Breezes--Pastor Brian Martin's Blog

"The wind blows where it wishes, you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit." John 3:8

Do You See Anything? Reflections with MDS in Pine Ridge, South Dakota

I was unable to shake the quotes staring back at me in icy silence. Various quotes, printed on white copy paper, were haphazardly tacked onto the unpainted walls of the unfinished house which temporarily served as the MDS dining hall. Each quote jolted its reader reminding the context in which they were volunteering. The MDS kitchen and lodge trailers were stationed on the 2.8 million acres which comprised the Pine Ridge Reservation. This open prairie was home to some thirty-eight thousand residents of the Oglala Lakota tribe of the Sioux Nation. Oglala Lakota County residents have a life expectancy of Read More »

Two Words

The halfway point of my ten-week sabbatical is now behind me. I find the pace of time incredibly difficult to fathom. Though the past five weeks have been filled with much activity, inactivity also offsets busyness and provides delightful open spaces of absolute nothingness. Even with deliberate steps to totally disconnect from ministry, it took about three weeks until I found myself unhooking in mind and thought. Since then, I have been able to find deep rest in mind and spirit. I find myself enjoying daily exercise, walking or biking, striving to achieve my goal in weight loss. Much to Read More »

The Lake and the Zoo

Travelling at break-neck speed on the Autobahn, I was deep in thought as the beautiful farmland blurred by. The lush countryside and gentle rolling farmland reminded me of Lancaster County. I felt very much at home. As we exited the highway, a deeper beauty unfolded like a painted canvas as we entered the lush farmland framed with treelined fencerows. Hidden from the Autobahn, small farming villages, with picturesque quaint Germanic homes, dotted the countryside. It was like paging through a picture book of meticulously placed, air-brushed photos which passed by my window. The beauty was stunning. Despite the beauty, I Read More »

The Enemy Within

Spring is here! With the glory of spring comes the territorial posturing of birds as romance unfolds and ambitious nesting plans follow. Recently as I went to my vehicle, dirt, grime, and bird droppings greeted me–covering the mirror and expanding across the entire window–and dutifully dripping down the entire door panel. Muddied wing marks were plastered over these areas as this bird forthrightly engaged this intruder and vehemently confronted the threat. Obviously a lot of energy, anxiety and passion was exerted by this bird against the belligerent foe it faced in the mirror. The next day, I parked in the Read More »

The Parking Lot and the Wind

I grimaced and leaned in against the cold February wind, hurriedly sprinting across the parking lot as I sought the comfort of my vehicle. The west wind was stiff and relentless. However, my dreamy ambition was solidly interrupted. I found myself invited into a parking lot conversation. I zipped up my coat and hunkered down amidst the unfolding conversation. I attempted to focus on the dialogue as the wind mercilessly bit through my clothing. I looked longingly at my vehicle, mere feet from where I stood. I began imagining its temperature controlled comfort and heated seat, all of which awaited Read More »

Perseverance as a Noun

Perseverance is one of those words often appearing in beautiful calligraphy and astutely framed on an office wall. The mere presence of this word commands respect and boldly invites its reader to absorb and ponder its significance. I often observe this word standing alone, accompanied by a mind-numbing image of what perseverance looks like, or the word perseverance is threaded into a series of words which creates a profound statement. Either way, whether an associated image or cleverly crafted slogan, the intended purpose is to generate enthusiasm or, at the very least, stir up warm fuzzies for its reader or Read More »

The Massive Doors

Last summer, my wife Shirley and I had opportunity to experience a thirty-five-day learning tour in Israel. The experiences where unending and life-changing. The group who hosted us was incredibly connected. Despite the complexities of deep division and hatred which existed among the religious communities and the disputed real estate and holy sites, our hosts ably nurtured deep relationships with the Jewish, Muslim, and Christian leaders. As result, this trust and favor opened spaces typically inaccessible to the public. One experience stuck with me in a unique and unforgettable way. One evening, two pastors and I were invited to spend Read More »

A Dark Place

Recently, a series of bizarre events unfolded in my personal life and ministry which shook me to my core. Several events were explainable and the result of our broken humanity and fallen world. Several other events, however, were unexplainable, creepy, and downright unnerving. As the explainable and unexplainable came crashing into my life simultaneously over several days, I found myself disoriented, deeply shaken, and in a place of hopelessness and despair. This was a place where I had never been before—a very dark place. I am typically cautious to spiritualize events in my life; however, I recognize blatant spiritual attack Read More »