This week is my last one on staff at SpringHill. My team is running a fully-scholarshiped week in urban Grand Rapids. It’s amazing. And can I just tell you how good our God is to me? Our Burton kids (from … Continue reading
I’m a MAC. In all ways. I didn’t think my iPhone would even overtake my DSLR, but sadly, I am overcome. You can thank iCloud and her one month storage limit for my motivation to unload pictures. So, behold, the … Continue reading
Dear SpringHill DCGR Team,
I think you are incredible.
As I’ve witnessed each one of you live in the light and love of your Savior, my life has changed. And not just me. Do you know that pastors are still sitting in meetings gushing about the way you live out your faith? Do you know that kids are still sitting at dinner tables talking about you and the scripted and unscripted lessons you taught?
I count it as a once in a lifetime to be a part of a this crazy community of awesome, broken people, pushing forward to bring God’s kingdom to His children. I still lie awake at night thinking about how you never gave up. You didn’t give up on building relationships with the hardest to love kids. You never backed down from loving each other through the messes. You entered into hard neighborhoods, hard circumstances, hard stories and lived like no one else was coming.
I know many of you also wish we could wake up and head to work with the team that loved us and worked with us no matter what (50 mph windstorms, poop on the floor, scavenger hunts gone bad). But the beauty is that this is just the beginning. God has prepared us to radically pursue His will and His work. Now, it’s our move.
I wish for more time with all of you. Christmas Coffee, if you will. The party was awesome, and not nearly enough. Here’s what I would be asking you if we could have a one-on-one right now:
1. Who’s on your team right now?
Remember what it felt like to be on our team? To wake up every morning and know that hugs and encouragers awaited you? Do you remember how you grew more by being in relationship with people who were different from you than those similar? Have you continued that philosophy of teammates since camp? Who are the people around you that won’t give up on you, that cover your weaknesses with their strengths, and that offer you fresh perspective and grace?
2. What’s your SHX?
I believe in living life on-mission and on-vision. But, the crazy thing is that we didn’t focus on the mission as much as we focused on the SpringHill Experience. The mission was for aligning in the beginning. The hard part was living out the mission daily. And you were incredibly successful (beyond my dreams) in accomplishing the mission because of the beautiful, redemptive way you lived it. What are those things you are intentionally living out so that at the end of the day, you’ve accomplished your mission? These are the things you can base daily decisions on and that others can tangibly see. For a refresher, the SHX includes: God- Immersed, Integrating, Innovative, Community-Focused, Embracing, and Professional. What are yours? Are you living them?
3. What kids are you leading?
You have been blessed with an amazing skill-set to appreciate and lead kids. God didn’t give it to you just for summer. And I’m pretty sure (based on the kids I know that need you) that He doesn’t want you to wait until you’re done with school or have an easier schedule. Get in the game. No one else is coming.
4. Are you loving until it hurts?
You did this daily. You know exactly what it feels like. And that this is what we’re meant for. Is this still happening for you? Who is God calling you to love? To reconcile with? To give up your own needs so you can meet theirs?
Merry Christmas my friends. May you spend this season remembering our God who came to earth, built His team and lived it out among us. And may we radically follow Him.
Oh, and I think you should read Colossians 2:6-9.
I love you all.
Being a mentor for Kids Hope USA has changed my lifestyle in more than one way. Before, I paid peripheral attention to community activities for kids (it made me better at my job). But now, I’ll do anything to show … Continue reading
Although early childhood is my thing, I’ve been thinking more about the next critical period in brain development- Middle School. At Thanksgiving, my Uncle Steve and I dialogued about this. He suggested I listen to This American Life: Middle School [Click on text to play, above play button is not working]. I believe it’s our job as adults to understand this and invest. I also believe that people who gave me leadership in middle school changed my trajectory. For more on that, read this from Youth Specialties.
Welcome to Day 2 of our India Simulation Weekend. After a great morning listening to Rob Wegner talk on prayer [click here to watch], we drove over to South Bend to test the all-important running with luggage skills. While backpacking … Continue reading
April’s favorite online reads of the week: This week, Donald Miller posted an excerpt from his book, “Through Painted Deserts.” It’s one of my favorite writings of all time. I’m so glad you can read One Story Alone, too. It’s captivating. … Continue reading
I was playing one of those question games the other day.
The question was, “What’s the best age you’ve turned and why?”
I answered 30 in a room filled with mostly 20-somethings. And they looked SHOCKED.
Really, truly. My 20s WERE splendidly adventurous and perfectly studious (living overseas, college, grad school, the Day Camp start-up–so many once is a lifetimes got to live in that decade).
But, oh, how I love my 30′s.
My life is getting turned upside down. I’m encountering things I never anticipated, I’m in relationships with people I never realized I would love, I’m moving forward on a path I never thought would be mine.
So as not to remain in the abstract, let me give you one specific (there are many more). Being involved with poverty is messing with me. Both with the kids in my neighborhood, and as I prepare to befriend the untouchables in India. Sometimes, as hard as I try, I can’t help but cry. And my tears are not filled with pity for others or for the hardship or work demanded of me, but rather, they are a solemn, sacred vow of unification between my God and me.
“When I get on the mission…then suddenly there’s a whole new hunger and I begin to listen…I’m coachable because I want to do better, I want to live out this mission. And when I do, I begin to experience God in a deeper way, a richer, more profound fashion in my life….I begin to experience this satisfaction…The Bible would talk about it like Shalom, like a peace that surpasses understanding.” -Mark Beeson
I’d love for you to hear more of Mark’s teaching on this topic at Granger Community Church [watch here and click "The Blessed Test"]. He’s an amazing leader and is pointing me and thousands of others to live life on mission. I cannot tell you how much I love and respect Mark and his wife, Sheila. Their personal encouragement has meant the world to me. May his words bless you too, my friends.
I spent a lovely Saturday night with Amber Cox. In between the laughter, she always gets me thinking deeply. We talked blogs for a minute (I’m a big fan of hers) and she mentioned that she likes how my writing always ties things up in a neat bow.
Which is funny, because in real life, I spend a lot of time untying bows and letting them dangle.
My dangling bow today happens to be a spoken word from Harvey Carey at the 2009 Leadership Summit. He speaks of doing ministry with fewer resources, less huddling. Just get in the game and get to action.
I’m walking into 3 days of all-day meetings. And all I can hear is this:
And there’s no nice lesson at the end about how important our planning is or how the meetings and huddling will be worth it. I’m not always sure. Neighbors around us are in crisis today and we sit and put together “ministry binders.”
Having traveled enough to see some world-famous art, but myself not a critic, I’ll stay out of the ArtPrize debate. I do think I have some authority to speak to one of it’s finest gifts–making art and artists accessible to … Continue reading