Sunday, June 24, 2007


The flamingos were out and close to us on our recent trip to the LA Zoo.

These pictures have not been cropped or edited.


I have ideas come into my mind constantly and if I do not write them down, they leave just as quickly. I do not know if this is how everyone is? I assume that some people's minds work like this and others' do not. I think it is how God has made me, and I should try to develop it, but I find that the discipline necessary is often lacking. I could not be less time oriented and tend to procrstinate. This blog is an attempt, as I have previously noted, to develop discipline and to record what God puts in my mind. I was thinking about the most significant way that Jesus met me this week , but before recording that I wanted to note a few other thoughts in order to relieve my mind of the burden of trying to remember them.
* I think a great idea for a book, and one I would love to write, but which I assume has already been done, is a book about the beginning of different things. I find that more often than not these stories are fascinating. What was the origin of Silly Puddy? I have heard that Federal Express was someone's senior thesis and his professors told him it was a pipedream that would never work. Is that true? Toys, clothes, companies, cities,... So many fascinating stories are out there, I am sure.
* I have seend a few excellent movies this year that I would recommend on the grounds that they deal with faith in more or less sophisticated manner. I found them all worth watching and would recommend most of them.
-The Exorcism of Emily Rose- based on a true story. Sort of a horror film. Not for kids. Deals with a priest who is accused of murder when a girl died after an attempted exorcism he performed. The movie tells the story through the testimony in the trial. Some parts are very difficult to watch, but the filmmakers do a good job of keeping the audience in the dark as to whether she was really possessed or not. It is told from a Catholic perspective.
-The Spitfire Grill- This is about one girl paying a high price for redemption while working in a restaurant in a small community. Not for children.
-To End All Wars- Maybe the most powerful movie I have ever seen. Based on a true story. Set in a WWII Japanese prisoner of war camp. What happens when the prisoners attempt to literally live out the teachings of Jesus- love enemies, turn to the other cheek,... I was weeping. Not for children.
-Facing the Giants- Family movie. Theme of spiritual revival taking place around a Christian high school football team. This movie was made by a church in Georgia, but it is done professionally. Our family really enjoyed it and the gospel is powerfully presented.
-The Last Sin Eater- not for kids. From the Francine Rivers novel of the same name. Based on a real practice brought over by the Welsh and Scottish a couple of centuries ago. A community elects a "sin eater" who takes on the sins of people once they die. How does the truth of the original sin eater enter and transform this community.
-One Night with the King- the story of Esther. Not for kids. This was much better than I expected. They do a good job of filling in the blanks. Probably not true to history but good nonetheless.
-Luther- Well done biographical film of the great reformer.
-A Christmas Carol- The one starring George C. Scott as Scrooge. He is excellent. We watch this every year at Christmas, and I am moved to tears each time. Powerful reality. Not for kids.
* I was struck in reading the Old Testament book of Amos this week by comparing the judgments pronounced on pagan nations with those on Judah and Israel. Those who did not have the scriptures angered God and were to be judged but for different sins than the Israelites. I need to study this more deeply.
* I was also struck today while reading an article on partnership in EMQ to look at partnership as a journey in which the process and relationship is as important as the goal the partnership is trying to accomplish. It is not that I had not seen this before but rather that I saw it afresh today and was challenged as we head to Turkey to see potential partnerships more in this light. This goes against general western thinking as I understand it and have been taught but it speaks to my heart in a motivating and challenging way. I need to dig into this more deeply as well. This takes the questions from "What will we accomplish?"; "Are they ready?" and so forth to "What does God want to do in us (in our character) through our relationship together?" and "What does God want to teach me as we mutually submit in this situation?"
* I had my interview last Tuesday for the university. They told me they would let me know in a week. I have since found my mind constantly battling different directions of thought- mostly unhealthy- in regards to hearing from the admissions office. I have been taking thoughts captive, but what is it that is bothering me? What if I don't get accepted? What if I do? What will I say if I don't? What does it say about me? What did I do wrong? What does it say about me if I do? and so forth. All these thoughts going on in my head while life goes on around me and everyone else oblivious to this. And I'm oblivious to those same kinds of thoughts going on in everyone else's mind. So focusing on this keeps me from loving my neighbor as God calls me to. I am stuck in this inner battle and being self-focused in the process. But I can not just stop thinking it. I find that I need to stop and find the lies I am believing and deal with them and replace them with God's truth. This process may bring out deeper issues that require deeper healing. I need to do that. Once that is done I am free to love those around me. Of course I can not do this for everything in my head but I can recognize what is happening and learn to deal with it and learn how to focus outwards by God's grace even when it is happening. This is what I think God is calling me to do through shining His light on these processes.
And now to the original intent of the blog- What was the most significant (or at least a significant) way in which Jesus met me this week?
I had a few ideas but one hit me today, and I will mention that. Laurie and I were arguing on the way to church. I made some bad decisions and when confronted did not respond very penitently, to say the least. We were having it out on the way to church. (I repented to the kids and Laurie on the way home from church.) So we get out of the car and put on our Sunday faces and go to the service. We are in the worship center singing songs, and I am still not right with God, and I am sort of mouthing the words and looking around to see who is there and most of the people around me seem to be mouthing the words as well, but then my eye catches one lady whose arms are outstretched, eyes closed, and a look of peace and joy on her face singing with all her heart. I was cut to the quick and stopped singing and repented. I was surprised how powerfully I was affected by that woman's actions. For me her worshipful posture was the loudest sermon at church today. How gracious and kind is Jesus to bring me to repentance so gently.
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