Posts

A Look Ahead

Since we’ve caught you up on the past few weeks, we wanted to take a minute to give you a look ahead. Our calendar has filled up through late summer 2013.

December 2012

We will be home–at least for most of the month. We are excited to be spending Advent at our home church, Acts 2 UMC in Edmond.

During this month, our focus will be on blogging (we’re bringing back our Advent Lectionary blog series, and we will be writing our Lenten series as well), relationship building, conversations, and fund-raising. We will also be with Michael’s mom and family for the Christmas holiday, and then back to Colorado for New Year’s with our Discipleship Group.

January 2013

After ringing in the New Year with our Discipleship Group in Estes Park, we will come back down through the Big Thompson Canyon and hang out with Michael’s step-mom and family in Loveland, Colorado for a few days. After that we will spend time with a couple of different churches, and then head back to Edmond for a couple of weeks.

February 2013 – July 2013

We will be heading back to Central Asia for a six-month visit on 1 February. We will be in two different nations (three-months each). The first three months will be for a YWAM Secondary School called the School of Strategic Missions. This school is focused on providing the students with a holistic view of missions within this “4th-Wave” of mission that we’re currently in. The second-half of this time will be learning how to take heart-language Bible and heart-language culture and turn those into expressions of worship that are wholly indigenous.

How You Can Help

Prayer

We need your prayers. Prayers are the one thing that helps us most working within the 10/40 Window. We need you to cover us individually, as a family, as a married couple, our health, our sanity, etc. Basically, in every minute area of our lives, we need your prayers. We cannot–and will not–do the work we do without prayer. If you would like to be a part of our prayer team, then please contact us at prayer@ledbytheword.com and we’ll add you to our prayer update list.

Conversation

We love to talk! We would love the opportunity to chat with you and find out what is going on in your life and share more in-depth about the work we are doing around the world, and what we are dreaming. We are available via phone, email, or Skype. Connect with us on Facebook or Twitter. You can find our contact information on the Contact Us page.

Finance

We do not recieve a salary for our work. We are volunteers, and thus meeting our monthly budget is completely dependent on gifts/donations. If you would like to donate to our lives and ministry, then you may do so by clicking here.

We would be honored if you would consider making a one-time contribution. If you would like to commit to a monthly recurring contribution, then email us at giving@ledbytheword.com.

 

Jesus and His Personality

This week’s topic in our Crossroads Discipleship Training School is one of my “passion topics”–team dynamics, interpersonal relationships, personality typing, etc. I love this stuff!

In our class, we have been examining the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator. For Steph and I, we have found that we are polar opposites (she is ISFJ and I am ENTP).

It got me to thinking about the team that Jesus put together to aid Him in His ministry. What an interesting group of people. For some of them, they found within the team opposing political views. Some were fishermen and others were business men. Some were educated and some were less educated. You get the idea. It was a diverse group.

While we have a lot of stories of a couple of these individuals, and could likely deduce from those stories the root behavioral types, I have been thinking more about their Leader.

So, using the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicators, I have come to theorize regarding how Jesus would score on this test.

The stock answer in many Christian circles is that Jesus was a perfect blend of all. While I used to think that same thing, I’ve come to believe that to be an easy way out. So, here is my observation and why I think it.

Jesus was a ESFP.

ESFPs are people who tend to live in the moment. Their focus is on the moment. While they can see the larger picture, they thrive on working from moment-to-moment. They take interruptions in stride (most of Jesus’ recorded work was interruptions). They work to ensure that everyone (even the interrupter) are included.

When controversy arising, the ESFP will tend to use diversionary questions to change the course of the discussion. We see Jesus doing this often when confronted by the religious leaders of His day. He chose to teach in parables that purposely (Matthew 13:11-17) were not completely understood by many of the people to whom He was speaking.

Jesus loved life and people. He made His (and the Disciples) work fun. He enjoyed a good laugh.

Unchecked, the ESFP would struggle to get their goals accomplished. They need a benchmark and a constant reminder of the mission at hand. Throughout His recorded life, we find Jesus in times of communion with His Father. I have come to believe that these conversations, the Mount of Transfiguration, and Gethsamene are examples of Him returning to the benchmark to find how He was progressing in the mission.

Now, the disclaimer.

I could easily be totally out in left field. And I’m ok with that. Jesus’ personality traits do not diminish the work He accomplished on the cross. So, feel free to disagree. I’m just a highly theoretical person theorizing (which for my personality type is how I process and recharge).

So, what is your MBTI? You can find out here.

 

What’s Been And What’s To Come

It’s been a few weeks since our last update, so we thought we’d take a few minutes to give you a quick look into the past few weeks here at YWAM-Strategic Frontiers.

I had kitchen duty.

Emily had Crazy Hair Day.

Stephanie received flowers from Jesus.

We attended a Baptism Service.

Thanks to our friend, Steve Schram, Caleb and I got to go flying in a Cessna SkyHawk.

And we’ve been learning a new language.

 

In addition to all this fun, we have had some fantastic weeks of teaching on God’s Kingdom, the Fear of the Lord, and what the Bible says about the Body of Christ. We have this week and one more week of lectures and then we head into the nations.

So, now that our Crossroads Discipleship Training School Lecture Phase is about to come to a close, what’s next?

We leave on June 25th for Central Asia. We will be spending two months working with front-line missionaries in a predominatly Muslim nation. Our work will entail serving at local Houses of Prayer, meeting with locals, assisting other missionaries in any way they need, and a variety of other tasks.

If you would like to help us financially on this journey, you can donate to this work by clicking over onto our Partner With Us page, or clicking the “DONATE” button on the right-hand side of this page.  All gifts through Get the Word Out! (our covering ministry) are tax-deductible, and any amount is gratefully appreciated.

Blessing on a Bun

Yesterday afternoon during my work duty, I was really craving a hamburger. I mentioned it to my work partners even. It was a mad craving.

Juicy burger.

Cheese.

Bacon.

Mustard.

So, last night while I was laying in bed talking with God, I said, “I’d really like a hamburger”. I wasn’t really asking. Just more of a statement.

Well, when our class broke for lunch today, one of our staff members said that lunch was hamburgers! I was stunned, and laughed.

“Seriously?”, I asked.

“Yeah.”

“Last night, I mentioned to God that I’d like to have a hamburger.”

“Really?”

“Yep.”

“Wow! They rarely make burgers. They take too long to prepare. Plus, today is a staff meeting day so time is even more limited.”

Well, I have to say, that was one tasty burger. Not even a prepackaged frozen burger. It was the real deal. With cheese. With bacon. Even guacamole for those who like that on their burgers.

God looking out for His kid.

I’m convinced that when God does things like that He chuckles. Almost like a parent when their kid opens a gift that’s been on the wish list for awhile.

God chuckling at me.

It’s amazing to think that God would take time out of His schedule sometime last week to mention to the Kitchen Manager that one of His kids was going to want burgers the following week. Yet, that is exactly the kind of God I serve! One who cares about hamburgers with cheese and bacon,

So, Father, thanks for the burger! It was a meal that I will never forget!

 

Being the Church

This past Sunday a group of us (most of us actually) from our school decided to do something different for church.  We headed to a beautiful area in Colorado Springs called Red Rock Canyon.  Our order of service went like this:

  • Worship by reading aloud the Psalms of Ascent
  • Prayer for people needing/wanting prayer
  • Message from one of our own: Dan Blanton
  • Prayer for healing
  • Communion
  • Lunch
  • 2.5 Hour Hike

It was a fantastic time of worship and prayer and communion.  It’s the image of communion that I most like–dinner with friends.  And so, we didn’t go to church.  We were the church.

Here are a few pictures from our time together.

Dan bringing a message on God's love.

Dan bringing a message on God's love.

Our Church

Our Church

Our Family

Our Family

Our friends, fellow students, and breakfast partners, Don and Barb Roome

Our friends, fellow students, and breakfast partners, Don and Barb

Caleb and his new best-friend, Jacob

Caleb and his new best-friend, Jacob

Steph climbs the quarry steps

Steph climbs the quarry steps

"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands." -- Psalm 19:1 (NIV)

"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands." -- Psalm 19:1 (NIV)

Family Update in Week 3 of CDTS

Wow!  It’s been a busy three weeks!

Emily and her classmates learning about Kashmir

Emily and her classmates learning about Kashmir

We are doing quite well.  We have been surrounded by the four truths that the Bible tells us about: Who God is, Who I am, Who We (the church) are, and What’s going on in the world around us.  Such depth of truth by which to be surrounded!  And we’re thankful that the kids are learning those truths as well.

Caleb is doing very well in Preschool.  As you saw in the video from last week, he  and his classmates have planted their garden.  Today, he and I are going to go out and pray the Blessing of the Land or a Garden from Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals over it.  He loves his teachers, Mr. Nick, Mrs. Rene, and Ms. Rahel.  In addition to learning about gardens, he gets to learn about God and His nature and character, and gets to paint, color, play with trains, and play outside.  It’s a pretty good life.

Emily and her classmates learning about the "Tent of Meeting" (prayer).

Emily and her classmates learning about the "Tent of Meeting" (prayer).

Emily is also doing fantastic in her classes. Each Tuesday, she gets to hear an abbreviated version of the teaching that Stephanie and I are receiving.  This has proven to challenge her own relationship with God.  It has been amazing to watch her as she is coming to the realization that God desires more than anything to be in relationship with us.  On Mondays, someone from the Nations Team (the liaisons between the states and the front-line missionaries in the 10/40 Window) comes in and teaches her class about their particular focus.  This past week, the Kashmiri team came in and taught about Kashmir.  They transformed a part of the room into a typical Kashmiri living room and allowed the kids to dress as Kashmiris.  They had even made a typical Kashmiri rice dish for the kids to try.

Stephanie and I are also doing well.  Our teaching times have been rich.  We are learning a lot about trust–specifically with the house back in Little Rock.  Yet, of all the teaching, game playing, talking, and fellowship we have been a part of, my favorite moments are those when we get to sit one-on-one with other missionaries and ask, “What are you dreaming?”  So beautiful hearing them share the dreams that God has planted within them for the nations.

Please continue to be in prayer with us as we traverse through the coming weeks.  We have nine more weeks of lectures to go through, and then we head overseas for a couple of months.  We expect to find out where we’re headed in the next couple of weeks, and will let you all know where that ends up being.

That should provide you a quick update.  We are grateful for your prayers and support!  May God bless each of you!  And, as always, if you would like to partner with us in this work, then jump over to the Partner With Us tab.

 

Family

Today was our first official day of teaching here at our Crossroads Discipleship Training School at YWAM Strategic Frontiers. What a day it was!

Every Tuesday morning, we will be receiving teaching from two wonderful staff people, Steven and Nancy Schram, who have a heart and ministry for families. Today, they gave us a perspective on family that I had never really thought of before.

When we look at the various types of injustice in the world–abuse, orphans, human trafficking, etc–they all share the same root. That root is a fundamental breakdown in family. It all goes back to family. God created the family structure for a specific reason. Ultimately, if we lose family, we lose every other sphere of influence.

The second thing that struck me in this teaching on family was that regardless of whatever spheres of influence you might have, we all–everyone–has one in common.

Family.

We all are a part of a family. We all have parents–even the orphans. Not all families, however, operate in the way that God intended for them to operate.

Family.

God is a family God. He’s all about the family. So much so, that when Jesus taught us to pray in Matthew 6 and Luke 11, He taught us to begin by calling God, Father.

YWAM – Colorado Springs

We are so excited to report that we have been accepted into the Crossroads Discipleship Training School (CDTS) at Youth With A Mission – Colorado Springs!!

First, we’d like to say a big, “THANK YOU” to all of you who have been lifting this arrangement up to the Lord.  We are so very grateful for your prayers, and would ask that you continue to pray for us and this school.

The program we will be attending is called Crossroads Discipleship Training School.  Essentially, the school’s aim is to help you to see the Father’s heart for yourself and for the nations, and to respond to that which you see.  God is a Global God with a Global Vision, and we are called to be Global Christians who share in His Global Vision.  The school is designed to help that become reality.  A great deal of the program is built to help you learn to more clearly hear God’s voice.  Courses within the school include, the Father Heart of God, the Character and Nature of God, the Fear of the Lord, and Family.

The four of us will be heading to Colorado Springs on April 5, 2012.  While Stephanie and I are in the CDTS, Emily will be in an age-appropriate version of the same training, and Caleb will be in a preschool program that is also on campus.

Emily and Caleb were very excited to learn that there are over 100 children on the base!  They have already begun to imagine the numbers of new friends that they will meet!  What an exciting opportunity for our children!  They will have friends from all over the world, and will be able to see the world firsthand!

If you would like to help us in this journey, then please click over on the Partner With Us tab.  The CDTS requires tuition for each member of the family.  This tuition will cover room, meals, teaching, and learning materials.  In addition to the tuition costs, we will also need to purchase four round-trip international airfares and international traveler’s insurance.

Here is a short video that gives you a bit of a look at the YWAM base to which we will be headed.

 

Prayer Alert: Kashmir

I have spent the better part of today exploring the situation in the Kashmiri region.  This is an extraordinarily complex issue that goes back to the mid-sixteenth century when the region lost its sovereignty.  For the past four hundred years, they have struggled to maintain an identity that is uniquely their own, while they have been passed, traded, and conquered by nation after nation.  

The region lies at the top of India between Pakistan and China.  All three countries claim that (at least parts of) the land should rightfully be theirs while Kashmir would prefer to be restored to their own soveriegnity.  Yet, the situation goes much deeper than just border disputes.  Many will remember from several years ago that this area was the catalyst for what was nearly a nuclear conflict between India and Pakistan.

There is also a religious element to the struggle.  Sufi Islam and Hinduism both lay claim to the area, and are struggling to live peaceably.  In addition to the struggles between these two religious groups, there is also widespread persecution of Christians in this region.  This persecution especially occurs when a member of the family converts to Christianity.  While the area is not closed (at least the Indian occupied area), creative means of sharing the Gospel must be found and used.

Compounding the issue is the struggles within Kashmir between rebel militants and sovereign governments.  In both the Indian-Occupied and Pakistani-Occupied regions, we find these struggles.  Each sovereign government is attempting to keep the area in line, while also keeping peace with the other soveriegn government.  

All of this has led to Kashmir being an area sitting in a delicate balance.  On one side sits the risk of war between Kashmiri religious elements, militants and sovereign governments, or India and Pakistan.  On the other side the hope for a lasting peace that seems to imply Kasmiri sovereignty.  

The bigger thing that this study has done is really generated within me a keen interest in the region and it’s future.  While, I don’t know what that means for the long-haul with our ministry, I do know there is much for which we can all pray.  

On a related note, the YWAM base which we have applied to works in this area, and there is potential that our outreach time could be in this region.  You can view a short video about some of the work YWAM is doing in among the Kashmiri by clicking this link.

So, here are some prayer points for the Kashmir:

  • Pray that the Kashmiri people would not be caught in the midst of a turf war between two powerful nuclear countries 
  • Pray that oppression on the Kashmiri by the sovereign nations will come to an end
  • Pray that if (when?) the Kashmiri regain their independence they will select wise leadership
  • Pray that if (when?) the Kashmiri regain their independence a reasonable and intelligent division of regions will occur that will help to resolve (at least part of) the religious conflicts
  • Pray that creative means of sharing the Gospel will be found and used
  • Pray for the Christians in the region that they may stand firm in their faith