T-Minus 19 days until Jen & I depart Mijas, Spain and return to the United States. It seems only a few days ago we arrived. We were a little uncertain about what the next six months held, but we knew God had brought us so it must be good. Oh! How little did we know. Most of you who know Jen & know we’ve been blessed with many opportunities in our lives.

We’ve both been to colleges where we were involved in life-giving ministries and deepened our walk with God. We’ve both changed our career path because we were touched by something different. A desire deeper than simply financial success; the main driving factor behind our previous choices. We want to change the world. My experiences in Yellowstone National Park on Summer project during the Summer of 2005 became a foundational aspect of my life. I realized for the first time I wanted to spend my life with others. I wanted to live in community–open, honest, ugly, beautiful, loving, vicious–community. Since that time God has continued this work in me. I began reading deeply from the Bible and any other theology book I could get my hands on–spending most of the money I made on reading material.

Then, in the Spring of 2007 my journey took another pivotal step. I moved to Colorado Springs and became a student at the Focus on the Family Institute (now renamed Focus Leadership Institute). Here my journey continued as God taught me a more biblical worldview. The institute showed me the power and importance of being a Roaring Lamb. It gave me a foundation from which I could begin to launch out into the world. It also introduced me to a deeper level of discipleship. I was blessed to go on a biblical studies trip with Ray Vander Laan immediately after finishing my time at FFI. On that trip my life was further shaped by focusing on Jesus’ method and message. Jesus’ method: relational discipleship. A deep level of discipleship where rabbi and disciple live life together. The goal being to be like the rabbi. Jesus spent all of his time pouring life into his disciples. He wanted them not to simply learn his message, but to to be his message. Jesus deeply understood the importance of our being made in the image of God, and he wanted to make sure the disciples were as much like him as possible. Jesus was the best example of human being to ever walk this earth, and that is also our goal: to be like him. On that trip another strong focus was Jesus’ message: the kingdom of heaven. Jesus’ message wasn’t simply about going to heaven. The goal of the Christian life isn’t simply to get to heaven. Jesus prayed that the father’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven. The gospel is a gospel of restoration and redemption. The message of the kingdom is about bringing that life, as much as we possibly can, to earth. This in no way means utopia. We will always have sin, evil, and death in this life, but just because something is, doesn’t mean that it should be.

Immediately after returning from Israel and Turkey I started working at Summit Ministries. At Summit, I learned the importance of knowledge and academics in the Christian life. Summit exists to see high school students learn how to logically articulate a defense of their faith.

They desire to see the strong intellectual influence of Christianity restored in our day. So, during the summer and into the fall, I was challenged to dig deeper and realize that all truth is God’s truth. I grew to learn it is perfectly acceptable, even desirable, to be a Christian in all areas of life: literature, sciences, politics, economics, ministry, etc., etc. This started my pursuit into academia and restoring forgotten foundations.

So, what has G42 added to my foundation? It has taken many of the life lessons from before and reinforced and amplified them. G42 Leadership Academy has shown me my true identity. My identity as a child of the King. It has also opened my eyes to the power of the Holy Spirit and my ears to the voice of God. G42 has shown me the issue isn’t right or wrong but life or death. It is possible to be right and still bring death to a person’s spirit. G42 has shifted this mentality in me. I now look for opportunities to listen to the voice of God and speak his words, because his words will always bring life. G42 provided an environment where I was able to understand that I am loved. I am loved and accepted by God, and through this acceptance I no longer act like the second brother in the parable of the prodigal son. I now realize that the whole farm has been given to me. God has lavished many gifts and graces on me. He speaks intimately to me, and he inspires passion in my heart. I’ve realized that God delights in me.

And now, more prepared than I’ve ever been, Jen & I will leave Mijas and go to Bellingham, WA. Bellingham will be our home for the next 8 months where we will be serving Abundant Life Church, School of Eagles, Awake & Arise, and Anderson Creek Lodge. This will be a time of service and preparation. We were challenged by George Ridley of Lightforce International to go and serve someone else’s vision as a time to prepare for our own. So, we will be doing exactly that…serving.

So how does all this apply to birthing vision? Simple. All of these things have led us to this point. A decision made so that Jen & I will live differently. With an open heart and open home, we want people to live with us through thick and thin. We want to invite people into our home, into our hope, and provide a safe place where rest and restoration happen, because you can’t have one without the other. We desire our children, both natural and spiritual, to rest confidently in their identities, rest confidently in their creator, rest confidently in their gifts and anointing, so that they may use their rest to bring restoration in the realm God gives them. We want to pass the torch to the next generation that they may continue our ministry and bless lives. We want to foster an environment where generations can rise up to take their place in God’s Kingdom and powerfully love people. We pray that through our love and God’s Spirit we touch hearts, change lives, destroy darkness, and train reinforcements. This is the dream God is building in our hearts and our spirits. Will you join us?

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I’ve taken a small break from developing G42 sites (G42 Epicentro and G42 Speaks (still in development)) and made some simple changes here. I’ve added Feedburner email subscriptions to the site on the subscribe page, so if you’d like to get an email when I’ve made a new post you can sign up here. I’ve also added a donations page. So, if you would like, you can make tax deductible donations to Jen & I through G42. I’ve made (or will make) these same changes on Jen’s site, so you can subscribe to her also.

If you have any other features requests, please leave a comment and let me know…

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Happy Thanksgiving from Mijas, Malaga, Spain.

On this day I want to give thanks for the many people and parts of my journey.

I give thanks to my paternal grandparents, Wallace and Ada, from whom I learned the values of love, joy, and integrity; love from their devotion and service to one another through more than 55 years of marriage, joy from their ability to appreciate and relish in the beauty of life, whether flowers, vegetables, fruits, or children and grandchildren, they always gave and worked so that life would be sustained, and finally integrity from their devotion to their word. I know countless stories to them giving, offering, and providing through many season of their life.

I also give thanks to my maternal grandparents, Ralph and June, from whom I learned love, hard work, and service; love, again from their devotion and service to one another through more than 60 years of marriage, hard work from their love of work and their insistence on doing a job well, and service from their hospitality towards friends, family, and visitors.

I give thanks to my parents, Larry and Marilyn, for raising me to understand hard work and live a good life. They helped me to travel and see much of our country. My dad instilled a love of nature and wilderness into me; an appreciation and respect for God’s creation. My mother gave me a loving, gentle, and compassionate spirit that enables me to connect and touch the hearts and lives of many people.

I give thanks to my friends from many seasons of life. Joshua, for always making me laugh and having good time. We’ve enjoyed many aspects of life–even the hard times. Cody, for being a kindred spirit from whom I was separated at birth. A man who has finished more of my sentences than I care to admit. A man who sparks a desire in me to see people come alive. Joel, who encourages me to be risky and live fully alive–to put my hope, trust, and faith in God so that I may conquer mountains. Joe for being a man of the book. A man dedicated to knowing the truth of God’s word and standing with a backbone of steel when it has been found.

Jon for being an incredible combination of joy and intellect. A man with whom I could ponder and probe the depths of God’s character, creation, and love for hours upon end. Jeff, who shows me the power of discipleship and challenges me to live a life dedicated to the betterment of others. Gary and Barton for being a father and a mentor who both challenged and provided opportunities for my growth. They challenged me to live with integrity both personally and professionally. They also gave me hope that businesses are still run ethically. Jason for showing me a worshipful spirit. A man who desires to live fully for God and pursue his life! The Hopwoods for their open door, family acceptance, and great blessings. Tres, for his brotherhood, encouragement, and challenges–may they continue for years to come. Finally, my wife, for her love and support. Thanks for being a safe place to come home to and allowing me to grow and become the husband you deserve.

I also give thanks to many groups, ministries, and organizations who have been influential in my life. The guys of first floor Vawter 2004, thanks for many great poker games and sleepless nights of video games. :) Thanks to the guys of VTcru’s Authentic Manhood. You set an example that will stick with me the rest of my life. Thanks to everyone from YNP Summer Project 2005. You set the definition of community in my life. We had great times and I’ll remember them always. Thanks to everyone at Focus on the Family Institute (Focus Leadership Institute, Spring 2007), my worldview was shaped strongly by the institute and I am forever grateful to the knowledge and friendships obtained. Thanks to everyone at Summit Ministries (Summer and Fall 2007). My definition of a Christian’s involvement in academics, the world, and community was furthered by you. I desire to change the world because you gave me the confidence to break the current status quo of American Christianity. Thanks to New Heights church for giving me a great example of an active, involved, spirit-driven, church. Thanks to G42 for empowering me to a dangerous life. A life not controlled by legalism or comfort, but set free in grace and truth.This list could go on and on and on. I have many people rushing through my head and I pray you know, even if not mentioned by name, I remember you, am thankful for you, and cherish our time together.

Most of all, thanks be to God who loves me, adores me, is proud of me, and delights in me. Without him I, literally, would not be here.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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