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'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


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."