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.