Friday, April 13, 2012

Wake up call

This week was an utter joy!  The week began with a class on Brethren Polity.  An admittedly funny juxtaposition of sentences even by my standards.  This was great because I got to spend a few hours with one of my denomination's leaders from the National Office.  It was reassuring to hear of how our tribe is, has and must change to continue to be relevant.  It didn't hurt to hear a few words of encouragement from him about how excited he, and others in the Brethren church are that "people like me," (by which he meant young leaders who have shown at least glimpses of potential to bring about radical transformation) are starting to emerge.  It must be noted that I still find it incredible that people see such potential for Christ's work to be done through me.  This is true, in part because I know where I came from.  I know about all the ludicrous things I've done, and still think of doing.  I know about my weaknesses and the things that I work so hard to hide from others, that I find myself looking over my shoulder to see who these people are talking to.  I never see anyone so I must assume they're talking to me.  More on this in upcoming blogs.
    I spent some time with my ministry team discussing the direction men's ministry is heading, and where we've been, and what obstacles are in our way, and what we can or can't do about them, and was reassured by their commitment, thoughts, frustrations and desire to see the same changes that we've been envisioning for nearly 2 years.
    I got to spend some more time with Will a few days later, chewing on some of the same things we typically talk about.  Children and raising them not to be animals, the role of community in the church, weird 5 stones specific things, our upcoming Marriage Camp, etc.
    I also got to spend some time with Jesus and my wife.  Tonight, I made these absolutely wicked portobello mushroom caps, with garlic, goat cheese and balsamic vinegar, grilled veggies and STEAK, had a Lucky U IPA, and simply spent the evening on my porch with my wife.  She likes me just as much as I like her and always says the most loving things when we have little nights like this.
   All of these things are so exciting!  I continue to realize how blessed I am.  How fortunate I am that God decided to bless me with all of these resources, skills, gifts, etc.
<cue rooster crowing>
    A week like this forces my hand.  I can either sit back, receive the compliments, enjoy the peace and love, fall deeper and deeper in love with the vision the Holy Spirit is giving me for my life, hang my hat on all the things that could be, or, I can DO something.  This isn't to say that I've done nothing, because I have.  What I'm saying is that I tend to choose option A.  I like vision and I love compliments and peace and possibilities.  I like coming up with ideas and strategies, and even have success implementing them.  But I realized this week, that much of what I, and others are excited about is stuff that lies ahead.  It's making those things happen that brings excitement.  When we look at the vision for Men's Ministry as a place and time when men are integrated into the lives of other men in their finances, marriages, families, jobs etc.; where old men seek out young men to train them to live like Christ, and young men run to old men to say, "hey, you seem to have this figured out, teach me," it is that reality that excites me.  Not the idea of it.  The idea of being QB for the Browns is exciting, the reality is terrifying.  There is a difference between ideas and realities, and it isn't the idea that excites me.
    This example is for the tangible things in the ministry I lead, but the idea, reality translates into my marriage, my education, your ability to raise your kids, your work ethic, your relationship with Jesus etc.  My football coach used to tell us to visualize the plays as they were going to happen in a game, golfers visualize shots before they take them.  In order to bring about a new reality it starts with our vision; we need to see it.  But if it remains only that change ain't-a-coming.  Do you dream about what your perfect marriage, perfect day of parenting, fulfilling relationship with Jesus looks like?  I hope so, but what do you do to make these things real, to make them happen, to turn them from ideas about a hopeful future, into descriptors of a real present?

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