my blog my blog

Monthly June 2011
Gelassenheit

A little over a week ago our family was in Washington DC with some missionary friends of ours, the Robinson family. We were delighted to meet with Congressman Marlin Stutzman from Indiana and have our own private tour of the Capitol Building.

Before moving to Southeast Asia I had actually worked on an agricultural cash-crop operation (that’s right…a “farm”!) alongside Congressman Stutzman before he entered politics. We developed a friendship while planting and harvesting crops and since leaving the farm have touched base a few times over the years.

What struck me with such force that day in Washington was Congressman Stutzman’s humility and modesty. He embodied it. I was especially impressed with how he related to one lady in particular—the woman who operated the small open train that took us underground from his office building to the Capitol.  He took time to stop and talk with her, showing an interest in her life.

Both of us come from an Amish/Mennonite background. We’ve both been exposed to the Amish perspective on humility and how it fleshes out in daily life. The Amish dress simply, are generally quiet and reserved, and value submission and obedience to the rules of their community. Their attitude of humility is so specific they have a special term for it: “Gelassenheit.” This characteristic permeates their culture. Based on the Biblical concept put forth by Jesus—”not my will but thine be done”—the Amish abhor all individuality, selfishness and pride.

Unfortunately there is also a downside to this remarkable trait. Maximizing their God-given gifts and abilities or embracing a specific calling from God is often seen as prideful. Hence, many in this tradition have “buried” their talents instead of multiplying them (see Jesus’ parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-30 or Luke 19:12-27).

Congressman Stutzman has clearly opted to maximize his abilities and opportunities. He believes that his call revolves around influencing government policy toward positive ends. He’s making a difference at one of the highest levels in our country. And he does it with humility. Congressman Stutzman realizes that the “Most High is over the kingdoms on earth and gives them to anyone he wishes and sets over them the lowliest of people.” (see Daniel 4:17, 25, 32 & 5:21) He realizes that his position provides an opportunity to serve others and bring glory to God.

We all have a responsibility to respond to God’s call on our lives. We all will give an account of how we utilized our God-given gifts, skills, and opportunities. Whatever world you’re in—education, homemaking, medicine, agriculture, business, science, politics, etc.—you are called to maximize your talents and bring honor and glory to God in that sphere.

Yes, there is always a danger of becoming prideful of our talents or arrogant in our calling; something the Amish have endeavored to avoid. Someone recently reminded me that arrogance is only perceived in others; we can’t see it in ourselves. If our motive is to bring glory to God by serving others we will fulfill our calling in the proper spirit of humility.

So serve in the true spirit of gelassenheit. Yield yourself to the will of God. Discover your gifts and abilities and use them to impact your world every time an opportunity presents itself. Don’t buy into a false humility or take gelassenheit to such an extreme that you bury your talents on the backside of Lancaster County.

Fathering Vision

Today Donald Miller spoke at our church on the need for fathers to have vision for their families. He pointed out that if you don’t have a plan for your family someone else will. His recent engagement to Paige Smith has him somewhat freaking out about the responsibilities marriage will bring. It really is a big deal. Dads are called to lead their families…and that’s no small undertaking. Miller went so far as to warn single women to stay away from guys who aren’t freaking out about marrying them.

Fathers need to give their families a purpose; something beyond simple survival. Listen to John Piper’s words in his book, Don’t Waste Your Life: “Oh, how many lives are wasted by people who believe that the Christian life means simply avoiding badness and providing for the family. So there is no adultery, no stealing, no killing, no embezzlement, no fraud—just lots of hard work during the day, and lots of TV and PG-13 videos in the evening (during quality family time, of course), and lots of fun stuff on the weekend—woven around church (mostly). This is life for millions of people. Wasted life. We were created for more.”

Writing that plan down is critical. It helps you stay accountable. It also places before the members of your family a reminder of who you believe them to be and what you think they are capable of achieving. It reminds me of the power of goal setting and writing those goals down. A Harvard Business school study between 1979-1989 makes a good case for this. Students in the graduating class of 1979 were asked if they had any goals set for their future. 84% had no goals, 13% had goals in their minds, 3% had written goals. Ten years later at the end of the study a survey was taken. It was discovered that the 13% of the students with unwritten goals had achieved success twice the amount of those without any goals. And the big finding? The 3% with written goals had achieved ten times more than all the other 97% combined!

So where exactly is your family going? What does your preferred picture of the future look like? What will each member be doing if they turn out the way you have proposed? In other words, what will things look like if they go as planned?

John Maxwell once said: “I want to make a difference with people who want to make a difference doing something that makes a difference at a time when it makes a difference.” What a great place to start! We want our families to make a difference in this world. So fill in the blanks. Describe the what, when, where, and how of making a difference.

How about it dads? Do you have a vision for your family? Can you easily articulate it? Will you take the next step and write it down? Click here for a basic template and a link to CHAZOWN (Hebrew for “vision”) where you can utilize a life development tool to determine spiritual gifts, vision, values, and goals.

I know what I need to do. Although our family has had a basic mission statement for a number of years it’s time to help each member begin writing down their own personal vision. That’s right…time for me to plan some date nights with my wife and kids.

Dispelling the Myth about Muslims

Two weeks ago my brother Tim—a pastor in Vancouver, BC—wrote to tell me about an exciting opportunity he recently had at Kwantlen University. In commemoration of the birthday of Bibi Fatima—daughter of Mohammed—Tim had been asked to speak on the topic, “Why Christians Respect Bibi Fatima.” Out of ten speakers he was the only Christian; the others were all Muslims. Below are three excerpts from his speech:

I confess as a Christian that we Christians have failed to follow the way of Jesus. We Christians have taken up the sword. We have killed our fellow human beings in the name of Jesus. We have taken up the sword even against our Muslim brothers. I hang my head when I remember these terrible stories in our Christian history. I confess this with great sorrow. On behalf of my Christian brothers and sisters, I repent and ask your forgiveness. This is not the way of Jesus. We have sinned against Jesus. We have sinned against our fellow brother and sister.  Jesus taught us that we must be ever willing to die for our faith, but never willing to kill for our faith. How we have grieved the heart of our Lord and our Master.”

Today you honor a noble woman whose griefs and burdens you share. Just recently we Christians commemorated Good Friday: the death of the one who bore our griefs and our sorrows. We see in these tears the heart of our compassionate and gracious God. The ways of this world are different: they want us to be always happy. They want us to celebrate the victorious and the powerful. Fatima was a woman who did not have a lot of worldly power. Yet she has inspired Muslims for many centuries with an other-worldly kind of power. We Christians honor this power in weakness. For we follow a Messiah who became weak in order to give us true strength.

We Muslims and Christians are of different faiths. We both believe in one God, and only one God. Yet our understanding of this one God is very different. We do share much in common, and yet there is so much also that separates us. Yet what a privilege it is to join together on a day such as this, to humbly reflect together on those areas of commonality, as well as to accept those areas where we differ.

Tim told me how the response was so positive. He also told me about the keynote speaker whose message of peace and non-violence towards people of other faiths was simply amazing and very powerful. How it completely breaks so many of the stereotypes Christians have of the Muslim people.

Afterwards, in the parking lot as Tim and his wife were getting into a car, two Muslim men approached him and asked, “Why are you doing this? What motivates you to come to our Muslim gatherings and to share as a Christian with us? What is it deep inside you that motivates you?”

Tim was then able to share the Gospel with them. He shared how God’s love had been poured out in his heart because of the death of Jesus on the cross for his sin. They were so eager to listen. They wanted to know what it was in his heart that caused him to love the Muslim people! They were so willing to listen to the whole story of Jesus dying for our sins, of His prayer, “Father, forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing.”

I close with some words from Shane Bennett who once wrote an article for the Missions Catalyst on the ‘Top Ten Myths about Missions”. His #3 myth was entitled: “Non-Christians (Especially Muslims) Are Hairy, Scary Meanies”.

Yes, many people are suffering at the hands of Muslims. Yes, some Muslims have done mean things on a massive and deadly level. Yes, some verses of the Qur’an suggest that Muslims should kill all who don’t believe like them. That said, personally I know more mean Christians than mean Muslims. Don’t you? I know more Christians than Muslims, so I’m not trying to establish a ratio in absolute terms. I’m just saying maybe we need to challenge this myth about Muslims. If you get a chance to travel to Asia you’ll be invited in and served food by Christians, Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists alike. I’ve personally had some of these “mean, hairy and scary Muslims” direct their Jesus-like behavior toward me. According to Dr. Todd Johnson, eight or nine out of every ten Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists do not personally know a Christian. A lot of “us” have never met any of “them,” either.  A cup of tea and a chat might begin to dispel this “mean” myth.

Contact MeContact Me

Let's Connect

I’d love to connect with you via email or phone. Snail mail can be sent to the address listed below.

Address

333 East Margaret Drive, Wilmore, KY 40390

Phone

(+1) 269.625.3400

Booking InfoBooking Info

Logistics and Details

Select me as your speaker, and I will give you my best effort. See me as a catalyst or facilitator that will help you achieve the goals you’ve set for your event. When you win, I win. It’s as simple as that. I’m here to serve you in life’s journey!

Venue

A venue for the event should be chosen with the target audience in mind. All-day or half-day workshops are ideally hosted in rooms where food can be served and participants can gather around tables for group dialogue and breakout sessions (click on links for preferred room setup: round/long tables). All venues should be suited for multi-media presentations and wired for sound.

Once a date and presentation topic have been confirmed for an event, the venue name and address along with a contact phone number should be submitted for advertisement purposes. These will be posted in my speaking schedule and used in advertising media.

rosedale

Equipment

A room featuring a multi-media projector with 3000 lumens or greater is preferred for all events. I will use my own projector when one is not available. Please note that for most presentations and workshops I need my laptop at the front of the venue from where I’ll be speaking. My system can accommodate VGA/HDMI/DVI cables. Most of my presentations are designed for widescreen (16:9).

For audio I prefer a lapel or Countryman microphone. For presentation/video audio I can supply my own speaker for groups under 100 people. For larger groups I need an audio cable (3.5mm mini stereo) that plugs directly into my laptop.

Replace lecterns and pulpits with a small table or stand on which to place a laptop.

For workshops, have a flip chart or white board available with markers in several colors.

An eight-foot table should be available on which to place books, CDs, DVDs, and other resources for sale. Cash, checks, and credit cards are all accepted.

Fees

I do not charge a set fee when speaking at non-profit events. However, donations are welcome to support my family, cover bills, and feed my Puggle. Suggested donation amount is $500/day plus travel expenses. If I’m within 8 hours of an event I will drive (suggested reimbursement of $250), otherwise I typically fly (if within the USA, $500). I fly out of Lexington, KY and typically purchase my own tickets; a reimbursement check can be mailed to 333 East Margaret Drive, Wilmore, KY 40390.

cnx2016

I’d be delighted to come to your event and speak. I typically keep my events within a 1-3 day time period due to commitments to my family; anything over this length of time is generally reserved for international travel. Workshops can be facilitated as whole-day or half-day events. My multi-part series can be easily held over a weekend, beginning Friday night and ending Sunday morning or beginning Sunday morning and ending Monday evening.

About MeAbout Me

Speaker, author, and life coach.

Born in Ontario, Canada, I moved to El Salvador at age 4 to live as a missionary kid for three years. At age nineteen I moved to Alberta, Canada where I taught school for three years. After leading several short term teams to Asia focused on unreached people groups, I married my sweetheart Amy and lived in Northern Indiana for Familya year and a half. In 1997, we moved with our infant daughter Brittany to Thailand where I served as director of Global Tribes Outreach. During our ten-year stint in Southeast Asia, God blessed us with two more children—Courtney and Jamin. In 2008 we moved back to North America and bought our first house in Kentucky, USA. I acquired a Masters in Christian Leadership from Asbury Seminary in 2014 and now travel both domestically and internationally to develop leaders.

As a leadership developer and life coach I help non-profit and business leaders understand how to maximize their God-given potential to lead and serve others. I am the author of A Serving Leader’s Devotional and the President of the Reverb Network.

I’ve spoken broadly on personal & global mission, leadership, team building, and numerous Biblical subjects over the last 20 years on four continents and numerous states and provinces in the USA and Canada.

I am committed to a Biblical worldview and dedicated to motivating the church toward missional thinking and practice in all areas of life. I believe that everyone has a God-given purpose to love and serve others like Jesus. I firmly believe that having our thinking challenged is not enough; it must be translated into change.

MY STORY

I have heard from other staff members who agree with me, this was one of the best/productive workshops we've attended.

Dan Domer
Staff Member, Covenant Church, Winterville, NC

Your talk rocked my world.  

Qian Wang
Perspectives Student, College Station, TX

Luke Kuepfer’s high-energy presentation of the material was delightful, articulate, and profound! If you are looking for a fresh and life-changing look at Jesus’ servant leadership model, look no further! Give Luke a call!

Don Showalter
President, Hearts Alive!

Luke is a dynamic speaker with the gift of clearly articulating Biblical truths in an easy-to-understand manner. He speaks in humility but with authority, and injects his message with the experience and global perspective gained from living abroad as a missionary for many years.

Santosh David Poonen
Elder, River of Life Christian Fellowship, Loveland, CO

Luke’s enthusiasm and passion for the local church and its impact in the community is inspiring. I highly recommend his teaching and ministry!  

Clarence Miller
Deacon, Sharon Mennonite Church

“Transformational” is the one word I would use to describe the seminar. Luke has a true gift in communicating God’s truths with clarity and passion.

Joe Bacher
Pastor, Foothills Fellowship Westminster, SC

Luke is enthusiastic and knowledgeable, presenting the interactive material creatively. It is a unique presentation unlike the usual “leadership seminars” taught from the front. Luke presents it with expertise, fun, and interest in each attendee.

David Livingstone
Regional Manager, North-East & Mid-Atlantic Region, The JESUS Film Project

Luke really has an incredible way of captivating everyone’s attention and making a seminar meaningful. He speaks from his heart and lives what he preaches. As a result of this Encounter we’re taking our family to Southeast Asia on a two-month mission trip with the possibility of moving there long-term.

Lloyd & Mary Ellen Esh
Pastor, New Covenant Mennonite Fellowship New Holland, PA

REVIEWS

SKILLS

Years Lived Abroad
0
Countries Visited
0
14-ers Climbed in CO
0
Places Lived
0
2014 - 2017

SPEAKER, COACH, & LEADERSHIP DEVELOPER

Presentations and workshops in both non-profit and business venues around the world on leadership, people skills, and life purpose.

2011- 2013

STUDENT @ ASBURY THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY

Masters Degree in Christian Leadership.

2009 - 2010

STUDENT @ THOMAS EDISON STATE COLLEGE

Bachelor’s Degree online in Liberal Studies.

1997 - 2008

DIRECTOR @ GLOBAL TRIBES OUTREACH

Founded and served as Field Director of Global Tribes Outreach (GTO), a non-profit organization based in Southeast Asia committed to church planting and social work.

1994 - 1996

WORKER IN CONSTRUCTION AND AGRICULTURE

Floor finishing in concrete construction and equipment operator on a cash crop farm.

1990 - 1993

TEACHER @ PRAIRIE CHRISTIAN SCHOOL

Taught elementary through high school students in a self-directed learning environment.