Category Archives: Personal Reflections

Who would Jesus vote for?

I understand that many people, especially in evangelical circles, have strong opinions one way or another about the answer to this question. For a variety of reasons, I am mostly staying away from political stuff on this blog during the election season. I do have one thing I feel very strongly about, though, that I decided to share. I reject simplistic answers to the question of who Jesus would vote for, and I’m not at all sure that it’s even a good question. I do believe, however, that Scripture gives ample guidance as to the attitude of Christians towards candidates for political office, whether we support those candidates or not.

Below is the text of an email I wrote several months ago. Lest this be (mis)interpreted as my endorsement of a particular candidate, I would like to point out that I wrote this email very early in the primaries when, between the two parties, about 10 candidates were in the race. I wrote it in response to a forward I received that was very defamatory towards Barack Obama and largely based on sensationalism, exaggerations, misinformation, and at least one outright lie. I reacted strongly to the forward.

Here’s my response:

Good political debate about the pros and cons of a particular presidential candidate is a healthy and important exercise. But we need to check things out for ourselves and debate issues based on facts, not propoganda that others are trying to get us to help spread. See this article on the previously forwarded email:

http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/muslim.asp

I understand that just because something is in the media does not mean it is a fact, but certain things can be verified, like whether Obama put his hand on the Koran when he was sworn into office, or if Obama refuses to salute the flag. Christians should be known above all others for being fair and truthful regarding all candidates, but I feel like sometimes we’re some of the worst. Defaming candidates with lies and half-truths is not a very good testimony…We need to be good about investigating things for ourselves, and not just taking someone else’s word.

I am not saying this as an endorsement of Obama; the truth is I have not yet decided who I will be voting for. But I think that as Christians we are called to fair treatment of the candidates. I have no problem with someone thinking it’s a bad (or good) idea to vote for Obama when there is reasonable, factual support for that opinion.

I’m getting this off my chest now, because if I don’t, all the email forwards that fly around are going to be driving me nuts by the time the elections roll around. Please understand that this isn’t an attack [on any individual]. I have been saying these same things in online forums and in a number of different conversations lately. I just want to encourage us to live to a higher standard this time around. This election season, let’s show an unbelieving world that Christ makes a difference in our lives.

In the political arena, I don’t think the biggest stumbling block for non-Christians is that Christians believe in God and (theoretically) want to see government run on His principles. I think the far bigger stumbling block is the distinctly un-Christian way we often conduct ourselves where politics is concerned. Let’s honor God with the way we act the rest of this election season. Remember, the way we treat people and the way we treat God can’t be divorced. He said, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” (Matt. 25:40)

Something I’m thankful for

There are so many things I could write about for which I’m thankful, but I will share just one.  It came to my attention a few weeks ago through a question a friend asked me in an e-mail:

Do you wake up most days with a strong sense of your purpose and excitement about how God is going to use you that day?  Most days, do you feel strongly that you’re right where God wants you to be?  Or do you mostly feel that way sporadically when you take a step back?

Here is the response I sent back to him: 

I would be lying if I said that every day I wake up with a strong sense of purpose and excitement about how God is going to use me.  Some days I wake up and wonder why on earth I’m so tired still, or how I’m going to get done everything that I need to that day, or if the Broncos will win…I think that would be my fault for not always keeping my eyes on God and His purposes, and instead getting caught up with all the day-to-day tasks.  I can say overall, though, that I absolutely have a strong sense of purpose and excitement about what God is doing.  Because I and the rest of us have such a heart for the unreached and for God’s purposes among all nations, I just can’t think of anything more important that I could be doing with my life or anything that I’d rather be doing, so that continually excites me.  And yes, I haven’t had a doubt in several years that I wasn’t right where God wanted me.  That’s a testimony to God, because by nature I’m more the type who would probably question that a lot.  But I haven’t had a doubt about that in several years, praise God.

I’m so grateful that God has allowed us to be a part of His kingdom work here in Oaxaca.  His calling gives me a sense of purpose and fulfillment each day that I can hardly even describe.  I often take that for granted, but I think there are a lot of people who don’t feel the same way about their lives.  There’s nothing like knowing your life counts for something.  I hope to help many others live with the same sense of purpose I have.  After all, where I am, the purpose I feel, and the burden for the nations I have is largely owed to other people God worked through, such as the founders of GFM, Grant and Jenn Haynes (to name just two).  And for that, I’m thankful.

Getting older

So, my 28th birthday was yesterday. This is really wild for me. For the past few years, it has really bothered me how fast the time is going and how “old” I’m getting. I haven’t talked about it much, and I try not to think about it much. But I guess I can’t really get around it. I’m now 80% of the way through my twenties. Even crazier to me is that it was very nearly half my life ago that I was starting high school. It just doesn’t seem like that much time has passed since then.

I’ve been a little sad about the changing of my body, too. Something happened to me at about age 25, which is what I had always heard happens. It’s nothing terrible. I’m in great health, and I still get out a couple of times a week and play soccer, which I plan to do for a long time. I can’t and wouldn’t complain. Something definitely happened, though. My muscles are tighter, and I have to stretch longer every time I play sports. And I am more sore after playing and for longer.

I’m beginning to see some good things about growing older that I hadn’t appreciated before, though. For one, I’ve heard that, in general, the older you are the less sleep you need. I’ve been jealous ever since one of my 50-something professors in college told my class he only needs 5 hours of sleep a night to be well-rested. For those of us who are young, think of the things we could do with that kind of schedule! Anyway, the past few months I’ve felt like I’m starting to turn a corner on sleep. I think I’m in pretty good shape with 7 hours a sleep these days, instead of the 8 or more I used to need.

Another benefit to getting older fits nicely with a growing passion I’ve had for discipleship/mentoring (both giving it and receiving it). I’m realizing that I’ve reached a point in life experience now where I actually have a couple of words of advice to give people who are 5 or 10 years younger. A vast fountain of knowledge and wisdom I’m not, but I’m glad that I can give a few good words of counsel to younger people I care about.

I have commented to a few people close to me that I have noticed a difference each summer, as I lead a dozen or so interns ages 18 to 25. Leading the interns has been a challenge the past fews years, because I’ve practically been their peer. Each summer, though, I notice that they have a bit more respect for me, which helps me be a better leader for them and speak into their lives more effectively. This past summer, especially, I could see that. I was 27 years old, had been married 5.5 years, and our third child was born. I think it was the first time the interns saw me as more of a leader and mentor than a peer, and it marked the first time they have come to me of their own accord for advice.

One more benefit of growing older is that I really love family life. Being married and having kids is great. When we started having kids, it really bugged me for a while that young singles (and there are tons of them around our base) didn’t hang out with us nearly as much anymore. They immediately put us into a different category than themselves. Gone were the days of them choosing to sit with us at the lunch table in our base dining room. But now that I am coming to grips with the fact that I’m an adult, I don’t mind it so much. Raising kids is fun, maturing as a husband is rewarding, and I look forward to many great years of family life ahead.

So yes, aging has been something of a struggle for me, and I’m not even old yet! I’m glad its getting easier, though, because I’m only going notice it more and more. I want to embrace the years ahead, not dread them. I can now see that there are great benefits to older age coming in future years, and that has me excited.

What do you all think, readers? What benefits have you seen to growing older? What parts have made you scared or nervous or have you not looked forward to? Leave a comment and let us know!

My 28th birthday

Why I Am Entering the Blogosphere

Me

This blog represents the culmination of several desires.  For a long time, I have wanted to keep some sort of ongoing written record of my life, but I haven’t found a good way to do it.  I have tried journaling in the past (and am convinced that for some it is a great spiritual discipline), but it has never really worked for me.  Somehow my deepest thoughts, struggles, joys, and prayers never seemed to flow out of my pen very well.

Recently, I have had a renewed desire to journal, though with a little different focus.  As of September, I have begun overseeing our church planting team here at GFM in Oaxaca.  Since this is such a new experience for all of us on the team (none of us has ever planted a church before), I wanted to have some kind of a record of the journey.  I know that we will learn much along the way, often through trial and error.  I thought it would be valuable for me to keep track of these lessons in order to be able to look back and reflect on them later.  If making this journal available on the internet allows it to be something another person could someday find interesting or valuable, then all the better.

I have also, for some time, wanted to find a way to better keep in touch and share our lives with our friends and family.  I think our typical missionary letters and updates leave something to be desired when it comes to giving people a “behind the scenes” look at life and ministry.  My hope is that this blog will give those who read it greater access to our thoughts, decisions, and lessons learned, as well as providing photos and other interesting and fun tidbits.

Finally, over the past several years, I have developed a growing interest in the internet and website development.  I don’t know a lot, and I am not yet very good at it, but I do have an interest.  So I see this blog as something of a hobby, too.