Archive for September, 2011

Love Smile Joy Bubble

Posted in Uncategorized on September 30, 2011 by Luke Summey

Love made me smile and Joy bubbled up in my spirit. That pretty much describes what happened when I realized yesterday that Wednesdays are my new favorite day of the week. Why is Wednesday my new favorite day you might ask? Typically Wednesdays are the dreaded middle day of the work week. Is it that Wednesday is named after the Norse god Wodden and he is my favorite? Nope, why would I have a favorite Norse god? Is it the Ultimate Frisbee I get to play in the afternoon? Nope, fun as that is, Surfing Sundays compete with it. Could it be the fact that I don’t have morning office hours on Wednesday? Nope, I actually rather enjoy my peaceful morning office hours.  Hmm, what could it be?

I’ll tell you (as if you were afraid I wouldn’t). On Wednesday I get to go to Coffee Hour at the LGBT and spend time with my new gay friends.  =D  Yup, that’s right, my gay hour of the week is my new favorite. Why you might ask? Again, I’d love to tell you! Because I get a solid hour every week now where I get to pour out love on new friends who don’t yet know Christ and the power of His Love. Even the sacrificial aspect of love is beautiful on Wednesdays (I provide the coffee for coffee hour and show up early and stay late to clean up) because it is a small chance I get to act out my love toward them. I’m so incredibly thankful for even that small chance to love.

Yesterday the community building time ended up breaking everyone up into small groups for discussion purposes, and it got pretty personal. Hearing about different peoples hurts, broken relationships, and painful experiences absolutely broke my heart and flooded me with an even deeper desire to know and love them more. I’m only three weeks into my new love and ministry towards the LGBT but it is by far one of my favorite parts of being here in Hawai’i. Spending so much time around strong believers each week is new for me and my short time each week where I am immersed in a place where Gods Love seems so foreign absolutely brings me Joy because I get to take it there.

Pray not only for my ministry here with Epoch (now called Ho’ohuli) but for the other two places where we have Ho’ohuli teams that are pouring out Christs love.

Ho’ohuli Groups:
Women’s Center
International Business Club
LGBT

Love made me smile and Joy bubbled up within my spirit when I realized it was the day that I got to love.

Catch The Wave

Posted in Uncategorized on September 20, 2011 by Luke Summey

At 5:30 this morning I got up to go surfing. This was my fifth time surfing and the night before it was recommended to me by a friend that I not go to this particular surf site since I was still a beginner. He didn’t really explain why I shouldn’t but shortly after another friend told me I should embrace the challenge and go for it, so I did. One of my roommates, a friend from my bible study, the BCM director and I all got up and went to Ala Moana beach. As it turns out, Ala Moana has a huge reef that gets between the good surf and the beach so you have to go out a good ways to get to the good waves. Actually, before you paddle out, you have to find the 3m wide channel that will let you walk out on a safe part of the reef (sea urchin free). That is when I realized that part of surfing at this particular location meant two things: first, not riding waves so far in that you end up falling in the shallows onto vauna (urchins) and second, being careful to stay very close to the surface when you fall anyway because the reef is always only a few feet down. This was going to be as much a test of my few surfing skills as it would be an adrenaline pumping adventure.

Four things happened on the surf this morning that made my world.
1) Shortly into our escapade a sea turtle popped its head up next to me as if to say in a chill manner, “Aloha brah.” and then it ducked away into the water. Turtles are my FAVORITE animal. Shortly after that we saw a pod of close to 20 or more dolphins jumping and spinning out of the water. Super awesome/beautiful…and good because dolphins scare sharks away and we were surfing in a sharky spot.

2) I had only legitimately ridden one wave before. I’d stood up plenty of times but fallen almost immediately afterward. Today I caught and rode four really good waves and even impressed the guys I was with who have surfed weekly for years. It was so exhilarating! I loved it so much!

3) I was sitting on my board waiting for the next set of waves to roll in when I had this crazy realization that God makes crazy things happen. I spent the first 18 years of my life in a country that is landlocked except for 30km of a gulf of a surf-less sea that was 4 hours away. Then I moved to the mountains where the ocean was 6 hours away and never even on my mind. Now here I was, on the opposite side of the globe, sitting on a surf board as the sun was rising up above the tropical island behind me, and I was looking to catch a wave in the middle of the biggest ocean on earth. God has truly blessed me.

4) Even more important than any of the above though, I realized that aligning my heart with the will of God is exactly like catching a wave. God is the ocean sending waves of opportunity for us to ride. To catch a good wave, you have to be aware of the ocean and see the wave coming, then you have to start paddling your board before the wave gets to you so that you are already moving in the direction that the wave is going when it gets to you. When the wave hits you, you have to paddle a few more times, lean into it, and then take the stand to ride it. If you are facing a wave when it hits you, you have no chance of riding it: you’re facing the wrong direction. If you aren’t looking and a wave hits you, it can knock you off your board. If you are paddling perpendicular to a wave when it hits you, it will either drag you with it or flip you and drag you. The best surfers in the world can’t ride a wave if they are facing the wrong direction, or aren’t prepared. They know to pay attention to the waves and ride with, not against, it.
When God presents His will for us, we need to be aware of His desire for us as it is coming, we need to be paddling in preparation for His timing, and when the time is right, we need to stop lying on the board and stand to ride the wave of His desire for us. When we aren’t looking in the direction He is going, we aren’t going to be able to ride His will. When we aren’t prepared and the time comes, we get knocked off our board and dragged along frantically (urchin and reef wounds as a reminder to pay attention). It doesn’t matter how good of a surfer you are or how strong of a believer you are; if you aren’t going with the wave and with God’s will you are going to fall and fail. Living as a believer isn’t about simply being in the ocean of Gods Love, it’s about know how to ride the waves of His desire for us. Having a presence in the ocean isn’t enough to surf, you have to know the waves. Being inside Gods grace isn’t enough, you have to know how to ride His will. Practice practice practice.

Waves of God’s will I’m catching:
1) I’ve started going to the LGBT (Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered) club at UH with a student and we are trying to show them the love of God.
2) A week from tomorrow I am going to be preaching my first real sermon in a very long time.
3) I’m leading the college bible study for my church.
4) I’m helping cultivate the spirit of urgency in the great commission within the BCM and am discipling students into an evangelistic lifestyle.

I love you all!

Babies

Posted in Uncategorized on September 8, 2011 by Luke Summey

Tuesday mornings here in Honolulu I, along with everyone else who lives at the dorm, am startlingly awakened at 9:00 am by the cries and screams of children less than a year old. The running joke is that the people watching over them are slapping them to make them cry. How could such small things make so much noise or sound so traumatized if they weren’t under some form of abuse? This past week several of the staff for the International Baptist Fellowship were gone and so I along with a few BCM “dormies” were asked to wake up and help take care of the kids. As it turns out the people taking care of them play with duploes, read little books, play with toy cars, hold, walk and sing to the little ones. No one slaps any of them! The kids just cry! And scream! And shriek!

For nearly all of these cute African and Asian babies this one and a half hour time slot each week is the only time they are not with their moms. The children are often mortified and it is a part of their growing up process. Some of the kids don’t cry at all. Some even seem down right spacy. Others never stop crying. Others only cry when they get to close to one of the crying ones.

The worker to child ratio was 1:1 so I got to take care of my own little Asian kid for an hour and a half. His name was Riki and I think I relate to him a lot. Riki was a very spacy kid. He was one of the two kids in the room who didn’t cry or get flustered at all. I got lucky. I was super confused by him the whole time I was with him though. I wanted to know what was going on in his head. For a few short moments he might get entertained by a toy car and some blocks and be in a world of racing cars, but after those few seconds he would return to his very spaced out, observant look. I couldn’t figure him out until two days later. And now I seriously feel like I relate to him.

Little Riki had no idea what his parents were doing during that hour and a half. He was just there trusting them to take care of him and come back. About the time he got hungry he got fed. When he was tired of playing a particular game I played a different one with him. When he got up and started walking around aimlessly I took his hand and brought him to a particular play place. Riki trusted that he would be taken care of, and with each of his needs as they arose, someone took care of them for him. I think his spaced out look was a look of curiosity about his new surrounding, an of amazement of how all of his needs were being met, even with his parents out of sight.

Since even before I arrived in Hawai’i God has taken care of all of my needs, but since arriving, God has amp’d it up. As ministry issues arise, God provides a solution out of nowhere. As soon as a monetary need shows up, God provides. As soon as I realize I need a brother in Christ to hold me accountable, I realize I’m talking to one. As soon as I need a day to recuperate from pouring out, that day arrives in the middle of the week. As soon as I realize God wants me to serve in a particular way, three chances to serve in that capacity appear. As soon as my heart breaks for someone, I’m given a chance to minister to them. As soon as my heart wants to see a few students rise up to the call to evangelism, four students fall into place without my searching.

Since arriving at Hawai’i I think I’ve had the same spacy expression Riki had. I’m amazed at my new surroundings and  I’m incredibly amazed at how all of my needs and hopes are being met; especially since I can’t see my Father in the planning process of working things out. God has put me here because He knows this is were I need to be. Even though I can’t see what He is doing, He has everything set up so that all I need to do is be like Riki and act as He has made me.

God is so good.

Deeper

Posted in Uncategorized on September 2, 2011 by Luke Summey

“…and the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” –Gen 1:2

The theme for this year that the staff decided on is “Deeper”. There are so many metaphors and so much symbolism that can be drawn out of that one word that I’m sure all year we’ll be discovering more. The general idea is that as believers we should be diving deeper and drawing closer to God. The first half of this semester is going to be focusing on individual growth, the second half will be about growth as a spiritual community and next semester will be all about leaping out into the world after having learned to depend on both God and the church. I’m so excited!

In the last week I’ve been able to go to the beach three times. For those of you who don’t know, I have a really strong love for water and the ocean. It might have something to do with growing up in a desert.  =)   I find something spiritually charging about water though. It’s my favorite image of God. Yesterday I both experienced something spiritually crazy and had a parallel experience in the water. I went out with some friends to Ala Moana beach to swim. About 150 meters out there is a coral reef that keeps the waves (which were 8 feet tall yesterday) from making it to shore. Two of the guys and I decided to swim out to it to see it. After a little while we realized we had to be getting close, but getting a little tired I turned around and started swimming on my back. Not to long after that I found the reef….with my foot. Needless to say, not only did kicking it hurt, but the resulting five bleeding cuts I got from it were not to thrillingly fun either. Once I swam back away from the reef i was able to dive down a little bit and look at it up close, but with the foresight not to kick it again. On our way back to the shore I dove down a few times just to be enveloped by the ocean and to see the light slowly fade and I knew I was approaching the seabed. I didn’t dive as deep as I could though. During the evening when I couldn’t see the bottom, diving into the unknown was scary. I didn’t know what might be waiting for me down there. I’d already kicked coral, and that was closer to the surface.

Earlier in the day I’d taken two BCMers with me to a place on campus where I’m pretty sure Christians are on the list of least favorite people. Since we’re trying to start Epoch here at UH I’ve been scouting out clubs for us to send students to, and yesterday I grabbed two of the five people that have expressed interest and we took off to an open house. It was crazy. We prayed before we arrived and told God that we were there to see what He wanted us to see. Eyes were opened by the experience. Hanging out with the people there pulled all three of us out of our comfort zones, but it made the command to go and love come to life for the BCMers with me. When we left they couldn’t stop talking about what was really just a 45 minute experience of meeting people. Being pulled outside of ones comfort zone is one the fastest ways to grow. The interesting thing was that after a random conversation with me about spiritual warfare the night before, one of the students recognized it in the place we were at and they prayed while we were there because they had learned about it’s importance.

God has called us to dive deeper. When I dove down into the water, it got darker and harder to see. I didn’t know what lie before me. The presence of the water around me was a constant though. More than that, I could feel the pressure of it grow the deeper I went. The more frightened I got about what might lie before me, the more real the water became. It’s a lot like trusting God. The more we trust and the deeper we dive, the scarier it becomes, the less we can see, but the more real the Spirit of God becomes around us. As long as we go head first, God has got us covered. We can see the reef before it comes.

When I had my legs dangling in the deep because I was getting lazy, I didn’t see the danger coming. I had my head as shallow as it could be, but I was letting a part of me dangle in the deeper places. Without being headfirst, I didn’t see the danger coming. I wasn’t being intentional in the way I was in even the earliest depths. Likewise, when we agree to a call to be in a deeper place but don’t put our all into it, our focus, our intentions, we are likely to get hurt. We wont see the dangers coming. When we went to the open house on campus, the students knew to pray before entering that place. They saw the danger before we got there. Our prayers defused a situation that from our first steps in could have been very detrimental. We saw the reef and interacted with it accordingly.

Now the question that comes is harder. Having seen the top of the reef, will we dive deeper to find out more about the reef? Will we let the presence of the Spirit tighten around us as we move to a place were we are dependent on Him and not ourselves? Will we draw deep into Him so that we might reach the lost? Will be overcome our fears and dive?