This weekend was a whirlwind of activity in my life and I am still not fully recovered from it, of that I am most positive. Last week, we were prepping for the K.I.N. Silent Auction, 5K.I.N., and Baby Walk, all that either took place or began this weekend. Not to mention that Derry was on the platform in front of the congregation this weekend and I was speaking on Wednesday. Did I mention that Jason had the beginning of Upward Basketball/Cheerleading, the Mishler's got married, the Bethel Men's Basketball team improved to 3-0 on the season and the BC Soccer Team won their 2nd straight MCC Championship improving to 18-0-1 and were selected to host the First Round of the NAIA National Tournament. Did I mention that Ben and Jos are now engaged and Chris had a Guys Overnighter that saw twice as many boys than had registered. In other words, this weekend was a true hurricane of a weekend. I have dubbed it the "Perfect Storm" of weekends for this year. However, in the midst of this craziness, I have been hearing God's voice quite vividly.
LESSON #1- "Solitude is Critical"
As I have plowed through this weekend, I tried to spend some time hanging out with people who I count as close friends, people that I can usually count on to refresh me and give me a "break" of sorts. The thing was, as I tried to continue to be in their lives and spend time with them, I was neglecting the need of my own reflection time in my own, quiet, seemingly empty, house. And in this time of the year when it gets to be extremely crazy busy, I need time to sit, read, rest and just allow the Spirit of the Lord refresh my life. It isn't always the most fun activity that I could possibly take part in, but it is required for me to remain filled enough to continually pour out.
LESSON #2- What Do I Do?
One of the events that took place this weekend at NMC was the Baby Walk. This event was primarily orchestrated by students under the supervision of Janelle and Kristy. I will say this was quite a revealing experience and it made a lot of people truly consider the depravity and negligence that is a reality in Kenya and in many parts of the under-developed world. What I was so struck by in this experience is the fact that the number of kids that are orphaned due to the spread of AIDS in Africa is almost 10% of the worlds population when you take away China/India (3 billion) and the US (500,000,000). The number is 1,200,000 orphans. The AGC Baby Center (Our ministry partner in Kenya) houses 30 babies at a time. They have had 33 adopted. I wish that I could show you what that looks like on a pictogram. It is astounding. It speaks to the fact that I need to do something about the situation in Africa. But I ask myself, "What can I possibly do?" And in order to answer this, I retell a story from a few months ago.
Kalyn was a former student of NMC and had recently returned from Nepal where she was working with Tiny Hands International working to free girls and children from the Trafficking Industry in that area. She commented that the president of Tiny Hands said the biggest way people can help has to do with their own sin. The origin of the problems in Nepal or any other issue is Sin. Not just anybody's sin, just SIN. It isn't restricted to me, you, Bill Clinton, Bill Belichick, Bernie Madoff or Hugh Heffner. It is simply sin. This got me thinking and I will continue to flush these thoughts from my mind and share some of them with you, but that is huge when it comes to answering the question "What can I possibly do?"
LESSON #3- I am Extremely Selfish
This one is not an easy thing to swallow but it has to be done. I have been on this little journey for a number of weeks now, but it is starting to really dig pretty deep. The chisel is being felt by more nerve endings than it ever has before. But the fact is I am a pretty selfish guy. And the thing is that it starts with the little things that I have craved all of my life (nice cars, a cool cell phone, a decently shaped body, the ability to do what won't be too painful, the right job, communications skills that won't turn people away from me, etc.). Do some of those seem terrible? Probably not if you word them like this: "A good deal on a good car," "A phone that keeps me connected to the people that I love," "Physically Fit," "Good Joint Health and Weight," "The Job I think God wants me to be in," or "The ability to convince, impress and convict and people to like me."
I am still working through this one, so it is clearly unfinished, but it is something that God has really been speaking to me as of late.
Overall, this was a great weekend for the Kingdom and I believe that all of our labors were for the glory of God in some way. I am just so thankful for God's blessing of a sphere of influence, even though I don't deserve it; the people in my life, because I am so blessed to have them in my life; the ability to be healthy, because I was born in America.