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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

MAD Goals

The Greater Boston Area
I received a very impact-full text late last week. It came at a great time--and on a day when I really needed it. It was from my friend, Jeff, in Boston. Thirty years ago--in the early 80's--he was an undergrad at the University of Denver. He had committed his life to Christ there at DU. He became one of my student leaders--a member of the CA "Team" for several consecutive years. He also became a loved, "adopted" member of our young family. Today he serves a professional counseling role at a county outpatient resource in the Boston area.

His text included this: "...I want you to know I used something in my group yesterday that you, Richard Brandow, taught at one of our Campus Ambassador's retreats. It just came to me. It was that goals should be MAD...measurable, attainable and definable. I hope one of my clients remembers it 30 years from now!"


That was both really humbling and exquisitely challenging...for sure! May God grant me--and you too--the opportunity to influence many more "Jeff's" in the course of our lives. "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep for that which he cannot lose." Jim Elliott


My Missions Door website

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Of Hair and Worship

Yup, a barber pole
Think about this with me. I get to the barber every two weeks. You? As a general rule the ancient biblical character, Samson, never darkened the barber's door. He was a Nazarite from birth (Numbers 6:2) and a biblical Old Testament Judge. He actually worshiped GOD by not cutting his hair. It was a vow he swore to keep from his childhood. If you've not revisited that story for a while, check it out in Judges 13-16.

When I was younger, Samson  was a bit of a  puzzle to me. I saw him as physically STRONG and morally weak. I said "weak"--not corrupt. Now, as an older adult, I look at him through a different set of lenses. I observe, for example, that Samson was amazingly used by GOD despite his singular weakness. Even way back then--in the Old Testament--God demonstrated His GRACE in Samson's life, because it wasn't until his vow was compromised--until Delilah cut his hair--that his amazing strength t-e-m-p-o-r-a-r-i-l-y left him.

So I ask myself, "what do I love?" How does what I love influence the way I am spending my life--my day-to-day? Why? Because as a child of God (John 3:16) I too have a vow, a love-obligation to worship HIM. Just like Samson, I am privileged to serve the gracious eternal GOD with all my strength (Romans 12:1,2.) as he was similarly privileged to do. Throughout his amazing life Samson was obedient to his vow--with just one short and painful vow-related slip-up. 

Can I say that about me? Nope. For me--and for Christ-followers in general--perhaps even more jaw-dropping and encompassing than Samson amazing life and experiences--is my awareness that God has called me to worship HIM through and in my life-style choices (John 4:25 & 14:6, Philippians 2: 5-7 and Romans 12: 1 & 2, again). Worship, by God's grace, becomes my life-style and effects all my daily choices. So, it's not about hair cuts per se, or about Sunday-go-to-meetings, praise songs or musical worship events, what movies I see or the books I read, or about Bible memory, do's and don'ts of all kinds, "the company I keep", or my career or vocational choices, etc. It's about all of those things and no one of them in particular and influences them all in general (e.g., Matthew 6:33).

So the next time I visit my barber I'm going to look in the mirror, think of Samson, and then ask myself, "Hey bro, how's your worship

PS: Here's a fun, virtual "barber visit"

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Step-by step forward

This support-raising effort sure isn't for the faint of heart. There us so much on the line for me, for Judi, for our future...and for the potential impact I can have and bring to students on the CSM campus. 

I know that God knows all that, and that's very reassuring, but this effort to build a team of friends who partner with me to get there, and then be there, is a huge GUT check...every day. Its back and fourth both painful and exhilarating, so I have my good days and not so good ones...the gut check ones.

So, I revel in your prayers for me through this process...and of course I get really excited when the staff in the Missions Door office emails me to report a new pledge. I am again reminded...
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and don't lean on your own understanding...." Proverbs 3: 5&6.