Monday, December 31, 2007
Saturday, December 29, 2007
I was just reading through some recipes trying to choose what to make for a New Year’s brunch. I came across a recipe in my mom’s handwriting and just after the fond recognition of it being hers I burst into tears. This happened to me a couple of weeks ago too. I was sorting through the many donated children’s books given to the missionary apartment. I came across one about this mother who had a little boy that she would rock and recite a little poem to about how this would always be her little boy, no matter how big he got and she would always love him. As the book progresses, the boy gets older but the mom still takes that big boy or even man in her arms and rocks with to this verse. By the end of the book the son rocks his aging mother. The whole scene sent to down the memory lane of missing my own mom so dearly. I can hardly type this without it all coming back again so vividly and fighting off the tears again.
This was my third Christmas without her.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
I spent Christmas eve with the Maves Family. It was nice to see the girls opening gifts and all excited. I managed to get to church twice that day.
I remembered again why I love the 10:45 pm service at Bethlehem. It’s the right time in all the hoopla to slow down and focus. I always love the music that is chosen. The lessons that are read are so clear for helping me focus. The message Pastor John gives isn’t holiday fluff, it’s straight to the point of Christmas. Some of the numbness melts away and I remember why there is so much hoopla this season.
Jesus came. He came to be with us. – Emanuel –
He came to die. But for his death to accomplish what it set out to do, namely pay the price for our sin, Jesus had to come as one of us. He had to be born a little vulnerable baby, grow into a man and experience life the same way we do in order for him to be what we needed to atone for our sin. Pastor John puts it so much better. Here’s his sermon from this past weekend. It’s worth listening to.
I spend Christmas day with the Jones family. Zach and Andrea live there too and we had a very nice Christmas breakfast. Eventually more friends arrived and then somewhere along the day I lost focus again. Two more large meals, lots of Christmas cookies, kids playing or fusing due to lack of sleep and abundance of sugar, squeeze in a movie and no wonder I’m numb. I finally get to the 26th and I have what I call a “Christmas hangover”. I haven’t had a drop of alcohol, it’s all the overdoing it; I’ve had too much food and not enough sleep. But more than that I haven’t remembered, let alone dwelt on what Jesus has so incredibly done for me.
It’s fun to spend the holidays with friends. It’s natural to miss my mom and wish she were still here. But clichéd or not, Jesus really is the one thing that I should be focusing on. Not because Jesus is a “should” but because he’s the part of Christmas that doesn’t disappoint. When I have come down from the sugar high and slept off the days of short nights I have one thing alone to look forward to: Jesus.
Hopefully, my focus will generate thoughtfulness here on the blog, too. I am so grateful for Jesus what came to die for me and grateful I am still able to remember, focus on Him.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Friday, December 7, 2007
Yesterday I arrived at her house and she said to me, "Who are you?" This is Lola Bea's advanced sense of humor. I replied, "You know who I am!" in a sing-songy manner as to communicate I was getting her joke.
Then she asked in her same inquisitive manner, "Are you the other Auntie Jan?" I could no longer keep a straight face. Others in the room starting laughing too.
I'm left to wonder, how do little people get so funny?
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn;
to grant to those who mourn in Zion-- to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified.
The emotions that welled up inside of me were first for wanting so desperately to be in Kenya bringing good news to the poor. I want them to have gladness instead of mourning. I want them to be solid oaks of righteousness, not dried up sticks and twigs instead a growing, alive people. But most of all I want to enable those in East Africa to glorify the Lord!
If you are inclined to pray please ask the Father on my behalf for the remaining support to come in, that I may go and plant in people that they may glorify Him.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Before I went to bed last night I made myself a list for getting going on my day today. If I make a list before bed when I am thinking of all the things I didn’t get to in that day I am likely to have a more successful following day. I seem to be unable to think up those things in the morning.
At the top of my list was a ‘list gratitudes to God’. I had decided that would be a good way to wake up this morning; think through what I am grateful for. So when my alarm when off I laid there thinking of things I am grateful for.
Among my list were things like: having a nice family to stay with, my own room here. I’m grateful that my support is going up and it’s snowing outside; it’s so pretty. I thought about the book I’m reading about the life of a Somali lady. She had a very rough upbringing. That made me thankful for my upbringing in a fairly mild (compared to the rest of the world) middle class home.
After getting up and working through some of my other tasks for the day I bundled up and headed to the “Good Neighbor Fellowship of Churches” Thanksgiving service. This is a holiday we share with about four other churches within three blocks of our church. Each of the churches contributes in some way. I can add this service to my list of things I’m thankful for.
This service reminded me in so many ways the one thing I am most thankful for. And it was said in many ways:
· God saved me from his wrath through Jesus Christ
· My sins were paid for by Jesus’ atoning blood
· I have new life in Christ
· God has been more than faithful to me in everyway
I am so thankful that I know Christ and he knows me, that he adopted me as his own. It’s my goal to focus on that today and everyday. May God help me to remember what I am most thankful for as I give thanks.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Friday, November 16, 2007
Matt came up to me at our fellowship dinner last night and said, "I have something for you." Intrigued I followed him back to the coat closet. He pulled out a folded piece of paper and told me that he had written this following an experience in his last rotation and had shared with a couple of colleagues that had urged him to get it published. He said, "Read this and give me your opinion." The essay is called Revival. It's not posted yet on his blog, but I am sure it won't be long. There are plenty of other great subjects there. I check his blog often. He's a very busy man with a demanding job, a wife and three small children, so he doesn't write often, but when he does it's worth reading. This article was short, but I still welled up with tears at the end. Matt will be a writer when he retires from doctoring (if that ever happens).
I have put a link to his site in my favorites on the right here.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Turns out it's the second location for a store over on Ceder and 42nd called "ReGifts". The concept of both stores is to sell things that are made from at least 50% post customer materials. In addition to gift items the new store, "Twin Cities Green" has furniture and even a consultation corner for helping folks find resources if you are building or whatever you may want to live a little more lightly.
Both stores are owned by a young couple that wanted to do something tangible about their convictions. I think the husband, Ryan is an artist himself. But now he's managing a store instead of producing artwork. For no other reason than supporting the little guy living out a simple dream, shopping there is worth it if you are in the market for unique gifts.
Favorite find: 100% recycled toilet paper! Before you get grossed out: it's made from regular recycled paper. Ryan told me the main reason large toilet paper manufacturers don't use post consumer paper for toilet paper is because of the public response. Yet it would be a smart alternative to using new trees considering where it goes after we use it. These rolls are individually wrapped, have a very funny name and cost only 99 cents each. If nothing else they would make great gag gifts or funny stocking-stuffers this Christmas. And hey, you'd be living green.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
2 Peter 3:10
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.
Interesting phrase: the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.
Let’s back up. The day of the Lord means when Christ comes again, end of the world kind of thing. We say it’s like a thief because we don’t know when it’s happening. I think that next part means the heavens as we know them won’t be the same. (This part could take a lot of pondering. - But not my point.)
But interestingly enough the earth all and that was done there isn’t what gets burned up or dissolved. It’s exposed. What for? Why would it remain? The only thing I can think of is to show off God’s glory!
Bob Dylan once said, “Strengthen the things that remain.”
It goes back to my thought that whatever is done here for God's Name, His purposes will be here in the New Earth shouting to His glory for all eternity!
More fuel for my desire to go - strengthen the things that remain.
Friday, November 9, 2007
“And the ultimate reason there is a new heavens and a new earth is because the risen Christ will never lay down his human body but keep it as an everlasting emblem of Calvary where the glory of God’s grace was most fully displayed. The whole material universe was created in the first place, and then given its new form, so that the Son of God could be incarnate as a man, suffer in the flesh, be crucified, rise from the dead, and reign as the God-man and be surrounded by a countless host of redeemed people who in our spiritual bodies sing and speak and work and play and love in ways that visibly reflect his glory most fully precisely because we have bodies in a world spiritually and physically radiant with the glory of God.”
It's mostly about our bodies. I think some of what Piper is talking about applies to all of creation too.
Bottom line: It's for his glory!
Thursday, November 8, 2007
A dear friend of mine lost her dad this past week. I didn't know him but I love my friend and want to support her in this loss. It was a very gospel-centered service. The man was well honored and obviously loved by those who knew him.
God amazingly knits our body and soul together at conception. (I guess that is when He does it.) The two are completely integrated and work together for all the days of our life here in earth. Then we make a transition. Let go of the body and all its fallenness, all the parts that hold us down, distract us, cause despair. It is all gone in that instant, we won't miss it. I wonder if we will even notice it's gone.
And yet we will have a renewed body. (Check out Romans 8:18-24.) The creation waits for our newness to be revealed.
My point here is that we are free from all the weighs us down here. That will be such a true joy!
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
(I just have a few other pressing items on my plate at the moment.)
Monday, October 29, 2007
He made the comment that he reckoned that anything done to the glory of God would be there in the new earth. If he made a road to the glory of God it will be there when we get back here. The concept struck me. Certainly that would be true of caring for God’s earth! If we plant trees to the glory of God wouldn’t the new earth be more like a lush garden then a paved parking lot? Unless of course that parking lot was made to the glory of God. At least a city with a great park system and lots of green space would be a better picture of the new earth. That sounds so much more pleasant than the Nairobi I picture these days with the garbage heaps and puffs of diesel exhaust.
We’re here now. It’s my great desire to spend myself on behalf of God’s great Name for the sake of those who are “hungry and afflicted.” Isaiah 58 says that if we do that we will be like a well-watered garden. – to His glory.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
- Wash your clothes in cold water
- Bring your own mug to the coffee shop
- Install a low flow showerhead
- Replace you household light bulbs with compact fluorescents
- Install and use a programmable thermostat
- Bring your own bags to the grocery store
- Don’t let your car idle
- When buying new appliances get the energy efficient kind
If you have more ideas, add to this list! Just click on the comments button.
Friday, October 19, 2007
The other day I took Christina on a trip to the mall. She had one thing in mind. She wanted to get a make-up kit for “doing make-overs” when her friends come over. She’s not allowed to wear make-up outside the house until she’s 16 she told me. Of course Christina wanted as much bang for her buck as possible. Her hope was to find an all-in-one kit for around $15. We checked at least three stores for what she was looking for in addition to a few stops for me. My bargain hunter wasn’t convinced it was a great find to have a set with 33 eye shadows, two lip sticks and 4 more lip glosses, plus a couple of blush colors and all the applicators for $12 bucks until she’d seen the other options.
Christina entertained herself while I tried on clothes in another store. I listened to her take three sales calls on her imaginary cell phone and handle them all very pleasantly but firmly. The most impressive thing about Christina is her polite manner. She said please and thank you and every turn and was thoughtful enough of others to bring home a sticker for her little sister.
She’s quite grown-up but she still likes to hold your hand while crossing the parking lot. She is still 10 after all. But her engaging conversation style might make you think otherwise. I’m sure I’ll blink one day and she will be 30.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
- I got up really early (4:45) to go to the jazz station to answer phones for the membership drive and we met our goal for the morning drive (6-9).
- I finished getting the curtains up in the missionary apartment.
- I got a belated birthday card.
- I got the official letter that my Private Mortgage Insurance is cancelled and I now own over 25% of my home.
- It was sunny.
- I got an uncashed check back from my ISP because I overpaid.
- I’m going to bed “early” with a good book.
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
I take it as a sign of still floating...
Monday, October 1, 2007
There are all kinds of grief and I have wisely heard it said that you cannot compare one to another. Still losing a healthy baby at full term, in a place where medical care is no problem – is oh so intensely sad.
Molly and Abraham had chosen her name as soon as they knew it was a girl: Felicity. The irony of this struck me immediately; felicity means intense happiness. I have no doubt that Felicity herself is intensely happy right now in the presence of her Savior Jesus Christ. I know her parents rejoice in that truth, but at the very same time they and others have waited with anticipation for her joyful arrival. Many of us are sad along with her parents who are grieving all kinds of losses and enduring new sorrows every day. Surely this loss will occupy their thoughts and emotions for weeks and months to come.
Therein lies the paradox. It’s hard to explain (that’s why they call it a paradox) but somehow there is both an intense pain and intense joy in this loss. For we are so aware as we walk through life with Christ that he is in control of all things and all things are for our benefit and for his glory. The apostle Paul called our afflictions ‘light and momentary’. But we rejoice in what those afflictions achieve; an eternal weight of glory.
The week before all this sadness came I was thinking about how what we suffer (which is so minor compared to what Christ suffered on our behalf) to reach for our God-given goals. I feel this way as I wait for my departure from here to Kenya. But this light ‘suffering’ is my joy. And the burden of living cross-culturally will also be my joy because I delight to glorify God’s great name.
In human terms it’s hard to put the two ideas together. Maybe the meaning of Felicity; that she came and went so quickly and that she is so very sadly missed in a number of ways, is to help us understand intense happiness and intense sadness can be mixed together all at once for the glory of God.
Other thoughts about Felicity can be found at the following:
Friday, September 21, 2007
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Monday, September 17, 2007
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
I found it mildly comical that Nairobi should be in the low 70's While we were in the upper 80's or even 90. Now they have reversed in just a week's time. Wednesday's forecast for MPS is 66 and NBO is 86. That seems more normal for both places.
Saturday, September 8, 2007
But the task of cooking a turkey is a good reminder of everything that goes with Thanksgiving. It's given me pause to reflect that I am thankful for everything moving along in the preparations for going to Kenya. My support is creeping upwards, I have the best renters I could have imagined for my house... God is good, even when transition can be challenging.
Friday, September 7, 2007
Anyway I’m floating. I’m somewhere between here and there. I’d rather be grounded in one place than floating between them. But for now I’m floating.
Thursday, September 6, 2007
If I tell you I’m a Baptist (and you aren’t - or maybe you are) that might conjure up all kinds of other baggage that you (and I) might not think too favorable. And quite honestly, I’m probably not all those things that come to mind. I do believe that Jesus Christ came to earth to die for our sins. And that I must personally accept him; trust in him to receive salvation. Additionally I believe that once a person has received Christ he or she will want to be baptized as an outward symbol of proclamation of that. That is about the extent of what I mean to describe about myself by saying I’m Baptist. But in America saying I’m Baptist can connote a bunch of political beliefs as well. Being a christian affects what I believe, but it doesn't mean I am following a particular political agenda.
Please don’t put me in that box.
What motivates a person to care for creation? Generally when I talk to folks there are two basic arguments that can be made for why we should care; why recycle, why not use paper plates for every meal, why turn off lights or combine errand trips.
1) What kind of place will the world be for your kids and grandchildren?
2) What does our behavior in this area say about the glory of God?
There are tons or little arguments along the path in either direction. Doing simple things like turning off lights and combining trips can save you money. Some other ecologically friendly tasks might cost more initially but save in the long run, things like changing light bulbs to the florescent energy saving bulbs or starting recycling at work, church or home if there is no system for it now. While in some ways I am motivated by doing better for the next generation, I am more motivated by wanting to bring glory to God in all I do.
Way back in 1986 my pastor wrote an article about “How to Drink Orange Juice to the Glory of God” (http://www.desiringgod.org/) focusing on 1 Corinthians 10:31. It begs the question, “How do we do anything we do to the glory of God?” In my mind the answer includes sorting garbage for recycling, conserving energy to enable us to put our money to use for his kingdom and stewarding nature in a way that continues to speak to the glory of His Name. Not to mention saving lives in the two-thirds world.
The task is overwhelming and it seems like it’s not worth the effort. But it is if God’s glory is a stake. It is worth doing even if the small amount we do seems insignificant. A lot of little parts make an impact for positive change. But one small act for God’s precious name is something that He will always notice. It would be like saying, I shared the gospel with 12 people this year and not one of them became a Christian. It’s not really worth my effort. Does God get the glory for those conversations? Even if no one became a Christian?
You’ll tell me it’s not the same as sharing the gospel. But in a very real sense it is! Our obedience is important. It reflects God’s glory in a way that speaks volumes to people that would otherwise not listen. And no act of obedience to God goes unnoticed by Him.
That is why I am going to Kenya to help the people of Kenya understand how to live their lives to the glory of God in everyway, in everyday chores, in all aspects of their life.