The letters are eagerly received by Micah, Luke, and Caleb every time Dennis is away, and this trip was no exception.
This was one of my favorite letters produced from his time in India, so I want to share it here with the hope that it will encourage or challenge someone who needs it as much as we do!
Greetings My Sons,
A favorite question adults like to ask children is, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" When I was in second grade I remember eagerly answering, "An astronaut." In kindergarten (age 5) I dressed up as an astronaut for Halloween in a really bad tie-in-the-back number that came with a plastic mask fastened to my head by a rubber band. Undaunted, I headed to school and was proud of my faux spacesuit until another class mate appeared in A REAL SPACESUIT complete with a helmet that lit up when he pressed a button on a handheld remote attached to his suit. Oh, the envy that burned in my soul that day! I thought to myself, "That guy might have the suit but I will be on the moon."
My second grade class report was on the Apollo 11 moon landing. I studied and practiced reading my report and when presentation day came I dazzled the audience with my lunar knowledge and proper use of the words "orbital rendezvous." I had big ideas and big dreams. However, I learned that since the goal of placing a man on the moon had already been accomplished, NASA would soon discontinue the lunar project. What??? How could this be? I did not even get a chance to go to the moon, and no one asked me if the lunar missions should be over! This news was quite unsettling.
I stopped dreaming of the moon.
The following year, at the wise age of eight, and with renewed passion and vigor I decided on a new career goal: Professional Football Player. No rockets, but you still get to wear a cool helmet. I spent days in the front yard, backyard, and school yard playing football. Then one day this horrid phrase was heard during morning announcements, “There will be NO TACKLE FOOTBALL OF ANY KIND PLAYED DURING RECESS OR LUNCH!” What???!!! Has the administration of the school lost their minds?
Though this disastrous edict was handed down to the inhabitants of Star View School - I knew that football was still in my future.
During my freshman year, I made a decision regarding football. I wanted to earn the right to play both ways and never step off the field. If it was game time I wanted to be on the field. No sidelines. No waiting to get a turn. On the field.
This was my hope until my sophomore year. As a sophomore, I started. I was even Team Captain.
Junior year I expected the same. Even if I did not start both ways I assumed I would get my share of playing time. But something was different. During the summer I treated passing league games as optional. In the weight room, I was not doing the lifts that would change my performance on the field, I only did the lifts I enjoyed. My desire to play was great, but my preparation did not match my desire.
My senior year I had early success during spring football but a few setbacks impacted my playing time. At the end of high school, my football career came to a quiet close.
The next five years would be spent working a few hours and going to school on a schedule that was convenient for surfing opportunities. I did not know how to study in earnest. Youth ministry became my focus. I can be a youth pastor! I had an award winning personality and was quick on my feet …how hard could this gig be? Way harder than I was prepared to work, it turned out.
Are you sensing a trend?
When setbacks and bumps came my way I lost heart or lost interest.
The Lord has given you gifts and talents to be honed and used for His glory. HOWEVER, He expects you to use His Word and His Spirit to focus (Proverbs 3:5-7), and rejoice in Him (Psalm 34:7), and to do that which He is calling you to do (Romans 12:1-2). Then, as He works in you, there is an expectation for you to use all your God-given might to press, pull, and fight like the third monkey trying to get on the ark in order to achieve the goals He has placed in your heart (Mark 12:30).
He invites you into the process. Not for the purpose of cruising or leisure, but for work and worship and worshipping in your work. I Corinthians 10:31 tells us, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
Do not worry if you do not know your chosen profession right now. Focus on godly character and learning skills that will make a difference in your life and the lives of others (Matthew 5:16).
Prepare today for tomorrow (Colossians 3:23-24).
I love you, and I am confident God wants to use you now! Not just “when you grow up.”
You and I know that unless the Lord builds the house those who labor do so in vain (Psalm 127:1). But we must give our best effort. Effort that makes no excuses (Philippians 2:14). Effort that seeks to be better than yesterday (Romans 12:1-2). Effort that serves and improves others (Mark 10:43). But ultimately, effort that leads you to a closer relationship with Jesus (Luke 9:23).
I love you, Dad