Tuesday, February 22, 2011

AIM Unplugged

Do any of you know an AIM student who came off the field and experienced some of the worst moments of their lives? How about this: have you ever heard an AIMer tell of their field experience and while they told you it occurred to you that they felt like a failure and had no idea how to get beyond it?

As I have often said before, I love AIM. I and many of my family have been transformed by the power of Christ in the context of the AIM program. I would love for my kids to be AIMers. But when I think of my kids returning from the field and not having adequate support to make that transition, it is heart-breaking and, I believe, avoidable. The question with any problem, though, is who will step up and do something about it?

What if we had a time to draw together an open discussion on how to help AIMers when they return from the field? What if we had a mutually understood plan of action that we could all participate in that would be a significant blessing to any returning AIM student that wanted help? What if you could be a part of it and it didn’t matter if you lived in Oregon or Ohio or Ontario or Oceola (I assume that is a city somewhere – I needed it to complete my O quad-fecta)?

Chris Johnson(AIM 95) and I have been joined by some amazing alumni who are of the same mind. Most obvious to us is that we don’t have all the solutions, but what God has given us we want to offer, and we believe you have something to offer as well.

Following in the footsteps of our other musically-named events, this coming Monday and Tuesday night AIM Alum is launching its first “AIM Unplugged”. AIM Unplugged is not about a bunch of flash or show, but rather an invitation to all alumni in a particular area to sit down and have an open and honest discussion about what we’ve experienced and how we can come together to bring our God-given gifts, passions and abilities to make a difference in the lives of the next generation of AIMers.

This coming Monday and Tuesday we are going to be in Lubbock, Texas . (You might have heard of that place?) ON MONDAY(6PM) WE WANT TO MEET WITH THE PRESENT AIM STAFF AND ASSISTANTS BECAUSE WE WANT TO HEAR FROM THOSE WHO ARE CLOSEST TO THE PRESENT GROUP OF STUDENTS AND LEARN FROM THEIR VANTAGE POINT. THEN ON TUESDAY(6PM) WE WANT TO MEET WITH ALL OTHER AIM ALUMNI TO GAIN FROM THEIR PERSPECTIVE. We are still watching for what God will do with this, but we are seeking His guidance with you because we believe this is an extremely worthy cause. We don’t know where else God will lead us to have similar events, but we are confident that if it is His idea, He will make it happen.

IF YOU ARE AN ALUMNUS IN THE LUBBOCK AREA, please make plans to join us next Tuesday night at the Sunset church building in the Hospitality Room (Blue Room). In AIM tradition bring your brown bag and we will eat together and share what we have been thinking and allow God to join it with what you have been thinking and we will see what God does with it. Cannot wait to see you there!

- Jason Thornton (AIM 92)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Request from Kris Smith

I have a special request for you and need as much help as I can get.

Back in the Fall, Ed Wharton came to talk to Pat and I and let us know that this would be his last AIM class to teach. He said that he is having to wind things down because of just having less energy than when he was younger. For me, this is the end of an era as far as AIM goes. Ed has been one of those teachers for AIM since almost the beginning in the early 70’s (over 35 yrs). Hundreds and hundreds of past AIM students have been blessed by his classes and have probably used what they learned in his class for years afterward.

With that in mind we want to do something special to honor Ed at this upcoming AIM graduation in March (during Camp Adventure). We want to put together a book filled with quotes from previous AIMers with comments about what he and his classes have meant to them.

I would also like to fill it with pictures of Ed through the years with AIMers so if you have ANY pictures of you with Ed or Ed with your class, etc. please send them to the AIM office email at: aim@sibi.cc and try to make them as high resolution as you can.

Because I will have to get this book made and printed, we will need these things as soon as possible, hopefully within the next week so please, please look and see if you have pictures as well as send in a few comments that we can fill this book with for Ed to have in his home and be encouraged by the results of all of those years of teaching AIM students!!

The next challenge is to keep this quiet so Ed doesn’t know and is surprised at Graduation when we present this to him so please don’t put anything on facebook, etc. about it.

So, if your life has been blessed by Ed and his classes, please send us your encouragement for him to include in this book.

-Kris Smith

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Audacity of Hope-lessness

Audacity— n 1. recklessly bold or daring; fearless 2. impudent or presumptuous

I like the word audacity. It’s one of those brutal words. When applied to other people’s behavior, just saying it makes you feel a little outraged. Try it sometime. After you hear something that someone has done that you wouldn’t have done, add “The audacity”. It is linguistic outrage; pure complainers bliss.

Anyway, I have recently encountered a lot of people that will make statements like, “this church will never get it” or “my life is going nowhere”. Maybe you’ve heard yourself say this one: “things will never be as good as they were in Mexico or Ecuador or Scotland or…”. I think we all have had these types of thoughts. It occurred to me recently that when I say this I mean it to be a declaration of my helplessness to do anything about it, but that is really not what I’m saying. What I’m really saying is this, “In my superior wisdom, that comes from all my combined experiences and perceptions, and with my ability to know all things about the future, I declare that ___________________ will never improve. Therefore I am hopeless about it and will stop trying, praying or believing.” When you really think about it, that is truly audacious. It is the audacity of hopelessness.

The thing I believe we often miss when reading the stories of our spiritual ancestors, like Moses or Deborah, is that they were constantly led into situations that seemed hopeless. We, of course, often have God’s bird’s eye view so we don’t perceive it in this way, but from their vantage point it was hopeless. The problem with hopelessness is that once you declare something you stop hoping. I know that is obvious, but hope is the God-given promise that whatever it is that you are focusing on will improve. By declaring hopelessness you dis-invite God from using you to affect that situation. God will still do what He wants, but you cut yourself out of the loop and therefore miss out on the blessing. This is not to say that you have to stay in every bad situation. God sometimes uses bad situations to move us in new directions, but we still need to have hope towards that situation.

Our goal, despite any frustrations we have or circumstances we may find ourselves in, is to anchor ourselves in God’s hope. My prayer for all of us is this: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

- Jason Thornton

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

By His Wounds We Are Healed

I think that we all carry with us certain wounds that just don't seem to heal. Some wounds are created quickly by people we love, who hurt us in a momentary lapse of judgment. Other wounds are the result of great time and effort, as pain gradually and deeply scars us to our very core. Some wounds we move past and forget. Other wounds we never really get over. However, there is one thing that all wounds have in common. All wounds result in some level of pain.

What if there was someone to heal our wounds? Someone to re-lance them and force them to heal properly. Someone able to remove the infection, restore good feeling, and bring back life again. What would you call such a physician? "Great."

Today we come to him, asking for healing. Today we cast him our burdens and cares. We show him our wounds and we remember. By his wounds, we are healed.

- Chris Johnson