Thursday, June 12, 2008

34-Hours from home to baggage claim?

photo by ~MVI~
Asia's Hope News Home Page

I just got off the phone with Joyce who is on her journey to Chiang Mai, Thailand. Joyce is another short-term missions partner going into the world to reach the world with the love of God. She is a fully devoted follower of Christ who has developed a passion to help children in Southeast Asia. Her husband, Dave, is the director of Asia's Hope.

Please pray for her and think of her as she starts a 22-hour flight time excursion from Ohio to Thailand. That's right, twenty-two hours flight time. She will log 34-hours from home to baggage claim. Yet she has a passion for helping out--she is yet another one of my heroes.

Alone no more

My Year Listening to God--

When you feel alone, is God truly with you?

In my journey as a Christ-follower, I find there are times when God feels so far away. Not all the time, but on different occasions, i sense God is not so close. Yes, I understand the theological truth that God resides within His believers (John 14:16-17) at the time you decide to follow God. But there are times when I feel alone.
My readings today come to the place where God reassures Isaac that God is with him. Genesis 26:24 says, "I am the God of your father Abraham; Do not fear, for I am with you..." Just like Isaac I need the reassurance that God is with me. I do fear. But I believe God's truth that He is always with me but sometimes I feel like He is not near.

logo link

I am so glad that God shares the reassurance--do not fear. I can feel fearful, but God addresses my shortcomings on an emotional level. He will build me up with the fact that He is my God and He will be with me therefore I do not have to allow fear to paralyze me or to make me flee. I can embrace my fear and choose to move towards God or choose to remain stedfast in God. No matter where my emotions emerge, I can choose to embrace God and His reassurance.

I hope that makes sense. From my perspective, I am so glad that God takes care of me, even when I fear or feel that I am alone. I have the God of the Universe in my life but when I feel alone, He can reassure me with the words--do not fear, I am with you. I challenge you to stop what you are doing and inhale deeply and listen for those reassuring words, "Do not fear, I am with you." God can be with you like He is with me. I wonder if you heard those reassuring words in your mind or heart. Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Message to Coldplay--there is something more

On Coldplay's latest album--Viva la vida, the song "42" has the lyrics, "Time is so short and I’m sure There must be something more."

There is something more I've found. It's a relationship with Jesus. He is such a close and dear friend to me. In fact, I can enjoy my relationship with Him right now and each moment of my life.

I just turned 43 so the spectre of death may seem closer, but there are no guarantees that anyone lives another day. But the hope that I live in, is that I can enjoy life to its fullest dimensions in Christ. I can experience as Jesus said in John 10:10, "I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of."

I am experiencing so much more each day. I am so amazed at what i discover in my journey with Christ. I am so glad that I am a Christ-follower.

Purposely helping someone out

Living on purpose to help others out. THat's what I think about missional living. I came across the Missional Living sermon from Here is a streaming audio podcast link for how to live missionally.

I wonder what you think about living to serve others.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Better than eHarmony

photo from movie website

My Year Listening to God: God answers prayer and He is a matchmaker.

I can still hear the song, "Matchmaker," from Fiddler on the Roof.

Matchmaker, Matchmaker,
Make me a match,
Find me a find,
catch me a catch
Matchmaker, Matchmaker
Look through your book,
And make me a perfect match

In the dialogue throughout the song, I feel the fear and the apprehension of matchmaking. Read it for yourself.

photo from movie website

Here in Genesis, Abraham asks his trusted servant to find a bride for his son. The faithful steward prays for success and God grants His petition. He finds a bride for his master's son. Whoa!

I love the fact that here is a prayer from someone in Abraham's household. It is not the patriarch, but the patriarch's servant who receives the blessing of answered prayer. Wow! The blessing of Abraham extends to even Abraham's household. God's work in humankind's lives makes a positive difference.

God brought two people together. They did not create a profile on eHarmony and discover compatibility levels as well as "values, character, intellect, sense of humor, spiritual beliefs, passion, and up to 24 other dimensions (eHarmony)." God directed them to each other in the most unimagineable circumstances. Some may claim, chance. Others may deride, luck. Even others may chide, archaic, old-fashioned, neanderthal. But I believe that God always oversees everything and is involved with everyone, even computer compatibility algorithms. Though some may declare online success, I trust God and His principles for working in my life and within the spectrum of my relationships. I am not opposed to compatibility results, but in addition to tests I believe that God's principles and precepts can be followed to maximize great relationships and to offer comparable success for those who abide by the Bible's teachings. God brings people together--whether by culturally arranged means or scientifically calculated algorithms, I believe God still presides over all relationships.

I wonder what you think. I wonder if you believe that God uses even computer sciences to do His will for arranging couples into marriages. Let me know what you think.


Europe at Night photo courtesy of NASA


As I engage my role as pastor of cross-cultural missions, I am inspired to pray for the dawning of a new day in the next generation of missionaries to Europe and to the 10/40 Window.

The footage of the dawning of a new day over Europe directs me to ask the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers into His harvest. The harvest is ripe, but the workers are few. May God raise up laborers to harvest in the fields ripe.

Take a moment to say this prayer, "God, bring light into the darkness of the world with the Good News of being with God forever by accepting Christ as your Savior. In Jesus' name, Amen."

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Finding out your purpose in life

My Year Listening to God: Finding your purpose in life.

Today I stood in 90 degree sunshine on triple-H afternoon, waiting for a church bus to leave our parking lot. Standing with students and parents to authorize the junior high missions team, I praised God for His wisdom as I prayed for them for the week in South Bend.

In another part of the church parking lot, the high school missions team left for Philadephia. Three 15-passenger vans paraded and honked as they past us, the team was waving, gesturing, and wishing us well.

On mission for God. That's what I love about Wooster Grace. God's heart is our heart. We value reaching out to people. Therefore we mobilize students and adults to go out into the world and to get some skills in learning how to help others. We encourage each participant to discover his or her purpose on these missions trips--we cultivate introspective searching, stretching projects and relationships, and inspiring insights into who God made you to be. Your purpose is to be on-mission for God.

Each destination is facilitating outreach in a place where a new church is emerging. Each student is on-mission for God. Each leader is on-mission for God. Both teams are on-mission for God.

I am going to pray for them each day--today's prayer: "Lord, may each person seek first Your kingdom and Your righteousness, and may all their everyday human concerns be met (Matthew 6:33)."

I also read from Abraham's life. He talked with God. His conversation with God was to ask for mercy. He cared about his family (Lot, his nephew). He dialogued with God, in fact, ABraham queried God throughout his prayer (Genesis 18:23-33). God spoke to Abraham. Abraham spoke with God. Prayer is a dialogue. Prayer is not a "gimme" session. Prayer is communion with God.

I fail in making prayer a communion with God. I focus so much on my petitions that I disregard my relationship with God. I need to cultivate that aspect of prayer--more of dialogue, which means asking, sharing, and quiet listening. May God help you hear His voice. I want to hear God speak. "Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening (I Samuel 2:11)."

Thus, I choose to listen more to discover how to live on purpose for God. He will take care of my human concerns. I can trust Him. I can live a purposeful life with God's help.
Pray for my house to sell

Friday, June 6, 2008

Jesus is the ultimate fighting champion

My Year Listening to God continues with my thought that Jesus is the ultimate fighting champion.
This mornings readings convict me. i feel a sense of guilt for my sinfulness. In the New Testament portion, Jesus continues his discourse at the sermon on the mount. The second half of Matthew 5 Jesus pulls no punches.

photo from Leopard Box Club

Like a heavyweight pugilist, he strikes one blow after another into the heavy bag of my heart. He strikes me with jabs directly in the jaw. Then Jesus catches me off guard with a punch in mid-stride with his right fist. He has stunned me, but continues to bob and weave, circling around me, then unloads his best and powerful punch to the face of my heart, where I am down for the count.

I want to thank Keith Pascal for his insight into hitting a heavy bag. but as I observe a fighters' workout. I find it insightful how Jesus addresses his audience in the sermon on the mount.

Jesus is the Ultimate Fighting Champion. His teaching creates a standing eight count in my life. Then as I reflect on its impact in my life. I continue the bout and next thing you know, I 'm on the canvas, mouthguard dislodged, and portruding from my lips like a damaged straw.

I take liberties with this analogy to make the point that God's Word brings to my attention my sinfulness. I used to view this process of convcition as merely a guilt trip. But now as I mature in the Lord, I discover it as a catalyst for deeper commitment to God. Rather than immobilze me, guilt can motivate me to adjust my life to God's standards. With His help, I can improve. Conviction of sin can lead to full devotion. I want to be fully devoted to God.

The knockout punches in this passage are lust, integrity (when I say yes, then follow through, or when i say no, then stand firm), generosity (even when it feels like you are being taken advantaged of--give to the one who asks you), and friendliness (greet everyone, not only the ones who you know).
So I will protect myself from lust. I will keep my guard up against a lack of integrity. I will counter-punch to be more generous. I will bob and weave by greeting everyone I meet. May God speak to you as He speaks to me.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

My Year Listening to God

Global warming.

I believe the Bible speaks to it. In my readings this morning, I read these words from God,
"While the earth remains,
seedtime and harvest,
And cold and HEAT,
And summer and winter,
And day and night
Shall not cease.
(Genesis 8:22)
As long as the Earth lasts, it will experience cold and heat. Global warming is a key issue in many minds. So as a Christian I can address it from a biblical worldview.
Here in the beginnings of the created order, God reaffirms what He initiated. He is in charge of the heating and cooling of the earth.
As his creation, humankind can observe the environment more meticulously and more accurately. Yet in the big picture of things, God is in charge. He rules over His creation. As long as the earth remains God will oversee the warming and the cooling of the earth. I take solace in that fact.

by geezer741uk

Now does that mean I don't care about the wise stewardship of God's creation? No. Neither does it mean that I obsess about my carbon footprint. I must maintain balance. I am God's creation, He created this earth for me and for all who presently reside and all who will eventually emerge onto this earth. I sense extremes and radicals who would push the pendulum or stack the balance in their favor according to their political biases. But right now, I seek a moderate approach to global warming.

Global warming is a fact recorded by scientists. In my worldview, I believe God oversees His creation--so I trust Him to take care of it all. Likewise, I believe God holds me responsible for how I steward what He has entrusted to each person who emerges onto this planet. Still, I am not solely responsible or ultimately responsible for what occurs. We have only been tracking global temperatures as long as the techonology to do so has developed. So we may not know the patterns of how the earth heats and cools over the centuries prior to scientific observation. Nevetheless, the earth is warming up.

I need to know more. I wonder if you have resources for me to read and investigate. Sure, I can start with a wiki. But what other resources are available to gather more data so that I can more wisely steward God's creation for His glory and under His sovereign oversight. Please comment and send me information on the various viewpoints you come across or propound.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

My Year Listening to God

"I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me (Psalm 3:5)"

As I end my day, I neglected to read my portion of Scripture. I am determined to make this a new habit in my life for this coming year. I read the above words and giggle, because I am tired, yet I made the effort to get to the computer and read the passages and journal my thoughts on my blog.

I am a Christian. I know that the Lord sustains me. Even when I feel tired, unmotivated to read the Bible; God still sustains me.

I praise God for my family. My parents, two sisters, a nephew and a niece all came from New Mexico for a visit. It has been a great 24-hours. I do miss them greatly when we are apart. I need to tell them that. Nevertheless, God fuels my life. God energizes my life. God is a real battery charger for my life. Once I gave my life to Him, I can sleep or stay awake and He sustains me.

I trust you can find that kind of confidence too. I am so grateful to God for sustaining me. In Psalm 3 the context of the chapter is David fleeing from his own son who wanted to kill him. I do not have the same life circumstance, but the truth rings true. No matter how crazy or insane my life may feel--God can sustain you. I wonder what kind of insanity has made you crazy this week. I am open to hearing from you. Later, I need to go to sleep.

Monday, June 2, 2008

My Year Listening to God

I awoke to the sounds of a cardinal chirpin' in the trees outside my window. His piercing calls poked at me, to get out of bed. I arose and went to read the portion set out for my in my plan.

In my readings today, I reviewed the curse on Adam after his disobedience. Painful toil--that was his lot until his death. That is my lot until my death. That is your lot until your death. Pretty challenging, but realistic (from a biblical worldview).

I find it challenging to engage work everyday. I know people complain about work. As I go from place to place, I've asked tellers, cashiers, and laborers how work is going. I've heard great laments to a resignation that work gets me a paycheck that I get to blow.

I was at the checkout at Walmart today and the cashier greeted me (I checked that she did on the survey as I scanned my credit card). She is looking forward to working third shift. I worked third shift at a driveshaft plant for Dana Corp. I worked hard, but I did not want third shift. My goal and everyone else's was to land on first shift. Yet here is a woman wanting, begging, looking forward to third shift. I guess the painful toil of labor has even deluded the Walmart worker. She warmly exit greeted me and Melissa, my wife. Then we went home.

I am struck by the strenuous nature of work. I have on my shelf a book to read by Larry Winget, It's called work for a reason! I hope to get more insight into what he means and possibly learn how people deal with the toilsome labors of everyday life and strive to be successful. The working man or woman needs only to blame ol' Adam for falling from a painless workfree existence, all because of his sinful actions.

Since then, work has always been hard. Work has shaped me, chiseled me, wrung me out, flogged me, burnt me, scewerd me, deflated me, beat me, and left me for dead. When I've put my back into work, I've truly labored hard. I have Adam to blame for work being hard. So as I take a few days off this week. I don't look forward to getting back to work. I know that it's going to be hard. Why did you do this to me, Adam?

Sunday, June 1, 2008

My Year Listening to God

On my forty-third year of life I intend to read through the Bible this year. I believe the Bible is the words of God. According to II Timothy 3:16, "All Scripture is God-breathed," i.e. spoken or breathed out and recorded for me and anyone to read the very words of God--His revelation to humankind. Thus I intend to read the whole Bible, "listening" to the words of God throughout my forty-third year of life on this earth.

In my readings I will share what thoughts are prompted. Today I marvel at how God works in people's lives. I consider Joseph who made a decision to quietly divorce his betrothed bride-to-be to avoid a public spectacle. But God spoke into his life and redirected that decision to marry a pregnant maiden in spite of the public scandal.

Joseph chose to follow God's direction in spite of his logical conclusion or the proper and accustomed mores in his culture. He obeyed God even in the midst of an apparent scandalous circumstance--a betrothed fiancee was now pregnant; pregnant not by him, but by the Holy Spirit. He obeyed God's way.

Joseph was a fully devoted follower of God. My! how I fall short. I wonder if I'd be willing to do what God wanted even when following God meant it went against the grain of my own thinking and conclusions, and even when the culture would affirm my actions as proper.

When God reveals his truth to me, then I enter the arena like Joseph. I become a gladiator to do battle with what God prompts or to slay the promptings within my own heart for the alliance with the new truth of God, prompted from the Bible. Or do I draw the sword against the culture in which I live to defiantly and passionately align myself to God's truth. I wonder whom I engage in battle. The choice of engagement is mine. I wonder who you'd engage. Let me know what you think--I hope to add to this post as I pause to muse over this conflict throughout my day, the first day of my forty-third year.

Engaged in battle, Daron

Friday, May 30, 2008

How do you give hope

Another ministry we have in our community here in Wooster is Sowing Hope. Please find a link to the newsletter. I find it so rewarding to facilitate people who make it their passion to sow hope in the lives of people who are under-resourced in our community. I wonder if you have had an experience in sowing hope for someone else in your community. Tell me about it.

Wisdom for your life

My readings in Proverbs is coming to a close. On June first I will begin a year reading through the Bible. You may wonder why a minister, a pastor, a member of the clergy is reading through the Bible (my facebook page). You may ask, "don'cha already know the bible? You did graduate with many degrees of divinity and theology?"

Yeah. But I need a fresh dose of the Bible again. In my spiritual journey I discover that I need variety and a challenge. I will be following the through the Bible in a year format but i am adjusting it to fit my year. So I've adapted an online schedule to suit my need.

In my reading today, I am amazed at a lot of things. Agur, a wise man referenced in Solomon's book of Proverbs was also amazed at four things;

"There are three things which are too wonderful for me, four which I do not understand: the way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a serpent on a rock, the way of a ship in the middle of the sea, and the way of a man with a maid
(Proverbs 30:18-19)."

I don't understand a lot of things. But as I make time to reflect. I discover some amazing things. One of those is the way of an eagle in the sky. As a teen, I watched a golden eagle soaring the in the sky. At first I thought it was a crow or raven, but my father corrected me. "It's a golden eagle, son. You can tell by its flight (pattern), its size, and its silhoutte (plumage)."

I marveled at how my father could see those characteristics, but then I stared at the sky for a few minutes scanning the celestial spaces, tracking the golden, dark spectre spanning the skies above me. The more I observed, the more I understood what dad said. The more I stood amazed, the more I grew in understanding.

In a way I was jealous of that taloned aviator. I wished I could float on the thermals, to mount on wings over the high desert of New Mexico. To look down and over the barren land with regal stature. Wow! I was amazed and still am amazed at God's creation.

God made great things in creation. That's what my pastor, Pastor Bob will share this weekend in our services on Sunday. You may listen to his message on our website. The main truth is to honor and to enjoy your Creator while you're still young (Ecclesiastes 12:1). Though I am not "young" any more, I stilll honor and enjoy the Creator of my memories of golden eagles today.

I wonder if any of the things Agur mentions amazes you. Make a comment and let me know what amazes you.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Report: Food aid to Africa unlikely to meet target -

Report: Food aid to Africa unlikely to meet target -

My church partners with ICDI's orphan care efforts in the Central African Republic (check out the blog). Please skim the above article. One thing that challenges me is the lack of long-term agricultural development for the peoples of Africa. That's why I believe in ICDI which seeks to address the underlying problems to focus on development rather than emergency crisis responses. I seek to impact one community at a time, one family at a time, one person at a time. I wonder if other smaller organizations are doing it better than our larger governmental aid counterparts.

My church exists in an agricultural rich area in Ohio. So seeking to address poor farming practices, the lack of irrigation, high-yielding seeds and fertilizer are all things common to those here in Northeast Ohio. I can see my church having a long-term partnership with helping one community at a time. Right now I help facilitate reaching out to one community in the Central African Republic. Our hope is to make a difference in the lives of one community and spread hope to every person in that community.

Wisdom for your life

Photo by: Alex CB

As part of my latest habit in reading the Bible to help shape my spirituality, I read Proverbs 29 today. I find it so helpful in my interactions with people. The Bible is practical and especially helpful in interpersonal relationships.

One verse that caught my attention as I read the chapter is:
"The fear of man brings a snare, But he who trusts in the Lord will be exalted (verse 25)."

I find it challenging to battle what people think of me. In my case, what people thinks matters. In fact, this verse offers a great insight to how I feel sometimes--what others think is a snare. I feel ensnared by what others think.

I was having lunch with one of the other pastors at Subway and a gaggle of girls were in a booth near us and burst out laughing loudly. It crossed my mind that they might be laughing at me. But as I thought about it, they most likely weren't laughing at me, but it crossed me mind. How self-centered am I?

It is true that I can ensnare myself with what other people may think. But the remedy for me is found in the second part of the verse. I can trust in the Lord so that I can be exalted, out of the snare's reach and live beyond what others may think. In fact, I can live above it. So when another crowd explodes with laughter near me, then I will reaffirm the truth that I can trust in God despite my battle with what others think. He can be trusted with my feelings and He will lift me above and beyond that snare for my life.

I wonder if any of you ever feel the same thing or if this is something that doesn't phase you at all. Please stop and make a comment. More wisdom for your life later.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Newspaper Rock -- Where Native America Meets Pop Culture

photo by jacko (Flickr)

Newspaper Rock -- Where Native America Meets Pop Culture

Rob Schmidt raises a good question in his comment on his blog, "I'm not sure what 'lesson in patriotism' you learn by repeating a rote phrase..." He has more to say check it out above.

I tend to agree with him. Words undefined make recitation hollow, I say. Rob raises his question of Navajo children reciting the pledge of allegiance in Navajo and Spanish. Visit his blog and make a comment if you'd like.

I like his post of the Pledge in Navajo:

"Kéyah ashdladiingo hahoodzooígíí bidahnaat'a'í t'áá ííyisíí shil nilíigo baa bich'i' ádíshní. Háálá ájooba' hasin yee hadít'é, kéyah t'áála'í si'áági Diyin Dine'é yee ádééhodilzin, binahji' níík'eh ájooba' bidziilii bee da' ahíínííta'."

Newsletter: Public Diplomacy in Europe, April 2008

Newsletter: Public Diplomacy in Europe, April 2008

In the Russian section of this publication, Radmilla Cody, former Miss Navajo, from Leupp, AZ shares as part of a US State Department gathering in Kamchatka, Russia in April. Her main points were tolerance, diversity, care of the environment, as well as a special focus on domestic violence.

I find it interesting that what is communicated in distant cultures is the message of tolerance, diversity, environmentalism, and helping those in domestic violence situtations.

Folk Music with a Native American Flavor : NPR Music

photo found:
Folk Music with a Native American Flavor : NPR Music

Radmilla Cody is a Navajo-African American. Her mom is Navajo. Her dad is African American. She shares how she processes her unique heritage. It's an intriguing interview on NPR with Farai Chideya. She was runner-up Miss Black Arizona and also became Miss Navajo. This honor as Miss Navajo stirred up some hearty conversations.

Native American Experience: Navajo Style

Be sure to watch for this on June 3 on FX. I wonder if someone out there could tape or tivo or record this episode of 30 days for me. I don't subscribe to cable.



I wonder where Lenny is on his spiritual journey. I like the rockin' guitar. You can hear the song for free on Lenny's website. I believe I could place this in the spiritual warfare genre (Ephesians 6:10ff). I wonder what you think.

No gas, no go

I appreciate the help of Simply Youth Ministries. Before joining Wooster Grace I served at Northwest Chapel in Dublin, OH. One of my many pastoral roles was shepherding students. I always appreaciated my friends Doug and especially Kurt because I was leading junior high ministries.

This article "from the field" convicts me. I need to commune with God. I send out a prayer letter for missionaries. Yet I fail to pray consistently for them. In my Prayer Force Update I challenged our prayer warriors to see prayer as communion with God, not merely presenting prayer requests. So I need to unplug, to commune with God.

Just like my co-laborer, David Norman, I need to fill up the spiritual tank and go forward in the power of God. I need to go get alone with God. I love his tips (visit link above)--the one I will put into practice is using a reading schedule to daily read the Bible in a year. I am celebrating my birthday on June 1. So for my forty-third year of life on this earth, I choose to read through the whole Bible in a year. I may even join a group--one year bible blog.

A Hero in Prague

One of the things I enjoy about being a pastor is facilitating missions experiences for the people in our church. Linda is presently visiting the Swain's who serve God in Prague, Czech Republic. She even made time to connect with the Plaster's who serve in Paris.

Linda serves on our Global Task Force which helps facilitate everyone to be on mission for God in our church. I am so proud of her. She takes a trip to encourage our missionary partners. She is truly a fully devoted follower of Christ.

Her commitment to God extends deep into her life. She just finished the school year teaching Released Time Bible Classes in the public school system in Northwestern Wayne County. She is the main teacher for the North Central-Northwestern Religious Education Program. Now she prepares to teach a seminar on how to share your faith with those who seem antagonistic or feel strongly against your beliefs.

I'll include a couple of lines from her email to me:

I spent a couple hours with the Plasters (our missionaries in Paris) at the airport. That was good. I went with George and Cindy to English class and then Bible study. Once I had a walk back to metro and home I don't feel as tired. Hope I can sleep all night tonight. I'll close for now. Thanks for praying.

Linda is a great example of people striving to live for God as a fully devoted follower. I am challenged by her commitment and love for God's people who serve overseas and heart for helping to reach people wherever they she may go. Way to go, Linda.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

KQED | Programs: Water Haulers: Home

KQED Programs A-Z: Water Haulers: Home

I discovered this from my RSS Reader in Newsgator. Here is a short documentary on the plight of my Navajo People. My parents and extended relatives still live on the reservation. Here is insight into where I grew up in junior high and high school. The documentary is 28 minutes long you may want to bookmark it for later viewing. Thanks to KNME and KQED for funding and producing and showing this film.

Student learns her roots - Salt Lake Tribune

Student learns her roots - Salt Lake Tribune

I am in the process of getting my son to begin the journey of learning Navajo so that he is eligible for the Chief Manuelito Navajo Scholarship. I am glad that I discovered this opportunity. Thank you, Ben Fulton for writing about this.

Jacoby Ellsbury 3 on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Jacoby Ellsbury 3 on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Here is a great picture of the Boston Red Sox player, Jacoby Ellsbury. He is part Navajo. As a Navajo, I am glad that he is excelling as an athlete. I say thanks to Not Duke Two for allowing this photo to go public on Flickr.

Video Games - Shigeru Miyamoto of Nintendo Expands His Empire -

Video Games - Shigeru Miyamoto of Nintendo Expands His Empire -

This article by Seth Schiesel talks about the creative mind behind the Wii. My boys love their friend's Wii game system. Even my daugther has played the Wii Fit already.

I am intrigued by his games' popularity. According to Schiesel, Mr. Miyamoto designs his games with gameplay systems and mechanics always coming first. Game design precedes the characters. In fact, "That means a focus on the seemingly prosaic basic elements of game design: movement, setting, goals to accomplish and obstacles to overcome," says Miyamoto. He wants people to have fun with the games and to fall in love with the characters as they have fun.

In addition, I am curious about Miyamoto's comment that "consumers crave the ability to shape and become a part of their entertainment." He adds, "you’re becoming more a part of the entertainment experience.”

As I work in my church, I wonder how I can make missions (that's the area of ministry that I am in) more a part of a person's life experience. Now I am not talking about creating a game or a sim, but I am pondering how I can make real a missions experience where one's spirituality is enhanced and forwarded from personal shaping and individual participation and group collaboration.

Maybe I'm just out there. But I wonder how the typical consumer can engage my missions experience and make its outcomes become integrated into a person's lifestyle. I wonder if I can design missions that reflects gaming design.

Movement & Setting--you must leave your comfort zone to another place to serve others; Goals to accomplish--serve others out of love for humankind and out of love for God who loves all humankind; Obstacles to overcome--fear that you can't go outside your comfort zone, sadness that the life situation of others is worse than yours, anger that others don't see or feel like doing anything about it; happiness that you can truly be blessed as you seek to bless others with your time, resources, and physical presence.

I wonder what you think. I'd like to know.

Pastor D

Sunday, May 25, 2008

ESPN - After winner DQ'd, rest of field shows gesture of sportsmanship - High School Sports

Photo by Raymond Brown, Flickr
ESPN - After winner DQ'd, rest of field shows gesture of sportsmanship - High School Sports

I'm going to play devils advocate--I wonder how this demonstration is sportsmanlike when a student athlete defies the rules. The sportswriter sides with the student athletes.

But think. Stop and think.

Is this a mere feel good story? Or is there more to it than meets the eye? Or is there nothing to see beyond the drama resolved?

In sports there are times when the best runner(s), the best team, the best athlete does not win. And it also happens when a world-class sprinter is discovered to have cheated and must return medals. I know that Nicole did not cheat. But what about staying within the rules.

I guess the challenge is to see that the student athletes showed who should have won, but if the rules state that she disqualified herself then, the students should be alright with the final result. I do see that the official results will list Nicole as runner-up. And it is a good guesture by the students. But what about how the authorities are portrayed.

The judges did their job. There was a case for disqualification. But I don't see how it was good sportsmanship. I wonder if someone could help me figure this out.

Monday, May 19, 2008

3 Doors Down

3 Doors Down
The song "It's not my time" is a great song. I like the lyrics and the music.

The song is a story of the contemplation of what may be beyond death, but the songwriter declares that its not my time to go yet. i know that it's not my time because I am typing these words. But someday I'll face the end of my life. I know that there is more than us.

"There might be more than you and me, There might be more than you can see..." The lyrics reveal a search for living life now. In the video, the person has a premoniton of a terrible accident. So the man sprints to the aid of a woman and her child who will be broad-sided by a delivery semi-truck--So the protagonist crosses the city, over obstacles, across concrete chasms, his feet fly, fleeting, flying higher, somersaulting, and running at break-neck speed to stop the terribe accident from happening. He stops at nothing--runs through crowds, over guardrails, over hand rails, and eventually jumps in the way of the terrible accident.

Jesus said, "I have come to seek and to save that which was lost (Luke 19:19)."

A fully devoted follower of Jesus said this about God, "(God) is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance (II Peter 2:9)."

"All this time I've just been to blind to understand What should matter to me My friend, this life we live Is not what we have, it's what we believe..."
The lyrics are seeking what to believe in. I believe in Jesus. He is the life that I live. I believe and all of life matters to me right now.

"It won't be too long and I'll be going under Can you save me from this It's
not my time,"

The song-writer can be saved. It's not just a one-time experience, but a lifelong journey. The Bible says, "continue to work out your salvation (Philippians 2:12)." Your journey of salvation is a series of events wove together within real life circumstances. Anyone can be saved--"Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved--you and your household (Acts 16:31)." The moment of salvation is the starting point of a road less traveled, a narrow road diverting from the highway into the wild of adventure, unknown highs and lows, all with the guarantee that in the end--you have chosen wisely the narrow path.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Trend Central - Grim to Green

Trend Central - Grim To Green
Young adults would do this. There is risk. Trespassing. Misdemeanor. Felony. But what about the strategic "planting" of the seeds of the Gospel toward a new church. One could do the same in the city targeting it for the Gospel. The exercise would be a rallying point for asking the God of Creation to bring to fruition His church from within the urban, concrete jungle. I wonder if someone would do it. I wonder if I would be a guerrilla gardener for the fruits of the Gospel.

Advancing missions today and beyond

IG has challenged my thinking again as I consider my role as Cross-cultural Missions pastor. From their May 12 email newsletter, I need to discover how to depict missions in a way that will stir viewers' souls, captivate vast human audiences, and eventually gives missions the spotlight it deserves. IG featured three things that I could see emerge in my area of ministry as my storyline for the future: produce or access mission-themed documentaries for church-wide and FGBC release, a missions network about people where the drama of people on-mission draws others to stay for the foundational biblical principles for our strategic, epic trips, harness strategic trips to the fields where we partner with missionaries so that a growing audience of church attendees can satisfy their curiosity of those far-off places and with the weak economy we can't afford to acutally make the trip. I need to muse about this some more, "wallow" in these thoughts.

Home - Connect Your World

Home - Connect Your World

Worldvision is moving things ahead in using technology and social networks to involve more people in sponsoring their children. I wonder if the Wooster Grace missionary partnerships have considered this. Just wondering.

Pastor Daron

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Day after Mother's Day

I praise God for my mom. I came across the following quote from President Abraham Lincoln:

"All I am, or can be, I owe to my angel mother."


The Day after Mother'

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

A new way to do missions?

I wonder what missions will look like down the road. I now know what it may look like from an interesting concept discovered by Intelligence Group. In their email update they describe TOMS Tours:

"After popularizing the cause-driven, buy-one-give-one consumer product model, TOMS Shoes founder Blake Mycoskie's latest endeavor may just do the same for branded volunteer vacations. What started off as an outreach program to help educate and activate consumers (wherein volunteers were invited to help distribute free shoes to children living in some of the world's poorest neighborhoods) has evolved into a full-fledged travel company called TOMS Tours. Due to instantaneous popularity of the "shoe drops", interested parties must fill out an online application to be considered for one of the 15 volunteer positions. Once selected, participants pay $1800 (plus international airfare) for an otherwise all-inclusive trip, to locations such as Argentina, that combines the village visits (where shoes are distributed) with regional group activities such as hiking, wine tasting, and sightseeing."

As I reflect on this newest trend of helping the poorest of the poor. I must analyze the combination of service, regional/cultural connection activities--hiking, food & beverage tasting, and sightseeing. I wonder how we could package ministry trips in the same manner; E.g. an exploratory trip would include regional experiences whereas a ministry trip would not include the activities component. I wonder how the funding would work. I see that people are going to be willing to pay for airfare plus fees for food etc. up to $1800 per person. The organization does not assist the participants for this exploratory trip. I wonder how that would look.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

God is preparing a hut for you in heaven

Pastor Ivanildo shared his reflections as he returns from the Central African Republic regarding John 14:1-3. In the New American Standard Translation, verse two reads, "In my Father's house are many dwelling places..." He is right that as middle-class Americans we have projected our perception that every person wants a home of their own. Yet as I re-read the verses Jesus is telling His Disciples to not be troubled in your heart but believe in Jesus. In fact, Jesus says, "If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also (verse 3)." It's about relationship, NOT real estate. I praise God that I am learning more about God everyday. I look forward to being in heaven with Jesus, regardless of what dwelling place awaits me. It's about being there with Jesus, not staying in my own home, in my space.

Check out his comments and other tidbits for reflection by visiting the Wooster Grace CAR blog. There are great photos there.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

My sermon on Sunday

I got the opportunity to preach this past Sunday. Pastor Nick Cleveland teamed up with me. Together we took Hebrews 12:1-3 as the text for challenging people to keep on running in the race of faith. There are obstacles, hinderances that need to be thrown off to run well.

Five things need to be left behind to keep running the race of faith: worries, wounds, my way, ungodly wants, and wrongs. The remedy for each are: leave behind worries by praying; leave behind wounds by forgiving; leave my way by humbling myself to go God's way; leave behind ungodly wants by training; and leave behind wrongs by confessing.

It is going to be difficult. I have found it challenging to run the race of faith everyday. I struggle with worries. I confessed that getting my house ready for sale is my weighty hinderance that I need to cast off. When I feel in my heart that I can't control the situation, I know in my head that God is in control. Still, I must cognitively act upon what the Bible says in I Peter 5:7, "Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you." The verb there is a participle (it talks of an ongoing action, not a one-time decision). Every time anxiety grows within me, I can cast it upon God as anxiety emerges. There is no time when I will be worry-free. Not for an extended time. In reality, worry pops up a lot. However, God is truly there for me. I praise Him that He cares for me. Yes, following God as His disciple is challenging, but its benefits truly make it more than worthwhile.

Keep on running,

Pastor Daron

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

What's the point of love?

Rob Plaster has a great imbedded cartoon about how some young people in France view love. Even though I don't know French, the clip speaks volumes.

Without God, love is masked as manipulation. I wonder if people understand that. As I ponder biblical anthropolgy, human beings are sinful. Without God, true love evades us. The Bible says, "The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love (I John 4:8)." We can only love when God fills us with His love so that we can truly love others. "In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another (I John 4:10-11)." Moreover, "we love, because He first loved us (I John 4:19)."

I praise God that I get the capacity to love from Him. His love is infinite. His love is inexhaustible. His love is fearless. I can fear less because of God's great love (I John 4:15-18). That's an incredible truth! I can experience love in its deepest emotional senses. May God enable us to love one another so much that others want to know God better.

Your love is amazing God. Thanks for first loving me. Empower me to draw from your eternal tank of love so that I can love others. May I use your love to love others into your kingdom.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Harvesters Out of Africa

We commissioned in prayer from our office lobby our team to the Central African Republic. Five men, two women carrying loads of luggage to minister to the orphans, widows, and those with AIDS in the capital city of Bangui.
I am so proud of this team. It is my privilege to facilitate trips like these so that our church can develop fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ.
Please pray with me that all 17 luggage pieces for the team will be handled properly and arrive safely and in one group in Bangui. Ask God to provide health to the team as they travel to Africa--giving them sleep on the flights from Cleveland to Detroit, Paris, and Bangui.

Thursday, March 20, 2008



Here's a great way for children to build vocabulary and to slowly make an impact on world hunger. Check it out to build your word power and to influence your help in feeding the hungry.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Oregon Tech Completes the Final Four With 81-70 Win Over Grace :: Ryan Fiegi Leads All Scorers With 23 Points

Oregon Tech Completes the Final Four With 81-70 Win Over Grace :: Ryan Fiegi Leads All Scorers With 23 Points

My alma-mater made it to the elite eight. I was fortunate to watch a game at the start of the season for Homecoming. I am so proud of the guys.

the passion week in the gospel of mark

the passion week in the gospel of mark

My friend Mike Jentes has a great reading list for you to follow as you get reacquainted with the Passion Week or as you get introduced to what Jesus did on your behalf. Please pick up your Bible and read again what Jesus has done for you.

I read Mark 10 at Mike's suggestion. I am convicted by the disciples full devotion. "We have given up everything to follow you (10:28)." Peter's words convict me. Moreover, Jesus' response brings greater conviction.

Jesus lists the things to give up. The first on his list is house. I am presently in the midst of the chaos of "staging" my house for sale. Many people have committed hours, money, and sacrificed time with family, friends, and leisure to help us out. Yet I wonder if I could give it up for the sake of the Lord, for the sake of the Good News. The repair projects in process are time-consuming and mind-occupying. Yet do I keep them in perspective? I must realign my perspective to the Lord's. He wants me to be willing to give up a house for His sake, and for the Good News. So the Gospel must not be compromised or replaced with my own "staging" of my house.

I praise God for His discipline in my spiritual journey. I can get wayward pretty easily. Still, I thank God for His care for my spiritual life. So as you continue in your week. Make time to reflect on your perspective. Make plans to go to church and to engage in the Easter season. Recall what the holiday means. It's more than just the first weekend of Springbreak. It's more than getting new outfits. It's more than staging a house. It's about Jesus' willing sacrifice on my behalf. What a wonderful Savior I serve!

Horton Hears A Who Review -

Horton Hears A Who Review -

A movie to go see over Springbreak or a break from March Madness. I imbibe in March Madness. I love it. But if you don't, then you can check out this new movie and reflect on the questions posed by my friend, Mark Matlock.

Let the madness begin.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008 » Blog Archive » Sermon: The Longest Journey is to Samaria » Blog Archive » Sermon: The Longest Journey is to Samaria
I love the title to Michael Spencer's sermon on the woman at the well. He challenges God's people to take the longest journey of your "stay-in-my-comfort-zone" life. Reach out to the people nearest you on your journey.

I think the challenge is to just begin. Mark Cahill said in sermon over Spring Break in Sanibel Community Church that the hardest one to reach out to is the first one. He's right. So just start a conversation rather than worry about your presentation. Consider how you could move the conversation to bring God up. I'll share my journey with you as I start conversations with those around me.

Pastor Daron

Religious Tolerance

The Christian Post, on February 15 reported movement in religious tolerance. "ESPN recently released a public statement in which the network promised to work toward building religious tolerance in its workplace and encourage its employees to use language consistent with that commitment."
"Diversity and communications are important to ESPN and we have existing programs in place for both," read the ESPN statement. "To bring focus to the issues of religious tolerance and language as part of these efforts is totally appropriate and we will do so."The statement continued, "With regard to language in the workplace, we do not have a list of forbidden phrases, but we do require appropriate workplace behavior. We will raise the profile of this issue as part of our internal dialogue and will be emphasizing to employees the importance of using language that is appropriate in the workplace."
The protesting Christian groups commended ESPN on Thursday. The Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition, the group behind the protest, called the statement by ESPN "the first powerful step toward building a culture of religious tolerance."
"Religious intolerance and discrimination should have no place in the American workplace," said Mahoney. "Employees should feel that their faith traditions, beliefs and value systems will be respected and honored."
Religious tolerance may lead to the crossroads that one may not be able to speak his deepest and moral convictions anywhere. I am concerned that religious tolerance may lead to a "don't ask, don't tell" policy for religious convictions. I wonder if respect will lead to censoring what you believe for fear that your convictions may disrespect others. As a Christian, I am going to pray for more wisdom as I engage this society today. May God grant His discernment as we boldly proclaim the truth of Jesus Christ.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

How to Share Your Faith Using Amy Winehouse's Rehab - Dare 2 Share Youth Ministries, International

How to Share Your Faith Using Amy Winehouse's Rehab - Dare 2 Share Youth Ministries, International
This resource may give you an opportunity to be bold witness for God. I trust you can reflect on the article's questions. I find it challenging to consider how to use the culture as a springboard to bring God up. May this article help you in your quest to being a fully devoted follower of Christ.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

A Jeopardy Question

I came across this video from my newsreader, NewsGator. I thought you could try to answer this question from Jeopardy. The question. Your answer?

Here is the answer and video to prove it.

Play is Good

In an article in the NY Times (Feb 17, 2008), Robin Marantz Henig writes about the need for play in anyone's life. Her article entitled, "Take Play Seriously," offers a great overview of play. I know in my own life. I need play. I need a break from my tasks and appointments. I need physical movement even as an adult. So take a half-hour and go play today.

Henig concludes her article with these thought-provoking words, "children would suffer if free play really does turn out to be a thing of the past. It seems almost ludicrous to ask such a question. Of course play is good for something; it is the essence of good. Watch children at play, and the benefits are so obvious: just look at those ecstatic faces, just listen to those joyful squeals. Stuart Brown (president of the National Institute for Play) alluded to it in his library talk last month. ‘‘Look at life without play, and it’s not much of a life,’’ he told the audience. ‘‘If you think of all the things we do that are play related and erase those, it’s pretty hard to keep going.’’ Without play, he said, ‘‘there’s a sense of dullness, lassitude and pessimism, which doesn’t work well in the world we live in.’’

In the end, it comes down to a matter of trade-offs. There are only six hours in a school day, only another six or so till bedtime, and adults are forever trying to cram those hours with activities that are productive, educational and (almost as an afterthought) fun. Animal findings about how play influences brain growth suggest that playing, though it might look silly and purposeless, warrants a place in every child’s day. Not too overblown a place, not too sanctimonious a place, but a place that embraces all styles of play and that recognizes play as every bit as essential to healthful neurological development as test-taking drills, Spanish lessons or Suzuki violin.

I wonder what you think about play in your life? The Bible says, "There is an appointed time for everything. and there is a time for every event under heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1)." So there is a time for play. So get up off your couch, chair, or seat and go play. It is good for you.
I play with my children. With my boys, I am the designated goalie for indoor hockey. For my girls, I am the "horsey." Both forms of play really wear me out. But I love it. Yeah, even when my knees hurt or when my shirt is sweaty, I enjoy playing with me children. I need to play. So do you.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Social Justice Emerging

I came across the Fuller Center for Youth and Famliy Ministry webpages where I can advance my thinking and inform myself about social justice issues and what others are doing and thinking. Here is a web portal with resources for impacting students "to do justly, to love kindness [in this world], and to walk humbly with your God (Micah 6:8)." I need to do more reading, reflecting, thinking, praying, and strategizing. I just came across this recently. So peruse the resources and discover the path God wants you to take.

Social Justice and its Implications

I came across a video regarding a student's journey to Darfur. I am uneducated in the depth of the injustice. I wonder how the student has harnessed his engagement with Sudan as a catalyst for making a greater difference in the world. Check out Nick's video on what he did last Darfur (please note that I do not condone or approve of everything on YouTube).

Nick went with OxFam America. Oxfam America "is an international relief and development organization that creates lasting solutions to poverty, hunger, and injustice. Together with individuals and local groups in more than 120 countries, Oxfam saves lives, helps people overcome poverty, and fights for social justice."

What is our role in relieving poverty, hunger, and injustice? I believe we need to answer this question because our young people want direction on how to reconcile poverty's end, see hunger fed, and right all wrongs. I wonder how the Church can disciple believers to consider what to do or not do.

The Stirrings of the Spirit

One of my growing responsibilities is to shepherd, to encourage, and to partner with the missionaries we support worldwide. One area of focus is Europe. I am excited about what is occurring among the team in Europe. Tim Hawkins shared this link to Paul Klawitter's blog. I read with anticipation of what God could do among His people as we embrace unity and seek His face. May God advance His kingdom!

The Lord Reigns

As I traveled early this morning from Columbus to Wooster, Ohio, I thank God for traveling with me. It was starting to snow and to accumulate on the roadways. Yet God helped me stay alert and to keep the car on the road. All praise to God!

I marveled at the snow. The precipitation honors God. Although I may desire that Spring begin soon, this snowfall praises the Lord. I forget that. God created the snows for His glory. Yes, it may aggravate me as I travel through it. But God reigns. He rules over all. He set the boundaries of nature. The psalmist in chapter 96 says these words about the Lord's sovereingty, "Say among the nations, 'The Lord reigns; Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved; He will judge the peoples with equity.' Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice..." Even when the snow flies, the Lord reigns. I believe the Lord releases the flurries and snowfall to honor Himself. He controls everything in creation, especially precipitation. He rules over it all. He reigns.

Because God reigns, I can praise Him. I will honor Him. May you take a moment to reflect on God's sovereign power over you today as you act like a child for a moment--gape wide and "taste" a snowflake or catch a flake and marvel at its uniqueness. Creation reflects the Creator. I choose to honor the Creator today!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

You are loved

"My love endures forever." Wouldn't that be a great valentine quote on the inside of a card? It would be a great sentiment. Yet its lasting impact would be contingent upon who signs the card.

In my case I see God's signature at the bottom. A ministry teammate for our Sowing Hope team, Celeste Kern, directed us to Psalm 136 where the phrase His love endures forever is repeated after each declaration is given. God's love endures forever. No matter how vile or evil my life, God's love endures it forever. He loves me.

I read in I John 4:10-11, "In this is love, not that we loved God , but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation of our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another." The Message paraphrase puts it another way, "This is the kind of love we are talking about--not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they've done to our relationship with God. My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other."

I can love others because God loves me. I have the power to love others even when I feel that others may not deserve any love at all. I can love because God first loved me.

Now for those who see this day as awful, lonely, and a day of despair. God extends His love to you. No matter how terrible the breakup was, how wicked the person acted, how vile the situation is presently, or how hollow and lonely you feel, God loves you. In fact, he's prepared a place for you. In Psalm 68:6, the Bible says, "God makes a home for the lonely." God invites you to come to His house when you feel all alone. He's prepared a place for you. He loves you. As you let that thought slap you in the face, don't react with aggression, but stop and take a deep breath and repeat this phrase, "God loves me." Say it again, "God loves me." Cry out to God and ask Him to make that real for you. Scream out to Him and ask Him to show you His love. As you journey on in your life, you will discover His love. Look for Him. Discover God's home for the lonely. You can live through the pain of love-lossed. You can triumph over despair. Ask God to reveal His love to you and consider how you'll embrace it. God loves you. How do I know? Because I have experienced His love for me. Find out for yourself. Take the step of faith to cry out to Him. He will answer. He does care. He truly loves you.

You are loved!