Thursday, January 22, 2009

AXiS Backstory Pt. 2

After a year with the Bryan College Worldview Team, God uprooted Kim and I by suddenly offering me a position at the Focus on the Family Institute as the Associate Director of Admissions. So, in June of 2005 we began a totally different journey. I wasn't teaching worldview to students, but was instead encouraging college student leaders to attend FFI to spend a semester learning from faculty members that knew a lot more about the topic of worldview than I did. I saw this as much more of a support role, but realized that I was still making a difference in people's lives by encouraging them to invest in their lives through a semester at FFI. God taught me so much during this time. I was humbled. I was challenged. I was given the opportunity to lead in a different way than I had led before. I was able to lead as a big brother while rock climbing, hiking, camping, studying the Bible, hanging out and just being there for students.

In the middle of my 3 1/2 years at FFI I had an idea and met a dude. I realized the need for a worldview ministry that would speak to high school and college students in the west (Bryan's team primarily targets the southeast). I knew I could not get this started on my own especially with a full-time job at FFI. God gave me a sign that he wanted me to start this thing, even though I didn't have the time to make it happen, when He introduced me to David Eaton, who is now a great friend.

It all started at a lunch at Chick-Fil-A (I could eat the #1 meal every day if I had to), when David was a student at FFI. I dropped the what-was-yet-to-be-known-as-AXiS bomb on him. You need to know this about David... He just graduated with a degree in engineering from LeTourneau University and this is the first time we ever did lunch together. When David heard about this idea, he was stunned. He then told me that he had been feeling lead by the Holy Spirit to do something like this instead of going on to get an engineering related job (which he could have done quite easily and made a nice starting salary right out of college)1 . David then proceeded to show me some journal notes that he had written recently that confirmed to both of us that this conversation was not a mistake, but is what one might call a divine appointment. God is good!

It is now almost three years since that providential meeting at Chickfila and the idea we talked about at that time is now a full-fledged 501(c)3 non-profit called AXiS. AXiS has spoken to more than 10,000 people since the team started traveling in August of 2007.

It is January 2009 and God has once again taken me and changed my life by moving me on to another new adventure. I knew that I would one day probably be working for AXiS full time, but did not envision that happening for at least another year. God had other ideas. I was very sad and could have been quite discouraged when I lost my job at Focus. For some reason, though, I have felt at peace since losing my job. I take this as a good sign that this is what the Lord wants me to be doing. I don't know how He will provide for the Callihan fam as AXiS currently doesn't have any money to pay a salary for me. I know that it is what I am supposed to be doing, and am excited to see what the Lord is going to do. The cool thing is that Kim was more about me taking this leap of faith than I was. So, we are in this together and watching to see God change us through this move of faith. Stay tuned...

Notes
  1. David in the last two years has made 5k and 18k respectively. He has sacrificed a ton, but has made a huge impact in the process. Back^

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

AXiS Backstory Pt. 1

I'm gonna do it! I'm finally going to tell everyone about AXiS! Go visit AXiS' website. Ok, there you go. That is all you need to know.

But seriously, you will know a lot about AXiS by visiting the website. I'm gonna share with you the history and motivation for the creation of AXiS...

I consider myself to have been a pretty apathetic teenager. Yes, I was involved in the teen leadership team in my church youth group, and I always had a job. But, all I really cared about when I was between the ages of 14 and 18 was basketball, having fun, and finding a girlfriend. I found a girlfriend (whom I eventually married), finished my basketball career and had a lot of fun in the process of progressing from 14 to 18 years of age.

My life drastically changed the summer that my parents made me and paid for me to attend Summit Ministries @ Bryan College right after I turned 18. At Summit I learned that I had not effectively thought about my faith and why I believed what I believed. I learned that I didn't know much, and I learned that there were a lot of intelligent Christians (my age and older) doing a lot of cool things out there. I always believed in Jesus, but was never really motivated to live like He existed. My first time attending Summit began the process that is still continuing to this day of learning to love Christ and make a difference for him in this world.

I attended Summit in Manitou Springs again the following summer when I was 19. I then went on staff every consecutive summer afterwards through 2004 at the Summit @ Bryan College. In the middle of these summer stints as a staff member at Summit I attended the Focus on the Family Institute as a 21 year old college junior. By this time, learning to understand how to have a consistent Biblical Christian worldview became a real part of my life. Being able to hear from amazing Christian leaders speak on the topic of worldview in relation to all of life became a regular part of my summers. Then by attending the Focus Institute in the fall of 2002, I was able to spend a full semester of intensive training to solidify my faith. I was able to integrate my worldview knowledge with how I would effectively raise a family and practically be a Godly leader.

With these tools in my belt, I was a month from graduating college in 2004 prepared to go to law school. God had a different idea for me. I was always interested in the idea of the Bryan College Worldview Team, and then I found out that they were hiring a new Associate Director for the team. After much prayer, I made the decision to completely change the trajectory of my life and apply to teach worldviews to high school students instead of getting a degree in law. That is what I did for the next year of my life. During this year with the Worldview Team I learned that I thoroughly enjoy the topic of worldview and I also love encouraging students to think and love God with their actions.

TO BE CONTINUED TOMORROW...

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Read Scripture w/ Me!

I have had a Scripture reading calendar that I have made for myself for the past 3 years. I have been privileged to read Scripture together with a small group of dudes every semester at FFI. I have found a one year Bible reading calendar @ http://www.YouVersion.com/1yearbible. YouVersion is a tool of lifechurch.tv.

This is how I will be reading Scripture for the next year. In the past I made my own Excel document manually. This is much easier and better because I will be able to read on the same schedule as thousands of other people every day. Please join me in reading on this calendar. If you don't have a quiet-time option. Consider doing this with me. One more recommendation is to set up a daily journal while you read. Write down questions you have, praises, prayers, doubts, etc... It will really help strengthen you in your faith. Reading Scripture is the foundation for how you can move from apathy to action. So, make it happen!

Happy Sunday!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

AXiS and the New Challenge!

More than a month ago I promised I would tell you all about AXiS. I know you are all just so excited to hear about it. Being the rude person that I am, I will make you wait until the last half of this blog to let you know more about it.

First off, I have an announcement. Bankroll please (drums are overrated)...

My position of Associate Director of Admissions was eliminated as of Monday 1/5/091. I gotta admit, it was pretty surprising, but at the same time I was not surprised. I want to talk about a few things:

1. The place that I have worked for the last 3 1/2 years - the Focus on the Family Institute has had such an amazing impact on my life. I was a student back in the fall of 2002 where I learned so much about how to be a leader, how to love my family and how to understand more about the foundations of the Christian faith. The relationships I built while a student with my fellow students and the staff members has impacted me to this day.

While on staff for the last 3+ years, I was able to meet and hang out with 11 classes of amazing young Christian leaders from around the world. Some of these students I now call close friends. I believe I was ministered to by these students more than I could have possibly ministered to them. I feel so priviledged to have been able to "recruit" many of these students to such an amazing program for the last three years. Wow!

Finally, I will never forget the relationships that I have built with my co-workers. We have been through a lot together in the last 3 1/2 years. I really believe that we have been like a family and hope it stays that way, even after I leave. We have supported eachother through sickness, hurt, and even deaths of those that we have loved. Plus we have had a ton of fun together. I am so thankful to have known all the amazing people that have worked at FFI for the time that I have been here.

2. You might think from reading the last paragraph that this news has been easy to take and that I am so excited! Well, that is not completely true. I am pretty scared to expiration (I didn't want to talk about death here, oh wait...). I was not really expecting this at this time and so have been thrown for a little loop. I feel like I am still having a quasi bad dream since I heard the news, but I know that God has been orchestrating stuff. There are a lot of little things that have already happened that show me and Kim that He is going to take care of us. I'm excited to look back and see what God is going to do by the end of 2009. My feeling is that it is good. Finally, being laid off is not the worst thing in the world. God promises to take care of us. I know that many people are going through a lot worse right now and my prayers go out to them2.

3. Now you are wondering, "what the junk is Jeremiah going to do next and can I have his job."

Let me me address the latter thought first, my job got eliminated people, that means you can't apply for it. It was a sweet job while it lasted. And don't ask me why Focus elminated that position, cause I have NO idea (please hear me saying that in a really happy tone).

On to the former, Kim and I have a plan. First of all, I did get a severance package, so that's a bonus. That will be enough to pay for about 7 meals for Elijah3. Once Elijah eats those 7 meals and we are all out of money, we will need some form of income. Luckily for us, Kim is a nurse, and when there is a 2 trillion dollar bailout of all the bankrupt hospitals in the country, she will have job security. Booyah! Can you say "stay at home dad?" I can't. I need to do everything in my power to make some money, cause I would hate being Mr. Mom. That is code for, "Kim is amazing and God has gifted her with amazing patience and love for all of mankind (even me), so thank you and I love you Kim! Oh, and Neo and Lijey, it's me, not you."

That leads us to AXiS! I will be working full time for AXiS as an "administrative missionary." What that means is that I won't be necessarily on the front lines ministering to students one on one right now, but I will be equipping and building up the ministry for maximum impact. My title is Executive Director of Administration which means I will be taking over a lot of the administrative type tasks from David Eaton, so that he can focus on traveling and speaking. Some of my main roles will involve scheduling AXiS events, marketing, and fundraising. I love to be behind the scenes, but know that God is making a difference through me. Sounds cliche, but I totally mean that. I'm glad HE moved me away from FFI, because I probably would have never left on my own. I'm excited to see what God is going to do with AXiS this year.

Welp, I've now at least mentioned AXiS at the end of this post, but still have not told you anything about it. Guess that will be the next post. Stay tuned...

Notes
  1. Message de-code = I just got laid off. Back^

  2. If you think of it, please lift a gal named Angie and her family up in prayer. She was just in a bad accident as has been in a coma for a few days. She is an Focus Institute alumni and we are all praying for a miracle and God's will to be done. Back^

  3. Last month Elijah ate a double cheeseburger at McDonalds while mom and Neo shared one double cheeseburger - he is only 11 months old. This is very scary! Back^

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Things Rick Warren Said...

I really am having a lot of fun on vacation in NY! Despite how much fun I'm having, I found myself spending yesterday's "wake-up-time," (where I either play a video game or turn on the TV), watching the ever-exciting C-SPAN. I have no idea why the TV got stuck on C-SPAN, because I don't think I have ever watched more than 2 minutes of it at one time, ever.

I haven't read Purpose Driven Life, and I'm kind of neutral about Obama's selection of Rick Warren to pray at the Inauguration. I am, however, a bigger Warren fan after I watched this 30ish minute speech that he gave to the Muslim Public Affairs Committee on December 20th. I know it's a long video, but I think if you give it the time, you will be challenged, encouraged, and maybe learn a little bit more about who might be one of the Christian leaders that could step up and lead the Church for the next 15 to 20 years. 



Here's what I thought of the speech:

1) I think it is really cool that Warren got invited to a Muslim event. I think it is cooler that he got a standing ovation at the end of his speech.

2) I really liked how Warren did not back down from his Christian beliefs. I do think he tamed it a little bit, but he was not ashamed to talk about Jesus and the Bible. I am sure that whoever hired Warren to speak at this event told him they wanted an "inter-faith dialogue." What I learned from this speech is that it is important to be yourself. If people already know what you believe, then you should not be ashamed. If people don't know what you believe, you probably should start telling people.

3) I thought it was really cool to hear how Rick tithes 90%+ of his income. He and his wife had tithed an additional 1% a year every year since they got married before they hit it rich with the Purpose Driven Life book(s). I thought he talked about this fact in a very humble way, especially in light of him talking about how a leader needs to have real, not false, humility. This approach definitely challenged me.

4) I really liked when Warren said, "You know what I discovered? When you meet people, you like 'em. It's easy to hate somebody you've never met. It's almost impossible not to like 'em." He said this right after talking about Melissa Etheridge (the famous rocker, who is an outspoken lesbian). Do you think it is a fair statement to say that when you meet people you like them?

What do you all think of this speech? If you don't want to take the time to watch the speech, what do you think of Rick Warren? Do you think he "toes the line" too often or do you think he does a good job of representing what Biblical Christians in the public sphere should be like? Based on this speech alone (since I don't know much else about the guy), I found that I kinda like him.

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 26, 2008

We'll Miss You Grams!

Many of you might have noticed that I have not been posting on my blog much in the last three weeks. Things have gotten kind of crazy. More than three weeks ago, Gramma (my mom's mom) got sick with a really bad infection. She was 90. Grams passed away a week ago Thursday. Her funeral was last Sunday (December 21). Thanks to all who prayed for her and us. 

Because of Gramma's passing, I have been thinking a lot about death and life. It has been really interesting having someone close to me pass away during Christmas time (this is a first for me although I am sure many of you readers have experienced it). It is such a unique juxtaposition celebrating the birth of Christ and the death of someone you love. 

Random paragraph: I watched The Curious Case of Benjamin Button last night, which is all about life and death. Watching that movie was a really good chance for me to reflect on both my life and the lives of those that I love and have loved that are not around any more. If you get a chance I highly recommend the movie. The really weird thing about this movie is that the main character was born the same year that my grandmother was born - 1918. Strange coincidence?

Well, I told you that I would be posting more selections from 1000 Inspirational Things. Here is one that I found regarding death. I love philosophy and this is a great observation on death from a unique perspective.   

Belief In Immortality

By: Plato

When speaking of divine perfection, we signify that God is just and true and loving, the author of order, not disorder, of good, not evil. We signify that he is justice, that he is truth, that he is love, that he is order, that he is the very progress of which we were speaking; and that wherever these qualities exist, whether in the human soul or in the order of nature, there God exists. We might still see him everywhere, if we had not been mistakenly seeking for him apart from us, instead of in us; away from the laws of nature, instead of in them. And we become united, not by mystical absorption, but by partaking of that truth and justice and love which He himself is.

Therefore the belief in immortality depends finally upon the belief in God. If there exists a good and wise God, then there also exists a progress of mankind towards perfection; and if there be no progress of men towards pefection; then there cannot be a good and wise God. We cannot suppose that God's moral government, the beginnings of which we see in the world and in ourselves, will cease when we leave this life.

p. 186

Although he is bordering on a more spiritualistic perspective than I would subscribe to, his conclusion is a very interesting take on the contingency of death if there is a God. I like the idea of thinking of life and death as "a progress of mankind towards perfection" or as some would call "sanctification." Because I believe God to be good, wise, and real as Plato posited as a possibility, I can think of life as a great opportunity and as one of the main lines in the Benjamin Button movie says, I can "let go" much more easily.  

Here is a slideshow that I created on powerpoint and was able to play at Gramma's funeral. I have not been able to figure out how to sync the music, but the transitions are all the same. I know most of you won't be interested in watching this, but hey, it's my blog and I know there are at least 3 people out there who do want to watch it. If I figure out how to attach the music, I will.  Happy New Year. We'll miss you in 2009 Grams!



Wednesday, December 24, 2008

1000 Inspirational Things

Last week, I stayed at my Aunt Dine's "Tall Furs" Cabin (yes, that is its name). "Tall Furs" is a sweet three year old cabin on Schroon Lake in upstate NY. My childhood is filled with many memories in the Adirondack Mountains. Schroon Lake was one of the places I spent much of my time. Aunt Dine's cabin is new, but it still brings back memories of many smells, sights, and feelings of woodsy winters by the fire with piles of snow outside, the tastes of Gramma's world famous Macaroni and Cheese and Apple Pie, and the sounds of pitch and 14 (northeast card games) playing with siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, and Grams.














This picture is me and my sisters, Bekah (right) and Katie (left), at the famous indoor tree that Shawn (aka - the driftminer and Katie's husband) blogged about a few months ago... 
 

















Tall Furs cabin has multiple layers/stories to it (I think four, if you count the drop down living room area, (pictured), the main level, the basement, and the loft (where this picture was taken from). 














Aunt Dine and Uncle Phil are all retro in their decorating style for the "Tall Furs." Aunt Dine loves antiques (Especially furniture - see the sweet coffee table? It's old!) while Uncle Phil loves old books (see the shelf of books above?). One particular book that stood out to me while staying at the cabin was:


















You might ask yourself why anyone would pick such a book to read, ever!? Exactly! Even if the book didn't have the amazing graphical design on the cover, one should be enthralled by the title, as I was. In between playing Scattegories with Kim and my sisters, I decided to pick up this book. I was pleasantly surprised! Despite the ridiculously desperate title, I found a lot of great stuff in it. Basically, the book is full of inspirational writings (poems, short stories, essays, etc.) by various pre-early 20th Century authors. I will be highlighting a few selections from this wonderfully unassuming book in the next couple of days.
 

















Forgive

By: John Greenleaf Whittier


Forgive, O Lord, our severing ways,

The rival altars that we raise,

The wrangling tongues that mar thy praise!


Thy grace impart! In time to be 

Shall one great temple rise to Thee--

Thy Church our broad humanity.


White flowers of love its wall shall climb, 

Soft bells of peace shall ring its chime, 

Its days shall all be holy time.


A sweeter song shall then be heard,

Confessing, in a world's accord,

The inward Christ, the living Word.


That song shall swell from shore to shore.

One hope, one faith, one love restore

The seamless robe that Jesus wore.

p. 299

Thoughts on the poem anyone?