March 30, 2006

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover..." ~Mark Twain

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!

Calvary Chapel Kona

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 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 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 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

25 years and counting...

Aren't they just so cute??? :) 25 years dear brother Keoni met them at the airport with a formal lei greeting! (picture is of us outside the house i live in now).

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

Beauty in the Heart of the Beholder

The oft' quoted statement, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder," seems to be used more often as an excuse, than a recognition. Such beauty is subject to opinion. Therefore, a fundamental "beauty" problem exists for those who appeal to Truth being absolute. I believe that Beauty exists in most every created is just waiting to be REVEALED.

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 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 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

Happy Silver Anniversary!!! I love you!

My parents are on their way very soon for their 25th Anniversary celebration...i'm excited! It has been so amazing to remember how much of a committment it takes to reach such a point in life. Talking with my siblings, we have been continually grateful for the love and nurture they have poured into each other and us all these years. May they be blessed abundantly for such an example, and may the Lord be pleased with the faithfulness they have learned from Him.

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!