September 12, 2006
My dreams overwhelm me as my life changes rapidly. I'm getting married...what is this about? a new family to love, to know, to understand...a husband to care for as the most important person on earth to me...a revolutionary change from what has been, to what will be.
The courtship has been somewhat "rapid" and such has allowed for hasty growth in areas of personal discovery as well. i find myself so challenged to know who i am as i allow Geoff to know me more each day. As he asks to understand certain responses i have to different situations, i have to figure out myself why i do what i do.
INTENTIONALITY has been the theme of our courtship, and our dreaming together. Be it concerning the wedding, our marriage, or our destination we plan our thoughts are bombarded with the desire to make EVERY decision count. I praise GOD for giving me a man who shares my hearts desire to find HIS meaning in this otherwise meaningless existence on earth. I long to make every decision, every moment, every action count for a greater expertion of love and truth.
I fail to do this so often. as we struggle to join families, learn differences, and anticipate the future while treasuring our pasts, emotions have guided me more than my mind at times. I regret this in of itself, though i value the lesson i am learning above all...i am not perfect...Geoff must love a sinner...i must allow him to. it is hard, i long to be all i can for him...as i do for everyone...yet my own power is not sufficient for such goals.
Please keep Geoff and i in your prayers as we pursue our LOVE on HIGH. HE is our reason, our purpose, and our joy. As we've struggled with decisions concerning our return to Israel in october vs. staying in the states a year we find ourselves desperate to find that BEST decision among the GOOD ones available. We long to be refined. Thank you, all my friends and family, for all the support and encouragement you enrich our hearts with so fully. May GOD bless you eternally.
August 31, 2006
For more info about Geoff and i, our wedding, our plans and other good stuff...check out our blog at www.canaan-bound.blogspot.com. Let us know what you think, and if you have questions, be SURE to let us know!
Blessings, please keep us in your prayers as we seek earnestly to follow our LORD in everything during this time. Our plans are still to go back to israel in october, but we beg prayers for wisdom, safety and support in that arena. Thank you for everything, blessings.
August 2, 2006
BUT, the news i'm writing to announce with GREAT joy is that GEOFF IS BACK WITH ME in Texas!!!! I knew i liked this guy, but having him back here again with me has only increased that "like" exponentially! I didn't know it was possible to have so much fun hanging out with another person! I've had him working with me too...finally got another intern up here! He has taught class for the last two sunday's and it has been AMAZING to watch him, and learn from him.
Every day we learn more about each other...and we are thoroughly enjoying learning to "endure" one another. :)
We are hopefully going to be in abilene on MONDAY, august 7th...
that's the briefest update i can muster...i have to work on this slideshow and sleepover thing now!!!!
"Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror;
July 19, 2006
I wrote the previous blog with no sleep, a bit of anxiety, no proof-reading, and a barely working "borrowed" wireless internet point!
But, they are well, and scheduled to be back in Texas SOON! I don't know WHEN Geoff is coming, since he has decided it would just be GREAT to surprise me, so we'll see if i survie that! However, i expect him sooner than later, and have been blessed with good conversation with him lately. He's been very patient with me, especially when i've worried a bit toooooo much about my man....but, praise the L-RD, he's well...but please pray for his papers to be finished so he can enjoy time with Amber and Kelli in Jerusalem before coming to TEXAS!!!!!
I love you all, blessings...and of course, do continue to PRAY FOR THE PEACE OF JERUSALEM
And by the way, Colorado is just plain GORGEOUS, white water rafting was good and COLD...and i'm looking forward to seeing the horizon when i get back to Texas! The mountains are amazing, but it's amazing how much you miss the sun sinking away at the end of the day, melting into tomorrow...here it just hides behind the mountains early! I like the mountains, but bring me home to my big Texas sky!
July 15, 2006
I'm traveling with the youth group I'm working with this summer right now. We're on our way to Colorado. They watched a movie together tonight and i didn't. Perhaps i was wrong in this, it must have had a good meaning, but there were significant NOT good things in it as well. I have enough stuff to wade through to learn a lesson, and my personal commitments did not allow me to watch that film tonight. I am weak and in constant need of reminders, and if NOT watching a worthless flick is one way i avoid some "bombs" then BLESS IT L-RD...i need all the help i can get.
June 20, 2006
It would be fair to say i'd been his secret admirer in college...though commitment to other situations kept me far from more. We ran into each other throughout our times at ACU, though we were continually passing each other as we hoped countries. My earliest memory of Geoff was hearing his name when a friend, frustrated at my inability to stay around long enough to hang out, said, "you and Geoff Carroll, just when we think you're in the country, you're leaving again!" I'd laughed then, but heard his name often enough. Considering all, we're amazed at how long we avoided each other. But let me just say...We don't plan to do that anymore ;)
June 10, 2006
Dolphin Quest offered me the job in Hawaii...and i suddenly, my "retreat site" was revealed! Overseas, but in the states, i relished time in the mountains and down on the beach! Working at DQ was a valuable challenge, and resort life and i were too well acquainted very quickly. :) Though days off were relished times with the LORD, i was not making enough money to afford the VERY high Hawaiian cost of living, and Grace stepped in and i found another job...this one at night! As i've never been very good at sleeping enough, i jumped at this chance and found myself in the very hilarious situation of working with the higher class proper types by day, and cleaning grease out of kitchen hoods/filters with the most modest by night! Never have i seen guys double take so well as when they nodded a casual greeting to the hood cleaners, and then returned quickly to stare at...what? a GIRL??? honestly guys, girls can handle getting dirty every now and then. (in fact, i tend to enjoy it...although this stuff was a bit more challenging as the chemical we used BURNS!!!) Just for one more odd job, i also was blessed to entertain kids (old and young at birthday parties and such as a clown! Fun times. :) It wasn't too hard to balance these jobs, although they sometimes got scheduled a LITTLE tight...as the picture below, left illustrates. The precious japanese woman who saw me hauling in grease cleaning equipment in my classy bibs, boots and gloves while covered in clown make-up was a bit more than entertained. :) i would have cleaned my face, no doubt, but had nothing to help in my car as i changed on my way to the job! i had been at the resort next door doing a birthday party for the head chairman of Nike guy (which was hilarious) and barely made it over in time to clean my least favorite of the greases...asian food...eeeewwww...much better to eat than to scrub! Trust me!!
I was blessed to work at this job throughout my time in hawaii...and live with the family who owned the business (one of the greatest blessings of all, no doubt). I did not stay at Dolphin Quest as long, which allowed me blessed time during the day for study, prayer, and fellowship. I brought Keoni along though....my dear, dear brother in the LORD whose transformation in the LORD from the day we met to now has become one of the greatest inspirations in my life. I learn so much from him, and if my time in hawaii had been soley for the purpose of knowing him, and then knowing him in the LORD, it would have been worth a lifetime.
I was between jobs destroying this grease on my last night in hawaii when the above sunset was romancing the land. With just over an hour to spare between assignments i was driving fast to get to some of those who became the best of family in Hawaii. Reflecting on my arrival 9 months prior, the loneliness of not knowing a SOUL on the island, brought tears which flowed freely as i was now grieving deeply the impending goodbyes to those i loved - who Loved me deeply in the LORD. Dinner, prayer, fellowship, lots of laughter...and finally tears at the necessary departure still echo in the most treasured places of my heart. The Love i was given by SO MANY in Hawaii overwhelms me still. We learned what family was, what it meant to fight for one another in the LORD. And then, after hearing more about Jerusalem than ever in my life while living in Hawaii, as we "the distant islands" rejoiced in the L-RD...i found myself on my way to this distant land. I knew not why, nor what i would do there...but was compelled by desires, events, and open doors along the way.
I went to Hawaii to be renewed...and found greater Joy, Peace, Hope, and LOVE, than i could have asked for. As i prepared to move on, i rejoiced through tears at the healing, inspiration, direction, and vision that had been granted MORE ABUNDANTLY than i could have dreamed. The blessed prayers of SO MANY whose names i could fill this page with are still in my heart, inspiring me onward as the direction of the LORD'S leading is revealed. What is waiting in Israel? Nervous, but excited i wondered about graduate school, volunteer opportunities...anything to allow me to embrace the history, culture, and people whose legacy fascinated so many of my thoughts.
Compelled by love, i listened to the song i'd learned to sing as i left yet another "home" (you know the kind..."homes" which give you a glimpse - a taste - of what HOME will be like! FULL of LOVE!) on earth, to"Follow Love" (FFH). "i'm gonna miss..." "but i know it's time to go...i must go and follow Love...i feel my heart movin' on...carry on while i'm gone...this is what i've been dreamin' of...i'll miss you so, but i must go and follow Love."
GOD is LOVE...HE is always only the ONE i follow when i go. Though at times i confuse the ancient paths with those that may appear "quicker" at times...i am learning and ever in training to pursue only that which HE has laid before me. I will fight the good fight...and by HIS Grace, through HIS Power...i will finish the race...and receive the Prize...the Prize of dwelling always - only - in HIS LOVE.
All those in Hawaii still...I miss you more than ever, and though i have seen wonders of the LORD, and returned for now from my trip to israel...i have only just begun to realize the depth to which i miss my life with you. I will post further...EXCITING...news about what events did transpire in Israel in future posts...though you may have all heard from me already. ;) I miss you very much, and long to be with you, though we are always together in HIS Spirit. May God bless you and keep you...may His face shine upon you...and give you peace...
"This is what the LORD says: 'Stand at the Crossroads and look, ask for the ancient paths, ask where the Good Way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls." Jer. 6:16
May 20, 2006
If you're going to know someone at all, you have to walk in their shoes. The middle-eastern struggle for peace is as old as time itself and the images flashed on every home television provide impersonal recognition of real issues at best. I long to taste, to touch, to embrace, to feel, to KNOW every reality as much as possible for the Glory of our Creator. I grieve any moment i look upon someone's sorrow and recognize clearly only that I am unable to connect in any way with them. Coming to the middle east has allowed the images on television to come closer to home, though i still long for greater compassion.
I was offered an opportunity to travel to Egypt after meeting up with a few people on their way there. I wasn't going to travel alone, but this opportunity was too much so i took this trip of a lifetime for a very brief moment.
Many details should be added, but we managed to arrive, to witness the struggle for survival in Israel's neighboring third world country, while rejoicing in the amazing architecture of the ancients. Did the israelites labor on the pyramids? Touching ancient clay bricks, much the same if not the very bricks israelites once toiled in bondage to make brought a greater connection to the past than many other events. To see the committment necessary overwhelmed me.
To struggle through the necessary police escorts, the obvious tourist tension, and the threats that seemed upon us (if we watched the news) was freeing in itself. We did have to be careful, there was a threat...this was what made me want to go. I'm so tired of any person being a distant understanding, and on this two day trek the LORD allowed me to see two muslim weddings, be invited into one gorgeous families home, go on a nile river dinner cruise, tour the pyramids, ride a camel, and feast on shish-kebab. Hallelujah...i love the arab people...i pray for their peace. Please do the same...it was a BLESSED trip. PRaise He who is More than WORTHY.
I'm back in Israel now, had a marvelous camping trip to mt. arbel last night around the galilee, and am curious to know what's next!!! i'll keep you posted...blessings in HIM.
May 13, 2006
Life has been good in Jerusalem. Never has friendship been more appreciated than the past few days...starting with the gracious hospitality of Geoff C who has been the best tour guide and friend around...and continuing with picking up two of the best friends a gal could hope for at the airport yesterday!!! Ben and Joy L. got in saturday, and we're hoping her luggage gets here as well...but other than that slight mishap, things have been AMAZING!!! the struggle of being here lost and alone was good for me, but it is SOO GOOD and that much more amazing to have friends here now. AND i've found a very cheap place to stay that is so much fun...lots of very interesting characters and i have had just odd/cool/good things happen one after another. Today was especially amazing, going to a messianic jewish service on sabbath, following seeing the MASSES at the western wall as sabbath began friday evening. Wow. more on that later. I love the sabbath routine. I loved riding the bus to Tel Aviv and talkign with a young jewish girl whose passion for the faith, the torah, and the sabbath overwhelmed me with joy! THere is much to learn.
The greatest thing of all i have learned so far is how much the jewish tradition enforces the need for COMMUNITY. "You cannot seek God alone...you must be with at least 10 people who can pray for you." Althought there is obviously more to be said about this, and of course the number of people can vary...the importance placed on being WITH people when seeking God has never been so real. And never have i longed for it so much as i did when i was in Jerusalem the first few days...ALONE. I'm so thankful for that time so that i can appreciate it all the more. He always provides, that i've never doubted.
All is well, life is good...this week is packed full of plans...oii vey. And for the record one of the new friends i've made has a very interesting involvement photographing the palestinian/israeli wall conflict. More on that in details when i get back, but check out these pictures from the stuff he's gone to just outside the city. I'm increasingly palestinian sympathetic...it's been so good to KNOW the people rather than seeing things you can't grasp on a television!!! Reality is always better. Tear gas though, really is quite annoying. http://www.travelblogger.net/members/sojourn2006/
I'm SOO Glad to have finally found a good, safe, community hostel. It's so good to pay less than $10 a night for a room, meet strange/fun/interesting people from all around the world, and to be increasingly amazed at how similar people are wherever!!! those palestinians throwing rocks on your evening news are REAL!!! They are quite nice too i would have you know...but passionate about things like life survival. Life is hard...i'm just THRILLED TO KNOW JESUS so that LIFE HAS MEANING. I can rejoice in the hard as i know it will make all things experienced more valuable...that has been experienced
Blessings to all, keep me in your prayers...every step of this life of mine is surprising, good, blessed, and CHALLENGING. More later...mostly wrote to say, all's well. :) Shalom.
May 12, 2006
It's easy to allow the wants of the flesh to blind us to what truly matters. Illusions in the world coat sugar over dung and offer us this "rich" treat - tempting at sight, sweet at first, but filled with all rubbish in the end. Our perspective should never lead us to desire what the world would offer in any manner and our hearts must therefore be continually examined less we fall into a pit without knowing.
The words of My Saviour are a great comfort at all times. To know His Truth allows all sorts of evil to be overcome, for the stark contrast of HIS Righteousness brings great Rejoicing! Sorrow it would be to forget the dark night and so deny the blessing of Light. Though I anticipate with tears of hope the day all darkness will flee away at the force of His Lightening...I wait in Hope because my heart has been renewed this day.
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."
May 9, 2006
He has BLESSEDLY revealed that to my heart and my strength is found in nothing else. My immedate arrival in Israel was not encouraging as my car rental price sky rocketed, loneliness took hold, and whew...i was about ready to book it back. Being exhausted did not help, but it was strange to feel so lonely. I have traveled alone so much, but here it is very challenging. There is so much to see and experience, and i hate to do it alone. Praise the Lord though, i finally found a Great place to stay at the Christ CHurch Guest House inside Jaffa Gate in teh Old City. I can't stay but a couple nights as it costs more than my budgetted hostel, but I took the blessing of a safe, comfortable, Christian place while i'm getting aquainted with the area. A nap and shower made life better and Jerusalem more inviting! At 6:30 i miraculously found the place i was meeting Geoff Carroll, an old aquainatance from ACU who is studying at the Hebrew University here in Jerusalem. He is now so a best friend...never have i been so glad to see a familiar face! We went to a Bible study that blew my world...they all so know Hebrew, though were all around my age and the conversations inspired me so very much. I LOVED not knowing what was going on! Often in Bible studies i get irritated longing for greater MEAT in the subject matter rather than rehashing what's been hashed long before. I treasure the simplicity of the basics, but long to be dumbfounded a bit more! It happened!
I lost my watch so this morning when the first light finally showed up i was ready to go, hoping it was 7:30 so i could eat and get on with the touring...adn it was hardly 6. Oops...so, more study time was allowed, and was so good, and now i'm off to the Temple Mount. Pray for my wrist please, i lost my brace so it's irritating me a bit...but not too bad considering. Typing always helps. :)
I'm eagerly anticipating having my own tour guide, Geoff later this day and week...and will keep you all informed. AND, while praying for my wrist...pray that i can figure out this bus system, ooooiii!!!
Love you all, miss you much and wish so much that any or ALL of you could be here with me now!! Yet, i treasure this time i have to seek the Lord, and have never been so thankful to have HIS presence always here.
LOVE, ALOHA, and MUCH SHALOM!!!!
May 7, 2006
I'm on my way to a brief visit at st. aldates having just left the Jesus Fellowship group whose love and family i have very much missed. its so amazing to be so loved all over this world! And, i got a few more addresses even there of places in Israel...that's good, i may afford this trip yet!!! i have to go catch a plane, i'll write more of the delicious time i've had in Oxford when i have another chance. All i can say for now is that the Hebrew University will have to be pretty incredible to get my dibs over returning to the program i looked at here in oxford!
I love you all, thank you for your prayers, please continue them!!!! Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, and Oxford, and every region that burns in your heart like a fire that will not go out!
April 23, 2006
The itinerant pattern my life leads me on has allowed me to embrace the greatness of horizons. There is so much to see, discover, explore...embrace! There is great beauty in the world, "but to behold it, you must carry it within you." The Lord teaches me that. Though i seem to be always going, I have learned inevitabley to embrace every moment I have, living each to its potential. While some may say my constant "wandering" is a sign of restless discontent, i argue that my situations have only allowed a greater understanding of the necessity to seize every day for all it is worth...for who are we to boast about tomorrow, we do not know what the next day will hold. Never knowing how long I will remain in one place before traveling on I sometimes sigh at my circumstance, longing for the contentment of being "settled." Saying goodbye to those I grow to love deeply is always so hard. However, the Lord's Grace has sustained me mightily through many tearful seperations and even as i prepare for others tomorrow, I anticipate great joy knowing that I have been allowed to meet more beautiful souls all around this world than many ever know in a life time.
Surrounded by a GREAT cloud of witnesses, I Praise God for giving me the opportunity to wander the earth as a stranger...in search always and everywhere for signs of my one true Home. I do get Homesick, I long for Heaven, the pain in this world is prevelant. I'm thankful for such longing...and I pray it may only increase until the Blessed day I bow before my King, and feel at Home. May we all hunger so deeply for His Presence that we do not for a moment become so content in ourselves that we cease to Long Desperately after Him. He will call us Home, He is preparing a place for us...and will gather us together under His Wing as He has so longed to do. He bids us come to Him, and find rest...Come to Him and find Peace...Come to Him and find the Feast for which we all have hunger.
'Lay down your sweet and weary head
Night is falling; you have come to journey's end
Sleep now and dream of the ones who came before
They are calling from across a distant shore
Why do you weep? What are these tears upon your face?
Soon you will see all of your fears will pass away
Safe in my arms, you're only sleeping
What can you see on the horizon?
Why do the white gulls call?
Across the Sea a pale moon rises
The ships have come to carry you home
And all will turn to silver glass
A light on the water, all souls pass
Hope fades into the world of night
Through shadows falling out of memory and time
Don't say we have come now to the end
White shores are calling, you and I will meet again
And you'll be here in my arms, just sleeping
What can you see on the horizon?
Why do the white gulls call?
Across the Sea a pale moon rises
The ships have come to carry you home
And all will turn to silver glass
A light on the water, grey ships pass Into the West.'
April 17, 2006
HALLELUJAH! CHRIST IS RISEN INDEED!!! The prophecy is fulfilled!!!!! The Saviour of the World has vacated the tomb of death that would bind us all to laws of world order, and has in Victory filled the vacancy in all hearts that would receive Him, that we would know emptiness no more! Rather, we are now called to follow our Rabbi, take up His cross, die to ourselves and know Life Eternal! HALLELUJAH for the FREEDOM CHIRST offers, the MERCY He shows, and the LOVE He so continually pours out!
"In faithfulness He will bring forth justice; he will not falter or be discouraged till He establishes justice on earth. In His law the islands will put their hope."
This Easter has been climactic of the time I have spent dedicated to the Lord while in Hawaii. Fleeing again the comforts of familiarity i escaped the faces, lives, and habits accustomed to existing in the land of ones birth, desiring more than anything to cling to Jesus, that I would truly know the Power of Living and Belonging in HIM.
The two years prior to graduation from ACU were some of the happiest, yet most challenging and heart-breaking times of my life...and the wounds did not seem to heal as i so earnestly desired. Longing to embrace the fullness of opportunity given in CHRIST, I determined to venture out over the waters to throw myself in a situation of pure dependance upon the LORD. I have found such situations necessary for conquering human inclinations to rely on oneself. Falling upon the mercy of God by allowing no other alternative provides the purest perspective of Life lived as the Beloved of Christ.
"If I rise on the Wings of the Dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast." Psalm 139:9,10
"I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul Rejoices in my God! For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of Righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels." Isaiah 61:10
The mystery of "Beloved" still enthralls me, and I do believe I am still very unable to recognize the possibility of such existence. We are a part of the BRIDE of Christ?!? Spoiled by the blessing of the LORD to receive Love and acceptance in immeasurable proportion no matter where in the world i travel, His Grace still confounds me as i battle the burden i fear to be to those whose Love is freely given. The more exalted i am, the more my fear will grow if i do not immediately surrender to the Most High - for i know i am not prepared to live up to expectations on earth. I am only knowlegable, passionate, zealous, or loving where the Lord frees me to be. I know what it is to be left out - unrecognized. I remain bewildered that I have been allowed to recognize what it is to be so cherished, and loved. I know my sin, my shortcoming. Surrounded all day today by people who love and respect me incredibly - though having only spent a short time with me - overwhelms me to tears again. I know, as do those who know me best, that i am far from worthy of any attention I receive. If anything is noticed, it is not my ability to pursue the Lord as i desire...but perhaps it is my shear Desire that enthralls. The Lord alone has blessed me with that, and HE has never rejected me, though i've given Him too many opportunities. I don't understand.
"When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. And he said to them, 'I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God."
After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, 'Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.' And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, 'This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.' In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, 'This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.' "
I celebrated the Resurrection of my Saviour, Jesus Christ, in the most remote islands this week. As far from Jerusalem as you get, i gathered for the Passover last week with those whose eyes have been opened. Those of us grafted in and those the Father called long before Christ all celebrated the Risen Lord together during a Seder Passover meal. It was so beautiful to fellowship with some who had been raised orthodox Jew, some even in Israel, who were now seated together with those depending on Christ for Salavation in a small chapel, in the most distant islands, celebrating the Risen Lord.
"Sing to the Lord a New Song, His praise from the ends of the earth, you who go down to the sea, and all that is in it, you islands, and all who live in them!" Isaiah 42:10
The officiating Rabbi with tears in his eyes explained, "There are three pieces of Matza (unleavened) Bread used during the Sedar. The second piece is broken, hidden, and brought back later - it is this piece we eat of. We never knew the meaning of this tradition. Now that i know the Messiah, Jesus Christ - I understand. Three parts of God; Father, Son, Holy Spirit. The middle part, Jesus Christ, broken, hidden, brought back." Hallelujah for the celebration and the gift it was to celebrate with so many the Grace it is to recognize our Lord as we dined together! No wonder they all soon jumped out of their seats and danced in traditional Jewish style, singing in Hebrew to my delight as we circled the room!! Hallelujah, it is Good to Rejoice!
"Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don't know where they have put him!' So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first..."
This morning I ran to the ocean, arriving out of breath as the disciples from on their way to examine an empty tomb. I did not find a lonely, empty tomb at the end of my run...but a large gathering of people...coming together from all over the island, setting aside differences to proclaim together Jesus Christ as the Risen Saviour. If the Church cannot come together on this day to Praise God for the Grace He has shown...then we need not meet anywhere at all. But today, most all of the churches claimed victory and did the what Jesus commanded...Loved one another. As the sunrise spilled rays of light over the mountains to greet our joy, we sang praises together, and worshipped in love, the One we Adore. The tomb remains empty, but our hearts will never be empty again!
"I am the Resurrection and the Life. He who believes in me will Live, even though he dies; and whoever Lives and Believes in me will never die!"
I believe His prayers continue today...may we pray with Him, in His precious Name, that the Father's Love would be poured out even more allowing sight to those stumbling, and drowning in the darkness...may His Grace overwhelm us - especially when we don't have sense enough to long for it. As great as our futility is to survive without committment to Him is His LOVE for us. May we surrender the convenience, and confusion of life lived for ourselves, and dedicate once for all, our lives to Him.
"Father, I want those You have given Me to be with Me where I am and to see My Glory, the Glory You have given Me because You Loved Me before the creation of the world. Righteous Father, though the world does not know You, I know You and they know that You have sent me. I have made You known to them, and will continue to make You known in order that the Love you have for Me may be in them and that I Myself may be in them."
April 11, 2006
Do not be afraid, O Daughter of Zion; see, your KING is coming, seated on a donkey's colt..."
The LORD has come! He has declared Himself King and invited us to His Banquet! HE has allowed us to Declare His Glory before all peoples! He has made us unable to be quiet about the GLORY of His Excellency!
It is such a treasure to travel across the world so many times, meeting people and learning always of different Truths revealed in different situations. The journey to spiritual maturity is rigorous and blessed...I am so grateful that the Lord has seen fit to allow me to hunger after more of His Presence...what a gift. May HE guide us all on each of our Journeys, whether we are in Hawaii, Texas, England, Japan, Africa, or anywhere else in all the world...for while in the world, we are in a battle...and there is VICTORY in JESUS.
"When HE came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began JOYFULLY to Praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: 'BLESSED is the KING who comes in the name of the LORD! PEACE in HEAVEN and GLORY in the HIGHEST!' Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, 'Teacher, rebuke your disciples!' ' I tell you the TRUTH, He replied, 'if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out!" Luke 19:37-40
I want to hear y'all all the way in hawaii!! JESUS IS LORD!!!!!!!!!!!!
April 3, 2006
It seemed the frequent rainstorms of late had allowed one more sunny day, so I got ready and headed down to the beach for morning worship. Hallelujah! What a priviledge to have fellowship! Service ended, I departed for some time alone with the LORD on "my" beach (a beautiful black sand, often overlooked and therefore often privite beach). I have treasured time to be outside, studying the waves and the pull of the ocean, writing poems as many seem inspired to do by the ocean. However, I still stand in awe, much more than I swim in peace! But, today, I dared to get in and swim for a while and found it more refreshing than imagined! (I know it sounds silly, i live in Hawaii, and rarely go swimming...it's true...i prefer being with LOTS of people, or in a kayak...I don't like the idea of being snuck up on by an large, ferocious goldfish.) But, it was good. Then I dropped off the work truck at my compadre's place, left him with instructions to pick me up when he caught up, and I headed north on my bike.
I have so enjoyed learning about Road biking. That lite little narrow wheeled wonder can fly, and requires a whole new discipline than I've mastered yet. But with pressure to get to the most northern resort, where the next job was, I made the best time yet on that bike!!! (I wondered later why I had rushed to get there, when all that's to great me is ungrateful GREASE...but, despite it's complaints, it is now shiny and spotless, thank you very much.)
"In a race, all the runners run, but only one gets the prize. Run in such a way as to get the prize...I beat my body and make it my slave so that in the end, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize!"
This verse has often encouraged me on my runs. On biking now, a discipline that requires greater time and therefore endurance, I have learned even more. I bike for discipline's sake, for exercise and health...and mostly to learn about that last portion of verse above from 1 Corinthians.
It is so easy to preach...so easy to know what needs to be done. It is so easy to write out a work out schedule, to know how to eat right and stay in shape. It is so NECESSARY TO DO IT. I like Nike's Slogan, "JUST DO IT." I like Yoda's wisdom to Luke Skywalker, "Try not, do, or do not." I treasure Jesus words, "Be perfect, as I AM PERFECT."
With HIM all goals are accomplished. Our (my God and I) goal is not to win next years Ironman Triathlon prize...though I'd love to finish it someday. Our goal is to get me, and all His children, to THE PRIZE. Salvation, the goal of our Faith...LOVE, the meaning of Life in Him.
Pray with me, that we would have the strength to pedal hard for that one last mile, though the sun is hot, the legs are burning, and the breath is short. Pray with me, for this is the only goal worth putting our energies toward.
Perseverance, Character, Hope, Love.
April 1, 2006
That being said, my posts may reflect what I have learned more in the future. My petition is this - as I share my heart, my joys and fears, please stand beside me in prayer, for i confess all in order to gain a closer walk with Jesus...and there is a Big battle going on.
All that is written in previous posts is true...but not the whole story. I need your prayers. I desire so earnestly to pursue the LORD with ALL my Heart, ALL my Strength, and ALL my Mind. I Need your prayers. I have struggled with many attacks common to man, and with some struggles it has become easier to habitully "fail the test." I Need Your Prayers.
Reading through an old journal of mine, i ran across an entry written November 29, 2005. This entry is repeated later, and to this day remains my prayer.
"My mind seems often in constant turmoil, striving to dicipher a path to take in the pursuit of my destiny. I long to have my foot firmly planted on the path which will produce abundant fruit in this life. I will not live this life in vain! My struggle continues though I dream all day about what I'd "love" to do. Hmm, i like the meaning behind that statement, "Love to do." Thats what I want my life to be about -> so in what manner will Love be done?? That's what I want - to Love - to invite healing, relationship, care...all that is LOVING...back into Life..."
My journalling continues with thoughts on Keoni, the young man I've had the priveledge of helping to disciple...and on to how much I still long to be discipled. I am tired of "being so spiritually mature." I'M NOT!!! I need mentors as much as the next person...if anything is unique, it's not how much i've excelled in pursuing the LORD, for I know I have fallen FAR FAR short of any measure imaginable...the only uniqueness that may stand out as maturity, is rather a Passionate LONGING for maturity. I stand on Grace, as anyone. I Long for the LORD to put in my path HIS people who will help to REFINE me so much more than I have been. I am greatful for this hunger...and longing for it's fulfillment.
"When I wake, I will be satisfied with seeing CHRIST'S Likeness."
March 30, 2006
My dad sent me this in a blessing he wrote me a while back. I don't remember when he wrote it down for me, or what the occasion was...but i do remember this quote. I like it...i do my best to live by it. Keeping always in mind, who the CAPTAIN IS!!!
My big time favorite, even more than the above...Acts 20:24...a verse that stays with me always...
"However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only i may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the Gospel of God's grace."
Pray that I, and we, may live by this always...from such I have never known greater joy!
I have, for the record, thoroughly enjoyed my time in Hawaii. My sabatical here has allowed me so many opportunities to meet a variety of people from all over the world! I though Oxford was a melting pot...but never have I been introduced to such a variety of cultures as on this island in the middle of the pacific! It's amazing to me how that works. One of the greatest blessings I have had since living here has been to attend Calvary Chapel Kona (click on title to view link). The fellowship meets every sunday morning on the beach...where breakfast for everyone, especially the homeless/needy is served...rice, eggs, sausage, tabasco sauce...what more could you want! Then, worship time, full drumset even on the beach...kind of interesting i must admit. Following the worship/singing time, we have Aloha time, a 20 minutish break to allow mingling, fellowship...and donuts. I love this addition to the worship service. Having the break in the middle, allows us to worship, unite, and then keep worshiping as we settle back under the trees, with the ocean just beyond while we listen to the sermon while gazing o'er the waters...seeing even an occasional jumping humpback whale!
Not only have I learned a lot about being available to people myself, but have received an amazing outpouring of love from everyone there. The picture posted above was taken at Issy's (the pastor) house. Keoni, and Daniel, Issy's son, are jumping off a Very high lava rock wall onto a NOT soft packed dirt mound. Daniel is the biggest dare devil i've ever known. I understand that young boys go crazy, but this kid is made of rubber. It's not uncommon to drive up to the house, see him on some railing of roof and watch him jump gracefully down from the ROOF, hop on an unbalanced 2x4, land on the steep driveway and run with all his strength for a hug and a kiss that always greets him! Daniel is such an awesome boy! I have threatened to bring him back with me to Texas, and would if I could, but his parents seem to like him as well! He is the only boy, surrounded by 3 sisters...Michelle, just younger than Daniel is on the wall looking down as well...as is Spencer, the son of the couple I live with.
I have been able to attend a variety of worship experiences over the past several years...and found blessings at all. I have also found frustrations with all...as is the sin of humanity. We all fall short of the Glory of God...and MUST help one another if we are to be the Church. Though I have never found a congregation that i can say I agree with and am pleased by all that they offer. I'm okay with this. There is so much more. It is about LOVE, and great Love is born of suffering, and struggling through things, with, and for each other. Our Saviour taught us this well. I have greatly appreciated the attitude of the pastor and congregation here in Hawaii...very rarely does a Sunday pass in which Issy has not led prayer calling for the Lord to bless ALL congregations meeting together. Even when i have KNOWN he doesn't agree or like a certain fellowships style, he communicates with a very optimistic, non condemning, always encouraging manor. May we all learn from this...it is edifying for the Church of Christ...there is only ONE.
Please keep me in your prayers as I seek to make wise decisions concerning my immediate future. God is good, I have enjoyed this time to study, rest, refresh, and Know Him. Thank you for your love and support.
March 28, 2006
Well, the anniversary went off well in Aloha land, in spite of rain and the neccesary mishaps that seem to join any planned occasion. :) It was fun to spend time with my parents and show them around the islands. Lanaii was a special treat for all of us...i hadn't seen that island, and it was such a blessing to visit the tranquility of that area. As Archie, long time family friend and our host on Lanai puts it, "If you can't find it on Lanai, you don't need it." With a couple upscale resorts, one nice restaurant, and a block of "town" Lanai has kept it simple allowing the beauty and peace to refresh all who invite it in.
In a world of "prosperity" and dollar chasing, simple pleasures often get overlooked. The beauty of being able to enjoy simplicity is paramount to the contented life everyone longs for. To be able to find rest no matte the situation - to find hope no matter where you are going.
March 7, 2006
I presently live in Hawaii, a place widely acclaimed as one of the most beautiful places on earth. Tag lines such as "Paradise" are never far from its identification. Rugged mountains, beautiful waters, diverse beaches, ancient lava flows and an ever flowing volcano characterize this "beautiful paradise." People save their entire lives, just to get here...the pinacle of vacations...the best to be hoped for.
I gazed out the window this afternoon o'er lava fields on the desert side of the Big Island, as a plane destined for Oahu carried me down the runway. Beauty was evident. The sun pouring over the waters reflected of the low clouds covering the coastline with a golden glow. Recognizing the Beauty i sat in awe as the plane soared into the air. Circling round to its proper course, the plane dipped to reveal the beauty of the entire coastline in full. As I rested in the beauty before me, the grumblings of many near passengers drifted around the cabin. Distracted by, "uncomfortable seats," "cloudy weather," "too much construction," and "too much turbulence," they were missing the beauty displayed before them! I felt inclined (as i often do) to tell them not to worry about such pettiness...to look with their eyes and see! And had i, they would have nodded to my enthusiasm, and dismissed me. (i've done it before).
Was beauty in the eye of the beholder? Did they recognize it as beautiful? I doubt they would have argued that it was pretty. My case in thought was to value Beauty as something far greater than what they eye might choose to acknowledge at a given time. A few months back, while driving with some "local" friends through lava fields I couldn't help but overflow with appreciation of the beauty of the intricucies in the the lava design. They laughed, not understanding me, saying, "most people just don't find beauty in the things you do." They laughed with appreciation though, and acknowledge longing for such enthusiasm, that i knew was a gift.
At least one of those in the car that day has learned to see such beauty when He received Christ into his life. Last week he commented to me about how such understanding of beauty has grown. Born and raised in Hawaii, the sights are all he has known, and yet they now have found greater meaning, and depth....and therefore he has found, and continues to find, greater appreciation, and satisfaction in recognizing not only the beauty of creation - but of The Creator.
Beauty is in the Heart of the Beholder. The Heart is the Wellspring of Life. I am not capable of understanding or recognizing Beauty. The world has destroyed every beautiful gift offered by making it a slave to vanity in various forms. And yet, the REDEMPTION of the LORD remains as near as ever. He invites us to join with Him in Rejoicing in His Beauty...to seek with the Eyes of Christ the Beauty He longs to reveal, in our surroundings, our fellowship, and our very lives. Unless He reigns in our hearts, we remain unable to appreciate the beauty that surrounds us. The enemy is a distractor, longing to pull our attentions to the wars, rumors of wars, tragedies and pains - distracting us completely from anything we have to be thankful for. The LORD does not wish us to turn a deaf ear to the pain in the world, but to meet it with LOVE...a LOVE born of HIM that draws the gaze Heavenward, thinking on things that are lovely, pure, and excellent. We are not of this world, Hallelujah. It is His miracle which allows us the grace to recognize HIM as Sovereign and King. By such Hope and Joy set before us to we endure the pain, scorning it's shame, taking up our cross daily to follow Him. That is Beauty. In the Heart, where Jesus dwells.
March 3, 2006
I am on my way to Honolulu to meet up with them on monday, to spend time with the dear Hanson family, and they arrive on Wednesday. Please keep us in your prayers as we travel and enjoy the beauty of the Lord!
February 14, 2006
I was so blessed to return from a wonderfully refreshing trip to Texas to find a home waiting for me in Hawaii! I was afraid that my time in Hawaii was drawing to a quick close as financial situations disagreed severly with housing opportunities. I came back expecting to sell my car and move on within the month, much to my chagrin, but have been overwhelmingly blessed to live in a beautiful house with the Gnauck family. Melanie, Andreas and 8 year old Spencer and I are enjoying a great family life in Hawaii...so much that I sent Andreas to Texas to visit my family. He is presently living in my old bedroom at my parents house...since i live in his, it was only fair! Actually, my Texas pride has overflowed so much that I have convinced them to move to Texas with me, and since we can't bear the thought of parting, they're considering it! Okay, maybe not just because of me, but they really may more to Texas...you all must meet them, and don't worry, Andreas doesn't always look so perplexed, (top right) just usually. :)
I am working at night for Andreas, the "man of the house," in a night cleaning business, which allows me the days free for study, learning, talking, writing, reading and adventuring!
It is so good to have time to dream and enjoy life...life is too precious to be missed! I walk around each day and see people walking around who don't seem to know what it means to be alive (so usually i try to tell them, which sometimes goes over better than others:). Seriously though, the more strangers i talk to and befriend, the more I am convinced that people are oft times waiting to be invited to live the life they long for. To dream beyond they hand they have been dealt. it is the most amazing thing I know of to watch someone become vulnerable to the reality of "MORE" and begin to chase after it. It is a vulnerability, for surely with dreams come disappointments, but...that's LIFE..and life is meant to be lived, and disappointment is an instrument used to dig great wells for joy to fill!
So, i'm seeking the Lord, wishing more and more for greater discipline to fully embrace the opportunity I have here, and I am daily coming closer (i hope) to an understanding of "what's next." that's the title of all my future chapters...what's next...I don't know what it means...exciting, isn't it??? As a young, older man encouraged me the other day, "uncertainty is the adventure of life!" I so agree with him...life itself is an adventure...and the sooner we realize that, the more content we will be. Life is hard. Life is not fair. Life is painful. Life is good.