Personal Growth

Pursuit

"Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness."

I read this verse this morning while traveling. That verb "pursue" seemed to leap off the page at me.  It is an intense word, full of a myriad of connections.

Years ago, I “pursued” my wife, interested in getting to know her more.  For years, my Novembers were filled with hours of pursuit for antlers and furs.  I've pursued a good sale, a good investment, and an old book.

But Paul admonished us to pursue a godly character.  I think he knew what was truly important.

If I gain all the money, all the fame, or all the knowledge, but not know Christ, I have pursued the wrong thing.

My prayer this morning has been simply for strength to make sure my greatest pursuit with be God, knowing the Father, Son, and Spirit more today than yesterday. 

Today, I will chase after Him.


Stillness

Wednesdays are my quietest day of the week.  It is the day I usually stay and work from home.  The kids are gone to school.  Nancy is off to meetings.  And I am focused on writing.

There are many aspects to my work, but one aspect that I can never delegate is the creative side.  Writing newsletters, sketching our future printed material, and thinking through vision and dreams requires space.  I have a tendency to max out my time, cramming in lunches and phone calls.  There are always the non-scheduled "interruptions" as well.  I do not begrudge them, because I love talking to the pastors and working with other team members.

But there is also the need for space, a mental field to let my thoughts run.

The stillness of this day has been refreshing.  The print newsletter is finished, just waiting for some editing and then to be sent off to print.  I'm churning out thoughts for a document for Freedom Home.  And I'm feeling the creative juices flowing once again.

I sure wish I had more Wednesdays like this!


Focus...Refocus

One aspect of life in Moldova is that there are always plenty of needs before my very eyes.  It doesn't take long before I am able to see another opportunity, another need.  I'm always dreaming about seeing the Church doing deep transformational work in their community.

But what am I to focus on?

I have the tendency to add more to my plate, always thinking that I can squeeze just a little more on the plate.  But there is only so much room, and I need to learn what to delegate, what to turn down, and what to delay.

What can I do in Moldova that no one else can do?  What provides the deepest impact?  What ignites my engines and gives me energy?  What is the passion of my heart?

It is that time of year again where the focus-refocus takes place.  Looking forward to the clarification and focus from God over the next couple weeks.


Writer's Block

I am struggling with my writing lately.  I am not sure if it is the myriad of details of ministry that continually are bouncing through my head.  Perhaps it is my reading (or lack thereof) that isn't putting thoughts into my head.  It might just be the distractions I face regularly, small things that derail me, pushing me off track.

My personality makes focusing a challenge at times.  I don't do well in long meetings, and can handle only so much talk.  I bounce from one job to the other, but I DO get them all done.  I don't do well sitting for long periods of time, but need to walk.

Yet I want to write, to create.  I enjoy the process and the result.  I enjoy crafting sentences and phrases, driving towards an idea that challenges and stimulates the reader. 

So if you have ideas for assistance, feel free to pass them on!


Next Phase

I have never been impacted by birthdays too much.  I hit 40 on Tuesday, but it wasn't a significant crisis in my life.  I had been rounding up for a couple of years, so who cares if I finally got there!  But it was a good spot for me to put down some goals for myself over the next 5-10 years.

  • Personally--I want to drop weight, maintain at 180-185, exercise minimum 5 days/week.
  • Writing--I want to develop my writing skills, publishing at least 3 articles/year.  I want to write one book before age 50.
  • Marriage--to have the best marriage possible...and date nights!
  • Parenting--monthly date nights with girls. 
  • Family--great vacation every year
  • Spiritually--Scripture memorization and fasting weekly
  • Language--get my Russian to high preaching level within 3 years, read War and Peace in Russian before ten!
  • Personal Growth--maintain and keep weekly coaching sessions with Jim
  • Reading--read 3 books/month

I see my glaring weaknesses, and am starting to realize that many might be unchangeable.  I can have an ADD-ish personality, but I can't change my hyperactiveness.  I know I need to learn how to focus, but I will never be able to keep my office totally clean or do just one job at a time.  I will always have a half-dozen books in progress, 10 projects going at the same time.

I look forward to the next ten years!


A Learning Posture

"Humility is wisdom's constant companion, or as Alvin Taylor puts it, 'In the twenty-first century, an illiterate is not one who cannot read or write, but one who is unwilling to learn, unlearn, and relearn.'"  Earl Creps

In today's world, it matters less what you know that your ability to keep learning.  As a missionary, I am continually challenges by the need to transmit the message of Christ across cultural barriers, through a foreign language, with all its individual nuances and meanings.  I have spent many hours studying Russian, trying to determine how I can speak with a different grammer structure, unique sounds, and another way of thinking.

I realize that same language learning posture is essential for each follower of Christ today.  We are all trying to carry a message to another culture, and one that is increasingly becoming farther from our way of thinking.  When the church uses Christian and biblical terms, the world is increasingly staring at us, thinking, "What language are they speaking?"

I believe that each of us must build learning relationships into our life, where we have other people, both younger and older, that can teach us about the language of today.  As a missionary, I want to understand how the world thinks, speaks, and acts.  I am carrying the greatest message that the world has ever seen, and I want to be a learning.

Humble yourself.  Ask for help.  And build a learning posture into your life.