Saturday

thoughts and whatnot

Boy, I've really fallen behind on blogging. Of course, its not my job to blog, but I know I ought to post more than once a week.

Random thoughts coming:

There's been mucho consternation on various blogs this week regarding things at my beloved home church. Please pray for the leaders. The weakest point of the church is that it is managed by humans and we have a tendency to make a mess of things. On the whole, we're lousy stewards. But God is really good at using lousy. But that's a really big issue so, I'll leave it at that.

I spent most of my childhood watching the Texas Rangers not win, especially in the post season. This season they look pretty good, but they've done that before. And then comes the All-Star break and they slip below .500 and there it goes again. We shall see. Call me after the break.

The weather here has been amazing. Sunny all day with highs in the mid 70's. We got a ton of rain Tuesday and none since. It'll come back, but I'm enjoying the sun. Good time to dry our the sand.

That reminds me...anyone here have a good solution for wet sand in a sand box? I didn't get the lid on right and it got wet and now smells like Pirates of the Caribbean. The ride, not the movie. Anyway, I pulled half into the lid and stirred it yesterday in the sun and hopefully that will help.

Monday I drive to the City to get Kelley (an intern staying with us) and Jerry (a missionary moving here - hey Jerry!) and I'm really pumped about it. Kelley will be with us for 5 weeks or so, just living with us and experiencing life in another culture. Jerry and his family are trying to decide where the Lord is leading them and is visiting to take a look at things. Both are fantastic people and I look forward to the drive and time with them. Tuesday we're going to a prayer meeting that gives us a good excuse to use the 4x4. I can't wait.

I have been thinking a lot about what other people believe and how those things do not line up with what I believe and then thinking, of course, how I am so sure that what I believe is the truth. It forces me to evaluate why I believe what I believe and to decide what things are worth fighting for and for what things I give wiggle room.

The list of things I'd die for is not really all that long, honestly. I'm not going to die to defend the rapture. I believe it's true, but it's not as important as say, who Jesus is. I could be wrong about the rapture. I don't think I am, but it's possible. I am not wrong about who Jesus is. He is God and He is a man. I can't explain all the issues around that. Jesus will say, "well done good and faithful servant" not "well done logical explainer of all the questions" to those who remain...faithful. Not to those who can answer every question. I do need answers to some things: The hope that I have, how we must be saved, who God is, and why love even matters. There are more, of course, but those questions have a lifetime of answers. Some of which I have, others not.

But I do know some things. I know them because God has revealed them. I know that He loves me (and you) and that He has taken care of what was separating us from Him. I know that I trust Him that what He has done is enough. And I know that He is with me. Always, He is with me. And I know that the same rules apply to all of us. I didn't make the rules. Humans don't make God's rules. We obey them. And I know that obedience is sweet and delightful and freeing because the One whom I obey is good and the giver of goodness, sweetness, delightfulness and freedom.

That's enough for me today.

My baby girl is poopy and wants me to read Fuzzy Fuzzy Fuzzy! to her. I'm going to enjoy that.

Tuesday

And a week later

Jenny did a wonderful job teaching the pastor's wives. There were some strange looks when they broke into small groups and not everyone participated (not everyone spoke Spanish...2 or 3 of the women understand Spanish but speak Mam, their Mayan language) but overall they had a good time.

While Jenny taught about Sarah, I played soccer.

The pastors just all ran out to a soccer field and started a game. Guys in slacks and dress shoes playing the world's most popular sport. I went to play defense so I would not have to run and demonstrate again my out-of-shapeness. And most of the action was on my end of the field. I spent most of time getting burned by men older than me. And I got a hands penalty in the goal box, leading to a penalty kick. But it was fun. I'm just used to using my hands in Football, so it was reactionary to try to grab the ball. Not a good skill in Soccer.

We also had the pastor's in the area over to our home for a prayer meeting. I lead a Bible study of Psalm 103 and it was just amazing to give those guys a few directions on observation, interpretation and application, and they went to town. It was so much fun. An hour was not enough time. But it makes me SO excited to keep working with and learning from these guys. What fun.

I have a whole lot on my mind....but most of that I can't put on this blog.

Oh...one thing I can...CONGRATULATIONs Dagliesh Family! Welcome baby Asher.

fun times

We (the whole family) are going to a town called Tejutla today so Jenny can teach at a Pastor's Wives conference. How fun is that? We're loading up and driving about 2 hours. We'll get to sing and get to know lots of folks and Jenny is SO nervous so, please pray for her. She's talking on the story of Sarah and we are praying the ladies are encouraged and the Lord honored by what she says.

I'll get to take lots of pics and I'll post them later.

Saturday

A Hero is Coming

The world needs a hero.

We look all over for one. We make them up in red capes and pressed suits. We find them in stories and movies but they're not real. They don't do anything. We look to our leaders and tell them to save us. We vote for men and women and we think they can make things right.

They always seem to fail us.

Think about all the hero songs. Everyone from Chris Rice to Tina Turner has a hero song. We tell counselors to fix us and doctors to make us well. We try to buy enough things to convince ourselves and delude ourselves away from the terrifying reality that we need, above all other things, a hero. Because we cannot, no matter how great our technology or how magnanimous the personality, make our world right again, rid it of evil, and end the ever deluging tide swell of human suffering.

We remain a people in need.

We need our hero.

And He is coming.

I read the Bible and I see a God who loves us and who made us and loved us so much that He created us with the great power to choose Him or to choose evil. We mostly choose the latter. He was not content to leave us to the just penalty of our decisions. Instead, because of His great love for us who keep choosing evil, He became one of us and lived and breathed and ate and suffered the temptations and limitations and depredations of being human. And when He claimed to be the one we've all been looking for, when He looked at those around Him and said, "I am your hero", they took Him and beat Him and tore the skin form his back. They mocked him and spat upon the face of He who came to save us and the took him and nailed him to a dirty board and stripped our Hero of all the dignity His eternity has earned Him.

And there our hero died.

But our hero did not come merely to die and prove to us how evil we can be. We, locked in a the prison cave of our own evil desires and actions, and guarded by a dragon so fierce and purely evil that he once looked God in the face and told He who created him that he deserved to rule as God.

And that dragon laughed when we nailed our hero to that cross. He laughed because he knew that we would always kill our hero. That we would always choose to destroy ourselves instead of loving one another. That we would condemn ourselves to eternal torment rather than say we needed the hero we search for in every place, in every story, in every one who says they can save us.

But our hero did not stay down. He rose. He conquered death and the grave and by His great love for us slew the dragon who kept us where we thought we wanted to be. And He freed us. He crashed through the walls and broke us from our chains and said to us, "I have set you free. Follow Me."

And He left us to tell the story of what He has done. But He has not left us forever. He is coming. Our hero. My hero. He is coming back to save us and to make all things right. He will not wear a red cape or a dark suit. He will ride instead on a white horse and His name is Faithful and True. He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.

And He is coming.

He is my hero.

Come soon, my Hero. Come soon.

Tuesday

thoughts on maturity

My good friend and mentor, Mike Messerli, had a blog about what a mature Christian looks like and I wanted to share with some of you what I thought. I'd appreciate input from you readers.

In 1 Cor 4:16 Paul said (paraphrasing here), "Look at me if you want to see what a mature Christian looks like." Imitate me.

I think that it is an enormous failure in our churches that people don't know what a mature believer is supposed to look like. It is here too. We are so very caught up in doing that we are forget that doing flows from being. We are disciples and we are to behave a certain way. Disciples behave like Christ. At least we're supposed to. And we are in the process of being made in the very image of Christ.

Two friends of ours here, Dave and Helen Ekstrom, are 84 and 83 and when they drop in for a visit Jenny and I stop whatever we are doing and just chat with them. Someone needs to write their stories down. Anyway, when they leave, we are just amazed. We feel like we have been spending time with Jesus. As we thought about that, we realized that those two people are more like Christ than anyone we have ever met. Being with them feels very much like being with Jesus.

How frustrating for people to not know WHO they are supposed to be like! We are supposed to imitate our Savior and it doesn't take much searching in the Bible to see what He is like. Our process is the person of Christ. He is the genesis, the process, and the goal. He is all and in all so that in all things He will be first.

There are numerous lists to describe how a believer should behave, but the reality of it is that we are to be like Christ. Period. That's our model. Paul modeled Christ and so he could just say, "Imitate me". The catch is that following Christ has a cost that most of us simply do not want to pay. Our comfort is just too valuable. I too am in this process. I have great days where I am really depending upon the Lord. And I have days where I act like a 3 year old. I hope those days at least become fewer as I grow older.

I have been challenged by Mike to write down Dave and Helen's story. Maybe someone has already done that. But someone needs to do it. All that to say, if anyone here has experience writing a biography, please let me know. We'll see them in Friday. And we're looking forward to it.

Saturday

On toots and T-Rexes

Our son is 3 and close-to-a-half so it's just fun when he talks. He was not going down well at night so we started limiting his afternoon nap to an hour and a half so he'll go to sleep without full-on riot police intervention.

Jenny woke him up yesterday and he rolled up into the sitting position, nap sweaty with his blankie in hand, looked Jenny dead in the eyes and said, "That T-Rex is gonna have to run a lot faster than that to catch me."

Atta boy!

I'd love to have a 3 year old's dreams.

Of course he also passes gas and walks up to me and says, "Daddy. Smell it. Smell the stinky. Smell it."

Boys.

I'm glad my wife has a brother so she hasn't been just utterly shocked.

Wednesday

boy that was fun

Man that was fun.

I'm no Chuck Swindoll, but it sure was fun. The regional council travels to various churches every month to have a time of prayer and worship at that church. It's a time for area pastors to meet and be encouraged and hear what the needs are at that particular church and pray for them.

We met at 9:30 or so and sang songs. Then we took praises and we all prayed. And everybody gets on their knees. Then we took requests and a few women who had come shared requests from the body and for their families. We prayed for this little boy in a wheelchair. We laid hands on these people and prayed for them. I tell you what, the US church could learn a few things about prayer from these Guatemalans. We so often make prayer this stale, formal thing. We worry more about how we sound than to Whom we are praying. And these men and women corporately cry out to the God who hears them. They talk and cry and pour their hearts out before the Living Christ and the Father and the Holy Spirit and it is truly amazing. I wish I could video it but that would somehow cheapen the beauty of it.

So we prayed until 11:15 or so and then took a break where I ate this REALLY good epanada. Wow. And then at 11:30 it was time. So I just did what you do when you preach and teach. There were 25 or so folks there and it was a wonderful interactive time. The Word of God is living and active. Do you know that? It's not some stale book we read from. It's the words of the Living God and man, I tell you, when the Lord is teaching His people, it is an amazing thing to be a part of. I hope you are at a place that really teaches the Bible , at least on some level. In a class or Sunday School or at a home Bible study. Something. Because if you are not interacting with other believers and in community being taught the Bible you are missing out!

So the next meeting is June 2nd and they asked me to teach then as well. I can't wait! It's just...it's a heck of a lot of fun. I can't believe this is my job.

Tuesday

OK then

Well I'm off this morning to a pastor's meeting. I only have to drive about an hour to San Marcos where I'll probably get lost (ask the Coreanos - they know) and it's from 9-1 or so and apparently I'll preach sometime during it. I'll let you know how it went. Please pray for me! One, that I don't get lost and two that the Lord is glorified and the pastors encouraged. It will be fun but I admit I'm nervous. But the guys are really neat...you ought to meet some of 'em.




Sunday

Sunday School house rock. Or why you open a door during an earthquake.

Jenny and I were in Sunday School today when a 6.1 earthquake rumbled and shook for what seemed like half an hour. You can head to this really cool USGA website to check out details. Along with weather I love me some geology!

Anyway, things started shaking and rattling and I leaned over to Jenny and said, "Just watch the Guatemalans and do what they do". And they sat there for 10 seconds or so and then about half of them started getting up to check on their kids during the quake so up went Jenny. A lady said, "Tranquilo" which means, "Everybody stay calm" and the quake stopped. The kid's probably didn't even know it happened.

We learned that during an earthquake you always open the doors or they can get stuck, trapping you indoors. So next time it starts shaking at night, we're opening the kid's doors so they...well, we're opening their doors.

Just thought you'd like to know what happened at church today.

Saturday

power perspective

It's Saturday morning. You faithful bloggers know that my son and I are up watching cartoons. Todays menu: A Bug's Life - In Spanish. Again, Disney does a great dub.

I am very excited and nervous and hopeful and anxious (in a good sort of way) because Tuesday I get the opportunity to preach for the first time at a pastor's prayer meeting. I'm nervous for several reasons: 1. It's my first time to preach in Spanish. 2. Expectations are high for me. This second one is an assumption caused by conversations with people. I think some of these pastors think I am smarter and more knowledgeable than I am. There are many better teachers, more talented preachers, more educated, more experienced. But...I'm here. So, I'll do. And this is why I was nervous.

Until I started studying the passage.

But before I did that, man, I tell you, I could not figure out what to teach. I talked to the Lord and asked Jenny and went over a half dozen passages trying to find the right thing to teach. Something to encourage these pastors. And I got nothin' Drew a blank. For days on end. Ever had that happen? It's really frustrating.

And then some friends of ours dropped by for a surprise visit. They live 5 hours from here and are wonderful saints. Wow. Just a 30 minute visit. And so we were talking and I shared my struggle and one of the passages and they were so excited. Excited! They poured encouragement into my heart. It's incredibly powerful and I had no idea how thirsty I was for it. I mean, it was amazing. Have you ever needed encouragement but didn't think to ask for it and then get some when you needed it most? There's a reason the Bible tells us to encourage one another.

So yesterday I spent the day in Colossians 1:15-29. Wow. W O W. I invite you to read it.

There's this method of outlining a passage grammatically where you break it down into main and subordinate clauses to figure out the correct interpretation based on the grammatical structure of the passage. Sounds fun, right? IT IS! If you want, I'll teach you. It's addicting. Anyway, I hadn't done it in quite some time because, well, I haven't taught in awhile.

Anyway, v.15-18 are about Christ being 1st in all things. You have got to read it.

v. 21-22 say this:
1And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, 22yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach--

Paul goes on to explain how he has suffered on behalf of the church and then to talk about the mystery of the gospel is Christ in us. I'm really skimming over things here to get to my point, but then he says,

v. 28-29 We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. 29For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.

All this took 4-5 hours of digging etc, but late yesterday afternoon it hit me. Christ reconciled us to Him in order to present us before Himself holy and blameless and beyond reproach. We proclaim Christ (not some philosophy or method or doctrine but the Person of Jesus Christ) so that we may present everyone complete in Him. Jesus wants us to share in His very work! Can you believe that? Oh, the responsibility of it hit me like the roof had cave in and caused me to shove away from my desk put my head in my hands and say, "Oh no!"

But then, as Dave Semmelbeck taught me, I kept reading. The very power of the same Jesus magnified and glorified above all else in verses 15-19..His power mightily works within us.

Can you believe that? AMAZING! Just amazing.

Whew. So. I'm not nervous anymore. Will I make mistakes? Yes. Will I not have the right word in Spanish? Yes. But that's ok. Because the power of Christ, Who is in me, Who is my hope of glory, mightily works within me.

And in you.

Let's get to work.