Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Blahginess!

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11 April 2011

Today is the day that I mourned for a son.

I grew up in a house mostly full of men and today I realized; no pictures of my son playing football, no posts about how fun it is to wrestle on the floor with my boy, no young man to sit and pour out what little accumulated wisdom and experience gained from my years.

Don’t cry. I’m not.

Because I know that, even though God has not graced me with a son (yet), I have so much. I have a beautiful and extremely intelligent daughter. She is healthy and strong. And what I and her mother lack in wisdom and experience, God graciously provides.

This isn’t so much about my daughter or lack of a son as it is about how God moves to fill us with things we never expected would be fulfilling. How God takes the voids in our lives and fills them so deeply that the thought of mourning for them feels like a waste of time.

Here’s a great song from a band I don’t know about. But for me today it speaks to the joy of knowing that in the voids of my life God has stepped in and covered them all.

 

What music is speaking to you today?

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Miracle

So I got an email update about a miracle that occurred in Niger. This occurred very recently.

…a blind man, he was Muslim – guided by his son, came to church. Since [he was] 2 years old he [has been] blind and the doctors told him – after an injury – that he will never see again.
So he took his son out of school, in order to be guided by him in the streets of Niamey to beg for their living.
A member of the church had invited him several times, but the blind man sent him always away.
Now he came and heard the gospel. At the end of the service, he accepted Jesus as his saviour. Pastor prayed for him, also for his eyes. The blind man went home. After 3 days, when he washed his face as usual in the morning, he saw a light and called his wife. “Is this the sun, I can see their?” – “Yes, wow, can you see?” The man washed once more his face and could see very clearly. The whole neighbourhood and even marabous came to see this miracle. They asked, how could this happen. The man answered: Jesus healed me. He is alive! He is God.
Last Sunday he came to witness about the healing. He said: we have to believe in Jesus, and accept, what he did and what he still wants to do! Last week I could only hear you, now I can see you. Now I do not have to beg any longer, I can go to work and my son can go back to school. Praise the Lord!
What a miracle indeed! A powerful reminder, as we celebrate the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. He is alive. He is calling all people. His glory if filling the earth.

 

Live and Let Lent

So this year for lent I thought I had come up with a purely genius idea.

Wait for it…

I decided to give up reading the Bible!

Yes. I know. Let me offer to you my logic.

1. It’s lent and lent is a time of preparation and anticipation of Christ’s resurrection. I thought that by giving up Bible reading I would be more in tune with what God was saying to me as I would be forced to “listen” more closely/carefully.

2. I work for a literacy mission (Literacy & Evangelism International or LEI). The whole premise for our ministry is to teach people how to read the Bible. So how great for me to “put my feet in their shoes.”

The result: initially I saw the whole thing as a fail. I only lasted  a few days and I was so desperate for reading God’s word that I decided I had to break my commitment. (Are you getting the irony of all this?) I was upset at myself for failing to keep my commitment to NOT read the Bible during lent. But here’s the deal. Once I got over all my pride I realized that God had shown me just how important reading the Bible is daily. Seriously, if you are a committed Christ follower, imagine what life would be like if you could not read a Bible.

Global Literacy Rates

By this map you can see just how much of the world’s population is affected by illiteracy. Even though the United States posts a 97% or greater literacy rate with a population of 300 million that’s at least 9 million who cannot read. The bottom line, we don’t have to travel to West Africa to be on the front lines of battling illiteracy (though certainly it is critical). There is plenty to do here in the U.S. And what better way to disciple a person than teaching them how to read!

The best part of this is that it is so easy to tutor a non-reader. Chances are your local library runs a literacy program where often there are far more students than tutors. Of course I am contractually obligated to let you know about LEI’s literacy tutor training. You can learn how to teach our bible-based English literacy curriculum Firm Foundations. If you are in the Tulsa area we have a training scheduled for next Tuesday (April 5th), Thursday (April 7th) and Saturday (April 9th). You can find out more by clicking here.

So there you go, my loss is your gain. My failure is your success.

But I’m curious, what’s your Lent fail?

Photo Mashup 3 (or 4?)

Photo Mash Up

A quick note about this series of photos. If you haven’t heard, we have experienced a wide extreme of weather here in Tulsa over the past month and a half. I think this series of photos encapsulates those swings quite nicely. I hope you enjoy!

IMPACT

I’m challenged this morning by these words:

“Live to make an impact, not an impression.”


15 Years

Today, 15 years ago, I took a chance. I picked up the phone, dialed the numbers and with perspiration on my hands and brow waited as the phone rang and rang. She wasn’t home yet, so I hung up and had to try again later. Boy, there’s something about risk. It seems that once you finally get the courage to move you have to start over again. So after what felt like an eternity I picked up the phone again and dialed the numbers. This time she was home and available. Now I was fully nervous and probably trying to overcompensate by acting really cool and aloof. In reality I wasn’t even sure what I was asking for, but the bottom line was she said yes and we had our first date.

February 14, 1996

I took her where I take all my prospective soul mates…Shoney’s. That is, after I wowed her with my map skills. Guys, you know you have a girls heart when she acts so excited and interested in the dorkiest of things. I’m living proof of this.

15 years later she still acts interested in my dorkiness and enjoys my company on cheap dates. I have to say that I never expected love to be so amazing and deep as the love that I have experienced from Missy.

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Half the Story…

Zacchaeus was a wee little man…a wee little man was he…

I love revisiting stories from the Bible that were so familiar to me as a child. Given his short stature Zacchaeus got creative and climbed a tree just so that he could get a glimpse of Jesus. This caught the attention of Jesus who called out to him to come down from the tree and invited himself over to his house for dinner. It’s a great story and I think it resonated with me as a child because I could identify with short people (I was, after all, a child). My recollections are centered around the emphasis of Zachaeus’ desperation to see Jesus. It is a great point.

How desperate are we to see Jesus?

But it is only half the story. Once the party moves to Zachaeus’ house, he makes a remarkable announcement:

“I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!” (Luke 19:8 NLT)

Half his wealth, and a pledge to payback anyone he cheated 4 times the amount. Not only did Zacchaeus see Jesus, he was radically changed by the encounter. There’s so much more to this story than a short little man trying to see Jesus. The aftermath of his encounter completely changed his life.

So really, how desperate are you to see Jesus?