Monday, January 21, 2008

A World Changer Named King...

I'm not sure at what age I first learned about Martin Luther King Jr. I suspect that it was during my elementary years during a U.S. History unit. However, I know that ever since junior high he has been a role model of mine. His speeches have always given me goose bumps and his life has inspired me to be a world changer.

In the last few years I have begun reading books on his life, and copies of his speeches and sermons. I have also listened to audio clips of his various speeches and sermons. I recently discovered video clips of his speeches and sermons on Since today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I thought I would share some of the resources that I have found.

I have read a few different books on King:
1) The Autobiography of Martin Luther King Jr. by Clayborne Carson
2) Martin & Malcolm & American by James Cone
3) A Knock At Midnight - edited by Clayborne Carson & Peter Holloran
All three of these books are powerful in their own unique ways. Have any of you read other books on King that you would recommend?

Key Speeches
"I Have A Dream"

His final speech..."I've been to the mountaintop..."

Songs of Tribute
Here is the music video for a song that Common and Will.I.Am did...

Web Sites
This is one of the best web sites that I have found on MLK. It is a "hub."

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Road Trip To Richmond

On Thursday January 3rd, Aaron Roy, Vince McCaskill, and I departed Chicago at 11am-ish to embark on a cross-country road trip of epic proportions. Our purpose was to help Aaron (and his family) move from Chicago to Richmond, CA where they will be re-launching a church. The three of us are all burly guys - meaning that we are all "barrel chested" or "wide shouldered" or "thick." Some might even say that we are carrying a few extra pounds, but we all like to say that we "wear it well." I even like to say that I have "filled out nicely." Anyways, the three of us had to fit in a U-Haul truck. It was crazy. We tried to keep a driving rotation, where each guy drove for 4 hours and then rested for 8. For the most part it worked really well. However, the person stuck in the middle seat could count on being very uncomfortable (sore knees, back, and butt). We took a GPS device with us that the Hamernicks let us borrow. We affectionately named her (the GPS device) Fuquanda. She talked a lot, and although sometimes we questioned her guidance, in the end we found that she was always right. We traveled through 6 states - Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah, and California. We left on Thursday morning, and arrived (after a short night's stay in Barstow, CA) late Saturday afternoon. Here are a few of our traveling pictures.

My Cloud of Witnesses

(Pictured to left: L to R - Aaron, Vince, me)

Hebrews 12:1
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.

This verse, found at the beginning of the 12th chapter of Hebrews, points back (It begins with, "Therefore.") to Hebrews chapter 11 when it references the "great cloud of witnesses." Hebrews 11 is what many people call the "Hall of Faith." It highlights men and women found throughout Scripture (Abel, Enoch, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Moses, Rahab, etc.) who followed the Lord "by faith." The author of Hebrews then charges the reader to run with endurance in light of the example and legacy of the faithful men and women found throughout scripture. I have been thinking about this passage recently as I reflect on the "great cloud of witnesses" that God has surrounded me with. God has placed people within my life that challenge me to "lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely" and "run with endurance the race that is set before" me. Some times they exhort me verbally. However, usually the exhortation and inspiration that I receive from them comes from my observation of the way that they follow Christ. I want to highlight a few of those people.

Aaron Roy
I have known Aaron now for roughly 6 years. We worked at the ministry together over a good portion of those six years, and in many ways we "grew up" in the ministry together. I have observed Aaron's walk with God over the last few years as God has "shifted" his calling, from a youth ministry calling, to a burden to minister to whole families, to a pastoral calling that he couldn't shake or run from even if he tried to. I have also watched as he and his wife have collectively sought the Lord as to where God would have them to serve. They truly lived out Isaiah's heart cry to the Lord (Isaiah 6:8) of "Here am I! Send me," and were open to wherever God might lead them. God led them to Richmond, CA a place literally across the country, and a place where neither of them have any family or friends. I have had the privilege of seeing them throughout this process as they have walked by faith each step of the way. I helped them move to Richmond (last weekend) and watched their excitement as they were welcomed by their new church family, and as they moved into their new house. Re-launching a church is not an easy task, but they are moving forward by faith.

Vince McCaskill
I have learned much of what it means to be a godly husband and father from Vince, by observing his life. I have seen him wrestle with the Lord in prayer over things that concern his family. He truly strives to be a godly husband and father in the midst of the challenges that life brings. I have witnessed him praying with his wife on the phone. I have seen him search the Scriptures and seek out godly counsel on how to love and lead his kids. Recently, I have seen him "be there" for his wife and his wife's family during the passing of his father-in-law. In addition to being an example of a husband and father, I know that I can go to Vince when I need godly counsel and wisdom.

Allan Greig
Allan and I were roommates at Moody during the 2002-2003 school year. I have always appreciated Allan for the authenticity and realness of his faith. Over the years since we departed Moody, I have observed how God has "fine-tuned" Allan's calling, ultimately leading him to start a ministry called Africa Revolution. His obedience has included much sacrifice and risk, and I have watched he and his wife Annie joyfully endure and "follow close" to the Father. Allan and Annie are committed to "living the Kingdom" like few people I know. In the midst of an American Christian culture that often times elevates family comfort and financial security above the things of the Kingdom, their counter-cultural example speaks loudly to me.