Monthly Archives: May 2012

If a Man is Called to be a Street-Sweeper

Today (…actually dated May 5th from my journal),

I was reminded yet again of one of my favorite quotes that is attributed to Martin Luther King Jr.

“If a man is called to be a streetsweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great streetsweeper who did his job well.”

We had a man knock on our gate this morning asking if we wanted help with our “yard” and curb. He  probably noticed that our “yard” which is really just a 4 by 20ft plot of dirt with overgrown grass and weeds was in dire need of some help. He offered to work for $200 pesos which would be about $15 USD. We decided to hire him based upon that we have seen him work on the house across the street and he seemed to do a good job and also that he was a friendly older man. He immediately set off to work with the tools of his trade as a gardner. He utilized all manual tools: trimming sheers, a metal pole with a flattened end (a rudimentary hoe of sorts), a self made broom made out of what looked like hardened reeds, and a piece of hard plastic that worked as a dust pan. Little did we know how long and hard he would work…

He worked for over 4 hours: breaking the ground with his “hoe”, pulling weeds, trimming our flower bushes, sweeping, and trimming the grass with his sheers. He was often on his hands and knees and worked well into the early afternoon sun. He worked harder than I ever would have expected and cleaned up our ugly plot of earth…leaving nothing but the grass to takeover where once weeds dominated. During the heat of the day we bought him a cold bottle of water and at first he gently refused but then took the bottle on our second offer. We told him he deserved it for working so hard in the heat. He simply responded with a statement along the lines of…”What else has a man to do but to work hard.”
I was humbled by this man’s gentle attitude, quite determination, and pride in his work. After he was done he was overjoyed by our questions and was excited to show us his tools and how he used them. He puts my efforts to shame. I only pray that I can apply myself to my jobs and tasks at hand no matter what it is…from sweeping a street to studying Spanish to leading ministries.

“Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor serving the Lord.” Romans 12:11

 

Categories: Mexico, Mission | 2 Comments

10 Pics of Guadalajara

We have been trying to take pictures of  Guadalajara in order to give you a glimpse of what the city and place is like. Here are some of our favorite so far…

When out and about its ALWAYS good to know where the bathrooms are!

There are many kids on the streets selling little candies or produce at all times of the day.

I tried to tell Emily we could make a “fun cage” for our kids to ride in around town…but she didn’t go for it.

The streets and shops around the historic district near our house. Fun place to go.

Driving school that “specializes in nervous people.” We are thinking of enrolling Emily! ; )

There are alot of old and customized VWs around. It would be great to get one of these for the Baja!

Tonola…another market place and artisan area which is fun to walk around.

There are plenty of young people around. In fact 29% of Mexico is under the age of 15…Compared to 13% in the US. Here’s a store that caught my eye as it attracts young people. It reminded of a surfer shop in VA Beach.

One of the main round-o-bouts in the city… One reason Emily is “nerviosa.”

Don’t know how it got there…but it sure is cool! Had to have been there awhile.

Categories: Mexico | 3 Comments

Values in Ministry: Part II

I’ve been working on making a new set of ministry reminders or values based upon a book that I recently finished entitled A Spirituality of the Road by David Bosch.  In the last post I mentioned that I had ministry reminders taped near my desk during my years as a youth ministry. These new ministry reminders and values will be posted alongside my previous list as a reminder to me to stay focused on what is important and as a source of encouragement. As with almost any list, it is certainly not exhaustive but simply what I gleaned from reading A Spirituality of the Road and Scripture.

If and when you pray for us you can think of this list and pray these things for us.

1) I will practice the presence of God.

            My relationship with God is not dependent upon language, locations, or limitations…so do not forsake my first love. “Remain in me and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself.” John 15:1-8

2) I will guard against the extremes.

            Guard against the extremes of slothfulness and over activity. Live in the tension between the two. “If you find honey, eat just enough-too much and you will vomit.” Proverbs 25:16 “A sluggard buries his hand in the dish, he is too lazy to bring it back to his mouth.” Proverbs 26:15

 3) I will give my heart.

God is more concerned about my heart than my adequacies and proficiencies. It is not about me and what I can achieve. What God wants is a willing heart. I am a captive in Christ’s procession and he leads the way. “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God you will not despise.” Psalms 51:17

 4) I will fellowship with Mexicans.

I am here to experience and demonstrate the Christian journey with the Mexican people.  I am not here to sell something or convince anyone of anything. I am here to demonstrate a way of life centered on Christ.  I am not called to change the world, Mexico, or my neighbors. Only Christ and the Spirit can do so…I am here to model a way of life and invite people along.  “All the believers were together and had everything in common…every day they continued to meet together.” Acts 2:44,46 “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28

5) I will redeem the mundane.

            It is in the commonplace where I will find and communicate Christ. Christ is revealed in the simplest of actions. Do not underestimate the genuineness of  communicating Christ in my attitudes and actions towards others. “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” I Thess 5:16

 6) I will claim the spiritual authority and inheritance entrusted to me.

            I do have spiritual authority as an ambassador of God. Do not be afraid to  exercise it. “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.” 2 Corinthians 5:20

 7) I will believe in the good.

            In all the differences it’s easy to become critical and negative. I will choose to believe the good in people over the bad. “Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21

 8) I will not play the martyr card.

            Be wary of having a martyr complex and false sacrifice…it’s not attractive. “Not only so, but wealso glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Romans 5:3-5

 9) I will embrace my weakness.

Embrace my weakness, humility, and vulnerability. Minister out of my weakness and not in spite of it. If I am a servant than I will serve where my Master calls me to serve and not necessarily where I think I should be. “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

 10) I will work from, in, and toward the reality of God’s Kingdom.

I will work and hope out of the present and future reality of God’s kingdom and not out of earthly despair, fear, and anxiety. ““The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” Mark 1:15

Categories: Mission, prayer | 3 Comments

Values in Ministry

Currently I’m working through creating a list of values or ministry reminders from a great little book I finished called A Spirituality of the Road by David Bosch. I would highly recommend it! I’m almost done and am planning on sharing them shortly so that you all can pray with us that we would instill these values into our lives and routine in Mexico.

Having a list of values or ministry reminders has served me well in the past. I would have stated values or quotes printed out and posted at my desk or in my office as reminders of what is really important and keeping me on course when things were hard and keeping me on the ground when things were going well. 

For fun here is a list of values or ministry reminders that I had posted on my desk for eight years as a youth pastor. These reminders served me well and were often a daily source of encouragement and wisdom to me in ministry. I still carry these values with me and look forward having a new set of “missions” related reminders to post next to them. These values or ministry reminders came from another great book called Your First Two Years in Youth Ministry by Doug Fields. I would also recommend this book to anyone who is new or thinking about ministry whether youth ministry related or not.

1. I will move slowly.

Only simpletons believe everything they are told! The prudent carefully consider their steps. The wise are cautious and avoid danger; fools plunge ahead with great confidence. Proverbs 14:15-16

 2. I will regularly check my motives and evaluate my heart.

When a king judges, he carefully weighs all the evidence, distinguishing the bad from the good. Who can say, “I have cleansed my heart; I am pure and free from sin”? The Lord despises double standards of every kind. Even children are known by the way they act, whether their conduct is pure and right. Ears to hear and eyes to see—both are gifts from the Lord.  Proverbs 20:8-12

 3. I will steer clear of the number’s game.

    “If a shepherd has one hundred sheep, and one wanders away and is lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others and go out into the hills to search for the lost one?   Matthew 18:12

 4. I will not criticize the past.

    No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,   Philip. 3:13

 5. I will avoid the comparison trap.

    Be sure to do what you should, for then you will enjoy the personal satisfaction of having done your work well, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else.    Galatians 6:4

 6. I will focus on priorities.

    “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”

Jesus replied, ” ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the other commandments and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”  Matthew 22:36-40

7. I will pace myself.

    Patient endurance is what you need now, so you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised. Hebrews 10:36

8. I will serve.

    But among you it should be quite different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must become your slave. For even I, the Son of Man, came here not to be served but to serve others, and to give my life as a ransom for many.”  Matt. 20:26-28

 9. I will be a learner.

    Learn to be wise, and develop good judgment. Don’t forget or turn away from my words.  Whoever walks with the wise will become wise; whoever walks with fools will suffer harm.    Proverbs 4:5, 13:20

10.  I will pursue contentment.

    Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to get along happily whether I have much or little.  Philip. 4:11

Categories: Mission, prayer | 1 Comment

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