Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Halfway Mark

Remember last month when I posted that I was starting an adventure? And then I disappeared? Well, no worries, dear reader, I have returned. The particular adventure the Lord has put me on this summer has taken a great deal of my time, my mental capacity, and my energy. I would sit to write something, and would come to an hour later with drool running through my beard. So I waited.

So here it is, my midsummer post:

Thus far this summer has been....







Life Giving


In other words, it has been, thus far, what an adventure should be.

I have met amazing people.

I met a man who was once arrested outside of Jerusalem for trying to sleep there. He wanted to sleep outside of the city like Jesus had. He laughed as he told the story now, 30 years later, and realized how odd and perhaps dangerous he must have seemed.

I met a woman who runs an Alpaca store, which has two Alpacas in the side yard, just for customers to play with.

I met a man who looks like Santa Claus, and for one of my staffs, has acted like him, blessing them at every turn.

I also met a toy maker who looks very much like the man above, but have no picture proof yet, maybe someday soon. This particular toy maker also happens to have an amazing knowledge of railroad history in the northeast. Yeah, we talked for a good long time....

I have met a man who loved the out of doors so much that he has dedicated his life to preserving and building a park in the heart of Rutland, Vermont. He has done this for ten years, has never been paid to do it, and has spent every "free" moment fighting to make others see his vision for what it can be. YW partners with him to build and preserve trails within the park, and the youth who work beside him get a better lesson about servant leadership than any sermon could ever teach.

I have met more pastors than I can list here, and they have each been a blessing to me as well as my staff. They have listened to concerns, taken people to dinner, coffee, even put myself and one of my staffs up in a hotel for a night so they could relax and enjoy the 4th of July. They have prayed for us, interceded with community for us, and opened up their churches and homes to us.

And I have only listed the community members I have met! That says nothing of the youth leaders and youth that have poured through my sites this summer, and how awesome they have been. Or of my staffs, 12 amazing people who are sacrificing sleep, comfort, friends and family, and at times, sanity, to be the hands and feet of Christ this summer. They are a blessing to so many, and deserve their own post entirely...maybe next month :P

God makes people so intricate, interesting, and unique. I have been blessed to get to know so many of them on this adventure.

The adventure is not always pure joy. Sometimes it is hard. Really hard. Sometimes I want to just walk away, ask someone else to take over, and go home to watch Memphis Beat. I get asked questions. A lot of questions. So often, I feel that I am out of answers before noon. I have tasks, some involving paperwork, some involving the less fun side of people management, that I hate. Some of them I dread. People can be difficult. Ministry is almost always difficult. Mixing the two makes for more problems than I could have ever imagined.

But this is my joy.

That God called me on this adventure not to fulfill my own desire for a fun summer before my next life step, That God called me on this adventure not so I could tell awesome stories. God did not even call me on this adventure so that I could spend the summer serving and learning about Him (though this is a wonderous by-product of it all).

No, my joy comes from the fact that God called me on this adventure because He built me for it, and it is to His glory that I fulfill it. He called me on this adventure because he wanted to break me of my all too often tendency to rely on myself and my own abilities for success. He called me on this adventure so that I could turn every moment over to Him, and then work hard to make every step, and action, every word be glorifying to Him.

So whether I am petting alpacas or helping a tired and discouraged staff member through one last interaction before the youth leave; whether I am sitting up late laughing with my staff about their crazy weeks or comforting a crying staff member whose burden makes me weep as well, whatever the moment, I find my joy in this adventure for the Lord. I am humbled each day that He called me to it. And blown away each time He provides the energy, wisdom, or sometimes just the smile that I need to get through each moment.

Let the glory of this adventure be to Him whose adventurous heart created us all.

P.S. I also saw these Moosen the other day. Further proof that my adventure is awesome.


Tuffy said...

Glad to see an update, and to hear how great it's going (in the fun and not fun ways).

See you soon.

Haley Church said...

JOHN! Awesome post. Thank you for taking the time to encourage others. It is amazing to see what God brings us to, and how he blows our expectations out of the water. Miss you and hope we can catch up soon! Finish strong!!