Young Men with Purpose: Part 2

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Michael G has a fascinating story. He didn’t grow up as a Missionary Kid, yet God gripped his heart from an early age, giving him a desire to use his talents for Kingdom purposes, and to “waste” his life for the sake of reaching those who live in darkness.

It all started with a youth group missions trip to Tijuana, Mexico, when he was fifteen. He went with his friends from church and they spent a short time there building homes. “I really connected with the people,” Michael says, recalling that first experience interacting in a missions context. “I found myself wishing I could speak their language.”

Later, he went on two more missions trips, then recently spent two years working in Uganda. “Many of the people we work with just don't know how to take care of themselves, and feel powerless to improve their situation. Their culture encourages them to be passive and dependent on others.” He describes the debilitating poverty and incredible needs faced by the people. “We helped a lot of women who had been forced to go into prostitution just because they were so poor. We offered them education and taught them about Christ… it’s encouraging to see them able to come out of that life and get a new beginning.”

Michael’s vision is shared by few. His peers – even those in conservative Christian circles – tend to be more interested in achieving the American Dream than throwing their lives into serving God on a harsh field, without the comforts of life in America as we know it. 

When asked about the ratio of single guys to single girls who go into missions, he chuckled. “It’s amazing,” he said, “and a big issue, really. When I was working in Uganda, I met a couple dozen single missionaries. One of those was a guy.”

Michael is passionate about bringing the Gospel to those living without it, and encouraging other young people to catch a vision for using their lives in a meaningful, God-glorifying way. “I’m encouraged about the work!” he said, sounding enthusiastic. “The situation [in Uganda] is really dark, and so much needs to happen. But it’s encouraging to see individuals getting success, and really changing their lives.”

Pray for Michael as he continues to serve in a missions role… and pray that God will grip more young people with a similar vision for Kingdom work! 

Truly the harvest is plenty, but the laborers few.

Young Men with Purpose: Part 1

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Meet John D: a young man with a great family, a solid education, a passion for Christ, and an engaging personality. If you expected him to be the kind of guy who makes a great leader, with a fascinating story and an even more interesting life ahead of him, you’d be right. 
He has an unusual vision. In a society that places extremely high value on worldly success and the ultimate attainment of the American Dream, John is directly counter-cultural, determined to use his talents, abilities, and resources in pursuit of the best calling imaginable: to follow God with all that he is, and to share the News of Christ with a dying world. 
Having grown up in Spain as a Missionary Kid, John knows missionary life (a life that is rarely easy, as he can well attest to) – his parents have been working full-time in ministry ever since he can remember, and by the time he was three years old, he was immersed in the Godless culture of the Spanish school system. From an early age, he faced questions about his faith, opposition against his American roots, and the pull of secular society on his young life. However, by God’s grace, John turned out well. Today, as he prepares to head to Germany for long-term missions work, he’s confident in what God has called him to, and passionate about using his life in total surrender to the only One worth serving. 
Here is John’s advice to young people who are interested in missions, or anyone who desires to use their lives to glorify God and advance His Kingdom.

Questions you should ask yourself:

1. Have I submitted (or surrendered) all areas of my life to Christ? This question is daily (Luke 9:23).

2. How do I treat people? All people? Do I pray for those that do me harm?

3. Am I a good listener? Not just listening to respond, but listening because you care for this person and what they have to say.

4. Do I lean on God's word? Do I read it, memorize it, believe it, trust in it?

5. Have I been a part of a healthy church or parachurch (navigators/intervarsity/cru organization) that's grounded in God's Word and will support me? 

6. What is my prayer life like? 

7. Am I listening to God? I recommend spending some time (45m-60m) totally disconnected from the Internet or Smartphone where you can be in silence/listen to worship music/worship God.

8. Find a missionary and talk to them! Ask them about what it's like, and what they struggled with. In case that's not possible, there are a lot of books on missionaries available.

"The main characteristic which is the proof of the indwelling Spirit is an amazing tenderness in personal dealing, and a blazing truthfulness with regard to God's Word.” – Oswald Chambers

Learning to be a tool in God's hands

Tuesday, January 12, 2016


He joined us as we were nearing the end of the chairlift line. The “vista quad” lift at our local mountain has just opened and it’s a new experience taking the lift with four people instead of just two.

“Only the three of you?” he asked, nudging into line beside our little group. “Mind if I join?” 


Curtis and Ibs and I shifted our skis on the snow, making room for him. He stepped up beside me and aligned his skis with ours as we prepared to edge out for the next chair. It swung securely around on the thick cable and we scooted in front of it, grasping ski poles in one hand and reaching for the slippery chair back with the other. Then in a moment we were off, swishing up silently high above the snow, gaining momentum and height, our skis dangling.

The young man at my side was tall and handsome. He could have been anyone, and we could have been anyone; but on the slopes there is always the common bond of being a skier. He turned and grinned at us.
“Where are you guys from?”

We told him.

“I’ve spent two years in Alaska,” he said, telling us bits about his life there and the amazing mountains. “And some time in Colorado, and Massachusetts, and now here. Guess you could say I’m a bit of a vagrant.” He chuckled.

His clean-cut appearance and respectful manner belied his light words, and his knowledgeable descriptions of the medical reasons why capsaicin works for keeping toes warm hinted at his education. He was clearly a person with an interesting story and intriguing potential in life. And yet.

I looked down at his skis, sitting comfortably on the footrest that comes much in handy on the long ride up. They were wide, shaped powder skis, a lot like mine. Black, like mine, with white accents to match. Only, unlike mine, on his was etched the drawing of a skull, one near each ski tip.

He was chatting about the state of the snow. “It’s going to get a lot better than this,” he said, sounding excited. 

I was still looking at his skis.

“There are a lot of people here today,” he went on, “which is typical for the weekend, but when they open more lifts, that’ll spread it around more…”

Worthy is the Lamb Who was slain, worthy is the King, Who conquered the grave…

I could hear it in my head.

This is amazing grace, this is unfailing love; that You would take my place, that You would bear my cross; You would lay down Your life, that I might be set free… Jesus, I sing for all that You’ve done for me.

Suddenly I felt a lump in my throat. How many hundreds of people am I around who have never even heard the Truth? How many times do I sit beside a lost soul who needs Christ, who needs to hear the life-changing News of our Saviour? 

Who is telling these people? 

The top of the mountain loomed and the unloading area approached. We lifted the restraining bar and kept the tips of our skis up, as the smooth snowy hill rose up underneath us. In a moment we stepped off and glided away as the chair swung behind us and began the return journey.

The young man smiled at us and offered one last bit of backcountry skiing advice before he turned and disappeared down Sherman’s Pass. He may never know that there is a King who has conquered the grave.

It’s not likely we will ever see that man again, but the brief encounter with him that day has left a lasting impression on me. (and no, it’s not because of his age :) I have been re-convicted of the needs all around me, encouraged to be a witness of the hope that is within me, and cognizant of our responsibility to pray for the lost.

You don’t have to be a missionary in some far-flung location to be a light for the Gospel, and you don’t have to be rich to be able to offer much-needed prayer support for those of us who are on the field. Whether you go or send, let’s be mindful of how God wants to use our lives in the furthering of His Kingdom.

Who breaks the power of sin and darkness, Whose love is mighty and so much stronger; the King of Glory, the King above all kings

Who shakes the whole earth with holy thunder, and leaves us breathless in awe and wonder, the King of Glory, the King above all kings…

Happy 2016!

Sunday, January 3, 2016


January is here, and it’s time to make goals for this New Year. I always LOVE this process! I have a long list of exciting things I want to accomplish, everything from getting better on the cello to publishing a book to learning how to plate food beautifully. I can hardly wait to start working on interesting projects and gaining new skills, and it’s probably the same for you.

But what about character goals? What goals do you have for getting over character gaps and becoming a better person?

Let’s make 2016 the year in which we accomplish great things, and I’d like to suggest that we make some of those things character-related: how you relate to your siblings, what thoughts you think, how you respond to that unexpected task someone gives you, what you say to the person who hurts your feelings.

Whatever the gap is, this is the year to overcome it!

So here’s my challenge for you: get a paper and pen, swallow your pride (if you have any left after reviewing last year’s goals list)(just keepin’ it real :), and ask each family member individually to tell you the one character strength they think you should develop the most. Write them all down and then make part of your goals list a plan for how to overcome them. 

Here’s to a God-honouring 2016!!

And here is an excerpt from the ancient pictures department...

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