Now that I've pretty much recovered from a season of loss and stress, I've now entered into a season of praying, waiting and preparation. In fact, my good friend Joe Kumor even told me in a message the other day that he was excited to see the next adventure God had for me.
I recently read a book by Mark Batterson, The Circle Maker, that talked about praying circles around important people and our future. In response to that book, the three circles I've made for this year are: My family/ adoption, justice/peace and teaching/ preaching. While I was already thinking and praying about those things, this book helped me focus my efforts. Here is a bit of info on where I am now with each circle and where I hope to be by the end of 2012.
Family / Adoption I've made more an effort lately to be praying for my wife and my son. I'm also praying about where to begin our next adoption process. Dawson basically fell into our lap, so I'm guessing the next child will take some effort on our part. I have a list of some agencies we can look into, I just need to actually do it. I'm also encouraged by the fact that my employer, Farmers, has a $4,000 adoption credit.
Preaching / Teaching teaching and preaching the scriptures is a gift that God has given to me. Not being in a regular pastoral role, however means I'm not in a regular rhythm of using those gifts, but I'm working into a new rhythm. I will be preaching at IC Gardner every six weeks or so and will be starting a discipleship group for new Christians.
But how will this move ahead in the future? I've been thinking for a couple of years that I'd love to start a ministry that educates people on Jesus' nonviolent teachings and example. I've been thinking lately that it would be great to teach some college level ethics classes. So it might be time for me to pursue some sort of doctoral degree. Yesterday morning, a life-long mentor of mine, Randy Beckum, gave me some great ideas for a doctoral program.
Peace / Justice Clearly, I have a passion to help make this nation slightly less war-hungry (at least among Christians) and slightly more just. Randy Beckum also told me that my alma matter, MidAmerica Nazarene University is starting a Center for Social Justice. I'd love to work for something like that. The educational ministry mentioned above would be a part of living out this passion as would some teaching opportunities at another initiative of MNU.
In the present, however, I'm continuing to read war history and nonviolent Christian teachings and sharing those on my blog. I'm also volunteering, and trying to recruit more volunteers, for the Urban Scholastic Center in Kansas City, KS. I'll write more on that later.
So those are my "prayer circles" for 2012. If you'd like to occasionally join me in those prayers, I'd greatly appreciate it.