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Showing posts from November, 2008

Lost and Found

My son Konrad and his girlfriend Bena are cool. They produced the video below with the following comments:
Scrambled together in two days, filming this video with my girlfriend was one of the most humbling and rewarding experiences of our lives. We aproached people on the street and asked if they wanted to get involved with our project. It completely changed our perspective on the homeless, how down to earth and sincere these people are.

It was a rewarding experience for them as well. They showed how they related to the lyrics. And Frank, the one who wrote "Found?" (he forgot what a questionmark looked like), put his long dormant musical and literal skills to practice.
Thankyou so much, Charlie, Baby, Frank, Jeremiah, and steve-o

The Ring

She stepped into the dark of an early winter evening, bone-weary despite an hour sitting with her meal and homework. If she hurried, she’d make it to class in time.

“Please, ma’am!” A woman stepped from the shadows, white ice skates hanging from her hand by the laces.

She was no stranger to needy ones on the street, but wasn’t often in this neighbourhood. She looked up and waited.

“Someone broke into my apartment this morning and took everything.” The woman held up the skates. “I’m trying to sell these because I need the money.” Opening her other hand to reveal an ipod and ring, she said how much she bought them for, adding, “I only want $40 for the three. It’s a really good deal.”

Yes, it was certainly a bargain, though chances were that the woman was pawning stolen goods. She shook her head to decline the offer.

“My father was diagnosed with cancer yesterday. He’s in the hospital and I want to get to him before he dies. I haven’t eaten today. Could you please help me?”

Wary o…

A Lost Boy Found

I was sitting here in my prayer room, asking God what he wanted to show me this morning. I often write something in response to my daily reading of Oswald Chambers but today nothing from my reading jumped out at me, so I turned to "Prayer #3: Acts 2:17" on the Dwayne Roberts CD "Apostolic Prayers 2: Let us Pray," and sat in quiet meditation, listening for what God might want to tell me.

As often happens, it was difficult to keep my mind still and I kept looking up at the world map on the wall in front of me. A family from my church congregation is currently living in Kathmandu, Nepal and the husband of that family left yesterday with one of the Vineyard pastors to go to Gadlang, Nepal, high up in the Himalayas--an eight-hour drive over narrow, bumpy, winding (probably very scary) roads, followed by a three hour hike--all uphill (up mountain?). He needs prayer because he's not well.

After my time of distracted meditation, I googled for what I could find about t…

Why Not Us?

...life is not as idle ore
But iron dug from central gloom
And heated hot with burning fears,
And dipt in baths of hissing tears,
And batter'd with the shock of doom
To shape and use.
--Tennyson*Christianity is based on heroism and manifested in martyrdom; and the preparation for being a Christian is drastic, definite and destructive. --Oswald Chambers**
Jesus said, "You must be born again." That's pretty drastic. He told his disciples that they must die if they wanted to live. That's very destructive. Peter told the churches that they would have to suffer grief in all kinds of trials so their faith could be proved genuine. There have been many heroes of the faith and many martyrs. Peter also admonishes us: "Do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you."

The Christian life is not an easy one. We in North America haven&…

Loneliness

After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone.... Matthew 14:23 NIV

Solitude with God repairs the damage done by the fret and noise and clamour of the world. –Oswald Chambers*We think of loneliness as something to avoid. It’s undesirable and fought against and yet this is the word Oswald Chambers chooses to use to describe one of the Christian disciplines. I think of loneliness as being more than alone—it’s that state where one feels bereft of companionship. Richard Foster in Celebration of Disciplines calls it solitude.

Chambers writes:
The friendship of a soul who walks alone with God is as abiding as God Himself, and, in degree, as terrible.... A friend whose contact and whose memory does not make us ever do our best is one in name only. Friendship to a soul undisciplined by loneliness is a precarious sea.*“Loneliness marks the child of God,”* he says and calls shallowness a disaster. Is there a correlation between …

Excerpt from Searching for Love

I didn’t discover how alluring, enticing and attractive women were to me until I was a young woman in a difficult and painful marriage. I wasn’t prepared to act on my desires because, for one, I didn’t know how to find others like myself and, for another, I was far too afraid to make the first move. When, a few years later, I returned to the God I had loved growing up, I tried to shove my desires and fantasies aside but often, when I was alone and unhappy, I embraced the comfort they gave. For two decades I lived like this, the burden of my secret weighing heavily. I persevered in my marriage, stayed home to raise our children and was very involved in church. I wanted freedom from the power my thoughts had over me but, no matter how much I determined to ignore them, they towered over me, threatening to consume. There was never any particular person in mind. The women were nameless and faceless until an online friend, lonely like me, who freely told me how much she appreciated my frien…

Swallowed by the Cross

As I finished writing the last post, I sat, bathed in the light of God's love, basking. I remembered the picture God showed me two weeks ago of him pulling me inside of himself so that I was completely covered by him like a hand in a glove and repictured it--completely enwrapped by my invisible God here in my chair. I thought back through the years that have passed since the scene in the story where I learned my father died. All that time, God has been a sheath of protection over me. Even when I wasn't following him he was there.

I opened my eyes and suddenly saw the cross on my wall in a new light. The black cross is me and the white cross is Jesus, enveloping me with his presence and light. A beautiful confirmation for me. This is real. I truly am encompassed by this God and Saviour who loves me so much.

Thank you, Jesus!

“I will never stop doing good to them.”

There are so many nuggets of goodness in the Bible. Well, okay, the whole of the Bible is good, but there are pieces that stand out more than others.

Many people think that the God of the Old Testament is an angry, judgemental God and that in the New Testament he became gentle and loving. For this reason, many avoid reading the Old Testament and completely miss his hungering love for his people.

The book of Jeremiah, for instance, is full of God’s expressions of love. Yes, there is anger, but it becomes evident very quickly that his love and passion for his people far exceeds his anger. Consider this:
…this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I will surely gather them from all the lands where I banish them in my furious anger and great wrath; I will bring them back to this place and let them live in safety. They will be my people, and I will be their God…. I will never stop doing good to them…. I will rejoice in doing them good and will assuredly plant them in this land with…

Symphonising with God

Again I tell you, if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven for where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them. Matthew 18:19, 20 NIVWhen you gather with others to pray, what happens? For most of my life, a prayer meeting consisted of people listing things that were needed such as “Heal my great-uncle Joe’s friend of cancer.” The requests were often impersonal, focusing on people not present or, for health/work/family concerns. People took turns praying for what had been listed at the beginning of the gathering and there was a dry boringness about the whole affair*. Perhaps you’ve experienced prayer meetings like this.

A year or two ago, I visited New Life Foursquare Church in Grand Forks. In the midst of the Sunday morning service, the congregation was invited to divide up into small groups of four or so and pray with each other for each other. This was not an opportunity to bring up the needs of on…

"Please Help Me!"

I've been going through some old mail and came across a couple of e-mails between me and a woman who had read my story online. In her late thirties, she had fallen in love with a close friend and didn't know what to do with the feelings she was experiencing. She wrote that she loves Jesus and wants to serve him, but her feelings were so consuming her, they were pushing her away from God. "Please help me!" she begged.

Here is how I answered her (I've changed her name):

Hi Andrea! I'm glad my story touched you. I know God can help you just as He helped me. Our God is a gracious God who loves His children--even those of us who are or have been wayward. The truth is that we are all wayward in one way or another.

I was really encouraged a few days ago as I was once again reading in Luke. Simon Peter, one of Jesus' disciples, had been the first to say that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God. And yet Jesus said to him, "Satan has asked to sift y…

As We Once Treated our Heavenly Father

We are delivered from sin that we might actually live as saints amongst men who treat us as we once treated our Heavenly Father. --Oswald Chambers*How do I treat non-believers? How do I treat those demanding gay rights and marriages? How do I think about vile murderers and rapists? What is my response to drug lords and gang leaders? What do I do with my irritating neighbour who spreads malicious words about me? How did I treat God when I was walking apart from him? How did he treat me? He gave me nothing but mercy and grace.

Lord, I have never deserved your mercy and grace, and yet you gave them anyway. Help me walk among others with grace and mercy, even when they don't deserve it. So be it.



*"Christian Disciplines, Volume 2" in The Complete Works of Oswald Chambers, page 310

Shadow of a Mighty Rock

See, a king will reign in righteousness and rulers will rule with justice. Each man will be like a shelter from the wind and a refuge from the storm, like streams of water in the desert and the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land. Isaiah 32:1, 2 NIVOswald Chambers quotes* Scottish Old Testament scholar, George Adam Smith (1856-1942), who tells of an interesting observation he made while in the desert. Plants often spring up, especially in areas near oases and rivers, but they don’t last. Why not? The wind shifts the sand, cutting plant life short. If, however, you put a rock in such places, after time, a veritable garden will flourish on its leeward side. What makes the difference? The rock stops the wind from disturbing the sand, and plants have a chance to thrive.

The passage above is messianic. Jesus is the king who will reign in righteousness. He is the rock in a weary land to which we can escape. He is our protector and stabilizer who produces a sanctuary from shifti…

It's Amost Ready to Sell!

God Versus the Marketplace

Last night, Tom and I attended “Dinner with a Theme,” at the Golden Terrace Restaurant in Chinatown sponsored by the Winnipeg Chinese Christian Business and Professional Association and organized by Tom’s childhood friend, Clement Yeung. This is a semi-annual event in Winnipeg, but the first time we’ve attended. The event’s slogan is “Everything is in English except the food.” There was a fairly even mix of Chinese and Caucasians, with a few Filipino’s as well and the food was awesome.

Cathy and Winston Smith, owners of Hull’s Christian Bookstore—a fixture in downtown Winnipeg since 1919—were the keynote speakers, but John Maltman and Clara Au also spoke: Clara about her recent short term mission trip to China and John about his work in the Ukraine, trying to bring Jesus to a business world where treachery is honoured, jobs are given to those with the right connections instead of ability and at least some business leaders belong to the mafia. “What do you do when the Word of God …

Enveloped

She stands between past and future. Will the past repeat? She prays not.

Three watch in a huddle. "She's in a painful place."

"We will show her truth."

"Look! She's a child, running up the back steps with glee. She's had a good day."

"Yes, she has, but that will change as she opens the door."

The child stops, one step inside. Her mother sobs on the couch with a friend.

Without a word, she knows. Her father died.

"How could she know that? He didn't live with them, he wasn't sick and there was nothing wrong."

"I told her."

"Her spirit is heavy."

"She believes she must now care for her mother."

"She's too small! It's not right! She can't do that!"

"It's time to show her."

She who stands between past and present watches the child. "Where were you, God?"

"I was with you, Child. Look closely."

"I see the faint outline of your invisible…

For God so Loved Himself that He Protected Himself from Harm

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 NIVThe title is a false statement but substitute my name for God’s and it would become true.If I’m living in a self-protective manner, am I living in love?God’s kind of loving is giving—giving so much it cost him everything.I would like to say that’s true of me too, but it isn’t.I’ve created so many self-protective devices that I've built thick barriers between my husband and me.Do I even know how to love?

I just finished reading The Shack by William P. Young. What an incredible story!And with so much meat! It’s given me a lot to think about, especially about love, independence, control and self-protection (others may not see this at all in the book and be “hit” by something completely different).
How do we decide whether something is good or evil?For many of us, that which causes pain and discomfort is evil and that which feels nice is good.“[…