Tag Archives: Rift Valley Academy

If God guaranteed one thing on your bucket list would happen before you die, what would you choose?

26 Dec

Did you cross anything off your bucket list in 2014?

bucketListGet married? Travel somewhere? Perform physical feat?

This year my family drove from Lancaster, PA, to Austin, TX, to visit my wife’s cousin and his family.  Though it was not coast-to-coast, it was the longest we had ever driven, and the first time for most of us through Tennessee, Arkansas, and Texas.

Last week I got to experience my first NFL regular season game, as my son and I went with friends to see the Redskins host the Eagles.  The tailgating atmosphere, the raucous cheering fans, and the three people we saw escorted off the premises by police, I will never forget, but I don’t know that I’ll go again.

My oldest son got his driver’s license, and his first car.

My second son got his first job, as well as played on the varsity soccer team.

My wife and I turned 40, and good friends surprised the heck out of us with an amazing party.  I ran my second half-marathon with some of those same friends on my birthday, a brutally hot and humid day.  Times were slow, but we made it.

As I look back on 2014, these are all things I would have definitely wanted to do before I die.  That is what a bucket list is all about: things you would like to do before you die.  Though I don’t have a physical paper Bucket List, I’ve had one on my mind for a long time.  And the first item on the list is writing a book.  I would also love to travel more, though I’ve been abundantly blessed to travel frequently in my 40 years. Before I die, I hope to visit Wales, where my grandmother was born.  I would love to visit the Holy Land, to see the Bible come alive.  I would love to travel with my wife to Cambodia to see firsthand what Imagine Goods is up to!

Next year, if things come together, a group from Faith Church will travel to Kenya, to visit our Faith Church family members, the Stoltzfuses, that serve at Rift Valley Academy.  I’m super excited about that trip!

Looking further to the future, I hope to see my kids graduate high school, maybe college, start families and have kids.  My grandkids.  I look forward to meeting them!

I’ve thought about going back to school to get a doctorate.  I think I would still like to do that some day.

In recent years, and especially as my third son and I have read the Hatchet series, I’d like to do some kind of extended stay in the wilderness.  Or maybe do an long hike on the Appalachian Trail.

What’s on your bucket list?  Do you have any goals you’d like to accomplish before you do? No one has to have a bucket list, but planning for the future is a wise idea.

What should be on a bucket list?  I found a site that boasts 10,000 ideas.  But what if you put items on your list that aren’t worth your time, and you only find that out after you complete them?  How do we know what we should put on a bucket list?

On Sunday we meet a guy in the Bible who had a bucket list.  I don’t know how long the list was, but it had one item God guaranteed would happen.  It was a very important item.  And God promised that before this guy died, he would be able to cross it off the list.  Imagine that!  As you think about your bucket lists, what if you could choose one thing on it that God guarantees will happen.  Which item would you choose for the God “lock”?  If God guaranteed this guy’s bucket list item, that’s a pretty strong indicator that it should be worth our consideration too.

Join us Sunday at Faith Church as we look at Luke 2:21-40, where one person has a Bucket List “God Lock” item, and it happens!

Kenya, Men’s Retreat, Congregational Meeting – Monday Messy Office Report – 11/17/14

17 Nov

My office is tidy Friday, mysteriously messy Monday.  Here’s why:

Kijabe-Kenya11. Kenya trip stuff – I am super excited about this.  A group from Faith Church is planning on to take a 10-day trip in July/August 2015 to visit our Faith Church family members, Lamar, Janice & Donovan Stoltzfus, serving at Rift Valley Academy in Kenya!  Yesterday, after the events of the day which I’ll talk about below, we had a Skype info meeting with them, and it was great.  In my office I have the cables and camera we use to facilitate the call.  I also have a few leftover applications, which are due by January 1st, with a $250 deposit.  I want to thank Verna Miller at MTS Travel for all her assistance with reserving our air passage.  Most of all I want to thank Alyssa Stoltzfus who took a break from college to spend the afternoon with us and help answer questions, and I want to thank Lamar & Janice for a great call.  We love you guys!  And from what they shared, we are going to have a wonderful trip.  There is opportunity to serve at a displaced persons camp, at a church in the camp, certainly on the campus of RVA, and lots more.

2. Men’s Retreat registrations – I am also excited about our fourth annual men’s retreat going on at Twin Pines Camp this coming weekend.  We have a great group going along, and we’re excited to have Sandy Good of Live 10:27 Ministries as our speaker.  He is hilarious and has deep teachings.  The theme is Mighty Men of Prayer.  I can’t believe I’m saying all this nice stuff…he’s also my father-in-law.  There’s still room if anyone would like to join us!  Contact me, and I’ll send you a brochure.  We’re going to have a blast.  And Twin Pines is such an amazing place. We’ll have great food, lots of outdoor fun, sports, and great discussions.

3. Congregational Meeting stuff – We had our annual congregational meeting yesterday, and it was great!  We had an election of our very first Leadership Team.  Faith Church has been working on a governance change for years, and earlier this year we voted it in place.  A six-month transition took place, and on January 1, 2015, the new governance system, including the Leadership Team, will begin.  Basically we sought out biblical principles to guide us in creating a governance structure.  The Bible is wisely very flexible in that regard, but one clear principle emerged as it relates to who should be a leader.  That principle is that the most spiritually mature should lead the church.  So we implemented a process to select leaders by virtue of spiritual maturity, and God provided!  Congrats to all who were selected.  I’m excited about working with you, excited to see what God will do in and through Faith Church!

Now to clean up this mess!

Skype with the Stoltzfuses!

22 Aug

I remember as a kid being fascinated by the missionary phone patch, or at least that is what it was called at the church I grew up in.  During a worship service, we would call one of our missionaries and do a mini-interview with them through the church sound system.  It was really cool to think that our whole congregation was talking with someone halfway around the world.  As the church got more technology proficient, I remember that we would use an overhead projector to show their picture during the call.

Fast forward 20 years.

Stoltzfuses 2013Two weeks ago at Faith Church we Skyped with Lamar and Janice Stoltzfus, long-time Faith Church members who are full-time EC missionaries serving with Africa Inland Mission at Rift Valley Academy in Kenya.  It was a live video call.  Live video of them was on our big screen up front, and through a camera in our sanctuary, they could see us.  Through our sound system we could talk as if they were right there.  The wonder of the internet.  It was like Skype that you are accustomed to, but on a big scale!  I am so thankful for that kind of technology.

We’ve done it before plenty of times with our missionaries, but those calls have always been short, 5-10 minutes.  We would check in, hear brief updates and prayer requests, pray with them and say good bye.  But then we thought, why not give them the whole service like we do with missionary guest speakers?  Through the magic of Skype we can easily do this.

That is if Kenya doesn’t lose internet!  As it did last time we tried to do a short Skype with them.  Imagine that…the internet goes out over an entire country.  That gives you a bit of a picture of life in Kenya.

Thankfully this time, the connection was great, until literally right before I was about to turn the service over to them.  At that very moment we lost the connection.  It was great that their daughter Alyssa was with us in person, and she had just spent a month with them in Kenya. So as I interviewed her, the sound/projection team restored the connection and got the Stoltzfuses back on the line, and we had a clear call the rest of the way. No delays either.

It was great to hear from Kenya, where God is at work!