It happened AGAIN this morning. I looked on twitter and found yet another minister taking not so subtle shots at other ministries. I wanted to scream at my phone. . . “stop!” I didn’t, as the people in this Asian McDonald’s would have probably run in terror. However, [Read more…]
A few months ago, I was asked to be a guest writer for the excellent website, SingleMatters.com. Here is an article I wrote for them a little while back. With some slight changes, I thought it might be nice to re-post it here.
It was spring of my senior year in college. My friend Phil and I decided to go to our first ever “singles Bible study.” There was one in our city that was making all kinds of buzz. Thousands were showing up. “The teaching and music are amazing” we were hearing everywhere. We decided to give it a shot.
What we found was pretty shocking.
I was deeply and eternally impacted by the life and premature death of a best friend. His name was Philip Andrew Clarke and he passed on to heaven 18 years ago this week.
As I said in a post last year, Phil was a best friend and brother in Christ of the highest order. It is incredible how I can STILL miss someone who has been gone for so long, but I do. It is not as often as it used to be, but thoughts, memories, and emotions of Phil, his friendship, and powerful life still hold a big piece of my heart. Amazing.
Upon Phil’s passing, I made two personal commitments. [Read more…]
(At the end of this post, I have a “funny small story” from this trip.)
As I sat there listening to the passionate, venerable nurse speak about her 37 years of serving in the Arabian Desert, I was mesmerized. She had faithfully served in this little desert hospital, appropriately named the Oasis Hospital, in the midst of the United Arab Emirates for over half of her 71 years of life.
Her name was
Today is Halloween. Not unlike most, I have had my share of Halloween revelry over the years. Friday night, as a matter of fact, the other Americans and several local Asian friends will have our own Halloween party. Always fun to see the utter confusion of the local people when a small group of foreigners are walking around this city in random costumes.
Today, however, my mind goes back to a faithful day in the sleepy college town of Wittenberg, Germany on this date exactly 496 years ago to the day. If you are a Christian, this day was one of the most important in history for you.
As you could infer from my last post, it has been a rough few days of fatigue and “re-entry” into Asia. Nothing cataclysmically bad, but tough nonetheless.
I just finished meeting with a friend over coffee. He is a local Asian friend who is a committed follower of Christ and works in finance. We meet together semi-regularly simply as friends and fellow Christians. We are the same age, so that is nice for both of us. He is married to a wonderful woman and has a fun little child.
I entered into the time with my friend tired and depleted. I exited the time energized and filled with a grateful heart. My friend has truly and genuinely encouraged me.
Upon driving back to my apartment (where I am now), I keep thinking about all that happened during this short one hour time at Starbucks which has taken my soul from “meh” to “yes!!!”.
“The Shawshank Redemption” was one of my favorite movies from around the same period as this story of me going to jail. I am not alone, as the movie often is ranked as one of the best of all time.
One of the many elements of “The Shawshank Redemption” which makes it a classic is the wisdom passed down as the characters of Andy and Red interpret their situations and meaning in life. One of my favorite quotes is the following. . .
Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.
This morning, around 10am, I was helping my friend Rush Stuart with the TV he had just purchased. We were in a very busy section of town, where there are many electronic stores. Many people and cars and motorcycles and buses and three-wheel Asian contraptions were going every which way. People were crossing streets talking on cell phones and carrying obscene amounts of “stuff” everywhere. It was a typical Asian street scene. In a word, chaotic.
After 11 years here, I have gotten used to scenes such as this. Actually, I have become impervious to them. They aren’t stressful or exciting or strange or colorful; they just are. This morning was a scene such as this. A scene I have lived in for much of my last 11 years.
Anyway. . . as Rush and I walked to cross this chaotic street, Rush in back and I in front, we were carrying his new TV to my car. Nothing unusual. Then. . .
This morning, as I approached my car in the parking deck of my apartment complex, I noticed a “business card” lodged on the window of my driver side door. This is not an uncommon form of advertising here, so I didn’t think anything of it.
I picked up the card, glanced at it, and immediately realized it was a service that provided “pretty girls” for their clients, complete with a 24 hour service line to call. Unfortunately, I was not taken back, because this type of service is also not uncommon in this part of the world.
There are many emotions and thoughts as I get “business cards” like this one and the world they represent. Bondage. Depression. Desperation. Sadness.
Well, I think I am FINALLY closing out this series “My thoughts on singleness (a series. . .)” with these next two posts. I honestly thought I would do a post or two on this subject of singleness, but now this will be my 10th over the course of five months. Thanks for being so enthusiastic about this series! I never thought I would enjoy writing on the subject, but this has been the case.
Since I have dealt with the theology, perspectives, principles, benefits, and even heartbreaks of singleness, I thought it might be helpful to jump into some the helpful practices I have adapted (or seen in others) over the years in order to thrive in singleness.
These “practices” are not unique to singleness, as many of them I would be doing, to some measure, even if I were married. However, singleness has both sharpened my intentionality in these areas and also given me the time and resources to do them with greater intensity [Read more…]