Friday, June 23, 2006


Timing is everything. It’s been a challenging week for me personally, largely due to nagging illness but also due to wrestling with some personal insecurities. I have so much to learn and my ability to rest in Christ is so often hampered by my pride. That’s the situation I found myself in as I walked into my “secret” Starbucks today.

I had just said goodbye to one of my closest friends in Hong Kong. He’s headed to Dallas Theological Seminary in the states tomorrow morning and today the day to say goodbye. Frankly, it blows. I will miss him and have been blessed by his friendship.

I needed a break. I needed a pause;I felt heavy.

As I hung my head I bumped into a man from our church that has continually invested much in me. He is a man of great wisdom that sees something in me that I sometimes wonder if is really there. Nonetheless, we shook hands, I asked if he had a minute for a quick coffee and he said yes, but only for a minute. It’s now an hour and a half later and he just went out the door. He left having encouraged my soul. He left having taken some of my burden as his own while sharing some of his with me. He left me with a sense of symbolic unity among brothers that words can’t utter. He left me feeling like maybe I wasn’t drowning. Most of all, he left me feeling as though he believed in me as a person.

I didn’t think I needed to hear that, but now that I’ve been able to drink it in, I guess I did. Lord, please help me to be Your loving voice to others as my friend was to me today.

Monday, June 12, 2006


The past three weeks have been frenzied. As tired as that may make me, I like it when life moves fast, for the most part. There are some things I wish I could slow down.
I wish I could slow the growth of my little girl. She changes every day and I just don’t know how much change I can handle.

I wish i could slow down those really great moments with students. You know, the ones when you’re riding a ski lift with one of your boys and he asks the tough question that shows he’s thinking. Or that moment when you realize one of your girls is honest with you when you ask how she’s doing. Or when your whole group responds in a way that just blows you away as they show they want a relationship with Christ that can truly change the world.
I wish I could slow down those moments when God’s leading is so evident that to miss it would be impossible. Or when His voice is so clear that it’s audible. Or when my eyes are opened to His Word that makes me a changed man.
I wish I could slow down those moments at Starbucks with Melissa where we are able to talk deeply and honestly about what it means to walk by faith.

A former youth groupie wrote about the need to make the most of every moment of our lives. I fear that many have become like me at times; always wishing to slow down or speed up certain stages of life.
So, for today, I want to live in the joy and sorrow of the moment. I will forever remember a great man, Monty Cook. He became a grandfather to me long after mine had passed.
I will remember the moments we had with Brian and Scott tonight. The moment is one of many that are bittersweet. We welcomed a new member to our staff yesterday evening, and this week will say goodbye to a Pastor that has taught me volumes while saying little.

Today, the frenzy continues but I’m going to keep moving with the moment.

Thursday, June 08, 2006


Isabella didn’t sleep well last night. That worries me because her cry sounded fearful, almost like she’d had a bad dream. Good came out of this in that she and I got to spend some extra time together this morning, just the two of us.
My girl loves to read :) and frequently goes over to her shelf of books and grabs one. This morning, she was reaching at her children’s Bible but it was in too tight to get at so I had to help her. Since we were up and it was quiet, we decided to have our devotions together. We read the story of Joshua and the walls of Jericho.
As her children’s Bible finishes each story it does so with a prayer. Today’s prayer was, “God, I know you can do anything.”
I prayed that together with my one year old daughter in my lap hoping with all my heart that she will grasp the depth of that truth and embrace a relationship with our omnipotent creator.
I prayed that prayer realising that I don’t always believe God can do anything. If I did, I would be much less confident in my own abilities instead choosing to rest in His strength. Don’t get me wrong, I want to believe God can do anything. It’s just, there are times when my life says that I believe God can do lots of things but not everything.
As I got to the office this morning I prayed that I would respond accordingly to what God might say to me today. He has spoken, now may my life become a testimony of the omnipotence of God.

Monday, June 05, 2006


I went back and forth on whether to call this post reality or transitions as both seem appropriate. Reality in Hong Kong means transitions. Everything is in a constant state of change here, especially the people.
It’s no secret that Hong Kong isn’t one of those places that’s considered good to lay roots. Here you just stop by for a few years and move on. Even the locals don’t consider it home because they’re “from” somewhere else.
This is all on my mind because I helped my good friend Chris pack up and move the last of the big things in their flat. It was great to spend the time with Chris, but packing up his stuff means he and his wife are really moving. And that just blows.
Then Brian came over as is our family tradition on Monday night. I love this time and I love Brian. The reality of the situation is that he moves in less than 4 weeks and only has one more Monday night at the Roses.
Both of these men have greatly impacted my life and will be missed. They aren’t dead so it’s not like our friendships are ending, they just won’t be close by anymore.
When I saw the picture of Athania in their very empty flat it brought me back to one of the toughest moments of my life. Right before I left to finish my last two years of college my mom and dad moved from Geneva to Dover, Ohio. It was clearly God’s calling and it’s been awesome to see how God has protected and taken care of my folks but also my family in Geneva. That being said, I will never forget the horrible feeling that came over me as I laid on the floor of our empty parsonage in Geneva with my friend Nate and said goodbye. Nate’s never been a man of many words so all he said was, “I guess this isn’t home anymore.”
With all the changes that have gone on in Minnesota, I wonder, will that still be home. Will it still feel like that’s the place we can always go back to? Obviously the church(es) has/have changed, but what about the people? Will little Nowthen become a little too much like Hong Kong where people just pass through without laying down any roots? I hope not.
As I shared earlier, I believe in the church, and I believe that church is about demonstrating to our world what it means to live together under one cause (Christ), affirming our differences while playing to our strengths. I don’t believe that God is anywhere near close to being done with the Church and I hope that we humans are able to see that we express such a powerful message of love to our world when we lay down some roots and work through the tough stuff.
The reality of today is that change happens. People move. Transitions are imminent. And in the truth of all that lies the joy of seeing God change lives, everyday. And many of those days I feel like He’s changing me.