Posts Tagged ‘service’

One in the Parenting “Win” Column

September 28, 2011 2 comments

My son is an american.  He’s into baseball, potty humor, and canned ravioli.  He’s also into having more money – always looking for ways to make money: sell this, go door to door that, “let you pet my dog for a dime” kind of things.  So, when I walked into his bedroom a couple of nights ago I was not surprised to see him with a pile of change.  His sister was with him, and they were counting.

“What’s with all the money, Alex?”

“Bis gave it to me.”

“Oh……………Why would she do that?”  At this point I’m expecting an explanation of an older brother’s well-executed scheme for getting money from a little sister.

“I’m going to help hungry people.”  Not what I was expecting.  Knowing my son, I knew that if anything good was going to come of this, I had to let him make the next move.  So…I let it sit.  The next day he approached me.

“Dad, want to make a donation?”

“A donation to what?” I’ve heard this before.  Usually it’s a donation to the ‘Buy Alex a Puppy Fund.’

“I’m going to help hungry people.”

“Of course I will make a donation so you can help hungry people.”  My heart is swelling.  It’s not that my son is more selfish than any other 8 year old boy, but I haven’t seen this out of him very much.  “Would you like me to help you get it to the right place, and see if I can get more people to give?”  I’m going to pour gasoline on this small fire.

We opened the computer and looked at our denominational website and found a way to feed kids in Malawi.  We’re going to enlist the help of our church (and you, if you’re interested).  Of course dad the church planter is going to let the paper know about his plan to help hungry kids.

The goal is to get a mile of pennies.  If you lay 84,480 pennies end to end they reach one mile.  They also feed 17 kids from Malawi, Africa for a year and give them the chance to hear that God loves them and cares for their well-being inside and out.  We have little cardboard donation boxes coming that we can color.  I picked up some flyers and posters the denomination has available, and we’ll have a special offering.

Later in the day I asked Alex what made him want to raise money for other people.  “I was sitting in my room thinking I didn’t have enough money, and trying to think of ways I could get some money,” (all this is exceptionally believable, by the way), “Then I started to think that there are people who don’t have ANY money, so I started thinking of ways I could help them get some money.”

As a good friend of mine always says, “Parenting is not for the faint of heart.”  And this is true.  I stumble along and do the best I can and trial and error my way through parenting, like most people.  But a moment like that is what keeps me going.  It’s like the one shot on the golf course that keeps you returning.

So, celebrate with me, and if you feel so inclined send some pennies to our church’s mailing address: 630 State St., Holland, MI  49423.


Ninja on a Bicycle

April 13, 2011 Leave a comment

David on his way to the Way Cup Cafe

The following is a poem about a friend of mine who is a great example of service and selflessness.  He’s a terrific picture of gentleness and servanthood.  He rides his bike to the Way Cup Cafe and makes sure it’s clean and cared for, and I think he cares for more than just the cafe…because I feel it, too.  Thanks, David!  I hope you enjoy the poem.

Ninja on a Bicycle

Pedals gently

Coat swiftly to its place

Hands moving silently

Sits and stacks scattered papers

If you look away, he’s gone,

But the garbage is emptied

Unsanitary sliced away

And toilet paper restored

A second glance and he’s there, outside

But you never saw him move

Three sips of java and the patio is swept

Dirt cut into oblivion

Everything is gentle

But between the earbuds

A world-altering thought brews

Everything is gentle

But his heart beats with fierce passion

And he’s gone

You catch a glimpse of bicycle wheel

Reflecting the rising sun

Leaving as he came, a glimmer

A reminder of things to return

Categories: The Slow Grow Tags: , , ,

Brian Davis For President!

February 4, 2011 Leave a comment

The title of this entry is a sign I saw alongside the road today.  That particular house had a homemade ice rink in the front yard.  I kid you not.  Right before it gets really cold every year these people build a rink.  There’s a framework of plywood and loads of what I’m expecting is super thick plastic sheeting in some unbelievably large size roll and butresses made of 2×4’s.  Then they must fill it with loads of water right before the first big freeze. Then *ka-zaam*…ice rink.  They were out playing hockey on it today: a Friday.

They should have been in school, but they weren’t.  And neither were my children – riding in the back of the van on our way to the grocery store to get a birthday gift for Nolan down the street (silly beans or something like that…I don’t know what they are).  No school.  Hasn’t snowed in days, sunny and beautiful out, but no school.  I was pretty confused, too.

Tuesday night we got somewhere between 13 and 17 inches of snow and the next day our road wasn’t plowed until after 4pm, so I understand no snow on Wednesday.  Everything in town was closed down.  Thursday…also no school.  Ok, they couldn’t get all the snow out of all the important places.  I get it.  Then, Thursday night after two sunny days home with the kids (who are loving this, by the way) we get a robo-call from Brian Davis, the superintendant of Holland Public Schools, who tells us that…yup…no school on Friday.

“What?! Seriously?” I say to Dana as she hangs up the phone.  Apparently there are over 1,000 kids who walk to and from school and they rely on local residents to have their sidewalks shovelled in order to safely get to school.  Because it’s just not cool to have some 1st grader walking on the streets.  But not everyone was able to get their stretch of 50-100 feet of sidewalk cleared in two days.  Now, I shouldn’t be too judgmental.  I don’t have a sidewalk, and I pay someone to plow my driveway.  Wednesday I didn’t get out of my pajamas.

Here’s my point: The robo-call I got on Friday night started to mess with me.  Brian Davis calling again.  Basically, he was imploring all residents to do what they can to help get the sidewalks cleared for kids who walk to and from school. He also asked us to work together to carpool kids.  It was kind of a beautiful moment, strangely enough, where a local leader taps us on the shoulder and calls us (even in the middle of a winter’s hibernation) to be a community.  To work together and help one another out.

I may just have to grab my shovel and head down near my son’s school this weekend to see if there’s a stretch of 50-100′ that needs my help.

Root Beer Floats

December 13, 2010 Leave a comment

As I write this my bride is on her way home from a work trip to Iowa.  The kids and I have been trying to hold the fort together for the last few days.  Nothing works quite as well as it does when Dana’s around.  In fact, I have a tendency to exhibit some epic failure on occasion when Dana’s not around, but…you do what you can.

One thing I know how to do: make root beer floats.  They asked for them, and who am I to deny my own children a good thing like that?  So, I stopped by the store and grabbed the essentials: ravioli in a can, bread, milk, ice cream, and root beer.  After devouring a couple cans of Chef Boyardees, we paused our movie and I was making floats.  I was transported back in time to Camano Island.  I was young, but I think it was on the southern end.  I was remembering my very first root beer float.

Do you remember yours?  I do.  It was a gathering of maybe three families.  Kids downstairs watching Bad News Bears with Walter Matthau.  Then, in the middle of the movie we were called up the kitchen to receive something I’d never even considered a possibility: soda pop and ice cream together.  “What?!  You can do that?” I thought.  Remembering this made me remember whose house it was and what he meant to me.

Norm and Carol Story.  They had a boat – a yacht as far as my young mind was concerned.  Though it was probably only 28 feet or so, it had a small galley and bathroom.  More importantly it had a place to put your fishing pole while you slowly trolled for salmon in the Puget Sound.  That’s what Norm taught me to do.  Me without a dad in the house, and Norm with a need to stand in the gap for me – or give my mom the day off from raising me. 

I can’t picture Norm in my mind right now, but I know what he meant to me and I’m grateful.  I think of him every time I have a root beer float.  I also think of him every time Christmas time comes around – not because I have some Christmas memory of him, but because he stood in the gap for me when my dad wasn’t around.  Just like Joseph did.  Raising a son not of your genetics is difficult, but the love of God gives us the ability to go beyond ourselves in amazing ways.


December 11, 2010 Leave a comment

On my way yesterday I saw a young person get stuck in the snow.  She did what most people do when they get stuck: she got out of her car, looked at the car, scratched her head, walked around the car giving that look that says, “how did this come to be?”  Perhaps you’ve done the same thing.

I hate getting stuck – happened to me a couple years ago and I had to get some help by people going by.  So…I’m the one going by this time.  I park my car and can see that it won’t be overly difficult.  No digging required, no tow rope.  I can not, however, do it alone, so I’m glad to see this young woman’s friend pull up behind her and an elderly gentleman.

Before you know it the young woman is in her car while her friend, myself, and the older fella are pushing on the front of her compact car.  Funny thing about pushing a car in snow: it works best when the person driving takes her foot off the brake.  Once we got that figured out, it was a breeze.

There’s something larger there.  When I feel stuck, and there are Three wanting to push me out of the muck, I must initially take my foot off the brakes.

Into The Wild, Blue Yonder

August 26, 2010 1 comment

I’ve been sitting on this entry for weeks and weeks.  I thought that if I didn’t post it, it wouldn’t come true, but…I have to share it with you because I need your prayers – all you cybercapable friends:

Since day one, I have had a partner in the gospel here at Embody: Lee Heerspink.  He and I have worked from the beginning on starting Embody.  We’ve prayed a lot, and used our machetes to cut through the question marks that are church planting to give birth to a place that is authentic to who God has made us to be.

We’ve been honest with each other and vulnerable with each other.  He’s one of the few I can call a part of my band of brothers…a true friend who would do anything to help me walk in faith and maintain the long obedience in the same direction.  He is the type of guy who’s willing to ask me the hard questions and let me ask them of him.

He told me months ago that he may be leaving…pursuing a dream of his to play music in the Air Force.  That was painful to hear for multiple reasons: he’s a good friend, he’s been with me from the very beginning and we share that history.  We share, also, a united vision for worship.  Then there’s the obvious: he’s awesome at what he does, and there’s no way to replace him.

Since the moment he first told me about the possibility of him leaving, I made a conscious decision: pray for him and don’t try to sway him.  I have my desires, but they are selfish.  I don’t know what God wants, but I can hear in my friend’s voice that he is hopeful.  I would never want to take that away from him.  He’s a loyal friend, too, so I knew that if I were to try to lay on guilt it would sadly work.  I don’t want to be that guy.

He has one more month with us, then…he’ll be playing with the Air Force.  His last Sunday is September 19, which is our one year anniversary as a church.  It will be bittersweet.

When I tell people this they always ask the question: “What are you going to do?”  My answer is always, “Not quite sure, but I’m not worried about it.”  I know that God has a plan, and it will be good.  There is someone either inside or presently outside the body of believers we worship with who will become for us exactly what God intended.  Ephesians says, “We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

There really are two stories here that connect in Christ.  The first is the loss of a musician in our midst…one who has a vision for worship and leads by quiet, humble service.  He has helped to create an atmosphere where people are comfortable.  He’s an authentic person who hates being noticed and is a little shy.  It’s not just part of his charm…it’s God’s gift to Embody.

The other story is also one of loss, and one that is much more accessible to people: losing a friend to distance.  I’ve had friends move away before, and more commonly been the one moving away, but this is a strongly felt loss by me.  I think it is because, besides Dana (my bride), Lee is the one who has been at every step and lifted every stone and painted every wall and sweated and bled and cried with me.  He’s my friend born by challenge. I’ll miss him, but we are connected through Christ and the body of Christ, though separated by distance meets at the heart of God…often in worship and always at the Lord’s Table.

I am planning on this being a great opportunity for God to show up and make something truly awe-inspiring happen.  Here’s the plan: You pray and I’ll keep my eyes open.  That way when God lands something great in our path I’ll see it and you’ll hear about prayers answered.


July 12, 2010 1 comment

There will come a point when Embody doesn’t fit into our existing building all at the same time.  There are a couple of options:

1. Two Services: This means more work from our musicians.  It could also mean a better opportunity for some semblance of Sunday School for both kids and adults.  It means an early and a later, and it brings about a difficulty for our enjoyable potlucks.

2. New place to worship: this means finding somewhere else to go.  Not easy in our area – there aren’t many options.  We like our space and feel pretty happy with where we are.

3. Purchase the building and add on: This means having money and being a little more financially sound than we are right now.

4. Build somewhere else: This means that we would still have to deal with our space issue while we raised money, bought, and built.

Of all the options, going to two services makes the most sense right now.  I think purchasing and adding on makes sense, too, but that also would entail going to two services for a while.  All of this needs to be balanced by the ongoing question of where should our money be placed: into buildings or into people who need our help.  This is an ever-present discussion.

Of course…we have to get enough people to need to go to two services first.  I think we will get there in the fall when people come back from vacation and we do some more inviting.

Just thinking through the whole thing makes me excited and a little tired. 🙂

Categories: The Slow Grow Tags: , , ,