The heat reminds me of Texas. When I was in Junior High, it was nothing to spend an afternooon in 100 plus degrees playing tennis alone, beating a ball against a wall across the street at the elementary school on a surface littered with gravel, so that the ball always took crazy, unexpected bounces. Why I thought that was fun, I have no idea. But I loved it, the deep concentration of trying to keep up with the mostly dead little ball, sweat dripping into my eyes, the salty feeling of what it meant to work hard at something that was just fun. Just fun.
Across the street this morning, a man with a garbage can climbs into the back of a truck, a flatbed truck with sideboards, and dumps yard waste–maple leaves and branches. Dust bursts from the pile like an advertisement for the heat of the day. It’s doubtful he’s having fun, mercury climbing. My perch is fine: the concrete slab at Javasti’s keeps it cool for now, and I can easily imagine sitting here the entire morning. I have two sermons to finish, worship planning issues to resolve, and as always, futures to prep for.
During our mornings at camp, (I’m not speaking this morning, so I came back into town last night to see the family and take care of some things that needed handling), we’ve been talking about the Image of God. I’ve also been using some coaching questions to challenge the people about what God is trying to do in their lives at this particular juncture, questions like “If God were to personally guarantee the success of the ministry dream that’s inside you, what would you begin doing differently in order to make that dream of ministry a reality?” Or “What is is the one thing holding you back from taking the first steps toward that call to ministry?” Doug Collier, the man with whom I am sharing speaking duties at Pleasant Valley Christian Camp, has an amazing story about what it means to answer the call. Doug is a CPA who, in 1997, began a not-for-profit called Serve the Children. To make a long story short, Doug and his team have been going into war-torn Liberia, where they have been approaching child-combatants (child soldiers, ages 8-14, roughly), and offering them a trade: “Give me your AK-47, and I’ll teach you a different way to make a life.” Stunning stuff. Serve the Children currently serves over 1000 kids, teaching them to read and write, offering them hope in a devastated landscape, changing lives in dynamic, practical ways. (FYI, Christian Relief Fund also works in Liberia.) Hearing Doug tell just a couple of stories about his work there, the dangers of it (I’ve never had an AK-47 pressed against the back of my head while lying face down), and the successes of repairing these children in this war-torn country…we were all pretty inspired.
So it’s hot…the world still needs changing…