Three Weddings In Two Weeks

Three Weddings In Two WeeksThis weekend officially ends my summer activities and commitments. And I go out with a great celebration! Three good friends of mine have gotten married in the last two weeks. Two of them, Nick Poole and Shane Vicry were former interns with Vision 2 Hear and the third, which I actually couldn’t attend ūüė¶ was for former Board Member of Vision 2 Hear, Tony Lawson.

So as I wrap up the summer, here are a few things I learned from weddings this summer.

Family is number one priority.

There are very few things that bring people together anymore but thankfully we still have weddings! People travel from far and wide to be part of weddings and to celebrate with their loved ones as they begin this epic journey called marriage. Even though I am not “blood-related” (nor were many others), I logged a lot of miles (as did several others) to celebrate with my “sons” in the ministry. If things would have worked differently, I would have attended Tony’s wedding also because he’s a dear friend known to many as “Uncle Tony”. If there’s only one thing to take away from the wedding experiences this summer it’s a reminder that seeing family and being part of each other’s lives is paramount¬†to the human experience. But I did learn a couple of other things too ūüôā

 

Take advantage of the venue, area and travel.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Traveling such long distances for things like weddings not only costs much but can require a fair amount of time. Building in an extra day of time to sight-see, or even rest and simply enjoy where you are is something I feel quite valuable and rewarding (as long as it’s not on a Monday in Dallas. It seems all museums are closed on Mondays!) Not quite sure what I could have seen in Williamsburg, KY haha but we could have had fun in the Sav-A-Lot parking lot I suppose. jkjk!

 

 

Enjoy reliving past stories and creating new ones.

From bachelor parties to rehearsal dinners, weddings are great events to relive great and meaningful stories from the past as well as create unforgettable memories for the future. The weddings I attended over the last couple of weeks were full of so many wonderful tales that have been told and retold for years now. But there were also some incredibly funny and touching stories created during these life events that I’ll not soon forget.

 

Say the words that need to be said.

It’s a given that certain people will make toasts to the bride and groom, parents will make speeches and the bridal party will share their thoughts, but even if you don’t fit into one of those categories, share your words, thoughts, feelings and support publicly and privately with the bride, groom and other close friends. As it’s seldom that we get together with this many people that we love and miss at a given point in time, take advantage of moments of vulnerability and transparency to say what is really in and on your heart. even though we expect the Bride and Groom to say “I do”, it’s a great time for you to reaffirm how much you love those in attendance as well.

I have much more to contemplate from this summer, but these were just quick and on my mind so I wanted to share them. Let me say a huge congratulations to Nick and Maribeth, Tony and Jenn and Shane and Maddie on their recent weddings. I love you guys and wish you the very best lives together as possible. Thanks for letting me be part of your families and I’m truly thankful to have you as a part of mine.

Sincerely,

George

Nick Poole and Maribeth Gillis

Nick Poole and Maribeth Gillis

Tony Lawson and Jenn Roof

Tony Lawson and Jenn Roof

 

Shane Vicry and Maddie Doucet

Shane Vicry and Maddie Doucet

 





Thoughts On Mother’s Day

As I was pondering Mother’s Day and all the things that go along with thanking those who are our mothers, I struggled a little with what I felt were some of the reasons why my mom is so special. It’s not that she was a bad mom, it’s just we didn’t get to grow up or grow together while I was young.

At 9 my parents divorced and even before that I was living with my grandparents. I started living with my dad’s parents basically at age 3. Even though my parents lived right next door until I was 9, I didn’t see either of them a whole lot growing up. Dad was always out fishing and mom was always working. Both had a lot of barriers to overcome and dealing with 2 kids 2 years apart was a difficult things for them to handle amid all of their issues in life. Dad was epileptic and unable to hold a job. Mom was a foreigner and trying to find her way. Both had trouble communicating with each other and the result was a divorce. At that time mom moved to another city and my dad moved a few blocks away. We saw dad during some evening meals but my mom was only allowed visitation on holidays and with special permission. Like I said, I am not sure of all the behind the scenes events but as I have pieced things together it seems that my grandparents were not only mistrusting toward my mom but probably a little prejudiced. Needless to say, we only saw my mom on a limited basis for years and at those times for short periods.

Yet my mom has had had a profound impact on my life. Through the years I have been able to develop a relationship with her and come to realize some very important and valuable lessons that only she could have taught me. Allow me to share them with you.

Forgiveness

When I stop to think about the amount of forgiveness my mom has had to show and express, I really am floored. Not only has she been mistreated by people she thought were her loved ones in the USA but she had no other parents in her home country of Korea. She was put in an orphanage and lived there until she met my father. Dreams of a new life with family and kids came to a screeching halt when my parents divorced. I remember one time sitting in a parking lot when I was about 18 and my mom telling me that all she had ever wanted was to come to America and have her children and give them the very best. After 10 years¬†she had no advocates in the States, no close friends, and the family she thought she had had turned against her. ¬†As I look back on how poorly my grandparents treated my mom, how they “brainwashed” my brother and I and kept us from her and limited us sharing more memories together, I am astounded by the ability my mom has to forgive. Not only has she forgiven them but she has treated their memories with fondness and throughout all of it respected their wishes! I cannot say I have had any better lesson on forgiveness than this!

Hard work

English obviously wasn’t my mom’s native language being that she was from South Korea. Not only did she have to work hard to learn to speak, read, and write English but she had to get a job to help support the family since my dad and grandmother did not work. My grandfather was a carpenter and my dad did some fishing but my mom needed a job to bring in money to help provide as well. She eventually got a job at a local shirt factory where she worked for over 17 years sewing, making minimal pay. Even after the divorce, she continued to work, giving my grandparents money toward our education, my braces, glasses, band fees, etc. as any good mom would do. She would be laid off and the factory soon closed and my mom found other work in nearby cities to continue her life and helping provide for my brother and I. To this day, she still gives in support of the ministry and work I do around the world. She has always been a hard worker and I have benefitted greatly from her sacrifice in a shirt factory. Not from her income alone but from her testimony of endurance, love and dedication to provide for her children.

Being there

Mom may have been limited by my grandparents and the “law” for when and how much she could see us but for every major event, she was there. When it counted, she was there: Band concerts…there. Parades…there. High school graduation…there. College fees and books…there. College graduation…there. She may not have been able to be part of my everyday life but she was there when it counted most. She did all she could do with all she had. ¬†She took advantage of every chance she got to be present with us as often as she could. She made a difference as best she could with her limited resources, limited understanding and limited trust. She has not harbored anger, resentment, or bitterness for all the wrongs she has encountered. Instead she turned them all into beautiful lessons she taught me from afar. I will be eternally grateful for my mom and all she has done for me and my brother. Moreover, I will be more thankful for the person she is and has chosen to be. I love you mom! You really are my hero.

Your Son,

George

 

 

 

George Lockhart is a missionary with Vision 2 Hear and works as student pastor at New Vision Church in Fayetteville, GA

Leaf In the Wind: Lessons from Ryan Leaf

It’s sad to see another once hopeful fall away and succumb to a life of poor choices and irrelevance. Like a leaf in the wind, Ryan Leaf, former NFL quarterback of the San Diego Chargers, has been caught a second time in a matter of days for burgulery and possession of illegal prescription drugs. This is the kind of thing that you hate to see happen to anyone but especially to someone who at one time had such promise.

¬†The reason I even choose to blog about this is because so many student athletes and very talented young people think that they have what it takes to make it in the pros. They live with that dream of becoming a star and finally “making it”. What this story does for me is point out a few lessons that we could all learn and at least that way Mr. Leaf’s story can yield some god fruit.
Potential does not guarantee success. Ryan leaf was drafted second overall in the 1998 NFL draft. He was only second to Peyton Manning! What a study in contrasts! Leaf played a few mediocre seasons and retired at the age of 26 with a quarterback rating of 50.0. Surely this was not what he, his family, agents or teams had hoped for. At the time of the draft, people were comparing Manning and Leaf speculating about which would be the better quarterback, professional, and have the better career. I think it’s clear to see that even with Manning’s injuries, missing all of last season and recently being traded, that his choices and potential have been realized. Ryan Leaf on the other hand with so much potential has only realized that potential alone is not enough.
Controlled substances are not always controllable. Mr. Leaf was charged in 2009 for burgulery and seven counts of possession of a controlled substance which he obtained by fraud. With this he was fined $ 20,000 and 10 years of probation. Over the last couple of days Mr. Leaf has been charged again and detained this time for breaking his probation and for possession of drugs. Evidently Mr.Leaf is not able to control his addiction for either stealing or drugs or both. Isn’t this the fallacy of many who think that they can control their habits of addictions? Regardless of how strong or in control one may feel, once drugs and alcohol become a way of life, these substances have a way of controlling their hosts and undermining their futures.
Just because you know what’s right doesn’t mean you will do it. This seems to be the story of Mr. Leaf and somewhat reminiscent of many Biblical characters who had chance after chance to “fix” things and never did. I have no idea what Mr. Leaf’s religious beliefs are but I am sure that he really would have liked for his life to turn around long before now. Not that it’s too late mind you, but he had already made an attempt through writing his autobiography called “598 Switch” that was supposed to be an informative look into his life offering wisdom on what not to do. Regretfully, he has failed to live out his own words. If there’s any wisdom here, folks, it’s do what you need to do to get clean and stay clean! In a recent statement Leaf said
“I’ve made some mistakes, and have no excuses. I am using the tools I’ve learned to move forward rather than backwards, and will be open to talking about the details in the days to come. I am confident that there will be further understanding when the facts are revealed, and feel very blessed for all of the support, especially from my friends and family.”

I hope Ryan Leaf is able to get his life back on track and that he will overcome his problems and issues. In the meantime, it is my hope that the rest of us can take heed to these valuable lessons and not make the same mistakes. As you consider these things, pray for Ryan Leaf to get his life back together. Be thankful for God’s grace in your own life. Don’t be like a leaf blown in the wind!
George Lockhart is a missionary with Vision 2 Hear and serves as Student Minister at new Vision Church in Fayetteville, GA

Confronting Cultural Norms

I was reading a blog I found on Youth Culture Report¬†from Andy Blanks about dealing with culture and how to engage the battle for our students hearts and minds. There are many in ministry who settle for playing games with students and entertaining them for a couple hours each week but this is not what Christ intended! We have all been commissioned to make disciples! Disciples know and understand culture, how to interact within the culture and how to change their culture. Real life disciples don’t flee from culture into a nice, quaint sub-culture where everything is controlled and managed. To the contrary they engage culture and wisely live within that context making a difference however subtle. Jesus told his disciples :¬†16¬†‚ÄúLook, I‚Äôm sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as serpents and as harmless as doves. Matthew 10:16 Jesus did not seek to escape culture but rather he equipped His disciples to effectively engage it. How can we better do this?

Dissect The Culture. As with any scientific methodology, dissection and cross-section is a great way to not only understand but engage a species. Culture seems to change about every year to year-and-a-half making understanding it an epic challenge. As soon as you think you have a grasp ¬†someone flips the script and dramatically shifts the paradigm. Taking time with your students and parents on a regular basis to work through the lyrics of a song, album cover art, music videos and movie clips are great ways to study the culture and gauge where it is and where it is headed. Host media weekends or seminars to help parents know how to find resources and use technology. Allow the students to be the teachers! Now that’s a novel idea, right? Bring the outsiders in! We have to do a better job understanding culture instead of simply judging it!

We fear what we do not understand.

Dialogue About Culture. Talking about the mores and values of the society are vitally important. Many students and adults have a clouded understanding of why they do what they do and the reasons for which they feel strongly about certain beliefs or ways of living. Having dialogue and discussions are healthy and necessary to flesh out real belief and doctrine of scripture.If we never talk about these things in church how do we really expect our students to be equipped to address the issues in the real world? Dialogue is the bridge between generations and cultures. Conversations give birth to relationships and relationships change culture! When relationships with parents and families become stronger the culture becomes stronger. Churches should be the place where most dialogue about culture happens!¬†Talk to God about the culture. Pray on behalf of the city, nations and world. Don’t just talk to your children or students but talk to God! Pray together as families at church. Pray together as the Body for the culture.

Disciple Into Culture. If we are to be successful in helping our students and their parents engage culture we have to disciple people correctly. This means we have to biblically train them and disciple them through God’s Word and by His Spirit. Jesus could not have been more clear about this than when he prayed:

14 I have given them Your word. 
The world hated them 
because they are not of the world, 
as I am not of the world. 
15 I am not praying 
that You take them out of the world 
but that You protect them from the evil one. 
16 They are not of the world, 
as I am not of the world. 
17 Sanctify them by the truth; 
Your word is truth. 
18 As You sent Me into the world, 
I also have sent them into the world. 
19 I sanctify Myself for them, 
so they also may be sanctified by the truth.

Jesus had prepared His disciples and made them fishers of men. He trained them by living with them and allowing them to peer into His life for three years. Can we do any less and anticipate success? Hardly! Yet many of today’s generation and culture at large are biblically illiterate, un-discipled, and lost and tossed about by every wind of doctrine because they do not have an established discipleship relationship with any kind of spiritual mentor or coach.

Many pastors, youth pastors and even lay leaders “preach” and teach but who is discipling? Who is investing days, months, and years into the lives of students on a regular basis? We need men and women, moms and dads who will step up and disciple their children, raising them to live godly within the context of a messed-up generation. If we expect our kids to be godly leaders we cannot neglect the fact that time together, living and breathing in close proximity, along with clear and definitive teaching and modeling is the only way to disciple! ¬†Without these things ¬†in concert and harmony the next generation will not only be self-absorbed but un-discipled as Christ-Followers. They might know about God but they will not glorify Him with their lives.

Changing the culture can only happen when people of the culture are changed from within. This only happens with relationship. Relationships with each other and God.¬†It’s not about taking our kids out of the “mean, nasty, bad, and evil” culture but equipping them with every tool, value and resource available to withstand the cultural onslaught.

Disciples were always sent into the world…not kept from it!

 3 For this is what love for God is: to keep His commands. Now His commands are not a burden, 4because whatever has been born of God conquers the world. This is the victory that has conquered the world: our faith. 5 And who is the one who conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 1 John 5: 3-5

MTV, Wiz Khalifa or Lady Gaga¬†are teaching our kids what to believe and they are buying it at a rate of 17 billion dollars a year! Someone new will be teaching them within a year or so… I hope it’s you! ¬†To effectively confront cultural norms we have to dissect the culture, dialogue with our kids about it and disciple them in the things of God and ways of Jesus. Otherwise, they will go the way of mainstream culture living obscured lives rooted in virtual obsolescence and irrelevance…not at all what God intended for any generation.

 


 

 

George Lockhart is a missionary with Vision 2 Hear and serves as the Youth Pastor at New Vision Church in Fayetteville, GA