Thursday, 27 May 2010

to Him who is able... do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine!
Ephesians 3:20

Team Dominican Republic
May 28 - July 23

Some things that you could join us in lifting before our Lord are:
- that God's great glory would be our motivation for service
- that His love would unite us
- that we would walk by faith and not by sight!
- that the joy of the Lord would be our strength
- that He would assist our tongues in Spanish
- that we would be an encouragement to the believers there
- that the lost would come to know God
- that God would give us great creativity as we work with children
- that He would bless the ministry of Makarios (check it out!)

Saturday, 22 May 2010

C.S. Lewis said some very true things in his lifetime. These two things stand out in particular tonight, as I have come to wholeheartedly agree with him in my lifetime.

He said, “A children's story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children's story in the slightest.” And, “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” {amen, brother. amen.}

These past few days have provided the time to enjoy both such luxuries. Even now, I’m sitting on the couch, with a cuppa to my left, and books to my right. Saturday is almost over, but certainly I can squeeze in a few more sips and a few more pages before the midnight hour strikes. So, I better write quickly.

Recently I have had my head buried in a children's Bible. but not just any children's Bible. noooo, no. It is, in fact, the best children's Bible ever. Period. Entitled: the Jesus Storybook Bible (Every story whispers His name). It is written, as well as illustrated, beautifully. I tell you... Sally Lloyd Jones and Jago make a phenomenal team. They both bring their unique, God-given talents to the book, Sally with her words, and Jago with her drawings. I love their combined creativity, and think you will to.

Going back to what C.S. Lewis said, the genius behind this children's Bible is that it is just as much an interesting and enlightening read for a twenty-one year old like myself. The back of it says Ages 4 & up. Yes, that would be correct... right on up to ages twenty, and thirty, and forty... etc. Its simplicity is refreshing, and it has done profound things for my soul. Page after colourful page, I am being reminded of God's very involved hand in history. To be honest, I feel like a child again in some ways. Excited and amazed afresh. The exodus and the incarnation have got me praising God anew, again! Great things He hath done.

Don't ever be fooled... Bible stories are not just for kids. They are for everybody. For interwoven through their plots is God's powerful and outstretched and gracious hand. Through and through. That is precisely what compels me to recommend it to you, dear reader. Whoever you are, get a copy. And see God's great story of salvation in every story.

Ah well, back to reading. Should I put another pot on?

Monday, 17 May 2010

ribbon roads

I present to you one of the sweetest, most romantic songs I know. I remember hearing it live a few years ago, and it has remained one of my favourite songs ever since. It speaks of the beautiful paths through Northern Ireland's emerald hills, where Keith and Kristyn would walk for miles.


wisdom in wrinkles

Billy and Betty are two of the most wonderful people I know. You met them a few posts ago. Remember? … that couple from Belfast, the ones that put the grand in grandparents. Well, they were here visiting my family for a few weeks. Those 'few weeks' were too short though, as usual, but definitely sweet, as usual... especially because they were here to celebrate my college graduation. It made the occasion all the more special, for sure.

Anyways, they are worth getting to know.

Ladies first…. I’m convinced that the chorus of When Irish Eyes Are Smiling was written about my grandmother. And I’m pretty sure that the tea industry has stayed in business all these years because of her too. She is the type of person whose presence lights up an entire room, and whose sense of humour gets along with everybody. You’re guaranteed a good laugh when Betty is around; there’s no doubt about that. The Bible says that a cheerful heart is good medicine. Well, let me tell you… if you could put Betty De Courcy in a bottle, a lot of sad people would be cured instantly.

Another thing I love about her is her collection of scarves. I imagine she has a whole wardrobe full of them, silky ones in a wide array of fantastic colours. And be sure, each one was a good bargain, for the lady knows how to shop a sale. She also knows how to tell a story, and has plenty of them, up both sleeves.

Betty lives life to the full, even in her seventies. Just the other day, we caught the train into Los Angeles for an afternoon at Olvera Street. Music was in the air as we walked from shop to shop. I decided to run over to the ‘churro stand’ to treat my grandparents to their first Mexican treat. The next thing I know, I look over to find a Mexican man in his sombrero, strumming his guitar, and my grannie clicking her heels and swaying her arms to his song. There she was, dancing and twirling in the middle of the street, for all the world to see. People passed by, smiled, clapped, and cheered on the dynamic duo. That is precisely why I love her dear-old-silly- self, for she is not embarrassed easily, and knows how to laugh at herself. The sooner one learns those traits, the better.

Her light-hearted approach to life is coupled with a serious side though, which has been wrought by life experience. I know, from her stories, that the Lord has a bottle of her tears collected. However, He deemed these tears necessary for her growth. And so they were. It was through those heartaches and hurdles that Betty became the woman that she is today, a woman who has learned to trust her great God. She wrote me this in my graduation card – “Like Abraham, you are going into unchartered waters, but fear not for God has been already there.” Wisdom like that, from a woman who has gone through her fair share of unchartered waters, is invaluable. I am the grateful recipient of such wisdom.

Now, meet my grandfather… Never in my life have I known somebody to enjoy music so much. I tell you, the man thrives on a good song or composition. He eats, sleeps, and breathes music. He’s near turning eighty years of age, and I believe that music has played a role in keeping him so well for so long. His taste is broad and interesting, and he is more than eager to share his findings with any pair of ears willing to listen.

Billy is well-traveled and reads extensively. His favourite country is Germany; his favourite book, Pilgrim’s Progress; his favourite writer, good ole C.H. Spurgeon. No wonder he is so insightful. He would eat Chinese food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if he could, and appreciates good chocolate, especially European chocolate. He has lived most of his life on the rough side of town, which the Lord has used to chisel and mold him into the strong man of conviction that he is. He has a work ethic that is hard to match, and a laugh that cannot be rivaled. It bellows deep from within, and has come to be one of my favourite laughs in the world. It is unusual and contagious. Best of all, he has been a dependable servant of the Lord since his twenties, when the Lord saved and transformed his life. He faithfully attends and serves at the tiny neighbourhood church, weekly.

To encapsulate Billy in one word, I would say, loyal. He is a loyal follower of God. He has been loyal to God’s church. He has been loyal to his wife and children. He has been loyal to his employers, and loyal to his friends. That quality is rare these days; loyal people are hard to come by. So, I am grateful for my grandfather. I appreciate that he is a man of few words, because he is busy walking the walk. I admire that he doesn’t have to be the center of attention. In fact, he would much rather sit back, listen, and learn. And I love that he makes God look great in the quiet way that he trusts Him, day in and day out.

God has put these two in my life to help me, and help me, they have. I think of the hymn written by Keith and Kristyn Getty, which speaks of “saints of old still line the way, retelling triumphs of His grace.” Billy and Betty are two such saints of old. They have heeded God and told the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, His power, and the wonders He has done.
(Psalm 78:4)

I'm glad that God's people are multi-generational. I have so much still to learn.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

daily prayer

“Lord, break the chains that hold me to myself; free me to be Your happy slave – that is, to be the happy foot-washer of anyone today who needs his feet washed, his supper cooked, his faults overlooked, his work commended, his failure forgiven, his grief consoled, or his button sewed on. Let me not imagine that my love for You is very great if I am unwilling to do for a human-being something very small.
- Elisabeth Elliot

Monday, 3 May 2010

God moments

A friend of mine has been encouraging me to look for special ways in which God ministers to me during the day. He calls them God moments. They happen all the time, because God is always up to something, as my dad says. It’s just a matter of whether we notice them or not.

This morning I woke up tired, like most college students during exam week. Lord knows how many times I hit the snooze button. When I finally mustered up the energy to roll out of bed, I landed both feet on the floor grudgingly. The window was open and the birds were singing their same sweet song, but I didn’t feel like joining them. Bible verses deck my room walls, but all I could see was today’s intimidating to-do list, and I wasn’t excited. In fact, I was downright miserable. All I wanted to do was crawl back into bed and hide under the warm covers. But everything was about to change on my way to the bathroom, toothbrush in hand…

There was a beautiful big sunflower smiling at me, outside my door. It stood there, tall and confident, looking at me with its usual cheerful boldness. I could not help but return the smile, and laugh to myself. “Seriously, of all flowers, and of all days, it just had to be a sunflower today!” Here’s why. Just recently I learned (from another friend) that sunflowers are phototropic and heliotropic, meaning that they reach for the sun and that their movements pursue the sun. Put simply – their face follows the sun as it moves across the sky, hence its name, the sunflower. Go figure, huh?

So what does all that mumbo jumbo have to do with my morning? Well, it had everything to do with my morning. The sunflower was a timely reminder from God teaching me to look to Jesus. Then the Spirit brought to mind one of my favourite verses.

Those who look to Him are radiant.
Psalm 34:5

Meeting Mr. Sunflower (whose middle name is Radiant, I suspect) has been the best part of my day today... my God moment of the morning, if you will. Although the to-do list hasn’t disappeared (yet!) and I’m still feeling tired, I am encouraged. While the situation hasn’t changed, my focus has… praise the Lord! I resolved then and there to face this last week of school, facing towards the Son. Oh, there is great joy and strength in looking to Jesus.

Thank God, for your God moment today.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Meet Billy and Betty, from Belfast. This is them on their wedding day.
(March 22, 1958)

They put the grand in grandparents; and they put a smile on my face.

I could not be more excited that they are here for my graduation.