february newsletter: I see you

February 8, 2008

I See You

There’s Cathy, the 50ish woman who offers samples at my Publix grocery store.

There’s that guy who has grease on his hands and “assistant manager” on his shirt at Shell.

There’s a 20-something in the Jazzercise class (where I sometimes sub) who is fighting for her marriage.

I want to know them. But I don’t…yet.

In Process

I really want others to know the abundant life available as a Christian. But it’s easy to let life and busyness get in the way of really seeing someone.

So I’m asking God to open my eyes to who He sees that I’m to see. (I was challenged about that, again, last night as I read Matthew 25:31-46.) My heart—more than ever—wants to see them, not because it’s the “right” thing to do, but because my love of God moves me to love those He loves.

The cool thing is that it’s not up to me to conjure up emotion and outreach. It’s Him and His power. Since He lives in me, He’ll give me the boldness or compassion or whatever I need to reach out. I think of it like, Jesus, will you love this person through me today?

There’s that blond high school grocery store check-out girl at Clemens.

What would it look like if I intentionally went to her lane every Saturday morning, asking her how she’s doing and really stopping to listen? Maybe she offers something about school or boys, and I ask her about that the next week. Maybe I find something at the dollar store that I would’ve thought was cute at her age, and buy it for her?

The 6 o’clock news doesn’t report news in process, just after-the-facts. But life’s a little more in-process.

At least mine is.

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More Big News!

 

Scott’s Applying to Join Me As a Missionary with Campus Crusade

My friends joke that I’m a natural recruiter, and say that I’ve recruited myself a husband to join me in ministry. I laugh but am so grateful. Who knew that would happen?

Before me, though, God had been working in Scott’s heart, causing him to consider full-time Christian work. Over the time we dated, he’s learned about Campus Crusade for Christ and how his gifts and skills with computers and technology are greatly needed at our World Headquarters.

(Think of your computer frustrations and multiply them by 1,000 and that’s part of the role of the Information Technology department.)

In November, he came to Orlando for my birthday and to talk with the people in the IT department. As we drove away from that meeting, he turned to me and said, “I want to join Campus Crusade.” I was floored. Woo hoo!

Next Steps

Scott is in the process of applying to Campus Crusade to become a missionary. If accepted, he will go through New Staff Training this summer, a month after we marry.

After that training, we’ll move to Iowa/Nebraska to raise financial support we’ll need as a couple in ministry.

After we’ve gathered additional supporters for Scott, too, we’ll move back to Orlando and both work at our headquarters.

WOW…It’s a sweet season of ministry and personal life, that’s for sure!

Please Pray:

  • For Scott as he fills out his application.
  • For Scott & I as we continue to get adjusted to him living in Orlando. (He moved in with friends a month ago so we could finally be in the same city.)
  • For both of us to continue to grow spiritually—together and separately.
  • For me as I continue to direct the Staff Web—wisdom in how to best serve our staff members through the Web site.

 


november newsletter: the question I waited 32 years to hear

November 5, 2007

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I’m Engaged!

On Friday, October 26th, I got engaged to Scott Bentley. It’s more than a week later and I can’t stop grinning!

He proposed on the ground next to the bench as we sat next to Brush Creek in Kansas City.

How We Met

Last fall, after years of making fun of online dating, I signed up on Christian Café for three months. (I made fun of Jazzercise, too, and look where that got me! Note to self: don’t make fun of things.)

The fall was the best of times and the worst of times. My heart came alive. Jesus used The Café to coax out my timid heart that was afraid of rejection.

I was pleasantly surprised by the caliber of men I interacted with and how many really appeared to be followers of Jesus. But, in the end, my heart did get broken.

In the spring I got an e-mail from The Café giving me a free, 5-day trial. (Their way of wooing me back.) I said to God, “No way. I can’t do that again. The wound is still tender.” And I felt like He said to my heart, “Trust Me.”

There was nothing in me that wanted to get back on the horse. Truly, I don’t know if I’ve ever done anything quite by faith like clicking that button to say yes. By day 4 (of the 5) I’d met no one interesting. So I decided to do a search for men who lived in Nebraska (being the Husker woman I am), age 31-35.

Then I saw Scott’s profile.

I was initially attracted to his intelligence and ability to spell (sounds funny but you’d be amazed at other profiles!), the refreshing way he talked about the Lord, his picture, his sense of humor (he’d blocked out the faces of his sister, niece and nephew in one of the pictures “to protect the innocent,” he said) and that he’d done relief work on the Gulf coast after Katrina. So I shot him a brief e-mail telling I, too, had done Katrina clean up and what was an experience he had there that struck him?

He wrote back and the rest is history.

I am marrying my best friend and thank God for bringing this incredible man into my life during a 5-day trial — and how God provided the strength I didn’t have to trust Him with my bruised heart.

 

Please Pray

  • For God to be glorified in our relationship.
  • For Scott and I as we talk through questions in Preparing for Marriage. What a tremendous resource leading to rich conversation, understanding and important decision-making.

 


of grace and upgrades

September 25, 2007

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So I’ll be honest. I saw that anonymous comment on my last blog entry and my heart skipped a beat…and then I beat down my heart.

“Wow, they’re good at spam these days.”

Amazing how quickly I shut down my heart that it might actually be true: that God might have moved someone to be His hands in providing for me.

When people would ask I’d say, “I guess I’ll see Tuesday,” wanting to believe but being scared of a big letdown.

So at various times today I felt like a cowboy approaching a showdown at high noon in the dusty street.

I came home from work at 8 and drove up to the mailbox to find only letters — no mailbox key indicating a package.

Then, driving up to my house, the lights were on, signifying Jodi or Deb had been home. But I hadn’t received a frantically-excited voice mail from either.

No package outside the front door.

I schleped all my bags and sundries from the garage into the house. I passed by our kitchen island long enough to allow my lunch bag to fall on the counter. Walking to my bedroom, I kicked off my shoes…

And then I saw it.

Oh my word.

The box that brings joy: the brown cardboard with “Amazon” stamped on it.

My new iPod.

I LOVE that it’s green. It’s the big sister to my little green friend — this one has double the space for Jazzercise songs! (8MB!) It even has video so that I can watch the DVDs of Jazzercise routines and can learn them when I’m away from home.

Wow.

Thank You, Jesus, for this incredible lesson about grace. It’s not only amazing because it’s wonderful and a gift, but — I think this is the most flabbergasting thing — if anything, I didn’t deserve it with how I’d lost the other one. And in this case, God even lavished me with an upgrade.

If I was God I’d say, “Angie, I provided one for you. You’ll have to suffer the consequences of being unwise in losing it. Bummer to be you.”

But He doesn’t.

And that’s grace. That’s the gospel — the very good news that it’s never been about what I bring to the table; what I earn. It’s about God. Period.

Thank you, God. And thank you, dear anonymous friend, for playing a key role in this life lesson I’ll never forget.


of iPods, Plan Bs & Intentionally Resting (September newsletter)

September 21, 2007

Settling into my seat in 12D, I looked across the aisle and noticed a well-dressed woman my age, listening to her iPod.

My stomach turned like I’d just plummeted a rollercoaster drop. And suddenly I knew.

I’d lost my iPod 4 GB Nano.

My last recollection of it was on the flight into Omaha, 5 days prior, when I came on vacation to see my boyfriend, Scott.

I had a coat draped over my lap. Overtop that was a pillow. And, somewhere in the mix had been my iPod; I’d been listening to an inspiring sermon from NewSpring Church before we were told to turn off all electronics.

A vision of my tiny green friend falling silently and helplessly to the floor flew to my mind. Ugh.

That little iPod was more than just an electronic toy—it’s a key component to each free Jazzercise class I teach for our missionary women at headquarters. And my heart hurt, too, remembering how my girlfriends pooled their money and bought it for my last birthday.

I felt so irresponsible. My brain automatically spun with Plan B options. I’d already tried to call the airlines to document the loss. Scott had even driven to the airport in Omaha to talk with Northwest Airlines in person and came back with empty hands.

What would I do? I thought, I teach again in a few days. I’ve got to bite the bullet and just go buy another one. I don’t know how I’ll pay for it, I guess I’ll dig into savings. What else can I do?

Then, I felt God nudge my heart: Angie, rest. Don’t be so quick to self-provide. Wait. Let Me be your hero in this.

Sigh. Will this be my life-long lesson? To fight against the constant temptation to make life work for myself? I think it just might. But then, it sure keeps me humble and coming up against the truth that Jesus has a better plan than my Plan Bs. (Although they keep me hanging until the 11th hour, more often than not.)

I may not be seeing growth in how I still default to making my own plans, but I’m grateful to say that I have a quicker turn-around time than in the past as I turn and choose to intentionally rest. And I learn to talk to God and others about my needs, my shortcomings.

Taking a nervous breath, I vulnerably confessed the debacle to my friend, Sadee, Thursday when I got back to the office. I told her about the loss and how I was fighting to rest.

“I have an iPod that I just use to listen to talks,” Sadee said. “You can borrow it to teach class until you figure out what to do next.”

Wow. A sweet, small gesture that had “Jesus is Your Hero” written all over it.


june newsletter: the big picture

June 7, 2007

I joined the Campus Crusade family with tunnel vision.

God significantly changed my life as a college student in a sorority; so when I came to the University of Boulder-Colorado for ministry, Greek letters and Greek houses were all I could see.

My campus director pulled me aside to talk about my undue focus and challenged me to broaden my peripheral vision and see the other lost students on campus. I brushed his words off, telling myself that he simply didn’t understand the importance of reaching Greeks like I did.

God exposed my pride and my heart slowly grew larger for all the students on the campus.

A year later, while driving to campus, I heard the ending blurb for the FamilyLife radio program: “FamilyLife, a ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ.”

I was caught completely off-guard. “What?” I thought. “How had I not known the Campus Crusade family included FamilyLife?”

Recounting both those stories now – after 9 years as a staff member – I am surprised that I ever tried to squeeze God into a box. But I’m sad to say that I still do that very thing, at times.

I default to a focus on the people before me and often don’t raise my eyes to the bigger picture of what God’s doing all around the world through the Campus Crusade family.

That big picture involves much more than what I see. It involves a vision toward the day when everyone knows someone who truly follows Jesus. And “everyone” includes:

This list is just part of the Campus Crusade family of ministries in the U.S., not including our ministries working outside the U.S…and that’s just Campus Crusade..and just a slice of all that God’s doing around the world.

Woo hoo! It’s both overwhelming and encouraging when I back up and lift my eyes.

How big is your God?


korea, here I come!

June 7, 2007

I’m going to Korea!

On June 27, I will step aboard a Delta flight and experience the BIG PICTURE (above) in a way I haven’t yet: in Busan, South Korea (also called Pusan) at a conference with 15,000 students from around the globe, called CM2007.

I’m thrilled. My job directing the Staff Web (our internet connecting our U.S. staff members) is a great fit – but the wanderlust and need to write is kicking in pretty hard. I love that God knows me better than I know myself.

So He surprised me with a left-field opportunity to freelance a feature article for Worldwide Challenge again (like I used to!) and fly to Korea for this landmark conference and report it for our readers—encouraging them lift their eyes to a big God.

Prayer Requests:

  • For the 15,000 Campus Crusade students from 105 countries who will descend upon Busan, South Korea on June 30-July 6 for a landmark training event, similar to the student volunteer movement of the early 1900s (that propelled an incredible number of young people into the mission field).
  • Pray for finances for the students to go (especially those in 3rd world countries), for them to see a bigger picture of God and fall in love with Him more, for hearts and minds to receive a passion and plan for how God might use them to help change the world. (You can help scholarship someone to go!)
  • For me as I travel, listen to students, enjoy God, and write the feature. I leave Orlando on June 27 and return July 7.

virginia tech tragedy

April 17, 2007

It is unbelievable what took place at Virginia Tech yesterday.

Last night I called one of my staff friends, Sarah, who is on the Campus Crusade team there, working with college students. I was preparing myself for her voicemail–knowing a little about the volume of calls they’ve been receiving from the media and others–when she answered.

I told her how sorry I was to hear of the great loss of life on the campus. I asked her if someone on their team might be willing to write up a short paragraph or two about how the staff team and students are doing that I could publish on the Staff Web, knowing that the rest of our Campus Crusade family would be concerned; wondering if they are OK. She said she’d talk to the team and get back to me.

This hit my inbox at 11:30 p.m. last night:

“By now, if you have watched any sort of national or, for that matter, international news, you have heard of the devastation on our campus of Virginia Tech Monday.

All of our staff members are OK. We were together for our Monday morning staff meeting when the shootings happened.

The latest is that a shooter killed 33 with 27 being wounded and some not even out of surgery yet.

We had a prayer meeting Monday night for our students and the students of some other organizations. Most students are shocked and numb at this point, not sure what to think and feel. I feel the same way.

We know of at least 2 of our students who are not accounted for at this point, as well as 1 who was killed who had come to our meetings.

All of this information is coming through the network of students, as no names have been officially released yet (until after the families are notified–most likely Tuesday). I think that is the hardest part–the waiting–not really knowing who has been touched by this tragedy.

Our staff team is spending the day in the Cru office Tuesday–making ourselves available to pray with and/or counsel students.

We will take a break to attend the university-wide convocation at 2 p.m. where the Virginia governor is slated to speak.

We are gathering at noon on Wednesday to pray with other Christian groups on the drillfield–a very central place on campus.

Please pray that amidst it all that the Lord would be glorified, families would be comforted and students would grieve appropriately. I have a feeling no one is going to know how to move on from here.”

By Dave Broadwell, on behalf of the Virginia Tech staff team in Blacksburg

Since then I learned that we are unable to confirm the loss of 4 of the students involved with Campus Crusade but it does appear that they were among the casualties.

It’s just so sad.

Driving to work I was thinking about how those students and faculty got up yesterday morning with the underlying assumption that their life would stretch through seasons of marriage, kids, grandkids, retirement…

Yesterday’s events remind me of the brevity of life and the urgency to tell people about Jesus. Now.

Here’s a great article to forward to a friend who might not know Jesus yet, who might be asking questions about faith now: Where’s God in the Midst of Tragedy?