one for 15 more times and then I am allowed to go to my room.

Happy 18th birthday to me….

Fast forward 38 years….and I attend a Citadel alumni function in Plano, TX. I walk in and one of the first people I see is my “old friend Mr. Kipphut.” By now his name is Mark. We exchange greetings and begin a warm and friendly exchange as we both begin to unpack the years that have gone by for each of us.

We both attended a recent alumni event and I shared with “Mark” the events of that fateful day in 1977 and the impact that it had on me. Mark was moved…however, I didn’t realize how much until today….

Today, I had lunch with Mark. We had agreed that we would get together and have lunch and today was the day. We both arrived at the restaurant at the same time and as I waited for Mark to get to the door, I noticed a box in his hand…. He met me and said, here…these are for you…. It was a box of chocolate chip cookies.

I cannot begin to explain how much this simple gesture meant to me. I was pretty much stunned when he gave them to me and it wasn’t until after our lunch and I was driving away that the story of our past became so vivid…again.

What a guy…to take the initiative to “right” a “wrong” that happened so long ago. What a guy… that would feel like this was an important thing to do…

Well it was….and as I sat in front of my TV tonight…I opened that box of cookies….and they were the best tasting things I think I’ve ever enjoyed.

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38 year old cookies are the best…not because the cookie…but because the man behind the cookie… is now… my friend.

60 days…to beginning the next chapter…

It’s hard to believe that in 60 days I’ll be sitting in the airport with a one way ticket to Guatemala!

Why am I going?   Good question…

I think God has been moving me. When I step back and look at my life, I can see a significant shift that has taken place in me over the past decade. I’ve become a Christian, I got baptized, I began working mission trips into my regular life schedule, I started seminary, I left my 30 construction career and lucrative salary to become 100% dependant on God and the generous donations of my supporters…and now I’m moving to Guatemala.

When I think about it…it all makes sense. I think God has been preparing me to do the “real work.”   It all made sense when I heard pastor Andy Stanley say recently,

“Holy hands are dirty hands.”

Years ago, when I thought of the word “Holy”, the thought would be accompanied by a sense of things that were clean, bright, and neat and often separated from other things. Just as one thinks of God in the Old Testament residing in the Holy of Holies, and the actions of the Pharisee and Sadducees in the Bible worrying about being exposed to someone who was “unclean.”  They went to extreme measures to remain “clean and holy.”

When I thought about it, I had evidently carried this belief forward and was practicing it in my life and ministry to some extent.  I was working in ministry…but from afar…my hands were clean.

My new perspective is quite different. I now realize that my version of “holy” was not missional…nor biblical. Missional work requires one to “get their hands dirty.” One must get out into the community and along side of those that they are trying to reach and help. It’s not easy and it cannot be accomplished from afar. One must engage.

That is what God did…He sent His Son to live with us...He engaged.

But why go to Guatemala?

I believe our God is a sending God and we are to go and be a part of those communites we intend to reach. It is in this engagement and through acts of service and love that we become holy and then become useful tools to God.  I don’t exactly know why God has called me to Guatemala …but I just know He has…and that’s good enough for me.

So here we go!   I am excited to begin this next chapter of my life as I put all my belongings into storage and move to Guatemala to place myself in God’s service. I have no idea what to expect…but one thing is for certain…I’m going to get my hands really dirty!

If you would like to be a part of my support team…I need it and would really appreciate it.  If you’ve read my blog this far…maybe God has a calling for you as well!   All you have to do is click on the button below.

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Blessings!