Wednesday, June 30, 2010

JULY 2010 PRAYER BULLETIN


Dear Family and Friends,

July 1, 1992 is a day that shall always be remembered with great fondness in the Jenkins family. On this day our lives were forever changed by the birth of Sophia Jenkins.

On July 1, 2010 the leadership at Christ’s Church in Rwanda asks for you to join us in 40 Days of Prayer for Rwanda’s upcoming elections.

You may not see my strange mind’s reasoning, but my life has been profoundly changed for the better by 18 years of Sophia and 17 years of Africa. The two have merged into a unique story of God that truly shows His sovereign marks. Near the first of each month I try to put in your inbox a list of prayer requests. This month I ask your prayers for the following items (which are really thanking God for His care for many years):

1. Thankfulness for 18 wonderful years with Sophia. May her new journeys into adulthood bless her new communities as much as she has blessed our family and the communities we have served.

2. Thankfulness that our youngest son, Timothy chose Jesus as the boss of His life and was baptized on Saturday, June 26. Our family is now complete in Christ. We thank the Lord for His care and the expression of that care through family, friends, and local churches for our entire lives.

3. Thankfulness that after a 2 year decline in giving to our family and ministry in June 2010 the trend has been reversed. Giving has gone up and we are hopeful for the future.

4. The continued discovery of like-minded partners for our family’s ministry in Rwanda. Our Jenkins Summer Mystery Tour has been both draining and inspiring. We believe now is a season where we can best honor God by telling the unique stories of what God has done through ROC, CCR, and KICS. In order to reach the next stages our community of prayer, support, ideas, and labor must increase. May God raise up the community of supporters He desires in the coming days for His honor to be most clearly seen.

5. Rwanda’s upcoming elections on August 9, 2010. May our Sovereign God use this season to fill our hearts with peace. May He appoint those to lead who can usher in justice and establish systems to bless coming generations.


Thank you for your prayers, support, and encouragement that sustain our family and ministry.

Imana ikurinde (May God Keep All of You),

Dave

Christ's Church in Rwanda 40 Days of Prayer Guide


Please join Christ’s Church in Rwanda in praying for Rwanda for the next 40 days as Presidential elections approach. Day 1 is 1 July 2010, and day 40 is 9 August 2010 (election day). What follows is a prayer guide that you may or may not choose to use. We believe that praying God’s word back to Him is very powerful (Isaiah 55:11), and we hope that you will agree with us in prayer.

Helpful information about praying these Scriptures

As mentioned above, we believe that praying the word of the Lord back to Him is powerful. Here is an example of how to pray the Scriptures on Day 2:

Dear Lord, I will shout for joy to all the earth and worship You with gladness. I will come before You with joyful songs. I will worship You with gladness and come before You with joyful songs. I know that You, the LORD, are God and it is You that has made us, and that we are Yours. We are Your people, the sheep of Your pasture. I will enter Your gates with thanksgiving and Your courts with praise; I will give thanks to You and praise Your name. For You are good and Your love endures forever; Your faithfulness continues through all generations.

Lord, Your word tells me that You will do whatever I ask in Your name, so that You may be glorified. It tells me that I may ask for anything in Your name, and You will do it.

Lord, Your word tells me that You will give whatever I ask for in Your name. It says that, if I ask, I will receive, and my joy will be complete.

Lord, Your word urges me to present requests, prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving for everyone—for kings and all those in authority—that I may live a peaceful and quiet life in all godliness and holiness.

(Follow with a request for peace in Rwanda, for example)

Lord, You know that Rwanda has struggled long and hard to reach a place of peace after the desolation that took place here. I ask in Jesus’ name that You will place Your hand of protection over our land as the presidential election approaches. I implore You on behalf of the people of Rwanda to help the election results to be of Your choosing, and that the president will look to You first for wisdom and guidance. May the nation of Rwanda look to You as the One True God. May Your name be glorified in what happens here in Rwanda and in all the earth.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen

Suggested Scriptures to Pray

Thursday, 1 July 2010 (Day 1)
• Psalm 9, Isaiah 55:11, Luke 1:37

Friday, 2 July 2010 (Day 2)
• Psalm 100, John 14:13-14, John 16:23-26, I Timothy 2:1-2

Saturday, 3 July 2010 (Day 3)
• Psalm 124, I John 4:16-18

Sunday, 4 July 2010 (Day 4)
• Psalm 86, Proverbs 3:5-6, Philippians 4:6-7

Monday, 5 July 2010 (Day 5)
• Psalm 46, Proverbs 2:6-11, Psalm 32:7

Tuesday, 6 July 2010 (Day 6)
• Exodus 15:1-3, 6-7, 11, 13; Psalm 18:30-31; Revelation 3:7b-8

Wednesday, 7 July 2010 (Day 7)
• Psalm 5:1-8, 11-12; II Timothy 1:7; Psalm 46:10

Thursday, 8 July 2010 (Day 8)
• Psalm 81:8-13, Psalm 42

Friday, 9 July 2010 (Day 9)
• Psalm 27, Psalm 63

Saturday, 10 July 2010 (Day 10)
• Psalm 21:11-13, I John 4:4, Psalm 55:22

Sunday, 11 July 2010 (Day 11)
• II Thessalonians 3:1-5; Psalm 31:3-4, 8; Psalm 37:5-7, 39-40

Monday, 12 July 2010 (Day 12)
• Psalm 68:1-6, Psalm 138:7-8, Isaiah 54:7

Tuesday, 13 July 2010 (Day 13)
• Psalm 73:23-28, Psalm 143

Wednesday, 14 July 2010 (Day 14)
• Isaiah 40

Thursday, 15 July 2010 (Day 15)
• Psalm 90, Isaiah 30:18, II Chronicles 6:9a

Friday, 16 July 2010 (Day 16)
• Psalm 62:1-2; John 17:11, 14-20; Ephesians 6:10-20

Saturday, 17 July 2010 (Day 17)
• Psalm 20; Proverbs 9:10-12

Sunday, 18 July 2010 (Day 18)
• Proverbs 4:23-27; Psalm 25

Monday, 19 July 2010 (Day 19)
• Psalm 33

Tuesday, 20 July 2010 (Day 20)
• Psalm 34

Wednesday, 21 July 2010 (Day 21)
• Psalm 66

Thursday, 22 July 2010 (Day 22)
• Psalm 91

Friday, 23 July 2010 (Day 23)
• Psalm 92

Saturday, 24 July 2010 (Day 24)
• Psalm 101; Psalm 127

Sunday, 25 July 2010 (Day 25)
• Psalm 113:1-4, Isaiah 41:10, James 1:2-8

Monday, 26 July 2010 (Day 26)
• Psalm 108:1-5, Isaiah 58:12, I Peter 1:3-9

Tuesday, 27 July 2010 (Day 27)
• Psalm 95:1-7a, Romans 8:26-27, II Chronicles 7:14-15

Wednesday, 28 July 2010 (Day 28)
• Daniel 2:19b-21; Romans 8:31-39; Romans 15:13

Thursday, 29 July 2010 (Day 29)
• James 4:7-10; I Peter 2:13-17; Jeremiah 29:5-7; Job 34:18-19, 23-24, 29-30

Friday, 30 July 2010 (Day 30)
• I Peter 5:5-11, Colossians 3:12-17

Saturday, 31 July 2010 (Day 31)
• Colossians 3:23-24, Philippians 2:1-11, Ephesians 3:20-21

Sunday, 1 August 2010 (Day 32)
• Psalm 19, Philippians 2:13-16a, Jeremiah 32:27

Monday, 2 August 2010 (Day 33)
• Jeremiah 32:17-19, Psalm 14

Tuesday, 3 August 2010 (Day 34)
• Psalm 11

Wednesday, 4 August 2010 (Day 35)
• Psalm 15

Thursday, 5 August 2010 (Day 36)
• Proverbs 16:3, Matthew 9:36-38, II Corinthians 9:10-11, Galatians 6:9, Matthew 7:7-8, Joh-n 15:5-8

Friday, 6 August 2010 (Day 37)
• Psalm 16:1-9

Saturday, 7 August 2010 (Day 38)
• Psalm -17

Sunday, 8 August 2010 (Day 39)
• Psalm 18

Monday, 9 August 2010 (Day 40)
• Psalm 23

THE STORY OF TIMOTHY'S MOST RECENT BIRTH

On September 29, 2002 the world was graced by the birth of my youngest son, Timothy David Sanyu Jenkins. His birth was one of human tragedy as for a few brief weeks he had no family. Then by God’s sovereign grace Timothy made his way from Sanyu Babies home to become a full child with all rights and responsibilities of the Jenkins family. Within days after entering our family Timothy displayed his intense strength of both will and likability. While other babies cooed, Timothy growled. He would roar as a young lion. The world would always know when Timothy Jenkins was near. A few months after Timothy came to our home we noticed his struggle to move his right arm and leg. He was diagnosed with a minor case of cerebral palsy. We pondered the future. Timothy responded with his strong will. We may be an active family, but Timothy made us strong. He crawled, walked, and then ran. Rwanda may be the best place in the world for a family graced by Timothy for each day we live out the words of President Kagame, “Others may walk, we must run.” In Timothy’s family running is the only option.

Our family comes from a religious tradition that practices believer’s baptism. (For the sake of this blog I’ll skip lengthy bible commentaries and theological discussions and just tell our journey.) In our tradition baptism is practiced by immersion for those old enough to conceptualize faith in Jesus of Nazareth. Socially, baptism signifies inclusion into God’s family. With inclusion comes the practical membership at a local church and a shared weekly meal called Holy Communion or The Lord’s Supper. This sacred meal is a time when our church family remembers Jesus’ death and resurrection. In this process we are reminded of both the community we share with Jesus himself and Jesus followers around the world.

A perpetually awkward moment of our tradition is that we ask for each baptism candidate to come to his own faith before considering baptism. However, how old or much understanding is required to participate in our sacred ritual of immersion? Is it just the simple children’s Sunday School answer of “Jesus” or does a baptism subject need to be able to explain complex theological topics such as grace, the Holy Spirit, the Kingdom of God, and “The Church?” If there is not some proper understanding of belief our community risks heresy in each new generation of faith discovery.

Another portion our awkwardness is our revival tradition. We believe in repentance and discovery. We must continually weigh our thoughts, actions, and character against the holiness of God. In this process we continue to discover more grace. This causes us to celebrate and change. We hope this revival process will over time with the regeneration brought on by the Holy Spirit make us Jesus’ representative on earth. We believe revival takes place both in our personal lives and in the lives of our community.

With each of our new discoveries of grace and renewal a temptation is to look at our old ways and consider them “not Christian.” At times our revival tradition makes us not honor God’s work in either our past live or our community’s. It can lead to legalistic elitism. Some who experience this will look upon their early baptism and consider it not worthy of our Christian ideals. Some will be re-baptized several times in life as they discover more.

A worry of parents in our tradition is twofold. One, we may baptize our children when they are too young. With such a situation they may come to resent our overbearing influence or to conclude their young faith was really no faith. The second struggle is that we may spurn their early requests to be baptized. Thus we crush their tender young seeking hearts.

Two weeks ago, Jana I were given 2 requests by our fast footed son. These were “I want to be baptized and I want a football helmet.”

With both questions we proceeded with caution. After all, we had just been staying with a friend who allowed Timothy to borrow his Texas A and M helmet. The thought of our fast son becoming an Aggie sent a chill down our neck. What if an even worse fate happened - Timothy became a baptized, but unbelieving Aggie?

We began by asking Timothy, “Why do you want to be baptized?” Timothy responded with simple answers. Everyone in his family had been baptized. Those he admired at church had been baptized. He watched others share our church meal of communion and felt excluded. The most startling words he used were “I am all alone.”

Timothy’s strong will is matched by two deep parts of his personality. One is the sense of personal responsibility. The other is a strong sense of community. Timothy at times grieves over the loss of his arm. One of our most difficult moments was his request for “a new arm for Christmas.” Yet, his grief always ends in resolve. He will run fast, throw hard, and shoot true whether the game is basketball or just childhood tussles. Timothy also deeply grieves over his failures. He is a child with a deep conscience who models contriteness and repentance. For brief moments his contrite spirit can reach the point of self-hatred. It is at those moments that he most needs affirming parental love, grace, and forgiveness to re-discover the will to simply do better.

His sense of community is compelling. He has a tremendous capacity to give and receive affection. He needs great amount of human touch. He is rarely alone. When placed with his peers within a short time most will be following his choice of play. He instinctively possesses the traits of great leaders – empathy, understanding, vision, and resolve.

We discussed with Timothy the nature of our faith. We believe that Jesus rose from the dead. We are all sinners (full of flaws and mistakes.) By believing in the truth of Jesus resurrection; He lives in us, forgives us, and molds us into His likeness. Timothy nodded that he understood these truths.

We have a tradition of asking our children to write their reasons to be baptized so that we have permanent record of their thought process. As Timothy did this he asked for our help. He did not know how to spell many of the words he desired to write. Some of the words included “alone, bored, annoying, and tired.” He struggled to explain, but hungered for more. It seemed his struggle was much like our adult world that the Apostle Paul wrote about as we struggle to communicate our deepest needs to God with our insufficient human language (Romans 8:26).

Jana and I took some time to wrestle and discover. An old book came to my mind – J.I. Packer’s, Knowing God. I spent a portion of Thursday, June 26 in a library in Roscoe, Texas and could not find the book. I went to Roscoe’s book store and found I could order it in 2 weeks, but we would be gone. On Friday, we went to Abilene, Texas to host a reception. We stopped at a Christian bookstore and asked only to find that Packer’s book was out of print. Thankfully, we had a little time to check out Abilene Christian University’s library and finally found our old memory. Packer takes a chapter and writes about the nature of being “Sons of God.” He makes several startling statements. One is that not all of humanity are “children of God.” Only those who have been born again have that privilege. The other is that our “adoption” into God’s family is "the highest privilege of the Gospel."

We read Romans 8:23 – “Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.”

We concluded it was the Spirit of God within Timothy that cried out for the completion of his adoption. He had been in our home and raised as our child since he was 2 weeks old. We went through a 3 year process to adopt him in Uganda. We went through several weeks of form filling and interviews in Nairobi for him to immigrate to America. Upon reaching US soil he became a bi-national and after some more hoop jumping carried both an American and Ugandan passport. He was a Ugandan, American, Jenkins; but his sonship was still lacking. Only by being born again of water and spirit could he claim his full privilege as a son of God.

We were traveling and away from our oldest children – Sophia, Caleb, and Ethan. We were away from our home churches of Christ’s Church in Rwanda (Kigali) and Quail Springs Church of Christ (Oklahoma City). However, for a few brief days we were with Jana’s parents, Gaston and Jan Tarbet. Family is not constrained by geography. We decided now was the season.

Gaston called an old friend, Royce Clay and we arranged for Timothy to be baptized at the Colorado City, Texas Church of Christ on Saturday, June 26.

Now is where the video makes it all too real and displays that faith may be its truest in the midst of the humorous.

I spoke briefly to our little community and Timothy about adoption. Then Timothy and I began stepping into the baptistery. I’ve had 20 years of good pastoral fortune related to baptisms. I can’t remember myself ever having a baptism experience that became “a preacher story.” Today was my day. I stepped into the water afraid of cold water and nasty algae, but found the water warm and clean. I took 2 more steps and suddenly realized my fears should have gone to the other extreme. I screamed as the water was beyond hot. I rushed out of the baptistery and grabbed Timothy along the way. It was one of those moments where I wished I had been wiser. (For FB junkies check out the video.) Then I repeated a phrase to those who I thought may argue, “The water is far too hot.”

The thermostat of the baptistery was broken. The water kept heating. We called another church member responsible for the baptistery upkeep. Then we drained and filled the baptistery twice and added 6 bags of ice before the water was cool enough for human contact. About an hour later Timothy and I again descended the waters of baptism. My only thanks to the Lord was for the grace that I was the one who got a little burned instead of Timothy. I am so glad the memory of a water burn is mine and not Timon’s.

video
I asked Timothy two questions – “Do you believe Jesus rose from the dead? Do you want to make Jesus the boss of your life?” He answered, “Yes.” I gently placed him under water in the name of the Father, Son, and Spirit. Then I brought him up to new life and watched him smile.

Our family shared a meal that evening in celebration. The following Sunday we all shared the meal of Holy Communion.

Evidence of a changed life?

A few days later Jana and I found a football helmet. By the grace of God it was not an Aggies’s helmet. Instead our only options were Oklahoma Sooners or Oklahoma State Cowboys. Timothy chose to be a Sooner. Later, the next day I overheard Timothy discuss with his older sister Ruth, his favorite football player, Adrian Peterson. Timothy is like him in many ways – black skin, fast as can be, and both have Oklahoma roots. Timothy enjoyed comparing himself to Adrian. Then he added one more comment. The most important accomplishments and identifications this side of heaven are neither speed nor ethnic background. They are being part of God’s family. Timothy did not know Adrian’s baptism status, but he chose to define himself not by similar speed, but by the family of God.

Timothy still has his strong will. We’ve done our daily tango a few times. Yesterday, Timothy astounded me. He is learning to swim during our summer travels. He has hit the point of having no desire for floats and an unwavering sense of courage. He is a struggling swimmer, but even as he grasps for air he is not afraid. We need to keep our eyes on him in a pool, but we know courage is the mark of good swimmers. Courage also is a mark of God’s children. Timothy is forever changed.

Friday, June 25, 2010

IN DEFENSE OF BOYS WHO STOCKPILE TOYS

It’s time for another prophetic rant. Before I began let me share the parts of creation I enjoy the most. My favorite pastoral responsibility is counseling young couples and performing weddings. I never feel like I’ve done enough. My favorite ministry activity is simply becoming friends with single young adults and asking for them to follow. I like silly activities and idealistic debates. I believe that out of both youthful awkward and immature moments something profound happens. I’ve studied the mating rituals of humanity my whole life and I’ve never found another part of creation so fascinating.

Now, let the rant begin. I like single young men. I like single young women. I don’t get why it increasingly seems so hard for them to participate in the age old mating rituals of humanity. I know young women who I think are beautiful in body and spirit who no boy can find the courage to ask out on a date. I meet young men who I would be happy if they asked one of my treasured young women out on a date. However, they seem so afraid of rejection that they cannot find the courage to become fools. I watch both genders delay adolescence as they collect new experiences. I hear them discuss all their dreams and plans for the future. It includes education and professional accomplishment. It includes ideals of “changing the world.” Yet, I don’t hear often enough “I love ____ and no matter what I choose ____. I want to spend the rest of my life with ____. We hope to ____, but more than that we will journey together.”

I ponder if both genders have watched too many movies, surfed the internet too frequently, been disappointed by reality; and simply cannot settle into an ordinary life and entrust the extraordinary to our magnificent God.

I observe a strange irony. The pursuit of the illusion of sophistication without commitment maintains biological and sociological immaturity. The pursuit of the reality of immaturity with commitment begins the journey of biological and sociological maturity. You see, we are designed to reproduce in the silly, but solemn mating rituals of humanity.

I propose that we would see more maturity if we turned young men lose to stockpile toys. Let immaturity reign and the illusion of maturity pass. Allow me to tell embarrassing stories of masculinity.

I’ve always liked three types of stores – books, sports, and toy stores. I stop by hardware or computer stores to gather work tools (though sometimes work tools are just masquerading toys.) I shop at grocery stores because I am hungry. I shop at clothes stores to keep the females in my life happy. However, I am drawn to stores of play by my deepest instincts. I like Mad Magazine, bb guns, footballs, fishing rods, running shoes, roller blades, worms, leeches, hats, camouflage, baseball gloves, ice skates, toboggans, bikes, gyms, trains, planes, cars, puppies, and even the smell of an old man’s garage. I am a boy. This is what I do. I’ve played since I could walk. My best friends are those with whom I play. On occasion between our play we discuss the meaning of life, but deep down we know the meaning of life is best seen in our play. Even when tragedy strikes when we’re near the end of grief we find a way to celebrate again in play. I’ve had many friends in life, but the best ones are the ones who were my teammates in play. We may bicker among ourselves. We may not see one another for years. However, if we played hard together we can pick up many years later and again be good friends. Those who I admire most are those a few years older who taught me the skills of play. What I do well is because I followed someone who did it just a little better than me. I like it when someone younger and more talented than I follows me for a season while I show him an old trick. I hope the best for him. I trust his future will be good. In fact, I find myself dreaming of his future. Our human future is guaranteed as long as boys play.

About 20 years ago a few friends and I were being silly and stopped at a toy store. We were at that age at which our mom no longer bought us toys for Christmas, but we still loved toy stores. College provided an experience where we could still play while we learned professional skill and social competence. We noticed toys on sale and stumbled onto the profound. We may never see this sale again. In fact, it may be the last chance for us or our prodigy to have this unique toy. While the sophisticated pondered the meaning of life we knew what it was today. We must have these toys. We purchased and began to stockpile toys. We saved for the future and it was children at play.

The girls who heard of our toy stockpiling had their concerns. Maybe, the biggest was their realization that despite the cards, flowers, and romantic dates; we saw them as the pathway to younger playmates. In fact, shortly after we married these girls would joke amongst themselves that we needed to have a child so “we would have someone to play with.” They caught on, but it was too late.

We’ve since accomplished a few things, but also had seasons of struggles. We have a few titles and accomplishments to put on resumes. We’ve learned a few lessons through the school of hard knocks. Life has not given us all we dreamed of, but it has been good. In fact, in many ways our best times have been the seasons with the most difficulties. We are never alone. Our home is full of both laughter and bickering, but it is full of life. Our future is entrusted to our newest playmates, and we believe it will be good.

One of my wisest choices of my life was to stockpile toys. So my advice for both single young men and women reflects this silly story. Life cannot be predicted or managed. Pain is inevitable. Joy is a choice. Community is essential. We discover by embracing the foolish. Stockpile toys for the future and say yes when a toy hoarder asks you on a date.

Monday, June 7, 2010

JUNE PRAYER BULLETIN

Dear Family and Friends,

The season of the Jenkins Summer Mystery Tour has begun. Dave and the boys are now in Minnesota sharing our Rwanda journey with family and friends while Jana and the girls are packing up in Oklahoma City. We’re entering into one of those refugee / pilgrim moments. It’s always a season of both a little turmoil and discovery.

This month we ask your prayers for the following matters:

1. Thankfulness for our kid’s past academic year.
Though the last year was not what we intended God placed our kids in places where they could grow and discover. May our family’s next season also be one of growth and discovery.

2. Thankfulness for continued improvement of our health. Though we still have a few moments of residual pain we are doing better the last month. Also, Brett Shreck has come out of surgery well. May God’s glory be shown through our health struggles.

3. Foresight and wisdom. We believe that God has called us to return shortly to Rwanda to nurture growth at Christ’s Church in Rwanda. Growth requires foresight and wisdom. May God give us increasing measures of foresight to see His intentions and practical wisdom to make the most of opportunities He places before us each day.

4. The discovery of like-minded partners.
As we share the stories of our Rwanda journey it really is amazing. Time away has allowed us to see beyond daily problem solving. Many tell us, “We can’t believe what God has done in just a few years.” Thank you for those God reminders. Now it seems our next God sized task is to discover those willing to journey with us. May God raise up new partners to share in this vision.

Thank you for your prayers, support, and encouragement that sustain our family and ministry.

Imana ikurinde (May God Keep All of You),

Dave and Jana

Saturday, June 5, 2010

JESUS CRISIS

My friends love to poke fun of my long ponders followed by a 5 to 10 page rant. Then a few friends keep telling me "Dave you need to write a book." Then I start pondering what ideas do I have that are book worthy and when will I have the time to write while I love on Jana and the kids and try my best to pastor CCR.

I've decided to let some of you into my ponders. A 5 to 10 pager will follow, but maybe this idea is book worthy. I can't find any one whose written on this issue in generations.

I think we're living in the age of a Jesus Crisis.

I've been at the missionary / development worker game for 17 years. I've watched the AIDS, Malaria, Water, Education, Live Stock, Micro-loan, etc... become the latest hot botton crisis issues. I've participated.

However, I find our root problem to all the trendy issues of development is poverty. Until poverty cycles are broken children will continue to die when their immediate solution would only cost a few bucks.

Poverty goes deeper than simple answers to complex problems by ROCK stars. The issues are rooted in generations of broken, non-existent, or dysfunctional systems or institutions.

Our generation has been called to build lasting institutions just like some of our forefathers faced the chaos following the American Civil War and chose to build.

In order to build these institutions we need passionate disciples of Jesus of Nazareth committed to being salt and light.

We've got a world wide Jesus Crisis.

More will be following.

Daudi