Thursday, December 22, 2005
A lot of really good and unexpected things have happened in this fast paced year that has just BLOOOOWN by. 2005 started like bost others - on the 1st of January... sorry about that..
When the year started I was comfortable in my job and expected to continue in the pork businness for a long time. Surprise - our unexpected job change and move (soon I hope) to Memphis has been an above average - very good change. My new company is off to a great start and the people are the best that I have ever worked with. God is good.
Please pray that our house will sell very soon and we can get this move made.
TORCH missions was an unbelievable adventure in 2005. Our team grew and grew and eventually expanded to about 180. We were able to plant 2 churches, feed about 1500 families, help almost 1000 in medical clinics, build 35 houses & a church building, and teach the Word to many many people. There were over 54 new Christians from the seeds that were sown.
Terri & I were also drawn into the work around development, construction, and establishent of a new children's home project in Honduras. Casa de Esperanza is now built, dedicated to our Lord, and will be ready to accept children in early January. Casa is a beautiful building and is in a very very beautiful place. If you never thought that you had a reason to go to Honduras, Casa would change your mind. Especially when we get the kids there in January.
My new year of 2005 started with an extreme life change because I became a grandpa on the 31st of December, 2004. New Yeaers Eve is now and forever to be known as Camille's birthday. Being a grandpa is excellent! You gotta be one to understand.
In early December, I also became the proud parent of a son with a 4.0 in college. If you knew where Nathan had been, you too would celebrate this God made change with me. He has become a wonderful husband, dad, & student. Thank you God!
My other change in 2005 is one that I am not quite sure about. His name is Matt and he is Nicole's boyfriend. Matt is really nice and is good to Nicole but, I am not quite ready to share MY baby with another man.
We are off to Texas tomorrow to be with the folks for Christmas. I am looking forward to it....all of it except not having Nathan, Julia, & Camille there. They will be with Julia's parents and we will see them the following weekend on Camille's birthday (the day previously called New Years Eve). It will be great!
Our God is so good... all the time!
Monday, December 05, 2005
Well, most of that has happened – except for the part about raising all the money, we are pretty close though. As far as the part about the big house, that too is almost finished and it is gonna be great. The 20 kids are coming and the party is planned. December 10th as going to be a day to remember – a day to remember as the birthday of Casa de Esperanza – the Home of Hope. From it’s concept in April to it’s opening this coming Saturday has been amazing. Terri & I are blessed that we are going to be there for the excitement.
By summer, the house at Casa will be full of children, full of love, and full of wonder. The yard will be full of reminders of the children that live there. The rooms will have the noises that happy kids make and the kitchen will be filled with the smells of the food that will keep them full. When visitors come, they will be greeted with smiles and hugs.
December 10th will also be a big step for the “Women of My Hope” as we will be with them when they break ground on the training center in Santa Ana. In a few months, ladies will be learning the skills that they need to provide for their families. I’m excited.
A year ago, I would have never dreamed that I would get the chance to help build this children’s home....for that matter, even that it was a remote possibility. Now, here we are right in the middle of everything and loving (almost) every minute of it.
I guess we are pretty small minded when we try to ‘box in” our concept of what God has planned for us. Just a few years ago, all I wanted to do was take one of my kids on a mission to Honduras and now I get to take about 200 people a year on mission to Honduras.
In April when my friend Jen Wright sent a note to Tim Hines that she would really like to take care of kids in Honduras, probably had no idea that the events of the past 8 months would lead her to living in Santa Ana in a place called Casa de Esperanza. Be careful when you dream outloud – others may hear you (especially our God) and you might get what you were asking for.
Well, enough rambling. This Saturday is going to be a wonderfully great day and I am blessed that i get to be a part of it. I can’t wait to see what the God’s next plan is.
Monday, November 28, 2005
The week before TG, Terri & I were on a business trip in Las Vegas. Being with Terri for the week was really good - especially in a place like Vegas. For the life of me, I can't understand why that place is so attractive to so many people. I hadn't been to LV in a few years but, the downhill slide seems to be continuing at a rapid rate. They advertise themselves as "sin city" and that may be an understatement. The thing about it that bugs me the most is that it seems that people are buying off on the new advertising campaign that says "whatever happens in Las Vegas - stays in Las Vegas". This seems to be the thought of people that a little bit of the dark side every now and then won't hurt anything - will it? I really believe that Las Vegas is a growing cancer on the landscape and I am not sure that the country wants to be cured.
Things that are glorified in Vegas are spreading around the country so - to keep pace, they must reach further down so that they are still attractive to the nation.
Now you know my feelings about LV - if you are planning a convention there, please don't invite me. Thanks!
Casa de Esperanza is coming along very well. It is scheduled to open on December 10th and it is going to be awesome. Terri & I will go down to Tegucigalpa on the 8th and will be there for the celebration. If you need to give someone a lasting gift for Christmas, give them the honor of sponsoring a child in their name. You and your gift reciepient will be blessed beyond anything you could possibly buy here. Where else could you be assured of saving a life for $100 a month?
Think about it & send me an eamil or give me a call. You can emai me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 901-598-0356 which by the way is my new cell number.
I will be posting pics of the opening during the weekend of the 10th of December. (Just a thought - if you can't take on a child on your own, why not get a Sunday School Class together and do it.)
Thursday, November 10, 2005
Last April I wen to Honduras to prepare for the summer mission teams and to take a look at a piece of land for the IRC. Standing on the land with my friends and praying together to seek God's will for what we should do was amazing. Over the weekend we made a decision to go ahead and buy the land for $45,000. Since we only had about $20,000 of the money in hand - it was a leap of faith but, we felt that our amazing God had plans for the plot of dirt in Santa Ana.
Since that day, the land has been paid for, a church building has been built and there are many new Christians that worship together there, a the original house on the land has been remodeled into a clinic, 14 homes have been built for people that needed a place to live, and we are about 75% complete in the construction of Casa de Esperanza - The House of Hope - a children's home for about 20 homeless kids. All of his in 6 months is BIGGER THAN I COULD IMAGINE!
I wonder why we don't think bigger? Why do we limit what God can do by thinking small? I have learned so much about how big and amazing our God is from my first hand view of what has happened in the past 6 months. All that He has done makes me think of the words we sing...
"You are beautiful beyond description,
to marvelous for words
To beautiful for comprehension,
like nothing ever seen or heard
Who can grasp your infinite wisdom?
Who can fathom the depth of your love?
You are beautiful beyond description
Majesty enthroned in love.
And I stand, I stand in awe of You
I stand, I stand in awe of You
Holy God to whom all praise is due,
I stand in awe, of You."
Friday, November 04, 2005
My little granddaughter has started walking and it is pure joy to watch! She is happy with herself and she can see the joy that it brings to everyone around her. She likes being the center of attention. Camille is 10 months old and changes every day.
I also really enjoy watching Nathan & Julia grow as parents – they are almost as entertaining as Camille. Both of them are head over heels in love with their baby and they would die to protect her. They are going to be great parents and I am proud of them and the way that they care of my grandbaby.
Watching Camille and her parents develop has reminded me how much our God cares for us and how – as our dad, he protects us, forgives us, allows us to grow, and was even willing to die for us. It is amazing to me that we – as Christians expect so much – so soon from new believers.... babies in Jesus. We just need to look at them as babies and as big brothers and sisters – nurse them in their development. Allowing them – each other to grow up is what we need. Looking at each other as brothers and sisters is what we need. Taking care of each other as we would a baby is what we need. Forgiveness and love is what we need. Maybe that is why Jesus said that he would forgive us the same way we forgive each other.... because we just can’t do it without the love that comes with a family.
Friday, October 21, 2005
I was on one of my flights from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City and managed to have the “Murphy’s Law” of seat assignments – which seems to be the standard lately. “Murphy’s Law” says that if anything can go wrong, it probably will. Applying “M.L.” to airplane seating means that you are almost guaranteed to get the worst seat on the plane. That would be a center seat on a 4 hour flight and the plane is delayed – after you’ve already boarded. It could be a seat on the back row – next to the restroom that is absolutely going to run over in mid flight – nothing like blue water between your toes! It could be the incessant talker, or the gassy neighbor, the “two seater” squeezed into one seat and spilling over in to your space, or it could be some combination of any or all of these.
Anyway, last weeks example of “Murphy on a plane” was actually the passenger seated directly in front of me. My neighbor to the north was one of those special people that believe that the universe that God created was made especially for them – and nobody else. She was one of those wonderful souls that believe that there is only one person in the world that has value – and the rest of us are minions; made for the purpose of whatever she wants. I learned all of this (about my neighbor) on a short two hour flight. I can’t tell you her name and I learned all I know about her by her actions. (the saying that actions speak louder than words was never more true than in this experience) As soon as the plane backed away from the gate my neighbor SLAMMED her seat back into the recline position as far as it would go. This happened to be directly into my knees. (I can’t tell you why Delta makes the distance between rows for people that are shorter than the average Chinese dwarf – but, they are.) Whatever the case, every time I moved my pinned legs, my neighbors chair moved too. Every time her chair moved – she literally growled and attempted to slam her chair back into a “more” reclined position. All this went on for the entire 2 hours of flying. I even asked her to please move your chair up – even just a half inch so that we could both be a little more comfortable to which she reacted by growling and slamming it back again. Finally, the flight was over, my pinned legs began the road to recovery and Miss Universe was on her way to use and abuse other minions.
I’ve now had a week to ponder the still unbelievable actions of a person that never spoke – only growled at me. I have laughed about it and yet, am amazed that there are really people in the world that don’t care anything about the feelings of others around them Then I consider that there are really a lot of folks like this – maybe not as bold and blatant but still oblivious to the needs of the needy and the hurting world around them. Maybe I needed someone so rude to help me wake up to a better understanding of just who is sharing “my space”….. even if that “space “ is on the other side of the world.
Friday, September 30, 2005
Last Friday, I was leaving Memphis on my weekly pilgrimage back to O’Fallon when there was a four car pile-up right behind me. I pulled off as fast as I could and ran back to the first crashed car – actually a van. There were 5 people in the van and 4 of them were hurt. One at a time, I helped the injured people out of the van and onto the ground where they could lay down and wait until the professionals arrived – it took the first ambulance almost 45 minutes to arrive. There were hurting people in every one of the other 3 wrecked cars. I have never had to be the first on the scene for anything like that and I hope that it was a one time thing. I’ll never forget the little boy that was afraid that he was gong to lose all of his stuff……or the lady that was traveling alone and at first thought she was okay but collapsed in pain… I prayed with her and we both cried. I was amazed at the raw emotion of the moment.
All of this made me even more aware of the ongoing pain and anguish of the people that continue to suffer on the coast. I read this week that there are probably 160,000 houses in New Orleans that will need to be plowed under – another 68,000 in Mississippi and about the same numbers that need major repairs. I don’t know how the relief volunteers can keep going day after day – they must be emotionally exhausted! Pray for the workers and for the people that they are there to serve.
I was in Philadelphia this week and – because of a horse show, hotels were a premium. I had to pay almost $200 for a room at a Marriott Courtyard. What a rip-off!
I was in the lobby and overheard some of the “horse people” talking about their show horses – that has gotta be one of the most expensive hobbies around – I read that the average spend for a show horse is over $2000 per month! That’s $24,000 a year for a pet.
We could send a whole mission team from Baxter to Mexico for that! We could plant 5 new churches in Honduras and support the preachers for less than that!
Build 24 houses – take care of 40 kids in a children’s home – build 2 church buildings – all for the cost of a “toy”. If my priorities ever get so out of wack that I am throwing money away instead of spending it wisely – please somebody, slap me!
I could blog on but, work is calling!
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
I wonder why we are afraid to tell our friends that aren’t Christians about the good things that our God has done for us?
I wonder why we have such a hard time sharing our problems and our weaknesses with other Christians?
I can’t figure out why it is so hard to confess our sins to each other and to ask our friends to pray for the help we need.
Why do we pretend to be strong when we know that we are really weaklings?
Why is it easier to be a cut down artist instead of the one that lifts people up?
Why is it so hard to trust each other?
Where did you see Jesus today? Did you look for him? Did you start the day expecting to see him?
Why is it harder to tell people that are not blood relatives how much you love them?
I wonder when Christians stopped greeting each other with a holy kiss?
Why does it make some people uncomfortable when others lift holy hands to God?
How is it that it is so easy to ignore the poor in our own communities?
I wonder what it would be like to give the first homeless person that I see enough money to live on for the next month? Or – my best clothes or my favorite CD or my last $100?
I wonder if others would think I was crazy?
What would it be like to be called “crazy for Jesus”?
I wonder what it would be like to tell your family that you were giving it all up to serve the Lord 100% of the time – a long ways from home?
Thursday, September 15, 2005
On the other side of the focus issue, our churches have been phenomenal in putting their focus on resolving the issues of helping people pull their lives back together. My prayer is that working together for this cause will help people to see that the real purpose God gave us is to work together for him and not to just warm a pew 3 times a week. I pray that we will stop worrying about things that don’t matter and focus on things that do matter.
Right now, here are things that matter to me –
The hurricane relief work – especially in the communities where I have friends – Gulfport and Mandeville.
My friend Terry Reeves and his battle with melanoma – he is having surgery today and he needs our prayer that he will be healed.
Casa de Esperanza – the children’s home project in Santa Ana, Honduras is real and with God’s will, it will open on December 10th. We still need to raise $30,000 for this project.
Selling my house in Illinois so Terri & I can get this move over with.
Getting ready for TORCH 2006.
If you read this, please pray for these things and leave me a comment on what I can be praying for on your account.
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
14What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
What a powerful text –
I also like the words of Solomon when he wrote “if you hear the cries of the hungry and ignore them, one day your cries will also be ignored”
In our country, it has been easy to never really see big needs or to hear the cries of the hungry – No More!
The sheer size of Katrina, the scope of the damage, and the numbers of those hurting are impossible to ignore. As a believer, I cannot see how anyone can sit this one out – this is the time for real sacrifice and sacrificial giving.
I plan to fast one day each week and make sure that the money that I would have spent on food will go to someone in the hurricane zone for food. I know that Terri & I will be talking over the next few weeks about how we can help friends and people that we don’t know that have been affected by Katrina.
There are so many ways to help –
Here is an email that another TORCH / IRC leader sent this morning –
IRC/Torch Missions is putting together a team to serve the people in Louisiana and Mississippi. I have spoken to Janet Hines in Baton Rouge and there are many needs. Here is list of items that can be used NOW. Please let me know where and how much you are able to collect and we will work on getting the much needed supplies to the distribution centers. So they can be handed out other people.
RVs -- to house workers -- we need to house 30-50 people
Clothes Pre sorted by male-female-child - size (only good condition please)
Shoes all types flip-flops are OK
Sheets - towels -
Under ware all types and sizes
Baby Formula -- power or pre mixed
Personal hygiene items
Man Power Needs:
People to load & deliver
Needs; --- pasted from an email sent from Baton Rouge
1. We need Prayer first, foremost and often....If the Air Condition> can be turned on by prayer, anything can happen.
2. We need to finish our Kitchen, upgraded that will allow us to> serve 1,000's of meal-we will work with baton Rouge to get this done THIS> WEEK. Cost of $25.000.00.
3. Need to arrange to get a mobile shower and a mobile> toilets...Urgently...Tell us where to go...
4. Industrial Size Washers and Dryers.....Urgently...
5. Industrial Ice maker....Urgently> > We can make available our building to stay, but we need to be able> to accommodate and need it quickly. HELP !!!!!!
6. We need clothes, underwear, shorts, T Shirts and flip flops, and> entire outfit, they have nothing....
7. Toiletries, shampoo, toothpaste, even some makeup.....
8. Canned meats, fruits, diapers, formula, energy drinks, fruit> snacks.
9. 10 Pick up trucks with trailers and drivers for 2 weeks
10. Winnebagoes and pop up containers, self contained
11. Electricans to set up external power hookups
12. Tarps of all sizes, Visqueen
13. 50 chain saws, stihl brand as they ar more durable, 100 chains,> commercial chain sharperner
14. 1 inch ropes
15. 200 cots
16. 100 matteresses
17. 15 people, willing to work in in Airconditioned church to> prepare boxes to goout
18. 3,000 empty cardboard boxes, 18 x 24 x 12
19. 20 cases of packing tape
20. 5 empties semi-trucks containers to be used for 2 months
21. 5 pressure washers
22. 2 250 gallon gas containers, one for gas and one for diesel
23. 100 gallon gas tank to take to station for refilling
24. 50 generators
25. 20 people for roof crews
26. 40 people for chain saw crews>
Please Call me or Email at (423) 341-1000
As you can see – the list offers plenty of opportunity for all of us to stand up and share our faith with our action.
Wednesday, August 31, 2005
About 70 or 75% of the people in the path of the pending disaster listened and left. That meant that there were still 25 or 30% of the people that heard the same warning and for one reason or another ignored the warnings and decided to stay behind. I do not understand what they could have been thinking….
To me this is just like hearing the warnings of Jesus and choosing instead to ignore them – pretending that they really don’t mean anything – that “since I can’t see the storm, it must not be there” – or, just hoping that ignoring the truth, it will just go away.
Katrina was like Jesus in another way too. Just like Jesus, nobody made the people that chose to ignore the warnings leave. Jesus said that following him was The Way and that we must follow him by our own choice. There isn’t one example where Jesus forced anybody into salvation…… I guess that you can’t force somebody to save themselves from a storm that they don’t want to be saved from.
As for me and my house, we will follow the Lord!
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
We prayed for God to show us His will. Right in the middle of the land we prayed and almost immediately God started sending us his answers.
Within 36 hours, we were certain that the clear answers were right in front of us –
Almost ½ of the money for the land became available, funding for a clinic was found and the house that was on the property would make a perfect clinic, money for a planned new church building was already in place and the land was a perfect location, Jen Wright sent an email that said that she believed that God had called her to move to Honduras to take care of kids and the land is a perfect place for a children’s home, on and on, god provided answers for our prayers and we clearly saw that it was part of God’s plan for our ministry to buy this property.
I am amazed at how things have developed since April. The property is 100% paid for and it has been transformed from a sleepy piece of land into a place of action. The original house is almost ready to be opened into a clinic, there are now homes for 20 families, the church building is complete and people are worshiping there every Sunday and that building will soon be an integral part of the Santa Ana community, the ground is being prepared for construction of the children’s home and we will be there on December 10th for the opening celebration. The crazy thing is, we started looking at the land for a Mi Esperanza training center and have since seen that we’ll need more room to make that happen. It now looks like we will be attempting to buy another piece land – maybe the one directly across the road from the original property – for the training center. We plan to have a ground breaking for the center on the 10th of December – as part of the celebration of the opening of Casa de Esperanza – the children’s home.
I have fallen in love with the work of getting Casa de Esperanza off the ground. The two women that are leaving for this work on October 25th have become my family and I love them dearly. Jen & Karen clearly heard the words of Jesus - “Follow Me”, and they have chosen to do just that. They are two of my hero’s.
There is so much happening and so many good things ahead – I can’t wait to see what our amazing God has planned for the next few months!
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
Planning a move!
Teaching a couple of classes!
Casa de Esperanza!
IRC Director Stuff!
ZOOM........Life is full and busy. I am amazed at how much stuff can pile on and how fast it can happen. The only word that I can think of to describe all that is happening is ....ZOOM.....
I like having a lot on the plate but, I am constantly reminded of the fact that once the plate is full, you can't add anything new without knocking something else off..... and usually when you knock something off of a plate, it lands somewhere that you didn't expect and it's messy!
I'm pretty convinced that Satan likes everybody to stay really busy and with full plates - that is because we (I) tend to over-fill my plate with things that seem to be really important and end up knocking things off of my plate that are truly important..... like a quiet time to study and to be alone with my God.
Jesus was so consistant in his example of this - he was always breaking away from the disciples to be alone with the Father. I am convinced that he gave these examples so that we would see the importance of time alone with the Father.
Nothing - even of full plate of distractions should come between the Father & me......
Monday, August 08, 2005
one of the most fun times of the day was standing in front of the 5 buses every morning and telling them to "start their engines" ..... had to be better than telling the drivers at Indy to do the same.
There are more stories and amazing things than I could possibly share in the short space of this blog but, if interested, you should read the trip reports at mstorch.blogspot.com
As I stated in my last post, I have changed jobs and the best way to contact me is at my personal email address email@example.com
I'll be keeping the same cell number for a few weeks and will let anyone that emails me know the new number whenever I get it.
Monday, July 18, 2005
My friend Billy preached about change this weekend. That word really scares a lot of people - especially when he said that he wanted God to use him as a "change agent". I could see a few people squirm when the words came out of his mouth but, he was using Peter's words to the Jews in Acts 2 that convicted them and made them want to change. The point of the lesson was that if we have become Christians and never changed from our old ways, then we need to rethink our faith. A measure of your faith is a measure of your change isn't it?
Change - if you are comfortable, then change is a pretty spooky thought.
Me - I guess that I am a freak - I like change. I prefer to think that I am in control of my changes - you know - change by choice. That is a silly thought from someone that truly believes that God is in complete control though. The past few months I have seen just how much God is in control and it is my job to pay attention to his will. Here is what has been happening -
......until April of this year, my job at Meadowbrook was fun. It was very challenging, sometimes frustrating, but - it was fun. Something out of my control happened between my boss & me - to this day, I do not know what it was but when it happened, I went from hero to zero overnight. The really weird thing is is that April was off the charts for our company earnings. Anyway, as soon as my boss & I started having problems - I started getting phone calls from companies that wanted to hire me away from Meadowbrook. I worked hard to find out what I wasn't doing so that I could correct the problems but, the situation at work became worse - not better. At the same time, more people called wanting to hire me. By the end of June, Terri & I had concluded that a change was necessary and we asked for God's direction. We believe that the offer that came from Memphis, TN is the direction that God has pointed and we will be moving there as soon after Honduras as we can sell our house.
Please pray for us in this change. Pray that God will send a buyer for our house and that we will put this behind us soon.
Also, please pray for the 175 people that will be traveling to Honduras this weekend to work for the next two weeks.
Our God is good ... all the time.
Saturday, July 02, 2005
Anyway, I have been reflecting on how amazing life has become - how many doors God has opened since I started in this work that I love. God has provided me with so many real - true friends. Not just the casual "how ya' doin''" kind of friends but the ones that you can pour out your heart to. The ones that you aren't afraid to let know the real you - because even when they know you, you know that they will still love you. The ones that would drop everything - give up anything - to help you.... that kind of new friend.
One of the really cool things about all of my new friends is what they have in common. They all have this passion for service. I'm sure that this is just a reflection of Jesus, the Spirit that he promised, The Way.
Thank you God for the people that you have introduced me to.
For my friend Billy that always lifts me up when I talk to him, for Cisco who never has a bad day, for Les who just calls to see what's happening, for Tim & Gena & Dalton & Dylan who are the definition of amazing love, for my friend Gayle who's heart is bigger than big, for Janet who's Spirit of love is so easy to see, for Tom G & Tom B who are always looking for more ways to serve you, for Karen & Jen who have shown me what take up your cross & follow means, for my friend Don who defines the fruits of the spirit. For so many friends that I can't list them all.
Thank you God for my family, for Terri and the endless work that she does - keeping all of the team stuff in order, for my mom who has become a hugh fund raiser for our work, for Nicole and her big heart, for Nathan & Julia and their encouragement.
And thank you God for the team that is preparing to leave next week to serve you.
I love you Lord..........thank you for loving me enough to send your Son.
Nicole & I have always gotten along. We are so much alike that we sometimes drive Terri nuts. We laugh at each others jokes when Terri rolls her eyes. We tease and call each other a moron when we both think that the other is one of the smartest people around. On my fathers day card- Nicole wrote that I am her hero..... well thank's Nicole- that's hard to live up to! (but, I'll try)
Now for the past 2 weeks, Nicole has been back in the place that she loves - Honduras. I miss her but, knowing that she is off doing the work that she loves - well- it's just fine. Two years ago when she interned for TORCH - I worried a lot more. This summer there is a level of comfort that is hard to explain. Perhaps that is the "peace that passes all understanding". Just the knowledge that God promised that he would take care of us is enough.... even when you can't explain it.
Terri & I will be on our way to Tegucigalpa in exactly 3 weeks. Three weeks from this minute, I'll be on a plane on my way to Miami and then to Teguc by about noon. Can't wait!
Nicole will be at the airport waiting - as long as her boss will let her. I expect that I'll see her big smile looking through the door of the point of entry - just waiting for us to get our passports stamped and then - hugs! Can't wait!
I wonder if there is a door like that in heaven? One where you can see your friends and family looking through the door with big smiles - just waiting for you to "clear customs" and waiting to give you hugs. I'm guessing that - most likely there is! Can't wait!
Nicole I love you and am ready to see you. Can't wait!
Monday, June 27, 2005
I had been talking to Jen Wright for several weeks - Jen is going to move to Honduras in October along with Karen Vaughan to run the home - anyway, Jen & I had become friends on the phone and I knew that we would be family as soon as we met in person. I really didn't expect that everyone that I met would become like family so quickly. I'll get in trouble if I start trying to name everyone but, because of the people that we were around all weekend, we had an amazing time. It was just as comfortable as being with family - not the cousins that you only see every few years, but like family that knows you and still loves you.
I'm blessed by experiencing the weekend with my family in Belpre. I sorta' expect that this will be the way it will be when we walk into the gates of heaven. Never one uncomfortable moment - just family.
Friday, June 17, 2005
This week my friend Tim Hines sent me an email with a picture of Trajellio & his new house. Trajellio was all smiles. God answered Trajellio's prayers for a new house & He allowed Trajellio to be Jesus for the people that built the new house. I like the words that Jesus gave us in Matthew 25:40 -" whatever you did for the least of these brothers of mine, you did it for me". Trajellio became Jesus and the people that built his house came face to face with Jesus.
It is such a simple concept and yet, I choose to take a pass on opportunity after opportunity to come face to face with Jesus by helping and serving others. I am guilty. I get so tied up in serving myself and being "busy" that I overlook the needs that are around me. I walk across the street so I don't have to see the man hurting in the ditch.
Open the eyes of my heart Lord
Open the eyes of my heart.
I want to see you
I want to see you
To see you high and lifted up
Shining in the light of your glory
So pour out your power and love
As we sing Holy Holy Holy
Holy Holy Holy
I want to see you!
Wednesday, June 08, 2005
One of my friends is leading a TORCH team in Honduras right now and I am sure that these two families will get help but, I also know that there are at least 500 other families in the San Miguel community just like the two that I've mentioned.
All this reminds me how meaningless the things that I worry about are. When you think about the desperate lives of the people in the village of San Miguel and their daily struggle to just survive, well - I have no problems. All of this only gives me more drive to take more people to share in the work, to help them open their eyes to the plan that God has for their service, and to meet Jesus face to face.
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
Terri has been out of town and while I am not helpless, I sometimes act like it. We (make that I) have been out of milk for 3 days. I could have gone to the store to replenish my supply but, I didn’t – I was just too lazy. The result is – dry cereal. Yuck! This morning I was hungry and about the only thing left to eat was raisin bran and of course – no milk. I took the plunge and spooned the stuff into my waiting mouth. Bad Plan! Some things go well together and some things just don’t work at all without the other. Cereal and milk fit in the second category. My wife and I fit in the second category too. We are way beyond just being good together – when we are apart, well – it just doesn’t work. It is more than just missing each other, we have been a part of each other for so long that it’s just unhealthy to be apart for more than a day or two.
I love my wife – she is my fuel – my energy – and my inspiration.
By the way honey, we’re out of milk…….
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
Fear is what keeps us from asking. Nobody wants to be rejected so we just don't ask.
The shame of all of this is, people expect you to ask and most of the time - if a compelling story has been told - they will give us the answer we are looking for. I keep learning this over and over - at work and even more important with TORCH. Last week I asked a friend to help with some houses and he is going to build 10! Ask for the order.
Our Father too has promised that if we ask - he will give. Infinantly more than we can imagine. He promised and all we need to do is ask for what we want and believe that He will deliver.
No - not like a winning lotto card - better, Infinantly More Than We Can Imagine. No, not for us but for his glory.
Saturday, May 21, 2005
BOLD - not a word that I use very often. About the only time lately is when I describe the type on my computer. I like it though. BOLD!
It is a description of how ordinary men were completely changed.
Acts makes it pretty clear to me that these guys didn't complete the change unitl they met the Spirit of God. It was only then that they became BOLD. Even though they had spent years working, preaching, & learning from Jesus - they were inclear about what they believed and were afraid when they needed to be brave. It was the Spirit that made them BOLD.
I wonder if being bold is one of the gifts that the Spirit brings? Maybe I am not as bold of a witness as I want to be because I don't depend enough upon the Spirit.
Thursday, May 05, 2005
Anybody that knows me will know that one of my favorite scriptures is Ephesians 2:10
For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Amazing! God knew before I was born exactly what he wanted me to be doing.
Sometimes though, I wonder how many things he planned for me that I’ve walked past or chose to ignore. How many times have I walked across the street so that I didn’t have to look at the man in the ditch? There is no doubt that every one of us has taken a pass on some of God’s plans for us – I just hope that he had a “plan B” so that the work that he had planned for me got done.
I do know that he has forgiven me for any of my past, present and future failures. He promised that in the verses just before Ephesians 2:10. My paraphrase of the text in verses 8 & 9 is – My grace is what saves you, there isn’t any good work that you can do to save yourself – none. This is so that you will know that salvation is a gift and nothing that you can earn. Amazing!
I’ve thought a lot about why our Father would want all of us to have servant’s hearts and the answer is so obvious that it’s almost funny. Can you imagine how boring and meaningless life would be if it was only about our own small selves? For this life to have purpose & meaning, we need to be doing more than accumulating stuff. With a servant’s heart, we open our eyes to the world around us and stop worrying about getting our fair share. With a servant’s heart we can own nothing and have everything. With the heart of a servant we become just like the Jesus that we have chosen to follow. We are no longer orphans looking for a permanent home. Simple and amazing….
Thursday, April 28, 2005
Today is Ryan’s birthday and I miss him.
Time goes by so fast. I can’t believe that it was 25 years ago today. Here is how I remember it………..
Ryan was born on April 28, 1980 in
While I was in
A Son is Born!
Just like we were in the movies, we were stopped for speeding on the way to the hospital – no ticket given. We were able to call the folks in
I think that we had finally agreed on a boys name while we were in the labor room. Ryan Marcus was it. We both knew that the name was a fit. My son looked just like a “Ryan Marcus”. We would call him Ryan.
Ryan was an instant hit with the grandparents. Norma couldn’t believe that she had a grandson. She had wanted a grandson so badly that she was afraid to mention it lest she “jinx” the whole deal. I’ll never forget her running up the hall in the hospital yelling, “we got us a boy! we got us a boy!” Morris was so proud that he could hardly speak. Mom & Dad were just as happy and tried to burn the phone lines up letting their friends in on their news.
Thursday, April 14, 2005
Last Thursday I was able to travel to
Last week we went to a place called Nuevo Oriental. Nuevo Oriental is on the road to Zamarano –about 10 km outside of
Planning and working with Tim & Joe was great. These men had the faith to leave the comforts of the
Terri has the current headcount for the July TORCH mission at 156. WOW! I should probably stop the number here but, I just can’t say no to someone that is willing to come with me to do the work that I love. We have big plans and a lot of work ahead. I believe that this team that I am working with will be amazing. I just keep praying that we will have the resources that we will need to do what God has planned for us to do. That is pretty silly – especially since our God doesn’t plan anything without providing the means to get it done.
One big project that I worked on this weekend was a land purchase for TORCH, Mi Esperanza, and the IRC. The land is in a community called Santa Anna.
The one thing that I have talked to all of the board about is the fact that this permanent purchase will mean that we will all be required to step it up to the next level. I am ready!
Wednesday, March 23, 2005
Today Nicole called and left a message on my cell phone to “please call me as soon as you get this message”. I called her about an hour later and the first question out of my mouth was – did you wreck the car. “Yes daddy, I hit a pole. But, you see, it was where I couldn’t see it and it was on the passenger side of my car and I’m sorry”.
I wasn’t happy and I wasn’t a comfort. I was grumpy and Nicole cried.
This is exactly what Nicole was afraid of and I guess I met her expectations. I wish that I would have surprised her and treated her like our Heavenly Father treats us whenever we mess up and tell him about it. We have a father that promises comfort whenever we go to him - and he never fails us. Our Father listens to our problems, He offers immediate forgiveness whenever we mess up, and then he forgets about what we did (as far as the east is from the west). He will never bring it up again. All he sees are perfect (perfectly forgiven) children.
I will pray that I am able to treat my own children with the same listening ears, the same comforting words, and the same immediate forgiveness that my God promised me.
Thursday, March 17, 2005
I have been away from the comfort of being with my family for about two weeks and I am really ready to be home. Home, in my bed, eating my food, being with my wife, watching more than one English speaking channel, home & comfortable. I want to be home and not alone anymore. I miss my home! I miss hugs and being touched. I miss having someone to talk to at night – someone to laugh at my stupid jokes….someone to hold me and tell me that they love me. ( the phone is good but it’s not the same)
When I wake up in the morning it will be Friday in
I don’t know how people traveled without the convenience of modern communication. I have a VOIP program on my computer and can call the
I can’t imagine growing old and being alone. Even worse, I can’t imagine dying alone. I can’t imagine the feelings that Jesus must have had when all of his friends abandoned him in the garden and left him alone. He was completely alone to face the torture and the cross. Even his father couldn’t even bear to watch. Jesus was alone and he knew all along that this was the way that it was going to be. It is amazing to me that he didn’t call down the army of angels and wipe out every living creature. He didn’t! He died and he rose and he lives. Even more amazing is that he loves me. He knows my name and he listens whenever I speak to him. I really like the song that says “amazing love, how can it be that you my God would die for me…..”
He promised that through him, we would never be alone!
Sunday, March 06, 2005
Yesterday I completely lost my Sunday.
Terri & I got up at about 4:30 on Saturday to travel - she to Mississippi & me to Japan.
I departed the USA from Chicago at 11:00 AM (Saturday) and arrived in Tokyo at 3:00 PM on Sunday. Gathering luggage, clearing customs, finding the right bus, finding out that the bus won't take US$ and missing it to go to the money exchange, catching the next bus - I finally arrived at my hotel at about 5:30. I was in bed at 6:00 so I completely missed Sunday. Poof.........gone....
(It is now 3:00 AM on Monday in Tokyo. The USA standard coffee pot in the hotel room is a tea pot and the nearest Starbucks doesn't open for 4 more hours.)
Missing Sunday is more than just a day gone. It is the first day of the week It is our God's first fruit of the week...made for us to spend with him. Our God was so wise whenever he set aside a day of the week to worship and rest. A day to reflect on our blessings and share them with others..to remember sacrifice of Jesus and celebrate the fact that HE LIVES!
Our God is good.......All the time!
(ps: please pray for my family this week)
Monday, February 28, 2005
March 12th is coming around again.
For most of my life there wasn’t anything significant about March 12th – in 1976, it became the day before my marriage to my best friend but, the 13th was the special day. All this changed five years ago when our firstborn son was in a terrible accident and lost his life.
Ryan was 19 – almost 20.
He was just coming into his own. He was making a beautiful transition from the tough teen years into becoming a fine man.
I ache every day with missing Ryan. Nobody – nobody that hasn’t lost a child can know that hole in your heart emptiness of missing your baby.
I thank my God for his promise of an eternity together and for my faith that the next time I see Ryan, it will be forever. God is good…all the time and I know that my life was blessed because of the time that I was given with my son.
Thank you God for sons.
Because of your son, I can spend forever with my son. Because of your son I can see through the darkness and stand in the light. Because of your son, I have a hope and a promise that my tears will be wiped away and that happiness will never stop. Because of your son, I can rejoice in you always – I can get though any suffering and feel your comforting arms around me. Because of your son, life has meaning.
Thank you God for sons.
Thursday, February 17, 2005
This week I was in NYC for a couple of days and my hotel was directly across the highway from La Guardia Airport. My first night in the hotel was pretty lousy. Between the non-stop traffic on the highway and the jet engines, there was just way too much noise to get a good night of sleep. No surprise here, no matter where you stay in NYC – it is noisy. My second night was better – not because there was less noise, I was just more accustomed to it. If I were to stay in the city for a week, I would hardly notice the noise.
A lot of things in life are this way – aren’t they?
We walk past the poor & homeless in our very own communities so often that we may have even forgotten that they are real. A couple of years ago I was able to build a house in Honduras with the American Airlines people that live and work in Tegucigalpa and was amazed to find out that they had never seen the poor communities where TORCH works. In retrospect, I had to ask myself when I had been to the poor parts of my own community to be the hands of Jesus. I am guilty of tuning out the noise of the needs that are right here in front of me. The noise never stops, we just don’t listen.
We are around many of the same people every day and we know that they are lost without Jesus in their lives. Yet, we’ve tuned out the noise and are completely comfortable letting day after day go by without sharing the very thing that they most need in their lives. It is a lot easier to sleep at night when you aren’t bothered by the noise….even if it is still there and just choose to tune it out………..The noise never stops.
Monday, February 14, 2005
There is another team in training that faces a similar trial. There are 5 guys and their families that will be moving to Mexico this summer and as far as I know, only one member of that team has support in place. Right now these 5 guys are training together - as a team in Los Pinos (Honduras) and they will be working with TORCH teams throughout the summer. We will be blessed by working with them.
These 10 men and their families remind me of the apostiles that Jesus called from their boats. Jesus said come with me and I will make you a brand new kind of fisherman. From now on you will fish for men! The only thing that my Bible indicates is that these guys dropped what they were doing and they went with Jesus. It doesn't look like they tried to hold off on their calling until they had financial support or even to go home to tell the family goodby. Jesus said come with me - and they went.
There is at least one other example of Jesus telling someone "come with me". This sad story is about a young man that had much. Jesus told him to sell his STUFF, give the money to the poor. and "come with me" . ...sadly the young man couldn't do it. Jesus called and the rich guy said "no thanks - I just can't do it".
COME WITH ME.............come with me..........come with me
Thursday, February 10, 2005
I truly believe that our God has some very special plans for the work this summer.....otherwise, he wouldn't have called so many people to join the work........I can't wait!
Monday, February 07, 2005
Saturday reminded me of how important it is to make the most of our short time here. It made me certain that I do a lot of things that really aren't very worthwhile and have them confused with things that are really important.
Thursday, February 03, 2005
Today on the way to work, I had a conversation with my friend Gayle and we talked about prayer and giving. I like both but, whenever I really access where I am with both, I feel inadequate. The past few months I've been reading the Old Testiment and there is a theme surrounding our gifts and the desire of our God that they are first fruits.... the best we have to offer. All this makes me think about the blog that my friend Tim wrote on this very subject....have I ever really given the best that I have? I know in my heart that this means completely giving myself....100%....
It's no wonder that Jesus said that the path to heaven is narrow. It's not because our God has made it difficult, it's because we simply refuse to give all of ourselves and turn our lives over to him.....completely. Why? Jesus even promised that he woud never leave us alone. His great promise is that his Spirit will guide us.