Tuesday, December 28, 2010

100 Yen Store

There is a store here in Japan called the 100 Yen store. Its like the dollar store in America, but the stuff you can find there is 10X better. For the spouse's coffee this month we were told to go pick out some fun/funny things from the 100 Yen store:

1-Favorite personal care item.
2-The best engRish.
3-Strangest flavor combo in a snack.
4-Strangest kitchen item.

1-


"Bamboo Earpick"

2-


"The rubber cap of the stick" "Do not damage the base of the stick and prevent the rubber cap from sliding off the base" "For personal safety, please chanfe the rubber cap periodically" "Please make sure whenther the rubber cap mathches the stick or not before use." "Please be carefully when using the product on slippery surfaces" "Please note that if the rubber cap is placed stably at the bottom of the stick" "Do not place the rubber cap on inappropriate sticks"

or


"Taping Tape" "Use on low back, knee, and elbow etc" "Read carefully the instructions on all pages of this document before use"

3-


"Mix seeds and nuts with Sardine"

4-


...Exactly. What is it and what does it do?

Christmas

This year Christmas was great!

Joel and I were able to stick to some of the regular traditions that we made for ourselves last year. Christmas Eve we went to the midnight service at church, although at about 9pm, I was wondering why we decided that was a good idea. This year I sang a solo and helped with some of the other music. It was fun to be back on stage worshiping. Its been about 2 years now...crazy.

Then I woke up early to get breakfast and some other Christmas goodies together. In my sleepy stupor, I saw a note saying, " Merry Christmas! Look in your fridge to find a tasty treat. Bake at 350 for 40 min. Santa" I looked in my fridge and sure enough, a breakfast casserole that I did not bake was sitting in there...at 5 yrs old, the Santa thing is cool, at 25 yrs. old...a bit creepy and unsettling. For about 5 min. I racked my brain and who and why there was someone in my house...figured out it was a friend with a key...

Later that day we had some people over including our small group and some orphan marines. We ate TONS of food and played some games.

All in all, it was a good day! Joel and I recuperated the day after by taking really really long naps. :)



This is most of everyone. There were a few more guys that came for the appetizers, but had to leave early.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Tutoring

Some of you may not know this about me, but for the last 4 months I've been tutoring a bunch of 1st grade boys and helping in their classroom. Its been a blast. Most of the students are Japanese. Some of them, like the 5 boys I give extra help to, have only been speaking English for the last 8 months. The progress that they've made this year has been truly amazing! I thought I'd share some pictures with you of the 1st grade class.


















Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Thoughts on Consumerism

"Consume" in the Merriam-Webster dictionary is defined as, "to spend wastefully" or "to squander." I find this interesting because I feel like America has a "consumer" mentality. As December has begun and Christmas is right around the corner, there is an urge in Americans (or maybe even humans) to buy more and spend more. As a society we are almost forced into this mentality; we have to buy presents and decide what we want to be bought for us. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with gift exchange. I think though, that we get so wrapped up in the buying and wanting of mere things that we forget about the simplicity of the message of Christmas and of life in general.

Let me explain what I mean by people consuming life in general. Recently I've been listening to some sermons about family and marriage. The pastor was explaining about how in our marriages we often have a consumer view, we are in the relationship to GET/GAIN something from it. Happiness and fulfillment happen in marriage (and other relationships), but this is not the goal or the purpose of marriage. Rather the purpose is to be about giving of oneself and ultimately its about sanctification.

I think that we have this mentality in all of life. We, as "good" Christians might never say it out loud, but our actions speak to what we believe and hold in our hearts. We, as people, are selfish. I get so frustrated with myself sometimes because I am supposed to be about Kingdom things; earth is not my home; I am a citizen of heaven, and yet, it seems like earthly principles and world views sneak in and take over my Kingdom thoughts. There is a pull on me, and Christians as a whole, to live a life that goes along with our society's norms. But we are to live counter-culturally. Lord, give us grace to do it!

In the Sunday school I teach, we're talking about Jesus' return to earth. The point that I am trying to hit home to them this month is that we need to have an eternal perspective. Our hope is Jesus. He is who he said he is. He is returning one day to "right the wrong" in this world. He is coming in glory and splendor to renew and restore ALL things. Titus 2:11-14 says,

"For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds."


We look forward to this blessed hope, the appearing of Jesus. This is the reason we deny ungodliness and worldly desires such as consumerism.

Consumerism pervades most of our lives as American Christians. Let us be aware of our own actions and hearts, that we may live in a way that is indeed counter-cultural. And that we may be givers of all that we are to the glory of God, in this season and in every other, looking forward to the hope of His coming.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

poems on suffering

Here are some excerpts from a poem that John Piper wrote in relation to Job's story and suffering.

-Come learn the lesson of the rod.
The treasure that we have in God.
He is not poor nor much enticed.
Who loses everything but Christ.

-Unkindly has He kindly showed me God.

-We must bless the Lord for all that's good and bad.

-The Lord has made me drink the cup of his severity
that he may kindly show to me
what I would be when only he remains in my calamity.

God speaking to Job:

-Can you draw down and then disrobe Leviathan,
the kings of all the sons of pride,
and in his fall strip off his camouflage of strength,
and make him over all the length of earth and heav'n,
to serve the plan of humble righteousness?
I can. I make the Leviathan my rod.
Beloved Job, Behold your God.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

What to do when...

a meeting goes terribly bad...

NO IDEA!

I've been in bad meetings before. I think there are varying degrees of "bad" concerning meetings. Low on the scale would be the kind of meeting where nothing gets accomplished and we all "hang out" for 4 hours. Although I would consider that I "bad" meeting, I'm talking about the kind of meeting where the leader just quits everything, lays his head down and just stop dead in his tracks and then proceeds to yell at the leadership team...

Before the melt down, we were all discussing in a very loving and kind manner how to move forward with some of the events we are trying to plan. One of big issues comes in because we can't make decisions without the wife of the couple, who is the one with the final say, and happened to not be at our meeting. Awesome...nothing can get done. So when we asked this man, what can we do to get things moving on this event that is coming up in 2 weeks, there was no response. And the answer is nothing because EVERYTHING has to go through his wife...we can't even plan another meeting and ask her to be there...nothing happens...youth events are put on hold because the man isn't allowed to make simple decisions without his wife...(let's not start on the other issues that come up with this.) So there is frustration, a team wanting to help, move forward, push the main youth leaders forward to success, but zero power/authority to make any move. Our legs are cut from under us. So, we push just a bit, in a kind caring way, to help this guy make a small decision that will help us as a leadership team move forward...and bam. The meltdown happens.

Anyway back to thinking about leadership...

Joel and I were talking about it and in the military if the leader (captain/lieutenant) quit and talked about being a failure while a battle was raging around them, all of his men would worry about how they'd get out of the situation before them...they would be screwed and most likely, would all die. In the military, hopefully, the leaders wouldn't do that. If this does happen, someone steps up into the leading position. That's one of the reasons there is a hierarchy of leadership...

But what happens when this occurs in the church? What is the correct response? In church, the rules are different. I would say most of the time (if not all of the time) people come before the mission. Jesus is about restoration and redemption. And I fully believe he can restore and redeem this messed up situation through/with these people in leadership. But when do you say, enough? It is up to the discretion of the main pastors to do the real decision making with what to do with this couple. They have to be wise and discern the will of the Lord; do we wait along with the couple for the Lord's transforming work in them as leaders, keeping them in their current position or do they get asked to step down until there is some growth/maturity/transformation in them as leaders?

Of course I have my opinion on how things should go. I just pray that I am compassionate and understanding in dealing with this couple's heart. I really don't want relationships to be broken whether that's on an individual level or on a bigger level, like between them and the church. I want to see them empowered to move forward in their marriage and family life.

I am so thankful that Jesus works in us and through us despite us. He uses messed up, jacked up people to further His kingdom.

I admit I have a tendency to think that I have more figured out than this couple. I pray that my eyes not be bind to my own sin and shortcomings. And that in whatever position I am in, I lead by serving in humility.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Hey. Ja-ja-ja-jaded.

The word 'jaded' defined by the merriam-webster dictionary means "made dull, apathetic, or cynical by experience or by surfeit."

Recently I've been hanging out with a sophomore who is a 3 week old Christian. She is a wonderful girl, full of life and love. She is excited about all things God. She loves going to church and learning from the preacher. She sat there and listened, hung onto the preacher's every word as he talked about overcoming the world through Jesus. After service she said she thinks it all "soaked in." I gave her her first Bible. She just sat there looking at it, not knowing where to start. We put a bookmark in John. She made sure it stayed in its place, occasionally opening the book up to that very spot. She said that when she got home she was going to put tabs on the different books to make it easier to find them and then she was going to start reading it. She said that since becoming a Christian, she is just happy. She said the other week when she came into the church service, a weight was lifted off of her.

Its been so long since I've been around new believers. They are full of life and excitement, anticipation and hunger. As she was sharing these things with me, all I could come to think of was, "those feelings aren't going to last, just wait...you'll see..." Then as the thought passed through my mind, I stopped. When did I become that Christian? When did I become the one that was so jaded by Christianity and so cynical about the things of God? There is some right in the fact that those "feelings" aren't going to last forever, that there is something about being a mature Christian that goes deeper than just the "feelings" of life. But there is something truly wrong with my thinking. I stopped living/believing in God for the pure joy and happiness that only He can bring. These "feelings" should be a part of a Christian's life. As I started thinking about it more I became jealous of her awe and inspiration for the Lord. Oh, to dream the impossible with God and to be so awakened to the reality of life, true life, abundant life, that it wells up inside you...

My prayer is that I become alive on the inside, and that I am able to overcome the idea that Christianity being lived out, is a mundane act. I think that if I really understood the gospel, life would be anything but mundane.

Awaken the Gospel in me Lord Jesus.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Some accomplishments

Over the last 6 weeks many things have happened in my life, accomplishments if you will. I thought that I should share them here with you.

1- started running regularly

2- lost 6 lbs.

3- taught/learned so much about wisdom

4- made a few new DELICIOUS recipes

5- loved some highschool girls

6- turned 25, which included dying my hair a bit more red...it makes me feel young ;)

7- read some books, the best of all being " The Help," by Kathryn Hockett

That's all I can think of at the moment, but I am sure proud of myself. They are all small things. Nonetheless, I feel accomplished. I wonder what the next 6 weeks hold.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Thanks to my brother

I was talking on the phone with Steven, my brother today, and he showed me a video made from sounds from Alice in Wonderland. It intrigued me, so I did a bit of perusing and found this by the same guy. Enjoy!



Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Salvation belongs to the Lord

The girl in the second story I told in my previous post actually ended up getting saved on Sunday! I just thought I would share the wonderful news. I am so in awe of Jesus and the way He chooses to work in us and through us despite us.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sunday School



I teach a Sunday school full of senior high girls. Every other month I get to teach. I've never really thought of myself as a teacher, but I've really been enjoying it. This whole month we have been studying "wisdom." You know, questions like, how to I make wise decisions, and what is wisdom. Its a great study for any of you who are looking for something new to study :)

The goal that I have for my group is 1, that they learn how to have a relationship with Jesus outside of Sunday school/church, 2, that they become friends, 3, that I challenge them to read the word/live a life worthy of the calling. I think all along this has been my goal for them.

Anyway, this past Sunday was so encouraging to me as a leader because in a small way, I saw these things happening in the girls. It was the 5th Sunday, and honestly the material that I had to teach (we have a curriculum we use) was just ridiculous. I had something else planned to talk about, but the more I thought about it, the more I felt lead to just ask the girls what they've been learning in their own time with the Lord throughout the week. My goals in this were to get them to be vulnerable to one another, and that hopefully there words would help encourage the group. I was so proud of them. The things they were sharing were of the heart. A few that never talk opened up to the group! Amazing!

There were two testimonies (for lack of a better term) that really spoke to me... one of the girls has made some bad decisions. (She is a freshman right now.) And she started talking about how the Lord is revealing to her that love does exist through/in Him. How wonderful! Here is a girl who believes in God, but doesn't think that he loves her, sitting there telling the whole group that He's changing her mind in that area. What a gracious God we serve! The other was from a girl who had never been to our church before. She said she grew up going to a methodist church every so often. Through her tears, she started talking about how she wants to live a life in the Spirit and how she wants to be able to know God, and have people in her life that can lead her to Him.

I am so glad that we just chatted yesterday in Sunday school. I am so glad that Jesus is speaking to these girls in a real personal way. I am so blessed that all I have to do is show up to watch it all happen.

I am so encouraged that Jesus is moving in the hearts and lives of these girls! I am so shocked really that He would allow me to take part in it, that all I have to do is show up and watch Him move. I love it that the Lord is drawing men to Himself, and that He is wooing them into His kingdom.

Please pray for these girls as the Lord continues to speak to them :)

Friday, October 8, 2010

I once heard it said that our feeling of loneliness is God's cry for intimacy with us. Whether this is true or not, I find myself leaning on it and thinking about it more and more. Times are lonely. Times are a bit rough, but I know that Jesus is longing to meet with me.

I've been reading about trials and testing in the Bible and how, through the Holy Spirit, they bring about holiness in us. I find that as I read this there is a quiet, "yes" that resounds in my heart. I want to be perfected in holiness. I want to become more like Jesus. And sometimes that means that I am alone. Me and Jesus, working on the "self" in my life. Boy, does it get hard though. I find that I am so quick to let people fix me. I am so eager to make the hurt go away, to stop the discomfort of the purification process.

I pray that I become more like Jesus, long suffering and patient, so that I can submit to the Lord and let Him bring about His plans and purposes in my heart and life.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Talent

So this is my brother in law doing a cover of Bon Iver's song, "woods." Please listen and enjoy:)



Monday, October 4, 2010

another day gone by

cheeks stained black by the tears.
falling.
falling.
lunch alone.
sitting in silence.
saturdays just aren't the same.
everyday isn't the same.
busyness isn't enough.

when will i learn?
when will it sink in?

jesus be the center. be everything.

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Gym

A few things can be said about the gym. I've been spending more and more time there, so I wouldn't necessarily call myself and expert, but I've noticed a few things.

There are different people who go at different times during the day. I've never been there super early, so I can't say too much about that except that those people are motivated...my husband being one of them. In late morning, 9-10am you get the women/moms in all shapes and sizes. From 12-4, you get a random, sparse line of people coming in. Then from 4-7pm, you get people that are motivated, just getting off work and are there mostly because they "have to work out today." Then from 7-10pm, which is my new favorite time frame, mostly because the people watching is superb. There are HUGE men... the serious lifters, who are lifting weights and leave the cardio room empty! Yay for me. :)

There are men who douse themselves in cologne and arrive at the gym smelling like a 15 year old boy trying to impress his movie date. Maybe the smell of the cologne distracts people from noticing how much weight they're lifting...who knows.

There are moms/women at 8am, hair done, their face loaded with makeup, wearing a small amount of clothing for all the bouncing and bending that is done in the gym...for what reason??? I just don't get it.

I guess people are an anomaly no matter what setting they are found. I'm sure if someone was to look at some of my habits, they would think that I was strange.



Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I am loved

This morning as I sit here sipping on coffee I am so in awe of the love and blessing in my life. My husband is away. It is hard to be alone.

Yet, yesterday afternoon I talked with a friend for 4 hours over lunch. And last night my house was filled with more friends, laughter, and lots of food. My mothers are throwing money at me left and right for my birthday gifts. My good friend sent me an email and shared her fears and concerns. It just so happens that we are dealing with similar feelings.

I am blessed.

My life is full even when it seems like it should be empty.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

kittens

Yesterday on our way to church we experienced something so unbelievable and so disheartening. Here is my story.

It was a regular Sunday. Joel and I were headed to church. We were a bit late do to the change of time in the service...15 minutes earlier...ugh. Nonetheless, we were on our way. Listening to worship music and just enjoying each other as we sing along in the car. The traffic wasn't terribly bad, but we kept hitting all of the red lights. We got stopped at a main intersections. This intersections forms a 'T'. Behind the cross of the 'T' is an air force base that is fenced off, leaving about 4 feet of grass between the road and the fence. We're sitting there, waiting to turn right, in what seems like the longest light ever, when all of the sudden Joel yells, "See that's what I'm talking about, kittens just falling out of cars! Did you see that?" I say no, but immediately look over to where he is looking. There was a small white/brown kitten dashing back and forth in the street. He would run over in the grass looking for an escape, run into the fence, then back into the street. The car that was moving forward saw him, and stopped. The poor kitten so frazzled, and looking for safety, jumped into the undercarriage of the stopped car. The driver, thinking the kitten was gone, started moving, the kitten fell onto the ground, and mostly dodged the back wheels of the car. The same thing happen 3 times to this poor guy while we were waiting in the light. Joel and I were speechless. Mouths open...speechless. The funny thing is that I have NO love whatsoever for these creatures and yet I wanted to cry. The image of the helpless kitten, running back and forth, trying as best he could to dodge cars...poor thing. I am afraid to go on that road again because I don't wish to see smashed kitty all over the road... So sad.

Monday, September 6, 2010

pictures...


As I promised before, here are some of the nursery rhymes I drew for my friend's baby shower.









New Realities 2

" The real scandal is that by crucifying Jesus and that for the most corrupt of motives- they serve God's providential purposes in slaughtering the God-man whose death accomplishes God's redemptive purposes," Scandalous, D.A. Carson.

This quote is talking about how Caiaphas prophesied about Jesus, "that one man die for the people, and that the whole nation not perish, "John 11:50. These men are doing what they truly thought was the right thing to do for their nation. They thought that by crucifying Jesus, their nation would be better off and their places in politics would be solidified.

When I read this part in the book, I was utterly amazed at how the Lord uses corrupt, horrible leaders to accomplish his will on this earth. It gives me hope in so many facets of life, but most recently in our youth group. Sometimes I am SO SO SO discouraged about the lack of ability from the main leaders of the youth, but I have hope that the Lord is using them to further His kingdom and His plans in the lives of the children. It is hard though to sit back and see just how awful some of the situations are, the lack of theological understanding, the lack of discipline, the lack of organization...just in general a lack of true leadership.

"We preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength," 1 Cor. 1:23-25.

Boy am I glad of this not just concerning our youth group, but also in my own personal life! God uses my best and worst efforts, redeems them, and uses them to further His kingdom. We serve His providential purposes... amazing. I am thankful that He is above all and in all. His grace is amazing.

Inspiration

There is no way that you can listen to this song and tell me that it doesn't move you in some way shape or form. This girl's voice is AMAZING! When I watched this song in the episode, I was moved to tears. I want to sing like this woman, and convey this emotion and energy. I am inspired to sing again, even if its only in karaoke. I cannot wait to sing it out!

BBQ and Baby Shower


I can finally breathe again. These last two weeks have been so busy with planning, cooking, and baking. Lots of baking. I don't know when it happened, but somewhere in the last 6 months I've become a party planner. Mostly I just end up volunteering my tim
e and money to host events.

Two weeks ago I helped plan and host a bbq for the youth group. This wasn't just your typical run of the mill bbq. It was a military bbq, aka, a "combat dining out." There was a whole bunch of protocol, a script, food, water guns, flour, teams, an obstacle course, and a "bowl of shame." Anyway, I was told to plan food for 100 people. With all my lists and organization, nothing turned out as I planned it, talk about a rough week...but in the end the food tasted good and the kids had a great time.

Some pics.


The jr. high boys team.


The red team.



Eating.


The obstacle course.


Lovely husband completing the obstacle course.


The next week I had a baby shower that I was planning for friends who just adopted a little 3 mo. old boy from Japan. Talk about the sweetest baby ever! I told her some time ago that I would love to host a party for her and her husband, that I'd make a FB event and she could invite people. 90 people later, there was a guest list. I was freaking out a bit at the size of this baby shower/ small reception that I was planning and hosting. Eyes wide, I gulped, changed the plan, and continued on. Of course I couldn't buy the cakes or the food from a store, who does that? So the week was full of cooking, baking, at which my husband was super bummed he couldn't indulge, and crafting. I did a nursery rhyme theme. So, I drew about 15 nursery rhyme characters from a book, colored them, and wrote the corresponding rhyme on the card...SO TIME CONSUMING!!! In hindsight, I don't think I would do the drawing and coloring again... The shower turned out lovely after a few cake mishaps. My friends felt so loved by the gesture, and 50-60 people showed up...which was good because I that's all the people I planned for. :) Pics. of this to come at a later time.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

New Realities 1

Well, the other day, August 22 to be exact, was my blog's 1 year birthday. I should have written something profound, but to tell you the truth, when the day came, I forgot about it...oops.

I thought I'd share some new realities with you all that I've had through "Scandalous," by D.A. Carson. This will be the first of many to come.

Jesus receives a desperate plea for help and demonstrates his love by delay.

John 11:5-6 "Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. Therefore, when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days." We all know the story well. When Jesus does come to Judea, both sisters tell Jesus that if he was there things would have played out differently. Sometimes we have a warped sense of time, and like children we say, "I want it NOW." Life gets rough, real struggles come, real suffering comes, and most of the time we say, "Lord, if you love me, you'd get me out of this heartache and pain." Or maybe we don't say it because we know that the Lord doesn't work that way, but I would venture to say that we all think it. And still Jesus delays. Its hard. In Romans 5:3-5 we see that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, 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 to us." The knowledge of these verses does not make the realities of hardship easy. But the hopeful part about our situation, whatever it may be, is that the Holy Spirit is given(has been given) to us in love. He comforts us, leads us beside still waters, gives us peace, and he directs us to Jesus which is exactly what we need.

"We need the reality of God himself- God as he has spectacularly and definitively disclosed himself to us in the person of his Son. He will require of us that we focus our attention on him, both for this life and the one to come," D.A. Carson.

So, even though life knocks us down, we have a savior who knows our weakness and he gives us strength to make it through. To him alone be the glory in our lives. We are not capable of saving ourselves or picking ourselves up by our bootstraps; while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. He is the glorious one. He is the almighty redeemer. Savior King. Living God.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

New Things

It seems as if there is an anticipation of new things as the new school year approaches. New teachers, new classes, new books, pencils, backpacks...new people (a new flux of people some every summer in the military community). Since Joel and I hang out with high school students, we too are feeling this excitement, anticipation, and questioning of what this new school year holds.

One of the biggest new things, is that we will be starting small groups in our church. Joel and I will be leading one for our "adult" friends, and then I will be leading an 11th and 12th grade girls study. This is a bit scary for me. It means that surface level relationship are no longer a plausible option. The goal of a small group, apart from learning about Jesus, is sharing life with those who partake in the group. We've been sharing life with our adult friends for a while, but somehow we've managed to steer clear of major heart issues. The heart issues is where its at though; knowing that you're completely accepted for who you are, with all of your faults, and quirks. One of the other things that worries me is the different doctrines that people hold to be true. Because of where we are (a baptist church) Joel and I tend to be out numbered in our thinking about certain issues. I guess we'll just have to hash through these things with each other and with Jesus through His word and with the help of the Holy Spirit.

I think the way I want to do it is share food, worship, and the Bible together... you can't really go wrong with that can you?

Other new thing that I think about is the youth band that I am currently leading. Some of our key leaders left this year with their families. They went back to the states and are getting plugged into churches there. (Side note: I just got an email from one of the guys, that he is now playing and leading in his new youth band. SO EXCITING!) Anyway, our band grew to know one another really well. They became quite good at reading each other, and just in general their musical talent progressed on an individual and group level. With new people coming in, we'll have to work of all of these things again...so much work...starting from the stage 1, again... But I do feel its worth it.

With all of these new things I am hopeful that the Lord will give me grace to work with people to be successful in sharing Jesus and just simply working with different leaders to love on these youth kids and anyone else that the Lord puts in our paths.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Cross

"Do we enjoy new identities, so that we are no longer to see ourselves as nothing but failures, moral pariahs, disappointments to our parents--but as deeply loved, blood-bought, human beings, redeemed by Christ, declared just by God himself, owing to the fact that God himself presented his Son Jesus as the propitiation for our sins? All this secured by Christ on the cross and granted to those who have faith in him," Scandalous, D.A. Carson.

This question that D.A. Carson asked really hit home with me today. So many times in my life I find that I identify myself by what I do or don't do. I think this is because of the pressure that our world puts on us to produce a product and that we are only as good as our efficiency to produce that product. What happens though when there isn't a real visible product that we are producing? For me, not working, being home most of the time, what am I worth? We become what we do. Our value and worth is defined by it. If we aren't "doing" anything, well then we must not be worth anything. How false that is!

We are deeply loved, blood-bought, human beings, redeemed by Christ, declared just by God himself. Period. The End. The Lord has given us a value and a worth, not based on what we do, but based on what Jesus has done for us. This is good news for sure.

I need to let this reality seep into my brain. I need to think about this day and night...maybe then I will start believing what the Bible says about who I am. Maybe I'll stop letting the world, culture, or even my family define my worth.

Dilemma wretched: how shall holiness
Of brilliant life unshaded, tolerate
Rebellion's fetid slime, and not abate
In its own glory, compromised at best?
Dilemma wretched: how can truth attest
That God is love, and not be shamed by hate
And wills enslaved and bitter death--the freight
Of curse deserved, the human rebels' mess?
The Cross! The Cross! The sacred meeting-place
Where, knowing neither compromise nor loss,
God's love and holiness in shattering grace
The great dilemma slays! The Cross! The Cross!
This holy, loving God whose dear Son dies
By this is just--and the one who justifies.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Food

You may be thinking, "man, she writes a lot." You my friend would be correct. Joel is in the states right now so I am home alone with my thoughts (and they are many). It helps to write it out. You are the recipients. :) The beauty of a blog though is that you, the reader, have a choice to read it or not. So there you go.

I was watching Julie & Julia the other day. Included in the "special features" part was an interview where the actors talked about Julie Child being someone who loved food. They said that she revolutionized the way Americans thought about it. Let me explain. She said that it is okay to put gorgeous, delicious, and decadent food on the table every evening for your family. By this you show them a simple act of love to them. This is so true in my life! I LOVE food. I love making it, researching it, and of course, enjoying it with loved ones. I've never thought of preparing meals as an act of love, but that is exactly what it is. All of the thought and effort that goes into a meal is so great. When the meal is shared there is a comfort and joy that is spread around the table. People feel fat and happy which is a wonderful thing. Now I feel like I have an excuse to make rich yummy food for my husband and friends. Its one of the ways I say, "I love you."

Strange Encounters

I was sitting down by the beach under the shade of a palm tree just reading and taking in the sights as I love to do. Joel calls is people watching and "creepy," but whatever. Anyway there I was when this elderly Japanese woman came slowly walking by me. She was short and a bit pudgy. She was wearing a white tennis hat (click here for a pic) and carrying a large plastic bag full of aluminum cans. She was a happy woman. Out of no where she started smiling at me and speaking to me in Japanese. She then sat across the way from me. We proceeded to have a conversation. You know how it is trying to communicate with someone when you don't speak their language, there is a lot of nodding your head, pretending like you know what they're talking about, and a lot of gesturing. Through our conversation I found out that she is 81 years old. Let me just say right now that she looked maybe 65. She has 4 grown boys, her husband is dead, and there is no bus to her home in Chatan so she walks. She found out how old I was, that I was married, and have no babies. She just yabbered on while I smiled and nodded at her. She pointed at her cans, said something, and did some other gestures to which I think she said that she has collected enough cans for 3 drinks of sake. This amazed me 1, because she's so old and still getting around, rather slowly, but still. And 2, well, she drinks quite a bit. She also asked me if I was going to be there tomorrow too. I think she enjoyed our strange conversation. I did too. Days like today make me wish I spoke Japanese.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Being Known

I just want to say that I love the blog world. I love reading other people's thoughts and opinions from the safe comfort of my home...I mean, today I've read 4 people's blogs, people I don't know or have never met. And though I've never met them, and probably never will, I find myself agreeing with their heart, crying at the aches and pains they feel in their life, and rejoicing with them in their joy. The amazing creation of technology; you can know someone without really knowing them. In the same vain, its kind of a sad thing. You can go through life feeling really close to people, but really know no one and be known by no one. Sad. To quote a friend, its "relational masturbation," (thank you Aaron), a quick fix to our need for community, love, and friendship. So sad. The reality is that most of us are too afraid take the step of friendship into real vulnerability, where we know someone and ARE TRULY KNOWN. That's the real kicker, the being known part. We have no problem knowing others, but when we are asked to divulge information about the secrets of our heart, we shirk back in fear. I have no answer to this problem. I, along with everyone out there, have issues with the being known part of a friendship. I ask the Lord to help me, step by step, in each conversation, to not shy back from who he's made me to be, even if that means heartache and pain for me in the end. I want to be someone who is known by people and by the Lord.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Legalism II

Today was supposed to be a day filled with beach, sun, books, and nothingness, but the rain came. So I am inside, still in my pjs at 11am listening to sermons and reading the Bible...still good, but not the beach or sunshine.

As I said in the previous post, I am reading through Galatians. It has been a wonderful, challenging read. I find that I rely way too heavily on my own perceived goodness. I would highly suggest listening to this Mark Driscoll sermon on Galatians 3: 1-14. <-Click on Gal. 3 for the link. Its pretty great, although its an hour fourteen minutes. I would explain it, but that would take too much time. So, let me sum up. All we need is Jesus. It doesn't work when we say that we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus, but we need to clean ourselves up by our own strength, merit, traditions, or morals. This is a Christianity based on works. Jesus died on the cross becoming a curse for us. He rose again, and is seated at the right hand of God. It is finished. We only need to trust Jesus is who he says he is and that what he has done was for us so that we can be reconciled to God.

Habakkuk 2:4, "...but the righteous shall live by his faith." Its not by morals, some movement, culture, a manual, our conscience, or self-discovery that we are made righteous. Its by a faith that continues to trust in God and cling to God's promises in Jesus, even through the darkest days.

Legalism

I started reading through Galatians the other day and got stuck in chapter 2. Most people probably get stuck at chapter 3 when Paul talks about works/faith, but not me...

The reason that I got stopped in chapter 2 was because I read verse 12 talking about Peter, "for before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing, the circumcision party. And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him..." He "drew back and separated himself." This idea that Peter is better than others because he doesn't upset the Jewish custom and culture threatens the gospel of justification by faith alone through Christ alone because it implies that all Christians had to live like Jews, specifically in their dietary habits, in order to be justified before God.

Chapter 2 deals with the gospel and culture. Let me explain a bit more using some words from your friend and mine, Mark Driscoll. There are 3 groups out there, one says as Christians we should be completely separate from the world, another says, we should meld with the world/popular culture, the last is somewhere in the middle. The deal is that the gospel should be our primary concern. It exists in different cultures around the world(which is GREAT and BEAUTIFUL). The Church(big C) gathers in community with thousands of cultural differences to celebrate our freedom in Christ. Sometimes we forget that the gospel comes first and we put culture above it, creating hierarchies of Christians (ie, we pray 5 times a day at 6am, we wear cool clothes and play our worship really loudly.) This shouldn't be. Therefore, we must always come back to the gospel as culture changes around us.

In ch. 2 we see that this whole ordeal happens because the people are putting culture (circumcision) above the gospel. They say, you can't be Christian if you aren't circumcised. This is wrong. They are legalists who bring culture as high as the gospel and doubt Christians who haven't participated in the ways of their culture. The thing is though, that Jesus fulfilled the law, so we don't need more rules and regulations, we need Jesus.

I find myself and others putting culture first before the gospel of Jesus. We say, "this worship is boring", or "this preaching is a bit dry." There are also those who just think they are better than others because they know more Bible, or can talk the spiritual talk better. We fail to even think about whether or not the gospel of Jesus is going forth and if lives are being changed by it. We add the prerequisite of culture to the gospel, "if your faith doesn't look like mine, you are not a christian or you are not as good of a christian as me." The fact of the matter is, that one is not better than the other. We are ALL saved by grace through faith in Jesus. He saved sinners, messed up and crazy people. ALL of us have sinned and fall short of His glory, yet through Jesus and HIS redemptive work on the cross we are reconciled to God...AMAZING and BEAUTIFUL!

Galatians 2: 19,"For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose."

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Forever Reign

Ever since I heard this song on Sunday its been stuck in my head. I just can't seem to stop thinking about it and singing it. The words ring true in my heart and through all of life's adventures. Running to the arms of the Father there is peace, goodness, joy, and light. He is more than we need and everything we need. And the best part is that he is here. Its so amazing! Here are the words:

Forever Reign

You are good, You are good
When there's nothing good in me
You are love, You are love
On display for all to see
You are light, You are light
When the darkness closes in
You are hope, You are hope
You have covered all my sin

You are peace, You are peace
When my fear is crippling
You are true, You are true
Even in my wandering
You are joy, You are joy
You're the reason that I sing
You are life, You are life,
In You death has lost it's sting

Oh, I’m running to your arms,
I’m running to arms
The riches of your love
Will always be enough
Nothing compares to Your embrace
Light of the world forever reign

You are more, You are more
Than my words will ever say
You are Lord, You are Lord
All creation will proclaim
You are here, You are here
In your presence I'm made whole
You are God, You are God
Of all else I'm letting go

Oh, I’m running to your arms
I’m running to arms
The riches of your love
Will always be enough
Nothing compares to Your embrace
Light of the world forever reign

My heart will sing
no other name
Jesus, Jesus

Oh, I’m running to your arms
I’m running to arms
The riches of your love
Will always be enough
Nothing compares to Your embrace
Light of the world forever reign

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Have No Fear Friends

I just thought I'd let all of you "followers" know that its still me. I thought it was about time to revamp my page to something different. Blogging these days is great fun! Anyway. Please keep reading. Love and miss you all!!!

To the sisters

This is a poem that I heard while watching, "In Her Shoes." I know that this is normally a poem about lovers, but I absolutely love it in the movie because it's one sister telling this to the other.

i carry your heart with me


i carry your heart with me (i carry it in my heart)

i am never without it (anywhere i go you go, my dear;

and whatever is done by only me is your doing, my darling)


i fear no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet)

i want no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)


here is the deepest secret nobody knows

(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)


and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)


-E.E. Cummings

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Youth Trip- Korea


I just wanted to share a bit about my trip to Korea with my youth group here in Okinawa. Gina, one of the other youth leaders, and I set out on this trip with 11 kids from our group ranging from ages 11-17...such a young group. We were headed to Korea to go to a youth camp called Centrifuge. Traveling was fun. The kids were so well behaved. They only had to be a told a few times to keep up or pay attention. :)

The whole trip was wonderful! The week at camp was full of laughing, crying, and tons o' fun! I mean, I played tennis for the first time in my life and I played tag, which I hadn't played since elementary school. I felt alive again for the first time in a long time...I felt free and like a kid. It was great! And then we got to sightsee for a few days, which was AWESOME!

Anyway, here are some of the key points that I thought stood out to me this past week at camp. We started the first night talking about kairos moments or defining moments. We were challenged to look back on our lives and recognize the defining moments that brought us to where we are today. Then throughout the week we talked about different bible characters and their kairos moments.

First was Jonah and love. One of the points that stood out to me, when talking about Jonah, was this, "after 3 days and 3 nights away from what Jonah normally did, he decided it was time to love..." The challenge that I find in this is that, its so easy to get caught up in life and the way we normally do things, or the way we think things ought to be done, but there is a time to sacrifice and love people more than we love ourselves. And our love for God propels us to love others.

The next day we talked about obedience. In this lesson we were shown how we can't do things on our own. We have to live each day in the power of the resurrected Christ. And our relationship with Him should affect the way we live.

Wed. we talked about sacrifice. This message, by the way, was awesome! Just a snipit though... One of the analogies given was about Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz. I don't know if you've realized this(I hadn't), but throughout the whole story Dorothy just wants to get home. She makes new friends and encounters strange people. In the end though, she is told by the good witch that she had the tool to get her home this whole time...the shoes... The point of the story was that, "we don't want to get to the end of our lives and realize we've missed the most important thing..." Love... 1 Cor. 12:31b- the most excellent way... My other favorite analogy that was given was on this night. The preacher likened us(Christians) to a cup of coffee, bitter and bold. We, like coffee, need sweetness to come transform us into something yummy...we need the love, grace, and forgiveness of Jesus to make us sweet and transform our lives. I love that!

Thurs.- talking about integrity. This isn't a word we use all of the time, and I'm pretty sure we don't know many people who actually have this characteristic. What it means: be who you are all the time, and be all of who you are. There is also a sense of not quitting and staying committed to the things we start. Something I like from this day is this, " great stories start with ordinary, messed up, simple people who are part of a larger picture. " As Christians, this is us. Sometimes we think that we are the coolest cat on the block, we aren't. Jesus takes the initiative, cleanses us, and then uses us(broken, sinful people) to accomplish His work in this world...AMAZING!

Anyway. I hope something of what I was reminded of this past week has touched your heart and made you think about the way you are living you life. I pray you are changed by His Holy Spirit working in your life.

Some pics from the trip.

Bible Study. I helped lead it:)


Some of our kids on the subway.


I was an RA for the trip...we won the cabin challenge. Go 2nd floor!

Have no fear. There will be more about what Jesus spoke to me personally during this trip another day. For now, good night!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Robin of Locksley




One of my newest heros is Robin of Locksley, better known as Robin Hood. There are so many things that are admirable about him, like his honesty, courage, leadership, his love for Marian, and his kindness to name a few. But the thing that I find the most interesting is that he is just an ordinary man trying to make the world more just for his people. He submits to authority and yet isn't afraid to ruffle a few feathers when the time is right. He, Marian, Friar Tuck, and the "Merry Men," live differently than all of the others who are under the rule of the king. They choose to live by another standard, another way of life that is more liberating and life giving than the rule of the king. They are for the people, for the poor, the children, the hungry, and the helpless women who've lost their husbands to battle. The best part is that these are mere men. They just see that there is something not right about the way the world is at this moment in time, and they are about enacting change into that world.

I feel that this is how we as Christians should live; there is something not quite right about the world these days. The fall has skewed the way people interact and the way that we go about our daily lives, but there are people in need! There is a creation that is waiting for the TOTAL transformation which happens when Jesus returns, BUT started when Jesus was resurrected on the cross. You see, we are supposed to bring change and hope to this dying and confused world, because we know Jesus. We are supposed to help the widows, orphans, hungry, poor, and dying, because we've seen that his ministry and work on this earth was about these things. We are supposed to live life in the knowledge and reality that Jesus defeated hunger, death, decay, and corruption, because he did. We are to be stewards of his good creation giving of who we are until he takes us to heaven or until he returns. We are to be like Robin Hood, though a mere man, was changing his reality and the reality of those around him because he had a vision of future things. He had a vision of the hope that would one day become not just a hope, but the tangible way he lives. When Jesus returns, he will make all things new. He will restore, rebuild, and renew all things. This is our hope that will one day be so tangible, and much more real than anything we know now. This is the hope that is in Jesus.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Spiritual Gifts

I've been really frustrated lately in the ministry where Joel and I chose to serve when we first became members at our church here in Okinawa. I've been struggling with what I should do about the whole situation. I've been praying a bunch about it and the idea came to me to take a spiritual gifts test. Its been a while since I've done one, maybe 5 years or so, and the place where I am now is INCREDIBLY different from where I was then. So here are my top 5 results: Hospitality, Music, Giving, Missionary, and Helps/Service, in that order.

Its no wonder why I am so frustrated in serving where we are; I am doing things that I am not gifted to do. I feel like I'm not really being able to use my gifts at church for the body of Christ, because there are expectations that I should serve differently. So now the questions are, do I stay because I've made a commitment, do I stay because Joel and I are doing this "together" and sometimes you just 'take one for the team', or do I find another area to serve in the church and pray that the current leadership/kids understand, or is there another solution all together?

Please pray that the Lord will give me wisdom and guidance how to serve his people. I know that he has a way that will make it right for everyone involved without ruffling too many feathers, although I'm not opposed to doing that;)

Oh, and if you have any words of wisdom, they would be appreciated!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Thinking Differently

So as you may have seen from previous posts, the resurrection has been on my mind quite a bit because I'm reading "Surprised by Hope" by N.T. Wright. I find that I can only read a chapter or two at a time because he challenges me to think about life and the purpose of Jesus/his ministry in a new light. I liken this challenge of changing the way I view life and live in this world to what is was like when I first got married, and even now to the very beginning of my relationship with my husband. When I got married it was a rude awakening to have to think about another person other than myself all of the time. When we would travel to see friends and family we couldn't just spend all of our time with my friends and my family, although I would have LOVED that, we had to split the time. Also, I had to change the way I spent my time in ministry. Before marriage I did what I wanted, (worship ministry, youth group, small group, other random church activities) when I wanted to. Being married, so much of our time goes into spending time together and cultivating the foundations to our relationship., and trying to balance ministry with together time. Don't get me wrong, one is not better than the other. Its just different now. I feel like a similar shift is happening when I start to think about the hope of the gospel/resurrection. My whole world was wrapped up in a different way of thinking (in this case a wrong way of thinking) and now I'm having to reshape the way I think...it's SO hard! Before I thought about salvation merely as my relationship with God in the present and going home to God and finding peace/joy/fulfillment in the future(heaven). Now, trying to process my thoughts about salvation in the New Testament view that salvation is about 1-whole human beings, not just souls 2-the present, not simply the future, and 3- what God does THOUGH us, not merely what he does IN and FOR us, can prove to be challenging. Its challenging because it means that what I do here on earth matters. It means that my efforts to teach, help, and comfort, are all a part of God's redemptive plan for the whole of creation. He has given Christians the task of being 'rescuing stewards' over creation. I love that picture. It makes so much sense and resonates in my being, BUT walking it out daily, what does that look like? Its not just about my salvation and my relationship with God. Its about something a lot bigger and a lot more hopeful. I do love it though that even though my thoughts about salvation/the kingdom of God were a bit skewed, he chose to use me anyway. He sent me to Africa to help widows and orphans. He's sent Joel and me to Japan to love on rough marine guys and really really really conservative teens. And who knows where he's going to send us, place us, or use us next. But I can say that I am more excited about it than I was before, because there is a lasting purpose to what we do here and now on earth. I still say all the time in my heart, Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. To think now, that we are stewards of this is just amazing.

Monday, May 17, 2010

More about the resurrection...



Here are some more quotes that I really liked from the book, "Surprised by Hope," by N.T. Wright. I also just like thinking about these things. It gets me really excited for the resurrection, and makes me say, Let Your Kingdom Come!

In talking about what our resurrected bodies will look like he says, "Dust we are and dust we shall be. But God can do new things with dust."

And he says about 2 Cor. 4 & 5, "What Paul is asking us to imagine is that there will be a new mode of physicality, which stands in relation to our present body as our present body does to a ghost. It will be as much more real, more firmed up, more bodily, than our present body as our present body is more substantial, more touchable, than a disembodied spirit.

"God is the creator, and his new world will be exactly what we need and want, with the love and beauty of the present world taken up and transformed."

"The resurrection means that what you do in the present, in working hard for the gospel, is not wasted. It is not in vain. It will be completed, will have its fulfillment, in God's future."

When talking about how many Christians think that heaven is the end-all, he says, "the point of all this is not, of course, merely our own happy future, important though that is, but the glory of God as we come fully to reflect his image."



Read these and let me know what you think. :)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

My New French Press


This is kind of a funny story. I apologize in advance if you don't see the humor in it...

When Joel and I first started hanging out in Columbia, MO I was living with this girl Chaleece. She was my first college roommate and boy was she crazy. By crazy I mean, crazy. She would listen to Disney songs on her computer, and when I would walk in the room to talk her, she'd be sitting at her computer desk, waving her hands (and whole body really) to the song, singing, and clapping along...crazy. But I loved her anyway. Anyway, Joel and I would hang out about twice a week, and I was smitten with him. I'd come home after our non-dates and tell her all about it. From the beginning she said, "You guys are going to get married." To which I replied, "unlikely." Things went on like this for a bit until I decided I wasn't going to like Joel any more because he kept dating other girls and I couldn't handle it. After 2 years, Chaleece and I decided to move to different places in CoMO. We still chatted every now and then. She graduated and moved back to Indiana, where she now resides. I was finishing up college, and we all know what happened...Joel and I got married pretty quickly. I called her as Joel and I were heading to the B&B to tell her that I had in fact married Joel. She said, "I told you." Funny.

Anyway, back to the french press. This March when Joel and I went back to the states, mom told me that a package had come just a few weeks ago for me. It was from Chaleece, it was a congrats you got married/Happy Anniversary package. Low and behold there was a french press in it. Mom sent that package to me in Okinawa. I received yesterday. So exciting! This morning I made my first cup of coffee with it...Boy, its AMAZING! I don't think I'll even use a regular coffee pot again.

So, I think its only fair to give a shout out to Chaleece.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Resurrection




I just bought the book, "Surprised by Hope," by N.T. Wright. I am first off, amazed at this guys sheer intelligence. Sometimes I have to read a section a few times to truly understand what he's talking about. Secondly, the information in this book is vital, I think, for Christians in today's society who hold a Gnostic way of thinking, ie., the purpose of being a Christian is to go to heaven when you die. In this thinking, death isn't conquered, it is merely a spiritual thing. But the Bible, in Romans 8:18-25 and Revelation 21&22, clearly state otherwise. The Christian view should be this:

that "what the creator God has done in Jesus Christ, and in his resurrection, is what he intends to do for the while world-meaning by world, the entire cosmos with all its history."


Here are some quotes about redemption and resurrection that I really like from this book.

"Redemption doesn't mean scrapping what's there and starting again from a clean slate but rather liberating what has come to be enslaved."

"What creation needs is neither abandonment nor evolution but rather redemption and renewal; and this is both promised and guaranteed by the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. This is what the whole world's waiting for."


I haven't yet finished the book. As I said above, its challenging for me to wrap my mind around some of the things he is talking about, mostly I think, because its new for me. I can't remember one sermon that I've heard about the TRUE Easter message, meaning, the implications of Jesus resurrection on the world, and more so, the implications in my life NOW.

Monday, May 3, 2010

"No Place Like Home"


Spring tradition in Okinawa is to hang up these carp banners.


Here in Okinawa the season in changing into spring. The sun shines making the temperature around 75 degrees and with every few days comes a warm gentle rain. The trees and flowers are blooming. The smell of cut grass and BBQ hangs in the air. Its truly beautiful.

Last night Joel and I walked on the beach for sunset. I am still amazed at the Japanese people. They know how to throw a party; they're always with family and friends chillin', eatin', and drinkin'. What a good life. Anyway, the sunset was gorgeous last night. There wasn't much wind so the ocean was calm. It reflected the pink and orange sunlight like a mirror, a perfect replica of the real deal. We walked almost silently in the dusk, semi-humid night thinking about life.

Joel told me how this weather, spring, reminds him of home; the fond memories of growing up and playing outside and being with people who you love. It made me too start thinking of home. Okinawa is an extraordinary place full of beauty and life, but Dorthy says it best when she says, " There's no place like home."

Monday, April 5, 2010

Hobbies




Well. Right now I am actively trying to decide what hobby I want to take up. As most know, I don't "do" much of anything during the day; I am a house wife with all that that entails. Joel has been reminding me that its not what I "do" that defines me. I usually have to remind him of this fact. Still though, I feel I need something else to do, something that shows accomplishment...I don't know. Anyway. I've kind of decided I'm going to start painting and drawing. Drawing is something that comes easy for me, so I'll probably revert to it most of the time. Painting is something that fascinates me, but I've always been to afraid to really branch out in it. I guess we'll see how this goes. I actually going to the store today to look at supplies.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Your Kingdom Come




Help us to bring your kingdom. Help us to say no to sin and yes to righteousness. Guard our hearts and minds. Restore us to Yourself through Jesus.



Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be your name.
Your Kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory
forever and ever.
Amen.



It starts with God first, seeing him rightly and as the only perfect and holy one.



YOUR kingdom come. YOUR KINGDOM come. YOUR kingdom COME. your KINGDOM come. your KINGDOM COME. your kingdom COME. YOUR KINGDOM COME.

Restoration
Newness of life
No more sorrow
No more pain
Hunger ceases
Need ceases
Justice reigns
Mercy reigns
Peace reigns
Sin is NO more
Death is NO more
Joy forever
Worship of God forever
Hearts healed

God's kingdom comes when you:
give to the poor.
stand up for righteousness and against injustice.
study hard and don't cheat on exams.
are honest at work.
work hard.
wait patiently in traffic.
befriend a neighbor
humbly ask Jesus for help.
show kindness.
forgive.
resist temptation.
tithe.
repent.
pray.
help those in need.
are generous.




Bring your kingdom to earth O God. Bring your kingdom to my continent. to my country. to my city. to my house. to my husband. to my heart.

YOUR KINGDOM COME.


COME.


COME



Sunday, March 28, 2010

Back From Outer Space

Joel and I have made it back to Okinawa safely. Our journey back here wasn't as eventful as the journey going. I think we're alright with that though. Being back is an interesting thing; its good to be back at OUR home, with OUR things, and OUR space, but there just seems to be something or should I say someones missing. OUR family and friends are now so far away, which stinks. Sometimes I wish I could meld the two worlds. I mean, I LOVE living on a tropical island and having a home here, but I truly miss my family and people who know me. The Lord surely knows what He's doing though. I love that about God; he always has a purpose.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

We're on our way!!




I probably should be sleeping right now. We've finally made it out of Okinawa on a Space-A flight. I really don't think Air Force planes are in a hurry to get anywhere, 21 hours layovers here, 24 hours layovers there...geesh! The good news though if that we are closer to "home" than we have been in a while. Just the thought gets me super excited. I think the best part about it is that we're doing it for minimal expense; normally flights to the states cost about $1500 per ticket. We're going to make it out at less than $1500 for the whole trip! Super exciting!

Anyway. We are in Guam for who knows how long (they say up to 21 hours), then we are onto Hawaii for 24 hours (there are worse places to be), then Travis AFB in CA, then who knows...We are still trying to figure out how we're going to get to STL. We're taking one flight at a time and trying to roll with it. As I type, Joel is curled up on the floor in the museum part of the terminal. Its probably not "legal," but as Joel said to me, "There are higher security places out there..." I guess its all part of the adventure. It still stresses me out a bit, not knowing where/when we're taking our next flight, nap, or meal, but its worth it.

By the way, the plane we just flew on was HUGE! There were 10 passengers (ourselves included) in a space about the size of a normal kitchen. Then behind the "crew bunks" there is just nothing. Our bags were on one pallet and the rest of the plane was empty and went on forever. I found this out because I forgot something in my bag so I just went to get it in the back part of the plane...more high security...not.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Whale Watching 2-26-10

As the boat took off there was so much excitement in my heart; I LOVE the ocean and I love boats. I've been on the ocean plenty of times and as we kept jumping over the waves memories of my childhood flashed before my eyes; memories of sitting in the bow of the boat, wind blowing in our hair, running carefully not to fall while the boat was going so fast...memories of Grandma and Grandpa Coumbe...those were good times, happy times.

The boat ride went on for about an hour. When we reached our destination the boat slowed. We saw about 15 other boats with passengers wearing the same bright orange life vests staring off into the water. The wave were so large that the boat was seriously rocking back and forth and back and forth but it didn't matter to me, we didn't come this whole way just to be sick. So I got up and started staring into the water with the rest of the people. Then like magic we heard a big breathing sound, like that of someone breathing out heavily, then we saw a large, dark blue, shiney surface, just above the water, then a huge tail...a whale in the wild. I was amazed. It was so mysterious. Where did it come from and where was it going? Seeing the first whale excited the crowd on our boat. It was seriously amazing. Time after time we would hear and see the same things and every time the moment was filled with awe and mystery.





Probably my neatest experience with the whole whale watching adventure was when we were all waiting around for more whales to surface and I went over to the other side of the boat, away from the crowd. I was just sitting, waiting for another spotting, when all of the sudden 2 whales surfaced about 50 feet from our boat on the side where I was sitting. I heard the breathing, and physically saw their blow holes and the texture of their skin. It kind of startled me...I was in shock...


This is the closest picture I found as to what I saw...I saw more of the tops of their back and then their little fin piece...much closer than this.



Then as we were headed out, mostly because people were spewing from the choppiness of the water, we saw 2 whales jumping nose first out of the water and then splashing down if to rejoice the fact that the humans were leaving them alone. SO COOL!




The ocean was so vast, so deep, so wide, so many different species of animal, but the Lord knows where each is at all times. He provides food and shelter for them. He knew we were going to be going out to this area last Saturday and blessed us by providing real "encounters" with these amazing animals. I felt so loved by God. So treasured. And I thought about the part in the Bible, in Job, where God is talking about who He is and how no one is before Him. He created all things, and all things are in His control. Yet, He cares for me even when I might not understand His ways. He is good!