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Tuesday, April 9, 2013


Wednesday before Easter was a surprising day—I had been feeling under the weather, so I slept in a bit.  I figured that in the long run it was more important to get well quickly than it was to get in an extra hour of work; I also knew that I could work really hard to make my time up.  I had a LOT of work to get to!  There were a million little detail-things that needed done for promotion material for the upcoming Unite Mission Trip, some work for upcoming [alt] coordinating meetings, and work for an awareness drive reminding the churches of The Welcoming Event for next semester.  Little did I know that my planned work day was about to change course drastically. 

The night before, a Chinese college-aged student had stopped in the dojo during open mat time and asked me if I could help him with his car.  His window wouldn’t go up.  It didn’t take long to figure out that his window arm regulator was shot.  With a little bit of work we got his window back up and sent him on his way with info for a mechanic.  I also had left him my ministry card for him to call me if he needed any help.

Now in the middle of my busy Wednesday (right as I sat down to work, actually), I received a call from him.  It turned out that the mechanic couldn’t help him until next week, and the student needed to leave in a couple of days (he wasn’t an FHSU student—he was just visiting friends who were, and he needed to get home); so, I directed him to another mechanic.  Then he called back with the same result.  After another such call or two, I suggested we meet back at the dojo so I could see what we could do.  On the way, I called a mechanic from my church who said he could help out the next day.  After some work and a call to the mechanic from my church with both the student and me on the other line, we got it all figured out.

By now, I had lost a lot of my work time, so I called my fiancé to see if she wanted to join me for a Wal-Mart run instead of a bike ride; I had to get out there to buy some things for an upcoming event at Unite Game Night.  She understood the change of plans and agreed.  We dashed through the store and loaded up our car.  In the lot as we were about to step into the car I got an excited wave from a college-aged guy I know.  He parked and came over and shared a very exciting and encouraging story about what God had been doing in his life.  Within a very short period of time, it became apparent that he needed to express what all had been happening, and I truthfully wanted to listen as did my fiancé; so, we did.  The story was great, it had a good lesson for me to ponder in my life, and we all left happy—gladder for the conversation—about forty-five minutes later.

By now, most of my day had been eaten up by seemingly chance encounters, so I hurried to drop my fiancé., Tella, off at her Perspectives class (after getting us both some food); afterwards I was going to head to the youth group I help with on Wednesdays.  As I dropped Tella off at her class, she said something prescient—“if you end up talking with a student late, don’t worry about it; I have a book so you can pick me up as late as need be.”

Well, sure enough, I ended up in another long (though EXCELLENT) conversation.  This time, the lesson at youth group was good for me to reflect on AND it related to the lesson I had received earlier in the day when listening to the young man in the Wal-Mart parking lot.  One part of that lesson was to not let life distract me but to focus back on Jesus and the Kingdom (the people He came to save).  At the end of our time in youth group, a young woman whom I know was sitting in a corner by herself, seemingly lost in thought and upset.  I sat down nearby and just chilled in silence.  Eventually, we began having an excellent conversation.  Over time the youth pastor (Jeff) joined us, and we continued to talk for almost another thirty to forty-five minutes.  The talk was deep, critically important, and one that I very much enjoyed.  I would not have traded it.  Afterwards, I hurried to pick up Tella at Perspectives, which had been over for awhile.  It turned out that she already had a ride home, so I met her there and hung out with her for a little bit before going to bed and crashing from a long day.

The lesson I learned about not being distracted in Youth Group very much applied to my day; it had started busy with many worries about logistics for valid ministry things; however, my focus was off—it was on them in a stressful light.  By the end of the day, it became obvious what at least three of the things had been that I was really supposed to have done that day, and all of them weren’t on my radar screen.  It was an excellent reminder of what God’s Kingdom Work really is—people.  It’s not to say that those other things don’t need done or don’t benefit people.  I also acknowledge that there are times that I have to get that work done to facilitate good God-moments with other people.  Both things are a part of it; however, it can be very easy for me in my busy days to get so focused on those details that I am too busy to stop and listen to the real opportunities around me in the actual day that is occurring.  I am a firm believer that the Bible talks about planning for the future wisely to some degree; I also see that it says not to WORRY about tomorrow and that it seems to emphasize living prayerfully in the moment now—for that is the only moment we have.  It is within the balance of those two truths that I seek to live—and man can that be hard some days!  Please feel free to pray for me in that ;)  Still, when I am in the balance between those two, I find that I can both listen to the opportunities and engage them as they come AND get the work done when the windows for such work come, too.  Days that flow beyond well like that seem rare, but they are sure are cool when they happen!  What’s much cooler is that I have a God who is willing to help guide and direct my stubborn self into the moments in my day even when I am unaware of them.  Thank God for that and for special moments with others—they are part of an abundant life and the abundant life to the full that Christ came to freely give us!  Moments like that with God and others are special to me beyond words.  I pray that you may have some special moments with God and other people in your future, as well, and that you are listening to the opportunities in the day and seize them!

In an effort to keep newsletters smaller in future, I will be publishing more reflective pieces like the one above on the prayer blog ( and on the Unite Facebook page.  I will still occasionally feature them in newsletters, but the newsletters will be shorter and present more of an overview of the month (with some exceptions).  If you like this idea or dislike this idea, please email me at and let me know your thoughts.  As always, thanks for reading and may God bless!

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