For the longest time I thought the term ADHD was reserved for parents who just didn’t know how to raise their kids. Then God gave me the poster child for the condition in our first born. My son, John, is a genius. He also has more energy than a platoon of Marines about to storm into enemy territory. Forget trying to fit John into any kind of mold of properness and organization. Calmness for him means that only two volcanoes are exploding simultaneously instead of twelve. But the real awakening came when I realized that if experts were classifying Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder when I was a kid back in the 70s, it would have been me they were talking about.
I needed this. As of last night I came off of my self-imposed Political Fast for the month of August, and honestly I’m not sure I want to go back. By a political fast I mean that I purposefully stayed away from reading anything or listening to anything having to do with the present political races of Hillary and Trump. Really the whole system as well. Sure I was tempted a few times and know that at least once I started down that road of “just to see” what the story behind the latest headline was. But I didn’t fall prey to the calling and got through August with pretty much no political writ, radio, or video. I think I’m healthier for it and not certain I want to go back to my old norm.
This is not to say that I no longer have political thinking. I am not saying that I no longer believer that some politics and laws are just bad. This is not to say that I no longer believe that some candidates are way off and therefore they will be advocating systems and laws which will hurt people.
Yes, I still intellectually and morally believe there is a clear right and wrong. Some candidates get that and others do not. But I also believe that the attention to these issues in the political sphere is no longer as high on my emotional radar screen as they once were. I always knew that the Kingdom of God is the bigger picture. It’s just taken my emotions a while to catch up. While some of these political and legal issues are indeed important; they are just not the “most important.”
So after 31 days of political and social media fasting, I’ve arrived at four things that I do know for sure and four things I plan to do.
I’m not sure when or why we started calling him Sir Rob. I mean he’s not British and as far as I know the Queen has not knighted him. But Sir Rob just kind of feels like a knight. He’s ex-military and a tough guy but yet carries an air of nobility and wisdom with him that makes you feel like you’re talking with someone in the English Parliament. Except of course when he’s making jokes and swimming in dry humor. Which I suppose is a lot of the time. But still, Sir Rob just fits.
I also don’t recall when I first heard him pose the question. I’ve heard it a lot though. Another one of my friends gets down on himself and begins a degradation process. You know; the “I’m an idiot” type talk. I’ve done that. Maybe you have. But right after my friend told himself how bad he was Sir Rob followed up with the question of; “really, who said that?” In other words, who said he was an idiot, failure, or other?
A HUGE thanks goes out to the anonymous folks at C4 who gave us a cruise for our 25th wedding anniversary. I told Ronda, our admin, that I was probably more relaxed after a few days into the sail than I’ve been in 10 years or so. It was a good time to decompress and just celebrate our marriage commitment and also God’s creation. For those who live in the Houston area; the ocean water really does turn blue once you get a few miles out from Galveston. It was incredible to see and experience the colors of the sea, sky, greenery and animals of Cozumel and Progreso.
But beyond that, it was amazing to see the international makeup of the crew on the ship that carried us on our anniversary adventure. I had heard of cruises like this before. The complement of the crew was comprised of people from all over the world. Western and Eastern European nations. Russia and Slavic nations. People from the UK, Australia, and South Africa. Countries from Asia, South America, and other were all represented.
That’s right! Today marks the 25th anniversary for Deb and me. Earlier today I went up to Deb’s school and surprised her with an anniversary ring and a second proposal. Big thanks to Kayla Stanfield for setting up the logistics. For everyone who missed the occasion; my “Re- Proposal” went something like this:
Deborha, 25 years ago today we made a promise. I made one to you and you made one to me. More importantly, we made a covenant promise before God, the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. We‘ve kept that promise. We’ve been faithful to the covenant. We’ve had quite the adventure.
“I lift up my eyes to the hills; where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the maker of Heaven and Earth.” That was my theme. David’s prayer from Psalms 121:1-2 is what I carried with me two weeks ago when I headed out to Kenya to help with an amazing ministry called Marked Men For Christ. The purpose of MMFC is singular and that is simply to build stronger men for Jesus Christ. That is exactly what we did with around 325 men from several nations all converging near Nakuru, Kenya. For my part, I had the privilege of leading two prayer teams during our time there and the transformation in the lives of men was miraculous. Below is a link to the report I gave yesterday at Cypress Crossings. Part of the message was ministry report but most of it was a sermon of encouragement. I hope it will be a blessing to you in your walk. Thank you again to everyone who lifted this project up in prayer and financial support. The time was incredibly productive with even eternal ramifications.
We are just six week away from the Africa Marked Men For Christ mission project and I wanted to send out a prayer email in preparation. It’s been quite a while since I’ve participated in an international project like this and only recently was reminded of my personal need for prayer support. So with that I’d like to invite you to lift up me and the other 46 men from the States who are headed to Nairobi in late April to minister to African men from Kenya and five other African nations.
For the logistics of the trip, I will be flying out of Houston on the 23rd 10:45a and arrive in Nairobi on Sunday night, the 24th at 6p. My return flights will begin on Sunday, May 1st at 11:25p and landing in Houston on Monday at 2:45p. The exact event timing will be from Tuesday through Thursday with prep on Monday and follow up training on Friday. My particular role will be to lead one of the four prayer teams during the three day event.
The stakes are high and the need is huge for leadership development of men in these nations. The goal is that these men will be able to return to their home stronger ambassadors for Christ in their neighborhoods, cities, and countries. Maybe eventually to the nations.
I want to thank you who have already begun to pray for this ministry and for the financial support of many of you. Specifically, I am asking that you write the trip dates down on a good calendar as a reminder to lift us up daily during that season. The chances are good that I will have email access during the evenings so that I will be able to make on the ground reports.
For prayer, please lift up:
-Safe travel for the African men going to and from Nairobi.
-Safe travel for the American and European men.
-Safety would be both from danger and sickness.
-Protection from Satanic, political, and physical distractions.
-Open hearts of the African men.
-Wisdom for myself and the other leaders.
-Protection for Debi and the girls while I am gone.
-Anything else that the Holy Spirit might lay on your heart.
Thank you again and please let me know if you have any questions.
PS If you’d like to be included in the update email list just shoot me a note.
I love this picture that Deb took of the boys when they were younger back in Nor Cal. This was our first camping trip at 8,000 feet in the Yosemite National Park area. Now John is headed back to Ozark Christian College for his 4th semester and David is just a few weeks out from graduating from USMC Boot Camp. Several years ago a couple of strangers told me as I was graduating with my MA that I needed to treasure the time with my kids as they would grow up before I knew it. My how they were right. My two daughters are still at home in High School but I know those days are numbered as well. In fact, all of our days are numbered. From time to time I’m taken back to the wise words in the Bible where the psalmist prayed that God would “teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” Indeed we only have so much time on this good green earth that God created and it’s up to us to make the most out of the days we have been given. There are just three more days in 2015. What are you going to do with them? 2016 is right around the corner. How are you going to make the New Year count?
Solidarity is what she opened her discussion with. Shortly after the December 2nd mass shooting in San Bernardino by a Muslim husband and wife, Wheaton College Professor, Larycia Hawkins, set out to demonstrate solidarity with her Muslim neighbors by wearing a hijab. She cleared the actions with Wheaton, which is a major Christian liberal arts university, and all appeared to be fine. While my idea of solidarity promotion wouldn’t include the wearing of a hijab any more than suggesting that a Muslim cleric wear a Catholic Priest’s collar, I understand the desire to do something to foster a spirit of peace. I agree that stereo typing all Muslims as terrorist is something that we must fight. Days later though Professor Hawkins was suspended by the university. As some raced to condemn the institution and point to the public wearing of the Islamic female head covering as their reason, the real issue was much deeper and I completely agree with Wheaton’s decision.
For our friends who have been following Deb’s medical condition over the past 14 months we’re happy to report that her recent gallbladder surgery went very well. In pre-op she was asked if there were any other piercings that needed to be taken care of before the procedure. At that I told the nurse that I had suggested to Deb a while back that she get a belly ring. My request didn’t go too far. The big news though is that she is regaining strength on the right side of her body and the pain seems to be subsiding. We are chalking this up simply to miraculous as there is nothing that we’ve done to initiate the change. So we’re praising God and are enormously grateful for the doctors that have personally walked with us during Debi’s medical journey.
Over my years in ministry I’ve interacted with a lot of doctors and medical staff. Every time I meet one of these physicians I’m always impressed with their ability and gifting. With Deb’s condition we have met a number of highly competent medical professionals including Dr. Erika Simpson of Houston Methodist, Dr. Kang of Cypress Fairbanks Hospital, and Dr. Miranda who performed Deb’s gallbladder surgery. Again and again I’ve noted the ability in these brilliant people and thanked God for their skill.