Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I Cut

I was chillin' with my friend Tessa this evening (she's 4). I studied hamartiology while she played with my big green excercise ball and nesting dolls from Russia. She asked me how old I was.

"I'm 30."

"So you can cut?"

Apparently I have been entrusted with the very responsible task of using scissors. I was feeling inadequate studying hamartiology (study of sin). But now I feel quite accomplished in life. Using scissors safely and without adult help must be one of Tessa's upcoming developmental feats. =-)

We soon then moved on to the "fingers not teeth" rule in opening the Russian nesting dolls when they are difficult to pull apart. Teeth marks on the nesting dolls will surely give them lasting character.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Baggage (1 Samuel 30:21-31)

First gear went out. Reverse refused. Then second gear froze. By the time my car rolled into the driveway, I was unable to shift into any gear other than neutral. The car wouldn’t budge.

A thousand dollars later, my Ford is functional again. But the car placed me in a familiar and humiliating place - a place of financial need. I began to get angry with God, realizing for the first time that I had much in common with the men of 1 Samuel 30, who were exhausted and stayed behind with the baggage. Few people desire to watch others rescue their loved ones, to know that what they can muster in the moment is simply not enough.

I have been the recipient of many gracious gifts: a scholarship to school, a home to live in, a computer, car repairs, running shoes…the list keeps going. It is mostly a testimony to the obedient church body I am a part of. Yet, I grew up on a farm. I’ve done chores and worked most of my life, learning independence and being prideful in what my hands can accomplish. The place I rest now as I study in seminary is humbling. I vacillate between thanksgiving and humiliation, letting pride occasionally douse the flames of my joy and worship.

David’s rebuke to the wicked and prideful warriors in our story held much authority, so much that it became law in the nation of Israel. Those who fought on the front lines and those who were exhausted, staying behind to protect the baggage, were of equal standing. Their reward would be the same. David saw the army as a unified body under the headship of a mighty God. Their victory came not by man’s might, but through His participation and will - even for those resting with the baggage.

Romans 12:3-5 says it this way, “For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.”

The Word of God is clear about how we are to view ourselves as Christ followers. We are a family. As stewards of what we have been given, we support the whole family, investing as each of us has been enabled. Each one of us is just as likely to face hardship, financial trial, medical emergencies, weakness, grief, etc. With one unified heartbeat and one Lord as our head, we will move forward in the will of God, bringing the good news of Jesus Christ to all nations and seeing one another built up into Christ.

Scripture taken from the New American Standard Bible (R), Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Celebrating Jesus ~ International Christmas Banquet 2007

More pictures of the ladies! I obviously love them and enjoy studying the Bible with them every week. Only two more weeks and our study of Ruth and Esther will be over. I has been absolutely amazing to worship through His word on my own, and then worshipping with these sisters in Christ. Together, humbled at the foot of the cross the wonder of our amazing God is amplified ten fold. I hope that they have received as much as I have in our study.

The pic is from our international Christmas banquet last night. Represented among us: Japan, China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Nigeria, Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Italy and the USA. Isn't that such fun!