Tuesday, March 27, 2007

waiting

Hi friends. It's been too long since the last post. Sorry. This is partly due to the fact that not much has changed in regards to PNG. Still waiting to hear on the go-ahead or no-go from a certain family in regards to staying with them after the first six weeks at Interface. Still praying and waiting and trusting the Lord in this aspect. I think the Lord has been teaching me leaps and bounds about waiting. Over spring break, as most of you know, I heard back from Dallas Seminary and they want clarification on my education and how it will help ministry goals. I am in no-man's land about where I will be living in PNG during the month of July. Yes, there are thing that I can do about things such as these. I can write a letter of appeal. I can contact so-and-so. But I as I was praying through these thoughts I really just had a burden that the Lord was telling me to wait. To wait on Him and His perfect timing. I have been taught so much about God's sovereignty and speak of it often whether in counseling situations or conversation with friends, and now is the time for me to put it into action personally in my own life. So that's where the standing is with PNG. I am leaving from LA on May 20 and coming back to LA on July 19. What happens in between those times only the Lord knows.

On another note, I was catching up on Gunner's blog, and he posted the other day something quite intriguing: RA interview questions. Because they provoked so much thought in my own heart and I think you are more inclined to read them here than following a link to his page, I am re-posting them. These are not staple, run-of-the-mill questions, because they were not included in my own interview a year ago. That's the beauty of it. The RD's ask whatever is on their hearts that might expose the potential RA's heart to them. Read on and be challenged:

1. Are you hard to lead?
2. What are some things that you know well but you're not putting into practice?
3. Tell my why I should follow Christ.
4. How do you fight against apathy when you're consistently in a Christian environment?
5. Are there any fractured relationships in your life right now?
6. What makes you laugh?
7. How do the people around you know that you love them?
8. How do you think the Lord has humbled you the most over the past year?
9. How would you minister to people who are spiritually comfortable and who don't care about things of the Lord?
10. What have you risked for Christ?

Friday, March 16, 2007

one of those days

I cried a lot yesterday. It was just "one of those days." I am writing about it today because I was so physically, spiritually and emotionally exhausted by the time I got home last night (last night of being home, too) that I had nothing to give. The day was extremely sobering. I spent an incredible amount of time wandering around aimlessly--outside, inside, to the front deck, down the street, back again--just thinking. The weather is beautiful and my heart was full. Being around people that I do not normally see (family, old friends, neighbors) causes me to think. I think about their salvation and if I will see them in paradise. I think about my responsibility to share Christ with them. I think about my own relationship with the Father and how my actions reveal my true heart's intent.

There was a skateboarder coming towards me as I was walking down the street. His iPod was in, backpack on, and he seemed to be content in boarding down the hill to whatever destination. Out of habit I looked him in the eye, smiled and nodded as our paths crossed. He looked at me with a bit of confusion in that split-second. I wonder if he knows Christ. I wonder if I'll ever see him again, to be able to ask him that question.

I have shared with some of you the spiritual pull on deciding how cross-cultural missions fits into my life. As college comes to an end and more and more options become readily available, I often think about taking the step of moving into career mission work. In eighth grade I read Jim Elliot's biography and discovered my heart for unreached people groups. Sure, I get to spend part of this summer in that exact context, but that's not a lifetime. How does a believer determine where God wants them? Summer and I talked about this on Wednesday night. We were talking about not being sure what the future holds (are any of us sure, for that matter?), and that not being sure is living by faith. This is what God requires, and this is what we should be ecstatic about. Why am I not?

I got an email from Brad Buser yesterday. He is probably the person I have discussed this most with, and his words became very real to me:
"I DO understand your fear...but you'll regret at some level letting that fear hold sway over how you serve your King. To look you in the eye and say what I'm saying here would be hard, I care much you don't think I'm reckless about what this could mean to you...but you must move forward with courage and conviction with what God has shown you is important to Him. As I said in class and say always....read what Jesus said and do it. Someday we'll ALL be standing before the One who left heaven alone, came and walked with those who didn't understand or appreciate him, died for us...and gave us the incredible privilege of working for His honors sake. Hold back nothing girl...You're crazy to be afraid...but it will be shortsighted to let those fears impinge in any way on what He might have for you. Keep in mind...He's a wonderful, good, understanding Lord...but He must be Lord first."

I got to visit the Jordan family last night--sat out with Lance and Meredith and had dinner with the girls. Times like that spent with people such as the Jordans are cherished deeply in my heart. Meredith and I talked about fears and desires and how they all play into God's redemption plan for the world. Like Brad wrote, it will be shortsighted to let fears impinge in any way on what God might have for us.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

JMK, the wasp & Dr. Wong

Many unexpected things have happened within the last 24 hours, and I would like to tell you about them, for the purpose of praising God's faithfulness in our lives.

First, Jake Keller (JMK) stopped by last night after a short choir concert. I thought he might be coming by, but I was really surprised that he showed up (I had my doubts, buddy). We had a sweet time chatting with my parents and then late into the night. It is so great to be able to hang out with a long-lost brother and have purposeful conversation. I'm sad that we don't have more opportunity to cath up during regular life, but these times that are few and far between are held dear. I was encouraged to hear about Creekside's youth group and where the Lord is working in the lives of my former junior highers (Jake took over my role when I left for Master's). I am glad they are still in good hands with JMK and the other leaders. Thanks for stopping by, Jake!

Second, Jake left late (and we stood outside talking for another 30 minutes or so). I came back inside and went to pull the blinds in my room, only to feel a sharp pain in the pinky of my right hand. It felt like a bite, so I turned on the overhead lamp and saw a mark, and pain was beginning to spread to the hand. Since black widows are known to reside in my house, I ran to my parent's room and said as calmly as possible, "Mom, I got bit." My dad jumps up and says, "What!?" Then I start crying because I think I am about to die while mom takes me to the kitchen sink to run cold water over the site of pain and dad goes hunting for whatever it was. He found a wasp, and the pain stopped at my wrist, so we assume that I was merely stung. Obviously, I did not die; 4 ibuprofen and 2 full-strength bennedryl did the trick. The finger is still swolen, but that's about it. It was funny that I had just commented to my dad at dinner about how I want to be able to write with my left hand better, and he asked why. This is why. So that when I get stung on the right hand, I can still write. The reality of God's control and sovereignty in the seemingly little moments became very real to me. I'm really thankful that it wasn't a black widow.

Third, I had a Dr. appointment this morning at 10. Due to the strength of the 2 bennedryl, I did not wake up until 9:15. I headed right over to the offices and had a great checkup. I had forgotten that Dr. Wong is a believer, and we talked a bit about missions. (If you are reading this, Dr. Wong, thank you.) There have been so many opportunites to share the gospel and be encouraged by fellow believers through preparation for this trip!! Yesterday I saw the eye doctor, and he is definitely not a believer. While he was giving me advice about making my "story" of PNG known after the trip, I simply told him that I am not striving for my own glory, by for God's. I do not know how much of that he understood, but God promises that His Word does not return void (Isaiah 55:11).

These are three of the surprises that God has placed in my life in the past 12 hours. I am thankful for every little thing He places in our lives for the greater purposes of His glory.

Monday, March 12, 2007

What is love without much risk?

I stole the title from song lyrics by Bethany Dillon. Her words have been heavy on my heart these past few days. I wrote last Wednesday about the PNG visa only being valid only until July 19. On Thursday afternoon I met with the missionaries I am supposed to be staying with after the Interface program, the Swansons. We started out talking about my extended stay, and how it is not going to be possible with the Swansons or their tribe. There are very wise reasons behind this, and again, I am driven to trust in the Lord. What more could I ask for? There are a couple of more contacts being made as you are reading this, so be sure to check back for new updates.

I was SOO encouraged by converstaion and time together with the Swansons (if you are reading this--thank you, again). I walked back up the hill afterwards in tears--not because I was sad about not being able to stay with them--but because of their heart for unreached people in PNG. Christ's own heart really shone through their words and attitudes and decisions. They are driven by the love of Christ in them, taking the risks necessary to show this love to people who do not know it. I so desire to follow long and hard after Christ as they do. There is absolutely nothing worth staying for here in America, in the light that there are people who have not heard the gospel in other lands. This brings me back to Bethany's thought: What is love without much risk? My answer would tend to be that it isn't love at all. Our example of love is God. And God risked His own Son so that we might know Him and know love. I do not mean to judge the level of one's love by the amount of risk involved. That is not the point at all. However, I do see appropriate to think about how much we are risking of ourselves to love others.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

first to the Jews, then to the Gentiles

There was a statement said in church this morning that provoked me to go back in previous studies and look up the biblical method of mission. I took the class entitled "Biblical Method of Mission" from Tatlock last spring, and the following is just a condensed version of notes on the theology of redemption. Small disclaimer: I am by no means a theological scholar or expert in Biblical studies. The purpose of this is to clear confusion in my own heart and provide opportunity for you to learn alongside me.

In this class I learned the method of chronological teaching of the gospel account from Genesis to Revelation. I briefly wrote about this in a previous post having to do with telling Ryan (4 years old) who Jesus was. Yea verily, I will be addressing the theology of redemption and chronological teaching hand-in-hand.

Creation & Fall: Genesis 1-3
God created everything (angels included) and delegated authority. Lucifer asserted his independence by saying "I will make myself like the Most High." Creation was attempting to be like the Creator. Other angels followed and an alternative kingdom came to order, resulting in competition for the glory of God.
see: Ezekiel 28:12-16; Jude 9; Isaiah 14:12-14; Revelation 4
When God created man, He allowed man the freedom of choice. This is because true fellowship involves moral choice, and true worship is granted to us because God gave man and woman this choice. Man and woman asserted their own independence. We are familiar with the fall of man--the choice to sin--the choice of seeking to be the ultimate authority. Satan is cursed and we see the first entrance into physical death.
see: 1 Timothy 2:13-14; Genesis 3:1-4; Romans 1:18-25

Reconcillation: Genesis 3
It is God Himself who alwasy initiates the redemption of man. This displays the missionary heart of God. God is a missionary God. He came to seek and save the lost. God initiates, extends, provides, and grants reconcilliation. Verse 15 is the reference to the promise for reconcilliation. The "seed" is the protoevangel, the first of the good news.
See: Luke 19:10; Luke 15, Ephesians 2:8-9

The Flood: Genesis 6-9
God is giving man a second choice to worship Him. There is a promise to not destroy man (totally) through natural disaster, and a future plan is now to redeem man (the time we are currently living in).

Ethnic Peoples: Genesis 10-11
Here we read about the emergence of different ethnic peoples. They are motivated to build the Tower of Babel to keep themselves together. God had instructed them to "go out" and "subdue the earth;" however, they chose to function in direct rebellion. Thus, he confused their languages. They were forced to separate, and we are now pursuing these nations. (Side note: the only time this was counter-acted is in Acts 2 at Pentecost.) After the confusion of the languages the people began to extend the work of the nation of Israel.

5 Covenants
1. Noaic Cov: Gen. 6:18-20 and 9:9-17
No more total destruction by flood, but there will be another dstruction.
2. Abrahamic Cov: Gen. 12:3; 15:18 and 17:3-7
Covenant not to destroy, but actively rescue mankind, to restore a right relationship with God.
3. Mosaic Cov: Deut. 5:1-21 and 29:10-13
Law given to the Israelites who are called His chilren.
4. Divinic Cov: 2 Sam. 7:12-17 and Psalm 132:1-4
The second aspect of the two-fold kingdom restoration plan (man's redemption as well as the redemption of God's kingdom).
5. New Cov: 1 Cor. 11:25-26 and Heb 8:8-13
His children are no longer under the Law, for grace now governs their relationship with Him. A mediator is no longer needed and they are allowed a personal relationship with Him.

Establishing Israel: Ezekiel 38:12
God placed them in the center of the land (earth) geographically (in the middle of valley and trade routes). They were to become lands of commerce, trade, conquest, etc. This allowed for several cross-cultural exchanges. Israel's role is to be the "nation of priests."

Examples of Gentiles in the OT:
- 2 of the 5 women mentioned in Christ's geneaology (Mt. 1) are Gentiles, Rahab and Ruth.
- Samson marries Delilah in 2 Sam. 13:5-14
- in Ruth 1:1 a Jewish woman and her 2 Moabite or Gentile daughters-in-law. Ruth chooses to identify herself with the Jews and worship their God. She chooses to be grafted into the Israelite race.
- The story of the Philistines in 2 Sam. 4:1--5:12 against the Israelites. The P's capture the Ark of the Covenant and add it to their collection of gods. First their main idol fell over prostrate to the Ark and then the idol fell and its head was broken off.
- Psalms 2, 22, 47, 50, 67, 72, 96 tell us that God is exalted above all else and that all the peoples praise Him, "Let the nations be glad."
- Solomon offered a prayer of dedication to the temple (1 Kings 8:22 and 2 Chron. 6), validating that the temple belonged to the Gentiles just as much as it belonged to the Jews.
- a pagan queen came to investigate the person of and faith of King Solomon, eventually coming to faith (1 Kings 1:10).
- Rahab in 2 Kings 17--she was a Gentile! The blessing of salvation is not only for the Jews.
- the beautiful story of Elijah on Mt. Carmel (1 Kings 18). Elijah demonstrated that Jehovah God is One, true God, and that there is only one God.
- Elisha is a Gentile military officer who represents God (2 Kings 5)
- Hosea is a picture God wanted to illustrate to Israel about their own idolatry. It illustrates that God will always be faithful to His covenant, and this is a reminder of God's covenant plan (the New Cov).

**The whole OT lives in a missionary atmosphere and is brought to life with the love of God of the whole earth for all His children:
Micah 4:1-4; Habakkuk 2:14; Haggai 2:7; Zechariah 2:10; Malachi 1:11

First to the Jews...
Romans 1:16, 2:10
Matthew 10:18-23

then to the Gentiles.
Luke 10:1-17
1. proclamation of gospel to be accompanied by works of compassion
2. leave the people who do not receive the message
3. the gospel is not limited to only the Jews
4. this number actually symbolized the number of the Gentile nations (72). Compare with Gen. 10 ("70 Gentile peoples")
Matthew 10:5-6
1. the need is urgent, time of opportunity short
2. preaching is to the Gentiles, too

Jesus' Earthly Ministry
Luke 2: Simeon had waited his whole life for this moment
Luke 4: Christ's first ministry speech. The chooses 2 OT examples to tell the crowd that the Gentiles will be saved, but his own hometown will reject him. He confronts the Jews on their pride, limited view of the Blessing, etc.
Luke 10:25: singles out the Samaritan to be the example (1/2 breed points to those who are despised)
Luke 11 (Matt. 8): Christ is telling the Jews that the Gentil has greatER faith and that we will be seeing Gentiles sitting in heaven with the Jewish patriarchs
Matt. 12:38- pointing to the Gentile revival
Mark 11:12-19- the actual location of the moneychangers was in the portion of the Temple called the Court of Gentiles. They were violating the cov.

These are only a few thoughts. I was just thrown off by the statement that redemption of the Gentiles, the "mystery," was a surprise to the Ephesians/New Cov believers. Clearly, it was not. I have more references on this if you would like the extended version.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

flexability is key

I have been learning firsthand what the phrase "getting there is half the adventure" really means. Somewhere early in my missions education I learned that a missionary must be flexible with their plans. It just naturally makes sense. And if you think about it long enough, we should be flexible as believers in general. Not as a cliche, but as a reminder, I quote Proverbs 16:9, "The mind of a man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps." Though we may have something in mind--a plan for anything taking place in our lives--our sovereign God overrules our plans to fulfill His purposes. In light of this, I received news this morning that I will not be allowed to stay in PNG as long as originally planned. For whatever governmental purposes, I am not able to obtain a visa that lasts for more than 58 days. Thus, I am required to leave the country on July 19. I understand that my departing flight will be on that day, but again, the Lord may have something else in mind. I'm not going to pretend, but this saddens me a little bit. I was really hoping to stay in PNG for as long as possible, living and learning, living alongside like-minded people for the greater purposes of God's glory. I really have no idea what will happen upon my return to the states, other than debriefing with Dr. Tatlock. I now have an extra 6 weeks of summer break. But obviously, the Lord has bigger plans in mind. I am reminded of another Proverb, "In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes..." (3:3-4a). There is a myriad of possibilities that could occur during this time, and even the current information has a possibility of being changed. The purpose of this is to keep you updated in prayers and our focus on God's greater plan of redemption for the world.

I read this post about living a missional life in the area of spending and think you too might be encouraged by it.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Happy Birthday, Daddio




Today is Dad's 48th birthday. I have thought of reasons why I admire my poppio:

- he loves Jesus. Reilly, what else is there?
- he is adventurous. I credit my own liking to the great outdoors and desire to take the unbeaten path to all the times we went hiking as kids.
- he loves mom more than any other earthly thing. Not only has he set the example for men around him, but for his 4 daughters as well.
- he plays guitar. Pretty much anyone who can play guitar somewhat well is cool. He used to make up songs for us about chores or naptime or anything. In the old house, his guitar hung in the family room and he would play it quite frequently.
- he is a PE teacher to elementary students. I have watched my dad be a teacher in many different capacities, from high school to 5th grade. Because of things I have seen him endure as a teacher--things that most people are not aware of--I have no desire in me to be a teacher myself. He has an admirable job.
- he never wanted sons. This is rare among men, I know. I can distinctly remember dad talking about how he prayed the 4th baby was not a boy (this was before we found out it was a girl). Even our dog is a girl. Maybe dad never wanted the competition a son might bring. :) Now if you ask any of us girls, we've always wanted brothers.
- he can strike up a conversation with anyone. Dad is not a social person in the aspect that he goes out a lot or attends social events frequently. However, he is extremely social in the aspect that he can carry a conversation with anyone he meets, never allowing for awkward moments. Talking just comes naturally to him!
- he knows something about everything. Dad is the man to go to for a question about anything, whether it be the name of Paul Revere's horse or how to bud a tree. I know, right? Who really takes the time to study and read up on those things? Only dad. He could probably win Who Wants to be a Millionaire if he wanted.
- he is a servant. I think I learned servanthood from dad. When I learned about servanthood in the Bible (Philippians 2:1-18), I realized that this is the example that dad had been setting for me my whole life.
- he trains as a cage fighter. I know what you're thinking: "What?! Your dad is a cage fighter?" Allow me to explain. He started out in Olympic Style Taekwondo, and after obtaining an black belt and taking some years off to train for a cycling race, he got back into martial arts. But he wanted to study Brazilian Jui-Jitsu. So he goes 3-4 times a week to a gym and trains with guys who actually participate in real cage fights. They're a lot younger than 48.

Those are just some of the characteristics that I admire about my dad. He has been the most excellent father, husband, and leader to our family. I love him! Happy birthday dad!


Other friends who share this birthday: Chrislyn Wilder, Becca Boone, and Clinton Magee. Happy birthday, all!

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Lounge Duty


I do not ever recall meeting someone who enjoyed or looked forward to lounge duty. Here at The Master's College lounge duty includes the following responsibilities:

- be in the lounge 10pm to 2am
- keep it quiet during that time frame
- make sure PDA is kept to a minimum
- kick out people who are too loud or disobeying rules (watching movies w/external speakers is the most common)
- night runs: collecting curfew sign-ins at midnight
- imploring fines to those who come in late or forget to sign in (which is an adventure in and of itself)
- making sure the upstairs study lounge is kept library quiet at all times
- close both lounges (kick everyone out, clean up, rearrange furniture that has been moved, turn off lights) at 2am

I personally think that lounge duty is one of the more sanctifying experiences of my time here at Master's. As an RA, I have this responsibility every other week (praise Jesus for the co-ed dorm that we split responsibility with...otherwise we would have it every week). I knew of this duty going into the job, but I did not think it would be as stretching as it really is. Most nights are not difficult as far as keeping people calm and collected. Until the night that Hotchkiss men run in with their Super Soakers and proceed to empty them upon our lounge attendees here in C-Dub. Besides night runs and the possibility of someone not being here (and then having to track them down after they are over 45 minutes late), the hardest part is staying up until 2am. I am a person who functions best on 9 hours of sleep per night, and this is just not a reality on lounge duty nights. I once heard Piper speak on the topic of sleep. He commented that needing large(r) amounts of sleep is something he fights for, because he believes that he is less prone to sin when he has adequate sleep. I concur. It sure is a fight the next morning to wake up at a disciplined time, because my body wants more rest though it knows that I have a whole slew of things to get done that day. And I am more prone to napping in the afternoon, thus throwing off the sleep schedule for about a week. I have a bad attitude about lounge duty. It's pretty annoying when I am waiting for someone to leave the lounge at 2am and they just want "8 more minutes." Or when there are 7 people in the downstairs lounge, with a grand total of 1 actually doing something productive. Last year in chapel Joe made the comment that nothing good comes after 11pm. I am beginning to believe this more as I do lounge duty. I just want you to be in on a little part of my life. Jesus calls us to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn. Now is the time to mourn. :) Really, though, God has allowed this process in my life so that I might rejoice in all things and fight my own desires and swear to my own hurt. Like I said, lounge duty is a sanctifying process. Then there are the nights when this happens, too (see picture above). Dave Hulet is our men's Resident Director. Yes, this is his car. Yes, it is in the lounge. Those nights of lounge duty just might be worth staying up for.

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