Archive for the ‘Serving Christ’ Category

I am traveling this week for business and, as I blogged about it earlier this week, it provides me a different perspective outside of my daily routine.

One thing I have implemented in my business travels and now even in my personal travels is leaving a tip for the hotel maids. A quick internet search reveals that only about 30% of folks tip the lady who clean up after you. And the average tip isn’t very substantial — $1-2 or $3-5 per day depending on what web site you refer to or what type of hotel you stay in.

I decided to take a look at it from a different perspective — one from a ministry or outreach point of view. You see, this hotel maid position is one that is almost always filled by a woman who is at the lower end of the economic spectrum. Sometimes she doesn’t even speak English. And she fills a role that is invisible to most travelers and quite often goes unnoticed….. unless it is not done. Some might even perceive her as the sustainer of life given the fact that she replenishes those vital coffee packets for your morning java. Here lies an opportunity to show appreciation to someone who probably works hard every day without recognition or appreciation, whose work most likely goes unnoticed, and who could most likely heavily benefit from my generosity because of her economic condition.

So for the last many years I have deliberately planned for and left a $10 a night tip along with an encouraging note for my hotel maids. And while usually the cash and note are gone upon my return to my room, sometimes I receive a nice surprise upon my return back to my temporary home. On one stay at a nice hotel in San Francisco, I received a handwritten note saying “Thank you Mr. ——–“. I received this every day during my stay there. On another stay in Switzerland (where I was leaving my notes in German) I received a very nice thank you note in English saying “Thank you very much. Have a nice day”. Well, this evening when I came back to my room I received a little arrangement of goodies around the note I had left the maid. The chocolates reminded me of a time gone by where you would get little chocolate mints left on your pillow. And while I have never had that happen, this is about as close as it gets.

I am blogging about this, not to brag about my acts but to encourage other travelers, especially those on business trips, to have an impact on some people who they probably don’t interact with much. Leave a note or say a thank you. The small gesture with a tip might go a long way towards supporting someone who works hard but probably isn’t compensated or recognized for it.

In fact, I am going to do something different with my tip tomorrow morning and leave it with one of my “Jesus Loves You” cards.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

I have blogged recently about the mild weather we have been having here in Kentucky. Last night it was quite windy and this morning I woke up to a warmish 58F morning but it was still very dark and windy outside. On my way in to work as I drove along my normal two lane country road route, I suddenly saw a very large tree that had blown down in the night — and it was blocking my lane. Luckily for me, it was not blocking the entire road, just my lane. And with no other vehicles coming from the other direction, I was able to slow down, safely cross over, navigate around the blockage, and continue on. However, with it still being early morning and pitch dark, I could not in good conscience leave that obstacle unmarked for another car to hit. God was nudging me and telling me that turning around and marking the hazard was the right thing to do.

So I found the next driveway and pulled in. I popped the trunk, got out of my car and looked to see what safety gear I had. Luckily, I had a couple of flares and gloves which I grabbed and put on the front seat. I turned around to go back, intent to mark the hazard for other drivers, at least until the sun came up.

As I came upon the familiar scene, a local sheriff had also come across the blocked lane and stopped his truck on the shoulder with his bright blue lights flashing. He was out simultaneously waving his flashlight at traffic and heaving his body against the downed tree and branches to try to make a safer pathway. I stopped with my rolled down window and asked if he needed help and if he wanted to use my flares. He politely declined saying that he was going to stay and mark the location until local road crews showed up.

With the situation safely in talented hands, I returned back to my normal work bound direction and finished my commute with no further anomalies. But my “call to inaction” got me thinking….. I was definitely called to turn around and make a dangerous situation better — only to have it already taken care of. And I can tell you that is not the only time that has happened. There have been many unblogged times where I have been called for my roadside ministry to turn around and help someone only to find out that they either already had help (or it was on the way) or were already gone with their problem solved by the time it took for me to find the next exit, turn around, and go back to help them.

On some of those times, I wondered why I was prompted by God to turn around when He knew that this situation was being taken care of. One answer that came to me was that He was testing my obedience. Just like in the Old Testament when He tested Abraham by asking Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. Abraham was obedient and began to go through the action but ended up not having to do so. It is similar — in action, but not depth — when I obediently turn to serve someone. And don’t get me wrong — my turning around to help a fellow motorist is not as deep or sacrificial as God’s call to Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. And also don’t get me wrong — I am probably just as disobedient by not turning around when I am called as to the number of times that I am obedient when I do serve someone else. This blog post is not meant to highlight my actions or inactions, but more to identify times where God tests us and our only need is to be obedient. Sometimes we don’t need to do anything more than that.

I encourage you to listen to God and be obedient in areas where you are called to service. Sometimes the only thing you need to do is say “yes” and answer His call. Even if you were intending to serve, God might already have it taken care of.

Please share and comment if you have experiences when God has “called you to inaction”.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

I just finished an article that really impresses me. I am going to link to it but also reprint it below (with the proper credits) in the hopes that more people read it and get the message. And while it definitely is about Tim Tebow, it MORE IMPORTANTLY is about what it means to be a disciple of Jesus and love and serve others.

How cool would it be if we all followed those actions.

Original article link here.

I Believe In Tim Tebow
By Rick Reilly

I’ve come to believe in Tim Tebow, but not for what he does on a football field, which is still three parts Dr. Jekyll and two parts Mr. Hyde.

No, I’ve come to believe in Tim Tebow for what he does off a football field, which is represent the best parts of us, the parts I want to be and so rarely am.

Who among us is this selfless?

Every week, Tebow picks out someone who is suffering, or who is dying, or who is injured. He flies these people and their families to the Broncos game, rents them a car, puts them up in a nice hotel, buys them dinner (usually at a Dave & Buster’s), gets them and their families pregame passes, visits with them just before kickoff (!), gets them 30-yard-line tickets down low, visits with them after the game (sometimes for an hour), has them walk him to his car, and sends them off with a basket of gifts.

Home or road, win or lose, hero or goat.

Remember last week, when the world was pulling its hair out in the hour after Tebow had stunned the Pittsburgh Steelers with an 80-yard OT touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas in the playoffs? And Twitter was exploding with 9,420 tweets about Tebow per second? When an ESPN poll was naming him the most popular athlete in America?

Tebow was spending that hour talking to 16-year-old Bailey Knaub about her 73 surgeries so far and what TV shows she likes.

“Here he’d just played the game of his life,” recalls Bailey’s mother, Kathy, of Loveland, Colo., “and the first thing he does after his press conference is come find Bailey and ask, ‘Did you get anything to eat?’ He acted like what he’d just done wasn’t anything, like it was all about Bailey.”

More than that, Tebow kept corralling people into the room for Bailey to meet. Hey, Demaryius, come in here a minute. Hey, Mr. Elway. Hey, Coach Fox.

Even though sometimes-fatal Wegener’s granulomatosis has left Bailey with only one lung, the attention took her breath away.

“It was the best day of my life,” she emailed. “It was a bright star among very gloomy and difficult days. Tim Tebow gave me the greatest gift I could ever imagine. He gave me the strength for the future. I know now that I can face any obstacle placed in front of me. Tim taught me to never give up because at the end of the day, today might seem bleak but it can’t rain forever and tomorrow is a new day, with new promises.”

I read that email to Tebow, and he was honestly floored.

“Why me? Why should I inspire her?” he said. “I just don’t feel, I don’t know, adequate. Really, hearing her story inspires me.”

It’s not just NFL defenses that get Tebowed. It’s high school girls who don’t know whether they’ll ever go to a prom. It’s adults who can hardly stand. It’s kids who will die soon.

For the game at Buffalo, it was Charlottesville, Va., blue-chip high school QB Jacob Rainey, who lost his leg after a freak tackle in a scrimmage. Tebow threw three interceptions in that Buffalo game and the Broncos were crushed 40-14.

“He walked in and took a big sigh and said, ‘Well, that didn’t go as planned,'” Rainey remembers. “Where I’m from, people wonder how sincere and genuine he is. But I think he’s the most genuine person I’ve ever met.”

There’s not an ounce of artifice or phoniness or Hollywood in this kid Tebow, and I’ve looked everywhere for it.

Take 9-year-old Zac Taylor, a child who lives in constant pain. Immediately after Tebow shocked the Chicago Bears with a 13-10 comeback win, Tebow spent an hour with Zac and his family. At one point, Zac, who has 10 doctors, asked Tebow whether he has a secret prayer for hospital visits. Tebow whispered it in his ear. And because Tebow still needed to be checked out by the Broncos’ team doctor, he took Zac in with him, but only after they had whispered it together.

And it’s not always kids. Tom Driscoll, a 55-year-old who is dying of brain cancer at a hospice in Denver, was Tebow’s guest for the Cincinnati game. “The doctors took some of my brain,” Driscoll says, “so my short-term memory is kind of shot. But that day I’ll never forget. Tim is such a good man.”

This whole thing makes no football sense, of course. Most NFL players hardly talk to teammates before a game, much less visit with the sick and dying.

Isn’t that a huge distraction?

“Just the opposite,” Tebow says. “It’s by far the best thing I do to get myself ready. Here you are, about to play a game that the world says is the most important thing in the world. Win and they praise you. Lose and they crush you. And here I have a chance to talk to the coolest, most courageous people. It puts it all into perspective. The game doesn’t really matter. I mean, I’ll give 100 percent of my heart to win it, but in the end, the thing I most want to do is not win championships or make a lot of money, it’s to invest in people’s lives, to make a difference.”

So that’s it. I’ve given up giving up on him. I’m a 100 percent believer. Not in his arm. Not in his skills. I believe in his heart, his there-will-definitely-be-a-pony-under-the-tree optimism, the way his love pours into people, right up to their eyeballs, until they believe they can master the hopeless comeback, too.

Remember the QB who lost his leg, Jacob Rainey? He got his prosthetic leg a few weeks ago, and he wants to play high school football next season. Yes, tackle football. He’d be the first to do that on an above-the-knee amputation.

Hmmm. Wonder where he got that crazy idea?

“Tim told me to keep fighting, no matter what,” Rainey says. “I am.”

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

I am so very blessed to be spiritually shepherded by Kyle Idleman, minister at Southeast Christian Church. In fact, it was his Scripturally based preaching along with authentic worship that hooked my family to grow beyond our lukewarm church (that whole process is a blog post all it’s own — some day).

Anyway, Kyle created the Not A Fan series to separate the wheat from the chaff; the follower from the fan. It is a message that cuts deep and cuts sharp. It is not for the feint of heart. But it is the truth.

For a short period of time, you can watch the Not A Fan movie for free here — . It is an incredibly impactful hour and 10 minutes. On my Facebook page, I shared it with the comment that it was a spiritual gut punch — one that I really needed.

I highly encourage you to take the time, challenge yourself and grow your relationship with the Christ that bought your salvation with his death.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Every Friday when I go and pray downtown in front of the local abortion clinic, I meet up with several devoted prayer warriors. Several of these folks have been down there either daily or weekly for not only months, but years.

One such older lady is Donna. She is a precious grandma type and what she lacks in physical strength and size she more than makes up in faith and wisdom. She is a persistent, faithful and bold prayer warrior who I look forward to seeing week in and week out. She particularly enjoys it when I bring my son D down and she goes out of her way to give him a hug and speak to him. She will lovingly speak with those lost young girls going in and coming out of the abortion center providing them information, letting them know of alternatives, and letting them know of Christ’s love.

One particular event revealed Donna’s true nature and cemented her in my mind as a true disciple. It was during a time when there was quite a bit of activity in front of the center. There were several of the clinic escorts in orange vests out front and Donna was standing on the curb by her car signs that say “It’s a boy” and “It’s a girl” highlighting the sanctity of life. She had her Bible and crucifix in her hands and a guy drove by really slow. He honked his horn and yelled to Donna out his rolled down window several expletives that do not bear repeating here. It was obvious his anger and ire were pointed towards Donna, not the abortion clinic. She turned towards the street and, without missing a beat, said in a louder voice (for her), “God bless you!!!”.

I was impressed. Her reaction wasn’t thought out. It wasn’t planned. It wasn’t deduced or premeditated. It was the natural reaction of a loving servant of Christ. I don’t know I would have responded the same way…..actually, I know I would not have responded the same way. I have more time along my path to acquire such wisdom and patience. But Donna models it.

“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. — Luke 6:27-28

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

This morning at my normal Friday routine at Wayside Christian Men’s Pavilion I spent time in the kitchen helping prep the lunch and dinner meals while my fellow friends served breakfast. Interestingly, I was prepping a huge tub of salad — washing and cutting lettuce, radishes, and onions while adding packages of croutons. I say interesting because when asked at dinner if I would like a salad with my meal my normal response is “No thanks. I’ve had my salad for the year”. I am not a rabbit; I am a man who prefers charred dead animal flesh to bunny food. But I digress.

While slicing the radishes, one of the drivers who goes out to pick up the daily donations returned with a black trash bag that they normally put the donuts and pastries in. He placed it on one of the kitchen counters as he normally does and headed back out. One of the kitchen worked started to process the bag and opened it….. only to find that it was a bag of trash. The guys immediately started getting on the driver that he made the wrong pickup (which could be understandable given that fact that there is no distinguishing the black trash bag with food from a black trash bag with garbage). When the driver returned, he deflected the harassment with a statement of “That was the bag I was given”. The blaming then worked its way upstream to whoever gave him the bag donation.

What got my attention was a statement one of the kitchen workers said — “That’s what society thinks of homeless people — trash!”.

While there might be some truth to that, I had to smile and verbally disagree with him. I said “Not all of us think homeless folks are folks are equal to trash. That’s why we are here”.

He immediately understood and it afforded a bit of solidarity that we are all a part of God’s creation and, to one of AA’s statements, we should all be doing our part to help others.

The rest of my morning was rounded out serving the second round of breakfast followed by prayer in front of the Louisville abortion clinic. It started my day out nice as I was able to return home and enjoy my last day off work before the New Year and a week going back to work.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Yesterday was quite the unique day. I can truly say that I have never had a day such as yesterday. Let me explain why.

Some background first. Before we left home on Friday, we took my son to urgent care in Kentucky. He had a terrible cough for a week and a half and it wasn’t getting any better. It turns out he had bronchitis — just what you want to hear as you are leaving on a 10 hour road trip on vacation. But the service at the local urgent care was quick, nice and effective. Soon enough my wife had the prescriptions filled as I was finishing up getting cash at the bank (we were doing the whole vacation Dave Ramsey cash budget style — but more on that in another post).

Well, it seems that I have done a good job teaching my son values because he shared his cough with me. I first felt it Sunday during service at the local beach church. When Wednesday came along it was all I could do to keep the cough from going uncontrollable at times. I did not talk, did not laugh and did not take big breaths. After donuts at the local Donut Hole eatery, my wife and I headed to the local Destin urgent care. They, like the urgent care back home, were quick, nice and effective and within an hour we were out of there and had my medication in hand. So now I was relegated to rest in the beach house at least for the day as my body took the medication and fought the respiratory infection.

As I took a shower, I prayed that I would wisely use my day and even though I was sick, that I would make the most of it. And during my shower, I felt the Holy Spirit speak to me that I needed to be in prayer — and that I should pray for each person on my Facebook friend list specifically by name. And when I was finished I would post a status update to let each person know — believer or not — that they were spiritually covered in prayer that day. And what better way to spend a sick day on the beach.

So I grabbed my Bible, a tall glass of sweet tea, some Mission tortilla chips and my laptop and set up camp on the master suite balcony. I opened in prayer that I might be used as an instrument of God. That I might be obedient. That I persevere for however long it took. (I have 175 FB friends. At only 1 minute each, that would take 3 hours and I knew that if I were going to be specific and intentional with each beloved person on that list, it would easily surpass 3 hours and probably take up at least half the day.)

I then opened up my Bible to read specific Scripture passages on prayer. Below are a few that stood out to me:

” As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you. And I will teach you the way that is good and right. But be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you.” — 1 Samuel 12:23-24

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” — Ephesians 6:18

And then at 10:45am Central time I begun my prayers, starting on my FB friend list alphabetically. Now an interesting thing about Facebook is who is on your friend list. Of course, I have immediate family on there — my wife, children, parents, sister, etc. For these beloved people it was going to be very easy to pray specifically. I know their dreams, needs, and walk with Christ and could probably spend a hour for each one of them. However, there are others on my FB friend list that might be old acquaintances or neighbors or long lost friends or someone you met on a plane once (yes, I have one of those). For those folks it was going to be more challenging. Some of these folks might not even know Jesus or believe in God. However, I felt it my calling to pray even more specifically for these knowing that God knows what I do not, and He would fill in the blanks, so to speak.

My prayers came easily for these were all people who were woven into my life at one point and for some reason. Some had merely a scrap woven into my tapestry while others’ dominated the pattern of my life quilt. It was a peaceful time and really allowed me to feel each person and to pour love onto them, their situation, their needs, and their walk with God. There were challenges of distractions, of noises, of the beautiful beach scenery, and of biological breaks but I was persevering through my group of friends and deepening my prayer life. At the end of the first hour I had covered 29 people specifically by name in prayer. And being the type of person I am quickly figured out that this was easily going to take two, three or four times longer than I had imagined. I wondered to myself, “Did I bite off more than I can chew?”

But my job was to pray and be obedient. I knew God would take care of everything else.

I did take a few breaks. One for lunch and a nice turkey sandwich. Another 10 minute break to fly a kite with my son and my Accountability friend on the beach. And a nice walk to the convenience store with my son so he could buy a candy bar. That might be another post because we were able to have a nice conversation about God and his commandments. I was even able to confirm to my son that we were doing exactly what God wants us to do — Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” — Deuteronomy 6:4-7

The afternoon was consumed in prayer as I continued along not only praying but in amazement at the interwoven paths God had placed all of these people on. As the afternoon surrendered to evening and dinner, I took a break to dine with family and friends. Returning to my home stretch of special people and prayers I ended my prayer time with the sunlight retreating below the watery horizon and in darkness as I asked the Holy Spirit to fill my heart and to guide the message I was going to send all these people as my FB status. In His words, not mine it read — I TRULY BELIEVE IN THE POWER OF PRAYER. Today I spent time praying for you specifically. I prayed for each name in my Facebook friend list by name. This is not a chain message cut and paste. I started at 10:45a and am just now finishing – from A to Z each one of you was spiritually covered in prayer today. Some of you might be encouraged by that. Some might be offended. Others might not ever see it because I am blocked. But I KNOW that my prayer got through because God hears all prayers. I pray this message arrives to you in God’s perfect timing and know that I love you and Jesus loves you.

I have received some beautiful comments from that post but must acknowledge that none of it was me. I was merely a broken vessel that God was using. My only act was one of obedience. I only wish it happened more often.

Jesus Loves You

Jesus Loves You

To continue in the spirit of this post, please feel free to comment on any prayer requests you might have so that I might also pray for you. Or you can email me your prayer requests. I would be honored to pray for your needs.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

This morning my Men’s Accountability group met at a local Krispy Kreme Doughnut shop instead of our normal location because we had a service project. As we are called and as the need arises, our group of Christian men break from our normal meeting to provide a service project that shows the love of Christ. These projects have varied from serving breakfast on several Emmaus walks to helping single ladies with a need move. Today was a move and the single lady was a staff member on my team.

Now moving is never fun. I tend to place it right next to paying taxes. It is something all of us does at one point or another but I have never heard of someone liking the task. After moving to Kentucky, I vowed never to move again. However, I do not know what God has in store for me and I have learned to “never say never”.

You might think that a boss helping an employee move is quite out of the ordinary. I have had bosses in the past that barely gave me the time of day. And I have had bosses who would give me the shirt off their back. In arranging to help my staff member out I was inspired by an act that a boss of mine did several years ago when we lived in California.

The year was late 2003 or early 2004. Our fixer up house in Thousand Oaks was on the back end of being “fixed”. I had redone every room (including scraping 70’s cottage cheese ceilings), renovated the kitchen and bathrooms, gutted and purged the garage, replaced the roof, installed new windows, and even enacted the “scorched earth” policy when I landscaped the front yard with new sod, plants, rose bushes and a camphor tree. I was on the home stretch working on the back and side yards. But these were probably my biggest challenges because a railroad tie retaining wall had collapsed after 20 years of rot (I guess there was reason I left the back and side yards for last). So my project was to build a new slumpstone retaining wall, wood fence, decorative concrete and patio cover. One note to mention — the only project from the list above that I contracted out was the roof. There is a reason there are no old roofers. That is one of the hardest jobs in construction.

So with the footer foundation dug out I had prepped everything — rebar, ties, suspension blocks, and measurements. It was the very first step of a very large project. And while I had done block and concrete work with my dad, there was still quite a bit of uncharted territory. And none of this happened overnight. It took several weeks and weekends of work just to get it to this stage.

My team and boss at work followed my progress. I would bring in before and after pictures or share stupid mistake stories that would make them laugh (ask me some time about when I half fell through the entryway ceiling). So with all this work and preparation, my boss Bruce, knew where I was in this project. So when I told him that I was all set for my concrete pour for the retaining wall footer, he surprised me when he asked what time the concrete truck would arrive. I told him that I was expecting them on Saturday at 7am. He said “Good. I’ll be there at 6:45” and walked away.

His response surprised me and I had forgotten about his previous life. You see, he used to run a concrete construction company and he had more concrete and masonry experience in his big toe than I had in all my years of life. And, luckily for me, he was going to impart his experience and wisdom on my retaining wall project.

I’ll never forget that Saturday morning. He was right on time and we plotted and planned how the concrete would be poured for the best foundation. When the truck arrived, the driver hadn’t even gotten out and Bruce scampered up the truck, stuck his arm in the concrete behemouth, took a look at it, and yelled down at me to get the hose. He was a concrete afficianado and was adjusting the concrete mix to his perfection. The look on the driver’s face was priceless as he got out and saw Bruce up there with a hose squirting it Emeril-like into the mixer.

I just stood there in awe and thankfulness that my boss cared enough about me, not as an employee, but as a person, to sacrifice his Saturday morning and come over to share his experience and knowledge. The rest of the day was spent with Bruce downloading his skills, tricks and tips on concrete and masonry. We laid a “hot course” of slump stone and he showed me the intricacies to laying smooth and straight bricks and blocks. He even gave me one of his trowels — which I still have today in my garage. I have used it several times since and think of him fondly whenever I have concrete and masonry work at my property. You see, all of this is even more special because Bruce passed away in Feb 2008. His caring and concern went beyond that day but it was a good example of how he was as a boss.

So fast forward back to our move today and you can see the model I was following. I had heard of my employee’s needs earlier in the week regarding her move situation. She is single and has only been in Kentucky for a year so she doesn’t yet have that extensive network you leverage (or sucker into) when you move. So I told her that I had a truck and double axle trailer that we could use to assist in her move. And when I informed my Accountability group that I was going to miss that Saturday, they asked why, and when they found out the reason they also offered to assist. So one turned into four and we were not only about to get everything moved in one trip with multiple vehicles, we were also able to share the love of Jesus with her. She said that as we were all loaded up caravanning to the new place down the freeway, her eyes welled up with tears thinking about the people who really didn’t know her but were helping her move. We were able to get all the large items moved and carried into her new place way before lunch. All in all a successful service project. But again, I had two good examples — Jesus and my old boss Bruce.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Every Saturday morning I have an awesome Accountability group of guys that I grow with. We share our walks with Christ — successes and failures — and hold each other accountable in our walk with Jesus and in serving Him. It’s not easy, but it is necessary.

A quote was spoken by one of my brothers this morning that I felt needed to be more public than our little circle. It was about serving Christ.

“We should not be consumed with what we can’t do. We should be consumed by with what we CAN do.”

Great insight, my brother.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

I have been out of the blog habit for a few weeks now. No real reason aside from the many conflicting priorities of life. For example, right now I am on business travel sitting at an outdoor cafe in old town Basel, Switzerland enjoying a freshly poured cola by a nice waitress while listening to street musican Tribela classically exhibit his cello skills. I have been in Switzerland all week and it has been a challenging combination of jet lag, a mild illness, and long corporate meetings. But that is not necessarily an excuse for not blogging — it just hasn’t happened.

And that’s not to say that there hasn’t been anything worth blogging. There were stories in my meeting Gary, a morning with Joe, an Abraham lesson, and a side of the road hat trick. We’ll see if I retrospectively go back and blog each of those experiences, but for right now I am going to focus on the one God placed right in front of me today. It became the highlight of my week. And it was my encounter with two of God’s servants on earth – Elisabeth and Ruth.

My meetings for the entire week were finally completed. I was not lucky enough to be invited to the 1pm-4pm final meeting (which I say tongue in cheek), so I decided to abandon my hotel room and fast internet connection for the slower pace of Swiss life — slower connectivity-wise as well as pace-wise. I relocated to the scene described above – Restaurant Schlusselzunft on Freie Strasse — a Troy Aikman football throw away from the Marketplatz in old town Basel. My intent was to actually get some computer work done on my laptop but for once blogging has actually become a higher priority than what I was planning (I guess blogging ranks higher than work).

Across from me is Tribela who I had met earlier in the week playing cello at this same location. He was so good that I bought his classical music cello CD for future enjoyment. And now I am enjoying his live concert while I imbibe in a cold-ish drink which cost way too much in Swiss francs…..and even more in U.S. dollars. However, I substantially tipped the waitress so she wouldn’t kick me out of the outdoor cafe while enjoying this very European atmosphere.

But I am digressing from my story. I made my way down the main street from my hotel to catch the local tram. Basel has a very nice, clean and efficient streetcar/train system that allows you quick access to most parts of the city. I sat down to wait for the #6 line which was due to arrive in 4 minutes. And knowing the punctual Swiss, it would only take 4 minutes. The day was perfect — sunny, warm around 21C (70F for you stateside), and early afternoon with boundless possibilities. Soon enough an older lady approached me and said something in German while handing me a brochure I could not read. When I said that I did not understand German, she reached into her bag, gave me another brochure and switched to English. Knowing now that I could not fein inability to communicate (since she switched to English), I prepared a defense for whatever she was peddling. However, when she mentioned Jesus and I caught a glance at my now-English brochure, I realized she was a fellow believer obediently spreading the Gospel. We engaged in a delightful conversation and I was impressed with her fortitude and willingness to put herself out there. She had literature material in 70 languages and while she could not communicate in all those languages, she had the necessary road signs to direct people in the right direction — to Jesus. She said she carries those materials with her so she can give them away while on the train. But when she goes out in public to specifically do what she was currently doing, she always goes with a fellow believer because of the command Jesus gave to go out two by two. In fact, her fellow sister in Christ was on a bench behind us praying and managing the literature.

Somehow we got onto the topic of small cards and I showed her my “business card” that I use to connect people with Jesus. It seems Elisabeth uses the same company I use to get the cards made inexpensively. She had some cards made specifically for Muslims. It is in Arabic and points them to a website created by a guy who used to be a Muslim but converted to Christianity and is using his conversion as a tool for others. The websites are and I have not yet been to them but if they are at all like what Elisabeth is doing in spreading the Gospel, they are God’s tool.

NOTE — Tribela has just packed up and unfortunately my beautiful cafe atmosphere just went down a notch.

Elisabeth took me over to her friend for an introduction. Her name is Ruth and together they are Christ’s disciples in Basel spreading His Gospel message of salvation. I was, again, impressed with their obedience, humility, and service.

NOTE — no sooner has Tribela vacated than an accordian toting man shows up 50 meters up the street peddling his fare of tunage.

Before I departed, I asked Elisabeth and Ruth to pose for a picture. We also prayed together and I left them with some resources that I hope will continue their printing and distribution mission here in Basel. With our goodbyes, I let them know that, coindicentally, it was National Day of Prayer in the U.S. My meeting with them was also the highlight of my week and I will continue to keep both of them in my prayers. What a great example they are for all of us. And I love writing about all the other servants of Christ who are out in our midst.

What a wonderful surprise it was to bump into Elisabeth and Ruth and even more, wonderful, what surprises God has for us during our days if we are open to them.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net