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Learning to Let Go

It seems that my wife and I can’t seem to figure out a place to stay for any secure length of time. This might seem deceiving since we’ve been in Hong Kong for nearly five years. However, we’ve been on a series of one or two-year contracts. Scratch that, I’ve been on one or two-year contracts, and Kristin’s contract is indefinite with a three-month-notice clause. Regardless of these details, each year or two seems to bring about the question, “What are we doing next year?”

Lately, we’ve been asking that question again.

'Uncertainty ' photo (c) 2010, Nicu Buculei - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/Will I stay at Island ECC as a youth pastor?
Will I even be a youth pastor?
Will Kristin stay at Union Church?
Will Kristin enroll in graduate school full time?

We’ve talked and debated a number of ideas and plans. However, there’s no clear path just yet. Fortunately, we’ve been clear-minded enough to just let go of all this planning. There are some actions we’ve taken to open up our prospects, but nothing definite. The month of February has been and continues to be a month of praying and waiting on God to reveal some next steps for us.

If you’re reading this, please pray for us. We don’t want to be anxious about anything. We simply want to be obedient servants of God. If we’re in His hands doing His work, I think He’ll make us content wherever we end up – even if it’s exactly where we currently are doing the jobs we currently have.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7 (ESV)

In-N-Out

The Ad in HK

Today my youth group took a trip to an In-N-Out promotional event. From what I gather, In-N-Out only has store locations in 5 of the 50 states of the US. Upon hearing that it would bring its burgers to Hong Kong, our youth group dripped with anticipation. After church today, we took a special field trip up to the rented restaurant in a fleet of rented vehicles (also known as taxis). Upon arrival, they were all sold out. Well, at least we were told that, and the time was only 2.5 hours into the 4 hour event. What a disappointing field trip. That’s like telling kids that Disney World is closed after traveling to Florida.

Burger Fail

Anyway, that’s not what I really wanted to reflect on. Rather, I wanted to reflect on and write about the sermon topic this Sunday at church.

For the month of January, the youth group is discussing the much anticipated topic of sex. Yep. Coitus and everything else related to it. Today was particularly focused on homosexuality and our identity in Christ. As you might imagine, this was not the most comfortable talk to prepare for, but it has been one of the most engaging and enlightening topics to date since I began the job.

To clarify, this is not a post to get into the details of my beliefs on homosexuality or anything related to the LGBTQIA movement. Rather, I feel more sure of my beliefs, and I believe that I can have better, Christ-centered conversations with other people, no matter their view on this culturally-relevant subject.

As I’ve drawn closer to Jesus, He’s drawn nearer to me. As I’ve sought Him out, He’s shown me part of His grand perspective. It’s not about our identity in our sexuality, but rather our identity in Him. It’s not about filling myself with information and having all the right answers, but it’s about filling myself with God and relying on Him to show us the most excellent way to live. It’s about love and our value found in Christ.

Today was a good day.

Faithful

'Hand-holding Zone' photo (c) 2008, J.Elliott - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/Following a tough day yesterday, all I can cling to is staying faithful to God’s calling. I don’t know His plan for my life at this time, but I trust in the plans He had for me when He brought me to my job. And I trust that He has a greater plan than what I can currently see.

He is always faithful, and I want to try to be just as faithful in response.

When clouds veil sun
And disaster comes
Oh, my soul
When waters rise
And hope takes flight
Oh, my soul

Ever faithful
Ever true
You I know
You never let go

When clouds brought rain
And disaster came
Oh, my soul
When waters rose
And hope had flown
Oh, my soul

Oh, my soul
Overflows
Oh, what love, oh, what love
Oh, my soul
Fills hope
Perfect love that never lets go

Oh, what love, oh, what love
In joy and pain
In sun and rain
You?re the same
Oh, You never let go

David Crowder Band
You Never Let Go

Deep Sadness

'Lonely Reader - A5' photo (c) 2009, Hartwig HKD - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/Sometimes a day can create such clarity and such confusion.

After what happened today, I can’t help but see my job situation as so clear. I’m at my job for a reason and there’s lots of good ministry that needs to happen.

Yet, I just can’t see what that reason is or how that good ministry will take place. That gives me deep sadness.

Channeling Frustrations

Some days, weeks, or even months can be filled with challenges and frustrations. That’s why it’s important to have a good outlet or two or 14. Today, I accessed them all.

I’m very thankful for all my outlets. This post is dedicated to them:

  • Jesus – “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:30)
  • My wife – You are amazing and a God-send. Thank you for your listening ear and encouraging words
  • My accountability partner – For agreeing to pray for me regularly
  • Good friends – That put up with my ranting and raving and also listen to me and provide good advice
  • The HK Youth workers – Thank you for praying over the Island ECC staff today. So many of you are also tons of fun (especially that intense foosball game today!)
  • The Witthoft family – You are good friends, ideal mentors, and extremely gracious

Prayer Warriors

Now if only I were healthy enough to play ultimate frisbee at this time… I would have used that outlet too!

Make haste, O God, to deliver me! 
   O LORD, make haste to help me! 
Let them be put to shame and confusion 
   who seek my life! 
Let them be turned back and brought to dishonor 
   who delight in my hurt! 
Let them turn back because of their shame 
   who say, “Aha, Aha!”

  May all who seek you 
   rejoice and be glad in you! 
May those who love your salvation 
   say evermore, “God is great!”

Psalm 70:1-4