Archive for January, 2009

The best laid plans…

I had it all planned out. With a evangelist visiting this weekend, I structured my to do list around a little extra time at the end of this week. Extra reading from premarital counseling book…check. Finish 8 page contextual analysis of Romans 12:1-2…check. Article for church newsletter…check. Keswick girls’ basketball game on Saturday…check. Dinner with evangelist and family…check.

Then came the unexpected phone call on Friday. Medical emergencies will not allow the evangelist to be with us on Sunday. The crumpling sound you heard was my “to do” list.
I started a new one with urgency. Complete two sermons for Sunday…check. Everything else…we’ll see when I get around to it.

I experienced the natural emotions of frustration and concern. I’ve never been fond of the curve balls that life seems to throw at us. I don’t mind change as long as I have time to prepare for it. Yet a part of me likes the challenge of a deadline.

Once again, God showed Himself faithful. I was able to work efficiently and with clarity of thought. Before I went to bed last night, I had my sermon material completed.

Today I was contemplating why things happen as they do. We have been praying and preparing for this next week for some time. God already had begun to work in the hearts of many people. Last week two more responded to the invitation of salvation. Others have been seeking a renewal of God’s work in their lives. Must we postpone this?

Tonight a different feeling came over me. I’m excited about tomorrow. Part of that is because I really love to preach. (I’m a little lost on Sundays when we have a guest speaker.) But more than that I can’t wait to see what God has in store. He’s changed our plans, so I know He has a better one. He is still the God who can do that which is beyond what we can ask or think.

As I write this there is still the matter of an 8 page contextual analysis that is due tomorrow night. God is still good.

Memories of Ayrshire

In 1980 I spent almost three months with a team of teenagers just outside Catrine, Scotland. Our work included building a block & brick kitchen and dining facility for Teen Missions at Daldorch Estate (which is today a home for autistic children). I have often wondered if our dining hall is still there and being used. It was a great experience that I repeated by traveling to Italy in 1983. Throughout the years, my wife and I have led many teams to various parts of the world to work alongside some of God’s greatest servants and our greatest heroes – missionaries.

I celebrated my 14th birthday in Scotland and learned a great deal about the Lord, the world, and life in general. I have determined that in some ways my first Teen Missions experience was a rite of passage for me. As a team member I became accountable – to carry supplies, to wash my clothes, to dig a trench, to lay blocks. I was responsible for myself and others. 28 1/2 years ago I had my friends write their names and addresses in a small book so that we could “keep in touch” when we returned home.

While cleaning recently I found that book and fondly flipped through the pages of names and numbers. Yesterday converting some slides to digital format I tried remembering names and faces. A quick internet search turned up a few interesting leads…and then a Google hit read “Deb Pugh/Heather Duffy.” This was no coincidence or mistaken identity. In my mind these names could only be connected in one way – Scotland 1980. A link and a jump later, I received the confirmation I expected – including a photo.

The challenge has begun. A few more names led to a few more leads. We’ll see what the wonders of the internet hold for reaching back and connecting with a bygone day. To my teammates from Scotland Dining 1980 I say “Thanks for the memories.”

Blog Resolution

Two weeks after the new year I am now resolving to be more consistent in posting to this blog. I regularly think of concepts that seem like good foundations for notes or articles, but rarely jot them down, develop them, or post them to this site. Perhaps I will begin to record the simple ideas rather than wait for them to grow into their ripe potential. I write a brief article for our monthly newsletter at church and have recently been privileged to write an article for families in the Gulf Coast Family magazine . Those seem to take forever to complete as I am never quite satisfied with the article until a deadline looms large.
And so, I will be more spontaneous and less exacting about what I post here in the hopes of posting more often. We’ll see how long this lasts.