Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘Faith’

Life is a Stool – Living in Balance

My dad has always said that life sits on a 4 legged stool with one leg being work/career, another family, a third friends and service, a fourth being health and recreation, and the most important part of the stool, the seat, representing our faith. Dad says that for life to be in balance, for it to be the way it’s supposed to be we need all four legs and the seat. If we neglect or remove any part we’ve made balance nearly impossible and the entire stool, and our lives, become at risk of falling apart.

I’ve always appreciated my dad’s way of looking at life, partly because it makes sense and partly because I’ve seen he and my mom live their lives in this way with the result being they’ve been blessed as well as having blessed those around them.

It’s this life perspective and practice that we’ve discovered to be an essential quality of people who’ve made a long-term and an enduring impact on SpringHill’s mission. It’s what we simply call “Life/Work Balance”.

Without this balance, life quickly crumbles and one’s ability to make an enduring impact quickly diminishes. When balance is gone health, influence and impact quickly leave as well, only to be backed filled with burn out, broken relationships, and poor judgment. Because like a stool, every part is essential and needs to be in working order or it will negatively impact the entire stool.

So Life/Work Balance is absolutely essential for people to be at their best. And we want and need people to be at their best, whether it’s at home with their families, at church teaching Sunday school, or working at SpringHill.

This is part 2 of 14 in a series of posts about what it takes to be successful at SpringHill.

The Beginning of SpringHill Indiana – A Reminder of God’s Working

This past weekend we had a SpringHill board meeting held at our Indiana camp.  Keith Rudge, our Indiana Operations Director, gave a devotion to kick off the meeting. In his devotion he shared this video he found packed away in his desk and thought it was a great illustration of God’s faithfulness, His timing and His direction in guiding our lives and our work.  It was an excellent way to start to a productive meeting.

 

The Unrelenting Approach

On the last Sunday worship of summer camp I spoke to our Michigan overnight staff on Luke 15:1-10 focusing on the parables about the lost sheep and the lost coin. We talked specifically about the “unrelenting approach” of God when we’re lost.

I ended the message with one of my favorite CS Lewis quotes found in his book Surprised by Joy, the story of his spiritual journey and his conversion to Christianity. It captures well this “unrelenting approach” of God.

“You must picture me alone in that room in Magdalen, night after night, feeling, whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. That which I greatly feared had at last come upon me. In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all of England. I did not then see what is now the most shining and obvious thing; the Divine humility which will accept a convert even on such terms. The Prodigal Son at least walked home on his own feet. But who can duly adore that Love which will open the high gates to a prodigal who is brought in kicking, struggling, resentful, and darting his eyes in every direction for a chance to escape?….The hardness of God is kinder than the softness of men, and His compulsion is our liberation.”

The Tension in Strategic Planning

This month we’ve begun our annual work of updating the SpringHill strategic plan, or as we refer to it, our ministry plan. The process includes most of our staff and board at some level and culminates in our leadership team’s offsite annual planning meeting where we bring all the input and pieces together and update our plan.

And every year, during our annual planning offsite, we find ourselves in this tension between detailed calculated planning verses faith driven, visionary planning. This tension is particularly strong in Christian organizations where we “want to leave room for God” in our plans because we know He can do more than “we could ever ask for or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20).

But too often “leaving room for God” is an excuse for not doing the hard work of planning. We need to accept that planning clearly is a godly pursuit, the Scriptures are full of admonishment to “count the cost” and that “the noble man devises noble plans; and by noble deeds he stands” (Isaiah 32:8).

On the other hand, planning can quickly replace sensitivity to God’s leading and having the faith that can “move mountains”. This most often happens when we’ve create well thought out plans because we move our faith to our plans and away from the God who makes the plans a reality.

So how have we tried to reconcile this tension between planning and faith?

We’ve accept that we need both – it’s not an “either/or” proposition but a “both/and” (like many things of faith). We’re committed to prayerfully creating the very best plans we can, using the very best tools, knowledge, and insight available to us. Yet, at the same time, we prayerfully set long-term goals and vision that we can’t always calculate our way too, knowing we have to move forward in faith, trusting God will provide what we need when we need it.

When the News Hits Close to Home

Last week 2 helicopters fly over the historic castle at Glen Eyrie every 30 seconds in an effort to contain the fire and protect this sacred place. (photo by Jack McQueeney)

When a big catastrophe hits the news it can often seem distant and far away. But the recent fires in Colorado and in particular the fires around Colorado Springs are very close and personal. The reason is my close friend Jack McQueeney and the ministry he leads, the Navigator’s Glen Eyrie Group (which includes Eagle Lake camp and Glen Eyrie conference center), have been in midst of this horrific fire.

Jack’s demonstrated great faith and courageous leadership during what he has said is the “worst thing that I’ve ever, ever, ever seen!” Please read and pray through his list of prayers below, though the fires contained they have much to do in recovery. Then consider doing two things that would bless Jack and his team.

First, post this blog to your Facebook and encourage others to pray.

Second, go to the Glen Eyrie Facebook page by clicking here and share words of encouragement and support.

Shared Suffering, Shared Comfort

Prayer Requests for Glen Eyrie, Eagle Lake, and the Navigator Family

from Jack McQueeney, Executive Director, the Glen Eyrie Group

” . . . just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort. . . [God] will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our
behalf.”

–2 Corinthians 1:7, 10,11

 

  1. Pray for the 50 kids that received Christ during the first few weeks of camp, and for the more than 2,400 disappointed ones who wanted to be with us at Eagle Lake this summer. (We had to cancel our on-site camp season.)
  2. Pray for the morale of Eagle Lake summer staff who will be leaving for home and our displaced Glen Eyrie and Eagle Lake full-time staff.
  3. Pray for the seven Navigator staff families who have lost their homes. Dozens more are still evacuated.
  4. Thank the Lord for Focus on the Family who has provided temporary office space. Pray that our essential service staff team and the many others working from home would be able to take care of critical operations.
  5. Offer a prayer of thankfulness for the host families that took in our evacuated staff. They are feeding them, providing housing, and ministering to them.
  6. Pray that we would know how to be light and salt to others as we work through our own grief.
  7. Praise God for His hand upon our properties. So far it seems we have little structural damage but serious smoke issues.
  8. Pray for us to have wisdom, discernment, and the favor of God as we begin to look forward in hope towards the great amount of work before us.
  9. Pray that we would stand shoulder to shoulder through this and that God would continue to watch over and protect us. Isaiah 41:10
  10. Let’s continue to pray together for the men and women who are still battling this fire.

Our trust is in the faithfulness and character of God. Psalm 145:3,4 says, “Great is the Lord, and most worthy of praise; His greatness no one can fathom. One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts.”

We trust God to preserve the history of His work in this place from one generation to another, but we also recognize that He is doing something new. We resolutely continue to trust that Jesus is at work, and His plans are always for our good.

The Truth about Faith and Planning

In Christian organizations we often live in the tension between faith and planning. The tension comes because we believe faith and planning to be polar opposites.

Christian history is full of stories of “great people of faith” who did miraculous things for God. We want to be a part of such stories. On the other hand, it isn’t nearly as appealing to be part of a story centered on a cold and calculated plan, professionally executed. Instead we want to “let go and let God” and become part of a “miracle”?

We want to be like Peter who stepped out of the boat to walk on the water but too often we ignore Nehemiah’s thoughtful and intentional plan to rebuild Jerusalem’s wall, or David’s strategic vision and preparation to build the temple. Did David and Nehemiah have less faith than Peter? Or how about this question, would you rather walk on water for a few seconds or rebuild a city or build God’s dwelling place on earth?

I know my answer; I want to do something significant and lasting. And to do something significant and lasting requires planning, preparation and vision. And it also requires prayer (re-read Nehemiah) and faith (re-read David’s temple preparation).

Like Nehemiah and David, God has called us to be stewards of our time, resources, gifts and abilities. As a result, a good steward plans and then assures those plans align with their master’s intentions. And the beautiful thing is, the better the stewardship, the greater the opportunity of being a part of a miracle.

Therefore we need to stop seeing faith and planning as polar opposites, instead we need to see them as essential companions in our work. When we do this, God will do His greater work, allowing us the possibility of being a part of a miracle that’s significant and lasting.

%d bloggers like this: