“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the host of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.’ ’’
Martin Luther King
This past year I had the privilege of being a “street sweeper.” Though my title was different, CEO/President of Open Doors USA, none-the-less, I was a “street sweeper.” My position required that I create an environment that allowed others to accomplish great things. It demanded that I sweep everything away that encumbered a talented staff from living out our core values and fulfilling our mission. It required that I clean up any messes that might have arisen so that other’s creative vision would not be curtailed. It necessitated silencing the white noise so that voices would be heard. Being a “street sweeper” involved listening to the voices around me and discerning their wisdom or lack thereof. One was the voice of God and the second was the voice of the Open Doors Board. I heard many times that my time with Open Doors was for “such a time as this.” This was confirmed last January. I am thankful for having had such a wonderful opportunity and having had the privilege of leading such amazing people and for having made some fantastic new friends. Was I a great “street sweeper?” I doubt it, but I know I gave it my best shot and I could only wish that other “street sweepers” could have as much fun.
So what happens now? What does life look like moving forward? Life, with all of its changes and uncertainties will look like it always has for me. I will continue as the Executive Director of The Northwest Network Foundation. I will continue to disciple men and network the lives of both young and old together. I have shared this many times, but my favorite quote is: “Why tiptoe through life, to arrive at death, safely.” It is my aim and my desire to continue to press into its meaning because I believe it is how Jesus lived. I will continue to be engaged with the church in the hard and hostile places of our world. I will continue to venture into the lives of those who suffer and, yet, thrive. I will continue to be a voice and a presence in their lives.
Here is a view of my life this past year:On the front of the newsletter, I am with Brother Andrew, Founder of Open Doors, in Washington, DC. Forty years ago I read his book, God’s Smuggler, and the course of my life was altered forever. Little did I know that I would one day meet him and run his USA operation.I continued to be a voice and advocate for the persecuted church.
Here I am with Zakaria Botros. He fearlessly defends the Gospel while living in exile from Egypt. He has a $65 million dollar bounty on his head.
In April, my dear friend and a Founder of Open Doors, Sealy Yates, treated me to The Final Four Basketball Tourney in Atlanta for my birthday. I’m still pushing 60… until April, then I’ll be pushing 70 :c)
In May I came home to say “good bye” to my college football coach, Dr Forrest “Frosty” Westering. He was one of many who left us this past year.
In June I had the privilege of connecting two great friends, Tommy Hughes and Dr Ken Hutcherson. Hutch has suffered greatly from cancer, but he has shown us all what grace and dignity look like in the face of adversity. He is a warrior for advancing the Kingdom of God. Read his book, Hope is Contagious.Also in June, I had the privilege of attending one of a number of weddings, Pat and Kathryn Burke. Kathryn is an amazing singer, while Pat is a law enforcement officer. Both are Pacific Lutheran University graduates where Pat was the football captain.
In September I welcomed with a host of family, the arrival of Noah Corrigan Partain, my great nephew. I think he’ll be a linebacker: 21” long, 9lbs. 11oz.
In October Jeff Bethke’s book Jesus is Greater than Religion was released and has been as high as #3 on The New York Times Best Seller list. Here I am with him and his best friend, Jeff Cherry. If you have college kids in the greater Tacoma area, Jerry Cherry is leading For The King on Friday nights. You can contact him at email@example.com.
BUT on a personal note, I would say that in all that I was involved with this past year, nothing was more life transforming than meeting Nik and Ruth Ripkin and reading their book, The Insanity of God. Please, please, please read this. It is a worldview changer. Because of the sensitivity of their work, I cannot post a picture of them, but please know that what you read inInsanity has cost them dearly and for their sacrifice, we are the beneficiaries of an amazing and transforming story.Please note: If you believe that God’s Spirit has prompted you to participate in this ministry financially this can be accomplished by mail at:
The Northwest Network Foundation
PO Box 158
Puyallup, WA 98371