My wife, Sarah, is working out of state right now – for a two month period. We have just passed the one month mark and there is still another month of distance for Sarah and I. I just want the world to know that I miss her. I really respect couples who do this for longer periods of time – such as military families. There is a student friend of mine at the seminary who is from Kenya. His wife and kids are back in Kenya while he is studying in America. They will not see each other for about a year. I cannot imagine that kind of distance – but somehow people do it and maintain healthy marriages at the same time.
All I know is that I am now more thankful for time with my wife than ever before. Our distance teaches us not to take one another for granted when we are together. I told her last night on the phone what I wanted for my birthday this Fall – two tickets and dinner for the Cirque du Solei show in Cincinatti. Talk to you later.
I want to introduce you to a tremendous friend of mine named Michael Kaspar. His blog is unsafeobedience.com or you can try (www.kaspar.typepad.com). This man taught me how to persist even when you do not feel like moving ahead. He is one of those dynamic people who will always lift you up when you chat with him. Check out his site – and get to know this guy.
Jim and Guy are two individuals in this world who imagined the unimaginable – and we all must thank them for being role models in the field of creativity. I am talking about Jim Henson, founder of “The Muppets” and Guy Laliberte, founder of “Cirque du Solei.”
Just peruse the portfolios of these two guys and you think to yourself, “where in the world did they think that up?” Jim Henson took the world of puppetry and created its own genre – muppetry. Kermit, Piggy, Ernie, and Animal are now icons of culture. Jim thought outside the box and imagined a world where puppets could ride real bicycles, perform synchronized swimming, and inspire the world to not worry about being green.
Guy Laliberte founded the “art nouveau” circus that has taken the world by storm. In a world previously dominated by carnivals and Ringling Brothers, Guy thought of a circus that was just different. When he reviews acts “under construction” for his shows, he wants to see something that makes him say, ‘wow.’ If he has seen it before in the traditional circus, then it doesn’t make him say, ‘wow.’ Cirque is a circus with a dramatic story – not isolated acts of lion taming and unicyclists.
The muppets and Cirque are outside the box, which is how I would like to learn how to think in regards to ministry to children. There is more to children’s ministry than juggling. I want children and parents to have an encounter with the living God – by somehow experiencing the fun, the gladness, the pleasure of God. Things like juggling make that connection between kids and God.
I have been known to say that the younger you are, the faster you can learn how to juggle. While that may be true for some, I think I was proved wrong today. I held some lessons for some really young kids in the morning (some were probably four or five) and then some lessons for some college students in the afternoon.
The college students were by far faster in their learning curve. Some of it may be the fact that these college students were Baptist missionaries doing Backyard Bible Clubs for the whole summer. They wanted to learn a new tool to use in their children’s outreach events. I’m so glad they chose juggling. You see, they were motivated to learn. They had a vision to use it for a purpose. Some of the four year olds on the other hand, they just wanted to toss a ball up and down.
I had a tremendous visit with my beautiful wife. She is definitely worth it. We got to go for some walks and share time together over meals in a little coffe shop called Harbor Lights in Leavenworth, Kansas (check it out if you ever go).
I got to meet an incredible man named Randall while I was there. He and several other servants of the Lord run a youth center called Kids Connection. It is a safe place for young people to hang out when they’re not in school. There are games, computers, snacks, and loving adult supervision. I was inspired to see this wonderful place in action. I got to juggle for the kids there (in a different location). I’ll be at Lifebridge Church this weekend, I’ll let you know how that goes.
I was chatting with some other jugglers the other day and one of them told me about a college class (in Florida, I believe). This was a Psychology class for college students. Apparently, for the final exam, the professor will grant an “A” for the exam only if the student can hold a juggle of three balls for two minutes.
Sound harsh? Many people would think so. Others would see this as an easy “A.” The point the professor is trying to make is that juggling is an activity that many people simply mentally tell themselves they can never do. But the truth is – anybody can juggle. Of course some people are born with inclincations to do better at it than others. But the basic task of juggling three balls is something everyone can achieve given a little practice.
The point of the professor, though, is bigger than juggling. He wants to inspire students to avoid putting “mental blocks” between themselves and challenging-looking tasks in this life.
So, go learn how to juggle. And learn something that your mind says you cannot do. And do not forget the ultimate power of our accomplishments – Jesus Christ. For with Christ – nothing is impossible. And I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Lots of people have been asking me, “Where’s Sarah?” That’s my wife if you do not know. I have to say, “She’s working in Kansas City.” And then I proceed to tell them why she works so far away, the duration of her stay, and if I’m going to see her soon.
We at least get to talk on the phone every evening. The reason why she is there is because she works with the Southwestern Company. This is a sales job and she gets out-of-state territory. Why? It’s complicated. You see, the job is designed for young college students. And the job is very demanding of your time and energy. If they let students work their hometown, they would be too distracted to be successful at the job. Sarah could probably handle this job even locally, but she sticks with the format even though she is in her eighth summer and she is older than college-age.
Plus, she does well enough at this job to earn tuition for this coming school year faster than any other job we know of. I”ve done this job with her for the past 3 years and it has been amazing. Now, I’m committed to working at our church and juggling for the summer – while she sells a few educational books.
If military families can handle a year apart, Sarah and I can handle a few months. Besides, she doesn’t know this, but I’m going to go see her sometime this week for a few days. Then I might even drive out a second time and see her. She’s worth it. I love my wife. I love Sarah. The longer we’re apart, the more pictures of her I’m fishing down in the housing and staring at before I go to bed at night. She is beautiful. She is precious. She is my wife.
One crazy event that has occurred recently is the misidentification of two young women involved in the fatal Taylor University van crash back on April 26th. In that accident, 5 people died, and several more were injured. It turns out that one of the injured (Whitney Cerak) and one of the dead (Laura VanRyn) looked alike, and yes, those at the scene of the accident misidentified these two women. So Whitney has been in a coma for five weeks, being tended by the wrong family (who thought she was their daughter Laura). Meanwhile, the Ceraks and 1400 other people held a funeral for Whitney when it was really Laura VanRyn in the casket and Whitney was actually alive the whole time in a hospital in Fort Wayne, IN.
Someone in the Cerak family said something profound. When they heard that their daughter was alive and that it was someone else’s daughter who was really buried, they said something along the lines of, “This is tough, because our joy is someone else’s pain.”
Check out the Taylor Website for all the updates and a link to the blog that is following this confusing tale (www.taylor.edu).
On another note, It looks like I’ll be a street performer for the Kentucky Renaissance Faire this weekend. It’s in Eminence, KY and it will be my first time at one of these things – it should be fun. Apparently many people get REALLY into these faires. My friends Justin and Erica (soon to be Ball) are getting married tomorrow night in Bardstown, which is not too far from Eminence. I’ll let you know how it goes.
I just published my new website (www.jessethejuggler.com). I would like some feedback from those of you who know me (and even if you do not).
This page used to be where I sent people, but it seemed unofficial because it had the long “.blogspot” in the name. So now I will make this page daily musings and journals of my adventures in the juggling world.
I’ll start by saying that I had a pleasant meeting in Louisville last night with some jugglers and yo-yo-ists. There were about eight of us just messing around, passing clubs, and and playing with yo-yo’s. I learned the beginning steps towards a new toy – the spin top. This thing is really cool. I was able to successfully spin it a few times. The next step is to learn how to make it spin on my hand, how to make it jump with my string, etc. Some of the guys there were really good at this thing. I was so fascinated with this object that one of the guys there generously gave me one of his spin tops (still in the box!). Jugglers and yo-yo-ists are so cool.
I also got a shipment today – five new juggling clubs, some torch wicks, a new set of diabolo handsticks, and a UNICYCLE! I’m so excited to go home tonight and assemble the one-wheeled machine. I can sort of do it (from practicing years ago). But I would like to learn how to idle and juggle and balance on it at the same time. Love you all.
Kids speak the language of colors, symbols, and fun. That’s what juggling is all about! Here is a fun family-friendly event that will bring the message of Jesus through the enticing sport of juggling.
Come and enjoy…
• audience participation
• juggling balls, rings, clubs, and DANGEROUS objects
• illusions, balancing, spinning, and other fun trickery
“Jesse Joyner has been given a truly unique gift.” – Hank Voss, Former Headmaster, The King’s Academy, (Indiana)
“…a fellow who has used his remarkable talent to reach out to others…” – The Lexington Herald-Leader
I have the blessed opportunity to preach this weekend at my church. The pastor asked me and I was both humbled and honored. But most importantly, I feel slightly nervous with the task of preaching God’s Word to God’s people.
The irony is that I push the importance of children’s ministry so much, but don’t feel this “holy reverence” to the task of teaching God’s Word when I’m in the children’s worship room. Maybe it’s familiarity, maybe it’s mediocrity. Maybe it’s me relying on my own strength. Whatever it is, may the Lord challenge me with this opportunity to ALWAYS (no matter the age group) see every teaching/preaching moment with a holy fear. They said that Martin Luther’s knees would knock beneath the pulpits from which he preached.
Now for the Shema – that is the text of my sermon. My main point will be that God’s first command to Israel AFTER the Shema is the “greatest commandment” (Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and strength). And then, the first thing Israel needs to do with that command is teach it to their children. Passing on the legacy of faith to children is something so key yet so forgotten these days.
Marva Dawn said that she once had a hard time finding an honest roofer – a worker with integrity. Where do people gain or lose their standards of integrity? Not in trade school. It was when they were lying down and waking up and walking along the road with their parents as a little child.
Parents should be the primary spiritual leaders to their kids – not the church children’s/youth pastors.
Please pray for me this coming Sunday. His Word. His Church. His grace.