Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Grandad's Hands

I've been wanting to share what I wrote for Grandad's funeral for a while, but I had not plucked up the courage until now. Each of the grandchildren had an opportunity to speak at the funeral, and this is what I put down in words. Jake, my brother-in-law, spoke for both my sister and me.

I have a picture of Grandad that I have been carrying in my bible since he first got sick in January. The picture marked the passage of scripture that I have been praying over him for the last several months. Matthew 9:1-7
Jesus climbed into a boat and went back across the lake to his own town. Some people brought to him a paralyzed man on a mat. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man. "Take heart, son! Your sins are forgiven."
"Blasphemy! This man talks like he is God!" some of the teachers of the religious law said among themselves.
Jesus knew what they were thinking, so he asked them, "Why are you thinking such evil thoughts? Is it easier to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven’ or ‘Get up and walk’? I will prove that I, the Son of Man, have the authority on earth to forgive sins." Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, "Stand up, take your mat, and go on home, because you are healed!"
And the man jumped up and went home! (NLT)

My prayer for Grandad has continually been that Jesus would turn to him and tell him to go on home, and He has done just that.

One of the reasons that I love this picture of my grandfather is that his hands can be easily seen. I love Grandad’s hands—the crooked middle finger of his left hand, the nubbed ring finger next to it, rough, worn, and callused. I used to watched these hands as they shuffled dominoes and created are out of wood. They served cancer patients and so many others. They helped steady Grandmommie’s hands and teach the hands of his children and grandchildren. These were the hands of Christ, serving and loving others in Jesus’ name—putting others before himself, loving and serving as Christ served.

My hands are not as rough and callused as his. They bare the marks of youth and not of age, but these hands have been taught to serve by his hands. Many hands here have been taught to serve by his hands. In Philippians 3:17, Paul challenges the Philippians to pattern their lives after his and to learn from those who follow his example. My challenge to all of us is to pattern our lives after Grandad’s, a true and faithful follower of Christ.
For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself. (Philippians 3:20-21, NAS)

Monday, August 23, 2004

Midnight Ponderings

It is currently 12:04am in Portland, OR. I am obviously unable to sleep--probably due to the past week of staying up to late watching the Olympics and the fact that my mind is whirring at lightspeed.

In the past week, I have found myself asking over and over again: what am I doing here? And then voicing that same question to the LORD. I have no idea what I am doing here. I know the task before me to complete, but I feel so ill equipped for the job. Honestly, several times this week, I have felt like Moses crying out to God: "I can't do this! Send somebody else! You picked the wrong guy!" Blessings, that the place where Moses was is exactly where I need to be. Scripture shows over and over that God uses nobodies, failures, and yes, even the guy who says I can't to pull off His biggest show-stoppers. When I am crying out I can't, God is crying out But I can!

Lord, I need You to pull off the impossible. I need You to lead the way, to blaze the trail ahead, especially since I have little to know idea where I am going. You know, and You can see the way! Praise You LORD that You are absolutely marvelous. The ministry You have prepared for me here is Yours and not mine. Take it as Your own. Praise You most almighty God. I believe You for who You are and what You are about to do. Amen.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

What's Next?

So a new life begins. Not really a new life, I don't suppose, but a new path on the pre-existing life. It still feels a little strange not to be starting classes tomorrow with everyone else at ACU. Maybe it is finally sinking in that I have graduated and I am moving on to the next leg in the race.

I know that many of you who will read this do not know what I am going to be doing at PUMP (Portland Urban Ministry Project http://www.pumpchurch.org) now that we are post summer program. So let me do a little bit of catch-up for all of you.

I am developing a year-long internship program for PUMP. (The program is yet to be titled.) If you are familiar with Mission Year developed by Bart Campolo, this program has been modeled on it. http://www.missionyear.org Over the next twelve months, I will be working closely with ACU, OCU, and Pepperdine to develop and recruit for the program. Our first group of interns will begin their year of service in August of 2005. Interns will live and work in urban Portland volunteering their knowledge, service, and time at several neighborhood agencies and schools, as well as, working with PUMP ministries. We will be targeting those who have just graduated from college as interns, seeking individuals who have a desire to serve God and who are in a key transition point of their lives. We want to see our interns grow into intimate relationships with Christ as they learn to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with their God (Micah 6:8) in the midst of an urban environment.

The benefits to PUMP and the PUMP neighborhood will be immense, giving relief to an overworked staff and church body. We hope that the program will grow over the years to follow, and we will be blessed with satellite sites in other cities and the involvement of more universities and other organizations.

If you have any questions or would like to know more, please let me know. I would love to tell you more about the program and the vision for it.