This little place use to get so much attention, and now it’s just an archive to thoughts of yesteryear. With the death of Google Reader ahead, and people apparently only able to read 140 characters at a time, I’m not sure what I’ll be doing here. I plan on keeping it, and one day I think (LOL) I’ll have time again to write. We shall see.
I definitely had to “+1” this video on YouTube, and I’m sure you will too!
So, there you go, our family is going +1 style and we are very excited!
Emma will be four on April 9th and it is incredibly hard to imagine life without her, so cliche, but it really just wouldn’t be the same. She’s a super happy, well behaved, very loving, and amazing girl. She entertains herself and also plays with other kids very well, she enjoys both adults and kids her age and is a social butterfly.
I’m bias but I think she’s “perfect” in all the ways we pre-conceive for children… sure she has her moments, she argues, she whines, she does all the things kids do, but in the end she is my princess. When I think about her I rarely think negative thoughts, except maybe when I’ve just sad down on a peed on couch… and even then love is not in question.
I’ve learned so much about life, God, and humanity through this little four year old, her silliness, bed-time stalls, and temper tantrums all included. We love going on walks together, smelling the flowers, the trees (like above), and she loves just watching ducks swim around in a pond and being peaceful. Yet, then when’s with her friends she’s bouncing off the walls, running around, and having a blast, we love that she can adjust to her surrounds so well. She’s certainly thought this daddy many things about how God must feel and see us, and since we’re created in his image, it can only be that much greater!
Nine years ago not only did I find my wife, I was also walking into an adventure of a lifetime I never dreamed of being part of… living in Poland. It was nine years ago that I was fundraising to live in Poland for a year, never in a thousand years did I imagine nine years later we would be support raising again, only this time it’s for an entire family and for an indefinite period. Time will change any person, and there’s nothing we can do to stop it. Some friends of ours recently were just launched into their own adventure, except for them it’s to another “P” country, the Philippines, but they had no idea even nine months before!
We have a long ways to go before we are launched, having to raise all of our support (unless by a miracle I end up with the ability to work remotely) adds a lot onto the preparation time. During this time we have to attempt to self-teach ourselves Polish, including teaching Emma, as well as live our “normal” lives here, work, school, church… At times it is a huge burden and I either want to have a “magic” wand waved to get wake up in Kraków, or just run away from the idea and finally “start” our lives. For so long it has seemed we are in limbo, but as we look back and see each of the turns, valleys, and mountains we have climbed, we see God’s fingerprints all over the “evidence” and know He’s getting us there – one way, or another.
2010 was a valley year, 2011 was a mountain climbing year, and 2012, not sure yet – and we need to be OK with that. So for those that read this, continue to keep us in your prayers, we see the field, and we know the workers are few, our hearts are steadfast but our body and mind’s weary.
I have a huge travel bug right now, I really just want to go somewhere outside of the Pacific Northwest – if we had the money, we would be heading to Poland for a wedding on November 5th, but unfortunately we are shy of the $2,500 needed for airfare to get our family there – not to mention other travel expenses. It makes us sad we can’t go… really sad.
I’ve had a couple of work-related trip opportunities but turned them down due to other scheduling issues, I’m hoping to have at least a few more before the end of the year – most so I can move up to the next mileage program status! But also, because I have a huge itch to just go somewhere, explore something new, see and taste new things. I love traveling, even when it gets all messed up. Please God, send me somewhere… dare I saw “anywhere!”?
The picture above was from our visit to Poland just after our Honeymoon in 2006. Wizzair is a no-frills budget airline that operates flights to/from Eastern Europe, this photo was taken as we were about to board our flight to Frankfurt after a couple of weeks in Poland.
One thing that I lose sight of so often is the awesomeness in the fact that I don’t have to perform, anything, at all, zero, for God. All I need to do is love Him and let Him love me. It’s in His love that I find discipline, repentance, forgiveness, humility, and servitude. To enjoy God in this way is great, but when I get pulled into the “faith by works” cycle it’s no wonder I lose who I am… there’s no freedom.
The worse place for me to feel the performance preasure is the “God talks” with co-workers, for some reason the performance button gets pushed, normally I play it cool, but I certainly don’t feel the anointing, or power, or eloquence that I do in other parts of my life. This performance button turns on fear too, it’s all tied together.
Time to relax, remember who I am, and know I can have the same confidence I have with my “job” as I do with my call. I didn’t gain that confidence over night, but I know that it’s here in me. Some prayer, some truth, and some worship for this area of my walk and I’ll be good to go… or at least falling forward!
I believe I may have figured something out – this blog is… MY blog, not yours, not “theirs”, not for anyone else… it’s mine… for me. I’ve always struggled with this blog as a silly selfish outlet to get some attention… and we all know we all would like more attention (weather good, bad, or indifferent). I struggle with the very premise of blogging, social networking, etc, because it is all self-centered, and narcissistic.
You see, I have some fears… yeah, really, I do… who would have thought? I fear judgement, misunderstandings, and all kinds of silly things which are just fear-based narcissistic, self-centered reactions. I have always wanted my writing to be something for people to feel encouraged and refreshed after they read, to be words that provoke thought and bring clear thinking.
I think I’ve come to a peace, some understanding between the conflicting values and ideologies in myself. This blog is mine, and it will be about me, but it will be about who I am, why I do what I do, and most of all, it will be food for fish, and encouragement for all.
I think it’ll be more like the beginning…. Except this time, w/o the fear.
This is a continuation of my last post, after a few days of mulling things over I have realized one of the core frustration points in my life… I feel stifled… unfortunately (as is usually the case) I’m not in control (heh, that seems to be how this world is set up). However, I have given these frustrations a lot of thought and prayer and have come to terms with them. I have huge dreams and hopes to make a difference in this world, I don’t really care to be “someone” remembered, I just want to consistently make a difference in people’s lives. I have put a lot of my hopes, dreams, and ambitions into pleasing others – that’s not my goal, so that’s my first term to a different direction. Recently, a friend of mine has been encouraging the boldness factor in me, I find boldness from time to time, I just wish I could sustain it. Too often my boldness disappears because I don’t like to argue, and many times it seems most people just want to go on without seeing another side – so I think to myself “what’s the point of trying.”
I guess part of the issue is that it takes a lot of energy to actually care, the funny thing with me is that I care so much, that I exhaust myself “caring” before I can even express the love. This is when I feel stifled, caring so much, wanting to see a difference, but after witnessing so many not wanting to listen, or truly care themselves, I have become jaded. I don’t want to throw pearls at swine, I guess all to often I figure that’s the category people are in… the swine pit… that’s not very caring now is it? This whole debacle is a classic trap of “the enemy”, get me to think/fear one thing, so I can’t live out my passions, so I become frustrated and “unable” live out the Kingdom.
So this entirely outlines the need for a close relationship to God, for the inter-dependency of the Church to help us be connected with reality, and for the honest to God humility of one’s heart. There’s a lot stored up in me right now, but do the above stated “frustration” I feel stuck – however, I have access to a solution – it’s God’s restart button – MERCY and GRACE. I don’t have to worry about my thoughts from the past, I can start over today and act according to my passion and call today, sure it might make some heads turn (especially my wife) – but I can explain it, walk away from the shame, and move on. This is the beauty of living as a child of God, saved by the Son, and living in his kingdom.
I’ve let this Blog go stale… my bad. Honestly this is because I think too much about the (possible) reactions of others. It’s a catch 22, because I want interaction but I don’t want to be misunderstood or labled. A lot of assumptions are made when people read things…. or may just the large chunk of people who like to over-react (without gathering facts or at least attempting to have some kind of compassion for fellow humanity) on comments all over the web.
So my stale-ness is due to fear of being rejected…. ok I’ve admitted that… when will this beast just go away. It wont I need to allow it to be slain, and there’s only one person I know who can slain beasts like that.
More will come… soon!
A day of photo-ing in Seattle after Thanksgiving 2010 – Family Picture by Carlybish.com
Well, the year 2010 is not exactly a year I want to repeat. So many different disappointing and frustrating events, while personally I have learned more than I asked for, and I am thankful for that, I would like to see 2011 be a year where dreams, promises, and new beginnings come alive. I find peace in the fact that through all of 2010’s tribulations, relationally, financially and spiritually I have witnessed and experienced , time and time again, God’s provision and, more importantly, His peace throughout.
So without further ado, I present you my 2010 list of observations, ideas, remarks, etc; basically everything I’ve wanted to say for a long time. Somethings are helpful, while some are not, they are just observations, some opinion, and as usual, not exactly fully baked ideas – if only I had time to write full discourses on my ideas!
LIFE: Well as one of my favorite movies puts it, life really is like a box of chocolates. However, I find that the labels on the chocolates at least work as a kind of guide, as do the stereotypical labels in life, I know, I’m not suppose to like the labels, however, stereotypes exist for a reason. In 2010 I learned that some of the common “warning labels” in life are well worth it, even if others around are seemingly OK ignoring them. We still don’t really know what we’re going to get, but at least we can expect to either have nuts or not.
MINISTRY: 2010 was an interesting year of transition for myself, and family. We went from being involved in 4 ministries, to zero. Watching people, grow as people, in Christ, and with one another is a huge gift. We had originally planned to be in Poland by the end of the year we took the opportunity to hand off and step out of ministry. However, as most of you know, our plans changed dramatically when my overseas employment opportunity fizzled away. At times I miss being involved, and I still check in and watch from a distance the people I have grown to love, and at the same time it has opened up the opportunity for Alexis and I to focus on us and minister to one another and Emma before skydiving into our Poland adventure.
CHURCH: Ministry, God, Life, Church – why write about each of these separately? Well, because they distinctly different aspects of Christian life – interdependent on each other. Each aspect cultivates the others in some way or another. Church is probably the most volatile factor of all, mostly, because it depends on imperfect humanity to actually be listening and obeying God. So, inherit to this condition, mistakes happen, and people either choose to put blame on the church or a leader in the Church. One of my biggest lessons for 2010 has been, God ordained the Church, he works through the Church, and he works through imperfect humanity.
Thus, I choose not to blame the Church, rather I am constantly reminded that all of the “bad” things I see, all the frustrations I feel, and all the negative things people say about “the Church” – is mostly the same as in the world – it’s just “worse” when it’s in the Church because the expectations are high – which is kind of strange considering we are all human, so the expectations should really be equal. God sees humanity all the same, every single one of us. So what’s the big deal? The big deal is this: when we choose to see God as who he really is, and not how the world sees Him, then the Church and the world become two completely different entities. This brings so much freedom, we are empowered to love the Church and the world as equals, and live freely! Because the Church is God’s, not humanity’s.
CULTURE: I have been challenged by the idea of “Kingdom” culture more in 2010 than any other year (maybe that’s the way it works, increasing each year). Living life according to “the kingdom of heaven is like…” can be, honestly, frustrating. We live in such a culture/world that does not honor the ways of the Kingdom, and most of the time, the “Church” doesn’t recognize it either, because, as I said above, the Church is made of humans, and we humans live in this world – we don’t, naturally, live in the Kingdom. We have to be intentional about living super-natural, kingdom culture lives. Contextualizing “our culture” and “kingdom culture” is not easy, and so many people want to react and make it black and white, when really it’s extremely colorful and requires a patient response, not knee-jerk reactions. Above all, kingdom culture requires living by the identity God has given us.
GOD: Is the same. However, I am not. I’ve realized much more about God this year, including, the incredibly amazing ability He has to comfort, to provide, to supernaturally grant forgiveness when usually it would be “black and white” to the rest of the world to say “screw you”, and a whole lot more. I’m also enjoying Him much more as a “person”, and feeling His heart more often. So much to say about just these two points – let’s just say “give me his eyes” is only the beginning of humility, and in my opinion, the way it ought to be. If you haven’t read “Blue Like Jazz” – do so, now! That song, and that book combined, literally opened my eyes and mind to see people, circumstances, crisis, humanity, in a way which I know, from deep within my soul, is how God sees and feels, and desires us to see and feel as well.
FAMILY NEWS: Since this is already getting to be a very long post, I’ll bullet point this piece.
- Emma turned two! And she is doing all the wonderful (and amazing) things two year olds do!
- Emma is speaking in full sentences and learning more every day. She’s also picking up on Polish pretty quickly (at least when Mom and Dad use it, and we need to use it more!)!
- Alexis and I are looking forward to more time together, with our schedule freed up by less ministry things in our lives, we are focusing this next year on growing as a couple and as a family… yes, we hope to have another child this year!
- Emma loves the color pink, we tried, we “vowed” to never make her a pink girl, but alas, it has happened.
- Alexis and I doing some marriage groups at our Church, and so far, the gleaning from other couples has been terrific!
- As always, we covet your prayers and please know, we are never to busy for you! Drop us a message, have coffee, anything, we’ll make it work!
POLAND: Although our plans changed, the ultimate destination has not, and we will be fundraising (see next section) with hopes of moving to Krakow, Poland by the end of 2011. With that said, we are more excited than before, God has shown us many things in 2010 that will make our move to Poland far powerful than we could have imagined. One new thing on the horizon is that in July we hope to have a “reverse mission trip” with a Polish family we have come to adore and love. We will be fundraising for this, and arranging time for this couple to glean from church leaders, small groups, and other ministry times, so that they can have more tools to do ministry in Poland. The primary goal is to provide a relational support network for them, and connect them to people who can be praying, and also so people here in the States can meet and get to know who we will be working alongside when we move!
FUND RAISING: If we hadn’t attended a support-raising seminar at Foursquare Missions International headquarters in LA back in November, we would be telling you we have fund-raising fatigue! But, rather, by God’s grace, we have been renewed, and starting in January we will be kicking off a full blown fund-raising season. We know that what God has asked us to do is far too important to not ask people to partner in the ministry with us, support-raising is just as much a part of the ministry as is discipling in Poland. We also know that going with 100% of our budget is the only way, if we go with less, than our ministry will be less – sure, maybe more for God to do, and although we know he moves when we can not, we also know that God can move ahead and we can be 100% supported before we go. If you want to know more, simply visit our website at www.reachpolska.info, or to begin donating now (we need people NOW) click here.
MISSIONS: My idea of what “Missions” is has been gradually evolving, and in 2010 I think it came to look something like this:
Matthew 28:18-20 [nlt]: 18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Essentially, go, expose the truth of humanity and God, disciple the people there, baptize them with a clean and pure motive to seek God, all of God. And remember, Jesus is always with us, so fear not. I know this is “over simplification” – BELIEVE me there’s a lot to this that revolves around context, culture, family, etc, but hey, we need to start with the basics and allow God to move us.
TRAVEL: In 2010 we did some traveling, in January we took a three week trip to Poland, a trip with nothing more than to build up the relationships we already had in place. It was a great time of encouragement and laying the ground work for our move.
Then in July we went to the San Juan islands of Washington State for our four year anniversary, it was fantastic and included whale watching!
Lastly, I got the opportunity to be a part of, our friend, Aris’ wedding in Frankfurt, Germany, with that trip I took the opportunity to make a quick trip to visit friends in Nowy Targ, Poland as well – both parts of the trip were incredibly God-ordained!
FINAL THOUGHTS: I like to write, but I fight myself too much on how people might react or respond… I hope people respond rather than react. I hate having to remind people that what I write isn’t a full on discourse to argue a point, but rather, it’s usually a snippet of thought, or concern, to chew on. Anyway, I pray that 2011 is full of love, grace, forgiveness, and truly new beginnings for you and all around us. Remember, there will be a day with no more tears, no more pain, no more fears, and we will see Jesus face to face – the final redemption!