Monday, July 23, 2007

Rejoice with those who rejoice!

As our Heavenly Father through Paul admonishes us to love each other deeply and humbly, I have found a great opportunity to join with a dear brother and sister. A beautiful couple with a baby on the way is headed to Hungary to start teaching at the International Christian School of Budapest. They are already dear friends and will soon be my colleagues as we labor together. Well, just a couple of weeks ago, they were at a 50% support level. Now, I give glory to God and rejoice with them as they have reached 70%. Their departure is quickly approaching, so please join with me in praying for God's timing and His perfect will.

I will be diving into this faith-based and rocky process myself after a Campus Crusade training in September. I know these friends will then hold me up in prayer as we are all one Body.

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves... Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Romans 12: 10, 15

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Luxury and Responsibility

I am in awe of the luxury of time that I have right now! (A grateful attitude is much better than dwelling on this time as wasted as the school year in Budapest starts up soon without me.) I spent hours in a coffee shop on my new laptop studying God's Word, catching up with distant friends, and logging information into a database. We who check our email and sip coffee are a privileged bunch, and with such a gift comes responsibility. Today, I choose to use this time well. Join me, won't you? Oh--let me just grab a venti carmel macchiato to go, and I'll be right out.

We have heard...

Today, I was taught again through Scripture that it is essential that the good works of God be publicized so that others may hear about Him. As I study Joshua 1 and 2, I see the faithfulness of God as He keeps His promises, the strength of His call to Joshua His servant, His mercy to a harlot in the midst of taking over the land, and the power of God's reputation.While all of these points are huge to me as I face my own call from a mighty and faithful God, I'd like to focus on Rahab's response to the rumors of this God of Israel. The news of the parting of the Red Sea, the defeat of other kings in the area, and the impending contact with this group of former slaves has prompted worship from a prostitute in Jericho. She says in Joshua 2:9-11

"I know that the LORD has given this land to you and that a great fear of
you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear
because of you. We have heard how the LORD dried up the
water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to
Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you
completely destroyed. When we heard of it, our hearts melted and
everyone's courage failed because of you, for the LORD your God is God
in heaven above and on the earth below
. (emphasis mine)

Now, she and all of Jericho fear the Israelites, but the fear is in response to the power of this God who goes before His people. Imagine the result if Moses had claimed some bizarre magical power had enabled him to part the Red Sea. What if the Israelites had glorified themselves in battle and presumed to think that they could route the enemy? The last sentence in Joshua 11 would not have been uttered that day. May I never again take glory away from the only One who deserves it!

The purpose of God--that the whole world will be under Christ and worship the One True God--was brought closer to completion as this woman in the wall of Jericho heard of His works and recognized the authority of Jehovah. Do we live in such a way that the works of God are attributed to Him? Are His glories made public as we live with grateful and humble hearts? Oh that the world may hear and respond to the grace of God played out in our lives. May they hear of Him and worship.

As I continue in this new life He has called me to, may I be faithful to recognize His good works, His grace, His power. I suppose I could share my gratitude toward the Father on some sort of blog... :)

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Home from PFO

The past three weeks have been a marvelous and difficult whirlwind as I've sold my belongings, said a (temporary) goodbye to loved ones in Western Illinois, moved from Carthage back to my parents' house, attended two weeks of training called "Third-Culture Kid Pre-Field Orientation", visited Niagara Falls, met more fantastic people whom I will love always, and come back to El Paso to organize my time here.

Now, I'll have a few weeks to settle in, spend some serious quality time with God, begin to learn Hungarian ("Magyarlol" or something like that), and raise support for Campus Crusade New Staff Training in September. I am really looking forward to this season of preparation, but if you know me you know that I prefer set schedules and definite deadlines--none of which I will have for the foreseeable future!
Regardless of my assumed plans or hopes, the plans of the Lord will prevail. And may

"The LORD be exalted, who delights in the well-being of his servant." Psalm 35:27

Thursday, July 5, 2007

May This Journey Bring a Blessing

As I'm preparing for international service in Hungary, I have spent the last two weeks at Pre-Field Orientation regarding Third-Culture Kids in Houghton, New York. This time has been significant as we've wrestled with the issues of Negative Attribution Theory (seeing things that are different as wrong), culture stress and long stages of transition, the needs of third-culture kids, our own personalities, moral purity in difficult places, and issues of faith.

While each session has been fascinating and helpful, this last topic has been pressed upon me by the Holy Spirit as I've been seeing obstacles or trials from a human point of view. I didn't even realize how little I was trusting in God with things I thought were human error. I haven't been heeding my own advice: seize eternity! View life from an eternal perspective, for that is the one that will last. God has done great things in the past and will continue to work out difficult situations; I must simply have faith in times of trial.

Nothing is outside the power of God. No one can change His best plans. Even the challenging moments--especially the challenging moments--are opportunities to see the power and faithfulness of God. He uses moments of suffering to produce perseverance; perseverance produces character, and character, hope. "And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." Romans 5:5

And so the lessons from PFO that I have absorbed so far are focused on the Heavenly Father who is faithful to make the life to which he has called me work out and the trials I face become benefits. How thankful am I to be given such a gift: a front row seat to the marvelous works of God, a life outside my own comfort and control, a journey from which I hope never to stray.
Here are some of the lyrics from a song by Keith Getty and Margaret Becker called "Jesus Draw Me Ever Nearer" that seems fitting.

Jesus draw me ever nearer
As I labour through the storm.
You have called me to this passage,
and I'll follow though I'm worn.

May this journey bring a blessing;
May I rise on wings of faith.
And at the end of my heart's testing,
With Your likeness let me wake.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Taking the Leap

Well, after having some wonderful conversations with seasoned bloggers, I have decided to give it a try. God is doing amazing things in the world and in me, so why shouldn't he get some recognition for it? And so I am taking the leap into the great unknown: the committment to blogging. Join me through the steps of faith, hilarious and poignant cultural moments, and quiet musings as I prepare to move to Hungary and the international mission field. Let us carpe aeternitatem: seize eternity. Why settle for just a day?