Preserving Precious Moments in Still Photos and Video

Ministry

Oakley – About Stephen Ministry

Stephen Ministries About from Rob Oakley on Vimeo.


Oakley – Summit Ministries in California!

Teenagers and Young Adults alike, your search for meaning, identity, purpose, and the answers to life’s greatest questions are not going to be answered—your search is going to be redefined, revolutionized, and ultimately rocked out of this world! Like a Google search, it seems you just can’t find exactly what you’re looking for until you use the right keywords. Are you a Yahoo Answer’s junkie? Well what I have to share with you is much more powerful than any search engine; it’s one of the lesser known knowledge machines you will ever behold within an all-inclusive, comprehensive, fire-hydrant capacity in two of the most important and greatest weeks of your life! I’m talking about Summit Ministries.

Summit Ministries is a Christian Youth Apologetics Worldview seminar founded over 50 years ago by Dr. David Nobel, author of Understanding the Times and former president. Now lead by Dr. Jeff Myers, former professor at Bryan College in Tennessee, the vision and impact Summit has had for past generations will go even further with the next and future generations to come. I could go on and on about everything Summit has to offer, but why not take a moment and check out their website to see for yourself or how about watching their latest video!

But wait there’s more! For 50 years Summit held its conferences near the gorgeous rocky mountains of Manitou Springs, CO and only until recently did it also hold them at Bryan College. Now Summit’s influence is being spread even further to the west coast by holding two-week minding bending, construct shattering, world shaking conferences at Biola University in California.

Now’s your chance friends now is the time to change your life forever! So what are you waiting for? Take this awesome promo code with you; share this good news with your friends on Facebook and Twitter; check out Summit’s Website, and don’t forget to watch the video!

Tweet: @SummitMN’s student conf is incredible (http://ctt.ec/99TB3+) & now they’ll be in CA in June! Use AL2615 to save $250. #SummitChanges

Summit 2014 Student Conferences from Summit Ministries on Vimeo.


Oakley – Looking Back; Looking Forward

As I look out the window of my 1800’s historic apartment in Northern Colorado, I observe the gentle breeze of a winter day smoothly gliding through the trees. Rack-focusing to the interior of my home of almost a year, I see the synchronized lights of multiple hues on my bride and I’s first Christmas tree. It’s Christmas Eve. Tomorrow is our first Christmas together and as I have time away from my job in the oilfield to sit down, write, and reflect on this past year, I find myself peculiarly found of what is to come in 2014.

For starters, I see myself with an immense desire to write more, blog more, take pictures more, and share more about my new life in the Northern Rockies of Colorado; sharing all the new opportunities, dreams, plans, and events all in between along with my dearest friend , my wife. As for new opportunities the new year plans to bring, one of which is tutoring part time on Monday nights with the International Students Inc. or ISI for short. It’s a group of individuals from all over the world including China, South Korea, Chile, the Middle East, and a handful of others. A similar experience takes me back to teaching English in Houston where I am originally from. I enjoyed it then and I fully expect I will enjoy it again next year. Training starts in January and by then I also hope to start an online certification course in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL).

A burning desire of mine as of late and for quite awhile, at least, ever since I came back from China in 2012  is to teach. Currently I work full time in the Oilfield as a service technician to the model homes provided to rigs all across Weld County.  It’s a great opportunity to kick start my wife and I into our new lives together keeps me very busy. However, I also hope while working in this productive industry that I can also put in some time toward helping to raise the Youth and next generation of leaders. Along with teaching English as a tutor for ISI, I also hope to start developing a private supplementary course in cultural and social studies with emphasis in Worldview and world religions. My current aim is toward middle school and high school students who are exclusively home educated (as I was during those years), but I also hope to pursue a wide range of students who would be interested in extracurricular activities. Sounds crazy that I want to involve the Youth of Northern Colorado in extra studies, but I think after a presentation or two they may find themselves extraordinarily interested in what both my wife and I have to offer. I plan to expound on this venture a lot further in the next post I plan to write so please stay tuned.

Yet another new venture I plan to take along with my writing and return to the Blog Sphere is to explore the realm of Podcasting. This past year I’ve been listening to a myriad of topics and I can’t begin to describe all of the fascinating stories, ideas, and biographies of people I’ve listened to for the last several months. I do, however, intend to share more often what I listen to on a more regular basis. For a list of current podcasts that I personally subscribe to, check out this link or refer to the end of this post. With all this being said, also look forward to a Podcast of my own hosted by both myself and my lovely wife. We plan to cover a lot of different topics, but eventually it is our goal to focus on social issues in both the realms of Education, Family, and Community.

To conclude, I’d like to mention that two of my greatest achievements this year have been 1) Finishing my bachelor’s degree in Communications and 2) Marrying the love of my life. It’s been a wonderful, crazy, difficult, surprising, lovely, heart breaking, joyful year and I am nervous, excited, frightened, encouraged, and fascinated with what is to come next.

Serving with nobility, noblesse oblige,

Robert W. Oakley

PS

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Merry Christmas!

PPS

Podcasts I Subscribe to:

NPR TED Radio Hour

http://www.npr.org/rss/podcast.php?id=510298

TED Talks

http://feeds.feedburner.com/TEDTalks_audio

English Teaching in Japan

http://feeds.feedburner.com/EnglishTeachinginJapan

The Artist in American History

http://www.blubrry.com/feeds/americanstudies.xml

Seth Godin’s Startup School

http://rss.earwolf.com/startup-school


Oakley – Summit Semester Promo 2012


Oakley — Teaching ESL: Operation China

For the past month now I’ve been helping teach English as a Second Language (ESL) to Chinese students who reside in the city of Houston. Once a week I attend Crosspoint Lutheran church in Bellaire to assist in training Chinese natives in the basics of the English language in order to help them gain a better sense of prosperity in the United States along with preparing myself to teach at an English Camp in Pinghu, China this coming summer. I am very excited to be learning so much about the Chinese Culture and, slowly but surely, the Chinese language along with equipping myself with the necessary tools and experience to teach. Below are some photographs I took of last week’s class the day before the Chinese New Year. Normally we have a much larger class but due to the holiday festivities many of our students were probably away with family celebrating the on coming year of the Dragon. I am very excited to be a part of this wonderful opportunity to teach and look forward in continuing to share my journey with the rest of you. Enjoy the pictures and stay tuned for more to come!

~Rob

Betty Cooke helps explain the week’s new Bible memory verse

Students range from adults of early 3o’s to late 40’s on up

We also include elementary students in our lessons!


Oakley — Renewed Outlook: Operation China

 

 

“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! For who has known the mind of the LORD? Or who has become His counselor? Or who has first given to Him and it shall be repaid to him? For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.”

 

—Romans 11:33-36

As a visual artist—a rather idealistic one at that—finding Christ at the center of every frame, pixel, sound, and display of movement has inevitably revealed His perfect will and glory to me. No matter how hard I try, no matter how much I believe in myself, no matter what I put at stake, Christ forever shall remain the center of attention and focal point of my existence. Now, that hardly seemed sufficient to a very prideful, vain, and arrogant young man such as myself at first, but through my parents wisdom and instruction, through the wisdom of my heavenly Father, and by His salvation was that all undone, breaking me away from the bondage of sin, and granting me an eternal place in heaven as a child of the King humbly serving in His service and not my own.

 

The moment I realized my reality was not my own, my existence was not all left up to me, that my life did not belong to me, I was set free. I remember never being able to satisfy my desires, dreams, and wants because the vanity of the situation was all too clear—I was meant to be His and His alone; everything I set out to do must be for His glory and His alone, and once my whole life has finally chosen that path less traveled could all the difference be made in the world. Otherwise, I would aimlessly achieve only what the material world had to offer—absolutely nothing.

 

The happiness so many men and women waste their whole life searching for will never be found unless their mind is set on heavenly things. This is my mission, this is my purpose, and this is my life: to reveal to men the ever satisfying, perfect sustaining, wonderful savior Jesus Christ through whatever means necessary and by far the most effective. That is why I feel called to teach and enter the media industry. As Christ instructed His people in righteousness and taught through stories so do I feel the need and dream to do the same. To teach and show everyone around the world the wonderful saving grace of God, the unprecedented sacrifice He made for us all, and the perfect loving relationship we can have with Him and each other for all eternity.

 

As for the calling to go to China, witnessing lately the desperate search for answers to life’s greatest questions among the Chinese people, in the comfort of the States, constitutes my whole desire to go to their country of origin. I want to learn their language, their culture, their history, and find ways to better communicate the Gospel, teach them the English language, and show them the love of Christ along with my team. Up until this point, my evaluated experiences of the past has led me to this conclusion, but even more so the burning passion and desire within my heart that I can only know God has placed within me.

 

We are noble men and women of the risen King; for that may we feel nobly obliged to go and serve our almighty creator LORD and one another in unity and love for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Noblesse oblige,

 

~Rob Oakley

 


Oakley – Behind the Scenes: Grace Care Center

Rob Brayton setting up for Christmas Shoot with Santa

Today I had the pleasure to work with once again my mentor, teacher, and friend, Rob Brayton. We were both immensely pleased to have the opportunity to bless the senior citizens of Grace Care center with photographs of Santa Claus. Each of them will be getting a copy  just in time for Christmas to share amongst their families and care takers.

Rob working with the Nikon D7000

Rob Brayton is an experienced 2nd generation photographer with decades of study in digital engineering and the arts; his vision is to enrich the lives of people and business through visual storytelling in still and moving life portraiture—as is mine. He has taught me everything I know about film and photography and it is always an honor to work with him.

Rob with Santa

And of course the big guy himself, Santa Claus was a real treat to work with as well. He was able to bring so much joy to the citizens as they posed with the man of jolly and cheer making Christmas this year for the Grace Care center and its members a happy one indeed.


Back in the Saddle Again; Riding on the Back of a Lion

Call it a sabbatical if you will; I’d much prefer to look at it as if I fell into some vortex of a world that wasn’t necessarily perfect but pretty darn close.  All year long I can remember myself praying, “Dear God, let me see mountains again!” Who knew He’d actually answer my prayer and not only give me a mere glimpse of them but actually allow me to live among them for twelve weeks! If that wasn’t enough, let me tell you about the food—if a man’s heart is truly won through his stomach, then I left my heart in Pegosa Springs along with the cooks. And then there were the people who ate the food with me: 30 students who I not only ate with but also studied with, worked with, played with, prayed with, laughed with, cried with, and truly lived with for three months. Such adventures we had and though I keep trying to remind myself that the end is only just the beginning, I honestly cannot believe it’s over . . .

There are some things in life I always want to remember and then there are some things I will never forget. If a picture speaks a thousand words, then not even a picture can express well enough what I felt while living in Colorado. Don’t get me wrong though. It’s wonderful being home again. Being back in the city, where this city boy probably belongs, I can tell how much I missed the rush of Houston traffic, the stress free life of a stay-at-home college student, the worry free . . . Who am I kidding? The answer is not at all! Still, it is very nice to be home again. And by home I mean where my heart truly lives among my family who all five brothers and one sister I call friends, and parents who I consider wise and wealthy with God’s providence. As much as I long to go back to the mountains, I’d be dragging them all up with me in a heartbeat if I knew that I could. But who knows? God knows and that’s enough to keep my hopes up. As fretful and anxious I may get from time to time, I know who controls my destiny. Ask a fellow minister of mine how to spell love and he’ll tell you, “T-I-M-E.”

So what about my work, my art in photography? Well, in the next several weeks I will be uploading a ton of photos to Flickr featuring most of my favoritest and bestest work from places as majestic as the Pegosa Spring Mountains, to as mystical as the Great Sand Dunes, and the misty Grand Canyon in winter. Also, I plan to feature some amazing HDR photos and a few portraitures I did so stay tuned for that as well.

And as for the world of video, I plan to upload a bunch of those too as long as I can manage time to edit and upload them all.

sigh of blissful content

I really can’t tell you how exactly I feel right now about everything. I feel amazing yet at the same time totally exhausted. I feel super happy and excited yet at the same time totally depressed. But I’m making due. It brings me overwhelming joy—which is quite possible to have when you’re feeling lonely and sad—to know how much my family and friends care about me. Though they may be near or far, I love each and every one of them with all my heart.

It really is good to be back . . .

And, as always, there will be plenty more to come!

Noblesse oblige,

~Rob Oakley


Oakley – The Pikes Peak Summit Experience


Oakley – The Summit

I was required to write a biographical sketch as a part of my application to Summit Ministries. This was required, of course, because I’m hoping to be accepted as a video production intern for the entirety of this upcoming summer. I’d like to share a little bit of what I wrote  because writing has little worth if only seen by a few eyes in my opinion and I rather not have any of my writing go unpublished. I hope you can take from this as much as I hoped to put into it–a vignette,  if you will, of merely part of my life’s work.
I came into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ when I was eight years old. At the time I described to my father my fear of dying and losing loved ones. I was terrified of the fact of death because I didn’t understand fully what happens and the thought of never being able to live again was unbearable. This was all due to a recent funeral my family attended of a distant family member and I had lots of questions that needed answers. Of course, I was privileged to have grown up in a Christian home; and that night, with tears in my eyes, I called out to my earthly father who then shared with me the story of Christ and how much my Heavenly father loved me so much that he humbled himself as a man and died on a cross for my transgressions. None of it really made that much sense before until that night. From then on I looked at life from an entirely different angle; I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. The stories I heard in early Sunday school were not just stories anymore—they were chronicles of an epic journey made by incredible people. The Bible is full of history and fulfilled prophecies ultimately revealing God’s handy work in all of creation and His perfect plan for redemption by conquering death and freeing us from our sin.
Like any Christian walk, everyday is a day to further one’s sanctification, I believe my faith grew the strongest during my teen years, for at that time I experienced many trials and temptations that challenged and overall enforced my walk with Christ and His influence over my life. One of my favorite books of the bible is the book of James. I once heard it described as “The proverbs of the New Testament” and it is there I turn to most for answers in trying and hard times. My life verse is James 1:2-4 …
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” (NKJ)
Further on in this chapter, James goes on to talk of wisdom and that if any man lacks of it, that he should ask it of God who gives to all men freely. I know with all the knowledge and understanding the world has to offer I could never be fulfilled or truly happy without the Lords wisdom and guidance in my life. Other readings I have enjoyed and have had great impact in my life are “The Pilgrim’s Progress” by John Bunyon, “The Chronicles of Narnia” by C.S. Lewis along with his many other works, and “Understanding the Times” by David A. Noebel.
The desire to work for Summit Ministries this summer is a strong one to say the least. I am always keeping my heart open to opportunities like this. It has been my dream to one day film and produce narratives and documentaries alike with the message of Christ in them. I’ve also had the passion and desire to teach what I know on both personal and technical levels. Being the eldest of six siblings has had a major impact in my own interest to raise and lead a family. As I am still young and unmarried, much of this desire has been fulfilled quite simply by being an older brother, helping and teaching my younger siblings with what it means to be a child of God and that with the capacity to read and learn all that which is in the will of the Lord can be achieved. I can see doing this at Summit but with an opportunity to grow and learn from others just as well.
The most recent experience I have had with Christian service was a mission trip to the Rio Grande Bible Institute and producing a series of videos for the West Houston Pregnancy Help Center.
Late in the summer of 2010, members of Katy Bible Church, one of my brothers, and myself traveled very near to the Mexico border to aid and assist the Rio Grande Bible Institute in various tasks including striping and re-waxing an auditorium floor; scraping linoleum tile, removing a cinder block wall, and installing sheet rock in one of the dorm rooms. This was all done for the returning students of the fall semester who have dedicated their lives in the theological study of God’s Word and sharing it on a multicultural level, especially to the Spanish speaking communities. One of the most interesting aspects of RGBI’s ministries was their radio station where they broadcast the good news of Christ on a frequent basis to not only the school and surrounding area but also clear across Mexico and as far as South America where in some countries it isn’t even legal to send the Gospel in such a manner. Although I didn’t feel like I was ministering specifically to people while physically there. I know the work we did will speak greatly to the students who eventual returned along with those yet to come and those they minister to. One of the great lessons I learned while on this trip was that with even the mundane of things, God can do marvelous and magnificent work. My brother and I also became very close to two of Katy Bible’s leading elders, Barry Hays and Danny Snyder. It was a privilege and a pleasure to work with these two men and I’m looking very much forward to an opportunity like this again.
While all of this was going on, a very close friend of mine who is a very talented photographer had been coordinating and consulting with me concerning his Eagle project for the West Houston Pregnancy Help Center. His name is Stephen Herbert and he decided to produce a series of videos that would help train and recruit volunteers; inform and guide future and current clients; and with the hope of sharing the Gospel and saving the lives of the unborn at risk of abortion. Stephen did an amazing job directing the entire project, and I was privilege to have been a part of the production as a primary consultant and editor. Over the entirety of the summer, he and I spent several hours sifting through and editing footage of what eventually would become a series of videos made for online distribution and clips later authored to DVD. We used primarily Adobe products including Photoshop, Premier Pro, and Encore. Stephen and I learned so much from this project and I am pleased to report that his project was a major success in regards to both his career as a Boy Scout and the Pregnancy Help Center.
All of what has been stated so far has a lot if not everything to do with how I view the World. The need of a critical and discerning mind is especially relevant in today’s society due to the rise and increase of accessible information. I believe the internet, mass media, and current political agendas are hefty evidence to the changing times and desire of global conformity. This postmodern era of likeminded thinking is a dangerous one, for there can only be one ultimate authority to the existence of the universe. I for one am thoroughly convinced of the Lord God, Yahweh/Jehovah, His most Holy Spirit, and the redeeming fellowship and blood of Jesus Christ. Through His word, the Logos, all of this is revealed, and by only His word can truth be found. It’s easy to have one’s faith pushed aside, judged, and compared to lesser thinking. The culture we live in—as citizens of not just the United States but also the entire world—is a conglomerate of thinking in desperate need of sifting. Furthermore, having a better grasp of not only one’s own worldview thinking but also that of others can help us understand where our fellow man is coming from. We must not only know what our brethren believe, but whom they believe in and why. Only then can we effectively reach out and ultimately reveal the truth. Of course, I also believe that although our efforts can be highly influential to society, there is no change without the work of the Spirit; wherefore, it is even more necessary to have the capacity to pray. I believe to change a man’s mind is impossible; to influence his mind is essential. By living as godly examples, by living pure and undefiled lives, and by loving one another with an agape love we can make a difference.