Thursday, December 3, 2009
He is a computer science major... I vaguely remember talking to him before. I smiled at his quirky mannerisms, his scruffiness... and thought to myself that we really didn't have a lot in common.
And then with a twinge of guilty pain I wondered if one of Jesus' disciples looked like that. He found friends in unsuspecting places.
He saw their faults.
He saw their potential.
He knew the risks.
And He chose to love them.
Those guys were honest. They were real. They swore to stand by their Friend with reckless loyalty. But society did not; preferring to be clean, unfoolish, safe, and inconspicuous.
Would I chose the same?
Monday, November 9, 2009
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Looking over Phoebe's shoulder at the creamy photo album I listened closely to the young woman's accented English as she recounted the events of her wedding day. There were many pictures of this Middle Eastern beauty in her shimmering wedding gown, and of all her many relatives dressed in their best Iraqi garb.
"Did you know your husband before you married him?" I asked
"No, I met him when he came to ask my family for my hand." She seemed happy and content - married this man for now three years with two little children.
In the space of three years she became a wife to a man she didn't know, set aside her career as a chemical engineer, became a mother of two boys, and entered this strange country of America as a refugee.
I wonder about the shy tired hope in her eyes. Her life journey from the baby blue flower-decked car, and her heart. I wondered about her heart most of all. For much of it is entwined with the other side of the globe - with the family she left. The world is exponentially wider and more unknown, yet I can see the baby blue hope of a new life blossoming again.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Preface: I have decided to do a series of blogs on inspiring books. Some of my favorites as wel as current literature explorations.
Singer on the Sand is (to-date) my all-time favorite mission story. I have read it every few years throughout my life - most recently this past summer to my junior girls at Camp Cherokee.
It begins with this beautiful description of an island sunrise...
"The sun had not yet risen above the hills of Great Sangir, but already the first bright light touched the volcano and tipped it with purple fire. The lower part of the smoking mountain still lay in shadow, and its buttresses ran out into the ocean like the green, mossed-over roots of a giant stump, rotted away to a dull point."
And so begins the day of the arrival of a missionary family to this remote tropical island. This peaceful begining soon churns into an incredible acount of a spiritual battle that climaxes in a volcanic eruption and a massive tidal wave that threatens to destroy the entire village.
This story brings a whole new meaning to Martin Luther's "A might fortress is our God." You will find yourself singing the island translation; "A mighty mountain is our God. A wall that will not falter", and believing with a deeper level of faith then you previously thought possible.
Click here for the first several chapters in the book Singer on the Sand for a more complete prelude. Or look for it in a library near you!
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
I love my Nathan!
Minnows Gullet - my last minute team - am I the minnow? I forgot to ask how they came up with the name!
They wanted to keep it small and surprise her - and surprised she was!
As she got out of the car after being kid-napped to the student park she was greeted by a congregational Happy Birthday from across the street at the In Tents meetings!
It was for Anaya - Dr. Parkers little girl - but we couldn't hear whose name they said!
Thursday, October 1, 2009
The maestro strides onto the stage to the applause of the thousands seated in the concert hall. The orchestra members stand to their feet (except the cellos) and at the sweep of his arm and begin to play the rousing melody of our national anthem. It is the opening night of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra concert season.
From where I am seated at the top of the second balcony I join the audience as they surge to their feet in response. The voices of thousands spontaneously join the instruments and the hall reverberates with the resounding chorus. My voice blends into the cascading sound of voices - so many ethnicities who have found America to be the "land of the free, and the home of the brave."
The air is tangibly charged with an electric excitement as the last chord fades into the stillness. And so the stage is set for an exquisite concert of the Russian composers Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff.
My heart attempts to picture the arcs of heaven resounding with the voices of those who finally reach our homeland. The powerful beauty of heavenly music is incomprehensible - if human minds could write such stirring works of art - who can imagine the angelic orchestra and choir? A feeling far deeper then idealistic patriotism will race through our being. The tender soul-thrilling melodies will envelop us into the essence of the song.
I try to imagine my voice blending into the soaring wings of that music. So many ethnicities who have found Heaven to be the land of the free.
I do not deserve to hear such glorious sound, let alone be one of the singers, but the Maestro has composed notes for me to sing.
"I looked again. I saw a huge crowd, too huge to count. Everyone was there - all nations and tribes, all races and languages. And they were standing, dressed in white robes and waving palm branches , standing before the throne of the Lamb and heartily singing: Salvation to our God on His Throne!
Salvation to the Lamb!"
Revelation 7:9, 10 ~ The Message
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
The lights were low when I stepped into the room. Soft music was playing, a lilting cadence with a minor key and words I could not recognize. Taking a seat in the back, I observed the mixed gathering that waited in the audience for the program to begin. Then an older gentleman stood and moved towards the front, his head was covered with a Jewish cap. He greeted everyone with the Hebrew greeting; Shabbat Shalom! and welcomed them to the meeting.
As the evening progressed he shared some of his testimony - his journey from a strict Jewish childhood to his current ministry as a pastor of a Messianic Jewish congregation today. He blew the shofer, ram's horn, that is used to call the people to worship on sabbaths and feast days and it rang clear and bold. I could easily imagine the distance that such an instrument could be heard.
The wife gracefully veiled her head and lit the sacred sabbath candles. As she did so she repeated the ancient blessing of promised light. Then together they led the group through the blessings that the husbands speak over their wives, the blessing the wives give their husbands, and the special blessing for the children.
Then the man also went through the liturgy of the wine and the special bread that the family partakes of. After the blessings were completed he and his wife led the singing of traditional Jewish songs, and explained the traditions of the special service they perform every Friday evening to welcome the Sabbath.
The service was insightful and reflective. I think of the millions of Jews worldwide who share the worship of the sacred sabbath day. What beautiful traditions of hope and courage they have, and yet a darkness too. Do they know that the Light they invite into their homes each Friday evening has already come intangible rays? Do the gentle beams penetrate their heart?
Have the traditions in my Adventist belief system lost value and spiritual significance? Do I realize the full meanings of my habits and the reasons behind my actions? Does the Light live and abide in my soul or am I simply repeating liturgy?
I invite the Light to remain.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Let these workers hold the beginning of their confidence firm unto the end, remembering that the light of God's truth is to shine amid the darkness that enshrouds our world. there is to be no despondency in connection with God's service. The faith of the consecrated worker is to stand every test brought to bear upon it.
God is able and willing to bestow upon His servants all the strength they need and to give them the wisdom that their varied necessities demand.
He will more than fulfill the highest expectations of those who put their trust in Him.
Acts of the Apostles p. 242
Sunday, September 6, 2009
The following insights were sent to me by my Daddy; an excerpt from something he recently found in his studies. It touched my heart deeply, so I asked his permission to publish it here so that it could touch others too. Thank you Daddy.
Mark 15:7 “Now there was one being called Barabbas with the fellow insurrectionists, having been bound (and was still bound) who in the insurrection had committed murder.” (pluperfect –emphasizing results)
In Mark 14:36, Jesus was crying out “Abba, Father, all things are possible (for) You, take away this cup from me, but not what I desire, but what You (desire).” Jesus uses the expression in Aramaic “Abba” meaning father. It is interesting that Barabbas is an Aramaic word—two words “Bar” and “Abba” meaning “father’s son”.
Here we have Jesus the “Father’s Son” appealing to God to take away this cup. God the Father chooses not to take it away. And then we have one called “father’s son” who had killed someone in an uprising. The crowd rejects the “Father’s Son” in favor of a“father’s son”.
In fact in Matthew 27:16 it says, “And they had then a notorious prisoner being called Jesus Barabbas.” So this man’s name is Jesus, son of a father”, or “Jesus, father’s son”.
It doesn’t seem like it is an accident that the man brought out to be freed/forgiven in place of “Jesus, the Father’s Son” is named, Jesus, father’s son”.
There were two Jesus Barabbas’s there that morning. What they had in common was: the name—Jesus, Father’s/father’s Son/son, which is no accident, both were humans, and both were bound. But that is where the similarity stops.
One was being bound against his will. One voluntarily stepped forward to be bound.
One was on trial for taking life. One was on trial for giving life.
One could not free himself, but wanted to. One could have freed Himself, but chose not to.
One was on trial for fighting a physical battle. One was on trial for fighting a spiritual battle.
One was fighting for an earthly kingdom. One was fighting for a heavenly kingdom.
One’s weapon was force. The others' weapon was love.
One claimed to be the son of a father. One claimed to be the Son of the Father.
One was a taker. One was a giver.
One was on trial as a murderer which he was. One was on trial as a murderer which He was not.
One was the son of a human father and human mother. The other was the Son of the Divine Father and a human mother.
One’s purpose in life was retaliation. The Other’ was reconciliation.
One came to give someone else the “what for”. The Other came to forgive all for whatever.
One’s destiny was death, but was freed. The others destiny was freedom, but took death.
Jesus Barabbas—father’s son
VS.Jesus Barabbas—Father’s Son—who cried out “Abba” Father, all things are possible with You. Take away this cup from me. However, not what I desire, rather what You desire.” If You want me to be beaten, tortured and crucified for all the sons of a father, for all the Barabbas’s, Your will be done.”
I am Barabbas.
I am bound.
I am on trial. I cannot free myself.
My destiny is death.
But now my bondage is broken.
My name is cleared.
I am free.
My destiny is Life.
Not my desires,