Friday, May 4, 2018

Four Sins I'm Fighting

Every day I'm battling sin. People often want to put me on a pedestal, but all the good I produce is only by God's grace. I may not cheat, cuss, or chew, but there are plenty of other sins I'm committing that Jesus bore on the cross. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Romans 7:24 I need Christ...






Below are four sins that I'm trying to put to death every day through the power of the Spirit.

1. The Sin of Complaining - I constantly get opportunities to speak about and show others Jesus, but I want to complain when those opportunities don't fit my pretty schedule. I want to complain when I get to share my beef jerky, when the spinning ball of death comes up on my Mac, and when I crash and burn on Race Off. Are you serious? Man, I need Jesus.

2. The Sin of Insensitivity - Sometimes I forget that toughness isn't a fruit of the Spirit. Jesus is certainly a warrior, but He's a tender warrior. I need to slow down and not be so direct at times. Smile more, listen more, and ask questions. Be less task-oriented and more people-oriented. More Mary and less Martha.

3. The Sin of Laziness - I'm tempted to watch silly YouTube videos for hours while eating pork rinds and drinking Mountain Dew instead of doing what I'm supposed to. I don't always want to read my Bible, pray with others, and serve. I can take pride in being a hard worker; however, the truth is that I can be very lazy.

4. The Sin of Selfishness -  Now and then I think I'm the most important person in the world. I may not always show it, but I can get bothered when things don't go my way. I'm not always a cheerful giver of the time, energy, and resources God has given me. Fortunately, I have people in my life to keep me in check. Thank you, Jesus.

What sins are you struggling with? Need help? Check out this article by John Piper on how to kill sin.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

What I Like About Running (Without a Ball)

I don't like running without a ball. Put a soccer ball in front of me, and I can run all day. No soccer ball? No way, Jose. Every time I jog, when I take my first step I'm thinking, "Why do people do this?" Runners are crazy. I have a great deal of respect for them, but I still think they're crazy. They just run, and they often like it. That's crazy! Despite my lack of joy when I run, running is good for me. Below are seven reasons why running is a blessing to me. Perhaps I'm a little crazy as well.

1. When I run, I always pray. This morning I thanked God that I could run despite a bad ankle sprain on March 11th.

2. When I run, I'm reminded that I'm not young anymore. Our culture says that's a bad thing, but I'm thankful I'm not quite the idiot I was twenty years ago.

3. When I run, I'm reminded how I'll get a new body in Heaven. This morning I participated in a 10K (6.2 miles), and my ankles, right knee, and upper thighs didn't feel the greatest during the last two miles.

4. When I run, I'm reminded of how much of a sinner I am and how much I need Jesus. I have to fight complaining (I woke up to snow today) and thank God for the way He made my body and that I can see His beautiful creation as I run.

5. When I run, I can be reminded that I'm not as smart as I think I am. I overdressed for my morning run. Shortly after they shot the race gun, I had to take my hat and gloves off and unzip my two jackets.

6. When I run, I can get inspired. An 81-year-old woman beat me this morning by nearly two minutes. Wow. If I reach her age one day, I hope I'll be able to move like she can.

7. When I run, I'm reminded how weak I am. There have been some hills that have kicked my butt and given me the strong desire to quit. It's only through the Holy Spirit that I'm able to persevere.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2

Run Into Madness 7K on March 3rd (The second part of the USI Screaming Eagles Running Series)

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Our Homes in Tianjin, Evansville, & Heaven

It's hard to believe, but one year ago today we closed on our home. I'm really not sure where the time has gone. Didn't we just move to the States?

When we moved here from China in the summer of 2016, Megan found us a newly renovated two bedroom condo that worked for our family. The girls shared a huge bedroom, and we put a bed donated by our home church in the loft for Josiah Lee. Older kiddos probably prefer more privacy, but I delighted in the fact that four-year-olds could care less about their sleeping arrangements.

God has always blessed us with nice homes in China and the States. Our homes have been vastly different, and we're thankful for all that God has provided. Regardless of where we have lived and what we've been given, we've built our homes on the precious cornerstone and solid foundation, Jesus Christ. We want our homes to be used to serve others and bring God glory. Additionally, we remember our homes are temporary and that new homes are being prepared for us.

Below are some of the similarities and differences between our homes in Tianjin and Evansville. I look forward to seeing what God will provide next here and in Heaven.

In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? John 14:2

1. Our last apartment in China was on the 9th floor and now we live in a brick ranch home.

2. An elevator opened up to a mudroom where I stored my mountain bike. Today we enter our home through the back door on our deck.

3. We had three balconies that overlooked a ton of high-rise apartments. Our neighborhood today is surrounded by one and two-story homes with well-manicured yards.

4. Our apartments in China (seven in 13 years) and our home in Evansville are within walking distance to hospitals, restaurants, banks, and other businesses.

5. We never had a dishwasher or fireplace in China, and a dryer was a luxury we owned for less than two years.

6. In China, we locked up most of our bikes and my motorbike outside. Now we park our minivan and a full-size car in our garage. We also have a yard shed which stores our riding mower, wood chipper, and other lawn equipment.

7. Ducks and geese are commonplace where we last lived in China and where we live now. One difference is we used to see peacocks on occasion and now we see squirrels and rabbits all of the time.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Unique Food I've Eaten Abroad & in the States

When I lived overseas, I got the opportunity to eat lots of unique food: cicadas, duck bills and feet, salted scorpions, entire fish, starfish, seahorses, and snake on a stick, every organ imaginable, and even rocks. Some of it was great and some of it, well, tasted like rocks.

Although American cuisine isn't what I would call adventurous, I've been able to chow down on a few delectables these past two years that aren't considered your everyday fare. Check out below what I've been able to eat in my home, order on the street, or have at a restaurant.

1. Wild boar - This winter Megan made some burritos with some wild boar that we were gifted with, and they were definitely restaurant worthy.

2. Frog legs - Surprisingly, I've been able to eat frog legs at a couple different Chinese restaurants in town. Ribbit.

3. Brain sandwich - I ordered one of these sandwiches at the Fall Festival here in Evansville. They're kind of like scrambled eggs.

4. Beef tartare - My little bro ordered us this raw meat dish, and I found it to be da bomb diggity! I've eaten a ton of different kinds of meat raw, and this was by far my favorite.

5. Venison - Although I'm not a hunter, I'm thankful for those who hunt and share their game with mi familia.

6. Pizza with mussels - I'm a big fan of seafood and a big fan of pizza so why not put them together?

7. Chicken hearts - I used to get chicken hearts every time I ate at Brazilian steakhouses in China, and I was happy to recently get some at a Chinese New Year festival.

Were you aware these dishes can be consumed right here in the good ol' U.S. of A? What unique foods have found their way to your stomach? The next time you see some food that looks or smells a little funky, why not give it a go? Don't knock it until you've tried it. Bon Appetit! 

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31.

I'm eating saltwater smelts filled with eggs galore. Yum.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Reflecting on Billy Graham's Passing

Back in 1999, I went to the Billy Graham Crusade in Indianapolis. In 2005 I went to the Billy Graham Center Museum at Megan's alma mater, Wheaton College. During my early years as a Christian, Billy Graham's website was my go-to place whenever I had a theological question. I've used Reverend Graham's videos for family devos, classroom lessons, and chapel presentations. To say Billy Graham has impacted me would be quite the understatement. I'm extremely thankful for how God used Reverend Graham to preach the gospel to me and millions around the world, and I look forward to the day when we'll be together again. Below are a few notable quotes from this great man of God.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Why I'm Thankful to Live in America

Presidents' Day is on Monday, a day to honor the incumbent president and all previous U.S. presidents. During my time overseas from 2002 to 2016, we had two very different presidents that led us through a great deal of change in America. Some of the changes weren't the best; however, there is much about this country that is a big-time blessing. I'm thankful that my children can receive a Christ-centered education now and later as adults. We can listen to Christian radio and even get our dance on. Below are five more reasons why I'm thankful to live in the US of A.

1. There is no shortage of churches in this country. Each month there are 214 churches and Christian properties destroyed around the world.

2. We have access to a million Christian resources at local stores and libraries. Over 200 million African Christians don't own a Bible, and millions of leaders lack written materials to equip their ministry.

3. I'm free to witness and share the gospel with others. Approximately 215 million Christians experience significant persecution.

4. Christian websites aren't blocked. I haven't always had that free online access.

5. I don't have to be concerned about hosting Bible studies in my home. That's certainly not the case where I used to live.

Yes, there is much we could complain about America, but it certainly could be far worse. What ways can you give thanks for living in the States? What's preventing you from giving thanks for your life in this land of opportunity?

Friday, February 9, 2018

My Year in Korea

In 2002 I sold my house on three acres of land north of Jolietville, Indiana and moved to Cheonan, Korea. I left a fantastic job teaching geography to sixth graders in a small town and accepted a teaching job at an English academy in a city of nearly 500,000. There were a few aspects I found challenging during my time in Korea; however, I clearly see how living there prepared me for my 13 years in China. I learned a great deal during my year in Korea and have much good to say about the country. Below are seven random facts about this year's Olympic hosts.

1. I always enjoyed telling others that South Korea is approximately the same size as Indiana but has a significantly larger population (51 million compared to less than 7 million for Indiana).

2. Did you know South Korea is home to a lot of companies we're fond of including Samsung, LG, Hyundai, and Kia? I wasn't familiar with LG until moving to Korea but noticed Best Buy selling LG products in the summer of 2003.

3. 30% of South Koreans claim to be Christian, and Korea is the second largest missionary sending country in the world (behind the U.S.). At night you can see tons of church buildings with neon red crosses.

4. South Korea takes education seriously and is a top ten nation in math, reading, and science. My oldest students left the academy after 9 PM.

5. Like in Japan, bowing is often done when saying hi, bye, and thank you. My students often greeted me and said goodbye with a bow.

6. Some Korean food is super spicy and can cause you to visit the bathroom in the middle of the night. My favorite Korean dishes are of the nonspicy variety - galbi (marinated short ribs) and bulgogi (marinated beef).

7. Generally, those under 30 knew I was American, but older folk often mistook me as Korean. I could ride my bike and have students yell hello at me or be shopping at e-mart and be greeted with anyoung haseyo.

Megan and her parents paid me a fun visit shortly before I left Korea.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Ten Questions: When Wick Met Megan

With Valentine's Day one week away, I thought I would share a special time back in August of 2001.

1. How did you and Megan meet? Megan's dad called me and asked me if I would like to meet his daughter.

2. How did you know Megan's dad? We used to work together at Frankfort Middle School, and we were in a men's Bible study group.

3. What were you doing just prior to the call? I was giving my dog, Yuki, a bath.

4. What did you know about Megan before the first date? I knew she was on her summer break from teaching university students in China and that she was a Christian.

5. What did you not know prior to the first date? I didn't realize that Megan hadn't given her parents permission to call me. I thought she saw a picture of me in a yearbook or paper and thought I was cute. :-)

6. How did you feel that Mr. Downs asked you if you would be interested in meeting his daughter? I was truly honored. I had and continue to have a great deal of respect for Fred, and I couldn't believe he thought I was good enough to go on a date with Megan.

7. What did you think when you first saw Megan? I thought Megan had a sweet smile and her eyebrows really impressed me. :-) I thought it was cool that she invited me into her parents' place and had me try some longan, a fruit found in China.

8. Where did you go on the first date? I gave Megan a few nice restaurant options, and she chose Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. She didn't realize it's an upscale fine dining establishment. :-) We took also took a stroll on the Canal Walk in Indianapolis.

9. What did you drive? I owned a beige 93 Chevy Silverado 1500. I considered picking up Megan in my dad's Porsche, but it's not me.

10. How was the first date? Despite being super smooth and telling Megan I wasn't into China, by the grace of God, I got a second date.

He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD. Proverbs 18:22

An engagement pic taken in Changchun, China during the summer of 2003

Saturday, January 20, 2018

A Changed Heart: Adopting My Son

Five years ago tomorrow is the day Josiah Lee officially became a Wickersham. We talked about it a good bit today and looked at pictures of that first week back in 2013. One thing I reminded Josiah Lee about is how God changed my heart. I was content with two daughters and not wanting to throw a boy into the mix. Boys can be proud jerks who don't know how to stay still. Who wants that? But over time I began to think, by the power of the Holy Spirit, boys can grow up to be strong men of God who bring God glory. God can even use a sinner like me to help a boy grow in wisdom and stature. Absolutely amazing.

Josiah Lee isn't afraid to tell you that God radically transformed my selfish sick heart and gave me a desire to adopt the boy who is sleeping next to me right now. Although it's not always fun and games, I had no idea how amazing raising a boy could be. There are a ton of super cool aspects of raising girls, but Rosalie and Grace Noel don't quite appreciate my "pull my finger" jokes like Josiah Lee. Josiah Lee is the one who will go fishing with me or do crazy dances when we score goals in our FIFA soccer video game. I especially love hearing Josiah Lee pray and answering my questions after a church service. He has a real servant's heart and often displays Jesus in ways far greater than me. I'm so thankful God chose me to be Josiah Lee's dad, and I look forward to seeing what God does in his life.

In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, Ephesians 1:4-6