"...be ye stedfast, unmoveable,
always abounding in the work of the Lord,
forasmuch as ye know that your labour is
not in vain in the Lord."

26 August 2014

Once upon a time there were two great big red wagon wheels...


Brendan (5 yrs) @ Green Gables Heritage Place, PEI, Canada- Summer, 2000.






Jonathan (9 years) @ Hartwick Pines, Michigan, USA - Summer, 2014

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You'd never guess they are brothers, would you?

25 August 2014

Encountering Jesus ~ It's your call! ~

I've heard it said this is a true story. I've also heard that the Navy denies it. Scopes says it is one of many versions of a joke that has been circulating since the 1930s. 

Whatever.

It doesn't matter because it still makes a good point, one we'd all be wise to learn and heed,  
Americans: "Please divert your course 15 degrees to the North to avoid a collision." 
Canadians: "Recommend you divert YOUR course 15 degrees to the South to avoid a collision." 
Americans: "This is the captain of a US Navy ship. I say again, divert YOUR course." 
Canadians: "No, I say again, you divert YOUR course." 
Americans: "THIS IS THE AIRCRAFT CARRIER USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN, THE SECOND LARGEST SHIP IN THE UNITED STATES' ATLANTIC FLEET. WE ARE ACCOMPANIED BY THREE DESTROYERS, THREE CRUISERS AND NUMEROUS SUPPORT VESSELS. I DEMAND THAT YOU CHANGE YOUR COURSE 15 DEGREES NORTH. THAT'S ONE-FIVE DEGREES NORTH, OR COUNTER MEASURES WILL BE UNDERTAKEN TO ENSURE THE SAFETY OF THIS SHIP." 
Canadians: "This is a lighthouse. Your call."


That story is the first thing that comes to mind, however, each time I read through this passage of Scripture and think about the response of Pharisees.
Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.” 
Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?" 
Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.
Reading this account, I wonder what Jesus saw as He looked into the humble, trusting, believing man, committing and confiding his heart and then compared that with the stubborn arrogance, anger and malice of the Pharisees. 

Jesus is a divider (remember John 9.16)... 

The One prophesied...
"He will be a holy place; for both Israel and Judah he will be a stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall. And for the people of Jerusalem he will be a trap and a snare." (Isaiah 8.14)
The One announced...
“Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel...so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.” (from Luke 2, Simeon's words)
The Offending Cornerstone...
Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, "The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone," and, "A stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall." They stumble because they disobey the message--which is also what they were destined for. (1 Peter 2.7-8)
That wasn't why He came. Jesus came to be humbled, to walk on this earth as one of us, to die and pay the penalty of our sins, to rise from the dead so that we too could live. Those who rejected Him and what He came to do invited judgment through a self-condemnation.

The same is true today. Those who reject Him and what He came to do invite judgment and thus condemn themselves.


We can see that self-condemnation in the Pharisees. They were convinced they didn't need anything because they could see. They thought they knew God. They were absolutely sure that they had a handle on truth. They decided that Jesus could not come from God. And if He didn't come from God and had such power, He had to be demonic. They were never going to admit that they couldn't see accurately or ably.

They couldn't have been more wrong. 

Their scornful spiritual sightlessness prevented them from actually encountering Jesus even as walked among them, stood and spoke with them.

MacArthur points out several terrifying details about those who are spiritually blind:
  1. They will receive judgment and they condemn themselves.
  2. They refuse to admit blindness.
  3. They reject the offer of light and sight when it is given.
  4. Their insistence on 20/20 spiritual vision only demonstrates the absolute spiritual blindness.
  5. They cannot see the depth and pervasiveness of their own sinfulness.
  6. Often, while the spiritually blind are blind to their own depravity, they are not blind to Truth.
  7. Spiritual blindness results in doom because their sin remains

The beggar seeking charity, the lowly outcast, the searcher longing for sight - I want to be that person.  I think one of the most sobering things in that list above is the fact that while the spiritually blind do not take note of their own need and their own sinfulness, they are not blind to Truth. They recognize it in an abstract way. They can say the right words... even look like they are living a right life... and yet they are blind to the most important fact of all:

We all need a Savior...

How many will miss encountering Him... because of arrogance and willful blindness?

John MacArthur's sermon link
 http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/43-51/the-hopelessness-of-the-stubbornly-blind

this week's gratitude list


(#'s 4762 - 4790)


a baby bobcat! seriously!!!

learning all about using a Chromebook

Rebekah getting to take a CPR/First Aid course

Listening to her make a salad to share with all the ladies

humongous zucchinis out of the garden

a new recipe called flourless zucchini pie and it was not only delightful, it was so easy

lots of hours for Bren at work this week

filming Anna doing her #icebucketchallenge

being so surprised that she was the first one to be called out and that she had the gumption to do it

watching Victoria research how to make her own homemade butter

teenage girls on canoe trips

a gift card to Bob Evans finally used

Jonathan's frenectomy is behind us

funny stories shared by a babysitting daughter

fourth and fifth grade boys hanging out together and the funny things they sometimes do and say

back rubs from my girlies

finally getting my physical behind me (now to schedule all the labs...)

liking the doctor - well, actually nurse practitioner - I went to see

Facebook chat with a new friend from Niger

little girls giggling in the back room

first volleyball tournament of the season

realizing the October vacation I've been looking forward to for several months now is really only weeks away

a friend in the hospital with pneumonia who seems to have turned a corner

seeing the missionaries that who had Ebola have been released and are treasuring time with their families

the miracle of health and healing

looking forward to seeing Nana next weekend

after 8 months, my wedding ring is finally repaired and back on my finger

car rides and friends

surprising our sis/sis-in-law with a birthday cake on her special day




Ten most recent posts in this series: 
Click here for all of the titles and their corresponding links in the Encountering Jesus series.

23 August 2014

Longevity in Ministry - If you don't want to shorten your ministry... obediently abide.

Four weeks ago, I started a series that I'm hoping will be both a challenge and encouragement to you, based off of a sermon by the senior pastor at my sending churchThe first post focused on that oxymoron that the God is sovereign, but that men are also responsible. Imagining those two truths as a horseshoe where, as mere humans, only see and comprehend the ends. God, on the other hand, looks at the whole and thus can see how two things that appear contradictory do actually work together. The second post considered one of the ends of that horseshoe: trusting God, not only because He is sovereign - but also because He is sufficient in that sovereignty.


Today's post will look at the other end of that horseshoe: Man's responsibility, which, to put it both succinctly and bluntly, is obedience. 

I have to be honest - this was the part of the sermon which made me most uncomfortable. I'm quite comfortable with working, doing my best, keeping busy and thinking that the success of any project with which I'm involved depends mostly on me - thus ignoring the sovereignty of God. I'm not so comfortable with the idea that I can be working like mad, doing what I think is best, exhausting myself for good causes... only to finally figure out that it has all been well-intentioned, but good intentions, careful planning and hard work have nothing to do with obedience or disobedience.

I think that is a position where exhausted, burning-out missionaries often find themselves.

I was driving to a doctor's appointment the other day. I'd just navigated a four-way stop and was back up to the 35 mph speed limit... cruising along, my thoughts flying along a lot faster than the car was moving. All of a sudden, the car behind me darted around then lurched back in front of me, cutting me off....

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Please join me over @ Missionary Mom's Companion, where I'm posting today, part three in a series on longevity in ministry.

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