Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Headed to Haiti

Happy First Day of Spring! As I looked at my calendar this morning, I was floored by the reality that in just over a week I, along with 7 others, will be getting on a plane and flying to Haiti to spend a week ministering to the children of southern Haiti. This trip is the fruit of the vision and planning of a man in our church and good friend of mine, David Stelzer. I admire David so much because he had an idea, he prayed about his idea, presented his idea and then pursued it with energy and enthusiasm. I see this trip as an extension of the people of our church, it was the people of our church who supported this idea, who made it possible for me to go, who provided and prepared over 600 pillow case dresses for young girls in Haiti, who gave and gave tennis balls to be given to the young boys in Haiti.

Next Friday, March 29th, we will board a plane in Columbus to fly to Miami (yes, I am taking my talents to South Beach… for a night!). Early in the morning on Saturday we will fly from Miami to Port au Prince, Haiti. We will travel by van from Port au Prince to Les Cayes. On Sunday, we will help our host family, the Wray’s, serve approximately 1,000 children a meal and work with their Sunday School. We will be acting out the story of Jesus and Peter walking on the water. I have been thinking of this story and thinking about what one can accomplish as long as they keep their eyes on Jesus. I pray that this trip will be about keeping my eyes on Jesus. Monday through Thursday we will be leading soccer clinics at this camp… http://harvestinternational.org/cmhome.html
I am looking forward to interacting with the Haitian children and helping them to learn Luke 10:27. For those not familiar with the verse, it says,          “And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”
(Luke 10:27 ESV)
This is why we are going to Haiti, because we love the Lord and we love His children in Haiti. We will also be teaching them the story of the Good Samaritan also found in Luke 10. I pray that our time in Haiti will make me less and less like the priest and the Levite in the story and more like the Samaritan.

I am looking forward to attending a prayer meeting on Thursday night in the town of Torbeck. I cannot wait to worship with brothers and sisters in a different culture. This is the church where our missionary, Beth Newton, attends. I am especially looking to spend Friday with Beth, to see her ministry firsthand, to meet her co-workers, see what she faces daily, just to get a feel for what her life is like in Haiti.

On a completely unrelated note… This coming Sunday, March 25th, a man who I love and admire will step down as the pastor of a church where he has served faithfully for 35 years (I think it is at least 35 years…). This is the only pastor that this church has had. What a model of faithful, dedicated, loving service to the Lord and the people of his church Dr. Roger Vogel has been. I am sure that he had no small part in my preparation for God’s call on my life. I am thankful to be able to attend an afternoon service that will be held in his honor this Sunday.

On a much less important but fun note… How is your NCAA bracket looking? Mine is in disarray, but my final four of Ohio State, Kentucky, Carolina and Michigan State are all alive and kicking! I wouldn’t be surprised if OSU makes the final four and the championship game… Why? Because I will be out of the country and unable to see them! If it takes me leaving the country for them to win a championship, so be it. GO BUCKS!

Keep on pressing!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Being a Servant

Yesterday we were so blessed to have the Director of Skyview Ranch in Millersburg, Ohio, Jeremy Hales with us for the morning at our church. He preached from 2 Timothy 2 on the subject of the seven choices a servant of Christ must make. It was very interesting timing in my life to hear the message. About a 45 minutes before Jeremy preached I was sharing with my teammates who are going to Haiti about “Going with the Right Heart” and my thrust was that we must go in the mindset of Jesus. By that I meant that we needed to adopt Jesus’ mentality that Paul shares with us in Philippians 2. Jesus chose to take on the form, the role of the bond-slave. It didn’t get any lower in that culture than to be a bond-slave. Thinking about this reminded me of John 13 (the passage of Scripture that we will come to this coming Sunday (3/11) at we continue our journey through John at JIBC.) In thinking about what Jesus was trying to accomplish, I do not think Jesus was trying to “show up” the disciples or embarrass them… that wasn’t Jesus’ way. No, Jesus clearly stated what His intention was, it was to set the example for His soon to be “leader-less” followers. The way they would best function would be to learn to serve one another. That still holds true for us today, the way we function best as the body of Christ is to learn to serve Christ and to serve one another. This is accomplished by giving up our rights, our dreams, our agendas for the sake of another, for the sake of Christ. Servants do not get to choose what their tasks will be, when they will get to perform them or how they will be done. Servants do what they are told to do, how they are told to do it and they do it when they are told to do it. In Jesus’ case, feet needed to be washed. They needed to be washed before dinner, they needed to be to be done by a servant. I can only imagine how the disciples, who had just earlier done their best to avoid be the “one” to have to wash feet now must have thought as they saw Christ, the Messiah, their Lord, take off his outer garment, wrap a towel around His waist and start to wash the hard, dirty and most likely gross feet of each disciple. Jesus knew this and we need to know this too, the way up is to go down, the way to rise is to serve… I think it is hardest at times to serve the ones we spend the most time with, our families, our friends, our brothers and sisters in Christ. In my case, I can get pretty motivated to go and serve in Haiti, but I do not get nearly as excited to wash the dishes for my wife or go and visit a shut-in, or I could go on, but you get the idea… It all comes down to my motivation. Am I motivated by a sense of duty? Duty can be a pretty hard motivator. Am I motivated by pride or a desire to be known as a servant? That completely undermines my service… Or, am I motivated by love, yes, love… A love for God that motivates me to love others, including the others closest to me… Love will motivate you and me to pick up a towel, move toward the dirty feet and imitate our Savior… Happy washing!