My Extraordinary Mission Trip

Wondering why (hoping?) that I’d fallen off the earth entirely?

Not this time. But I did travel to the other side of it.

For ten days this month, God called me to the unspeakable privilege of carrying his gospel to an unreached people group in South Asia. There are security concerns due to the region’s hostility towards Christianity, so I won’t reveal the exact location. I spent six days there, two days traveling each way, and six days afterwards lolling about jet-lagged out of my mind. That accounts for my absence.

It was…extraordinary.

I got to wade through ankle-high trash carrying rice bowls…and the Good News…to impoverished but smiling people living under urban bridges.

I got to pray with them as they eagerly set aside their own deities (or at least began the process) and accepted the one true God.

I got to travel to tiny tarp villages in the absolute middle of nowhere to teach and encourage brand new believers in sweltering brick huts.

I got to encourage new brethren from a fisherman’s village.

I got to lay hands on all these brothers and sisters asking God for jobs, healings, the end of family abuse, and protection against forced idol worship.

I got to share my faith, along with my team, with a confident but attentive Muslim waitress at a Hard Rock Cafe.

I got to watch out of the window at the poverty and chaos generated by false religion.

I got to speak at a Sunday morning service about, as George Whitefield said, repenting of both our sin and our righteousness (as in, repenting of our attempts to gain status before God and letting the cross be 100% of our justification).

I got to meet the beleaguered but determined brothers and sisters who are doing the gruntwork on their home soil, pleading with their countrymen to come to Christ.

It was…amazing.

And not easy. I remember being pretty freaked out as we drove to our first bridge site, asked to step out of a rental van and simply start sharing the Gospel with complete strangers. It required everything I’d ever learned (or taught myself back home). Did I trust God to back me up? Was my confidence in my identity in him? Did I know the Gospel? Could I answer their questions (I remember one young man curious to know how and why Jesus was killed)?

God was faithful. My teammates were marvelous. The prayer and financial support from my church was palpable.

And people are in the kingdom of God now, who weren’t before.

I’ll be back to my normal blogging schedule and headspace here soon, but I’ll warn you now: if talk of foreign missions makes you uncomfortable, this blog might not be the place for you anymore. We are called; we are not given the option. Thousands plunge daily, millions annually, into hell. I hope you’ll stick around and let yourself be challenged as I was.

Trusting God with Your Worst-Case Scenario — Christy Fitzwater

This post contains a Dallas Willard quote that has wrecked my life this year in the best possible way – a lesson straight out of Daniel. All I can do today is set this post before you.

They started talking about how crowded our school was back in May, and my brilliant mind told a story of how I would have to go back to my tiny classroom–no wait–maybe I wouldn’t even have a classroom and would have to travel to borrowed rooms, since I was a part-time teacher. 165 more words

via Trusting God with Your Worst-Case Scenario — Christy Fitzwater

Snow and Suffering Can Melt Fast

It’s happening again – after a short but pleasant summer (with no fires!), the cool wetness of fall is suggested again in this week’s weather. May God move quickly for us.

Brandon J. Adams

evergreen-1802157_1280The last two winters have been brutal.

More specifically, this last one was mild and forgetful of its job right up until February and then got brutal to catch up (reminds me of the Seahawks offense). Constant negative temperatures, almost daily blizzards. Considering my fifteen-mile daily commute, this was immensely tiresome. I’d say something melodramatic like “I nearly died three times a week in this weather”, except frankly we Montanans are so used to roadside near-death experiences that they’re routine now.

But I was amazed by this: weather can change awful fast.

Theoretically, fall and spring are transitional seasons. That’s not really how it works here. It’s summer, summer, summer, then BOOM maybe a week or two of something in between before the snow comes. It’s winter, winter, winter, then BOOM it’s pretty warm and the flowers start blooming.

All of a sudden, this week, the brutal cold just evaporated…

View original post 237 more words

You Will Have to Fight for Your Contentment

With this week bringing a flood of “back to school” images of others’ small children across social media, I thought my single friends might appreciate a callback to this post from 2017.

Brandon J. Adams

Let’s talk about envy a little more.

smokeIt doesn’t play nice. You’re grinding along and suddenly someone appears on the phone or television with a bigger house, relishing a career they were born for, holding someone’s hand or pushing a stroller. Boom. Envy sweeps over you like a tidal wave. Whoosh. The tabloids and self-help mags shout from the supermarket rack about everything that you’re not. Pow. You hear a story in church about how someone else has finally reached the end of a debilitating trial. Crunch.

You sigh even as you celebrate, wondering why God hasn’t delivered you. The life you have seems to darken and pale.

If envy isn’t a deluge, it’s a leak that gradually covers the floor and wreaks havoc with your soul’s drywall. Let your guard down and your day is shot. It’s a menace within the chest, forceful and unsympathetic.

How do we typically answer?

We sigh, turn to cutesy memes, count our…

View original post 867 more words

Is God Opposed to Your Dreams?

Brandon J. Adams

soldierAs I was wrapping up Air Force basic training (never have seven weeks passed so swiftly and so slowly), one of the final bureaucratic details was the chance to tell the Air Force our preference of first posting, for them to promptly ignore.

We were given a “dream sheet” on which to list eight desired destinations. We could select a base, state, region, or country.

Some of us got an insider tip: wait until tech school to file your sheet. For whatever reason, sheets filed there tended to be actually seen by someone, whereas those filed at basic vanished into the same black hole that has probably consumed all my socks.

So I waited until tech school, filed my sheet, and waited with bated breath for my posting. The sergeant announced them weekly from the podium outside the dorms, usually triggering jeers of fake sympathy for anyone getting “Why Not

View original post 794 more words

When You Can’t See Behind the Door

Letting go feels like a surrender of strength, but it actually requires strength.

Brandon J. Adams

doorMy Bible this weekend has been opened to Psalms 127-132 page, and 131 caught my eye, standing out by being shorter than its surrounders:

Lord, my heart is not proud;
my eyes are not haughty.
I do not get involved with things
too great or too difficult for me.

Instead, I have calmed and quieted myself
like a little weaned child with its mother;
I am like a little child.

Israel, put your hope in the Lord
both now and forever. (Psalm 131:1-3 HCSB)

It seems as if the Psalmist is refusing to let his eyes get above his pay grade. As if there are matters beyond his rightful contemplation, things he just can’t grasp – and as if there is a holiness in refusing to try.

There is.

Only those who trust God, who trust his machinations behind the “curtain” of reality as it were, who trust him to keep…

View original post 122 more words

6 Surefire Ways to Drive Your Pizza Delivery Guy Crazy

jacketThis article is written under the assumption that delivery people are people, too.

We are happy to serve you, public. We are grateful for the business you bring us and intend to continue offering the best service possible to your doorstep, regardless of what happens there.

But at the risk of eliciting the phrase “first world problems”, if I may say so, we drivers risk our necks. The weather is nuts, the mugging threat is ever-present, and other drivers are doing very little to lower our blood pressure.

One day I shall crack, and the last you hear of me as they drag me into the funny farm will be something about an extra large pepperoni whose recipient forgot the tip or expected us to deliver to some preppers’ bunker two hours away in the mountains. That’s one thing.

But here are six lesser-known but consistent habits of pizza customers that also hasten the fateful day of our committing. If you wish to help, please read on.

 

1. Misplace your credit card when you’re placing your order.

Whatever you do, if you’re paying with a credit card over the phone, do not ensure that your card is within arm’s reach as you call. If we’re doing this thing properly, there should be at least a three-minute archaeological dig for the thing while we drivers wait on the other side, other phones ringing off the hook, orders stacking up beyond the screen’s edge, pizzas sitting in the warmer waiting with nobody to take them, and their future consumers adding their own follow-up calls to the melee.

 

2. Order from out and about, then try to beat us home.

The occasional customer, trying to plan ahead, will call from WalMart to order their pizza with the intention of getting home before our estimated 30-40 minute delivery window.

Key word, estimated. We sometimes outdo ourselves. Often, in fact.

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve reached a residence with an order far ahead of the 30-minute mark, only to get no answer. I call the number and yep, they’re still pulling their kids off the checkout conveyor and trying to get out the sliding doors, not having expected me to be so early. Oh, friends! I must then wait in the car at temperatures sometimes 30 below, sometimes 30 Celsius, while they barrel home in a manner that would make the Simpsons proud. 

Or it will be…ahem, a post-activity period that they’re trying to time their food for.

Trust me, folks, when you open the door panting for breath, hair tousled, and distractedly fumbling with a robe, we can take a fair guess as to what you were just doing.

All because you didn’t allow us a chance to beat our usual delivery times.

If you want to embarrass us, feel free to keep trying this. (I suppose I’m not in a position to know when it succeeds, come to think of it.) But if you want the opportunity to be that customer who gets a fresh, piping hot pizza after just twenty minutes, order from home and give us a chance to excel for you!

 

3. Don’t turn your porch light on.

I’d seriously say that it’s the minority of customers who light their house numbers so we can find them.

It’s not so bad if their neighbors have theirs illuminated to help, but they didn’t just order 32 hot wings and a single side of marinara (yes, I’ve seen that order), so they’re even less likely to do it.

This leaves us delivery drivers trotting down darkened streets in the middle of winter, walking up to five different houses and awkwardly squinting. Talk about daring the neighborhood watch. I’ve actually seen people quit over this. (Did I mention we’re carrying food? In bear country?)

To ensure our trip to the loony bin as early in life as possible, please continue to ensure that you do not illuminate your house number in any fashion. The simplest strategy here is simply forgetting to turn on your porch light, but there are many helpful variations! Black numbering on dark brown siding is always a winner. Or you could stick the numbers right beneath the light, exactly where the mounting’s shadow falls. Then there’s the classic move of slapping big numbers on the front of a pillar and then positioning the porch light directly behind the pillar. We do love the classics.

Speaking of…

 

4. Let slip the dogs of war when we knock.

Okay, folks. You know you ordered a pizza. You did not forget you have dogs. Why not stick your little treasures in the backyard once we arrive? (Again, I suspect many do and I never know it.)

Yet I am so often bombarded by what I suspect would be “Ride of the Valkyries” if dog language could be translated, as they slam into the closed door en masse, their barking drowning and frantic skidding on the foyer linoleum out the ineffectual cries of their owner: “Fluffyyyy! Boboooo! Snifflllles! You stop it!!!”

And sometimes there’s a doggy door. Which promptly becomes a cannon. Aimed right at my groin.

Forgive me – I almost had my thumb ripped off by a dog when I was eleven or thereabouts, so I’m still a little leery of the species if I don’t know the owner.

 

5. Offer a $50 or $100 bill for payment.

I know this is all some of you have for various reasons, but consider: we drivers are not permitted to carry more than twenty dollars in our cars. Same reason as convenience stores: to carry more makes us targets for mugging. Plus, if we have an accident, our earnings for the night are scattered all over Sixth Street. Along with our lower intestines.

Even if the order is large enough to where can break your ginormous bill with our twenty, doing so drains that twenty. The other day I was on a double run; both orders were from a trailer park. The first customer handed me a fifty and got that twenty in return. I actually had to turn around in full view of the other customer down the street, return to the store, and get a new bank before taking the second order. The walls are closing in…

Then there’s the possibility that your benjamin might be counterfeited without you knowing.

I do not wish to inconvenience you, but if at all possible, please pay with cash using lower denominations. We’ll love you forever!

 

6. Ask for specials first.

Okay, this may vary for different chains. But here’s the dealio for mine.

  • Specials are the last thing we put into the system. We can’t apply a special to an item that hasn’t been selected yet.
  • We have specials for a ton of different combinations – probably fifty specials overall.
  • We don’t run weekly or daily specials. We may emphasize a few for various periods, but most of them run for months at a time (I think our “2 for $24” special was on when Moses parted the Red Sea). So the answer to “what are your specials?” is probably the same as it was two weeks ago.

And the best answer to that question is, “Well, how many pizzas are you thinking, and what sizes?”

See, we like you. We give you mad props for looking for savings and don’t blame you at all, but we want to keep your business in the first place! If you are looking to save money, tell us what you’re in the mood for, and we’ll be happy to find you a special that saves you some moolah. Trust us!

 

I sincerely hope that my sarcastic ranting has not sliced up your enthusiasm for pizza. Please feel free to order and we will continue to serve you with a smile, no matter what.

Please note I’m out this week, but will reply to your comments when I return. (I’m picking out my bed at the asylum.)