Renaissance Man

Ok, new nickname for my friend Dave. The Artist formerly known as David Cheng will now be referred to as Dave “Renaissance Man” Cheng. Why, you ask?

Well, the Renaissance Man is, “someone who becomes skilled, sometimes to greatness, in several areas. The Renaissance Man is someone who is constantly learning and mastering new skills. It's this quality that allowed fellows such as Leonardo Da Vinci to become skilled at both scientific and artistic endeavors.”

That fits Dave well. Let’s consider: He dresses well (a little deficient in the formal wear, but he’s young enough that it doesn’t matter). He’s a genius with computers. He is a good cook. He likes household activities. He has a terrific singing voice. He plays several instruments. He is a passionate and thoughtful worship leader. He has a servant’s heart. He works well with young people. He is God-centered and biblically focused in his theology. He is willing to teach, even though it’s not his favorite. He writes songs. He knows all the good websites. He uses coupons. He is one of the most perfect specimens of Christian humility I have ever met. He is a clear writer. He speaks multiple languages. He blends perfect smoothies. He is a top-notch fantasy football manager.

Perhaps MOST important, he is a good and caring friend, a (soon to be) husband to a terrific girl, and a faithful follower of Christ (in ascending order of importance, of course).


Ok, that’s neither here nor there. My point is this. It’s easy for me to be jealous of Dave, especially when I fear that I will always be a failure as a husband or father in comparison to him. But you know what? That fear of mine is terrible theology. God created us each in highly unique ways, and we need to be aware of that and USE it for His glory. For instance:

Some serve in studying and expressing biblical theology.
Some serve by helping the church’s finances.
Some serve through loving relationships and hospitality.
Some serve by loving and teaching children.
Some serve by doing websites and music videos.
Some serve through encouragement and friendships.
Some serve through meeting physical needs like health or hunger.

This is the beauty of Ephesians 4. We ALL can contribute to the Body, we all are DESIGNED to contribute to the Body, we are all COMMANDED to contribute to the Body, and therefore we MUST all contribute to the Body. It is our JOB to worship God by serving in the church and contributing to the Body, and my envy or self-detriment does not help accomplish that goal.

Dave may be the Renaissance Man, but you and I have just as much opportunity as he or anyone else does to become who God has called them to be. If I love God, I will serve Him with what He gave me… because that is why He gave it to me in the first place.


Scary faith/scared faith

One of the worst parts about trusting in God is the part where you have to carry that out. Samantha and I are in a very, “put your money where your mouth is” type of position right now. We (actually, being the dumb one with the big mouth, I am usually the one who spouts this stuff) talk about the importance of trusting God completely, of following His will for our lives. We tell people to get involved in their local church, and not to go somewhere because it’s easy but rather to go somewhere that you can serve. We suggest that we don’t need worldly things because whatever God gives you is enough. I am confident that God wants me at the small church I love, not at the larger church that could actually pay me.

And now I can’t find a job.

I always assumed jobs would be fairly plentiful for me. I’m fairly sharp, I know politics, I have relevant work experience. And yet… it’s not happening. And now I’m two months away from marrying the girl of my dreams and I’m not drawing a paycheck.

It’s really scary. It’s easy for me not to be scared when I’m by myself. I don’t mind half-starving, or not having furniture, or working long hours including travel and weekends, or smelling bad. I could do anything it took, and there would be no need to worry because “God” (and the fact that I look good on a resume and am convincing in interviews) would take care of everything.

But then this girl came along, and now I need to actually provide in the literal sense of the word. I need God to give me a job that is in the Lansing area, has sensible hours and schedule, pays decently, and will last for a decent length of time. I need to pay for an apartment, to pay for decent groceries, to start saving for kids and loan payments and the like… it’s a lot to take in at once.

It’s especially frustrating because this is exactly what I’ve always wanted. Family is important to me, and I’d MUCH rather be in this situation with Samantha than by myself in Washington D.C. Still… I’m really struggling not to worry.

I wish that God would look back over the many times that I did things that everyone else said was silly, but I believed He wanted me to do it. I wish he would look back and be impressed, and give me rest. I wish things were easy. Usually I don’t care about easy, because it’s just me and I LIKE taking the hard way. But suddenly, I’m made to realize that was an illusion… being alone IS the easy way for me. It’s being together with someone that’s hard. And it’s what God wants for me.

So, here we go. Once again I’m fighting back the worries that scurry around in your stomach and clog up your throat. Once again I’m ignoring the fact that this is not the best way to do things. Once again… once again I’m actually believing, rather than saying I believe, that God is real and that He’s going to take care of me and that His providential hand is a tangible thing.

I really miss the times when it was ok to be weak. And I really miss the people who are used to seeing you that way. There aren’t many left, and I’m scared all over again.

"Not act on the words of a Master?
Come, Uncle, come! Can you see all
the worlds that were and those that are
to be? Alas, and nor can I!
My heart and mind tell me to trust
His words. The victory is ours
if we can trust. However, if
you have a better plan? For if
you have, well, we must hear it now."
A serious silence filled the lofts -
they saw the shadowed face with awe
as Uther in his son announced:
"So then, prepare our soldiery,
my lords, for war, for victory!"


Definition of Pissed

This is the old definition of being pissed off.

piss off
To make or become angry.
Used in the imperative as a signal of angry dismissal.

This is the new definition of pissed off.

1. When, for some mysterious reason, the program that runs your company's phone system suddenly (like, say, in March) makes it so that A) your phone does not display the fact that you have messages from the month of March and B) your phone doesn't put calls into your voice mail after March.

2. When the above situation makes it so that you do not recieve a call from a legislator's office.

3. When the above phone call is to tell you that you have an interview with the legislator for a job.

4. When your current job is due to end in a month and a half, and the interview you missed was the job you most wanted.

Yep... under the new definition, I am DEFINITELY pissed off.


Again with Humility!

I had really been having a hard time lately figuring out my role as a teacher. It seems as though the things I try to say fall on deaf ears, or are too complicated, or are things only I can relate to. Thankfully, though, some good friends have been mentioning things to me recently that I taught eons ago. Recent events in their lives have made the concepts clearer, and God in His grace reminded them of something they learned long ago.

This is a tough area for me, and I know it always will be. I tend to want instant gratification… I want to see people changing their lives and being inspired and (if I’m honest) being impressed. The problem is, I start to take very godly desires (wanting to see people turn away from their selves and to God) and turn them into selfish ones. I think that’s why God always “fixes” things so that people aren’t really affected by my lessons until much later… at that point, it’s clear that God is working in them and reminding them of things for His purposes, not because I’m a clear speaker.

I’m preaching at UBC two weeks from yesterday, and I think that’s why He’s reminding me of all this. I need to be more patient, trusting that whatever work God lays out for me will be for good, no matter what the immediate results are. I just have to keep being faithful to that.