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Monday, April 28, 2014

Birds of a Feather

Designing and building stuff was always my thing. Even as a kid those events were my "sweet spots." After high school I briefly studied Architecture, but some timely observations triggered me to change my focus to engineering. Four years later my earned Bachelor's degree (BS, Engineering, 1970) from Oregon State University was from the department of Production Technology with a minor in Business Administration. (The same program at OSU is now advertised as Civil Engineering Technology.) 

In school I was an active member of the student chapter of Construction Engineering Students and the student Association of General Contractors. My after-graduation ambitions were modest by today's standards and a special young lady had also entered my life. My career plans were put on a two-year hold by the Vietnam war conflict, then....finally...I got an engineering job with CH2M-Hill. My role found me involved supervising the resurfacing of runways at Portland International Airport and then the construction of a 1.5 million gallon water tank on Mt. Sylvania in Lake Oswego, Oregon. 
I was smitten.
 But the winds of change were blowing. My plan soon came to a grinding halt. Along the way our first two sons had been born, and long story short, I lost my job. So I decided this might be a good time to get some seminary training. (Did you hear the logic in that?) Then, precious people God placed around me through those years and some other related uncertainties together influenced my career path. God only knows all those details. (Proverbs 16:9)

When I at was OSU all my close friends were engineers. We hung together through those special undergrad years. As a general rule we were all very studious...and not a slacker among us! Even at that time I was very aware of God's presence and call on my life. I translated the challenges I found in the gospel and personally forwarded them to my interested friends. Some of them developed vital faith and similarly became followers of Jesus Christ. That piece--the like-minded element in it--intrigued and affirmed me then, and I believe it will play an important role in my present and future support-raising activities.

I know that fellow engineers and engineer-minded men and women understand the territory of the profession. So I believe asking fellow engineers to get behind my effort for the CSM campus is both appropriate and strategic! 90 percent of CSM's students are engineering focused. Those graduates work really hard for their degrees, and they're of particular interest to me. As alums, CSM holds a special place in their hearts, it's a "birds of a feather" sort thing. If they are also Christ followers, they share a Kingdom passion for the CSM community and its people. So, I am particularly seeking their insight, suggestions, their prayers and their financial support. 

So again, I'm directing everyone who wants to help me to go to my web page at Missions Door (click there) and see the top right corner of that page for donation next steps. That's the shortest distance between getting the word out and my being able to actually get started on campus getting the WORD out! 

  • For strategic people connections...and for God's favor
  • For the perseverance in the use and management of time and energy juggling what I'm doing right now
  • For wisdom and insight in my decision-making processes


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Ministry That Can Be: Some humbling and exciting thoughts....and prayers

 The very thought that I could again be focused to touch peoples' lives, and this time on the Colorado School of Mines campus...well, it's precious!  Since my successful application to Missions Door eight months ago, I've grown increasingly excited and marvelously aware of the opportunity I've been given. 

1977 Western Seminary Grad
I remember feeling this way in Oregon, in my early thirties. At that time I had recently graduated from Western Seminary. I'd been appointed by an international missions organization (the same one!) and I was trying to finish up my support-raising effort and move to Colorado. The move and support-raising success triggered an adventure at the University of Denver. It became a 15-year tenure at DU, of course now history, that saw scores of students come to Jesus Christ. It similarly impacted the lives of many precious members of the University's academic, administrative, athletic and faculty communities.

This past s-l-o-w eight months have prompted some interesting, albeit very unofficially prognostic comparisons between then, in my 30's..and now.
A young missionary family serving  the DU campus, 1987
  • Then....I had never started a university-focused ministry before--especially on a campus with an earned reputation (at that time) that said to Protestant evangelical ministries, "Go away; leave us alone!" Also, outside of my personal experience as a undergraduate student, I didn't really know how a college or university worked or was put together. But now...I have that very successful ministry PLUS 15 years of administrative insight at Centers for Christian Study International and VP for Student Affairs at Rivendell College. I even helped start the college! 
  • Then....fresh out of seminary, I had a pretty tight set of expectations for what a good, biblical ministry should accomplish. I had excellent biblical training and understanding around the rebellions and sinful nature of man. However, I had almost zero training or insight to practically love and support tragically fallen and emotionally broken people to move beyond their emotional ruts and relationship scars. But now...I have the academic degrees, pedigrees, 20 years of proven experience, and some modest confidence to recognize first my limitations and then those of the precious people God brings my way to empower them.
  • Then....I was largely ignorant of university systems, administrative protocols and the reasons behind them. I really had little knowledge of how it all worked together to support student integrity, personal and community growth and development, or how it all contributed to a community-college/university reputation. But now....I've "been there; done that." I know it inside and out, backwards and forwards. For example, I've created the documents that support a student community's living environment and that help distinguish it as a healthy, supportive and cooperative system.
  • Then....I was a young guy focused predominately on collegians. But I worked hard to relate and be relevant to the administrative echelon, to departmental faculty, and to the university's team staff--the grounds crews, facility and maintenance personnel, security, etc. But now....because I've "been there and done that too" I've found I can communicate easily with administrators, faculty, and staff on a peer level, share war stories and count battle scars--yes--of the professional and the life-relationship varieties. 
  • general life experience was comparatively limited. Understandably, it made it harder for me to see how to make student development programs practical and progressively relevant. But now...I can see how and why I was near-sighted in my development perspective. I know, oh so much better, what to do, for example, in both supporting and training my own student leaders, but also in my attempt to galvanize more general curiosity and involvement of the student community and its diverse leadership base.  
OK...Please read this blog entry in context with my many other entries. I'm not really trying to toot my own horn, but I do realize no one else will do it for me

As you can tell, I'm genuinely excited and humbled to be in the position I'm in, this opportunity God has given me....again! I covet your prayers, your financial support, your insight, and your collaborative partnership. Again, if you have not been there already, please visit my web page at Missions Door (click there).


Saturday, April 5, 2014

Dead People Walking?

A friend was in our home fidgeting with his new mobile phone. Head down, deeply concentrating on details he saw in his screen,  he walked slowly, albeit purposefully, across the living room still carrying a marginally intelligent conversation"? I quipped, "Dead man walking?," and his broken concentration erupted in laughter. If you have a smart know the territory.

Then the spiritual truth in the situation broke in on me. How easy it is to get lost in the spiritually distracting demands of a moment, of the week or the month...of my life. All the contemporary important tyrannical stuff subtly inserts itself into my intimate routines; it easily becomes the stuff of life. Ugh.

No cell phone criticism intended here, but in that moment I was curiously reminded how important it is for me to practice the reality of my Spiritual life (Colossians 3:1ff); 
  • to consciously and purposefully dedicate myself to disciplined parallel commitments that contextualize today's demanding temporal circumstances (Romans 12: 1-2).
  • to appropriately subject myself to the always present and ever jealous availability of our marvelous loving God (I John 5: 21).
  • to live in the unfathomable truth that He literally died for me in time and space (John 3:16)!
  • to invest myself in the implicit demands that spiritual truth makes on my time and how I use it (Philippians 2: 5-11) .
  • to develop the variety of life and spiritual disciplines (virtues) and skills I am commanded to master and humbly practice (Galatians 5:22; I Peter 1: 3-9).