Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Adventure Begins... Not Yet!

It's Saturday morning, February 28th, and I'm sitting in the JFK airport in New York. My flight out of Baltimore was delayed on Friday evening because of high winds in New York, and when we finally landed, I watched my Emirates connecting flight lifting off!

The next flight for me leaves sometime after 11:00 am on Saturday (that one is delayed also - I'm looking out the window at it right now.). With the help of Gina Emmanuel, calling her and bothering her after 11:30 pm on Friday, I was able to contact Pastor Daniel's son Jesher to notify him of my delay. (Many thanks to Gina!)

But, now worries from me! Other than a long night on a bench at JFK, I'm no worse for wear and enjoying the time alone reading and studying (and a new song may be brewing in my heart). The only downside is that I was supposed to preach at Pastor Daniel's church on Sunday morning but that won't happen because I don't arrive in India until Sunday night.

Well, the adventure has already started... and it hasn't even started! Stay tuned...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A Message Of Hope... In Difficult Times

This Friday it's "wheels up" as I leave for India. I will be arriving in Hyderabad early on Sunday morning, and after a 2 1/2 hour drive to Kazipet, I will be partnering with Pastor Daniel Kalyanapu at the Immanuel's School of the Bible in India. My senior pastor, Charles Schmitt, will arrive on Monday from Israel, and together we will minister to the Bible School graduates, to the church at Kazipet, and at a crusade in the city.

Once again the opportunity was offered to me to come and minister to a people much like you and me, but who live in a different culture and have a different understanding of life. Neither ours nor theirs is wrong, better than the other, or worse than the other. Simply different.

Here in America, the people of our country are reeling under the pressures of a recessionairy economy. Many people's retirement funds have lost upwards of 30%. Layoffs have numbered in the hundreds of thousands. People are not able to take the expensive vacations they had planned, but must settle for recreation and entertainment closer to home.

In India, the vast majority of people for generations are simply seeking to feed their families the next meal, to accumulate enough rupees to take the hugely overcrowded bus to visit their relatives two hours away, and wait for the power to come back on during the daily blackouts so they can continue to cook supper.

Not better, not worse, simply different.

And so I go to India, equipped with the message of hope in Jesus. It's the same message that Americans need to hear: not because of the economy, nor because of the difficult times we are facing. But rather because hope is a universal need.

Differing cultures describe difficult times in different terms. But, all peoples need to hear the message of hope in Jesus because simply stated, all people are in need of hope.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Coming Soon... India 2009!

In less than two weeks I will be leaving once again for India for a couple of weeks of ministry. I will be joining up with my Senior Pastor, Charles Schmitt, who will be traveling to Israel for a week and then on to India.

Please visit this Blog often for regular updates of our trip. Our first day of ministry will be Sunday, March 1st.

Also, visit the Immanuel's Church website beginning next week for a special devotional tracing the journey of Pastor Charles and his team as they "walk where Jesus walked".

India is in my heart. Allow me to share my heart with you through this Blog.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Job Satisfaction And The Large Paycheck

This article caught my eye this week:

So much for the notion that workers prize career growth more than cold, hard cash. Half of new college graduates say they would rather have high-paying jobs, even if it means less satisfying careers, according to an Experience Inc. survey. More than one quarter cite student loans as a big factor. (Workforce Management 12.23.08)

Well this could make for some interesting conversations. "Hey Steve-o. I heard you landed a killer job at Intercorp." "Not really, but the pay is great! I'll survive."

Perhaps we could turn our attention towards another point of focus. Could today's college graduates be seeking high-paying jobs simply because they are looking for high pay? Is the desire to become rich overshadowing all other motivations?

Maybe they think that satisfaction on the job is over-rated. Get the bucks, buy what you want, who cares if you are happy.

But what about those who have chosen not-so-lucrative jobs and careers and yet they find a certain contentment in doing what they do. Most of these jobs/careers have to do with investing into the lives of others. Those who follow this path understand that their satisfaction isn't found in the size of their paycheck, but rather in the size of their hearts.

I would say that doing something that helps others, although it may not be on the high end of the pay scale, can prove to be incredibly satisfying. Sure you may not be able to afford all that you want to buy, live where you want to live, and drive what you want to drive, but you feel good about yourself and hopefully lives are being changed.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Solitary Ideas?

Today in a staff meeting two of my co-workers reported that they had attended a conference over the weekend. While highlighting the conference, one of them stated that the most valuable time was when the two of them met over lunch and having been stimulated by the morning seminars, they began to exchange ideas and create plans for their own ministries.

I have always felt that some of my best ideas come during or immediately after conversations, lectures or activities with others that stimulate my thinking and creativity.

Just after that staff meeting I read this report published in the New York Times on January 21, 2009: The census Bureau, based on data collected in 2007, estimates that 31.1 million people in the United States live alone, which is 27% of all households, a significant increase from 17% in 1970.

Standing alone, this information from my co-workers and this report from the Census Bureau may seem unrelated. But as I look at it, they are highly intertwined.

I would agree that creativity can emerge from solitude. But I would lean toward the idea that more creativity emerges from conversation, collaboration and cooperation.

My input: don't isolate yourself. Be in relationship with others, especially with those who stimulate your thinking, inspire your heart, and challenge you to grow. Be creative... with others!

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