Wednesday, August 31, 2005

My Part

The past 24 hours have been much like the past 24 days which have been much like the past 24 months which have been much like the past 24 years. I walked through my waking hours and realized countless moments that I'm not God and can't be and shouldn't be. I must admit, every time I realize this, there is a bit of dejection that I experience. It is almost always with a hint of shock that I make this discovery too. "Ah man, I wanted to play God today...bummer"

Yesterday, when I woke up after my 17th consecutive night of 5 hours of sleep and felt like I could go back to sleep until mid November, I wished that I could be God so I didn't have to shut down and could stay up 24/7. Apparently, God is the only one qualified to do that (and didn't he say something about a Sabbath deal in Gen?) and so that stinks. I went into the office and realized that my small church has more need than one man can provide. Now you think I would realize this since in my own life God uses many people to help me transform spiritually. So I sat at my desk and kept wishing I was God. Good thing we had a staff meeting yesterday so I could at least be in charge of something. That feeling of power quickly faded after our amazing administrator, Karen Black, beat me bad in bowling yesterday. (this just in...Stephen Bailey bowled a 155!)

Last night Kim and I attended a fund raising dinner for Eastern European Missions with our friends Alan and Donna Phillips from MRN) and watched a video of people who are hurting and hungry for Bibles. I wanted so badly to heal and help them all! At one point I leaned over to Kim who had either been covertly cutting onions for an hour or was her usually compassionate self and was crying a Niagara of tears and said, "should we not unpack the boxes?" (implying that we move to Russia and help these people) to which she said, "yes!" Bottom-line is that we could move to Russia and still the need will be overwhelming. Why? Because try as I might, I am not God. Kim is a lot closer but even she is not God.

And then this morning I was hit again with the reality that I can't play God's part as looked at photos online of the devastation caused by Katrina in the Gulf Coast states. Horrible! For some powerfully painful pictures click here. As I scrolled through those pics I was just overwhelmed to the point of grief with the destruction and wished so badly that I could have stopped it or at least fixed it with a snap of my fingers. But I couldn't. I can't. I never will be able to.

But I can play my part. I can do my part in the grand play of life for the one act that I get to live. I can serve with all I've got for the hours that I'm awake. I can lead and encourage the staff and church with which God has blessed me. I might not be cast in the part of missionary in the Ukraine but I can give of my money and prayers. I can't stop a Hurricane (and apparently it shouldn't have been stopped?) but I can start a collection at our church to help raise funds for the victims.

I can do my part. You can do your part. God is on His throne! Amen.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Have a Blessed Day!

Yesterday was Kim's last day at work as the Senior Switchboard Operator for ACU. For the past 21 months, Kim has been the most amazing example of Paul's admonition to the church in Collosse, "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lor, not for men."

Throughout her time at ACU, Kim has received plenty of praise for a job well done including these kind words from Mike Cope:

"I'm going to do you a favor here. Need a lift? Think of someone you need to speak to at ACU, but don't dial them direct. Instead call 674-2000. You'll likely get Kim Quile who says in the kindest voice you'll hear all day, "I hope you have a blessed day."It's amazing that one kind voice saying something so simple as "have a blessed day" can make life more enjoyable. But it's true.(Now -- only do this once -- so I don't add to her workload!)" - Wednesday, February 04, 2004

The past couple of days people have emailed their appreciation, stopped by her office to say thanks, and even called her and said something like this, "I don't need a number Kim. I just wanted to tell you how much you mean to the university and to hear you say, 'Have a blessed day' one last time."

And yesterday a co-worker, Chris Campbell, (from a completely different department) wrote these amazing words:

"A Sad Farewell
Today, Abilene Christian University says "good-bye" to its most prized employee. No, I'm not talking about President Royce Money. I'm not talking about our VP of Development, John Tyson, or any other member of the President's cabinet.I'm not talking about any member of the faculty...though each of them are extremely valuable in their own right. I'm not talking about anyone from Campus Life or the other organizations that so ably guide and mentor the young people on this campus.I'm talking about our campus operator...Kim Quile.Those of you who don't work at ACU might think this is a failed attempt at satire on my part. But for those of us who work at ACU, it's quite easy to defend this claim. After all, Kim, to many folks, is the voice of ACU.Before I came to ACU I worked for seven years at EDS in Plano. The majority of my customers were small credit unions in the Midwest -- simple and friendly. So I shuddered every time they would call in through the EDS toll-free they were always greeted by the familiar hurried, impolite, brash, I-just-got-off-my-8th-15 minute-smoke-break voice of the EDS operator. What a way to start a phone call!I don't have any statistics to support how many phone calls Kim Quile fields in a day...but I would dare say it's well into the hundreds. And each of those folks are greeted with the same cheery, Spirit-filled, joyful voice of Kim Quile.It's quite likely that each person Kim Quile spoke to was not happy. But I am confident that by the time Kim had rerouted their call they couldn't help but be in a better she always signs offs with familiar, "...and I hope you have a blessed day."I don't think we'll have to work in Heaven (PRAISE GOD!!!)...but if we do, I hope the Lord employs Kim Quile as Heaven's official receptionist." Tuesday, August 16, 2005

When we first arrived back in Abilene, Kim was known to many on the ACU campus as, "Joel's wife." It wasn't long after she started working for ACU that I became known as, "Kim's husband." Words cannot express how proud I am to be Kim's husband!

Thank you babe for setting an example for all of us!

One of the blessings of my new job is that Kim will not have to work outside the home. Today she will take both girls to school (Emily's starts at 7:50 and Laura's at 9:00) and then head up here to the church for her first Wee School (Pre-School) meeting.

I know that whatever she does, she will work with all her heart to bring a blessing to others!

Have a blessed day babe!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

I Stretched. The Lord Drove.

"Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on the left."

Those of you who read my previous post know that something happened to me and my family last week that was cause for great joy. I have accepted an invitation to serve the Lake Cities Church of Christ as Senior Minister.

Due to the fact that I actually began work yesterday (yes, that is right, Monday, Aug 15th) and am in the middle of a tornado of transition I will not have time to share the story of the past weeks and months. To call it crazy is an understatement. It would be kinda like the Israelites watching God release them from Pharaoh’s captivity, send a bunch of bizarre plagues, lead them with fire and cloud and then at the last minute part the sea and then trying to describe that journey in a blog (while walking across the sea at that!).

God has blessed our family with the desires of our heart. The family of believers at Lake Cities is a perfect fit for our family. I am so blessed! It is always an honor and privilege to tell the Story and share the Good News in any church in any city. However, I feel a deeper level of amazement in my situation. I literally feel like the Israelites must have felt as they walked down that dry path that was normally occupied by the sea itself while looking up to their left and right at walls of water!

I really hope to share more soon. I am also dedicated to starting my ministry here right so that means less talk and more rock! If you would be so gracious as to keep lifting up our family in your prayers. You can pray specifically for our girls (they started school last Thursday) and for our home situation (we need our house to sell in Abilene before we can buy in Trophy Club) and for all the other details that go with transition.

I love you all. Even the "comedians" who felt compelled by God to act the fool on my previous blog. God is good! Stretch out and let Him drive!

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Yeah, Like That Kind!

Do you remember the kind of smile you had on your face when you were like four and your mom or dad would tickle you?

Do you remember the kind of smile you had when you were eight and got that bike for Christmas?

Do you remember the smile your face dawned when you were twelve and you hit the winning home run in the bottom of the 7th with two outs?

Or the smile after that first kiss from "that girl" at age 16?

Do you remember back in college - that grin you wore after getting that A on the final of your hardest class? (I don't - I thought I'd ask you)

If you can remember all the times that you smiled a huge smile because you were so happy that you could hardly contain yourself...

You remember that smile?

Well, I have a smile on my face today.

Yeah, like that kind.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Good Times at Medieval Times

Last night our family was treated to an evening at Medieval Times by a wonderful couple from Lake Cities. It was a blast! Another really cool family went with us and we just laughed and laughed and really enjoyed ourselves.

God is so good! We experienced another really comfortable week at Lake Cities and it is just exciting!

I will write more tomorrow!!!

Thursday, August 04, 2005

1 Billion Dollars. (and a Roll of Duct Tape)

Am I the only one who finds it a bit odd that after spending 1 Billion dollars (yes, Billion with a "B") NASA had to resort to using DUCT TAPE to further fix the shuttle? Duct Tape might be fine for a leaky pipe or to repair a box or something, but the shuttle?

Can you imagine that conversation?

"Houston, we have a problem."

"Just slap some duct tape on it!"

These guys are going to be entering the earth's atmosphere at like a gajillion miles an hour and they are counting on duct tape to keep them from becoming human briquettes. I'm not making this up either. I've attached the article below for you to see for yourself.

In all seriousness, I really feel that we should be praying for the entire Crew and even those in the re-entry path on the ground. I really hope that we don't have another tragedy! If the Shuttle makes it safely (which NASA expects) I can honestly say that my already high appreciation of Duct Tape will get even higher.

Employing the kind of NASA ingenuity seen during Apollo 13, an astronaut prepped for an emergency repair job Wednesday on Discovery's exterior with forceps, scissors and a hacksaw fashioned out of a blade and a little duct tape.Stephen Robinson's mission was to remove two short pieces of filler material that were sticking out of the shuttle's belly. NASA feared the material could lead to a repeat of the 2003 Columbia tragedy during Discovery's re-entry next week.He could simply pull the stiff fabric out with gloved hands. If a gentle tug did not work, he was to pull a little harder with forceps. And if that didn't work, he was supposed to use a hacksaw put together in orbit with a deliberately bent blade, plastic ties, Velcro and the handyman's favorite all-purpose fix-it: duct tape. (photo credit: NASA TV)

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Blow Open The Doors!

I preached on Acts 20:7-12 last week at Lake Cities. Towards the end of the sermon I shared a poem that God put on my heart a while back. I thought I would share it with you and have also included a short excerpt from my message. I plan on putting the entire text on my website soon so check it out.

Here it is:

Remember the little rhyme you learned as a kid?

Here is the church.
Here is the steeple.
Open the doors
And see all the people.

Last night as I was lying in bed the following little poem came to my heart.

There are the people.
And there is God.
But the church is over here
Now isn’t that odd?

What if the church moved?
From over here to over there
Joined God in His mission
of redemption and care?

We could sell the old steeple
And blow open the doors
And run to embrace
Those who’ve fallen three floors

Our actions our sermon
His justice our voice
Now that would change lives
And be cause to rejoice!

Paul was concerned about the lost. Jesus is concerned about the lost. God is concerned about the lost. Concerned to the point of action. Concerned to the point of change. God is calling us to do the same. I believe this text is calling the church to be a community where people will do whatever it takes to save some. He is calling us "Christians" to "wake up" and rise up and descend into greatness and engage and embrace those in our world who lay broken and left for dead. He is calling us to go to them and to love them back to life and share with them not only the gospel but our lives as well. Only then will we earn the right to break bread with them and live with them in community. And only the revolution of changed lives is enough to cause the church to greatly rejoice. The reality of changed lives is what really brings God glory.
Changed lives. It is the story of the Bible. It is the story of Acts. And it is the story of Eutychus. It should be our story too.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Good Question, Rick. Here Is My Yearbook Answer.

"So what will you say about your visit to Lake Cities in your blog?"

The question was a good one. Good enough to quiet a usually gregarious guy like me.

But not for long...

This past weekend our entire family made the quick trip to Trophy Club (DFW Metroplex) to interview for the Senior Minister position at Lake Cities Church of Christ. To say that we enjoyed it would be a gross understatement. This church loved us and blessed us to a degree that we had not previously experienced on our journey. I will attempt to express my feelings in a manner similar to how we use to write our senior memories in our yearbooks back in the day. This might not make any sense to anyone else besides me but this is my blog and hey, the question was asked to me in the first place. So here I go. Lake Cities Yearbook Style:

Decent drive - nice hotel - Chili's was good (grilled Salmon) but the company was great (didn't get grilled)! Karen, Steve, Alan, Donna, Brenda and (I forget the other guy's name...) - kidding! & Rick were great people. In fact, they still are great. Karen & Steve, thanks for the tour...what a beautiful building! Cruising Trophy Club with Liz Maddox - fun and exciting. Macaroni Grill was delicious (all 5 of us got dessert - yummy!) All 5 of us praying on Saturday night in the hotel will be a memory I will never forget. Sunday morning was so beautiful. So were Brian & Bailey for that matter. Got one answer right on the way. Church Sunday am...what can I say? Kevin the Tech Master - amazing and seamless. Bob Beustring...coming in and hugging me and praying for know how much that meant? A total blessing! Class went well (a chatty group - I love it!) and the message, well, aside from my calling Stephen "hot" and referring to myself as "ruddy" ... went well too. We met so many wonderful people and to try and list all their names would for sure leave some great people out. Lunch - let's just say I was the first to get seconds - grubbin! The inquisition, I mean interrogation, I mean interview, went fantastic. Kathy, Jaime, Stephen, Rich, Alan, Ron, Rick, & Cindy all were a delight. The questions? Tough. The answers? Just me being me and Kim being Kim. Who else could we be? Favorite moment was when Coach brought me to tears with describing his love for the church. After three hours of questions ranging from my dreams for the church to fantasy football we left feeling really, really good. The word "fit" really fits how we felt. Sunday night at the Morgan's was amazing. Fiesta Salad baby! Scott had us rolling. I loved that dude. "I'm no Prentice or Acthley apparently!" :) Loved listening to their hearts. The Quad Z's (Morgan kids) are cool! Again, left feeling so good. The word "right" seems right on to describe how we feel the connection is. Monday morning - golf w/Bailey and Matt (thanks for the use of the car for the kids) and John. While Bailey was drumming us three, the 8 chicks (and Connor the Great!) were chilling at Red Robin. Hated to leave. Tough drive home. So many much emotion. Pure anticipation.

Last night Kim and I went for a walk. I told her I felt like Moses standing on the edge of the Red Sea just waiting for a "Raise your staff and stretch out your hand" moments.

I'm trying my best to hear it. The roar of chariots and the waves is loud. God is moving and speaking. I believe He is saying "move on" (Ex 14:15). We'll have to wait before we sea!