Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Divine Appointment With India

Next Tuesday, October 6th, I will be leaving for India on a mission trip. I will be connecting with Pastor Daniel Kalyanapu of Ecclesia Ministries, India, and Immanuel's School of the Bible in Kazipet, Andhra Pradesh (sponsored by Immanuel's Church, where I serve as Executive Pastor). This will be my sixth mission trip to India and the fifth time I am partnering with Pastor Daniel.

Our team, including Pastor Daniel's son and nephew, will be conducting evangelistic meetings where we will share the Word of God and pray for physical needs among the largely Hindu population. We will also expand the team to include doctors and conduct medical camps among some remote peoples and villages.

In planning and preparing for this trip (which was conceived last March), Pastor Daniel informed me that he had arranged for a three-day series of preaching and ministry meetings in Kadapah, a ten-hour journey by car from Kazipet. I believe that this crusade is a divine appointment.

Three weeks after Pastor Daniel finalized the plans for this crusade, the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh (comparable to a state governor in the USA, but with 80,000,000 constituents) was killed in a helicopter accident.

The Chief Minister, who had just completed the first year of his second five-year term, was a Christian and a friend of the people. He enacted and supported legislation and policies that benefited the populace, especially the poor. Upon hearing the news of his death, over 480 people died, either by heart attack or by committing suicide. He was truly beloved by the people.

The reason I believe that this is a divine appointment, is because Kadapah is the Chief Minister's hometown, and they are still in mourning. Pastor Daniel and I believe that opportunities for ministry there will be great!

I will post to the Blog at least once more before I leave for India, and will update it frequently. Please comment and let me hear from you!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Singular Multi-tasking

Here are some interesting facts from a Stanford University study published in the August 24, 2009 edition of the Precedings of the National Academy of Sciences:
  • In the study, Stanford researchers tested two groups of people — regular multitaskers and non-multitaskers — in an attempt to identify cognitive differences in people capable of doing many things at once. It turns out that non-multitaskers scored higher in all three categories of the study: attention, memory and even work efficiency.
  • Some scientists believe that multitasking can not only hurt productivity, but also damage the brain. The solution is simple: Focus on one thing at a time.
(Allow me to confess that I am multitasking as I write this Blog. Brain damage!)

Although you may be a multitasker, may I ask if you are the most effective, and most productive when multitasking? When you sit down to work, study or create, do you feel the most comfortable when you have a few things going on? Have you ever tried to do a singular task?

I offer that we were created by the Creator, so we can be creative. And to accomplish this, sometimes we need to turn off a few devices and close a few folders, and focus on one thing.  That's how God created: one focus per day.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Parallel Parking And Other Rites Of Passage

My daughter is about to get her driver's license. Remembering my driving test, hearing from others, and of course knowing first-hand my two son's experiences, parallel parking is many would-be drivers nemesis. And so we practice parallel parking.

A course is marked off, traffic cones are set-up, an hour of time blocked out. It must be done. It is inevitable. We have to learn how to parallel park. Frustrations set in, encouragement morphs into rebuke, and sometimes tears are shed.

Many equate getting one's driver's license as a rite of passage. And it is. But I want to offer that parallel parking is a rite of passage also, for it seems that outside of parallel parking, taking the driving test is easy. And so we practice parallel parking.

And isn't life the same way? We assign significant value to events not realizing that the real value comes from what we invest in to achieve or experience those events. Our first part-time job, graduation from high school, getting into the college of our choice, landing our first job after graduation. Even scuba diving or running a marathon. Each of these require work.

I offer that we do not lose sight of the value of preparation for the events we experience in our lives, but even suggest that we celebrate the journey as much as the destination. For the real value of our character being built and the skills we refine are more important than the reward we receive.

And so we practice parallel parking.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Too Old To Dream?

Too old to dream? Martin Luther King was 34 years old when he gave his famous I Have a Dream speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

Back in May, one of the most-viewed YouTube videos was Susan Boyle singing on Britain's Got Talent show. The unemployed 47 year-old woman dreams of being a professional singer.

In the 2008 Olympics, Hiroshi Hoketsu of Japan competed in an equestrian event. He was 67.

How old is too old to dream? John McCain was 72 years old when he was defeated in the 2008 presidential election

Jack Weil, the founder and CEO of Rockmount Ranch Wear in Denver, at an astonishing 104 years old, still goes into work every day.

In 2007, Nola Ochs, who began taking college classes more than 30 years ago, graduated with a degree in history from Fort Hays State University in Kansas.

You may be seventeen, twenty-seven or seventy, but you can still dream.

What is your dream?

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Tetris On The Brain

Just as my second son was born, the video game Tetris hit the market for the old-school Nintendo game system. I can't remember if we received it as a gift or if my wife and I purchased it, but we owned it. I do remember my wife and I staying up very late many nights playing the game, justifying it by saying that our newborn son was going to wake us up anyway. I also justified it by saying that I was a Youth Pastor, and I needed to be culturally relevant to the students I was seeking to have an influence on (I was undefeated against my students for four years until I was beaten by a freshman girl!).

Yesterday my oldest son emailed me with a news story stating scientific evidence that Tetris can alter the structure of the brain. I was intrigued and at the same time vindicated as I read the article. Intrigued because the information was enlightening to me, and vindicated because of all of those late-nights watching the relentless colored blocks fall made me smarter!

By the way, the study cited in the article was conducted on adolescent girls, but who cares!

When I was s senior in high school, my Youth Pastor shared with me the benefits of memorizing and meditating on the Word of God. One of the benefits he spoke of was the growth that takes place in ones mind, as stated in Psalm 119: 99 I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes. Imagine having more insight than all my teachers! That was motivation enough for me.

The result: I went from a 2.3 GPA my first semester of college to a 4.0 by my 5th semester and I never looked back. Why? Because I memorized and meditated on God's Word (Tetris hadn't come out yet).

My encouragement is this: Do things that stimulate your mind and make you better, smarter, and more creative, thus a better leader and influencer. Even if it means spending a few minutes each day playing a mind-altering game!

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