Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Do you dare?

Do you dare?

Do you
dare
to make
a clean
sweep
and
begin
again?

Do you dare?

Do you
dare
to
trek
forward
with a
new hope
in an
unfamiliar
direction?

Do you dare?

Do you
dare
to leave
the flickering
candlelight
of dawn
for
the
illuminating
sunlight?

Do you dare?

Do you
dare
to see
life
anew
to
you

Do you dare?

Thursday, September 21, 2006

On Being Holy Dependant

I remember going on my first “mission trip” when I was between my junior and senior year of college at Sterling College in Sterling, KS. There were lots of big lessons to learn that summer in Stony River Village, AK. Practical lessons like how to cook for myself on a camping stove for three months, and how to stay clean without use of a shower. Personal lessons like trusting that God could use me, and being at peace with quiet times alone. Cultural lessons about the Alaska Native way of life. Perhaps my most important lesson from my summer missions experience had nothing to do with my experiences in Stony River, and had everything to do with my preparation for and return from the trip.

Growing up, we were always provided for, but we did not have very much money. Whether or not we would have enough money was always a concern for us. When I went to college, my parents sent me a little spending money each month, but neither were able to help fund my education. So, I patched together a partial football scholarship, some academic scholarships, some student loans, as well as money I would make over the summer, through work study, and working in the cafeteria. Amazingly, even though I am still paying on the loans, God provided in amazing ways.

Still, I was nervous. I needed to have an internship of some sort, and I needed to be able to afford to come to school the next year. With the change in football coaches scholarships were frozen or reduced (mine was frozen) for most upperclassmen. At the same time I felt led to do my internship as some sort of cross-cultural mission. I struggled with my decision, but finally decided to take a step of faith and go with InterAct Ministries to spend a summer in a native village in Alaska on the Kuskokwim River. I reluctantly registered for a larger college loan and started my fundraising. The fundraising said that we could raise up to $1500 above our costs to help fund our schooling the next year. I worried I would even be able to raise enough money to cover the costs of the mission trip. I was wrong.

God provided beyond what I imagined. I received financial support from unlikely places—even from people who opposed the work I was doing, and the mother of my ex-fiancé. And when the project came to an end, I had over $1000 for school the next year. Furthermore, when I got to school, a couple I had met once had been led by the Spirit while they were praying to send me $500 for school as well. Classes worked out where I could cut back in the springtime to part-time at school and send my school loan back.

Here is the lesson I have learned from that situation and many after. God rewards us when we step out in faith. He doesn’t leave us alone when we have the courage to trust him with a risky, stepping-out-on-a ledge kind of faith. In fact, it is when we have the courage to risk enough that we are dependant on God in very real ways that God becomes most real to us. It is also often in those times when God chooses to use us the most.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Monday, September 18, 2006

Renewal of a Habit



I have recently taken up the game of golf again. I play about once a week, and unless someone else is buying, I play on inexpensive courses. The course pictured here is the one I played on today. It is called Cherokee Ridge, and is run by the Water Conservation Authority.

I did about average for me, in the low 50s for 9 holes. I played with a member and former attender of our church named Bill, and we had a lot of fun walking and talking and hunting for the balls that we hit here there and yonder.

If I hadn't have locked my keys in the car it would have been a perfect day so far!

By the way, there are a lot of life lessons in golf. One of which is that my golf game often parallels my life and ministry. I do things well a little bit, but it is really hard to put everything together for even one hole. Although, I did have two pars! One on a par 5 and another on a par 3

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Road Trip

Yesterday our youth group joined other folks in helping glean fields in Alamosa. Our church is associated with a group called La Puente, which helps migrant workers and many other disadvantaged folks working and living in the Alamosa area.


This first pic is of us trying to glean what was left behind in the potato fields. Dig, turn, grab, dig, turn, grab.





















The second pic is a pic of some of the kids gleaning cabbage. We got around a pick up full of cabbage picked for the food bank.



























As you can see with the two gentlemen here, it was a windy day. That is why most of us had hoodies and breathing masks on. It did not help that most of the potatoes had been recently harvested.

Friday, September 15, 2006

George W Bush quotes--just for fun

Our president does sound intelligence challenged at times. See last weeks interview with Brian Williams for a quick reference. But once in a while he comes out with some Yogi Berra like wit. I wanted to take a few moments to celebrate some of the more serious and more fun sayings of our current president. Please share your favorite.



Some folks look at me and see a certain swagger, which in Texas is called "walking."

When I take action, I'm not going to fire a $2 million missile at a $10 empty tent and hit a camel in the butt. It's going to be decisive.

Well, I think if you say you're going to do something and don't do it, that's trustworthiness. (OK I was mean with this one)

To those of you who received honours, awards and distinctions, I say well done. And to the C students, I say you, too, can be president of the United States.

Senator Kerry has been in Washington long enough to take both sides on just about every issue.

One of the common denominators I have found is that expectations rise above that which is expected.

It's going to be the year of the sharp elbow and the quick tongue.

I'm hopeful. I know there is a lot of ambition in Washington, obviously. But I hope the ambitious realize that they are more likely to succeed with success as opposed to failure.

I just want you to know that, when we talk about war, we're really talking about peace.

I believe the most solemn duty of the American president is to protect the American people. If America shows uncertainty and weakness in this decade, the world will drift toward tragedy. This will not happen on my watch.

If you're sick and tired of the politics of cynicism and polls and principles, come and join this campaign. (that one was kinda mean too)

Until a New Season Comes

Fear not!
Yeah,
RIGHT
that only
helps
so much
and reminds me
I
have reason
to be
frightened

A
fierce feeling
grabs hold
and pushes
me
to jog
to sprint
to run away
and never
stop
running

But today
this field
is mine
to tend
to water
to weed
and
to till
until
the new season
comes

Another quote on pastoral ministry

Pastoring is not managing a religious business, but a spiritual quest.
Eugene Peterson

Quote of the day

One is not called to BE pastor, one is called to BECOME Pastor--
Gardner Taylor

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The little things

It is the
little
things
that keep me
plodding
when I
do not
think
that
I can

It is
an
unexpected
hug
or smile
and
a kind
word
that slaps me
across
the face
and awakens
me
to
joy
and hope.

It is
the
lyrics
of a
song
that set
my heart
to singing
and melts
my vigilant
resolve
to be
angry

It is
the
wind
in
my face
that
pushes
against
my stubbornness
and despair

And it
is the
surpassing
beauty
of a few good
moments
that
lifts me
from
listlessness
to hope
and from
brokenness
to standing
and being
made anew

Friday, September 08, 2006

Clint's Library




Check out all the books in Clint's Library at Librarything.com

Thursday, September 07, 2006

New Theory: We are all part squirrel

The other day I was walking through Walmart. As I walked a certain item caught my eye. What was it you ask? It was a bucket. This bucket was better than most buckets I see. Why? First, it was on sale for just over a dollar. Also, it came in colors like neon orange and neon yellow. The bright colors excited me, and I had to have these buckets. So I threw them in my basket, and told myself I would use them to organize my cleaning supplies.

Then I got to the front of the line. And I saw something else! Qtips! These were not ordinary Qtips. No way! They were Qtips with colored sticks. They had purple and green Qtips in my aisle. I wanted them, but I restrained myself. And, as I was standing in line I remembered a truth that I had discovered a while earlier and buried in the recesses of my brain. That truth is that we are all part squirrel. We all like squirrels are drawn to bright and shiny things, and when we see them we want to make them our own. Especially if we think we are getting a good deal.

Our nations history was founded on the squirrel principle. How did we get the island of Manhattan from the Native Americans? We gave them shiny trinkets (and to be fair they thought they were sharing not selling). What drove westward expansion in the United States. Shiny yellow rocks in places like Colorado and California. Where does most of our population live? By the shiny Great Lakes and seashores.

Men, how many of you go for shiny technological gadgets that you will never need? Women, how many of you have more shoes that you can keep track of? Rednecks, how many of you have more cars or parts for cars than you need in your front lawn? Book lovers, how many of you have looked at an old raggedy book on your bookshelf and thought you would want the same book with a nicer cover? How many of you women have more knick-knacks than you know what to do with? Have you ever bought a book, CD, DVD, or tool that you did not remember you had until you brought it home and went to put it away? Why is it that we do all of this? It is of course because we are all part squirrel.

You might even relate this principle to the attraction of the opposite sex. How many of you women are more attracted by a shiny, sporty car or nice big pick up truck? How many of you want the big shiny rock on your finger from your man? What about our attraction to nice shiny teeth artfully arranged by a dentist? Even in dating we can be part squirrel.

What shiny and/or useless things are you drawn to? What store are you a sucker for a bargain in? Do you agree with the squirrel principle?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Jeans (Genes) are a funny thing


I took the week off from work last week (kinda) and got some space from the job. In the process I went golfing at Sand Creek Golf Course over by Peterson Air Force Base. Sand Creek is a fairly low budget public course (tee time is not even needed). It was the first time I had played in three years.

Golf is always both wonderful and frustrating at the same time. It is wonderful because it consumes your mental energy. To play golf well, you have to focus on golf. And, while you are focusing, you take your mind off of everything else that you should be dealing with. It is frustrating because if you are a passionate guy like I am it is all you can do to not cuss like a sailor and throw your clubs all over the golf course.

The first time I played I finished playing, took my clubs, put them in the back of the Aztek, got in the car, and turned on my music. And what was playing? Hank Williams Jr. THE ESSENTIAL COLLECTION. And it was at this point I thought "I have become my father."

This is not necessarily a bad or a good thing. It is just a real thing. The first time I noticed this is when I began to recieve my monthly letter and spending money check from my Dad. At one point I grabbed the letter out of my box, and I thought I had written a letter to myself that I had forgot. Then, I realized that Dad and I have almost identical handwriting. If only I had known this sooner I thought. I could have had some creative forgeries when I was under 18!

Actually, one of the reasons why this shocks me in the relatively little time I spent with my father after my parents divorced when I was in Kindergarten. I hadn't sat down and worked on penmanship with my father, I had just somehow grown up to have my signature look almost identical to his. Our handwriting similarities were pure genetics.

The second time I came to this realization I was in school. My dad was wearing his carhart overalls and coat, and I was wearing the Carhart jacket he bought me and a pair of jeans. We were in Oregon shopping for Christmas presents for my sister and my grandmother, and I all of the sudden noticed that as I walked my hands were placed in my pockets just like my father, and I was walking in the almost exact same gait. Whats up with this I thought? I have become my father.

And then there was last week in the Aztek, and I had the same feeling. You see, after my parents divorced my dad spent a lot of time working around golf courses, and playing around on them as well. And since it was the late seventies and early eighties in country music, Hank Williams was playing a fair amount at different phases. And, all of the sudden I remembered being in Dad's briefly owned Scout International (white in color) listening to Hank Williams Jr. on AM radio and heading up with Dad and my sister to Salem, OR. We were hot in that car, because the temparature was in the 90s in the summer and we had no air conditioning.

And I thought, here I am in my Bronco-like vehicle, listening to similar music, doing similar things, living in a one-bedroom apartment (like Dad did off and on), going home to drink a beer and watch some football. And while this was briefly eerie, it was also comforting in a way as well.

It was comforting because somehow, in some strange way, I felt connected. So often in life I feel like the path I chose and who I am is so disconnected from where I have come from. Like I do not fit anywhere easily. Somehow and someway this awareness of my connectedness to my father, and to my family as a whole helped me understand that I was not as homeless in the universe and disconnected from everyone in the world as I sometimes feel.

It was comforting because I felt normal. Like it was normal and ok to be struggling to pay your bills in your 30s. And it was also ok to be single and in your 30s (depends what part of the 30s for dad). It helped remind me that things can get better, and that the future does not necessarily have to be an extension of today. And that my hope for change and for something better sometime soon is a realistic hope.