Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Jesus and crack houses

This is a picture of my neighborhood, where I have lived in Iraq for the last 10 months. We call them the "crack houses". Probably not the most endearing term, but fitting with all the bullet holes in the masonry from gun battles in past days.  Every day I walk toward that SUV parked there on the right at 5:30 pm to go work out with about 30 other friends that I have met here. I'm in my last few days of doing this and a bit introspective as we tend to get towards any change point in our lives. The other day I was making my journey down this road to suffer through p90x and out of the blue was interrupted by thoughts of Jesus. I wasn't singing a praise chorus or in a church building but just walking down a dusty road on an old Iraqi Air Force base. When these thoughts invaded my head I just stopped, looked up at the sky, took in the evening sunset. I didn't hear voices or get a vision to save the world. I just came to a realization the Jesus was with me. I smiled. I looked down the road and saw two soldiers cleaning an MRAP and I was made aware that Jesus was down there too. I wondered about those soldiers, had they lost someone on this tour, did they have a bad break up, were they too just counting days till it was time to go home. And then it dawned on me that I was thinking about two dudes that I didn't even know and had never met and I was concerned with them. I think that is what happens when we live and move daily with Jesus, He leads us beyond ourselves and into the lives of others just like He does. Sometimes its pretty awesome when we can get over ourselves.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Looking Back..Taking Stock

Last May I had a conversation with one of my young guys...Dusitn (pictured 2nd from the left along with King, Lyons, Clemency and me) outside in the 130 degree heat of the Kuwaiti desert about fear and life and Jesus. Dustin was really worried about the area that he was going to work in, he's 20 years old, his whole life ahead of him. Its not uncommon for a young mad to ponder the bigger things in life as he faces a great and unknown challenge. That day Dusitn and I said some words to Jesus and we prayed that God would protect him. Dustin said some new words to Jesus too, receiving life from the Lifegiver. It was a day that I won't soon forget. Well, today Dustin and I are fast approaching another great day and in a few short weeks we'll be back in the place we call home. His team came in from a post way out in the weeds and in the desert. He's been up there running missions outside the wire on a daily basis with his buds. We are all now gathered at a larger base doing redeployment prep. Dustin and I just got through with a conversation about life from here, school, girlfriends, wives and plans down the road. We are going to have some good time over the next week or so. We broke contact to take care of some things a few minutes ago and as he walked up the street I hollered at him, "Hey Dustin, you remember that conversation we had down in Kuwait about being scared?!"
He answered, "Yes sir, I do!" He smiled real big and so did I. He and I shared a moment together with Jesus that no one can ever take away from us. And we got to relive that memory again after a 10 months of heat, work, trials, late nights, helicopter missions, frustration, missing home so bad you can taste it, sweat, pain, laughter, joy, and memorial services. It was as good today as it was back in May of 09. God was faithful even when we forgot about Him, He did not forget about us and He was there even in the silly and mundane stuff. Dustin looks different now, he's stronger, more confident and I doubt there is anything that he can't do. What a privilege to be a part if his life. A few years ago I was gung ho about being a full time itinerant speaker or working on staff at some huge Mega-lo-mart church that was really moving and shaking. The lure of the limelight, the name dropping, the conferences, the notoriety was intoxicating or even doing something "great for God". The problem I have is, how do your define what doing something "great for God" is. I have dear friends who do this that are not in it for the wrong reasons, but don't get me wrong it can be a death trap for sure and it would have been for me. I traded that life for this one. I'm not famous and that is ok, in fact I kind of like being a nobody. Otherwise I wouldn't have had that moment that I just had with Dustin. Now that is great and that is for God!

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Podcast: Irbil

Podcast from the other Iraq! Enjoy! Sorry for the length but we just had too much to talk about today!

The songs of life- Thanks to mom

My home was filled with music and people growing up. Mom loved music and can play an assortment of instruments but her favorites are th...