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It is September 21, 2018, day one. Writing a bit each day about my thoughts, motivations, ideas and dreams. I have been a member of Youth With A Mission (YWAM) for the past 25 years, oh man, thats a long time. When I was a kid, like 10 or 11, I wanted to be a missionary, someone who gave their lives to those who did not yet know Jesus. I pursued this passionately, through the way I lived my life, where I attended school and the career I chose with YWAM.

Fast forward a bunch of years, and I find myself here, in 2018. I am 46, a husband of 20 years and the father three pretty amazing daughters. I am also living the dream that I had when I was 10. In my mind I thought I would be living this dream on the other side of the world, but I am living my dream here, in Classy San Diego. I live in a 1st world country, I drink great coffee, we are not poor (we actually have two shoe strings that we can tie together) and we speak English. Yet, we live on the mission field.

I use the term “mission field” lightly. It is a word that makes sense to people who grew up in the church, but really, the world is a mission field. We find people all throughout the world who do not know Jesus. I struggled a lot, at different times, with not being in a foreign country, but then I come back to the fact that even though I am in the USA, there are foreigners here that I would never have relationship with if I lived somewhere else.

My closest friends here are Syrian, Kurdish and Mexican (with a sprinkle of white folks). I have learned so much about culture, faith, Jesus and the world though these relationships. I am also humbled that I have taught my friends so much about life in the USA, culture, and the way of Jesus. I am not the missionary who stands on a box and preaches the good news in a small village (which is amazing), I am one who has developed deep, meaningful relationships with those who are different than me, showing them the way of Jesus by the way I live my life, how I love them, and through the words that I say. It is very organic, very relational and exists without expectation or condition. It feels like a dream, maybe the dream that Jesus had for me over 35 years ago.

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I have written about this issue a few times in the last couple of months, and I am continuing to receive clarity on things day by day. Its the whole idea of community, and not being able to find community like we desire as a family. Over the past 20 years we have had hundreds of great people come into and out of our lives. Its not that we are annoying people, at least I don’t think so, but its the nature of the work that we do with YWAM. YWAM is a shot term mission organization. In this, it means that people come for weeks or months at a time, engage fully and then go back home, or somewhere other than the location they did their YWAM training at. Then there are the full time staff, like our family. We are in it for the long haul, and we are thrilled to meet, train, develop relationship with and say goodbye to the scores of people coming in and out of our lives on a regular basis.

Today, our family woke up tired, and feeling a bit defeated. We so want community for our family, but we are tired and lack the strength to fight for it any more (tomorrow will be a new day, today was just a hard one). We are tired of meeting new people, and making new friends. We want to be with people we have history with, people we can call in an emergency, people who drop by without a call, and who we find life with even in our exhaustion. We do have a couple of people like that in our lives here in San Diego, so if your reading this, we are not talking about you, haha.

We are just tired of starting over, and just desire rest. Tomorrow work starts again, and I face a long week of back to school activities, and local outreach in the city. I am going in tired and frustrated, and I absolutely hate that. I want to go in full, and ready. I love my job, I love the impact I get to make and the things that I learn, but I don’t like doing it in a place of tiredness.

Not sure where to go from here, I guess forward. Pray for us if you are reading this. We will be OK, its just a season of suck.

Peace.

 

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These past couple of weeks I have been reading The Gospel Comes with a House Key: Practicing Radically Ordinary Hospitality in Our Post-Christian World by Rosaria Butterfield. I am not pounding through this book, I am just taking my time and soaking it all in. Rosaria is writing about the way that I want to live, but have yet to get the courage up to dive all in. The book is inspiring, as is Rosaria’s story, courage and convictions.

As a YWAM staff, I have been around good hospitality all over the world, but this book is different, it is talking about hospitality to my friends, my neighbors and the stranger. I have also learned a lot about hospitality from my Syrian friends over the past two years. I see the importance of hospitality, bringing people into your home and loving them as a brother or sister.

One of the sections of the book that is sticking with me is where Rosaria talks about being a guest and a host. She talks about how we are never just guests, and we are never just hosts, we need to be both. When we go to a persons house for dinner, as a guest, and there is still work to be done to get the food ready, we become the host, jump in, and help cook. When we go to church, we sit and learn, as guests, and we give our tithes and help with childcare, as hosts. This is such an important life hack for sure.

I recommend picking up this treasure, it will fill you with faith, hope, and love, in a time where our nation is full of doubt, fear and hate.

The Gospel Comes With A House Key- Amazon.

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IMG_2544This past weekend was the Super Bowl in the USA. Along with all the fun, good, gatherings and excitement there is a dirty little secret, forced prostitution.

Statistics have it that up to 10,000 girls are brought into Super Bowl cities each year by pimps. These girls will be be used and taken advantage of by men. Regardless of those numbers being correct or not, or even if it’s only one girl being brought in, it is an injustice.

This past week a few of us met in San Fransisco to bring awareness of this issue. We went to over 40 hotels and gas stations sharing with desk clerks about forced child prostitution and gave out information on missing girls along with the human trafficking hot line. We heard some heartbreaking stories and brought this issue into the light with many who had no idea it was happening.

It’s easy to do justice. All it takes is you and I taking a stand against what is wrong and promoting what is right. Thanks to you who support us in the ministry here. We pray that you have a great week and anticipate the amazing things God had in store for you.

Phil, Amy and the kids.

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ReCreateI like coffee, I like good chocolate, I like soft t-shirts and I like justice. I also work for a non profit organization and raise all my own support, so I am very conscience about money and what I spend it on. We all live by faith, faith that we won’t lose our jobs, faith that our jobs will still be there tomorrow, faith that (I’m my situation) my supporters will no lose their jobs so that support continues to come in. As a result of this, I used to spend minimal dollars on things that I need/want, like chocolate, coffee and soft t-shirts.

Lets go back to the first sentence where I wrote ‘I like justice.’ Justice is a right relationship between God, man and creation. Justice is giving that which is due, injustice is the abuse of that. When I purchase goods at the cheapest price there is a good chance I am not giving that which is due, but actually doing an injustice. When I purchase something that is fair or direct trade then I am (to the best of my knowledge) giving that which is due and doing justice.

I used buy the cheapest things, and sometimes still do. To be brutally honest I am hesitant to spend a lot of money because I am cheap. I live in the space that if I  buy the cheaper brand I am being a good steward of the money I receive, when in reality I am actively living in a way that I hate, unjust.

I have been challenged lately with my view of God as father and provider. Does God care about justice? Yes. Does God want me to do justice? Yes. Is God a provider? Yes. So if God cares about justice, if God wants me to do justice and if God is a provider then why in the H would I purchasing the cheap goods at the risk of doing injustice? I should be purchasing goods that are ethically made, pay a living wage and provide jobs and life for the farmer growing the coffee, cotton and cocoa that I buy?

Do I have enough faith that God will provide for me if I spend more money on items that I know are giving life to others? This is my hope and prayer. I have faith in a God who does justice, yet I struggle with the thought of “can I buy this as I am not sure how much money I will have next month.” I am not talking about consumerism here, I am talking about using our money to give life to others and in turn meet a desire that I have.

Finally (for now) buying ethically made goods taste better, last longer and make you feel better about yourself in the long run, which is all around a beautiful thing.

Check out a few places doing great things:

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