26 December 2009

Yikes! Yuck! or Yippee! ...ramblings about Seasons - mine and the Church's

I was thinking this morning about some things I don’t know a lot about. Which is not difficult since I know a lot about so little and so little about a lot. But I was thinking about seasons – both in life and in our journey with God.

I guess what got me thinking was the season in our lives with children. Zach, off pursuing his own life’s journey and career in Northern Virginia, is his own man and at 29 is making his own way. Consequently, he was not in Valdosta, Georgia or Pensacola, Florida for Christmas. And in his 29 years, this is only the second one where he was not with Phyllis and me. Even when he was in university in the States and we were in Cyprus, we always sacrificed, scrimped and saved and were together. We either flew him to Cyprus, or (after Jane was here in the States) flew to Valdosta.

It was odd not having him here. There was a certain hole in my heart. Can’t really explain it.

And then there’s Jane. She and Mike are engaged and will be married 27 March 2010. So we spent Christmas Eve and Day together in Pensacola, Florida where we sometimes live (another story, right?) and where Mike and Jane have jobs. So because of holiday schedules, we stayed in Pensacola. Adding Mike is indication of a new season.  A good addition, but a new ingredient. (Sorry - i mix metaphors.)

Lots of food, fun, festivity, movies, church services, carols, communion and more food. A new season in our lives. (Should I say Yikes! or Yuck! or Yippee! Yikes! conveys surprise while Yuck! conveys displeasure and Yippee! conveys excitement… okay this morning it’s a mixture of all.)

So here’s the tie-in (and what I was thinking through in my devotional time)…

In the medieval church, which was always about seasons, feasts and festivals, Advent and Christmas began Candlemasa new season. Advent (beginning the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day) is about hope and anticipation. Christmas and the following days are about celebration and incarnation. Christ has come! Emmanuel! God is with us!

But then begins another season (correct me if I’m wrong) which culminates with Candlemas on 2 February. This celebrates with lots of lights (candles!) the presentation of Jesus at the Temple described in LUKE 2:22-38. It’s kind of a “missions thing,” because it uses candles to celebrate Jesus as the “light to the Gentiles.” (LUK 2:32). Jesus and Gentiles!

And in the middle of this season – the journey from Christmas (manger/Bethlehem) to Candlemas, (Temple/Jerusalem) – comes Epiphany (6 January) a feast day marking the visit of the Wise Men (Magi) to the Christ Child. The word “epiphany” means “to make known” or “to reveal” revelation and the element tying the two celebrations together is “revelation.”

At Christmas, Jesus is revealed as the Word in human form! Word become flesh (JOH 1:14) tabernacle-ing among us. That’s incarnation. But then in the midst of this is revelation to the Gentiles – the Magi – and Simeon and Anna at the Temple.

And I’m pretty sure that Joseph and Mary were a little overwhelmed at the new Season they were entering in their simple village life.

To everything there is a season:

Advent (anticipation)

Christmas (birth/incarnation/celebration) 

Epiphany (gifts/revelation)

Candlemas (light/recognition/celebration)

So I ramble on. Seasons are important, I guess.

But right now, I’m celebratin’, anticipatin’, working and believing to be incarnatin’ the grand Revelation of God with us! Jesus Himself!

Looking for greater gifts and revelation in 2010!

24 December 2009

Thinking about God's people at Christmas!

At Christmastime we have a lot to fill our minds: family, friends and festivity. But for me, I like to reflect on the goodness of God and faithfulness of God’s People.

Phyllis and I have served God all our married lives. We’ve received His grace and have poured it out into the lives of others for all these years, literally all over the world. Our children have known nothing but lives of ministry and missions. I gave up on fame, fortune and financial security years ago and was privileged instead to follow God and depend on Him and His People to supply our needs. And he has! Through you, His redeemed and beloved people!

We could never have done what we have done – and continue to do – without the loving encouragement, thoughtful prayers and saDr.G&Pcrificial gifts of visionary friends and family like you. There are no monuments to be found for what we’ve done. The storefront church we served has once again become just that – a store; the house between the fraternity houses is now a parking lot and the Bible school we served in Kenya has no plaque or photo or no memorial hall. Our "monument" – hopefully – is in the lives, hearts and lifestyles of people somehow remolded and equipped to live a life joyously in the face of God, living His destiny day by day.

So right here and right now, I want to say thanks! Thanks for what you’ve done in giving to us and allowing us to be your extension to others. Thanks for giving money – that could have been spent otherwise – so that we could minister in the far corners of the world to leaders, church-planters, pastors and devoted Jesus-followers. We continue to succeed in our dream and the passion of our heart because of you and your faithfulness!

Don’t stop praying and believing!  And please don't stop giving. Although we have an office at Globe International, we are not salaried; we are still dependent on God's people and their gifts.

My hair might be white, but the passion of my heart remains! We will train and equip another generation to do what we’ve done! They’ll do it better, go father and have greater impact, because of you and your faithful gifts!

Merry Christmas!

(Oh yeah, if you want to give even now, click on the donate button to the right and it will allow us do the things God has for us in 2010!  And there is a lot in store!)

18 December 2009

Oh, fiddle dee dee!

December has been a very exciting month for me and it’s not even Christmas, yet.

On 5 December, I was awarded an honorary doctorate! Yes, now I’m “Dr. Glenn!” I was honored by Midwest Seminary with a Doctor of Divinity degree for the work in ministry, church development and missions that I’ve been involved in all in various and sundry places in world for the last thirty-odd years.

I was quite taken aback when my friend Dr. James Graham, who sits on the governing board of Midwest Seminary, asked if I would be interested in such a thing. I was concerned and a little embarrassed since I have friends who are getting their PhD after years of study and writing, and here I was getting a DD without a thesis. But as Dr. Eddy Brown awarded the degree, he reminded both me and the audience that this was not a gift, but an honor, given because Midwest Seminary recognized the work of my life. I was humbled. Very humbled!

You see every time I began to embark on degrees and other kinds of learning, I was always detoured by God. Really. When I was set on the denominational track, I had a charismatic experience that detoured (derailed!) my move toward denominational seminary. Then of course I was led to stop my college education just shy of diploma and study with a discipler on a day-to-day basis.

And then every time I tried to do something more educationally, I never could get “final clearance” from the Lord. It seemed that He would say, “Learn by doing, so that you can teach others.” I tried to obey. But there were times I had to fight envy of those who had letters after their name…

But recently I read this:

A young theologian named Fiddle

Refused to accept his degree

"It's bad enough being named Fiddle,

Without being Fiddle, D.D."

Once when I was lamenting my lack of scholastic attainment to my dear Jesus-following friend Dr. Willa Valencia (who at the time was Head of the English Department at Valdosta State University) assured me it was okay not to have. “Degrees are obtained by reading books,” she reminded me. “So just read everything you can and learn everything that’s in them.” And I have and continue to do that. Books and the learning curve I experience through them keep me thirsty to know and understand more!

Speaking of books, I’ve just sent in the final draft of Why God Thinks He Can Use You to the publisher. This is the book accompanying the teaching that I do in IGM and have done all over the world. I hope it will be ready for purchase in late January.

I attempted to write it in July of 2008 but failed miserably. This year, I took the month of August and did little else but write. Almost every day I’d spend 6-8 hours in the “cave” of my small study in Valdosta writing. It was a powerful experience. Then Susan Sumner, Linda Sparks and Phyllis took copies and helped me rewrite it in a more flowing and concise way. Phyllis especially refused to allow me to not rewrite and rewrite and rewrite. She pressed me to keep moving forward and to not settle for postponement.

So now the publisher has the final draft and I hope to have it ready for sale and distribution in January or February. It will be available from the Eikon Associates website (www.eikonassociates.com ), the Globe International website (www.gme.org) or Amazon.com. When it’s ready I’ll give out a shout! Probably a very loud one! (Watch for Why God... - not there yet.)

This week I did a short half-hour interview regarding coaching for a local TV show called FYI. Here, I talked about coaching and how that can impact a person’s life by assisting them to remove obstacles and get traction in moving toward their vision. And I answered questions about Why God Thinks He Can Use You. I was able to talk about God’s purpose to use everybody all the time everywhere for His purpose and plan and about our unique place in everything God is doing in the earth! It will air sometime after the first of 2010. Brandi Gottleib made the interview very easy asking great questions and helping things flow. But she kept calling me Dr. Hatcher. It was a little weird.

So now you can call me Coach Glenn, the author, DD! But smile if you do. It’s a little weird.