Wednesday

Into the "?"

We're at MTI (missionary training international www.mti.org ) in Palmer Lake Colorado. For those of you who are as CO geography illiterate as me, that's just north of Colorado Springs. Also known as one of the most beautiful places on earth.

We are going through the SPLICE program (see web site for info) where we will gain skills for cross-cultural ministry. Today they had us draw (with our weak hand - my left -) a picture representing where we are in life. So I took a fuschia crayon (it was the sharpest, if crayons are ever really sharp) and drew a platform in the middle of the page surrounded by a cloud with a big "?" in the middle of it. To the left I drew (if you could call it that) a sort of fat stick figure of me leading Deacon-holding Jenny by the hand and leaping for the platform. To the right of the platform was a bright yellow light with a whole bunch of little fuschia people in it. Underneath us was a really awkward drawing of a hand which was supposed to represent God's hand upholding us as a family as we jumped out in faith. Oh, the little fuschia people are the folks in Guatemala the Lord wants us to serve.

cheesy huh?

What's funny though is that Jenny drew almost the same picture. And she wasn't looking at mine.

freaky huh?

We have a lot to chew on after today. The folks at MTI are attempting - and succeeding - to reveal how deeply rooted are our own cultural values. We're still processing it so to tell you details would just be confusing. But we are enjoying it.

And if anyone's going to be in Colorado Springs between now and June 30th, give us a holler.

Saturday

On the road again

SO.

We left yesterday and will be gone for 9 weeks.

That's a really long time! It seemed like forever ago that we would be going to Colorado for training and wham! Here we are. Too many exclamation points. Sorry! ! !

:-)

We have no idea how to prepare to be gone that long. We packed our car full and still forgot some things. Oh well. I don't reckon there will be a luggage in glory, right?

Oh, and by the way, when I said we'd cry at our last Bible study - I was right. Goodness. You never know how massively and deeply God has moved until other people tell you. How good is the Lord? How wonderful that our just showing up, praying and serving actually mattered. Whew. But there were tears. And tears hurt. Jude even cried. But it was good.

Thanks for those of you who pray for us. Please keep it up. I'll try to post almost daily in Colorado.

Sunday

Go west young man

So we leave Friday afternoon for 9 weeks.

We're going to Colorado Springs for 5 weeks to train at MTI (www.mti.org ).
After that we will be in Lubbock staying with Jenny's family, saying goodbye.

We hope to leave in September.

That reality is soaking in. Now I say soaking instead of sinking because it's more like we are being immersed than having something pushed down into us. And soaking just seems to fit a little better. But it's getting in either way.

We haven't cried that much yet. But Monday night will be our last Bible study. I have gone to the Farney's house every Monday (used to be wednesday) night - excepting 3 weeks every december - for 5 1/2 years. That's a lot of weeks. That's a lot of cookies and prayer and worship and hugs and tears. Real life meets God there and good things happen. And it's ok to cry.

I hope you'll pardon the analogy, but we feel like we are being birthed into ministry in Guatamala. We're scared, excited and a little naive. There is a lot of pain involved. There will be more. We will need to heal and pray and be taken care of by others. We must learn how to do life all over again. We cannot get through without the help of people and the power of God. There is risk, but the benefit after the ordeal...well, it's worth it.

A monumental comfort comes from knowing we will not be alone. The Lord Jesus Himself is with us. But He is not alone either. In His wisdom He knows we will need people. People praying. The people who read this blog and the people with whom they pray. The saints do not march alone. We march with a great army of saints upon our knees that the Lord Jesus would be glorified by the building up of His body and the worship of His saints.

So West we go. With a little boy who loves people and laughs and smiles and has my heart. He does not go alone either. In our arms he marches with us and so soon (Jesus save him!) he will march beside us and join the work of the gospel. But we do not march alone. We join millennia of saints. The march to glory happens one step at a time.


"My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken" Psalm 62:1-2

Just a closer walk with Thee...

Ok. So I’m going through Psalm 119. I love it! I mean, I look forward to it like, I don’t know. Christmas. I reading along and come to verse 55:

“O LORD, I remember Your name in the night, and I keep Your law.”

What’s so special?? I’ve read this verse I don’t know how many times and it’s never popped out to me. Ah, but God, He’s not containable is He? I can’t read His word which is “living and active” and expect never to learn something new from a passage I’ve been over bunches of time. God is so unexpected!

The phrase ‘in the night’ just won’t leave me alone. It’s not only in times of light and bright that I keep (or am supposed to keep) God’s law, remember His name. Jesus’ great commandment was NOT “Obey God”. It was “Love God with everything, all the time” Obedience is not the preamble to love. It is the encore. I’m not supposed to just obey God like some cosmic overlord. I’m so love Him as a person.

What???

>tangent<
AH! He is beyond me. He is outside of my ability to comprehend and yet He makes His home in me. He is not a conundrum, but He is above my categories.
>end tangent<

I am not supposed to love God part time. I cannot pick and choose when to love Him and thus to obey Him. Obedience is the fruit of love. How else can Jesus say, “If you love Me you will keep my commandments”? God’s word is not for the ‘good times’ only. No. Instead it is a “Lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (ps. 119:105 – what a great psalm!)

Why would I need a lamp in the daylight? Why do I need my path lit? Because it is “in the night”. I need light when it’s dark. See, I function as though the word of God is useful in happy times. I sing “God’s word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path” with a silly grin in my Sunday best so all the folks in church will think that I’m ok. That I’m obedient. But God doesn’t want obedient robots. He wants servant who love Him! I have it backwards!

Whatever ‘in the night’ looks like it is not clean-pressed Sunday best. It is dark. And probably lonely. And God is there for me to remember, to acknowledge that I am NOT alone and that I am NOT in the dark. When Jesus says to us, "I am with you always, even to the end of the age" He wasn't joking around. He wasn't being metaphorical. He is the light of the world. He is the Word made flesh. He is the light unto my path. In darkness, where better to focus than the light? Does that mean I'm not in the dark anymore? NO. But it means I'm not alone. It means there is a way even in the dark.

A.W. Tozer said, "God constantly encourages us to trust Him in the dark." I don't know what your dark is, but I know Christ is with you in it. He's with me in mine.