31 July 2020 - floating holiday

so good to reach our destination and be able to spend time with family. right in time for the nba restart and the return of skinny melo. how you spend your time waiting matters. some journeys may be very long but so worth it when you reach your goal. oh there will be setbacks. the call may seem too hard. but how much more - "it will be worth it all, when we see Jesus."

29 July 2020 - an epic road trip

if you ever get the chance, i recommend driving across the country with your family. it is quite an amazing experience seeing so many sights, experiencing different parts of the country and creating memories together. whenever i drive across the country there are always so many animals seen from the road at various junctures that i can't help but think of the cattle on a thousand hills. "for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird in the mountains, and the insects in the fields are mine." from psalm 50.
we didn't have time this trip for many additional stops, but in addition to hitting some yet unvisited states, we did get to go to one national park. but we were amazed even before we got there, driving up a mountain, seeing God's creation.
"The Mighty One, God, the Lord, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to where it sets." _This_ is my Father's world.

9 July 2020 - He's strong for the weight of the world

"This is no load for one person to bear Just one is able, just one anywhere Only Lord Jesus His back strong and square Can carry the weight of the world. . .
I’ll take it all to King Jesus in prayer He’s strong for the weight of the world." katy

5 July 2020 - life and health

from Proverbs 4, "The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble. . .[Your words] are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body. Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it."

22 June 2020 - on what you owe your neighbor

"Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act." Proverbs 3:27
in the Keller's book on the Proverbs they mention that the word good refers to tangible material goods and to whom it is due means the owners. our call to be good stewards is in contrast with the message our culture shares that what we have is all ours. the world is God's and He loves its people.
"The bread which you keep belongs to the hungry; the coats in your closet, to the naked; those shoes. . .to the shoeless; the gold you have hidden. . .to the needy. Therefore, as often as you were able to help others, and refused, so often did you do them wrong." Basil the Great

14 June 2020 - our days ordained by God

came across a blog post from someone i used to be in sg with that was quite the entry for an actuary to read. "We don’t live by probabilities and chance. We live under the loving, wise, and sovereign rule of our Creator and Redeemer God." It should not be surprising that our mortality assumptions never come out right at work. Not even the sparrow falls apart from Him. Our days ordained. "All things, in fact, come to us not by chance but from his fatherly hand."

23 May 2020 - not the time to sleep

oh the glorious news of the gospel... "God has -not- destined us for wrath" I Thess. 5. suffering, yes. but because of Christ we know God has not destined us to bear wrath. Jesus, the great sin bearer, already took the wrath of God for us.
"Christ died for us, that, living and dying, we might be his; that we might live to him while we are here, and live with him when we go hence."

15 May 2020 - double wave

various passages from a book we sometimes read.
"God never changes. Our friends change. Some have to move away to other places. But God never changes... God never changes. Flowers change. They are bright and colourful but then they wither. God never changes... God never changes, but we do... God never changes. He is the same yesterday and today and forever. God never changes."

9 May 2020 - remembering our refuge and strength

it is easy to think of psalm 46 when trials loom large...
"God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble.
-Therefore- we will not fear, though the earth gives way,
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea"
remember what He has done. This God is our fortress. Kingdoms fall. But He is unchanging. He will be exalted in the earth.

5 May 2020 - a sad verse

"The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk," Revelation 9:20

29 April 2020 - precious pains

it appears that i've already quoted all of my favorite lewis poems here in their entirety. but i haven't quoted pieces of two separate poems together. so here we are.
"Out little spear that stabs! ... Thou gav'st man The tether and pang of the particular,"
"I see the chasm. And everything you are was making My heart into a bridge by which I might get back From exile, and grow man. And now the bridge is breaking.
For this I bless you as the ruin falls. The pains You give me are more precious than all other gains."

27 April 2020 - little bits

from a happened upon library book read in small doses while waiting on the kids... "what you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while." some projects seem too daunting to even start tackling, but can still be accomplished in consistent little bits. sleep. the act of acknowledging a child's frustration about what they can't have at the moment/their present difficulty goes a long way. "the days are long but the years are short."

24 April 2020 - my every good thing

"When all these starts Start feeling like these ends, Like the world is unraveling And I'm bound to come undone, There is a Shepherd, a Priest, There is a Comforter who comforts me. And my soul finds rest Where it makes no sense. . .

Lay your burden down upon Down upon Him
Lay your burden down..." hillsong united

12 April 2020 - resurrection trade-ins

singing out, "Someday I'll trade in this guitar For a city of golden praise Someday I won't be here any longer Someday, yeah
But this is what I have been given And I will make the best I can There's a joy we find in living And a love that's in Your hand"

if you have traded in a car you know how difficult it can be to get much value for it. when my old, broken down, first car got towed away they were going to charge me to to pick it up. i said - what if i don't pick it up? they said - no charge. of course i got nothing on that trade. on my last trade-in i had to walk away in negotiations just to get blue book value for it... which still of course, left quite a lot remaining to pay for my used, but less old vehicle that i was getting. but the resurrection trade-ins... when we trade in our old, broken down, pained bodies for our glorious new ones. and it's like our present sufferings cannot even compare to the glory to be revealed. man. . .

10 April 2020 - that Head

listening to - "O sacred Head, now wounded, With grief and shame weighed down; Now scornfully surrounded With thorns, thine only crown..."

"the Head that once was crowned with thorns, is crowned with glory now. . ."

4 April 2020 - let it happen

"i don't hold what the future holds but i know You hold my future" switchfoot

22 March 2020 - that we might not rely on ourselves but on God

pastor steve bringing it, like in the wayback.
preaching 2 Cor. 1 - "We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened so that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted to us in answer to the prayers of many."

13 March 2020 - 32 + 38 =

not the usual birthday week, but thankful for a chance to double celebrate with the birthday buddies on the other side of the fam.

11 March 2020 - in the face of death, live

nba season suddenly suspended.

Lewis on living in an era of fear... "‘How are we to live in an atomic age?’ I am tempted to reply: ‘Why, as you would have lived in the sixteenth century when the plague visited London almost every year, or as you would have lived in a Viking age when raiders from Scandinavia might land and cut your throat any night; or indeed, as you are already living in an age of cancer, an age of syphilis, an age of paralysis, an age of air raids, an age of railway accidents, an age of motor accidents.’
In other words, do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation. Believe me, dear sir or madam, you and all whom you love were already sentenced to death before the atomic bomb was invented: and quite a high percentage of us were going to die in unpleasant ways. . .
The first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb, when it comes, find us doing sensible and human things -- praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts -- not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs."

5 March 2020 - on looking forward

from pj, "a pastor once said, 'I'm not looking forward to death because I'm tired of living but because I'm tired of dying and looking forward to finally living.'"

27 February 2020 - Man of Sorrows

our family started off Lent singing this one, "Man of Sorrows! what a name For the Son of God, who came Ruined sinners to reclaim: Hallelujah! What a Saviour!"

21 February 2020 - on where to store your extra stuff

it was good to hear Sinclair preach on Luke 12, the lesser read parallel passage of the second half of Matthew 6. what struck me this time was that this passage comes right after the Foolish Farmer passage (of Read Aloud Bible story fame). guess who doesn't have a barn? the birds!
there is a contrast between those storing things up for themselves but who are not rich toward God and the call to sell your possessions and give to the poor, creating treasures for yourself that will never fail.

he also said - any Australian can tell you not to worry ("no worries, mate"). the implication being that the power in this passage doesn't come from just the words, but from Who is telling you not to worry about your life, your body. it is the same Father God who knows every hair on your head.

19 February 2020 - preaching to ourselves

“Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself? Take those thoughts that have come to you the moment you wake up in the morning. You have not originated them, but they are talking to you. They bring back the problems of yesterday when someone is talking. Who is talking to you? Yourself is talking to you... Now, this man’s treatment in Psalm 42 was this – instead of allowing this self to talk to him, he starts talking to himself. ‘Why art thou cast down, O my soul?’ he asks. His soul that had been depressing him, crushing him. So, he stands up and says, ‘Self, listen for moment, I will speak to you.’” D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

8 February 2020 - love like how/who

quick hits from ephesians 5 study - it is the head that directs. Easier to submit to someone when you know you are loved.

6 February 2020 - coming to life

"...and all these years I spent in the graveyard weeping but i feel blood pouring through these veins after all and I feel blood washing through these stains after all and I am coming to life. . .
You are the breath I breathe you hold me to belief You died so I could be alive and free from me and I am coming to life" more from The Normals

3 February 2020 - all joy and no fun

took a lot of notes from this recent library read. but what stood out the most were the insights on why children act the way they do and how so very different they are than me (in more ways than i would have suspected). suddenly a lot of things made more sense. the highly distracted unfocused attention is a brain development thing that explains why putting on shoes to leave is no easy matter. they are emotion not logic, they are right now not later. and they do not like my hurry, that i have already seen. learning through questions... and messes. and i also read about what we have to look forward to - adolescence. when the brain overestimates risk but assigns greater value to reward without long-term consequences. a time to feel so much. . .and learn from experiences. hoping to learn how to provide safe venues for risk and experience in this time of excesses. the growing happens in so many more ways than what i can tell from my measuring tape. as i watch them learn, hopefully i will too. and entrust them to the Redeemer of stories.

31 January 2020 - SOTM

"and your answer to my questions is be still and know...that I Am and I Am Love"

24 January 2020 - on learning how to love in the deepest of ways

"It is for people whom we care nothing about that we demand happiness on any terms: with our friends, our lovers, our children, we are exacting and would rather see them suffer much than be happy in contemptible and estranging modes." Lewis describes well the difference between kindness and love. And for me, it is much easier to be kind rather than do the hard work of love. Soft love comes easier such that we even try to pin it on our view of God. But God is "not a senile benevolence that drowsily wishes you to be happy in your own way, not the cold philanthropy of a conscientious magistrate, nor the care of a host who feels responsible for the comfort of his guests, but the consuming fire Himself, the Love that made the worlds, persistent as the artist's love for his work and despotic as a man's love for a dog, provident and venerable as a father's love for a child, jealous, inexorable, exacting as love between the sexes." a consolation amidst my soft love, God's perfect love.

16 January 2020 - working, walking and taking solace

studying Proverbs this year. here are three:
"ill-gotten treasures are of no value but righteousness delivers from death."
"He who gathers crops in summer is a prudent son, but he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son."
"Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm."

1 January 2020 - 2019: year in review

it was a year where twenty loomed large, not just work but college too. but the new jobs were not mine, God providing in unexpected ways for us once again. finished writing book seven in seven years and then on to the even bigger challenge of back to studying for one more go at exams. a mostly successful return to gardens year. preschool starts, worship team return, an uncle moving back home and reading through the entire purple Bible. ten dates once more, including surprise, getaways, party and some really good food.
year in trips: maine with fam and friends, seattle, annapolis, NoVA visits, strathmere, retreat, WV (stars just never work out there), NJ, lancaster, hotel getaways, DC, and long island.
year in food: sweet lightning dew, jello hearts, pigs in a blanket, bainbridge ice cream flavors, pb reeses pb cookies, chorizo burger, pizza hut trips, SLK, toasted marshmallow sodas, and you know i could keep going about other pizzas, korean food, or wattamelon roll, etc., etc.
all of wifey's siblings visiting at least once. Our faithful parents, too. CA, NY and even a Hawaiian surprise.
free flow time: golden gardens, picking strawberries, cadillac mountain, awesome sauce, vehicle game, back pain, action chugger, praying together, my first cave, well named access card, rahul, new bike, trellis, sick taxi day, a first tooth lost, parents 50 yrs & plans, friday lunches, thinking back, rainy sundays, stuff swap bday, finding mello, overdue first meetings, astros soccer and coach, earphones, more libraries, my super cool watch, study benefits, yee banner, a soccer fail, do not eat bad kimchi, hb crown, munchkins <> bulletins, stolen, long preschool transition, couch time, absurd pick 12, school process, music thinking, woozy doozy, hkrs, researching options, bball watching, rittenhouse, textable connection, busycrazyness, annual traditions, spanish club, life group, voting elsewhere, triennial check, concerns, surprise and specials, kid's first fireworks to end the year.
so much happens in a year. hands so full of gifts i can't hold them all. His love reaches to the heavens, His faithfulness to the skies.

29 December 2019 - call and response

Do you feel the world is broken?
(We do)
Do you feel the shadows deepen?
(We do)
But do you know that all the dark won't stop the light from getting through?
(We do)
Do you wish that you could see it all made new?
(We do) . . .
Is He worthy? Is He worthy?
Of all blessing and honor and glory
He is!

27 December 2019 - we need to love everybody, always

from vacation reading while in virginia, "There's no school to learn how to love your neighbor, just the house next door. No one expects us to love them flawlessly, but we can love them fearlessly, furiously, and unreasonably."
the call to love is well known, but what i appreciated about this book is all the pictures it showed of what that could look like. medals, balloons, as well as providing for the most practical of needs, telling others who they are, and so much more. does it seem too challenging? start with those in front of you. consider what delights you, use your imagination, and realize what doors are already open. love is a long road to walk. but you don't do it all at once. try to love now. then do it again.

14 December 2019 - always singing

the singing of hymns and spiritual songs is a gospel ordinance. and it is with good reason. amidst so many other things to be filled with, we should not be satisfied with just a little of the Spirit. songs have a unique way of bringing words to life as well as making them easily accessible for others. what a way to fill souls with great joy, strength, and courage...

6 December 2019 - here i raise my Ebenezer; here by Thy great help I’ve come

false memories existing is crazy enough... but even more so that our certainty of what happened is not the best indicator of knowing what actually happened. you may have seen this when you confidently remember the same thing differently from someone else just as confident.
and yet, our memories are a gift. we may not get all the details right, but we remember the story. my story has been one of God's faithfulness. and i'm thankful for all the chances i've had to document life over the years. when i read what i wrote of what actually happened, how God was working in the midst of everything, it is always so encouraging. and so we should all the more set up stones of remembrance so we do not forget. O to remember not for days, or even years, but for generations... how God has been our great Help.

27 November 2019 - on singing into others' lives

"ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for _them_."

"A mighty fortress is our God,
a bulwark never failing;
our helper He, amid the flood
of mortal ills prevailing. . .
Did we in our own strength confide,
our striving would be losing,
were not the right Man on our side,
the Man of God's own choosing."

17 November 2019 - the biggest bottle there is

could it be? we finally finished animal sprinkles from an era when i still had birthday parties. i have many of these not-very-perishable items that seem to last an exceptionally long time to the point i can't help but wonder for some of them - do they somehow have some special property that helps them never run out? but one by one, they do.
but i have read of something that doesn't run out. no matter how much is poured out, even if you spill the bottle. as it says in the JSB - No matter what, in spite of everything, God loves His children with a Never-Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love.

15 November 2019 - but You know me

finally reached the stage of life where realization sinks in of how little others might care even about your really interesting things. times of not being known well make the words of Psalm 139 stand out all the more.
"You have searched me, Lord, and You know me. . .You are familiar with all my ways. . .How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them!"

14 November 2019 - another timely return

of course the news would come today. melo is back. after how many google searches hoping for news? because as i realized again i saw his last game 11/8/18. and his return comes at the end of a double adoption day full of celebration where i got to be home. "waiting does not diminish us." enlarged in the waiting. right timing feels so good.

09 November 2019 - living as dearly loved

a good way to end our Bible study... "Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with Him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn't love in order to get something from us but to give everything of Himself to us. Love like that."

8 November 2019 - a blessing in the storm

"You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you." a take on Matthew 5:4

31 October 2019 - if love does, what do we do?

bookstore reading, trying to gain more insight...
see what interests your heart, and do that thing. you may not even realize most others don't care about that subject as much as you do. you may have heard this quote, "The kind of work God usually calls you to is the kind of work (a) that you need most to do and (b) that the world most needs to have done. ... The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet" F. Buechner
Consider the secret thread (mentioned by Lewis) that ties together the things you love, your deep desires...And as TK put - everyone has something that moves them so that they long for heaven or the future kingdom of God.

20 October 2019 - what's in your hand?

God asked Moses, "What is that in your hand?" And as we consider what it means for us to be on mission with God, wherever we are, that is also a good question to ask. What's in your hand. . . that you can use for the glory of God? What is it about where God has you now that can be a venue for others to see the wonders of His love?

12 October 2019 - i put on...

have you ever gotten really sweaty and dirty, and then had the nice to glorious feeling of taking a shower and cleaning up? would you then put back on your old wet clothes?? sometimes we work to put off some behavior of our old life, but we are called to both put off misdeeds as well as to put on the new self. put off grabbing and hoarding put on giving and sharing. put off lies and tearing down and put on truth and building up, words of grace. put off a self seeking way of life and put on a kingdom seeking, others loving, quest for His righteousness.

18 September 2019 - music to my ears

in some ways, we exchange gifts all the time, sharing our different dispositions and talents for the sake of each other and the family. But on this day, there were actual gifts for each other of various kinds - the beautiful to the practical, the symbolic to the tasty dinner for all. thoughtful words to the ability to listen and sing along as i run or wash dishes. friendship and love.

14 September 2019 - ephesians 4 - we are the body, growing up in every way

different gifts, different views, different maturity levels, different callings, different trials, different ways to worship.
one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all.
like rods bound together, not all the same, but stronger together.
He conquered those who had conquered us - sin, devil, death. Christ led captivity captive. . .and He gave gifts to men.

08 September 2019 - our lives are better to left to God

sorting all music on my computer... including a find from long, long ago, when my home town was country.
"And now, I'm glad I didn't know
The way it all would end, the way it all would go
Our lives are better left to chance
I could have missed the pain, but I'da had to miss the dance"

01 September 2019 - love does

in Virginia, an exciting book find helped me to think about what it looks like to love. in my life i've seen it the most in actions of others. an unexpected car delivery, verses for my wall, coming over to pray, packing a bag and staying over, calling every single day. . . and i, too, learned to love as i went along, the importance of being there, going, making yourself available. it can be going to a game or going on a plane, sitting on a couch or finding someone at a bookstore, rearranging important plans or planes, trains and automobiles. as that song goes that i sang once upon a time. . . i will be here. perhaps the most up close translation of - i will be there.

28 August 2019 - ecclesiastes quite fitting for 8.28

there's a right time for everything ibnlt birth .. death, cry .. laugh, search .. count losses, hold on .. let go.
and later - God arranges for both kinds of days so that we won’t take anything for granted.

27 August 2019 - you can pick my book

rather than each picking their own book, my kids recently started telling me that i could pick which book i read for them before bed. of course, part of me is glad in the freedom knowing it is now much less likely we will be reading a long not-so-great book that we have read many times before. but it is also a task i have had to grow into. "you can pick my book, but pick a really, really good one" - the saying has come to be. i now have to know my children well and consider a great many factors to find a set of books that will please everyone. and it's on the best days, with multiple comments of - "i like the book you picked for me" that it is easiest to consider the 'how much more'. how so much more is God's love for us, grounded in his perfect knowledge, able to provide for us when we let Him "pick our book". even if we are doubtful upon glancing the cover, He is not limited by three bookshelves and whatever library books are on hand but rather He can draw from vast resources and provide just what we need in the moment. It is good to turn to Him and not just be constrained to our own perceptions.

4 August 2019 - on who you are becoming

ps 135 - those who make and trust [gods] become like them.
pr 1 - when you grab all you can get, that's what happens: the more you get, the less you are

3 August 2019 - upon finding similar quotes in different books around the same time

"crying is all right in its way while it lasts. But you have to stop sooner or later, and then you still have to decide what to do." silver chair

"a person can only cry so long and then he has to do something else with his time." a tree grows in brooklyn

2 August 2019 - on reaching a big milestone

made it to 20 years at work. . .fitting time for a first real show of appreciation at the office. yet, managed to be outdone by the fam, who already enables me to enjoy this career, and yet still knows how to celebrate well with me.
thankful for the friends, still thankful for the opportunity, the sticking with me in those early years, and thankful to have a job like this.
trusting God will continue to show His faithfulness in the days ahead, wherever the road may lead.

24 July 2019 - while enjoying vacation

"When you put us through the fire... our dearest idols go up in smoke."
"We make our pile, and then we leave it."
"Yet in His largeness nothing gets lost."
"God is great - everything works together for his servant."
"His love is the wonder of the world."
from various Psalms, The Message

21 July 2019 - on how to really talk to God

it can be a challenge teaching children about prayer. there are thank you prayers, help prayers, sorry prayers, and praise prayers - yes. but prayers are closer to songs or poems than math equations. the psalms can be helpful in the ways that they give voice to honest feelings. we can pray the prayers of others and grow in honestly and thoroughly sharing our hearts with a holy God.

14 July 2019 - Name above all names

"You have no rival
You have no equal
Now and forever God You reign. . ."

11 July 2019 - on singing on a mountain by the ocean

made it to acadia with the whole family.
"How could I say there is no God - when all around creation calls. A singing bird, a mighty tree, the vast expanse of open sea..."
"You're the rock of the ages, You're the balm of Gilead. Make us strong and courageous, heal the wounds that we've had..."

4 July 2019 - marching on

we had our own parade. "America! America! [May] God shed His grace on thee, and crown they good with brotherhood, from sea to shining sea!"
"As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free, while God is marching on. Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! His truth is marching on."

16 June 2019 - who through life has been my Guide

Inordinate anxiety may visit, but He gives me grace for every trial. Feeds me with the living Bread. Thankful for a very nice Father's day weekend, culminating with how nice a good meal feels.

11 June 2019 - what He went through, in my place

"'Send a couple rats, ' said Julia. I'd have done the same thing to you." mwY
upon understanding the reference, i think about how Jesus amazingly had the opposite reaction in the face of betrayal and facing something extremely hard to go through. instead of selling out, or taking an easy way out when facing his biggest fear, He gave Himself in our place.

05 June 2019 - timing is not everything

listened to a book musing on the origins of time keeping. in our culture we probably don't even realize how much of what we do is tied to what time it is. the first time i ever left the country was on a visit to jamaica, and it was memorable seeing how stores and restaurants there were clearly not tied to opening and closing times like they were where i was from. of course, having more set times has some value, mostly from an efficiency standpoint. but there is also value to putting people and love first. being on time is a good value, but that doesn't make it always the best. Jesus was not focused on hurrying from one thing to the next. He lived a purposeful life full of love, powered by solitude. our society has grown in efficiencies but some of these have made it harder for us to take the long time needed to love well.
"there is a reason God limits our days... to make each one precious." the book also touched on the topic of how long we live and people's attempts to change the timing. this sense of time does not have to be a burden on us, our lives our in His hands. there is a time for everything. let us be joyful, do good, work hard and enjoy God's gifts to us.

20 May 2019 - on kids from hard places

"9 times out of 10 the story behind the misbehaviour won't make you angry; it will break your heart."

15 May 2019 - on long lost prayers

"I gave you a land on which you had not labored and cities that you had not built, and you dwell in them. You eat the fruit of vineyards and olive orchards that you did not plant." Joshua 24:13
There is a tree grown from the smallest of seeds that becomes so large that the birds of the air come and makes nests in its branches.

9 May 2019 - i have a gentle Shepherd who carries me everywhere

one way David was a good king was how often he asked God for guidance. David prayed, and God led him. but one particular time in 1 Samuel 23, he prays about what specific people will do. based on the response he gets - they will do thus and so, he took action. and then based on his action the aforementioned people did not do thus and so.
this passage blows me away as i try and ponder about what this means about prayer and guidance. we don't have the same vantage point as God, but we still communicate and he speaks to us at a specific moment in time. we pray about things down the road but that in turn impacts what happens right now. but isn't that how we're lead? step by step. "A man's steps are from the Lord; how then can man understand his way?" we're in relationship with a really good, wise, gentle Shepherd who gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart.

4 May 2019 - the manifold wisdom of God

the greek word for mystery does not mean what we think of when we hear the word 'mystery' today. what Paul is talking about in ephesians 3 is something revealed by God because we would never discover it. the gospel is an astonishing counter intuitive wonder. the more you look into it, the more wisdom and grace you see in it. the more you live by it, the more freeing it is.
it is through christian community that the world can most readily see what God has intended for mankind. all of Paul's churches were riddled with trouble and yet he's saying it is indispensable to have the church for the world to understand the brilliance of the gospel.

29 April 2019 - till we see the other side

"i've got a feeling the darkness won't last very long. We will sing... till the earth echoes the heavens. Sing His praise till we see the other side."

21 April 2019 - the shadow of death

TK quotes a Barnhouse story - he was driving his children on the day of the funeral service of their mother when a large truck passed by, casting a noticeable shadow on the car. He said something like this, "Would you rather be hit by the truck or by its shadow?" "By the shadow of course. That can't hurt us at all", his daughter replied.
Dr. Barnhouse replied, "Right. If the truck doesn't hit you, but only its shadow, then you are fine. Well, it was only the shadow of death that went over your mother. She's actually alive ⎯ more alive than we are. And that's because two thousand years ago, the real truck of death hit Jesus. And because death crushed Jesus, and we believe in him, now the only thing that can come over us is the shadow of death, and the shadow of death is but my entrance into glory."

19 April 2019 - good good friday

morning sermons included pastor paul beckoning back to his philly days, "They don't know! It's only Friday. But Sunday's coming..."

7 April 2019 - i give Thee back the life i owe

after a particularly long day, i got to watch a movie with some beautiful pictures of the gospel. the movie is about a lone survivor of a car crash, which was his fault, dealing with the weight of that, including the what did i do to deserve this and the giving back the life i owe. the protagonist checked into people's lives to see who was deserving of getting a gift that could really help them. and yet, for us, if someone could see our no one looking moments, or inside our hearts, we are not deserving. and yet, we were lavished with such grace. my favorite scene of the movie was when a mom with two kids who had just been removed from a very difficult situation were given a beachfront house; while hard to portray well, the faces upon entering the house, jumping on the bed and running to the beach painted quite a picture of grace.
the imperfect main character gave his actual heart so that another might live. there was a greater Life laid down, whose heart was pierced. the movie showed the impact loving one person can make. oh to really know the One who said - greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for his friends. to love even just one person with _that_. every day is a gift - let us strive to love well.

16 March 2019 - on being outside of community

when is a time in your life you've felt like an outsider? how did it feel? in the second half of Ephesians 2, Paul describes what has happened when the outsiders were no longer on the outside looking in. in Christ, Jews and Gentiles were made one. two divisions of men, who were wont to malign, to hate, and to reproach each other before, were reconciled. The call is a call to remember. We were not let in to keep the door closed. But to welcome, to open wide. . .

14 March 2019 - bananas foster pi

"love is like pi, natural, irrational, and very important."

13 March 2019 - on help that is good

everybody off this year for the centerpiece celebrations of birthday month. a fitting time to revisit some old sermon notes... no one needs help doing nothing. you don't need a helper unless you have something to do. you gotta know how you're going to wear the love for God you have.
thankful for a good helper. needing to remember the challenging call, that it is selfish to let your spouse live a selfish life. as opposed to ministering and doing the work and giving the necessary attention to be a good steward.
it is i who've been given a wonderful gift.

23 February 2019 - a work of art

what do you think of when you think of a great work of art? tonight we discussed this from several points of view. great art points to the artist. but an artist sees the value of all of his art. in Ephesians it says - we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works... We don't always see the value of other people, but all are God's creation. a call to see not only the art in others, but to see all we're intended to be, what we were designed for.

17 February 2019 - arranging our lives towards growth

Sunday capped off a great weekend. One of the opening activities of the church retreat was to think about things you do every day, every week, every month, every year. . .what are yours? It's likely that there may be more of these than you realize. But as the weekend went on we thought about how building in even more framework through intentionality can be helpful to a spiritual life. Some things tend to not happen often without a designated time for them.

14 February 2019 - Love has a name

"there's an answer to every question mark. there's a Name. . .
Love has a Name. Love has a Name. Jesus."

8 February 2019 - when popcorn is huge

i am very curious about how kids come to like the things they like, what interests them in the long term. i do remember watching basketball with my dad when i was young and the chance we had to go to a few nba games (and bring popcorn with us). my oldest son got to go to his third sixers game with me and we had the biggest popcorn i've ever seen. it can be hard to predict which interests will stay and grow and which will never really develop. but, while the basketball (and popcorn) has changed over the years, the relationship building through special time together stays the same.

16 January 2019 - the bill has been paid

answered prayer, after many many phone calls, finding the bill, that is my responsibility, has finally been paid by someone else (as it should have been based on my son's coverage). such relief. and of course, in another sense, quite a picture of the christian life. a bill that had come due. final notice. but i had no ability to make the payment. all i could do was ask and ask that the payment be made for me. and it was. oh yes, "all my bills have been paid. thank You so much for all the wonderful".

6 January 2019 - Bible reading meets busy season

Genesis 3 and the very ground is cursed. The pain of work, the ground sprouting thorns and weeds. . .sweating in the fields from dawn to dusk. a fitting time for this passage, amidst the busiest time of the year at work. but also, as we say often at work - "Nothing is easy." It's not really a coincidence all the things at work that just don't go right at all.

31 December 2018 - year in review: 2018

it was a year of transition, still adjusting as a family of five. and helped greatly in the first half of the year, having an aunt live with us. actually finally having more dates, though several were short. made it through many sicknesses, which can't be catalogued here, 2 surgeries - one expected, one not, and the youngest kids slowly learning how to be dropped off at class. lots and lots of doctors visits and related bills, yet also seeing God's great provision in getting them taken care of. a season of Wednesdays at home to help with the transition and some memorable outings. a return to Bible in a year, finishing today.
two baptisms. and writing children's book #6.
year in travel held visiting family trips: seattle x3, VA x4 incl. KD, princeton x 3.5, work meetings: long island, allentown, dc. shore getaway. annual retreat. fam trip to columbus via WV. and road trip crew to DC/VA.
friends and family visiting from: seattle, cali, va, nova, hawaii, ny, nj and the harvest fields of undisclosed locations across the world.
year in food ibnlt: moon grapes, stuffed crust, guanabana mandarin juice, the return of broccoli rabe pasta, holiday brew, grilled taeji and pink reese hearts.
and by now, you know how we do. . .freeflow: best friend, the return of ddr, sloth cake, home alone, parent - teacher bball, unfortunate medicine, galaxy champions! WC watching, ER visit, NK books, bike lock freeing, juggling win, collection angst, pizza from siblings, new phone excitement, holiday and other traditions, melodrama, respite care, bear hat, yee picnic, parasites, lots of speech therapy, free end of jan. celebration, smile cookies, exploring new philly places, cedar planks, four different zoos including local membership yr, praise-er-cise, family park lunches, dq, new washer, 2 long hikes, losing client, mello shortage, more libraries, nice cancellations, hockey, loving contest, another job transition, pests, working through snow, dislocation, old friends, old post-its, confetti to start and not much beyond, narnia next generation, crashing waves, sk and lots of family time. despite challenges, carried along. a short recap, but loads of grace.

28 December 2018 - small but wise ants

"You must learn of the little ants to take thought about time to come. . .You each have within you a soul that will live forever. Your body will die some time; your soul never will. And your soul needs thought and care as much as your body. It needs to have its sins pardoned; it needs grace to make it please God; it needs power to be good; it needs to have God for its best Friend in order to be happy.
And, dear children, the best time for seeking pardon, grace, and the friendship of God is the time of youth. Youth and childhood are your summer. Now you are strong and well; now you have plenty of time; now you have few cares and troubles to distract you. Now is the best time for laying up food for your souls.
Ah, my beloved children, you must remember that winter is before you! Old age is your winter. Your frost, snow, rain, and storms are all yet to come. Sorrow, pain, sickness, death, and judgment will all come with old age. Happy are those who get ready for it quickly. Happy are those who, like the ants, take thoughts for things to come!" from 'Boys and girls playing' by J.C. Ryle

24 December 2018 - on the best gifts ever

what is your favorite gift (tangible) you have ever been given?
for me, this is a difficult question. i realize there are many factors that cause me to appreciate a gift. obviously there are gifts i like because the item itself is something i enjoy. but the 'love me' in me also likes items more from my favorite people and is touched by fitting gifts from others when unexpected and they thought of me. i also like it when a gift shows that the person knows me. some gifts have sentimental value. while others are practical but appreciated thusly. one gift was something i always wanted, but i have found it hard to use as much as i thought i would (this contrasts vs. another gift i long wanted that i have used so much over the years in so many ways). there are also gifts valued for how they made me feel included.
often the best gifts are those that hit several of these criteria. despite this analysis, i myself am still not a good gift giver. it can be hard, gifts themselves hold different value for different people. but i am thankful to have received so many good gifts over the years.

20 December 2018 - early present opening

"there's power in the blood, wonderworking power [in the blood]"

13 December 2018 - come Thou long expected

"come to earth to taste our sadness, He whose glories knew no end; By His life He brings us gladness, our Redeemer, Shepherd, Friend."

30 November 2018 - can't stop don't stop

it's the moments of obedience and trust that beget the question - why can't it be like this all the time? why is it so often some stimulus is needed to do what we should already be doing? suffering is one of those things that brings such clarity. at least it has that going for it. the plus side for one of those days...

"They try to shut us down, and it ain't gon' slide
Only thing I fear is God and He on my side
That's the confidence of God, 'cause He got me
That's why I really feel like
You can't stop me!"

14 November 2018 - one thing at a time

it's the time of the year where my attention can't help but turn to the global orphan crisis. and it's also a time of great celebration for our family as we celebrate the ways our family has been touched by adoption.
we are not called to do everything but we all can do something. there is power just in loving one person. what is the one prayer you can pray? the one friend to encourage? the one way you can serve? how can you learn more and take up the cause of those who cannot support themselves?

08 November 2018 - while singing

"and everything works for my good in the end.
i've got the V-I-C-T-O-R"
"isn't there a day of redemption coming?" scc

31 October 2018 - the anti-Easter

holidays have a way of changing as they make their way through culture. the day that is statistically the most dangerous day of the year for kids is my least favorite holiday. in some ways it has become the anti-Easter. not just treats, but tricks too. instead of an exciting surprise, my kids have been left scared. instead of death will be swallowed in victory it has become you will be swallowed by death everywhere you go.

30 October 2018 - for all the saints

learning more about All Saints Day this year. a good time of the year to reflect on Hebrews 11, where the Bible describes those, "who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth."
remembering not just those from the Bible, but relatives who have gone before.
"O may thy soldiers faithful, true, and bold, fight as the saints who nobly fought of old, and win with them the victor's crown of gold."

28 October 2018 - pineapple buns for all

so glad to have lots of family travel to join us for double baptism day, a day to claim God's promises for our children. good to remember we are not alone in the Christian nurture of our children, as the congregation stands around us, pledging their help. but most of the questions posed were for us, including this one - "Do you now unreservedly dedicate your children to God, and promise, in humble reliance upon divine grace, that you will endeavor to set before them a godly example, that you will pray with them and for them, that you will teach them the truths of our sacred faith, and that you will strive, using all the means that God has given us, to bring them up in the nurture and obedience of the Lord?"

30 September 2018 - a grilled taeji kind of day

it was a great end of September... ending a mello hiatus. celebrating birthdays well. the timing of our trip did cause us to miss one event we were hoping not to miss. . .but then ended up causing us to happen upon another quite unexpectedly. and it -really- almost didn't happen. but then, oh how sweet it was! and still back in time for a grilled feast to end the month.

18 September 2018 - bearing each others burdens

despite sickness all around, still trying to celebrate our anniversary the best we were able to.
our call is not to lay unnecessary burdens on each other, but to rather follow the law of love, and to bear one another's burdens. just like Christ bears with us under our follies and weaknesses and knows our infirmities.

16 September 2018 - there was Someone keenly aware of time

there is a time for everything (still trying to remember there is a time to keep _and_ a time to throw away). there is a season when this happens and another with that. but we don't control our times. always the difficult question - why isn't it the time i want it to be? Jesus, too, wrestled with this limitation. so we too should commit ourselves to the One who makes all things beautiful in its time.

5 September 2018 - no carry on policy

You can have differently beneficial experiences of meditating on short passages of the Bible and reading a whole book of the Bible all at once. Read Ecclesiastes today. so many words related to how you can't take it with you (when you die). "They take nothing from their toil that they can carry in their hands." "and even their name is forgotten." and on top of that, there is no control of what comes after they are gone. storing up things for others but you don't even know if they will be foolish or wise.

24 August 2018 - from a book i was reading

"In Him we see qualities and virtues we would ordinarily consider incompatible in the same person. We would never think they could be combined but, because they are, they are strikingly beautiful. Jesus combines high majesty with the greatest humility, he joins the strongest commitment to justice with astonishing mercy and grace, and he reveals a transcendent self-sufficiency and yet entire trust in and reliance upon His heavenly Father. We are surprised to see tenderness without any weakness, boldness without harshness, humility without any uncertainty, indeed, accompanied by a towering confidence. Readers can discover for themselves his unbending convictions but complete approachability, his insistence on truth but always bathed in love, his power without insensitivity, integrity without rigidity, passion without prejudice." TK

13 August 2018 - on one of the 'all things'

parenting is quite challenging. and that's not even considering what might lay ahead further up this mountain climb. yet, so thankful to have a friend sharing in the journey. and encouraged to realize that in this, even in this who-knew-this-would-be-part-of-the-process moment, that God is working all things together for the good for those called according to His purpose.

9 August 2018 - i don't even judge myself

relishing some very rare extended time alone. reading in Fitler Square after work.
"I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God." 1 Corinthians 4:3-5
"A person may think their own ways are right, but the Lord weighs the heart." Proverbs 21:2

15 July 2018 - peach bunny cake

birthday celebrating with pizza together. and perhaps fittingly france was winning the world cup in the background. David wrote, "I say to the Lord, 'You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.'" and it was Joseph who named his second son Ephraim saying, "It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering."

12 July 2018 - upon returning to old places

"does what you put into the water come back to you-
or does the bottle that washes ashore come from someone else
does the current always flow in one direction
does a ship once departed always reach a destination
even shipwrecks turn up eventually
and so i wait, watching the water, little knowing
how i'm supposed to know when it is my ship that comes" 10 yrs ago @ Bartram's

"if the cereal box is vast then empty handfuls prove nothing.
but if the prize is so outlined as on the box, then with all earnestness proceed.
i'm earnest - if i'm anything.
but what i want is not the point!
i seek clarity. well, i'll make you like Me.
but i seek clarity! I said i'll make you like Me.
but how, just show me the way. -I- am the way. . ." 9 yrs ago @ Clark Park

27 June 2018 - o come to the fountain

a famous man once wrote, "he who can go to the fountain does not go to the water jar."

17 June 2018 - on a day with lots of nice

during the last world cup i had 0 kids. for this world cup, there are 3! first chance to share the experience today, watching brazil on father's day.

05 June 2018 - on caring with wisdom and love

able to make good use of soccer parent waiting time to read much of a parenting book that offered practical advice, some of which i look forward to applying soon. thinking of ways to offer my kids more choices that are safe, hoping to remember to have empathy in the midst of bringing swift consequences, and trying to understand the reasons behind difficulties my children may be having and offering them help in ways that will perhaps help us all.

3 June 2018 - the glory of the garden

found out there is a Kipling poem called the Glory of the Garden. so much more goes into a garden than what you see. behind the flowers and the views there was dirt and work and tools. and it was Adam first placed in a garden to work. and there is work, meaningful work, for all, whether grand or small. but the garden doesn't thrive by just sitting or mere talk. but by work with thankfulness, so many jobs to be done, and to partner on our knees, that His glory may be seen.

24 May 2018 - is this the world you want? you're making it...

"i'm trying out adhesives, i'm trying to fix a place that feels broken. . .
is this the world you want? is this the world you want? You're making it, every day you're alive...
what you say - is your religion
how you say - it's your religion
who you love - is your religion
how you love - is your religion...
every breath is your religion, yea" Switchfoot

15 May 2018 - solid rock

biking home just in time to avoid the storm that would encompass most of the evening.
"When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil."
a night for rainbow cookies inside.

11 May 2018 - if the house burns down

catching up with Switchfoot...
"there's a fire coming that we all will go through
You possess your possessions or they possess you
And if the house burns down tonight
I got everything I need when I got you by my side
And let the rest burn"

"Cause with one heartbeat and two hands to give
I got one shot and one life to live. . .
Life is short; I wanna live it well"

29 April 2018 - held together

"some things grow bigger until they're only parody. Some are distilled and now I have a little clarity. Some hold me like a lover, some leave like I'm a leper. Some tear me all to pieces and some, they hold me together. This is my story, this is my history. I'm learning from what I have known." from Hindsight by K. Bowser

21 April 2018 - lemon hill

back at lemon hill. actually the first park land formally acquired by the city for the creation of Fairmount park. this time, gazebo photos with the kids as well...
speaking of children, sometimes when one of my children does wrong and i turn to address the matter with them, they break out wailing (before any discipline mind you) and the natural thought is - wait a minute, you're the one who did something wrong! (while the offended sibling is not crying). but the verse that often comes to mind is, "the way of the unfaithful is hard." because regardless of the reason for the cries, wandering from God's paths will bring troubles. and yet, Hebrews 12, and God treating us as children. No discipline seems pleasant at the time. . .but later on it produces a harvest. And this is the love, to be pushed to me more like Him, and less like the lie whisperer, that enemy of our souls, who steals our joy away with sparkly paths of mire.

01 April 2018 - what a name to praise

April, and Easter is here!

the songs of Friday still ring true...
“Man of Sorrows,” what a name
For the Son of God who came
Ruined sinners to reclaim!
Hallelujah! what a Savior!
...
When He comes, our glorious King,
To His kingdom us to bring,
Then anew this song we’ll sing
Hallelujah! what a Savior!

and even more good songs of praise today!

30 March 2018 - and i will sing my songs of love

"How can a sinner know such joy?
Because of Jesus.
The wounds of love are in His hands,
The price is paid for sinful man;
Accepted child, forgiven son,
Because of Jesus. . ."

28 March 2018 - cosmic disillusionment

lewis - "most people, if they have really learned to look into their own hearts, would know that they do want, and want acutely, something that cannot be had in this world. There are all sorts of things in this world that offer to give it to you, but they never quite keep their promise. the longings which arise in us when we first fall in love, or first think of some foreign country, or first take up some subject that excites us, are longings which no marriage, no travel, no learning, can really satisfy. i am not now speaking of what would be ordinarily called unsuccessful marriages, or holidays, or learned careers. i am speaking of the best possible ones. there was something we have grasped at, in that first moment of longing, which just fades away in reality. i think everyone knows what i mean. the wife may be a good wife, and the hotels and scenery may have been excellent, and chemistry may be a very interesting job: but something has evaded us."

13 March 2018 - hb hb

here's to another year of amazing... because each year i see more and more. even on her birthday, wifey deftly balanced one event per kid, and that just the morning. don't even get me started about earlier this year when the heat broke on discount rate day or the day before our youngest's surgery when she helped our family so much. "Her worth is far above rubies."

17 February 2018 - and now we sit on the ground next to them

the retreat takeaway moment came during a reflection time, laughing at my concurrent tears as i wrote a poem.
"the sit on the ground moment next to me came with us on the couch of that apartment as i read isaiah and cried. It was as if you wanted to take my sadness and hold it together with me so i would no longer bear it alone. . ."

14 February 2018 - february love

february love is growing. no longer just valentine's day and all star weekend. engagement anniversary and now two family birthdays as well. loving this season of wednesdays at home... especially with it extending the incredible streak of 5 years in a row of being home for valentine's day. this year's creation, a flintstone's type car, a big success and fun for all the kids!

1 February 2018 - on being terrified

reading through Bible-in-a-year Bible. Before the Israelites turned around and camped in front of the Red Sea, God told them what would happen. The Egyptians would pursue them. And God would deliver them and get glory. But they were still terrified. Yet this was God's plan. But "when the Israelites saw the great power the LORD displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the LORD and put their trust in Him."

22 January 2018 - you're standing in it

back to TK and proverbs. sometimes you have to be shown, not told. in joseph's story it wasn't by being told that flaws were learned or God's love was understood. what does it do to be put in positions where you are absolutely sure God abandoned you and then to find out you were wrong? never think that God's not working no matter how much it seems like He's absent. guidance is as much something God does as God gives. so many times we say - i need God's guidance, i've got to figure out His will. You're standing in it. You're in the middle of the current, you're being navigated.

19 January 2018 - the lost found again

almost losing something can be a valuable experience. there are a lot of some things and of others there are only one. some things have more value beyond what they are in themselves and more meaning for one person than any other. and in each story the refrain - rejoice with me, what was lost is found.

31 December 2017 - year in review: 2017

it was a year of provision. with paperwork expiration looming, matched at just the right time for us. then a second match went through just 3 days before adoption law changed, we were just in time. going from a family of 3 to a family of 5 was one of biggest parts of the year. related uncertainty with work situations. finding a vehicle to fit 3 car seats. retiring from soccer but not without a long awaited championship. everybody turning 40. health issues and multiple dr's visits. promotion at last, new manager too. the weighty elementary school process, winning the lottery and kindergarten starting. and somehow finishing story 5 of 7. the year in trips: cali spring break, ithaca via ricketts glen and boden, memorable first trip to long island, yummy first trip to vancouver, shenandoah getaway, monmouth, beijing, zhengzhou, guangzhou, ny show, winterthur, OC MD, lancaster bday, and the usual suspects: VA, seattle, and princeton trips, retreat. year in eats: smashed cucs and n yrs feast, bo ssam oh my, pepsi spire, caramel kiss ice cream, the hut returns, swedish pancakes with raspberries on christmas, beiler's salted caramel, rocket fizz, sardi's, korean goodness and a lot of the other usual suspects. we love visitors - 5 3 times each (or more)! and friends and fam from: SEA, Cali, SoVa, NoVa, MD, and NJ. let's do some free flow: sloth, cheer bear, work craziness and the BABA sign, a new sg, 2 flu seasons and 2 kids with the flu, house prep - new bedroom, new porch, 70 with Union and confetti, thunder melo & 3OT, cousin basketball, biking Vancouver, winning free retreats, family history, nice Galaxy win it all, the fridge saga, benefits drama, the motherload, adoption grants and support, eating over heads at rice noodle, double stroller, praise and drums and then a break, wfh weds, cars 3, softball fairchild throwback, alone time, the craziness of the world, ten dates of various lengths & styles, first christmas, first snow, first report card, 152, west philly libraries, recycling clothes, donating lots, swapping stuff, soccer coaching, family soccer, bartram's mile, naval yard, and heinz, basement readiness and drums downstairs, sleeping in once, the valley times, the strideful times, praying, times with family, 3 scores and 1 pass to a friend, work travel, nice, triple hugs. . .much that was already covered and much more that wasn't. Through it all, God was faithful to lead, provide and pour out so much grace.

21 December 2017 - i'm talkin' about joy

it's been a month strewn with difficulty, where at one point the trials were coming once a day, buoyed by gracious meals from friends. and yet, we celebrate the birth of that wonderful Child. and it seems like every Christmas season now I can't help but to bring out at least once the music from that epic children's production I was a part of over 10 years ago. not so much for the lyrical depth but how the music along with the words (and thinking of the motions we practiced so much), all expressed by kids, helped bring the joy of the season alive. "melt the clouds of sin and sadness, drive the dark of doubt away. . .Giver of immortal gladness, fill us with the light of day."

5 December 2017 - on being part of a body

the stress scale lists many life events but perhaps doesn't account for some things because they are too rare. and in addition does not treat lack of sleep as a scaling factor but rather just another stress to add on. and for some reason makes no mention of prolonged jetlag of newly adopted children who wake up multiple times in the night screaming and where the ideas on how to comfort them quickly run out. so, it should not have been that surprising to have a hard day. and yet how fitting it was to have the church arrive the next day, with prayer and food and support. and that very night - the first that the kids slept through without screaming.

29 November 2017 - glad to be home

after a long and challenging trip, so glad to be back home and now at the start of a string of extended family visitors who are caring for us so well. even being back in the same cities at the same time of year, and seeing many of the same people, the trip was of course different. from sickness to grieving to even glass shattering in our hotel room in the middle of the last night, we had to take the challenges as they came. but we felt the weight of many others praying for us while we were away. even literally, as my son slept on my lap as we flew across oceans.
after traveling back in time on a trip where even no dew was to be found how nice it was to have those who went out to make sure and have some mello yello waiting.

14 November 2017 - a King's guerdon

it's inconceivable that such a treasure would be left. . .without a 'X' to mark the spot.

8 November 2017 - a good start

we had considered going to Fairbanks in the past. Manitoba was discussed. and of the course there was that ambitious trip to the exurbs, just on the small chance of a sighting. and then it comes, when we weren't really looking for it at all. . .dancing over the Minnesota skies on our way to Seattle, we saw the NORTHERN LIGHTS! seeing God's wonder such a great start to our trip. love that our 28 hour journey begins today.

6 November 2017 - another adventure awaits

our long trip preparation to do list almost complete, it's craziness on our last full day before the trip that will take us to our trip to china. skimming whatever i can of 'bringing up girls' and finishing TOTC audiobook at work, insights and inspiration from the last library materials needed to return. and we're off...

21 October 2017 - the call to stewardship

back in James, studying God's Word with friends. the end of chapter 4 and beginning of chapter 5 has echoes of many other passages. i think of the foolish farmer... what became of his life of luxury, gone in a night? and here James issues a warning to the rich who have hoarded wealth in the last days, living on earth in luxury and self-indulgence - the corrosion of your gold and silver will testify against you.
and yet there are other ways we can be overconfident in how life will work out as well. we need humility to realize we don't even know what will happen tomorrow. a mist that appears for a little while. and what we have comes from God. how much more do we need to steward this great gift, making the most of every day while recognizing all we have as coming from the Father of lights?

08 October 2017 - the compelling power of prayer

we don't know what the church was praying for peter when he was released from jail. but sometimes the act of prayer can be just as important as the content. God is sovereign, but He also chooses to use our prayers. So we shouldn't be passive, we don't have to be fearful, the important thing is to pray. The sovereign God hears our prayers and uses them in the way that is best.

7 October 2017 - can you pass the test?

in luke 16, the manager was generous with his master's money and shrewdly made friends for himself through it, hoping to have a place to stay when he lost his job.
are we generous with our Master's money? that we may be welcomed into eternal dwellings?
"If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? ... No servant can serve two masters."
"For where your treasure is there your heart will be also."

29 September 2017 - a present seating 8

it was a good birthday with an unexpected present i bought myself. after months of searching, test drives, research and failed leads, ended up hearing back from someone and finding the mini-van we've been looking for, right on time! all that and got help a friend move, too.

18 September 2017 - french glassware

and we've reached the impact resistant glassware stage. the glasses are molded at a high heat and cooled very quickly making them twice as hard to break. amidst our days of celebrating seven years, i packed up the old glasses and brought out the new. looking forward to more days of refreshing beverages.

13 September 2017 - the tower could fall on you

listened to a TK sermon about the falling tower passage from Luke. though there are many passages written to those going through hard times, this is actually not one of them. it's written to those not in hard times. we are not God. the most dangerous place to be is when everything is fine. repent or you too will perish.

09 September 2017 - seven

"she who was barren has borne seven children". my son overcame a particularly hard morning... to have the best soccer game of his life.

23 August 2017 - beacha beacha

on way to free beach vacation via three trains but with books soon there in no time. the most helpful of the rereads provided insights on the differences between men and women, which given how different they are can be very important to think about and understand in a relationship. an ocean can be calm or have mighty waves and yet it's all the same water. you can learn tides from just standing on a beach, there's a time the water will crash against you and there's a time it will recede altogether. but it's better to face waves together.

20 August 2017 - on parallels

more Genesis. Isaac was not the only one who was laid down as if to die. Ishmael too. but God hears. He too would be a great nation. the boy receiving some of the promise through Abraham. and the ultimate promised Son was Jesus. because He was not spared. . .we too receive some of the promises through Jesus.

25 July 2017 - seeing God's provision

another one of those times where God's provision is just so evident. as we marvel at the ways God has worked in terms of timing for our adoptions, expenses and more, we are humbled and thankful as the stories pile up. wifey has captured this well, as we begin to share the news. God is with us and He provides for us. He equips us to do the work He calls us to do. God answers prayer.

22 July 2017 - rare opportunity

"the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel" - proverbs. so thankful for a long walk today with an old friend.

16 July 2017 - the promise Giver

in Abram's faith journey, God's commitment to the promise was so much greater. He was willing to covenant and pass through the pieces... knowing Abram would continue to question just where his children would come from. in his own pursuits, Abram still got a form of what God promised, but not as a blessing. but later still, God kept His word, in His way, no matter what. we too, struggle with faith, with waiting, with extended silences. but we too are heirs of staggering promises, purchased at a great cost.

9 July 2017 - work heartily now

back from vacation that included listening to a sermon on sheep and their need for rough care. and so it is too with the troubles and trials, sickness and uncertainty -- these are gifts if they allow me to put my focus back on the most important things. to avoid the pitfalls of apathy. to reconsider: am i making the most of the gifts and all i've been given to live for the glory of God? "You've been given a great gift. . .Don't see you what a mistake it would be to just throw it away?"

24 June 2017 - more James 1 thoughts

Let the Word be a mirror showing ourselves who we really our rather than our perception, showing our need for a Saviour. We cannot forget what we look like...
Doing isn't the opposite of hearing, it encompasses it.

18 June 2017 - sent to be blessed and to be a blessing

and on this father's day, the sermon was about Abram and the rewards of going forward by faith into a difficult journey. amidst the day's celebrations, deep dish pizza love, and a long time coming song completion, praying together about going forward by faith into a difficult journey.

13 June 2017 - two are better than one

two weeks. two matches. two dreams come true. too crazy! too wonderful.

31 May 2017 - on getting a phone call

"But I trust in you, Lord; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hands...
How abundant are the good things that you have stored up for those who fear you" from Psalm 31

21 May 2017 - all kinds of prayers

sermon today on ephesians 6:18-20. there are all kinds of prayers. and many occasions to pray for others. sometimes what we need the most is need. often prayerlessness shows our unbelief. our answered prayers can encourage us to pray more.

17 May 2017 - a poverty of thankfulness

recent inputs have me thinking about the difference growing up poor vs. growing up rich. how do you cultivate a thankfulness for what you have been given? James implies that poverty and wealth are both trials that may be sent our way. reading of countries where children walk miles each way to bring daily water to their families. living in a country where everything is brought to us and complaining comes over far less. oh for the awareness to be better stewards of what we've been given...

15 May 2017 - another big red letter day for the Baileys

because timing is everything

13 May 2017 - the cross before the crown

and James lg Bible study is here. "The devil endeavours by sufferings and crosses to draw men to sin and to deter them from duty, or unfit them for it; but, as our afflictions are in God’s hand, they are intended for the trial and improvement of our graces.
we only bear the cross for a while but we shall bear the crown to eternity." MH

"Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him." James 1:12

11 May 2017 - on starting good habits

the power of habits is such that they allow us to do easily what might not otherwise be done consistently.

30 April 2017 - the yielding of our best

sermon on romans 12 has me on the topic of firstfruits. think of the faith required for firstfruits. in gardening. with our time. the first and best belong to Him.
and james likens us as well as firstfruits of all He created. and we are to offer ourselves. if someone tells you that you have a gift - cultivate it. have a party, let your worlds collide. the harvest is plentiful.

29 April 2017 - times and places

watched lion. the profound significance of that one moment. the moment of loss that altered the course of his life. and yet / and then he would end up near a Tasmanian beach, with a family who loved him. there is a Helper who sees. and not one of them is forgotten by God.

16 April 2017 - and then on the third at break of dawn. . .

"the ground began to shake, the stone was rolled away, His perfect love could not be overcome. Now death where is your sting? Our resurrected King has rendered you defeated.
Forever He is glorifed, Forever He is lifted high, Forever He is risen! He is alive, He is alive!"

14 April 2017 - O praise the name

"I cast my mind to Calvary
Where Jesus bled and died for me
I see His wounds, His hands, His feet
My Saviour on that cursed tree.
His body bound and drenched in tears
They laid Him down in Joseph's tomb
The entrance sealed by heavy stone
Messiah still and all alone...
O praise the name of the Lord our God
O praise His name forevermore"

7 April 2017 - on finding ways to engage with our kids

we were able to attend the empowered to connect conference along with some friends where we heard a lot of helpful information and things to think more about, especially in the context of adoption, but also any situation where kids come from hard places with unmet needs and the correlated lasting impact, and also what it looks like to meet needs, relate on their level, understand where they are coming from and help them come to a place where they can regulate their feelings and see the view of themselves transform.
in one exercise, without our partner knowing it, we were told to listen to them 55% one time and 95% another, as they were telling is a story about their lives. it was hard to actively not listen to a spouse in this context, because of precisely the point the speaker was making - what is communicated about themselves to the storyteller (in both instances). she shared that the things that mattered to her growing up were that her parents listened when she talked and they were there when she needed them. while it may be hard to find extra times in the day there were many every day situations they were able to leverage to communicate together - car rides, doing the dishes, bed times. what makes a pot useful is the space that it creates.

1 April 2017 - isaiah just brings it.

and april begins.
"your sacrifices - what are they to Me?... I have more than enough... who has asked this of you? ...stop bringing meaningless offerings!
Wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight; stop doing wrong. Learn to do right; seek justice.
Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow."

29 March 2017 - a time to see trees

spring break trip to cali! we got to see lots of family and friends, enjoy memorable meals and drinks and see several sights as well. some hoped for nature sights didn't work out logistically or were inaccessible due to road conditions. . .so we saw other places instead. but we did make it to Muir Woods this time. there is a time for everything and He has made everything beautiful in its time. And we enjoyed gazing on God's creation together.
"All things work for good, You make... all things beautiful."

19 March 2017 - He will have compassion

Lamentations was written with certain structures to make things stand out. The acrostics may be hard to see in English, but at the center of them we find the well known call to return to our heart "the steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." And if you look at the interesting chiasm verse structure of the book in the center of the center of the center of all the afflictions and wanderings, bitterness and gall, we find these verses, "For the Lord will not cast off forever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; for he does not afflict from his heart or grieve the children of men."

13 March 2017 - pepperoni dumplings

we had the last birthday celebration meal at a food hall which means overall we managed to celebrate with indian, thai, korean fried chicken, italian and asian fusion in various family celebrations, as well as the homemade cake food group. so glad to be able to enjoy many of wifey's favorite foods with her this month and that our friendship so often includes enjoying food together.

5 March 2017 - a collection of scars

sermon series on lamentations at church... life is a collection of scars. each scar has a story. what is so remarkable about Jesus is that He didn't avoid the suffering, the sorrow. Our Saviour is a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief. the risen Jesus, still with scars. He can heal our wounds without erasing what's contained in them.

18 February 2017 - what practices form you

turned out to be all star retreat weekend all in one. a big theme of the retreat was everyday life. part of that was a prayer of daily examen, bringing the highs and the lows of the day to God, emerging with gratitude, processing with hope. "How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives" AD. Reminded again of the importance to live our lives - all of it - in the presence of God.

14 February 2017 - upside to the downside

son sick, but that meant home for valentine's day with the chance to finish up a homemade car ferry for him. as well as to start listening to one of my v-day gifts, TK series on James.
"suffering equips you to do virtually everything you do much better." including being useful in the lives of others.

12 February 2017 - roses and home

"the essence of marriage is a promise" TK marriage series

29 January 2017 - better to end well

it had been a looong time coming. soccer champion drought. and not yet with this team, despite all the playoff runs. so how sweet it was to win, in golden goal, as my playing days approach their end, even with in-season injury trouble. the first season chance given up, gained back years later, all the more fun with my son predicting my exact stat line and loving my new shiny medal.

17 January 2017 - brighter daze

let the cassette tape era begin. . .
"i'm in the shadow of the Big House more and more each day..." dighayzoose
"we lose hope, we mumble our prayers... [do we] believe your reach can pass through stone... can make the dead start blinking" newsboys

8 January 2017 - on going

bookstore reading... “Very rarely in the Bible does God come to someone and say, “Stay.” Almost never does God interrupt someone and ask them to remain in comfort, safety, and familiarity. He opens a door and calls them to come through it.” Ortberg
Sometimes you need to leave the comfort and go on to greater things.

31 December 2016 - looking back - 2016

looked through new photo album together with fam on the last day of the year, what better time to recap the year that was. nine month adoption paperwork process, my company suddenly sold while i was on vacation and i managed to listen to 50 books on cd. lots of elementary school research, going through basement boxes and writing book 4 of the callowhill chronicles. traveling to olympic peninsula, williamsburg, seattle, new haven & mass., ashland, DC and NY getaways, road trip crew MD weekend, retreat, and multiple trips to nova, princeton, dc and ny. kimchichigue, cherry and peach mello yello, all my favorite pizzas, don tot ice cream, blueberry crumble gelati, lotte, that broccoli rabe pasta, wawa rewards and more. thankful for visitors, parents and several siblings leading the way, and even 3 cousins and friends from ny and cali. free flow: consider others better than yourself, wednesday walks, longest work month ever, 'tell me more about work', ok - farewells, transitions, meeting ramp up and long awaited review, multicultural united, international united, national park flower show, cstore finds, fam lunches, used bookstores, new libraries, dragon shirt, dare to be a daniel, hot tub pool, the block room and house with slides, biking ny, running with dad, college trips, thomasland, 17 minutes, hurricane ridge, that soccer goal, championship loss with fans, advent, lg and lg men's, women's group and cbs, tree pavilion, sad nights, physicals, car issues, knee pain, customer service woes, hard words, getting rid of stuff, olympic golds, no exhaust fan, new oven, family bike, cuse, times with uncle, nba dramatics, x baptism, laughing, fun at home, loving by praying, DQ, redeemer, ways to improve, wissahickon, ten dates again, h party, afternoon pto, stuff already covered in this space, and special moments filling a year full.

25 December 2016 - gift wrap

Christmas on a Sunday! and there are many types of gifts. gifts of experience. gifts of words. ones that thoughtfully say i know you and i love you. and plenty of ways to celebrate w/o gifts even in a culture that spends so much. it was the best gift of all that came wrapped in swaddling cloths.

22 December 2016 - on what brings us to God

one reason cs lewis resonates with me is how things like the dentist also make me think on the things of God. thinking again of the good surgeon who keeps on cutting. and wondering why in the world small things impact us the way they do while big things go by with no impact. yet grateful for the things that bring us to God.

14 December 2016 - amidst the silence

Zechariah's faith grew as the baby grew.

18 November 2016 - memories will be our souvenirs

celebrated two years with good buffalo hot dog mac & cheese and legend of the lost treasure first viewing! with more yet to come.
then later, feeling weary over all the stuff i have gathered over the years... knowing full well, a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.

13 November 2016 - I am sending you out like lambs among wolves

on this mission sunday and orphan sunday, reminded by a friend's message that too often are hearts are not on mission. how much easier to be more akin to a hibernating animal than the call to be a lamb among wolves. opposition is to be expected when we go. many seeds are sown that are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life. but the 3/4 "waste" of seed is more than made up for by the 30, 60, 100 fold return produced by the seed falling on good soil.

8 November 2016 - in God we trust

"We will follow where You go
We will trust through the unknown. . .
Now in God we trust
In His Name we hope
I know God will not be shaken
God is here with us
He’s already won
I know God will not be shaken"

07 November 2016 - the election and the gospel

read a helpful article on many of the issues this election season has raised and what the gospel message would say in light of it all - from corruption, to hiding, to exposure and justice. in our warped image bearing we love to hold others accountable, but distance ourselves from the same accountability. nothing we do is really hidden before God and we too will give account for our words. where is the hope in all the mess? hope is only as good as its object. "Our true and lasting hope is not in a politician (thank God), but in the God who became a man. We are hoping in King Jesus. Amid the tumultuous season of political elections Christians are sailing in the indestructible and unsinkable ark of Christ. As long as Jesus is in the helm the church will not topple. Our captain is a skillful mariner who guides us to port in the Heavenly Jerusalem. We shall anchor there and forever be with him. Like Noah in the days of old, we are those who hold wide the door of the ark open and bid others to come in. There is still room."

16 October 2016 - praise on drums

"Oh God, who surely guides our steps
Through tempests and through trials
Our Shepherd King, Your way is best
Though tears now veil our eyes
Your steadfast love, our perfect hope
Our eyes are fixed on grace
We have no doubt You’ll lead us home
To finally see Your face -
You are our song from age to age
Our voices unite to recount your praise
again and again..."

04 October 2016 - night of the mosquitos

hot water showers is one of the things i appreciate most about living in the country i do. but another aspect i should be more thankful for is living in a house where there is no need of a mosquito net. this became clear when the world's deadliest animal managed to not only get inside our house, but find its way to my room. i generally could not see the enemy only hear it when it buzzed close enough, swooping in to bite me, or even worse, my wife. and so it went, long into the night, until i finally found victory over my foe. only to hear more buzzing. and thus it was a night of weak sleep. but at last, the mosquitoes were vanquished. in the end, the night of struggle became a night to remember.

30 September 2016 - on eating well

enjoyed the chance to birthday celebrate with others, thankful for the meals out together and good food.

recent sermon raised the question metaphorically - where are you feasting? imagine a banquet table full of food and you take but a pittance. is that all you want? there's more food. are we hungry for the best things?
blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied

19 September 2016 - Did Christ over sinners weep. . .

"He wept that we might weep, might weep over sin and shame. He wept to show his love for us and bid us love the same. . .
Then tender be our hearts, our eyes in sorrow dim, til every tear from every eye, be wiped away by Him."

and the long paperwork process for dossier #2 is completed!

18 September 2016 - cherry mello yello

big, big day and we were back at chima six years later, thanks to friends having our son over. eating bacon wrapped chicken and talking about what's to come. then snagging free snickers ice cream bar in our waning moments and getting an amazing card to wrap up a great sunday anniversary.

11 September 2016 - on the metrics we use

recent inputs have been questioning, what measure do you use in your life with God? is it - did you pray at this time or read at that, or are you loving God and loving people? and - maybe you're not learning new things about God, but is your faith growing?

4 September 2016 - fellowship sweet

sundays are the best. and this one full of good food and drink, friendship and... the stuff swap strikes again. how great it is to live in community. to give to others what they might find useful and to get what can be a blessing to you.

23 August 2016 - His hand the wonders wrought

it's been a good vacation month. and this day - taking in a national park. "this is my Father's world. and to my listening ears, all nature sings and around me rings the music of the spheres. . ."

15 August 2016 - on listening to listen

surely you know the impulse - to try and wait for someone to finish talking (or dare i say even interrupt) so you can respond autobiographically. but how much better to seek first to understand, to rephrase rather than re-point to our own stories and miss theirs. and with kids especially, to listen with empathy and try to understand what they are really saying. and consider what we are _really_ communicating, with how we respond.

11 August 2016 - what you haven't seen yet

i like non-fiction books on cd, too. quoted quote from 'what the dog saw', "No amount of observations of white swans can allow the inference that all swans are white, but the observation of a single black swan was sufficient to refute that conclusion."

21 July 2016 - He must increase, i must decrease

"as long as you notice, and have to count, the steps, you are not yet dancing but only learning to dance. A good shoe is a shoe you don't notice. Good reading becomes possible when you need not consciously think about eyes, or light, or print, or spelling. The perfect church service would be one we were almost unaware of; our attention would have been on God." lewis, letters to malcolm

19 July 2016 - what fades, what remains

the basement cleaning/unpacking continues. you obviously can't keep everything... but you can at least store some treasures away in a box. but even the treasure box can rot! don't store your treasures in the basement of this world... i can't say i haven't been warned -- thieves do break in and steal, moth & rust destroy. the treasures in heaven keep so much better.

11 July 2016 - when tears water your path

i've long thought that tears are good. but they are best when they don't stop the work. but instead are a sign that the work is in progress. sow your tears. you will reap a harvest if you do not give up.

1 July 2016 - on dying every day and living for Christ

"I was going to say I wished we'd never come. But I don't, I don't, I don't. Even if we _are_ killed. I'd rather be killed fighting for Narnia than grow old and stupid at home and perhaps go about in a bath-chair and then die in the end just the same." from The Last Battle

30 June 2016 - to be loved

"To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us." TK

29 June 2016 - the steps we take

a person may plan his own journey, but the LORD directs his steps. on road trips, some stops are usually intentional (where to eat), other stops not as much so (when you need gas, etc.). coming back from extended family vacay in Virginia, all the stops were good, all the more so when we happened to find peach and cherry mello yello at last. wondering how all the turns led us to stop just the right place to emerge with armloads full of mello yello goodness.

23 June 2016 - The swallower of cities and realms

from Silver Chair -- "Will you promise not to-- do anything to me, if I do come?" said Jill. "I make no promise," said the Lion. Jill was so thirsty now that, without noticing it, she had come a step nearer. "Do you eat girls?" she said. "I have swallowed up girls and boys, women and men, kings and emperors, cities and realms," said the Lion. It didn't say this as if it were boasting, nor as if it were sorry, nor as if it were angry. It just said it. "I daren't come and drink," said Jill. "Then you will die of thirst," said the Lion. "Oh dear!" said Jill, coming another step nearer. "I suppose I must go and look for another stream then." "There is no other stream," said the Lion.

19 June 2016 - because past failures are not the end

great father's day, from praise on drums beginning to amazing nba final's culmination end and all the yumminess and celebration in between! and sermon thoughts too... daniel & his friends must have had some degree of assimilation, speaking the language of the land, but whenever it mattered the most, they took a stand. esther, meanwhile, could have done better, but past failures do not write us out of God's future. God still wrote her into His story.

2 June 2016 - I was the lion

from The Horse and His Boy:
"Don't you think it was bad luck to meet so many lions?" said Shasta.
"There was only one lion," said the Voice.
"What on earth do you mean? I've just told you there were at least two the first night, and--"
"There was only one: but he was swift of foot."
"How do you know?"
"I was the lion." And as Shasta gaped with open mouth and said nothing, the Voice continued. "I was the lion who forced you to join with Aravis. I was the cat who comforted you among the houses of the dead. I was the lion who drove the jackals from you while you slept. I was the lion who gave the Horses the new strength of fear for the last mile so that you should reach King Lune in time. And I was the lion you don't remember who pushed the boat in which you lay, a child near death, so that it might come to shore..."

1 June 2016 - on eating that apple

magician's nephew on cd. "and he began to see that there might be some sense in that last line about getting your heart's desire and getting despair along with it." and later, "Things always work according to their nature. She has won her heart's desire; she has unwearying strength and endless days like a goddess. But length of days with an evil heart is only length of misery and already she begins to know it. All get what they want; they do not always like it."

15 May 2016 - the advantage of the disadvantage

with our street under construction we haven't been able to park or drive on it... but it did mean my son and i finally had a big space in which to play soccer while waiting for it to be paved. while it's not always the case, it is possible for for our disadvantages to turn into advantages. there are soccer stars who grew up without a real ball to use and basketball legends who for sure had no driveway hoop.
and today looking at the end of the gospel of mark. like the women in the story, sometimes all we have left to go on is His Word, and you have to go on it first. if you are looking at the empty tomb of your life and saying where's Jesus, maybe He's asking you - where are you? are you going to where Jesus calls us? because if we want to see Jesus that's where we need to go.
who is strong enough to roll away the stone?

14 May 2016 - what do we do about abandoned children?

got to watch The Drop Box with wifey! shows a great example of not letting excuses stop you from doing something about problems right around you, making the most of what you have to serve others, laying down life so others might truly live. . .

08 May 2016 - grandmothers, mothers and mothers to be

a chance to celebrate mother's day with virginia family as well, teaming up to treat all the mothers to a nice day.
"For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations." from Psalm 100

1 May 2016 - the one who knows

the gospel of mark is the first and also the darkest of the gospel accounts. the hope that is there is mostly an underlying hope, needing to be discovered. but the ending is not the end. God will reveal Himself, the only God who knows deep sorrow like this.
Just as Jesus chose into submission, we need to choose into as well. in our marriages, submitting to one another, but also speaking up, sharing on how it is, what's not working but could be better.

29 April 2016 - grief and loss

adoption training on grief and loss. if the loss is acknowledged you can integrate it going forward. it was compared to forest fires. they can be devastating. but fire can also be good and cleansing. sometimes there are even controlled burns, preventing worse losses and allowing for new growth and life to come.

15 April 2016 - making the most with your schedule in mind

there may be a season where you most consistent time of prayer takes place in community. it may be sad to reflect on what once was, and how things don't come as easily now, but you can try to make the most of what you do have with family. and another way prayer may better intersect your life could be to connect new habits to existing habits. in this season, how can you make lasting memories of family worship?

10 April 2016 - on asking for the things we want the most

prepping for the last group discussion on TK on prayer. "One way petitionary prayer can actually do us harm is if we see it as a means to say to God, '_My_ will be done.'" Yet, we can also be too timid. He talks about laying before God in prayer the reasons why we think what we ask for is the best thing, in light of what we know of God's own goals. This takes us beyond, "if it is your will". What are the three biggest desires you want to pray for? How can we really cast these burdens on God?
"We should ask God for things with boldness and specificity, with ardor, honesty, and diligence, yet with patient submission to God's will and wise love."

8 April 2016 - returning to say thanks

after the moment has passed, the urgency has lifted it is easy to not pray like we prayed before. but to hold on, to return with thanksgiving, is the path to the life overflowing with thankfulness which is our charge.

05 April 2016 - a good, good Baba

buoyed by prayer, emerged singing, "You're a good, good, Father. It's who You are, it's who You are, it's who You are. . ."
You are perfect in all of Your ways. and You call me deeper still, into love, love, love...

31 March 2016 - king's dominion

had the chance to share one of the wonders of my youth with my family, a park with a great name. it was a good vacation day. but also a call about work including the phrase "not april fool's day". at the park seeing how some things have changed, some have stayed the same gradually over the many years i'm sure. meanwhile wondering what changes will i find when i return to work in a much different time frame - sudden and abrupt.

27 March 2016 - He of the many crowns

easter weekend! from a Good Friday service at home well understood to Sunday worship on drums with everyone gathered. from family visiting to the cherry blossoms of spring. and how many times do you find something only when you've stopped looking for it?
Crown Him with many crowns - the Lamb upon His throne. . . Crown Him the Lord of life who triumphed o'er the grave... who died eternal life to bring and lives that death may die.

24 March 2016 - beneficiaries of grace

in baptism, children are effectively coming 'under the roof', joining a household of faith whose doorpost is marked. and they are marked as a member of a community of faith, beneficiaries of grace.
also from rev. min - "you can't kill people who have already died"

13 March 2016 - a place because of You

coming back from road trip weekend on the way to birthday celebrate, good time for more on psalm 103, this time epic TK.
the sermon spoke of the parental love of God, an incredibly visceral love, with the compassion like that of the baby saving mother in King Solomon's court. and the safety of a father's love, emotionally involved, loving us just because we're His child.
and he even went IAWL, recalling George Bailey's return to a home and family that no longer knew him. oh how we long for that sense of belonging that so often eludes us! and yet... though the grass withers, the flower fades... "from everlasting to everlasting the LORD's love is with those who fear Him" because of Jesus. He came and His place knew Him no more, so we could have a place.

11 March 2016 - not treated as our sins deserve

the verdict of mercy is much different if you have been waiting in jail for the decision to made, if you have no idea what the judge will announce, if you doubt you could actually be declared not guilty... tears would be understandable. the chance to live freely with your family, the chance to live as one who has known mercy... and He does not repay us according to our iniquities. The evidence no longer leads to us.

10 March 2016 - forget not all His benefits

days of jury duty means extra reading time, also trying to meditate on psalm 103. "Praise the LORD, my soul... who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things. . .Praise the LORD, all his works everywhere in His dominion."

28 February 2016 - on pursuing contentment

Jesus, content in God's pleasure in Him. Led into the wilderness, Scripture was enough for Him. Showing us if we're sure of God, we shouldn't have to doubt God's love, safety, hungering for other things. It is enough to rest in His promises.

27 February 2016 - all about trees

retreat Bible study starting in genesis with clear simple instructions that they could eat any tree of the garden but one specific tree. they could have eaten of the tree of life but they ate from the one from which they would surely die. they knew good and now they knew evil. and yet...there was another tree. on a hill far away. Another, who didn't listen to twisted words and temptations to flee that tree, created a way back to the garden. and in revelation we see the tree of life surrounding the river, the leaves bringing healing to the nations. and because Someone else took it, there will no longer be any curse.

16 February 2016 - on praying with submissive trust and confident hope

"God will not give us anything contrary to His will, and that will always include what is best for us in the long run. We can, therefore, pray confidently *because* He won't give us everything we want." TK on prayer

14 February 2016 - family love

holiday fun on a sunday and all star weekend. lots of red drinks, red clothes, special dessert, deep dish pizza and a homemade car ramp...

12 February 2016 - pink flowers and heart cupcake

and a full cycle has come around. another friday, another scavenger hunt but this one two minutes rather than two hours. notes leading to cupcakes, flowers and the best find of all.

10 February 2016 - let peak cuteness commence

nice to be able to celebrate 4 over the weekend with extended family and have some more celebrations day of, working it out to be there for all 3 meals, presents, and yes, the ice cream cake too.

30 January 2016 - milkshakes and more

celebrating the end of the busiest work month ever with a nifty time with the fam.
"But You, LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high... I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me." from psalm 3

29 January 2016 - nothing great that is also easy

back to TK and prayer, this time with a group. the book starts with personal reflections. for his wife, the illustration of having a lethal condition that you needed medicine for every day leading to the - well, if we don't pay together to God, we're not going to make it because of all we are facing. meanwhile, TK's prayer changes were studying then praying the psalms regularly, meditating between Bible reading and prayer, praying morning and evening as opposed to one or the other, and praying with greater expectation.
finally on Paul's prayers for others - we do not find them full of appeals for changes in circumstances. he did not think that was the most important thing God could give them. far more often he prayed that others may know Him better..."that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in His holy people, and His incomparably great power for us who believe."

28 January 2016 - don't waste your life

an upside to blizzards is the trolley reading. revisiting 'don't waste your life' and the contrast of what many americans spend their time on vs. those who have given their live in one way or another for others, and the myth of safety vs. the call of Christ. but i'll focus here on the work chapter. to be strategic, living for His glory at work. Taking thankfulness and His promises with us, being creative and industrious, working well and enhancing the gospel, earning money for good, creating gospel sharing relationships, being in a place ready to help others.

10 January 2016 - the old fca t-shirt

the call of Jesus is to lose our lives for His sake. how often do we want our lives to just be easier? reminded of the need to sacrifice for the sake of others. some of the needs others have in our midst can be met by what we have. the mark 8:34 beacon - deny ourselves, take up the cross and follow Him.

01 January 2016 - new

new year's day is a great time to make korean food. this year, finally unmitigated kimchichigue success, thanks to a recipe find by wifey.
new year's is also a good day to start adoptions. here we go again, ready for a new adventure...

31 December 2015 - in retrospect

looking back on 2015. first full year of parenting, and 5 month part time schedule for bonding (walking everywhere sans car). visiting 22 philly playgrounds. library trips and books. bike rides, sidewalk soccer, PTM, zoos, dancing, trains, racetrack, first birthday parties, tayo haircuts, car carts, museums, aquarium, parks, first snow and first beach trip...in same month. learning to deal with short sleeves. heart checkups. memorable tantrums. first sixers game free. first koja trip... before it was no more. baba son fun on work trips. meeting family and cousins.
rough start of the year for our house - no hot water, no heat and basement flood. now providing memories of the support from our community, as we showered at three different houses.
a year where there start to be more big decisions, from work, to family and preschool.
trips to ocean city, retreat, NoVA x3, MD, LA, Seattle x2, ATL, SoVA and beach-a. visitors of family from Cali, NoVA, Seattle and friends from MD, NY and NC. and an uncle moving out our way.
year in food: dolce with others, rainbow cookies, kogi truck, swedish pancakes, dumplings, la kbbq, pb marshmallow ritas, mello finds, mand. orange cake, special dews.
reading hundreds of books, but only 10 "really long" ones. ten dates. finishing story #3. baptism and adoption party. birthdays and holidays.
and now for some free flow. . .running in place, blue thunder, white collar conclusion, the start of OT, the head injury, snow day with no snow, lost journal, gold cup, street construction, pizza throwdown, ear infection, allergic reaction, fun photo shoot, lza finals, epic photobook, family drama, wns, walking to work, soccer fail, losing photos, the big retirement, proverbs, gardens, praise, installing thermostat, sad days, big package, pi day, college ministry, friends moving, church events, holiday party, preschool begins, music, TK books, riding my bike and ice cream.

29 December 2015 - a good return

perhaps it was the conflux of many things - being on a plane, coming off a good vacation, new year approaching, the pizza hut mello yello dinner find... that helped me think many thoughts of plans endowed with hope. home late, but nice to be home.

27 December 2015 - auld lang syne, seattle style

Should nothing of our efforts stand * No legacy survive * Unless the Lord does raise the house * In vain its builders strive
To you who boast tomorrow’s gain * Tell me what is your life * A mist that vanishes at dawn * All glory be to Christ!

All glory be to Christ our king! * All glory be to Christ! * His rule and reign will ever sing, * All glory be to Christ!

His will be done * His kingdom come * On earth as is above* Who is Himself our daily bread * Praise Him the Lord of love
Let living water satisfy * The thirsty without price * We’ll take a cup of kindness yet * All glory be to Christ!

25 December 2015 - incarnate

amidst the sadness, hope. out of the book pages and into our lives. actually coming in person. and we too travel, to be with our families in person, not just on a screen. to eat, play, drink, enjoy time together again, to sing, explore, watch. "I came that they may have life and have it abundantly."

12 December 2015 - trying to live a good story - and invite others into it

happening upon a favorite book to re-read on the porch on a beautiful day with friends. in the words of the book, trying to live a good story. "when we live a story, we are telling people around us what we think is important." d. miller imagines a movie about a guy who wants a volvo and worked for years to get it. nobody is crying at the end of that movie... and yet "we spend years actually living these stories, and expect our lives to be meaningful." what would it take for you to live a meaningful life, to write yourself into a beautiful story? avoiding the comfort and stability we naturally seek? overcoming fear, persevering through the resistance that comes when pursuing something good?

08 December 2015 - prolonged grumpy in a friend desert

after suffering the worst earache i've ever had, the following ear infection has made it hard not to be a little grumpy at times. every sound is magnified, ringing constant. often it's these times where something is not working right where we realize again just how amazing God made our bodies.
concurrently, realizing that this time in my life has left me in a friend desert. hard for old friends to have time to connect, limited opportunities for new friends to arise, trying to subsist in a culture of "fast food" friendship...

29 November 2015 - thanksgiving weekend

thankful for holiday breaks, trips to see family... another year of great WNS, followed by a morning trot... glass bottle dew and 20 oz. mello... making dinner for others, and watching a movie together... a starbucks date, and winning the first ever family pizza throwdown with our bulgogi bacon scallion spinach pie!

14 November 2015 - though our throats be dry

worship night and how encouraging it was to see the college kids bringing the praise. losing my voice.
"in the midst of the congregation i will praise You. . .all the families of the nations shall worship before You. . .it shall be told to the coming generation...that He has done it." psalm 22

13 November 2015 - a song you remember

"Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is your keeper; [near] [all day] . . . He will keep your life."

08 November 2015 - prayers of the people

orphan sunday, this day. praying for those who've felt the stomach punch and for those who haven't. . .that all may see God's heart as a Father, a Defender, a Provider. enjoyed a 20 oz mello brought back from wifey's trip!

18 October 2015 - a mastodon shadow divided by zero

the thrill of listening to new mwY. enjoying the music while attempting to peel back layers of meaning a little at a time. difficult to pick a few lines to quote. but here i go, "Behold the snake of brass, the wind was blowing backwards. Behold a golden calf, blighted leaves of law. O for the land we knew before the frogs withdrew in the fragrant pomegranate blooms where the tender locust flew..."

12 October 2015 - the real treasures do not vanish

But Not Forgotten by l. shaw

Whether or not I find the missing thing
it will always be
more than my thought of it.
Silver-heavy, somewhere it winks
in its own small privacy
playing
the waiting game with me.

And the real treasures do not vanish.
The precious loses no value
in the spending.
A piece of hope spins out
bright, along the dark, and is not
lost in space;
verity is a burning boomerang;
love is out orbiting and will
come home.

10 October 2015 - now with mello yello

anniversary trip and wifey & i got to go to the much improved world of coke museum. they tried to capture the essence of what it means for something to be with you through life's moments. mello yello was there, not only in exhibits, but in free flow. and we even found some later that night. the road we travel is not all joy and not all sorrow. but how good for a friend to walk with and c-stores to find along the way.

29 September 2015 - known and loved

i've always enjoyed birthdays and my family helped make this year's celebration nice. beautiful calla lilies, purple cupcakes, scrumptious szechuan, amazing card or two, even a balloon, among other things...

20 September 2015 - You are our song from age to age

ahhh... worship.
"Oh God of all of history
Enthroned in realms of light
What eyes of faith have strained to see
Will one day fill our sight
With all the saints we’ll lay our crowns
Before the Savior’s feet. . ."

18 September 2015 - food and drinks, friends and family

on our first anniversary as a family of three we all celebrated by going to the 5 guys that we didn't actually make it to on our wedding day, followed by enjoying some brown betty cupcakes, which would should have grabbed more of at the wedding. later we kept up the celebrating with other people by bringing our wedding drinks, strawberry lemonade and mello yello to our kickoff small group meal.

3 September 2015 - my heart will sing

"when only love could make a way, You gave Your life in a beautiful exchange"

24 August 2015 - what it takes to see the stars

in reading a lot more children's books than i used to, there are plenty of lessons to be found. this is especially true as the shorter the book, the easier to read multiple times. pictures help too. take the star filled night stared at by elephant and piggie. all the intolerable waiting was worth it. in fact, not just worth it, but essential, for the conditions to be right. the wow moment came as elephant stuck it out the end.

16 August 2015 - on how to pray well

i still remember passages we read and prayed through in my men's prayer group, sophomore year of college. it is hard for me to think of Daniel 9 without thinking of Daniel's prayer, "We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear and act! For your sake, my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.”

15 August 2015 - off to visit the edge of the ocean

ocean water covers 71% of the earth's surface. the total volume of water is around 1.35 billion cubic kilometers. and yet only less than 5% of these waters have been explored.
"O Lord, what a variety of things you have made! In wisdom you have made them all. The earth is full of your creatures. Here is the ocean, vast and wide, teeming with life of every kind, both large and small." psalm 104
"Who else has held the ocean in His hands?" Isaiah 40:12

02 August 2015 - the family extended

a welcome party in a seattle park - so thankful to be part of a large family like this. lots of great-uncles and great-aunts, cousins once removed, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents and even great grandparents all on hand extending their welcome to my son like they did for me. His tree brimming with branches full of colorful leaves.

28 July 2015 - heard while working

sermon ponderables:
"if Satan wanted to take you out of ministry, what would he do?"
"what we actually do reflects our highest priorities."

26 July 2015 - can you see the writing on the wall?

there is a chronological snobbery in assuming that we are only continuing to progress. it is the faults of our own age that are hardest to see. we learn from the generation before and they learn from the one before that, but all of them are flawed. are we humbly learning from the past in ways that are helpful? in the Book of Daniel, we read how Belshazzar saw quite the humbling process his father went through and yet he did not humble his own heart. he was weighed on the balances and found wanting.
what is our writing on the wall, to see, and take heed of?

22 July 2015 - on soft heads

still reading d. miller in bookstores after all these years. thinking about what it would be like to be a CEO, yet transferring that to leading a home... striving to be excellent across the board, yet having the difficult task of focusing on and trying to balance five components and their interplay.
all this while not always successfully avoiding falling globes. life is a fragile gift that is to be treasured and maximized.

19 July 2015 - our burden bearer

blessed be the LORD who daily bears us up; day after day He carries us along.

12 July 2015 - on different ways to be used by God

back in the book of Daniel, seeing powers of this world through the perspective of God's sovereignty and how even evil kings bringing judgment can be brought to repentance, the king's heart in the hand of the LORD.
meanwhile, Daniel practicing the habit of listening, both by making time three times a day and also through his obedience.

05 July 2015 - sermon highlights

Jesus was so not status quo that keepers of the status quo were so threatened... they killed Him.
there are 2 times to worship God - when we feel like it and when we don't.

28 June 2015 - on bowing to a greater King

Daniel sermon series, chapter 3. the Israelites were in exile because they had become just like the nations around them. Daniel and his friends stood out as they remembered who they were, that they belonged to a much greater King. 4 times the list of instruments is repeated - we simply stop thinking about them. how easy to bow down and not hear them any more! avoiding the mesmerizing rhythm of the culture is like living in exile. we must remember who our true King is, who enables us to take a stand and accept the consequences of living according to God's Word, who is with us even through the trials.

24 June 2015 - end of an era

hard to believe it's the last week of work for someone who i've worked with and for for almost 16 years. realizing you can learn a lot from someone, even with faults. he was there through so many eras and i'll fondly remember our stromboli laden lunches. thankful for his new much needed era of retirement.

21 June 2015 - blessed with everything... but pizza

really good first Father's day, reminding me how much i've been given, both wrapped and otherwise.

15 June 2015 - you never know where a trip might take you

after talking and praying and talking, another big decision made while traveling. but this not just any trip, rather a long awaited trip to LA for a wedding of different spheres colliding into one. eating lots of good korean food (including at the airport) without ever making it to ktown. despite an unexpected cancelled flight, making it home over night. read the drop box while waiting - it was in the documenting of a faithful life lived that the impact was far greater than ever imagined, touching lives near and far.

3 June 2015 - sorrow turns to gladness when our God is near

"You're amazing God, You're amazing God... You can heal the pain, You can clean the stain, You can turn our tears into songs of praise. You're amazing God." B. Brown

31 May 2015 - but He was waving His rights

full weekend to end the month. looking back-
"Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love." 1 Cor. 16:13-14
The sting of death is sin. . .but there is grace. There is a spring where the flowers don't just last weeks, but all year.

18 May 2015 - 6 months

enjoying some weekdays home and on this one, celebrating six months all the more, biking Cobbs Creek. rainbow cookies, taking a walk, eating noodles, looking at old pictures. seeing how God has brought our family this far and looking forward to the days He'll bring ahead.

15 May 2015 - a meeting and a farewell

seeing friends as they prepare to go and plow an untilled field and not look back, seeking first His kingdom. meanwhile, they got to see the result of our calling to the land. oh, for rich harvests all around...

11 May 2015 - on careening near cliffs

helpful reminder that not being ultimately in control is a good thing. having our own way can leave us careening off the cliff... but oh the Master's loving hand that pulls us back. disciplining us for our good. treating us as children rather than leaving us to go our own way.

10 May 2015 - on working holidays

mother's day weekend and while some celebrations didn't quite go as hoped others were better than expected. some things are worth multiple celebrations. first trip as a family upstairs at the bookstore, replete with free dinner and even mello yello...

5 May 2015 - interesting to think on

what are the top moments of your life? what makes them so? do they change?
then, what are your top 5 moments that happen each day on a regular day?

30 April 2015 - gifts of the human experience

watched the giver. you can have precision of language but commensurate feeling is important too. is it not a gift? love, memories, emotions. . .as was said - knowing what something is is not the same as knowing how something feels. memories from the past can help guide our future.

29 April 2015 - reading selection

"come away, for behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land. The fig tree ripens its figs, and the vines are in blossom; they give forth fragrance..."

19 April 2015 - people > stuff

lessons do come, moving us through our own sadness into insightful reminders as life rolls on. stuff is bound to fail. whether it be melting, molding, rusting, breaking, losing, being stolen... and even while it is here it is still just stuff. people are so much more worth investing in, and even more basic than that - better to even just be mindful of, in our world of so much stuff.

17 April 2015 - missing camera fog

it was last night that i lost our camera. a short family walk to see the best of spring. and it slipped away amidst moving us all in the right direction. there are only so many times you can retrace your steps. only so much that can be done to provide a venue in case it is found by the right person. and of course it is not so much the camera itself, though we did like it, as the photos taken but not yet saved, precious documentation of the last two months, now lost to the void. from time with friends, to baba-son outings, family vacation, birthday celebrations, dates, party weekend and guests from out of town, sixers midcourt, to the every day magic, a boy blowing bubbles on the porch that inevitably fall to the ground... and pop.

05 April 2015 - all creation joins to say

Easter, and the perfect day to have our first bike ride using the bike trailer. down bike lanes to bike paths, spring sunshine lighting our way.
"Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!"

01 April 2015 - on the appreciation of other aspects

reading d. miller book where he mentions a famous comedian whose wife does not think he is funny. the image others see of us is not what a spouse sees. not only does a spouse know more aspects, but also a deeper, seeing beyond in the parts others can see. and in many ways this different view helps ground us.

29 March 2015 - baptism day

a day to claim God's covenant provisions on our son's behalf. another big life moment where our friend helped frame things well. though our son likely didn't know what was going on when we signed the certificate becoming his parents, it didn't make him any less part of our family. the same is true, as he became part of our church family. glimpsing a part of the bigger picture, "all clean", he said later, recreating the moment. water poured out on his head... "may God's blessings be richly poured out upon you".

28 March 2015 - a lot to celebrate

God puts us in families. and they are even bigger than they seem. family from near and far and friends all converged to join with the green and purple balloons, chick-fil-a nuggets, pizza wheels, new racetrack and much more. thumbprints up to make up the tree covering us in love.

13 March 2015 - amuse-bouche

my most successful surprise yet! home early, babysitter from our church fam on her way, and birthday rezzys at wifey's favorite restaurant... allowing us a much needed retreat from our still new world of parenting amidst the delicious food.

5 March 2015 - the safe way

snowed out of work early. Trolley reading, TK on prayer, "[Prayer] is also the main way we experience deep change-- the reordering of our loves. Prayer is how God gives us so many of the unimaginable things he has for us. Indeed, prayer makes it safe for God to give us many of the things we most desire. It is the way we know God, the way we finally treat God as God. Prayer is simply the key to everything we need to do and be in life."

28 February 2015 - spring is coming

"my heart's heavy now but i'm not letting go of this hope i have that tells me - spring is coming, spring is coming and all we've been hoping and longing for soon will appear. Spring is coming. . .it won't be long now, it's just about here."

22 February 2015 - on speaking much without a lot of words

one of the most interesting thoughts from retreat was - what are you projecting to the people around you? there so much nonverbally spoken that is easy for us not to be thinking about. too often, my message might be - "leave me alone, i'm busy". the other thing - who are the people you see every day? i have a friend who definitely knows all the people he sees on a regular basis but it's hard for me to expand my circle. still, everyone has those they constantly interact with.
the speaker contended that it is in the context of normal relations that we can do what is essentially the act of counseling, patiently pastoring people to Christ. listening, loving, knowing and then speaking.

21 February 2015 - a medley of three

annual church retreat. here's three nuggets:
* the first christians were called christians because what else could you call them? some were rich, some were poor, some were Jew, some were Greek, all together united by one thing.
* why does it make sense to sow seed everywhere? it's not so much bad farming strategy as that the seed is -that- powerful. it could grow in a crack. it grew in you!
* how would you rescue someone from a mudpit? would you take a stick and try to pull them out? alert the local mud authorities? Jesus went down, in.

19 February 2015 - on moving past obstacles

a flooded basement the night before, waiting to get the pipe fixed, a freezing cold trolley wait, already encroaching on nap time, but we would not be denied our late lunch xiao long bao and scallion pancake feast - happy new year!

14 February 2015 - red day

a day not diminished, but expanded. now featuring family dessert, wonderful pizza card, homemade car wash and more.

10 February 2015 - birth and life

don't know anything about it, but definitely something to celebrate. first trip to a car wash and going out for pizza the celebrations of the moment, along with birthday greetings from around the US...

1 February 2015 - arguing back against the heart's hopeless cry

from D.M. Lloyd-Jones via TK, "We must talk to ourselves instead of allowing 'ourselves' to talk to us. In spiritual depression we allow our self to talk to us instead of talking to our self. . .Have you realized that so much of the unhappiness in your life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself?... you must go on to remind yourself of who God is, and what God is and what God has done and what God has pledged Himself to do.... then end on this great note: defy yourself, and defy other people, and defy the devil and the whole world and say with the man, 'I shall yet praise Him... for He is my God.'"

26 January 2015 - believing all the way down to God

first day home alone with my son on my part-time leave. and the heater is broken in a cold January. how about more thoughts from TK on suffering?
he talks about those times we pray so hard for a certain thing, not getting it, and feeling let down by God. Feeling let down because our deepest hope was based on our agenda, our wisdom, with God just an assumed means to that end. But for Daniel's three friends facing a blazing furnace, "their confidence was actually in God, not in their limited understanding of what they thought He would do... that included trust that He knew better than they what should happen. . .they really believed 'all the way down' to God... They knew God would deliver them -from- death or -through- death."

11 January 2015 - suffering and glory

after a really, really cold week, losing hot water, while having family visit.
thankful that even small trials like this are not meaningless. i have read a lot of books on suffering. One thing I appreciate about TK's recent books is how they offer enhanced perspectives, having surveyed all the different types of pre-existing works that are out there and then providing something that goes further. I like his book on suffering, particularly after he moves past historical responses, into practical thoughts.
"One of the purposes of suffering is to glorify God by simply treating him as the infinite, sovereign, all-wise, and yet incarnate and suffering God that he is." There is a rest not based on circumstances when we trust God's wisdom, remembering the glory and meaning of the cross. "No suffering is for nothing." God is using it for His glory, in the lives of others, and in us - a glory that far outweighs them all.

1 January 2015 - look back at 2014

it was a year of two parts, though who would've known... a lot of vacation time spent on three trips just to have the last trip be the start of looking forward to yet another trip, this one to china to adopt our son. and so it was a year of last just-the-two-of-us activities. and a second half of the year of preparation and life change.
part 1 included a lot of studying but surprise of still not passing. a lot of prayer writing, at least until may. hard night. job hiring harangue. ultimate valentine's weekend including family life conference. church membership. world cup.
part 2 included a sad abrupt friends farewell, a lot of finally's, house fixing and arranging, adoption shower and item gathering, finishing another children's book.
travels and travelers. to alaska at last, nc, utah, victoria, hershey, seattle, b'more, beijing, zhengzhou, guangzhou, princeton, dc. seeing bears, arches, stars, hoodoos, smog, gardens, beaches, glaciers, canyons, waterfalls. rather amazing. visitors from nova, seattle, CA, omaha and (ny).
year in food ibnlt: taeji quesadilla, galco sodas, baked alaska, nc ice cream, the cookies, korean food wknd, customized b&b breakfasts, chinese mountain dew, three good anniversary meals and just a lot of the usual favorites including the year in pizza concluding. for son: jook.
and now the freeflow: first christmas tree, red pandas at last, cheechas, stuff swap, mah jongg, hammock, soccer so close, surrey, dc uniterrr, snow days, retreat, worship team, babysitting, work mtgs, YL night, moses, new yogurtland, no sofa, hotels, smith, meals from others including dominos, putting together furniture, handyman for a day, dates, mello yello, generous gifts from others, wifey trips, CRO, minimal lg, falls, HC wed, cherry blossoms, friends, playground, zoo, sad days, birthdays, adoption month indeed, valley forge, longest flight ever ... after hard night, the smiles of our son, him pointing to our house upon first arriving, his firsts like first christmas, christmas cars, walks in china. and the parenting lessons begin.

24 December 2014 - God with us

having just survived the first month of bonding, which is the hardest with so many yeses for each no. to then have dear friends moving away. and unexpected falls. but buoyed by the body of so many hands. meals and support in many forms. and welcomed home to family tradition. and the story of God with us.
"O come, Thou Dayspring, from on high,
And cheer us by Thy drawing nigh;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death's dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice ! Rejoice ! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel."

14 December 2014 - first time for everything

one of the things i was most looking forward to before our son arrived was the 'first times', including first visits to all sorts of places. and while some won't be memorable in retrospect, some definitely will. this day, dairy queen. and perhaps we shared a wee bit too much of our blizzards. you learn as you go...

7 December 2014 - when it comes...

nice to have a week off after returning to philly to adjust on so many levels. used our new zoo membership, got to go to Smith playhouse at last, bought and decorated our first family Christmas tree.
thinking about how some things get richer in the waiting. even finally making it china years after first thinking of going. now sharing the moments with others. thinking that deferred dreams don't always diminish, but sometimes expand in realization.

29 November 2014 - it's all relative

for a flight whose official times made it less than 1 hour from traveling back in time, it was pretty long. The actual 15 hours that elapsed followed the most difficult night of our parenting lives, included very little sleeping by all, and numerous attempts and advice by all those around us to soothe a screaming child. but one thing that such a trip did (what the complimentary pink princess puzzle could not do)... is make all future flights seem easy by comparison.

27 November 2014 - pizza thanksgiving

thankful for a unique thanksgiving... on our first thanksgiving outside the country, got to go to a safari park with friends and see all sorts of animals - including red pandas - and then stop for a pizza dinner (as well as McDonald's ice cream).

18 November 2014 - you have no idea

adoption day - our son having so much fun at play with his baba that when the time came for the official pronouncement he had to be dragged crying over to the circle, little knowing the countless hours of play and more the moment would bring about.
and are there not bunches of moments like this in our lives? whether it be railing against or crying in the face of times where things don't go our way, while at the same time we are being cared and loved by a Father who ordains our steps. we can so often see only what is right in front of our face, little knowing the bigger picture, the master plan, for those who have been called into his purpose, to become a son of God.

2 November 2014 - loved into the family

kicked off national adoption month with an adoption party of our friends, followed by Orphan Sunday the next morning. was asked to share a little at the party about adoption in general, quite a task. "adopted" should not be seen as a definer but more as the process by which someone becomes a child. also, borrowed some of Piper's thoughts on why part of the reason the process is so wonderful is that it mimics how God loves us. The great cost he went to to bring us out of where we were and bring us to a place of full rights and responsibilities of being part of the family of God. and in his case it wasn't just a mountain of paperwork and all sorts of fees... but oh how great a love the Father bestowed on us that we might be called children of God.

31 October 2014 - its time

two years to the day since our initial info session with our agency, our flights are booked, headed to China soon!

25 October 2014 - adoption shower

the world's first showers were made to mimic waterfalls. and if you've ever stood under a waterfall you know how refreshing it can feel and how the water keeps coming and coming. and so have we felt the support cascading down on us, from an adoption shower of books, prayers and friends with food to a car seat showing up at our door, to parents visiting helping to get our house all ready and more.

11 October 2015 - the rough with the smooth

"It is we who must labour to bring our daily life into even closer accordance with what the glimpses have revealed. . .and all good Christian lovers know that this programme, modest as it sounds will not be carried out except by humility, charity and divine grace" cs lewis
a work in progress, but we made it back to Roy's. another celebration, another city... the journey continues together, with some delicious breakfasts along the way.

30 September 2014 - the meddles yield a medley

computer problems preclude access to notes and such. but God's Word stands forever. and so for this entry, a medley of sermon notes from the last few months...
prayer is meant to be transformational more than conversational * our habits form our hearts * a peacemaker is not a peace seeker * light testifies to itself, there's no need to announce it

18 September 2014 - adventure of a lifetime

i love special days to celebrate, delicious meals to eat. . . but part of the reason is it's on those days that we recall the 'ordinary' usual every days that make up most of the adventure of a lifetime - that is delightful with a best friend.

14 September 2014 - stuff swapping

one of my favorite things about my church is an event called the "stuff swap". how Acts 2 is that? we even gave away some furniture and meanwhile got things like a baby carrier! all big help as we make preparations to be ready to welcome our son soon.

4 September 2014 - lots of chances to die (while calculating the odds of doing so)

my friend at work does a much better job of this than me - living the quiet life, working hard and so earning the respect of others that way. so many little things threaten to disquiet or even jar one's temper. but whether it is the ridiculous or inconvenient is that really cause to react loudly? Or can I "s.i.i.a.c.t.d" as my post-it at work says?
"O the wonderful cross bids me come and die and find that I may truly live, O the wonderful cross, all who gather here by grace draw near and bless Your name."

18 August 2014 - to every generation

"You have been a shelter, Lord, to every generation, to every generation...a sanctuary from the storm, to every generation, to every generation..."

11 August 2014 - visited state #42

in some ways alaska is not different from other states, just much harder to get to. . .in other ways the isolation and the so far northness make it a unique land of beauty. we saw so little of the state this time around, hard to imagine what it would be like to experience the vast wilderness or to come in a different season.

8 August 2014 - the last frontier

the timing, while not necessarily ideal, was sort of fitting. making phone calls to my family, while about to set sail, about the prospects of us becoming a family of three, and then joining every single member of wifey's mom's extended family (39!) for a cruise vacation, destination: the last frontier. ready or not, here we come!

29 July 2014 - an appropriate time for everything

so often what we're looking for comes in the moments we are not looking.
we can't see even a few days ahead, but He can. Like the phone call that just might change everything.

26 July 2014 - an old mwY day

"My Lord, how long to sing this song? And my Lord, how much more of this pretending to be strong? . . ."You brought me here, now take me home"."
"Jesus have mercy on us."

17 July 2014 - bears and family and flying

while seeing bears was unsurprisingly a highlight of our trip to NC, the exceeds expectations award went to when we visited the kitty hawk memorial with my dad. it is amazing that no one had ever flown for so many years and then within 70 years it went from basically someone gliding in the wind with big wings to my dad flying jets around the world. it is a testament to the ideas of "don't give up", "dream big" and "sometimes you need to just take a couple of steps before you can run. . . or even fly".

30 June 2014 - the melting pot

"when will the sun rise close enough to MELT me?" as the old poem goes. while we're still waiting on that answer, if the question is - where will the sun rise close enough to melt my stuff? the answer is utah. 107 degrees and multiple items actually melted.

26 June 2015 - canyonlands

we didn't make it to brazil, but we did make it out west for a national parks trip for the third round of the WC group stage and the nba draft. beauty all around.

12 June 2014 - world cup time

my world cup viewing experiences have changed over the years based on available means. thinking back on those times the epic world-sized event also serves as a memorable marker for seasons in life 4 years apart. and now, my first world cup while being married kicks off!

8 June 2014 - if God answered the phone using song lyrics?

"This is - amazing grace. This is unfailing love. . ."

7 June 2014 - we beat

after seeing all of moses's life unfold and his role in the quest to free the israelites from slavery the climactic moment is when moses is told by God to turn back and wait by the sea. common sense would make this seem like a bad plan. it seemed even worse when the people could see the Egyptians coming toward them. but Moses said don't be afraid, be still. The LORD fought for them, and it left them singing. everyone knew then that there was no one like this God.
"In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling." Exodus 15:13

31 May 2014 - first world problems

we had given our futon away. lined up people all day to help bring in the new heavy sofa whenever it might arrive. shopped, finally selected and purchased the sofa. had it delivered to our front door. and then... it would not fit. well, it would not fit in a way to the movers liking. as my friend would say - first world problems. -having- brings its own set of difficulties. perspective helps thankfulness tarry in the face of disappointment.

20 May 2014 - news

got the news that the cosi that was once an ihop had closed. but one good news did not portend another. instant exam results left a little shock. another round of studying yielding no fruit. some things we don't get to see with our own eyes. other things are signs that the brokenness is only temporary. there is a vineyard to eat of that you did not plant. there is a toiling that is not in vain.

15 May 2014 - cupcake giving

"sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything." 2 Corinthians 6:10

13 May 2014 - on streets of glass not yet gold

a flat tire can really deflate you if you were not expecting to ever get one. but if you realize you'll probably get a few each year, when they come they are more 'due course' than 'unforeseen hardship'. home owners tend to learn this as well, you may not know what problem will arise, but there will probably something that breaks and needs fixing every so often. while these troubles are still inconvenient and have a cost, the added shadow of suffering of thinking about 'why am i suffering?' does not have to weigh so heavy. those in other countries tend to know this much better than americans. but we are all born to trouble. so instead of letting it knock us down we can remember the natural tendency of things is to fall apart. and praise God for the days when things work right, when the broken is restored, and we glimpse the God who is making all things new.

12 May 2014 - and a helper

"And the river runs deep Passing gracefully by Beautiful to behold Still there's more than meets the eye"

8 May 2014 - the roaring of the seas

"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging." Psalm 46

"...Though the seas should roar with all the heartache, Though our hearts should pound, Though our throats be dry, We will lift Your Name on high. You have been a shelter Lord to every generation, to every generation."

29 April 2014 - love carries burdens not our own

the merit of actions can't always be measured on a standalone basis. there can be a time and place to love in one way that most other times would not be most loving. love wants to see growth in the other. but love also stoops and carries loads others will not. His wounded hands speak love to us.

20 April 2014 - Eastertide

"the greatest day in history, death is beaten You have rescued me."
"He rose and conquered the grave, Jesus conquered the grave."

18 April 2014 - but the grave was borrowed

"I know Your love has won it all, You took the fall to embrace my sorrows. I know You took the fight, You came and died, but the grave was borrowed. I know You stood again So I can stand with a life to follow..."

16 April 2014 - your problem

"your problem is you thought I was a hard man"...i've written about this sinclair sermon before. it's worth visiting again - often the problem is not God, but rather our view of how we think God operates. when it doesn't meet our expectations it can lead to disappointment. He doesn't work how we would work. In actuality He is far more loving and far more gracious. And our perception of His nature impacts our actions far more than we think.

07 April 2014 - winning on so many levels

it's like the man who gave away free ice cream cones to kids, i thought, as i made a pie for my coworkers. not only will they enjoy the pie but it will help me out... in addition to what i will gain by giving. and how many more scenarios are there with this potential? giving where there is such desire enhances the experience all the more.

1 April 2014 - april come she will

for whatever reason, the month of april tends to provide an extra boost i often need towards good things. in this case consistently writing out prayers (in excel)... whatever it takes to take hold of the life that is truly life.

28 March 2014 - on baking done well

deliciousness is still a love language of mine. and how much better when the fam's all here to share cookies and a korean feast...

23 March 2014 - falling into a roll

amazed by my dad. after all this time, still playing sports with us, and playing more soccer than me on his own. i haven't always seen the inherent challenges in this, but i have seen the grace with which he's been able to roll with the game moving onward.

13 March 2014 - two to the fifth

a day of celebration and love, special meals and treats... looking forward to a surprise present bequeathment. and still making pi together after all these years.

9 March 2014 - waking thoughts

a good weekend, where wifey and i were able to get down to VA early to see my brother in his domain and hear stories of how God is at work in young lives. meanwhile, waking thoughts, whether from dreams or prayers, lead to redoubled efforts and determination for the days ahead.

5 March 2014 - meden merimnate

what robs you of joy? we studied philippians 4, written by Paul from prison, which was just one of his many stresses. undoubtedly there are things which would distract us as well. but the sovereign antidote is constant prayer. The LORD is near! with thanksgiving, we must make our desires known to God. not everything is so important when in the correct perspective. but how often do we take the time to pray, to read, to meditate and let what is true and lovely sink into our heart?
from the psalms: "I will sing to the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. May my meditation be pleasing to him, as I rejoice in the LORD."

23 February 2014 - Christ in the storm

another good getaway with our church for a weekend in maryland. for one part we studied the mark 4/5 passage that is partially captured by Rembrandt's famous painting, Christ in the Storm. there's a big question in these side by side stories - don't you care we will drown? the disciples were worried that He didn't care, He wasn't able. But it wasn't true. and on the other side they meet a man howling like a windstorm... one who noone could restrain. But everything submits to Jesus. and Jesus left him calm, the demons from the man sending 2000 pigs into the sea. Jesus saw him as worth far more. and the man was left to tell of the mercy the Lord had shown him. We should have a practice of looking for each day's mercies.

20 February 2014 - our best kitchen item in retrospect

around the time we got married wifey and i were deciding on what items we needed for our new home. it was then that we came across a white plastic colander for $4 at bbb. somehow i expressed some initial hesitation since we already had two to three items that provided similar functions. little did i know that the item we procured that day would provide such value and come into use oh so often. who knew my life would be so much more full of clean, washed vegetables and of calmly waiting pasta? while it is good to not have too many things i'm thankful that my wife knows many things that i do not and helps our home be a better place.

15 February 2014 - ultimate valentine's day weekend

neat to be back in hershey again as well as to have the opportunity to go to this conference. it was very good to listen to the speakers, not just for insights but even more for stories which make knowledge come to life. and then it is also helpful to be able to try and put things in practice as we go, from writing letters to more and more. so good to make a memory with the only one i'd be willing to miss most of all star weekend for. i hope we can remember and revisit the things we learned and the times we had.

14 February 2014 - off we go

what are the odds of a double snow day sending us off early on our weekend trip to the familylife conference, leaving us enough time to go to starbucks and still catch a quick pizza hut dinner before the evening session? there's a time for everything and this time it was time to enjoy together the valentine's day meal of my youth while looking forward to the weekend ahead.

11 February 2014 - sonship

when reading the Bible it is important to consider the context of when it was written. when the Bible speaks of men and women as brothers or sons there is something lost if you try to include daughters. in an age and culture when women did not inherit property rights, referring to both men and women as sons lifted their status in Christ. Trying to translate into our context can miss the weight of the point. In a related manner, we are all the bride of Christ, because that is how he sees his church that He gave himself for.

10 February 2014 - on singing in the car

it was quite fitting that on my way to a meeting where we discussed why we sing i had a particularly good time in the car singing along to katy, wondering about best albums ever made. there are some things songs can do that mere words cannot. in some ways it is strange that we sing every week at church. (i mean we never sing at work.) and yet in other ways it is not strange at all. what better to way to express such deep truths...
"spring came and brought about a longing. Tasted just enough to want some more. . .And I get so nostalgic for what's to come. We will shake off the tragic and we'll go home..."

5 February 2014 - marriage three ways

listened to a trio of sermons on marriage today by 3 different pastors from one church and they offered some surprisingly fresh takes on the subject, as well as many practical applications. oneness itself should not be the goal. ananias and sapphira were one, but in their misdeed. priscilla and aquila meanwhile, were one in doing good. another sermon talked about what it looks like to be most forgiving even by what is not brought up or held against another. the third sermon talked about finding your vision as a couple or family as well as ways to intentionally seek connection and growth including dialogue to help get you there.

23 January 2014 - Julian

"No I am not this misshaped body, and I'm not long for this world. Wooden dimes and quiet fears, come curl your lips at me
but all perceptions are as mirrors, it's your own reflections that you see. So hide behind your laughs a while, look handsome though you may, oh, do enjoy that saccharine smile, as there comes for you a day."

20 January 2014 - not standing up for nothing

working for justice has a cost. even when things aren't fair, there was an injustice that was just as unfair, and more. and so we can step out and pay the cost. and remember that working towards the best things is worth it.

16 January 2014 - what marvelous power

there are such a variety of deterrents to prayer that i think we do good to recall with frequency the power of prayer. to remember how God does come to our aid. from psalm 116, "I love the LORD because He has heard my voice and my supplications. Because He has inclined His ear unto me, therefore I will call on Him as long as i live."

01 January 2014 - year in review: 2013

'twas a year of adoption preparation, from application to acceptance and all the hard work and (very) specifics in between. enjoyed many trips, though the summer was quite a whirlwind of travel. weddings in omaha (via KS), nj and oakland, time with family in VA, NY, seattle and sunriver, trips with friends to MD retreat, DC and NC and getaways to hershey, wilmington and maine! our first trip to maine together was quite a highlight. meanwhile, wifey had a few short work trips of her own. i wrote a children's book. read many books, including till we have faces and 5 little peppers. signs of the brokenness ibnlt: hiring saga, inopportune sicknesses, crazy rash, huge bite, accidents, dislocation and tears, fam. health, and back pains. gospel of john part 2 as our sg wrapped up, preparing for Easter, reading OT in mornings, survey analysis for re:vision, another year with the worship team, more Bible study preps even with new group, and a cheesesteak tour and beverage concierge all for supporting missions! year in food: grilled cheese & fig sandwich, siracha burgers, maine blueberry pie and mello yellos, smores, dominos, good chinese food outings, bday pizza. year in drinks: root beer store, drinks from SA, and finding mello and more on vacations. SOTM: Made Alive. biking 1477 miles. falling just short in lza and fall championship. soccer lessons. enjoying bike given to me and wns. nba fun: all star, finals, draft and more. spending time with brothers before their graduation, the coldest yet. still learning to love better. enjoying time with my best friend from biking the crescent to the rodin, making fig ice cream to monthly pizza outings, gardens and flowers to walks in the neighborhood, as well as all the moments in between. and now for some free flow: seeing a whole lot of amazing wildlife (but still no red pandas), painting, storyline, flying kites on the beach, farewell to dobby, enjoying visitors, an intervention, sweltering settlers, you my sister mom?, flying lanterns, paramus library, beautiful sunrise, too big fig, yogurtland tour, birthday celebrations including 60, 65 and 90, missing friends, making more of less, summer movies, no alaska road trip but then trip planned! (despite 1 vote), serving with work, sermons, progress discouragement and hope, phil. 2, wows come at unexpected times, and the gardens of life take quite a bit of work but the end result is worth it.

31 December 2013 - on friendship

we celebrated new year's with philly fireworks, pizza and then a movie, fittingly the rare movie that highlights friendship, as we finished the LOTR trilogy. the series made more sense to me watching the second time around, in closer proximity... to see the epic quest unfold to destroy the ring that was destroying the earth and the ridiculously hard path to do so. great to see the friend that made a promise not to leave, who stuck with it no matter the cost, be it rejection or hardship. the self-sacrificing companion who would even carry his friend if that is what it took. and the one who pointed his friend to truth and helped him not give up.

25 December 2013 - Your love is relentless

Merry Christmas! - from Seattle.
"The time is up for chasing shadows. You gave the world a light to follow. A hope that shines beyond tomorrow. Your love goes on, Your love goes on..."

20 December 2013 - most productive day of the year

you know a day is productive when... you publish a book before work! after that, worked a full day then flew all the way across the country. also read a book on fatherhood, wrote some Christmas cards, journaled, etc., etc. . .

16 December 2013 - on how we spend our time

a magazine article furthered what i have thought of several times this year, the average amount of daily tv watching going on is very high. what i have a hard time grasping is - really, how do people watch so much tv? i wish the magazine covered what they are leaving out of their schedule (that i am doing sans tv) to make this possible.

13 December 2013 - what kind of King is this?

led a study on a not-as-popular Christmas passage, Philippians 2, where we see Jesus as a different kind of king. He was a giver not a grabber, a server not a taker. Rather than conscripting others and killing those in His way, He made Himself nothing, humbled Himself, and died on a cross. That's why He's the King of Kings. In view of His example and His mercy, we can look to the interests of others. Until we are stunned that we were owed hell and got heaven at the cost of the Son of God, a sense of entitlement can sneak in. Paul called himself a bondslave of Christ - no rights. He knew the One who was rich who made Himself poor so that we could be so rich.

06 December 2013 - to kickstart

reading a book on prayer and immediately encouraged to pray. for often it is remembering the benefits of prayer that help us pray more. while the book had an impact, sustaining prayer could have even more impacts.

27 November 2013 - celebrating God's goodness in the face of hardships

on the way to WNS, listening to the story of Thanksgiving's origins in America. and how people seeking to do what was right in the face of many hardships celebrated the goodness of God. They were helped by others in a time where even survival was a difficult task.
It was Abraham Lincoln who made the day a annual national holiday, "a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father". In the midst of another difficult time, he also called on people to "commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans".
a day that was meant to be one of fasting and feasting is so often these days one of feasting alone.

22 November 2013 - i love to tell the story

recently had multiple chances to hear and tell good stories; from the recounting of an adoption to miraculous provisions for my old church to a night where we stacked up such stones for each other to remind us - this is our God.

19 November 2013 - when normal is great

as you probably know, being sick is no fun. but... it sure is nice the day after when you start to feel better.

11 November 2013 - how you win well

as a competitive person i have a high value for winning. but victory itself is not the highest value. how you win is important so it should be kept in mind not just afterwards but along the way as well.

7 November 2013 - better not to steal anything

mars hill sermon series on the 10 commandments. stealing is often less obvious than the other commandments, especially these days. but that doesn't mean it is less serious... restitution was to be made 5x. some things are clearly wrong even if not treated as such. others are just for our good, like the Sabbath. all not meant to be weights that pull us down but helps that lift us to the good life.

1 November 2013 - give Him no rest

Bible study is back and we're talking persistent widow, a parable of how much more where the contrasts stand out. the widow was a stranger to the judge, we are family. the widow was one person, we are many. she had no friend to speak for her, but we have an Advocate, who ever lives to make intercession for us. she had no encouragement to ask, but we have God's promises. she could only access the judge sometimes, we can cry out to God any time, day or night. her asking was provoking the judge, our asking is pleasing. He wants us to pray and not give up.

30 October 2013 - loving those not like us

second early morning trip to NY but in the end a finish line to adoption paperwork finally in sight! also got to finish reading a book about what it looks like to be a liquid church. just like water takes the shape of the container how do we adopt to the changing culture around us, while giving the same living water out? the book quoted Kierkegaard, "The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly." The challenge is to love people not like us at all, outside our comfort zone. who are the most underresourced people in our community? what is in our hand that we can use to serve?

27 October 2013 - bacon butternut love

learning to love is a process that can take quite a long time. so it is all the more encouraging to see signs of progress. it is one thing to feel you are making strides on your own. but even better in moments when you can tell the other person feels loved. and are able to cap it off with a beautiful fall walk.

16 October 2013 - on living the normal christian life

listening to sermons of an old friend talking about the normal christian life. how would you define normal? by those you read about in the Bible, like the church in Antioch, like those around the world or something else? what some see as extreme others see as normal. every man dies... not every man truly lives. "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me."

10 October 2013 - relative value

the darker it gets, the more powerful the smallest of lights is

8 October 2013 - on the grace of faith that transforms

started listening to a sermon series with an interesting idea - "the best sermon ever", where guest preachers to mars hill gave their personal takes on that. paul tripp spoke on mark 6 and how the disciples hadn't understood about the loaves and the fishes. they were amazed but that was not the same as having faith. so Jesus sends them into a storm and then walks on water to them, showing them He was indeed the I AM.

29 September 2013 - topped with mandarin oranges

first sunday birthday in 11 years. so, definitely enjoying it more, from praise on drums to special pizza to more, a good birthday weekend. older, but hopefully wiser.

26 September 2013 - to see them for the beauty God intended

you've probably done it with a friend... gradually revealing some things you've put together one by one, but saving the best for last. so it was in creation, ultimately ending with woman. in all of what was created, God saw that it was beautiful. and such a beauty that it causes us to stop and if we really stop and are still, to know there is a God. but with woman there was something of a unique endowment, where the beauty was not only given but craved. desiring only a fleeting beauty is sad. but there's an unfading beauty to pursue which is of great worth.

25 September 2013 - hope for figuring things out

it's always taken me a long time to learn how to do things, whether it was 10 years to learn how to swim to the time it took me to learn how to tie a tie. which was why it was so nice today to not only put back in pesky window screens but to also finally get successful test runs of all our wedding videos to play. looking forward to seeing more than the snippets i heard. . .out of death, greater life. twoness replaced by oneness.

24 September 2013 - counting others as more significant

"use your freedom to serve one another in love" galatians 5, the message. it would be one thing to be a servant of a famous author or a beautiful princess and do things for them. doing their laundry or making them muffins would be nice, but it would actually be expected. the same acts would be different in the context of friendship. one of the reasons marriage is beautiful is it provides so many opportunities to serve one another because you have the freedom to do so, while all the while having a relationship of equals. and as christians, how much more does the gospel beauty of marriage shine through when we live philippians 2 lives.

18 September 2013 - purple sparkly hearts

celebrated together eating good food out in old city followed by franklin fountain where we shared some ice cream

16 September 2013 - rash judgment

i could be a dermatologist at this point

13 September 2013 - to be loved

apparently pizza is one of my love languages

28 August 2013 - currently singing

"You have bought me back with the riches of, Your amazing grace and relentless love. I'm made alive forever, with You, life forever, by Your grace I'm saved!"

25 August 2013 - when isaiah meets deuteronomy

a people formed for Himself, created for His glory to proclaim His praise. and yet living for things that reap ruin. enveloped in consuming flames yet not understanding, not taking it to heart. He will not yield His glory to another, or His praise to idols. Apart from Him there is no savior.

19 August 2013 - on frame of reference

we went ocean kayaking, and we didn't capsize! not even close this time, instead more marveling at creation, seeing seals pop up right in front of us. most people don't get dumped into the ocean, but do we measure against others or ourselves? sometimes it is more helpful to see progress we have made.
and how would i compare this trip to one of my favorite trips of all time... can they be different without one being better? of course. but there is also something to be said for greater heights. there's maine. and there's maine with $0.59 mello yellos. it's all the more sweeter to share with the one you love.

17 August 2013 - even more epic

first full day in maine was a doozy. not only did we see the sunrise from a top a mountain but we went to a choice spot to see the sunset as well. did the famed ocean loop trail, had the best blueberry pie i've ever had and we got to see starfish up close, among other things...

16 August 2013 - the One who rescues

on the way to maine together, 5 years later. driving and thinking, little notes and TK. listening to gospel according to moses sermons, a Christmas gift that has become a favorite series. too much to cover, but overall we see the book of exodus starts in slavery but ends in worship. let my people go...that they may worship me. where salvation is rescue from the misery and slavery of serving anything in your life that's more important than God.
then we see the plagues, an undoing of genesis 1-2 in one sense. in another a great picture of the natural progression of the chaos and disorder unleashed when you disobey the Creator God. His directives, intended to give us a life of flourishing, yet unheeded... things begin to unravel. when Jesus came on the scene it was to bring the restoration, to turn water not into blood but into wine. and then to take the plagues Himself, like the darkness that covered the land, so that we wouldn't have to receive them.

08 August 2013 - how can they meet us face to face till we have faces?

the good thing about flight delays is the chance to more easily read whole books, in this case lewis' 'till we have faces' (finally), which did lead to some audible woah's along the way.
"those we love best- those are the very ones you'll pick out. . .It would be far better for us if you were foul and ravening. we'd rather you drank their blood than stole their hearts. we'd rather they were ours and dead than yours and made immortal."
"Do you think it all meant nothing, all the longing? The longing for home? For indeed it now feels not like going, but like going back. All my life the god of the Mountain has been wooing me. Oh, look up at least once before the end and wish me joy. I am going to my lover."

29 July 2013 - family vacay

today was an epic vacation day. amidst our whirlwind summer, nice to have time with family in central oregon. got to play tennis with wifey as well as a family bike ride, ping pong, jacuzzi, summer movie night and more.

24 July 2013 - what you do with what you have

friendship with others is more difficult in marriage (and with kids). journaling is not as voluminous. which is why it is all the more great to be at least be able to make the most of available pockets with the wonder of alone time. today included unexpected soccer, much enjoyed pizza and a surprising movie find where passion on behalf of the poor and undervalued is indeed something to be loved. and hope that one day all will be made well, wrongs will be made right. God cannot be mocked. you will reap what you sow. there was a King who laid down His majesty to make a no-people his bride.

17 July 2013 - on undercover jobs

neices and nephew are visiting!
meanwhile, when i first started working (many years ago) i seriously thought about sending out a support letter, like some people doing full-time missions do, because even though i was doing a "normal" job and not something considered full-time ministry it, and the rest of my life, was not less of a mission in my mind and could use the prayer (if not the finances). it was my way of seeking God's kingdom with the gifts i've been given. now, if you've ever seen shows involving fbi cases what you see all the time is fbi agents posing as workers in other fields for the sake of the greater cause. while i've fallen a long way from when i had a list of everyone on the company on my apartment wall to pray for them, of late i do want to more and more reprise my undercover role. to be in the position to seize chances for the greater good.

13 July 2013 - on parenting wonderings

it was interesting to be able to watch some of my friends parent from close up recently on our road trip to NC. meanwhile at today's wedding, my crazy lil' sis told me i will like parenting (this was before throwing her kid up in the air while on the dance floor). i don't know what to expect. with marriage experiences so different, will parenting be the same. . .or will we find ourselves somewhere in the middle of the spectrum?

12 July 2013 - new wine

drank last of my old mello yellos on a day where we celebrated a wedding weekend with friends and i got to wear my new kurta. there is something to be said for the need of "new wineskins" for new wine. even old mello yello cans can lose their purpose after too long. God moves us on and we need to be open to the new things He is doing.

30 June 2013 - the music of the great celebration

back from state 41 and neighboring nebraska. reading again tales of the resistance... "what he loved most in the world was the King and to be a King's man and to do the King's work. . .To the King! To the Restoration!"

15 June 2013 - poem written on a garden trip

you are not abandoned
any more.
I will bring my hammer
and some nails
and go at those floorboards.
I'll mend the walls
that look so worn down.
I'll do my best to repair
what has become so broken.
Rotten wood will have to go
but gentle hands will keep the frame intact.
I'll install new windows
so that light can fill the dark places.
I'll make it so the roof won't want to leak no more
but will rather be a joyful recipient of the sun's rays.
Those passing by will see and marvel at what some Love has done.
You were bought at quite a cost
but you are worth
far more than that.
You may have once been an abandoned house
but you will one day be a dwelling
that a family will call:
home.

13 June 2013 - turn back before it's too late

reading through the OT in the mornings. Leviticus is full of guidelines for living as a people set apart. and then at the end: the stakes. if you refuse to obey and despise my decrees, then this. if none of this works in getting your attention, then that. and if even this, then... and if this, even this, then [ ] and at that point it is hard to read further. it is far far better to repent now. to not have a hard heart to all the things that should cause us to wake up. to see as sweet mercy the beckoning to run in the paths that can set our hearts free.

08 June 2013 - the necessary gardener

imagine you were bequeathed a great garden, not only beautiful flowers and fountains but also rows of fruits and vegetables as well. wouldn't you do what you could to take care of it, to be good stewards of the gift? had a meal with a friend who reminded me how marriage is like a garden. it takes an enormous amount of work and constant attention, regardless of the weather.

18 May 2013 - a work he could never finish

made use of free museum day to finally visit the Rodin museum, one of Philly's many connections with Paris. got to see "the Gates of Hell" from which many of his more famous works actually came from, including "the Thinker", looking out over it all wondering what to make of it.

15 May 2013 - parakletos

hard week, but got to have one of our last sg Bible studies on John 16. where it would be better for the disciples to have God dwell in them than next to them. their sorrow would turn to joy. "no one will take your joy from you". and that greater joy was having Him. because He gave away a joy and suffered pain for the joy set before Him.

08 May 2013 - prayer lives on

lead my last regular bible study of the year on the parting prayer of Jesus. Jesus teaches us what to aim at in our prayers - the honor and glory of God. He even prayed for me. He also prayed for unity. There are many christians, but only one Holy Spirit.
"God shapes the world by prayers. Prayers are deathless. . .That man is most immortal who has done the most and best praying."

06 May 2013 - the glory and the shame

to grasp glory there is the risk of shame. while this does not mean not to pursue glory, it does mean you should heed what you are pursuing. Mary had the courage to say yes to God, despite the shame, the unknown. . .and through it - Jesus, and what glory. "Oh, the glory of it all is He came here for the rescue of us all"

5 May 2013 - to a unknown God

family's in town and we got to enjoy a quick trip to new york. heard TK speak on Acts 17. the people in Athens Paul talked to knew there was a God there they didn't know. many people today believe in some sort of higher being. and we all worship something. Paul was proclaiming to them what they were trying to grasp but couldn't see clearly. and the proof was the resurrection of Jesus. which always draws a line. if it's not true, go on and live however you please. if it is true... why that changes everything.

29 April 2013 - on today's mello

the purpose of a vineyard is to make wine (the purpose of a good soda plant is to make mello yello). keeping in mind that the Vinedresser knows this gives us hope. even pruning something we loved is purposeful, to bear more fruit.

24 April 2013 - as i abide in you

walking around praying during lunch before we studied this greatly important subject - abiding in His love. there are so many hinderances to abiding. the Word will not abide in us if we are in a hurry. beware the barrenness of a busy life. we get more and more busy as we get older. which is why we need to be more and more intentional. leverage personal routines first. think about specific ways you connect with God. i stopped by a favorite park on the way home. how does a branch bear fruit? by abiding in the vine. by this the Father is glorified. You make my joy complete, as i abide in You.

21 April 2013 - you're my way

one part of sermons i find helpful is stories done well. when preaching on john 14 jason told the story of a time at an airport where he asked kristen if she knew where she was going. she said, "you're my way". she did not need to know the terminal or gate, she trusted her husband to lead her there. and the disciples had yet to know just how Jesus was preparing a place for them, but they trusted and followed Him. Jesus is the way: truth + life.

17 April 2013 - that where I am you may also be

He went about homeless, giving us a home. He prepared a place, since this world is not our home. He will not leave us as orphans, He will come and take us to Himself. In a world of trouble, there's a peace that's better than what the world gives.

14 April 2013 - injustice and grace

able to experience such opposites because of the One whose utter injustice enabled us to taste such grace.

13 April 2013 - some days are bigger than others

in a sense it was a luke15ish day, a tale of three searches. first up, the long awaited warehouse sale of a favorite purveyor of dresses. it was probably the closest i'll come to the running of the brides, women everywhere frantically trying to find dresses of their size and liking. thankfully we were successful without too much crazy. then we ended up buying our first car together. we had taken out Dobby for one last DQ run the night before, just in case. and God provided us a car quickly in person after many months of searching and prep online. finally, friends called and we were off in search of the northern lights. the odds were low, and it meant staying up late and driving to the country but if you have the rare chance to see the nothern lights in PA (rather than say... alaska) you go for it. we saw nothing but clouds. but i realize the thing about searching is that it changes based on what you are searching for. so how do we find God? the methodology given - you will find the Lord your God, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul. some searches can be casual, but searching for God needs to be wholehearted to be really effective.

10 April 2013 - to love is to serve

"All things were made through Him and without Him was not anything made that was made". . .and yet, Mark 10:45, "For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many". When Jesus washed the feet of the disciples one of the reasons was to set for them an example. May we be servants to whom nothing is below us except sin. from MH (i think), "Our love to one another must be free and ready, laborious and expensive, constant and persevering. This was what their Master was famous for; all that ever heard of him have heard of his love, his great love; and therefore, if you see any people more affectionate one to another than what is common, say, 'Certainly these are the followers of Christ, they have been with Jesus."

31 March 2013 - risen today

"Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia! Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia! . . . Made like Him, like Him we rise, Alleluia! Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!" and the crashes were a plenty as i helped lead worship on this day of days.
in keeping with the theme of happy surprises, had brothers over for some kfc and mac & cheese!

30 March 2013 - singing today

what other King left his glory to die...

29 March 2013 - my mocking voice

always good to meditate on isaiah 53. but i also got to read from john 19 for the good friday service. . ."They came up to him, saying, 'Hail, King of the Jews!' and struck him with their hands."
and we sang, "Ashamed I hear my mocking voice call out among the scoffers."

27 March 2013 - the mistaken gardener

studying John 20, where we get to see what the disciples saw that wonderful morning. a rolled away stone and linen cloths. the linen cloths are a big deal because of Lazarus... he couldn't get out, someone had to unbind him. not here. they saw the face cloth and angels. and then a gardener. except, it was not a gardener as you might expect. the garden, a place of joy to a place of sorrow to a place of greater joy when they saw Jesus. they would see the nails in his hands and his side and believe.

20 March 2013 - mighty to save

Palm Sunday where Jesus, a wanted man, comes waltzing in to town. actually somehow riding a baby donkey. and a crowd shouting "Save! Save now!" and the crowd was there because others were bearing witness, telling the stories of what Jesus had done. He raised Lazarus and He can raise you too. He moved my mom to pray for me at the same time when across the town a tree totaled the car i was being driven home in but smashed none of us. He is mighty to save.

13 March 2013 - i won't give up, He loved me to the end

celebrated b-day at sg with lots of good kinds of ice cream. then feasted on the Word. where we studied the last supper where the disciples didn't know who was going to betray Jesus and didn't know what Judas was going to do when he left. "Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me." and from Psalm 55, "If an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it; if a foe were raising himself against me, I could hide from him. But it is you, a man like myself, my companion, my close friend, with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship as we walked with the throng at the house of God." Jesus is a better friend to us than we are to Him. He loved us to the end.

09 March 2013 - see in it a chance to die

took a trip with best friend for mexican food and orchid extravaganza! at sg earlier this week one of the things we studied was john 12:24 - unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. this process takes time. just like with a garden, we need to be patient w. the process of transformation. but what hopeful news is this, that death is not the end, but transformation to a new beginning. we can be bold seekers of God's kingdom because to live is Christ and to die is gain.

08 March 2013 - not one, not two, not three. . .

Abraham didn't just have 1 child in his old age. . . perhaps to show how much the virtue of the promise exceeds the power of nature, he had 7 sons after the laugh of 'and can it be'...

07 March 2013 - a wonderful gospel picture

piper on similarities between God's adoption of us and our adoption of children. . .adoption was for God and is for us costly. the legal transactions precede and undergird the growth of family feelings. adoption was blessed and is blessed with God pouring out a spirit of sonship..."Abba". adoption was and is seriously planned. it brings the rights of being heirs. marked by moral transformation. adoption was for God and often is now for us from very bad situations. adoption meant and means that we suffer now and experience glory later. it will be worth it all.

03 March 2013 - when we can't see the Sun

notes from Jason's sermon on John 11-12: the moon is smaller than the sun and has no radiance of its own but it can eclipse the sun because it is closer. what are the small things that are coming the way for us? the pharisees and chief priests in Jesus day had idols of security. they thought it better if one man die for the people than "the Romans [come] and take away both our place and our nation." So they had Jesus killed. and yet, in 70 AD Rome still came, and tore down the temple. They loved their life and still lost it.

27 February 2013 - now is not the time to rest

while definitely a subject i've dwelled on before, it was pictured quite well as i biked fast before a pending rainstorm. in tired moments i was tempted to slow down or stop, but i would tell myself - now is not the time to rest! 1 mile more you'll be home and free from concern of being drenched and cold and slipping. it's Hebrews 4, your Sabbath rest is coming. it's that - stop wait what are you doing, acting like this tent is your house. don't you see there's work to do before we rest with Him? we shouldn't be running aimlessly. we should run in such a way as to win the prize.

26 February 2013 - the smelliest night

orders had been given that if anyone knows where Jesus was they should report it so that He could be arrested. but Jesus came into town and had dinner with his friends, the night before Palm Sunday. and then, a beautiful fragrance filled the room of a costly perfume poured out. what does it look like to give our all for Jesus? that a house was filled with an unmistakable smell. sometimes others will see our lives as a waste. but Jesus said what Mary did will always be remembered.

23 February 2013 - the faithful gardener

so good to start a saturday off right, reading, praying, journaling...
from earlier this week, Matthew 6 excerpts (in Pidgin): Mo betta you guys do da good kine stuffs dass importan up dea inside da sky wea God stay...wateva kine stuffs stay da mos importan fo you, dass wea yoa heart stay. . .even King Solomon, wit all his awesome stuffs, neva get awesome clotheses like da flowers...You guys ony trussing God litto bit!
Main ting, make God yoa Boss, cuz he da King. Do da right ting jalike he do, an you guys goin get all da stuffs you need.

22 February 2013 - life juice

"just because you're present doesn't mean you're here" switchfoot. thinking about earnestness today. and how to actually do what's most important even when the urgent or lackadaisical threaten. to really love and rightly channel that passion i am so capable of, to live in a way worthy of the life i've been given.

21 February 2013 - our days are numbered

stopped in my tracks reading Genesis 6 where it says for now on man can expect a life span of 120 years. this stood out this time in light of all the recent work conversations on mortality improvements and using newer and newer mortality tables. and yet in spite of all that in everything i do at my job we still never calculate mortality after one age. . .120.

20 February 2013 - what you sow does not come to life unless it dies

there's a natural tendency to think that the death of Lazarus was less terrible since he was raised from the dead four days later. and yet for the believer, He's going to raise you too. . .the timing may be different, but not the resurrection. not the love. and even better, because Jesus rose it will not be to perishable again, but imperishable.

14 February 2013 - blueberry crumble surprise

an all star week you could say, highlighted by valentine's day. after a nice dinner out surprised by blueberry crumble ice cream back home. thinking on why we like surprises... in a way they are the opposite of those hopes and expectations that come to nothing. it is so easy for hopes to be dashed, but there is a hope that will not lead to disappointment. only God can say - those who hope in Me will not be disappointed.

13 February 2013 - snatcher, no snatching!

"I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord God. I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak" from Ezekial 34
"And there will be an end to these troubles but until that day comes, still I will praise You, still I will praise You... oh no, You never let go"
"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand." from John 10

11 February 2013 - all out worship

reading 'Let the Nations Be Glad!". my favorite chapter - the supremacy of God in missions through suffering, full of stories of those who lived lives of worship, whether it be writing a book each year after the age of 70 to those who gave their lives one way or another for the sake of the gospel. their suffering often making others bold, bringing others to Jesus or enlarging their capacity to enjoy his glory both here and in the age to come.
"We measure the worth of a hidden treasure by what we will gladly sell to buy it. . .The extent of his sacrifice and the depth of his joy display the worth he puts on the treasure of God."

10 February 2013 - all about sheep

enjoyed our much anticipated church retreat, where it was all about the most mentioned animal in the Bible. good to play soccer, basketball and drums with others. interesting to learn that sheep do not naturally lay down. and how a shepherd functions as a door to a sheep pen. best breakout - shepherding in marriage. amidst its difficulties to pray for the marriage, look for wise counsel together and individually, remember both our commitment and God's, maintain spiritual disciplines and keep communication open.

6 February 2013 - time to grow

at sg we talked about keeping a holy lent through self-examen, self-denial, compassion and means of grace. brainstormed how and begin to do some of those things during this time of anticipation before Easter. it was good to be lead through it as a community.

30 January 2013 - on not seeing

John 9 mentions blindness more than any other chapter in the Bible. Jesus heals the man born blind and after some say - it's not the same man at all, it just looks like him! and of course this becomes true as we see MWBB's progression in his view of Jesus, not only physically but spiritually. even ultimately standing up for Jesus in front of the blind guides where his parents had been too afraid. and his testimony- all i know is i was blind, and now i see. how do we see others we pass by? do we see our hardships as opportunities for God's glory to be displayed in our life?

29 January 2013 - when giving is not the most loving

often times giving people what they want is not the most loving. and this is usually done lovingly. that's the whole problem. more sleep is nice but there are better things. chocolate is a treat, but too much in the long run is not helpful. players recovering from an injury in the nba usually want to play before it is wise to do so long-term. this comes up at work and other places as well. like Peter it is too easy for us to see the things of man and not the things of God. It goes on to say, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me..."

27 January 2013 - john 3 ways

John from all directions...the sermon was on what we studied Wednesday. from the OT, the witnesses were to be the ones to throw the first stone, as long as they were not accomplices. and Jesus draws their eyes away, to themselves, just as he had drawn them away from the woman when he wrote on the ground. and by the end of the chapter it was Jesus who was being threatened with stones.

and from reading, chapter 12 The Message, "Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, youll have it forever, real and eternal."

25 January 2013 - kingdom stories

finishing up reading "Kisses from Katie", a wonderful Christmas present. i love that it is full of kingdom stories. and not surprisingly, as it is a story of someone living the life. who let the truth of Scripture change them. who could no longer live a life of loving Jesus without really doing the things He said. and who now "cannot fathom being happier". she realizes that living a life of complacency and comfort in a self-serving society is much more dangerous than following Jesus amidst illnesses and tragedies in Uganda. and that the notion of working with all your heart is a lot more Biblical than that of deserving comfort. even just in hearing about the 14 children she adopted it is clear all that was added to her as she seeks first the kingdom.

23 January 2013 - He came to save

in early John 8 the teaching of Jesus is interrupted when some bring a woman caught in adultery to Jesus. . .but the teaching would go on. actually we see John 3:17 come to life, Jesus did not come into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him

21 January 2013 - but what the formula doesn't account for

i was very interested to read that today is the (average) saddest day of the year. they say it actually varies which date it is each year, but it's always around the same time. as if something could happen like that...

16 January 2013 - the words of life

it is hard not to read the gospel of John without stopping at chapter 6 to try and digest what just happened. so it was good to be able to lead a Bible study on it and chew on it even more. there's a large crowd following Jesus and He, through the disciples and a boy, miraculously provides bread for everyone. after this the crowd wants to make Him king. but they were seeking Jesus for the wrong reason, they had eaten and were full. Surely if He were king they could have the life of comfort they craved! there was a discrepancy between what the crowd wanted and what Jesus was about. Jesus didn't come to start a popular movement but a radical one. The bread was just a sign. And the whole point of a sign is to let your eyes run up the sunbeam and see the Sun.
do we sometimes seek Jesus for the wrong reasons? just because you are in the crowd doesn't mean you are saved. after that day, many walked away. where are we really looking for satisfaction? what would it really look like for Jesus to satisfy, to be the Bread of Life? ultimately Jesus confronts the disciples, the ones who had picked up all the leftover pieces of bread, and asked if they wanted to leave too. "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life"

09 January 2013 - by His wounds we are healed

in John 5 Jesus heals someone who'd be an invalid longer than Jesus had been on earth, showing there is hope and healing, even for what is deeply ingrained. afterwards He warned the man to sin no more, that nothing worse may happen. There is a consequence to sin that is worse than disability. and yet we start to see the signs that Jesus would face that consequence. The Jews, so intent on the law, yet missing the royal law of love, were seeking all the more to kill Him.

08 January 2013 - but for His grace

i try not to, but there are times i read comments on local news sites and inevitably there are blistering comments on the accused by people who don't know them and only know the few details in the article. apparently people love to do this, anonymously place themselves above the 'bad person' fray. but i find the older i get, the less surprised i am by sin. for i've seen the roots in me.

01 January 2013 - new journey begins

starting off the new year at starbucks filling out an adoption application together.
"In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves." from Ephesians 1

31 December 2012 - 2012 in review

2012, where i ranged from puerto rico to costa rica, to orlando, santa barbara, VA, ocean city, ny, DC, seattle and vermont as well. and of course philly, including the highlight of the summer, a staycation planned by wifey.
extended family was an important part, from visits both ways, a VA photo shoot, to health concerns. . .meanwhile our adoption wheels started turning. our house kept us busy from water issues, roof visits to the wall saga, along with continuing to add to it here and there and working in our garden. a year of change, the implications of a job switch back to teaching, and for me the difficulties of changing soccer teams, and the changes involved with getting older. but also the big celebrations of wifey's birthday from visits to exciting gifts to trips, we tried to do it up big. and the end of one sg, but the chance to lead another. year in food: mofongo, korean burrito, from yogi castle to yogurtland, cupcakes from all over, apizza, kimchi fried rice, getting to take wifey to my LA favs, the ultimate korean welcome back feast, m.y. apple dumplings, blueberry crumble, cooking things from jerk chicken to purple cauliflower, mongolian, taeji noodle platter, and more usual suspects. reading selections this year were more diverse than normal... and wifey and i finished another book series together. the year also notable for helping more people move than i can remember including help-a-guy-move. . .even our church moved.
and now, some free flow moments- white christmas, orchid festival, bioluminescent bay, cherry blossoms, free switchfoot concert, softball champs, blueberry picking, chick-fil-a VIP, the fall of the hornet's nest, SOTM: this is amazing grace, you bet your garden up close, making fig jam, studying the gospel of John, freestyle arrives in town, counseling and its end, jury duty, church retreat, hurricane wedding II, 80th bday bash, playing soccer at orphanages, bible study preps, new shoes, 4 senses, three favorite holidays with family, garden visits near and far, dates from valentine's to saturday brunch to a show to more, police run-in, worship team, nba, delivering groceries to the church afar, family time, wow moments to hard times, exploring on foot, wall color choices, visit from a friend, anniversary celebrations, still trying to learn lessons on my own, and those of marriage, making friends at lighthouse orphanage- one big family loving with the love they have been given. and the best bringing in of the new year ever!
for more: see the year in photos!

30 December 2012 - sweet mercy

after a year of changed inputs and habits interposed by even more concerns and more change and waiting, returned home from a nice extended time with family in VA and then finally news in part of status quo. and there are always the lessons. . .to be learned over and over. but we have a Lover, the best kind, who won't relent until He has it all.

24 December 2012 - yonder breaks a new and glorious morn

a snowy Christmas Eve in Virginia with family, sandwiches, and church!
"O holy night, the stars are brightly shining, it is the night of the dear Savior's birth. Long lay the world in sin and error pining till he appeared and the soul felt its worth. A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices, for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn..."

17 December 2012 - bold moves

"There was not a needy person among them" reads Acts 4, in the same phrase as that used in Deuteronomy 15 where God said if you obey there need be no poor among you. The early church lived in such a right way that what often seems impossible was possible through their bold obedience.
meanwhile, there are times where we are like little children with a knife in our hands that our Father must tear away... when God must tear from us what we love wrongly, unreasonably, or excessively that hinders his love. and oh we cry, and yet God saves. His dreams are so much greater than ours. . .but it takes ours dying first.

12 December 2012 - strange question

John the Baptist, who spoke of Jesus before he came on the scene, who later when he saw Jesus boldly declared- The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, and who had disciples who became Jesus disciples because of him later had a moment in his life where he sent messengers to Jesus asking, "Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?" What?? Although I'm not sure why he sent the messengers, this was at a point in his life where perhaps things were not as he expected. He was in prison. Perhaps this is why he questioned things he knew were true. Jesus pointed him back to how the Word was being fulfilled. He was the One to come, the Word made flesh. . .even if He brought life in different ways than people were expecting.

11 December 2012 - Word became flesh

the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
Moses reported the words of God, Jesus is the Word of God. the law mirrors the light of God, Jesus is the light of God. Moses gave instructions on the manna from heaven, Jesus Himself was the manna from heaven. noone has ever seen God, not even Moses, but now God has become flesh! Moses glimpsed the back of God's glory, Jesus embodies the fullness of God's glory. Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, Jesus Himself was lifted up.
He had to have flesh so nails could go through it. He had to have flesh in order to die, in our place.

10 December 2012 - like me on my bike

as i tenaciously lumbered along on my small bike, i realized i ride my bike like i do everything else. while in many ways, my bike riding reflects my values which are good, i also discovered something else about how i view others.
it's not that i want everyone to precisely follow the laws. it's that i want them to follow them as i would... as if they would have a reason for interpreting life on the same basis. the good news is though i may be self-righteous, Jesus is righteous. and my righteousness.

30 November 2012 - a walk with the Shepherd

getting inside psalm 23, actually picturing walking that dark valley. probably can't see the Shepherd, but the familiar rod and staff are a comfort. They are not the only things we see following; mercy and goodness they provide as well. and those not just following, but - pursuing...

23 November 2013 - family food conceptions

an old topic still on my mind. family (extended i mean). they know you well enough to know foods that you love. after all how many meals have been shared together over the years. and yet... food preferences or choices change (or if not, they should in some cases). and family is not around to see your everyday eating habits. when you get together the food choices may be dictated by being together, but the baseline conceptions about others can be wrong and even not helpful. others don't know you well enough to even know a good list of foods you prefer. and yet family knows you well enough to know such things but often not enough to avoid the deep channels that time has dug. and in some way isn't that a picture of a bigger thing that is often going on? they've known you so long that the knowing is based in the roots. meanwhile the actual knowing that feels meaningful in the moment is in the shoots fresh from the ground.

22 November 2012 - i thank God

there are always reasons and days to be a thankful, but it is nice to be able to have a day made for such shoutouts, all the more amidst a week with family. family time, afternoon basketball, friend moments in the car, introducing new foods, movies, walk, the wall fixed at last, worship, nba, and tears that don't swim alone. . .

16 November 2012 - i still see your gospel

the most amazing things can come from some terrible lies

7 November 2012 - take Him at His word

when Jesus healed the official's son it was a case where the word Jesus had spoken had become flesh. the man did not rush home, but spent the night somewhere on the way. He took Jesus at His word and what had been a hard situation became a glorious one, all his household believed.

4 November 2012 - the gifts and the Giver

a great Orphan Sunday, full of worship and the Word. when we approach God and all we want are His gifts, the story ends poorly (think prodigal son story half way through). but when we see Him as the Giver that He is... we encounter the Father who will run to us and throw a party.

3 November 2012 - renaissance man

in high school we learned about what it meant to be called a renaissance man and for at least me and a friend of mine this was quite memorable and something to aspire to. while i'm better at the many fields aspect than the mastery of them i'm nearing or have just begun the stage of life where it helps to be capable in a little bit of everything. today it felt good to clean out the dryer vent, run over 5 miles and make homemade stromboli.

30 October 2012 - unexpected time and its niceness

in all my years working i can count on one hand the times the office has closed. the last time was right before i got engaged. this time it was very nice to be home with wifey, off for two days, and the start of the nba season!

29 October 2012 - just breathe

"Please see I'm walking in to the eye of the storm And I'll still come out loving you even more" blindside

27 October 2012 - fit to be tied

it all seemed so fitting for this long awaited celebration; eating pizza at the beach the day of, drinking mello yello back at our rental where we stayed with the rest of the road trip crew. . .and yes even the storm that was coming as all the guests fled town (again) and our friends began their married life together.

24 October 2012 - you gotta try this : just do what It says

so in the first half of John 4, we see Jesus redefining thirst quenching. the woman left her water jar and went to tell others and now we see Jesus redefining food. "My food is to do the will of the one who sent me and to accomplish his work." doing God's will, a sustaining food, that at that time the disciples knew nothing about. in a way it is like those oh so tasty obscure delicacies that others may not yet have experienced. taste and see that the LORD is good. and many more believed because of His word.

17 October 2012 - the bad Samaritan

the only person in the book of God whom Jesus reveals that He is the promised Messiah to is a Samaritan woman who goes to draw water at a well at noon. Most Jews traveled around Samaria. Jesus doesn't go around. He was compelled to pass through this trip where he met this woman who said, "Give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty". but how would Jesus take her thirst away? There's only one other occasion in John that was recorded at the noon hour - the hour they took Jesus to the cross... where he would say, "I thirst". . . so that all who are thirsty, even though they've had plenty to drink, could come to find streams of living water and so thirst no more.

10 October 2012 - john the baptist's last recorded words

He must increase, but I must decrease.

3 October 2012 - how great is this gospel...

in the book of numbers, a snakebitten people were able to look to a bronze snake on a pole and live. and it was easy for them to do, they knew they were dying. so too would Jesus be lifted up... made sin for us, who knew no sin. the serpent was a cursed creature, Christ was made a curse in whom we would be able to see the full display of God's saving love.
and how great is it that He came into the world not to condemn... but to save the world through Him

2 October 2012 - sinclair wow

the night before he was to be brought to trial, which ended up being the night he was freed from prison, Peter was found fast asleep...just like Jesus was found fast asleep in the storm. LORD Jesus, in the storm tomorrow, You will be there

27 September 2012 - the old refrain

in humility consider others better than yourselves.

26 September 2012 - on the heart of worship

thinking of Jesus clearing the temple in light of how He Himself would become the temple. . . from Psalm 69: "I will praise Gods name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving. This will please the Lord more than an ox, more than a bull with its horns and hooves."

20 September 2012 - lionhearted and lamblike

reading a marriage book on our shelf i had yet to read, a unique one by piper, aimed to enlarge your view of marriage, much needed in our day. Marriage models the covenant relationship of Christ and the church and our high calling is to have a marriage for the praise of His glory.

19 September 2012 - it runs in the family

just like their father jacob had done years ago, so his sons would one day come and use their brother's clothes to deceive their father. do you think that lessened the blow or made it worse?

18 September 2012 - two

two years. looking forward to celebrating together in Vermont.

16 September 2012 - extravagant love

continuing through John and this time it's Jesus at a wedding, where good things happen when people do what Jesus tells them to do. in this case bringing empty jars and filling them to the brim. thinking about ways i have been loved extravagantly by others. and how Christ's works commend themselves even to those who know not their author. knowing the bridegroom, how can we care for others like this...

12 September 2012 - under the fig tree

His love is deeply personal, His approach, full of grace. Not just loved, but known.

8 September 2012 - arrogant, overfed, and unconcerned

do you know what the sin of Sodom was? in Ezekial it says that they were arrogant, overfed, and unconcerned. they didn't care for the poor and needy. and this was their downfall. it is tempting to write about this more than (the every 7 years apparently) i do since in many ways this is our nation's description. and that should be something to be concerned about.

5 September 2012 - caution: dreams may become reality

first day of school on this September Wednesday. sing for me - some yellowcard songs this week - here i am, alive. big start to small group.

2 September 2012 - when's a time you have really sought after something?

a good weekend start to my favorite month. today, preparing for our first small group of the year, where we will mostly study john. Jesus asking - what are you seeking? then saying - come and see. these men who would become 'the disciples' would call others on the journey along with them and ultimately find what they were seeking.

27 August 2012 - learning now helps later

"knowledge is power", the same aphorism heard from two different sources, etan thomas on fatherhood, and yes that fountain of wisdom himself, the dentist of detroit.

24 August 2012 - through prayer

returning from costa rica, good to read my book on prayer. while the past week i had the chance to literally touch the world now i can still touch the world through prayer. list of prayer ideas and excitement... wondering how to accomplish that elusive task of turning books on prayer into a life of prayer.

11 August 2012 - surprise

after a double jam session, the weekend brought a surprise staycation - the highlight of the summer!

6 August 2012 - barefoot

preparing for my mission trip to Costa Rica. Went around for a day without wearing shoes and realized how hard a proposition that is in our culture and city even though it is common in many places in the world that i have been. eating only rice and beans today... thankful for the variety of foods i can eat on a regular basis. from recent church service: life not measured by duration, but donation

4 August 2012 - joseph and his brothers

finally made a serious dent in the novel series, Joseph and His Brothers, before having to return it to the library. The book was good at showing the sin of both joseph and his brothers. meanwhile, interesting to note the difference in joseph's dreams. while his first dream came true dramatically with his brothers bowing down, his mother died before ever seeing him in egypt. also, just like his father saw his cloak as a sign of his death, the carts were a sign of his abundance, and life. a quote to end, "With Him, it is always, 'The best is still to come.'"

19 July 2012 - starfish

to whom much is given, much is required...quoted my favorite president of all time in an interview i heard. to be in a position like the president of the U.S. and to then be a part of saving over 1.1 million lives (according to a 2009 study) through PEPFAR is truly taking that truth seriously. and when you consider what makes news news you have to wonder why this was not bigger news. . . but it did remind me of my recent reading of chapter 9 of 2 Corinthians. God loves it when the giver delights in the giving.

18 July 2012 - old school

"water, water everywhere And I complain about my thirst. The prescription's in my hand while the pain I curse. . .
If I were as weak as Sampson was, I'd make a prophet"

13 July 2012 - amazing love

amazing start to the weekend, thanks to my wonderful wife.
speaking of amazing, song of the week:
"whose love is mighty and so much stronger...who leaves us breathless in awe and wonder...who brings our chaos back into order, who makes the orphan a son or daughter, the King of Glory, the King above all kings. . .This is amazing grace, this is unfailing love, That You would take my place..."

9 July 2012 - on being deflated

riding around on deflated bike tires is nowhere near as nice of the experience of hitting the road with the tires just pumped up with air right after that, realizing what you were missing out on...

8 July 2012 - piecing together the past

we finished putting together a cool puzzle we got centered around our address. it came with no box-lid picture to guide us, but why should it... we could go there if we want, it is a map of our city. . .but we would come to realize it was a map of the city, but as it was at least 40 years ago. and putting together the pieces of the past can be a difficult pursuit.

4 July 2012 - beautiful the blood

A song for today from Jars of Clay and a song from Sunday's worship set. somehow tied together by today's parade and considering the sacrifices of those who have gone before us.
"This land is your land, This land is my land... This land was made for you and me."
"I never knew death could be so sweet, I never knew surrender could feel so free . . .How beautiful the blood flow, How merciful the love show."

30 June 2012 - how firm a foundation

think i broke my personal record for helping people move in a month on this day.
recent highlights from church yet to cover... "How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord, Is laid for your faith in His excellent word!"
relationships are dynamic, not static. some places are further than boston.
"When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie, My grace, all-sufficient, shall be thy supply; The flame shall not harm thee; I only design Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.
The soul that on Jesus doth lean for repose, I will not, I will not, desert to his foes; That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake, Ill never, no never, no never forsake.

23 June 2012 - let's rock

old school - inductive bible study training... we studied the end of the sermon on the mount, the house built on rock facing off vs. the house built on sand. in our lives this is not a one time decision. . .we are constantly presented with the chance to hear God's Word and act on it and thus give life to the words, or to not... and in that sense rock is a verb. depth of insight is not enough. knowledge puffs up, love builds up. let's rock.

21 June 2012 - no greater love

"show me the meaning of a life laid down"

12 June 2012 - couched in love

with threat parenting you never learn to obey from the heart. so, when that threat is removed... but when instruction comes from the context of daddy loves you sooo much, it is a different story.

10 June 2012 - weekend in a nutshell

weekend of sg training sandwiching a date including beauty and the beast. spiritual care in a nutshell, from 1 thess. 5:14. "And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all."

7 June 2012 - filled

after some uncertain moments, the long expected and awaited nba finals matchup is almost set!
meanwhile, a quote that can be so applicable at work, "work expands so as to fill the time allotted for its completion."

5 June 2012 - the transformation of timidity

there's an oft quoted verse in 2 timothy about how God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. But it loses something out of its context. it comes in the midst of paul mentioning his chains twice, and is followed up by Paul urging timothy to join him in suffering for the gospel. it seems surely timothy must have been going through some sort of opposition in the 5 years since 1 timothy was written, whatever it was... but it seems like paul's words were a real encouragement, especially in the light of hebrews 13 where we hear of timothy's release. in God's mercy he was able to be released from his timidness to the point where he'd need actual release from prison. And in the christian life, there's a cost, and there's a costliness to fruitfulness but as Sinclair puts it, but also a mercy from God to sustain us in it.

29 May 2012 - the cost of breaking the curse

"Sir, what happened to your hand?" Back from a great trip to Cali which included getting to go to all my favorite eating places with wifey as well as being introduced to some new ones as well! ... and yes, more reading. there are many pictures of grace, and there is grace as far as the curse is found, but only because someone so interacted with it to make it so... and yet the implications of that left a mark, the scars still remain. Those pictures are less, and perhaps more profound and weighty. "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us for it is written, 'Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree'." Galatians 3 "The nails in Your hand, the nail in Your feet, they tell me how much you love me. . ." "Put your finger here; see my hands."

20 May 2012 - the harvest

good sermon on the beginning of luke 10, especially as i think ahead to my mission trip. rather than the extensive packing list i've been given, here the disciples are given the anti-packing list ("take no bag..."). the guest speaker spoke of how words are needed, not just deeds. and how we see in this passage missions declares both salvation and judgment. so it is out of grieving hearts that we water the harvest field.

19 May 2012 - life as story

i really enjoy reading. wifey and i especially like to read together. in books, the author knows what is going to happen from the beginning and they are able to write accordingly, adding to the richness of the story. but sometimes the main character is let in on things. while this can be an effective literary device, it is neat to ponder beyond that. we don't know what's coming around the bend, yet there is One who knows the beginning from the end, One who has appointed times and places, One who has planned good works for us... and who sometimes glimpses us the story and gives us a chance to marvel and understand some. . .while still leaving us not knowing the whole picture that only the Author could spin together in a masterpiece.

18 May 2012 - unexpected blessing

got to go to my first nba playoff game. not only was it a thrilling win by the sixers it was also good time with my longest tenured friend.

15 May 2012 - hang the elephant must hang

more grist for the malady mill... new mewithoutyou came out today, ten stories. . . you can't make this stuff up. wonderful 20 oz mello yello. "What unprecedented gift does this afternoon provide?"

29 April 2012 - ten

sang 'how He loves' at church. day got more interesting from there. an interesting bike ride experience that left me thinking about injustice. not me, can't be me, but i've done nothing wrong... though i did ride on the sidewalk. joseph, Jesus, shadows... and yet at the end of the day, i was not imprisoned, not beaten, and allowed to go home to my wife. thinking about others and what they have gone through. thinking about the One. . .who suffered for those who suffered unjustly, and also for those who suffered justly.

28 April 2012 - thinking about people

"But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men. He did not need mans testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man." John 2
"Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops." James 5

23 April 2012 - where i belong

been enjoying newly acquired music from various sources of late. a couple samples: "i'm not sentimental This skin and bones is a rental And no one makes it out alive Until I die I'll sing these songs On the shores of Babylon Still looking for a home In a world where I belong. . .I want to tell You that I tried To live it like a song And when I reach the other side I want to look You in the eye And know that I've arrived In a world where I belong" switchfoot
"I'll be waiting Anticipating All that I aim for What I was made for With every heartbeat All of my blood bleeds Running inside me Looking for you"

22 April 2012 - the witness of the kingdom

great surprise weekend trip to bbg and surrounding areas! got to hear tk preach on matthew 5. just as salt is a perservative, so we should be in the community, even as in Jesus "all things hold together". similarly in a dark and decaying world we are to be a community of light, with a Truth we can hold up. yet with these things we share in Jesus' hurt... in order that we may share in His glory.

17 April 2012 - in view of God's mercy

despite a communication mishap we had a great (but small) worship team meeting, studying parts of romans 11 and 12. Paul is talking about God's mercy and how He has bound everyone over to disobedience so He can have mercy on them all. He then has to break into doxology. when he picks back up "in view of God's mercy" he says we are to offer our bodies as living sacrifices, this our true and proper worship. in light of all this mercy the call is put forth to not think of ourselves more highly than we ought but rather with sober judgment.

11 April 2012 - can't wake up

there must be more. "wake me up... save me from the nothing i've become. Breathe into me and make me real.
Bring me to life."
"Lord I'm tired, yes I'm weak. I need Your power to work in me, but I can't let go, I keep hanging on, there must be more. . . Holy Spirit, breathe on me."

10 April 2012 - layers

on coming to a new church it is hard for people to see you outside your current context (whether that be a mother, husband, someone not doing children's ministry, etc.). but somewhere beyond that exists layers of who you were before you came to be who you are now. and those layers undoubtedly helped shape the person you are today. wondering what it would look like to get beyond people's first image layer and show love in that way. who knows maybe you'll make discoveries, "wait, you were the dentist of detroit?!"

8 April 2012 - Love came down

so nice to have another Easter with family at our house, this time from seattle.
"Love came down and rescued me, Love came down and set me free, I am Yours I am forever Yours...I am Yours, I am Yours, All my days Jesus I am Yours"

6 April 2012 - 53

"who would have thought God's saving power would look like this?. . .But the fact is, it was our pains he carried our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us. We thought he brought it on himself, that God was punishing him for his own failures. But it was our sins that did that to him, that ripped and tore and crushed himour sins! He took the punishment, and that made us whole. Through his bruises we get healed. We're all like sheep who've wandered off and gotten lost. We've all done our own thing, gone our own way. And God has piled all our sins, everything we've done wrong, on him, on him. . .I'll reward him extravagantly the best of everything, the highest honors Because he looked death in the face and didn't flinch, because he embraced the company of the lowest. He took on his own shoulders the sin of the many, he took up the cause of all the black sheep."

4 April 2012 - story of my life

quite a few old finds of note going through stuff uncovered from my parents house, including my college application essays which i discovered were nowhere near as good as i imagined they might be (especially the first drafts!). so in lieu of actual text here are some quotes i used.
"Shall a man go hang himself because he belongs to the race of pygmies, and not be the biggest pygmy that he can?" thoreau
"Our greatest glory consists not in never falling but in rising every time we fall." emerson

3 April 2012 - 102

discovered a descendent of sorts from a defunct former favorite band of mine. "youre too old to die, my mother remember when we looked high and saw her halleys comet bright flew across the sky now im 85 and how i wonder... i wonder" fielding
edmond halley predicted what would become known as "halley's comet" would return in a certain year. but he didn't live to see the truth of his belief.

29 March 2012 - so that you will be a blessing

korean bbq fueled just in time for help-a-guy move day! it was fun. meanwhile i never really got 'bless' prayers. but current reading - "touch the world through prayer" gave me new perspective. just like abraham, we have been blessed and we should be a blessing to others. what better route than through the greatest means of prayer... God is a God who blesses, it's so often His will to bless others, and we can be the means to bring blessing to all through prayer.

27 March 2012 - He shines in all that's fair

back from Puerto Rico... had a great time at condo church that somehow extended to the afternoon. Had the opportunity to study Matthew 6 together. You can't follow two masters because they will inevitably part, and then you will see to which you belong. Consider tulips, buried underground, then come springtime they appear. Even little faith is not a cause of rejection from God's provision. Don't worry. You have greater and better things to take thought about.
"This is my Father's world. O let me ne'er forget that though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet."

20 March 2012 - exploring on foot

i'm now at the age where i need to exercise. i've not been one to run much before, but part of the reason it is now not too bad is it is another outlet through which to pursue my desire to explore, which remains strong. there is so much to see in the city, even just within a few miles.

13 March 2012 - thirty for thirty

bestie, family, giver, magic, samesame, cries, heritage, mathletic, mercy, letters, learning, dancing,
gardens, thinker, walks, friends, excellent, childlike, journaler, nature, rooted, food, fountains, books, smoking, kingdom, parks, loved, servant, beautiful.

28 February 2012 - mutual

the rest of february included all star weekend and a sg brunch... and another realization that staying up late is so great and essential for me. . .from time to time. make every effort to do what leads to mutual edification.

21 February 2012 - just try it and see

jury duty is wonderful... when you don't get picked. discounted gator gumbo, getting home early, and getting to read new gift books. one of which was the long awaited 'not the religious type'. one chapter he talked about his surprise of discovering that there is no downside with God. not that there's no downside, but in obedience... we don't have to hedge our bets. it's that obedience that's the tricky thing. in praying the psalms we learn to praise. and as prayers pile up, and often matter more than we expect, as we strive to experience God on this journey from understanding ways that are good to understanding a whole new way to experience truth.

19 February 2012 - when i think about the way that He loves us...

a retreat finally after so many years! and getting to be on the worship team... it was a good weekend in several ways.
faith and friendship was the theme. mark 2 the main passage - belief to the point of action. seeing such love by another a very powerful experience. there is such shaping power in friendship, even bringing healing for others.

16 February 2012 - coming into the party

what does it look like for the older brother to come into the party? to leave that joyless and mechanical obedience...as keller puts it- knowing we were so sinful He _had_ to die for us but so loved He was _glad_ to die for us takes away the pride and fear that makes us elder brothers.
tied up in something true, someday i'll fly. i'm bigger than my body gives me credit for.
and speaking of the journey to joy, made the trek for some choco cherry love.

15 February 2012 - look at me

one of those bike moments with this oldie by The Waiting, "Golden bars of sunlight come sneaking through the shutters Laying stripes on my back like a zebra. Sweaty fingers turning pages, and clinging to the bed Like it's a bride and I never want to leave her. Paul calls me a saint and the mattress shakes with laughter And the sheets let out a chuckle while the pillow holds one in. I don't believe a word I read, but the man is so convincing Says You're calling me a winner of a game I never win.
But with every word I read I feel Your eyes upon me And I don't mind at all. I love the way You look at me, the way You steer Your eyes To see the bride beneath the harlot's skin, the virtue underneath the sin. I love the way You look at me, when You lift the veil and You repeat Your vow.
...There's reason for my fright, for I'm a messenger who's forgetting why he came. But with every step I take I feel Your eyes are on me, And I don't mind at all.
For when you look at me, You see every drop of blood You spent. Like the color that comes creeping to my face. It is such sweet embarrassment to see the dowry that You paid for my cold embrace.

14 February 2012 - what i've done

ah this remarkable holiday... today included some sooo good afternoon mello yello.
listened to a p. paul sermon on the Samaritan woman at the well. her life was precisely crafted to avoid people knowing her business but then she meets Jesus and know she's yelling in the streets! He knows everything i've done!
"So let mercy come and wash away what i've done!" Linkin Park

12 February 2012 - royalty

2-12 together, sunday, and a new poetry book (l. shaw) from a friend...
He was a plain man and learned no latin
Having left all gold behind he dealt out peace to all us wild men and the weather
He ate fish, bread, country wine and God's will
Dust sandalled his feet
He wore purple only once and that was an irony

9 February 2012 - wake up call

"Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what he is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on: you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised.

But presently he starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is he up to? The explanation is that he is building quite a different house from the one you thought of throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards.

You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but he is building up a palace. He intends to come and live in it himself." cs lewis

oh the pounding is not fun. and i realize i can mope around about it. or live in it now and let the dying happen later.

8 February 2012 - my iPhone friends

i think back often to that essay i wrote freshman year reading days at greek peak with the fellas on advancing technology- good or bad? if anything it is definitely advancing, apparently exponentially. the reason it is a good essay question is perhaps that it is hard to answer, because it is some of both. and this comes up as i think of evolving friendships... the way my besties prefer to communicate has changed, the way they get information has changed along with the fanciness of their phones. and so i must ask- what does it look like to be a good friend to them now? and it strikes me that the age old question is not really the one to be asking. as with one friend who has even found a way to redeem fbook status updates shows, it's not necessarily that the technology itself is good or bad. . .but the question to ask is: how can i take this new way that i must adjust to and bring the most good from it?

6 February 2012 - standing in the fire first

watched an interesting scene by the trolley tracks where work was being done, sending sparky flames all about. and i wondered how one could walk by there when the spray seemed so haphazard. and yet the worker was standing right there, in the midst. that's how you would know it was not something to fear, but something someone had already gone though to a greater degree. leading me to the how much more thoughts... how much more can we walk on in faith knowing there is One who stood in the fire first.

2 February 2012 - snowball effect

a day where the good inputs just snowballed. oh to know how to be a good encourager.
the LORD is my Shepherd, I lack nothing.

1 February 2012 - the sugary smell of springtime

numb shouldn't have to be the new deep. still haven't found a rhyme for heavier things.

30 January 2012 - family trip

back from Orlando. Not a long flight, but still long enough to read 'A Theology as Big as the City', a book i've wanted to read for quite a while. The book presents a good outline of the prominence of the city in the Bible and ends with an urban family album, stories of those who have made a difference with their salty audacious lives.
the trip had highlights too: we got to take nieces to animal kingdom, had an ice cream parlor date, sea world with everyone (though only some were splashed), and experiencing the magic.

22 January 2012 - so this is the new year

happy new year! again we didn't go skiing, but we did go to pizza hut... which turned out to be a bistro, only the second time i've been to one of those. after that, what is a trip to nj without going to wegmans. . .

4 January 2012 - sighters are still not afraid

how often is the challenge - i don't have time for that... which might make sense if you have only ten minutes to run eight miles. but some things don't have true time constraints. like loving. and being still. thirty minutes might be preferred, but isn't 5 minutes better than nothing? or even two minutes... of glimpsing what is really important.
"oh, what a joy it would be, just for a moment to lay at the feet of the Lord, oh more than anything that's what i long for. Oh what a change it would bring just to look deep in the face of the King who gave all" Seeing the King of love makes us brave. "I am His prize and He is mine. . .Before such love, before such grace I will let the walls come down."
some stories never get old telling. We have a father who calls timid children out of hiding. As well as one to whom we can call 'Abba'- not just in the sweet sing song voice, but in the urgent cry like the blind man on the roadside... ABBA, ABBA! we need You.

01 January 2012 - year in review: 2011

as i said last year at this time, introspection must look different for me now but a year has gone by and in some ways i feel - "wait, a year has gone by" and i guess i need to start learning how to make it happen in beneficial ways soon. and yet, there is another sense in which i know i'm learning slowly as i go and like with the growth of trees, progress is not always measured with the naked eye. and it is a good sign that year in review is back though not quite as overly exhaustive as in the years past, sufficiently comprehensive to give you a glimpse underneath the wrapping paper into the big present that is another year of life.
it seems fitting to start with the year in travel. as there were numerable highlights even just within each trip. i was filling out a travel survey and it was then that i realized just how many of the major us destinations i happened to hit this year. chicago, west virginia, north carolina, boston, providence, seattle (x2) and NoVa, L.A. (finally!), niagara falls, buffalo, maryland, san jose, san fran, hawaii, nyc, lancaster, and portland! such great times had: from 4 weddings, to family time, to road trip with friends, to surprise trip with wifey, to anniversary celebrating, seeing dear friends, to eating adventures, a gondola ride, and lots of memories added to the treasury.
as always there were transitions. perhaps it is even more so living in the city, like having friends move away (far, far away). also a church transition. while quite a sad start of the year for me in this respect, one ultimately good for us as we forge ahead and after years of prayer and struggle, one where we clearly saw God provide when a certain friend/pastor and his wife had us over for dessert to tell us they were leaving one of the churches we were leaving to accept a call at the church we were thinking of joining. . .(except they didn't have a pastor- until then!)
this followed by the return to being on a worship team, such good timing. again in the moment of loss and need, God going beyond expectations and providing precisely what i need. does it get much better than going buckwild in praise on drums worshipping the One who i was created to worship wholeheartedly. . .and bringing others with me!
i can't quite provide you with the year in books, because thankfully i was able to read enough this year that i don't remember them all (even swallowing a 700+ page turner in the beginning of january). and several have already been mentioned in this space. it is a similar story with the year in music.
but of course i would be negligent not to at least tip the iceburg on the year in food. wife's amazing strawberry cupcakes, and her homemade deep dish pizza, jejudo burger, bojangles, shady maple, bok choy, chicago pizza x4, wattamelon roll, ramen, pizza chicken love letter, alma, han, anchor bar, and many other famous food travel destinations, as well as unexpected finds like korean in san jose, cheeburger, shaved ice, and of course 'a few' blizzards . . .on top of other usual suspects that we enjoy.
and finally, free flow: figs, figs everywhere, olympic national park, finally a nephew born!, our garden (in the first year there will be many deaths), rita's on the first day of spring, enjoying our longwood gift membership, special easter weekend with my family at our house with flowers in full bloom Easter Sunday, wisdom tooth pull, unfair tickets, sinclair sermons, bachelor fun car accident notwithstanding, vineyard visiting, nba lockout, rising early and not rising early, the big nba return, christmas away from the east coast for the first time, friends visiting, happy pineapple, free movie month, many counseling sessions, soccersometimes, a Sunday bike ride, holiday parties, valentine's day, free music from library, white collar, settler's tournament, our old sg, our new sg, sleepover with our friends, wife birthday month replete with brunch, family visits and celebrations, ivy stones, and more; yes the flower show, bike to work contest, kayaking adventures, northern home, donating stuff, house warming party, carmelo traded, publishing a poetry book. snow in october and none since, classic wns, ear issues, bartram's, welcomed visits from fams, HP, nephew dedicated, mars hill genesis, my bday with the fams, tree-mendous ticonderoga tradition, prayer, Word, lack, koja/np, hb hb, princeton grad, needing a Rescuer, getting better at drums, anniversary meals are helpful, return to Chima, hurricane wedding, mello yello, and a wonderful new year's eve!
for more see the year in photos!

password is 2Cor8:9

25 December 2011 - christmas gifts

no sandwiches this year, but quite a welcome by my new family. . .and even the return of the nba!
here's part of a poem i read at last week's praise night, by amy carmichael: "And then did Joseph's father-like surprise, As round his finger little fingers curled, call smiles and tears to Mary's mother-eyes? He clings who'll save the world."

17 Decemeber 2011 - fuller seminary

life is always fuller than it seems. some december highlights thus far: a splendid sunday bike ride all around paths nearby, buying gifts for kids at the northern home for children and delivering them, work holiday parties, date night, donating shoes to shoes4souls, christmas parties with friends, listening to lots of sermons on romans by sinclair...

02 December 2011 - the naked seed

ok, just one more lewis poem for you. encouraging amidst a long desert walk:

My heart is empty. All the fountains that should run With longing, are in me Dried up. In all my countryside there is not one That drips to find the sea. I have no care for anything thy love can grant Except the moment's vain And hardly noticed filling of the moment's want And to be free from pain. Oh, thou that art unwearying, that dost neither sleep Nor slumber, who didst take All care for Lazarus in the careless tomb, oh keep Watch for me till I wake. If thou think for me what I cannot think, if thou Desire for me what I Cannot desire, my soul's interior Form, though now Deep-buried, will not die, --No more than the insensible dropp'd seed which grows Through winter ripe for birth Because, while it forgets, the heaven remembering throws Sweet influence still on earth, --Because the heaven, moved moth-like by thy beauty, goes Still turning round the earth.

30 November 2011 - to come alive

new switchfoot, still continuing to amaze. "i'm restless, i'm restless... i'm looking for You"
"and i wonder why would i wait till i die to come alive? i'm ready now i'm not waiting till the afterlife."

22 November 2011 - praying parents

amidst this week where we get to see all 4 of our parents as well as recently hearing a story on the radio, i am mindful how thankful i am to have such praying parents. meanwhile, wondering what it would take to be someone who puts such emphasis on carrying others burdens in this way again. to leave such an 'over my head' baseline...
a day from WNS!

17 November 2011 - unused

small group at our house! and we're talking spiritual gifts. are you using your gifts to build up the church? thinking back over my life and all the things i've organized... wondering how to be an organizer for the kingdom these days.

16 November 2011 - marinating

"if the world was how it should be maybe i could get some sleep." 'oh my God', jars of clay

11 November 2011 - anything genuine

all ones this day. and finally taking advantage of the plentiful free music offerings from the library's website. "I'll take anything, anything genuine. Falling from Your hands or falling from Your lips, As long as it's from You, I know I can take it, I can take it And I'll rejoice."

08 November 2011 - we'll help the brokenhearted praise

perhaps the most beautiful day of the year outside. and good early morning time inside.
scazons by cs lewis
walking to-day by a cottage I shed tears When I remembered how once I had walked there With my friends who are mortal and dead. Years Little had healed the wound that was laid bare.
Out little spear that stabs! I, fool, believed I had outgrown the local, unique sting, I had transmuted wholly (I was deceived) Into Love universal the lov'd thing
But Thou, Lord, surely knewest thine own plan When the angelic differences with no bar Universally loved, but Thou gav'st man The tether and pang of the particular,
Which, like a chemic drop, infinitesimal, Plashed into pure water, changing the whole, Embodies and embitters and turns all Spirit's sweet water into astringent soul,
That we, though small, might quiver with Fire's same Substantial form as Thou--not reflect merely Like lunar angels back to Thee cold flame. Gods are we, Thou hast said; and we pay dearly.
and a song... "we'll sing the gospel to the poor, we'll go to comfort those who mourn, You'll put together what's been torn, King of Heaven. . .we'll sing the news of hope, Your grace, we'll help the brokenhearted praise, You'll put Your glory on display, King of Heaven... You help the broken cities rise, out of the wreckage You bring life."

05 November 2011 - read some poems today

late summer by cs lewis

I, dusty and bedraggled as I am
Pestered with wasps and weeds and making jam
Blowzy and stale, my welcome long outstayed,
Proved false in every promise that I made,
At my beginning I believed, like you,
Something would come of all my green and blue.
Mortals remember, looking on the thing
I am, that I, even I, was once a spring.

29 October 2011 - Philadelphia, Atlanta, Columbia, . . .

snow in october! and a correspondingly unexpected long car ride in it. which meant the chance to listen to sinclair's sermon on the parable of the 10 minas (huh, kim, ... ha ha) for a third time. just such a good reminder of grace. a hard man? you knew I was a hard man? and meanwhile he had just given his servant ten cities for making a return on his investment.

27 October 2011 - the lame shall enter first

reading flannery o'connor, which means there's a lot on sin to think about. which makes this an appropriate time to quote owen, "be killing sin or it will be killing you." and it can come in unexpected ways, both the sin and the death. "He had stuffed his own emptiness with good works like a glutton." this regarding a character whose narrow vision in the end leads to the death of his son, after the chilling repeated refrain - i did more for him than i did for my own child.

21 October 2011 - paralells

often parallels in life are used to help us see something. has a lesson been learned, have we grown, who has been faithful... In the Joseph story, the last time the brother's had silver in their sacks going in this direction was after having sold Joseph as a slave. also in the story we see the second time they returned to their father with one less brother. and they are given the chance to respond to a father's favoritism once again. but this time, the second chance, their response is drastically different. as are the results. the first time they lost a brother, the second time they gained a brother they thought was lost.
and in the new testament, we find peter denying Jesus three times by a fire. then we see Jesus making a fire on the beach. then so beautifully asking Peter three times, do you love me? there is such hope through repentance.

13 October 2011 - grace upon grace

what a picture we see in the joseph story... his garment was stolen, and he piles garments on them. it is of course, a picture of grace. and tonight at small group, it was there too. that we were the ones standing around doing nothing. and the generous One said, "Come, work in the vineyard." and they had said, what about us... we've given up everything. and He said anyone who's given up _anything_. 100 times this life and the life to come. worth it. undeserved. we're the well-fillers who've been given five sets of clothes.

30 September 2011 - Jehovah-Shammah

praise-night! soaking it in. sheep do need still water. we prayed through some of the names of God. how great is it that Jehovah Himself is there. just as He was with Israel from Marah to Elim. for me, this is not my college years, but God is here. not another season, or the season after that, but God is here. the unknown is cloudy, but God is here. the LORD is my shepherd and i lack nothing.

29 September 2011 - joseph's journey

my birthday treat was listening to some of sinclair's series on joseph's life. the rich depth of God's Word continues to amaze me. and what other story anywhere is like this one?
let's start with his robe- one that probably helped his brothers see him in the distance. one they brought back to their father - is this your son's robe? and later, what's left in potiphar's wife hands, held up to her servants... and master? once again, a robe of joseph's.
on joseph's change and God's sovereignty... the men in prison say to joseph- we've had dreams. he doesn't say- my dreams brought me here, he says interpretations belong to God. then to Pharaoh- the doubling of the dream means that it is fixed in God's mind and He will bring it about! "Two, two, two, it's as if God's feet are marching through the whole of the story." the combined 2 notions, God works slowly that he might work quickly. a wrong incision and a right incision are equally painful... but you must not think there is any doubt He made a mistake.

21 September 2011 - on one year

celebrating one year, already, on the beautiful shores of hawaii... traveling likely made the actual observation of the day different than it would have been back home in several ways, only one of which being no timely reflection on the ancient mello yello bottles opened a year before. ones which brewed such expectations over the years, but obviously also had some chemical processes going on inside meanwhile that meant the taste was not what was to be imagined, even though that was known. and on our first day with our friends we saw the island they kayaked to and thought how amazing would it be to voyage ourselves on the ocean to that spot... soon to find out that they had planned a trip for us the very next day to do so! now, when you have never done something you can only imagine what it will be like and it remains to be seen how it will actually be in comparison to those imaginings. sometimes something lives up to expectations, sometimes it comes nowhere close, and sometimes... it does both, and even ecplises such ideas by the combination of these notions. being poor swimmers, it was encouraging to hear none of their other friends had ever capsized. but that didn't mean we could move with speed, slowly we had to figure out to communicate and row together to outpace the waves. it was hard work, but it was indeed beautiful, not to be staring out at the blue green ocean waters, but to be there, in them (going toward an uninhabited island). this new thing was fun despite the effort. and it was about to become adventure. we made it to the island, but then on the way back, we rode a wave a good 10 yards before plunging kayak first into the pacific ocean. i avoided any sharks, but not sharp rocks below that left my feet bloody. but with the help of our friend we managed to right the ship and get back in and head back towards land. and it was _that point_ that my amazing wife said we should sing. my aching arms, my bloody feet, my saltwater mouth, it was a little hard for the words to come out. but oh how nice was it to sing.. Something, about the ocean, makes me rise up and praise. Something, about the heavens, makes me stand in awe again.

15 September 2011 - on how things come

"when autumn comes, it doesn't ask. it just walks in, where it left you last." fall weather is here at least, on the verge of my favorite season.
at sg we talked about the smallest of all seeds that becomes a tree that birds perch in. think of the time when this was told... it was a mustard seed! but now, what a tree. a bird is bigger than a little seed, much bigger. but this gets way bigger than us. that which could attack the seed now longs for shelter in its branches. the yeast that loses itself in the dough but then shows uncontainable growth. that's quite something to observe, all the more to be a part of.

8 September 2011 - not slow in keeping His promise

it is easy to get so tired of all the sin we see around us. and like the servants in the parable of the weeds it seems like it would be so much better to just remove it all now. but it is not without reason. and the Master also wants it gone, but has a different perspective. "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." 2 Peter 3:9. whoever believes in him shall not perish... for God so loved the world. and why does anything good happen to any person. . .we deserve to perish. but we've been shown great kindness.

7 September 2011 - purpose

"I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfills his purpose for me."

4 September 2011 - gain

got to play the drum set at church. the message was on 'seize the day'. "godliness with contentment is great gain."

2 September 2011 - waiting and watching

september is here, though an earie start. but what a beautiful picture we see in luke 12, "It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. Truly I tell you, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them." signifying the joy with which we shall be received, honoured by the Father, who sent His Son ahead to prepare a place.

28 August 2011 - faith and more

just a few of the many scrawled little notes i have as the sinclair sermon fest continues. . .great faith doesn't get a bigger or better Jesus than little faith gets...your sinfulness lies most prominently in your strengths...barometer of faith--> joy...quoting lewis- "nothing in you that refuses to die can ever be raised from the dead."...and finally, for romans 8.28 day, why did joseph end up in potiphar's house. . .because the hand of God was upon him.

21 August 2011 - joyful songs we raise

the return to the worship team!

"glorious and mighty, You're awesome in beauty, greatly to be praised. . ."

19 August 2011 - marshmallow

a fun sleepover with our friends and my poetry book is here!

i am hard like a marshmallow long forgotten
i am cold to touch -- yet hard to ignore
i am proud, like an overbearing king
i am resistant, yet wanting at the same time
i am muffled and beaten, i am worn
i am nothing, i am like a golfer's poor form
yet just 1 touch from You
just one splash of Your Spirit
just one gentle reminder of Your love
just one stopping still in Your presence
and i am Your child
i am Your undaunted warrior
Your uncrushed army
Your hopeful hands and feet
to a world just like needful me

12 August 2011 - on the rise

read earlier this week about someone's rise to being successful. meanwhile, i'm pretty sure i broke my all-time record for the earliest average rising time over a 4 day period. hard to believe, and yet almost natural. i may not read manuals for three hours a day, but it's all i can do... "to honor You Lord with all that is mine."

8 August 2011 - drink deep

often we can lose the wonder of things, but it is worth it to take steps to get it back.
"And the emptiness is not purposeless It's only thirst compelling us to drink." paul alan

4 August 2011 - gospel eats

after a long hiatus, sinclair's sermons are back! let the listening party begin... preaching through all of luke. and how with the clearing of the temple, He's beginning the desecration of it, that would continue when the curtain tore. quoting luther i believe, "the reason christians no longer fear death is that no man feared death as this Man.". undoubtedly more to come. . .

3 August 2011 - echoes of Jesus

seeing the echoes of Jesus as i read through Job this time. even in words from his friends, "has a truly innocent person ever ended up on the scrap heap?". and job, 'how i wish i had an arbiter!' and his longing for resurrection.

31 July 2011 - storefront letters

surprise road trip weekend! wifey was able to guess our destination before we'd gone two blocks, and why not? Where else can you go where they can make such epochal statements like, "This is Niagara Falls." and it doesn't sound trite, but rather as the mist crescendos all around you and you see and hear 600,000 gallons of water flow per second it is more a moment of sheer awe. i had been there before but never with such rainbows, and it was wifey's first time. and part of what makes a place a place is who you're with and the circumstances. On the way home on our way to a Wegman's that was laid out way different than what we are used to, we passed by what appeared to be a Walmart based on the faded blue storefront and I couldn't help but think of 'storefront letters'. they appear all the time in the ever changing city, including some restaurants that we miss. But meanwhile other new ventures pop up all the time that pique our interest. the song was based on a free write, inspired by mello yello. And I already had one on me, thanks to a needed roadside oasis earlier on the trip, sneaking much needed sips amidst large chunks of passages from wind and the willows that I read aloud above the whir of the car making it's way down the highway. "you were like a drink in every store but your returns diminished i found you no more." and the days of free flow roll on like a drum beat that gets louder and louder.

17 July 2011 - repentance to bring blessing

Happy installation day! and now, from Hosea 14, "return, O Israel, to the LORD your God. Your sins have been your downfall!... In You the fatherless find compassion. . .I am like a green pine tree; your fruitfulness comes from me. Who is wise? He will realize these things."

16 July 2011 - hero

got to watch two movies that had long been on my 'to watch' list while recovering from my wisdom tooth pull and it just so happened that they both were heavy on the topic on what it means to be a hero. what does it mean to be a hero? is it just someone who does great things? someone who models ways to live worth striving for? or someone who lays down what they could have gained for the greater good... what would it look like for you to live a heroic life?

14 July 2011 - love check

reading 'If' by amy carmichael from the dentist chair... "If a sudden jar can cause me to speak an impatient, unloving word, then i know nothing of Calvary love * For a cup brimful of sweet water cannot spill even one drop of bitter water, however suddenly jolted."
"If i make much of anything appointed, magnify it secretly to myself or insidiously to others; if i let them think it 'hard'; if i look back longingly on what used to be, and linger among the byways of memory, so that my power to help is weakened, then i know nothing of Calvary love."
"if i belittle those i am called to serve, talk of their weak points with what perhaps i think of as my strong points; if i adopt a superior attitude, forgetting 'Who made thee to differ? and hast thou that thou hast not received?' then i know nothing of Calvary love.

12 July 2011 - super bass

glad to be back home! 5 years since we made cookies together in a bowl, really late at night. listening to new radio songs i heard on my trip...

10 July 2011 - on the joy

got to go to church with my friends in the inland empire. in SS we talked about how Jesus switched cups. He took the cup of wrath, so we could have the cup of joy. how in Matthew 26, he's handing out the cup to drink at Passover, then not many verses later, he's talking about another cup he has to drink. and He refused to drink one, but He did not refuse the other. waiting until the day we drink anew in the kingdom. and then the sermon mentioned how real joy is found in the middle, referencing the priests who stood in the Jordan while everyone crossed over. and how much more was Jesus Christ in the middle. hanging there so that we could cross over the muddy Jordan, the flood having been taken.

08 July 2011 - on God of the universe

had to park further away than i realized on my visit to griffith observatory and having read about rental car break-ins there, that did seem to leave me a prime candidate, what with my shiny red car. of course this meant time for lessons, amidst the couple of hours i stretched out among the AC and interesting exhibits. He holds the universe, He holds everyone of us. no we shouldn't take stupid risks, but we should trust Him rightly. the God who flung the planets can certainly restrain a car thief; and if He does not, are not His ordinances good... or should I say, used for our good, and make us more like Christ. and that seemed to end the discussion.

07 July 2011 - alone together

all the travel also allowed me to gain ground on the marriage books i was reading, an area where i'm still hungry for wisdom. some things i learned were things i already knew. like the necessity to carve out some alone time. it is hard to help someone else forge a successful life when you've got nothing yourself. and it's important for us both to learn how we're different as man and woman, and how to navigate those streams. and for us as individuals how that goes alongside our essential needs for time alone.

29 June 2011 - the nurse log of life

got to visit Olympic National Park! and finished reading Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. in one instance, got to observe nature in its mostly undisrupted state. in the other, read about one who did so a lot longer than i ever will. and her words end with echoes of praise and on the way were full of awe of God's creation. but also she can't help but notice the brutality of nature, the dying everywhere, all the time. and yet to us, and us alone, this rubs against us hard, as moral creatures. "That something is everywhere and always amiss is part of the very stuff of creation." that we care and live in a monstrous world would be too much, if there wasn't One who made it so and who said not a sparrow falls to the ground... and that to live we have to die. and then it all becomes quite a picture indeed. signs that we were meant for more than this, meant for the One behind the beauty itself.
it's like the hope for the fallen tree mentioned in Job. we witnessed nurse logs at Olympic that had huge trees come from them. From the decay, new life. that tree may die too. but our new shoots will not fail.

25 June 2011 - frankly speaking

you know a plane ride is long when you can read a whole book. in this case it was a book we ran out of time for in one of my college courses, that i am finally getting to, frankenstein. it was interesting to see a creation made in the image of the creator, but not fully. and how that led to destruction. how no suitable helper was found. and the created "was preparing for myself a deadly torture, but I was the slave, not the master, of an impulse which i detested yet could not disobey." and how we have a desire to be like the Creator, but we are not. but in our case, He did not run away and leave us to deal with it all on our own. but He entered in to the horror, He became the helper, He set us free from the abhorrent image and allowed us to radiate beauty. Because there was another who came in His image who was good. so in the face of the struggle we can say, "What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!"

19 June 2011 - on meaningful lives and days

merging various inputs into one, actually united by a common thread, living with purpose. on why people are drawn to certain tv shows- because the stories of the characters on the screen are more meaningful than their own lives. what does it look like to live a life brimming with meaning? 'when david had served the purpose of God in his generation, he passed away.' what are you about today? getting things done, not looking foolish... or a more meaningful goal, listening well, praying through. whether it be in big exciting ways, or little simple ones, oh to serve the purpose of God in our generation.

7 June 2011 - worth fighting for

finally got our gutters fixed, and a day off to go with it. made crepes for breakfast and thai beef curry for dinner. in between that did various house errands. ended up watching karate kid (with jaden) over lunch. it was good to see. fighting against what is wrong. but in good ways. everything as preparation. and the importance of being still. "being still and doing nothing are 2 very different things." promise and victory. and loss not being the end. capped off the day by booking our 1 yr anniversary trip!

27 May 2011 - things worth working toward

baby Mack is here!
meanwhile, reading Joshua. liked the exhortation to give your brothers a place of rest just as He has done for you.
then in chapter 17, Joshua was speaking to the family of Joseph about the hill country, "It's nothing but trees now, but you will clear the land and make it your own from one end to the other." the inheritance was theirs waiting for them, but it required not only faith (in the face of iron chariots) but also hard work (clearing the land). i think it is easy to have neither and be cramped into confined living instead of striving toward the greater good that is available.

25 May 2011 - loving while living

got reacquainted with don miller's blog...and found a lot of helpful and/or interesting items. one entry that was particularly timely was how he was talking about how life happens while you are doing something else. as in so much of life is lived to maintain itself (i think even more when you are married and own a house). he combined this idea with the tower of babel and talked about how God doesn't want us "to replace him or give you the false sense you can interact with him without giving him all agency" but rather, amidst the things we do to love each other, forgive each other, provide for each other all while leaning on God to do so... and give our lives to God. and this was just from one of the many entries i read. . .

24 May 2011 - more think points

found the actual extended seminar notes from a few weeks back... oh. musing on calling & its intersection with the point of most need among non-christians. how can you contribute to human flourishing? is God your pull out helper, or _giving_ you life/meaning in what you're doing?
the speaker also talked on something dave s. has been covering of late as well, the notion of fail early, fail fast. i'm still not really sure what i think about it. i see how failure younger could really help. i guess the fast part just means we shouldn't be afraid to take risks for fear that we will fail. sometimes it is better to be trying than standing still. two more... problem with humanity- wanting all the blessings of God, but the way we want (so easy to compartmentalize areas of our lives). the fear of the LORD diminishes other fears.

23 May 2011 - the gospel says

cfc sermons. pastor paul and how the gospel should cause a change from living to get to *i've already received*. and also what is for you? -where the gospel rings most true, resonates deep. is it- the race is over, stop running! is it- i was an orphan, you adopted me. . .good to think on these things.

15 May 2011 - He sustains the fatherless

stopped by redeemer on the way home, got to hear tim preach on ps. 146, where we see God introduced- which is commonly by the main thing you do. "I have all power but I especially like to exercise my power on behalf of the weak." he said every church should be famous for this stuff. Jesus in the book of Luke makes his introduction similarly with the beginning of isaiah 61, covering the poor and the oppressed, but stopping mid sentence (the day of vengence yet to come)... over time a society is judged by how it treats its weakest members. we live this way because _God_ is this way. and when the world sees us doing justice, they get a glimpse of the glory of God.

14 May 2011 - manifold grace

first wedding with actual notes from the charge, rather than notes on wedding ideas... the pastor spoke about the difference between a contract (think rental car, with all the contingencies listed out, page after page) vs. covenant (perhaps just 3 sentences, no categories, because there are no exceptions, just an unconditional vow). he spoke about making the gospel real, reminding me of eldridge's quote(*'s mine), "Marriage is a stunning picture of what God offers his people. Scripture tells us it is a living metaphor, a walking parable, a *Rembrandt painting of the gospel*. The Enemy knows this, and he hates it with every ounce of his malicious heart. He has no intention of just letting that beautiful portrait be lived out before the world with such deep appeal that no one can resist God's offer." a chance to show God's grace in its many forms, indeed.

12 May 2011 - the weight of those rocks

'needing more to ease the uneasiness of life'... early morning sermon sought out on humility. the rubble-rescued migrant getting the vast costly inheritance of his rescuer. humility, the backside of worship. the humbled to be loved by a God as great as He is, broken heart of love. . .

11 May 2011 - to live is Christ

a tough week, but i'll take it for the lessons and the neediness, having to turn to God. 2 repeats and a newbie:
"And now that I come to think of it, theres no practical problem before me at all. I know the two great commandments, and Id better get on with them." lewis
"live now, die later" carmelo's arm
"I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death." philippians 1:20

7 May 2011 - a good church day

seminar, partially on leadership. it is one thing to hold someone accountability to disciplines, but that isn't really how your heart changes... how can you help so that God brings the heart change. similarly, sometimes you have to dig deeper behind the needs and interests of others. the context is important too.

speaking of context... the same news can draw vastly different responses from different people (ex. it's going to rain tomorrow). in our case, a timely reminder this night that we have a gentle shepherd who carries us everywhere.

06 May 2011 - gimme dat!

The song of the month for April (to follow) was much different than my song of the month for March, Katy's 'The Sands of time are sinking' which i finally got a hold of... Here's April's: the video captures the song so well

i love watching (and listening) to it.
29 April 2011 - let me take you to Rio

watching a free funny movie with my wife would have been enjoyable enough... but it was particularly nice to see a story take place in one of my favorite cities with a picture not only of repentance... but even ultimately adoption and family of those who had none. and yes, love giving wings to flight, too.

26 April 2011 - redeeming the city

we got to explore our neighborhood some this night! it was great fun. it was also nice to see the good of the land, so to speak. while, in the city especially, it is easy for explorers to come back with only negative words of danger and despair... it is also possible to have the vision of caleb and joshua who in the face of similar reports said, "The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the LORD is pleased with us, he will lead us... and will give it to us."
or as a modern urbanite put it, "God made the city for his purposes, and though sin has harmed it, we should use the resources of the gospel to repair broken cities." TK

24 April 2011 - He is not here; He has risen!

an unexpected treat, another pastor paul Easter sermon after all these years... preached on luke 24, where all throughout the text we see, 'Remember how He told you','this is what I told you', 'did not the Sciptures say...'. to the men on the Emmaus road, they did not recognize Jesus by face, but He made Himself known through the Word. their hearts were burning within them. He opened their understanding that they might understand the Scriptures. and He reveals Himself to us as we read more of His Word. As MH says, there's "a golden thread of gospel grace that runs through [even] the whole OT." doubts were easy to come by, even from those closest to it all. but we have something to go to that proves true over and over. even unexpectedly. and we rejoice in the lots of other good words that we are waiting to see come true.

20 April 2011 - You know what i need

"two things You told me
that You are strong
and You love me
yes, You love me

Your love is, Your love is, Your love is strong
so why do i worry... God knows what I need."

19 April 2011 - i have a fig tree

double bonus input day from both the sermon and music world. the cursed fig tree (of Mark 11) actually often comes to mind for me, since we now have a fig tree in the front of our house. but the context must not be lost. Jesus sees the fig tree in leaf, but with no fruit. meanwhile, he sees the temple, not just not a house of prayer, but not a house of prayer _for all nations_. it was the place the non-jews were to worship that was covered with marketplace. this was not to be! and so too we can pray and be passionate that outsiders would not be excluded but brought in.
sanctus real also helps me, because having never been around fig trees, i have no idea how to take care of it or even what to do with figs. " Father, give me the strength To be everything I'm called to be. . .Won't you lead me? Father, lead me, 'cause I can't do this alone."

12 April 2011 - ministry

shufflestanced quite not on purpose into a keller talk on marriage that while i had heard before, certainly hadn't since marriage, and it came at a good time when i am looking for any sorts of inputs, especially such helpful ones. one insight among many was about not letting your spouse be selfish. it seems very easy to do the opposite, but it is not how you are called to love.

10 April 2011 - pepperoni turkey hoagie

wifey surprised me with keller's book 'king's cross' from the library, so i got to read a good chunk of it on our NC trip. it really helped illuminate several passages in Mark. the paralyzed man who wanted to walk again... if his body was healed, and that's all, perhaps he felt he'd never be unhappy.. "but wait 2 months, 4 months, the euphoria won't last. the roots of the discontent of the human heart go deep". he then went on to talk about celebrities who were miserable because the morning after the granting of everything they were striving for that was going to make everything ok, and their lives bearables and provide personal fulfillness and happiness- it had happened. . .and nothing changed. and how it can seem like the granting of your deepest wish is a practical joke. which is precisely why He can't let it be... unless it is in Him, in Jesus who can not just grant the wish, but fulfull it.
he also talked about following the thread and quoted g. macdonald and how the secret of life and development is not to devise and plan... but to do every moment daily aright... and let come- not what will, for there is no such thing- but what [He] wills for each of us, has intended in each of us from the first.
and finally on the transfiguration and those times where you _experience_ what you already know to be true, foretastes to nourish and strengthen you. oh for such glimpses of Truth.

20 March 2011 - prayerade

sermon was particularly helpful, especially in its practicality. on making time to pray, leverage daily habits first. that and other things left me making a list of different items to pray for each morning. which would be a good start in efforts to pray 'recurring and frequently, without stopping the recurrences.'

18 March 2011 - dynasty

celebrated 6 months with szechuan. our meal perhaps can tell some of the bigger story. tried the dan dan noodles. [some things in life are pretty standard... but still good] also got the spicy cucumbers, since that is a dish we also make. [known quantity that gets even better]. dry fry pork, or something like that (it was hard to choose the last dish). [an unknown quantity going in, but worked out well]. of course there are also unexpected surprises that are not good at all, which you don't want to order.
everything was very spicy, but more at my level. it would have been better to be at the spice level of the least spiciest. thus being still spicy but more enjoyable for all. [you learn as you go] but the big thing about ordering together, you both have input, and the outcome you're in it together whatever comes your way. so... [asking for help is a good idea]. and water refills are a welcome sight along the way. not to mention ice cream!

13 March 2011 - happy day

best birthday ever! because it's better to give than receive...
my wife's first birthday as a wife. here's to even better birthdays in the future, and more days of grace still to come. . .

5 March 2011 - my Father's world

song of the weekend-
This is my Father's world,
and to my listening ears
all nature sings, and round me rings. . .
This is my Father's world,
the birds their carols raise,
the morning light, the lily white,
declare their maker's praise.
This is my Father's world:
he shines in all that's fair...
This is my Father's world.
O let me ne'er forget
that though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father's world:
why should my heart be sad?
The Lord is King; let the heavens ring! God reigns; let the earth be glad!

27 February 2011 - life of David

been reading through the life of David of late and it has been very captivating. besides noticing new connections, it's also been a continuation of seeing the ugliness of sin, over and over. all this in the midst of a real epic story. and yet God. David, surprised to be loved. And near the end of his life... God made my life complete when I placed all the pieces before Him. and it's in acts where God says he was "a man after my own heart." David knew that apart from the Lord he had no good thing.

22 February 2011 - end of an era

carmelo traded. after all these years of watching him on the nuggets, quite strange. but we did get to see his last game. and good things could come to both teams, but still takes some adjusting to...
been pondering what it would look like to start an orphan ministry at a church. i've looked at websites where they tell you how to do it (where i got the idea) but it still seems sort of amorphous to me. but i did watch an Orphan Sunday service a California church had, and it seemed amazing, yet doable. these are my thoughts of late.

13 February 2011 - mirrored reflection

Sabbaths are back! and i'm loving it. also enjoying Valentine's Day weekend. feeling well loved and enjoying gift buying. even when expressions often don't turn out as hoped. in some ways feeble failures are better. when they leave room for love.

6 February 2011 - learning how to die

"With this announcement, it feels like my first death." Ronaldo, the all time World Cup goal scorer, on his retirement from soccer.
it's been covered here in anticipation a year before, and since then the lessons have indeed come. today it was words from a wise dear old friend... on how life is a series of deaths. but often those deaths have to come so that something else can come in its place.
"all along i thought i was learning how to take, how to bend and not to break, how to live not how to cry, really i've been learning how to die" jon foreman
and it's all part of His wise plan. the trick then is to not live in the past, mourning the lost seasons-- the Ecclesiastical notion of, "do not say why were the old days better then these? For it is not wise to ask such questions." and thankfully it is the death of winter that brings spring. and the resurrection that makes the christian life the one where the days just get longer and longer. the night reaching its end. . .anticipating sunrise.

31 January 2011 - Genesis

listening to the whole mars hill sermon series (almost 50!) on genesis. lots of interesting things to think on, here's obviously just some... overall helpful to see sin as sin (granted sooo much of it) and not just part of a story i am used to. It was really interesting to think more on Judah's life. And see the grace God poured into His life, producing such a change in Him... from selling his brother into slavery, and it would get worse from there, to being brought to the point where he would be willing to lay his life down. and of course the Joseph naarative, of which I am always eager to glean more. did Joseph wonder- why has my dad not come looking for me? then the aspect of Benjamin's portion I somehow missed before- again the brothers are faced with favoritism, how would they react? and we see the beauty of Genesis, amidst so much mess and brokenness, family issues all over the place, grace breaks through, and redemption starts to push its way through the fiasco of humanity. and from the clan of Judah, that Judah, a Lion would come. and Hope would be here to stay.

09 January 2011 - You hold me now

hillsong united, song of the year thus far... "In this life I will stand, Through my joy and my pain, Knowing there's a greater day, There's a hope that never fails, Where Your Name is lifted high And forever praises rise For the glory of Your Name, I'm believing for the day"
also watched Oliver Twist, good movie. "Children are out there like this, i'm sitting here eating soup! i'm angry..."

"Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is heaven. . ."

05 January 2011 - fiery furnace

last wednesday. acting out the fiery furnace. hotter than normal. but there was another One in among us.
and less than a year since my most memorable package received at work ever, our wedding album(s) arrived! not quite as dramatic, but still a near and ever-present Help on the scene.

04 January 2011 - john the baptist biker

this entry is purely because i crack myself up. so, i usually walk my wife to the trolley, then i bike to work when the trolley comes. inevitably i pass by crowds of people leering up the street, anxiously waiting for the trolley. and i have to fight the urge to yell out to the masses- it's coming! one greater than me will soon be here. . .

03 January 2011 - 1, 2, 3

and 2011 is here... toasting it in. then praising on drums, amidst some difficulty. and then today hurrying home from work and to God's Word. the good thing about roles over your head is when they make you run for Help. "The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride. ecclesiastes 7:8

31 December 2010 - each day gets better

year in review will look a little different this year, because things are different this year. it is hard to even see 2010 as a 12 month year, as opposed to just thinking of life since september and life pre-marriage. it was quite a whirlwind year- from trying to get engaged, to planning a wedding, to being married... wow. it was hard to leave room for introspection, which has always previously been abundant for me in large doses, even amidst busyness. and now days are much less distinct. in some ways introspection must look different for me now. and that's something i'm still learning. meanwhile, you are not missing out on the year to the extent that it was still documented here as i went along, the pains and the joys. turns out i was right, that it would be a hard year. but i could never have envisioned the actual ways it turned out to be so. such is the nature of life. casseroled with alternating layers of unexpectedness, grace, confusion, and more grace. meanwhile, mello yello wasn't just back, it was free flow. no better captured than with friends and family drinking it all around me on our wedding day.
i would be tempted to let the rest of my summarizing be a sort of marital advice, but one of the things i learned almost immediately was that people are so different, your experiences will not be the same. the tendency (though well intentioned) is to share mistakes made (or even things that worked), but meanwhile your actual issues are likely very different. that being said, i am quite thankful to understand my married friends in ways i couldn't before. and i've already seen times that single people's perception or grasp of the situation or decision at hand was incomplete, as mine was. but so it is. there is a certain sense in which the more you understand going in the better, because once you are in the club you no longer can even view things objectively. and by that i mean the vow is such a precious thing that it does stand as a historical divide. whatever my occupation was before, it is now love, from this day and forevermore. and how great is that. only possible because the One who called you is faithful and He will do it.

26 December 2010 - i like to read

got walter wangernin's book "As for me and my house', the first of many books on marriage i was hoping to tackle. but unfortunately i can't find it (lost in the snow??). so i can share from memory only. aside from stressing how essential forgiveness is (very), he also talked about it how it can be good to view your marriage as a third entity, as in there's you, your spouse, and also the relationship. it then more easily becomes something you can work on together.

19 December 2010 - time in our house

the first few months have been full of many things. i've enjoyed cooking a different thing every day this month... but still can't match wifey's new expertise with all things bread and pizza (among other things). it's also been nice to see the house slowly come together, a little at a time. and we've also spent quite a bit of time in narnia, reading through the whole series aloud! the most interesting of the 6 books new to me was the last one, The Last Battle. it is hard to put a finger on what i like about it so far. but even in the storyline- a donkey going around with a lion skin on him. and people acting as if it was Aslan. Had it been so long since they experienced the true Aslan? their God was just a donkey. Not a real lion, much less One whose roar can silence all the questions.

16 December 2010 - balancing act

keller quoting luther of something to the effect of how all history is like a drunk person, first falling off the left side of the horse, then the right. we over-correct. like trying to balance faithfulness versus heart. and we can end up missing both. and i think of something said at the ccef conference (on marriage)- how if there are two sides of a train track, it is easy to be in connection with one rail or the other. but we need to keep both worship and "love in the details" in our sights.

02 December 2010 - on their level

another good input source of late has been online sermons (i know, no surprise), most recently those of mars hill. his sermons on marriage were particularly helpful in the face of my continued state of cluelessness. but it's actually some of his parenting takes that have stood out the most, and of which i hope to make application of some day or even with my current kids. i think the ability for such techniques to work comes on the basis of the strong relationship. and it's building those foundations which i should figure out how to implement.

28 November 2010 - to yearn for the vast and endless sea

it's been a welcome influx of inputs of all things CCEF of late, from the conference to cds to more. which is not a bad thing. it is interesting how some areas we are more willing to let culture (through magazines) lead us than we realize. when rather dissemination of God's truth is always the best option.
a discussion of confession at the conference was also for helpful for me, as i am particularly bad at it. the first thought always seems to be - what bad things did i do this week. it is imperative to remember not just that, but to confess the things undone, thoughts, words, _and_ deed.
many more cds still to listen to, but we listened to one on praying together. this quote by Antoine De Saint-Exupry stood out, shared in the context of reason... "If you want to build a ship, dont drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea."

23 November 2010 - dispensing the indispensable

enjoying time off with family. meanwhile, moved on to ephesians. from the Message, "Mostly what God does is love you. He didn't love in order to get something from us but to give everything of Himself to us. . .God's Word is an indispensable weapon. pray hard and long."

15 November 2010 - covering the mistakes of others

it is one thing to pay for your mistakes. you fail to do something, and then you have to pay the consequences. it is a different matter altogether to cover the mistakes of others. paying a cost that you seem to not deserve. it's the good samaritan who left his own money and said i will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have. it's paul saying of onesimus - If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me. . .I will pay it back. meanwhile, i can have trouble giving up a seat when i think i deserve it! clearly not the attitude of a slave of Christ whose slogan is "No rights". And these examples stand out to the extent that they do mirror Christ's love, who showed the ultimate example of giving undeserved gifts and covering the mistakes of others, at great expense. and it is this tough calling i must continue to run after. "if the burdens of others are not my burdens too, and their joys mine, then i know nothing of calvary love." amy carmichael

9 November 2010 - prizing what

still adjusting to many things. first day of concerted morning Word efforts with notes, proved to be a good day for it. one take away from philippians- "to prize what is of real value"

8 November 2010 - familiar story

monday soccer has provided fun times, needed exercise, classic finishes... even nice bike rides - culminating in tonight's four goal game. we were down early, the other team was pushing us around, making the last goals all the more sweeter. crushing a free kick beautifully in the net somehow after they sent one of our players off, then later shaking off the challenge before sending a rocket into the back of the net.
i know i've quoted part of this classic cross movement song before, but fitting to quote it now (expanded).
"Jesus Christ came and climbed in our place and took the cross, took a loss tasted death then shook it off
Rose in three said roll with me like rotary now look at ya'll Making noise with crazy joy like young bucks when they play with toys"

5 October 2010 - remember

love others as well as you love yourself. but it is all too often easier to know how to love yourself. but learning commences. and meanwhile humility is the course. following in His steps. it's not about me. who am i to be such an heir to such grace. . .to even walk this way, and try to walk that path. of which, "this is the very best way to love"

2 October 2010 - return from the francophone

amazing first full day at home, including a walk through the park. our trip was quite good, in spite of purse uncertainties and airport delay and nutella confiscation. we came up with our trip awards on the way back over the atlantic. our best meal was the one we shared on the Seine. but it was nice to find some chinese food in paris as well, near our hotel and its eiffel view... i also enjoyed my birthday pizza greatly. as for best ice cream, that proved much harder. . .since we had so much. then, great moments in montreal provided a nice ending.

18 September 2010 - how beautiful

not that i was actually blogging on this full everything-went-so-fast day. so many things went not as planned... but the day was a success. it was such a beautiful day, all the more so because of the people who were there. many moments to remember- worship tears, loud vows, genesis laughing, the kiss, everyone drinking mello yello, bacon-wrapped deliciousness, great toasts, last dance song, amazing time at the overlook, exhanging wedding gifts, drinking 14.5 year old mello yello, and of course i could go on and on... but i'll end in song and verse that act as a prayer.
"O Love that will not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,
That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be."
"I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down ones life for ones friends." John 15:11-13

12 September 2010 - ohana

a california wedding proved a nice getaway amidst the craziness of planning (and yielded an excitingly unexpected finding of sunkist citrus fusion!). this topic is overdue but the question is how to put it... thinking about new name, new family- and multiple contexts. and how beautiful it is what God does. how God provides family after family after family. families which come in many shapes and sizes, but containing certain demarcations. God sets the lonely in families. And some people take that truth and become part of making it happen.
The first time "new name" is mentioned in the Bible, it's in Isaiah 62. but before that we see God handing out new names, often as part of a covenant... sarai to abram, given new names, linked to their identity.
"you will be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will bestow. You will be a crown of splendor in the LORDs hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God. No longer will they call you Deserted, or name your land Desolate. But you will be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah; for the LORD will take delight in you, and your land will be married. As a young man marries a young woman, so will your Builder marry you; as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you."

08 September 2010 - growing in love

i measured all the kids on the wall tonight. we're going to check back each month to see how much they've grown. the lesson was on growing in love. just as they grow in height, we need to always keep growing in love. even after we stop making progress on wall charts...

05 September 2010 - more tears

right after a great bachelor party weekend full of food and fun and dunking... another confusing sad turn to the year. i hate how the enemy assails most malevolently those things that God values the most.

01 September 2010 - on worthwhile surprises

some surprises are worth waiting for. . .even if you find a delightful christmas present hidden in the closet, you can't use it until christmas, and the joy of the surprise is stolen. but seeing the big package- wrapped, is enough to stir excitement.
meanwhile, there are other unknown things that might be better to know beforehand. like news that is hard to digest. or things that are different than you thought. wait, we are having a quiz on this? as adam sandler put it- "you know that information really would've been more useful to me YESTERDAY".

29 August 2010 - exhaustion... is my middle name

it's been said that pressure makes diamonds. and it does. but apparently very specific conditions are also required. and sometimes i don't have those... and so i just have the cracks of too much bearing down. but i have a Helper, and today He took me to the porch swing. and later more help, as we prayed for more grace.

20 August 2010 - date night

fiancee and i talked about dreams for our first year of marriage and prayed for them! and she got me new pens! we practiced french and we opened our first wedding presents, among other things... more of the getting ready, but not there yet. but thankful to leave our hopes in His hands.

16 August 2010 - the value of things, part II

more thoughts on the value of things. take the sunday school curriculum- the first thing we had mailed to our new house, and it was stolen. to the person who took it- it undoubtedly seemed valuable, a big box arriving by mail. But i'm guessing when she/he opened it was somewhat disappointed- it was not a computer or other valuable item that would have a high resale value. there would probably not be a market for it amongst his/her friends. even though it did cost a good deal of money. but on the chance the stealer was to actually have read the material and encountered Jesus: priceless- to them and to me.

13 August 2010 - resurrection, inspiration

the stories of friends coming to know Jesus never grow old.

11 August 2010 - Heaven

good time at church tonight where with my great helper we all dreamed about and drew some of those many, many rooms. and we talked about Jesus, and how He ascended and how He prepared a place for us. and we danced around to some songs and the excitement was not in short supply.

2 August 2010 - more on preparing a place

week full of errands- while on my own, getting everything ready... taking care of as many house and big things as possible. tonight the memorable furniture swap by myself in the van- quite a challenge, leaving me drenched. remedied by a mello i downed not very far into my long drive.
the cares of this world are a handful, as already mentioned here. but when they can double as an act of love, they are far more manageable. very late nights... but preparing a place for love to be at home.

25 July 2010 - after the waiting

ah sundays. . .another good one. read psalm 27 at church with friends visiting- You have been my helper... I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.
and afterward it was dinner with friends near, friends far, and lime chicken!

16 July 2010 - more than just eating

sometimes it is like 2 separate days, work and post-work. as for work, it humbles. sometimes there is nothing you can do but eat it... when you are not in charge. and there to work for others. but as with other things in close quarters, i think people can forget they are on the same team. after work, it was another attempt to gobble up as much wisdom from others as we can. an encouraging night getting insight on the church issue and other discussion. it is neat to see how God can bring things back around. how He is able to take our desires and use them in His time. and in that there is freedom to go forward in faith. He does have good plans for us, really good plans.

13 July 2010 - on mouthguards

conflict is not fun. tiredness is tricky. speech is not quite as nice from those who have been punched in the mouth. or from those who wear a mouthguard.

12 July 2010 - and so it begins

registering is fun.

11 July 2010 - that where I am you may also be

what a nice day... from banana pancakes morning to the world cup final and more. on our visit to the mansion we discovered that caretakers actually live there. and heard the funny story of how kids that grew up there that later moved to a 'regular house' found it so small. somehow i think our experience will prove the opposite. and i don't just mean mine of recently moving from a 2 room apt to a big ol' house. the OT talk of the spacious promised land, and the psalms about Him rescuing us and bringing us to a spacious place, lead me to think that that is a little what Heaven will feel like- a place to run free. no longer hemmed in by the confining restrictions of sin. free to run, and laugh, and sing- all praise.
all this left me singing this song... "In my Father's house there are many, many rooms In my Father's house there are many, many rooms And I'm going up there now to prepare a place for you That where I am, there you may also be"

10 July 2010 - long time coming

Carmelo wedding day, but as for us, we were at Longwood Gardens! -- i believe our last of the big philly gardens to visit together.

30 June 2010 - You haven't lost me yet

a day of tears... starting with a last walk to work. farewell to my residence of so long. living in a new house, while the dying begins.
this switchfoot song the song of the day, for sure:

I've lost myself or most of me I'm headed for the final precipice --
But you haven't lost me yet
No, you haven't lost me yet
I'll sing until my heart caves in
No, you haven't lost me yet...
If it doesn't break
If it doesn't break your heart
It isn't love. . .

no You haven't lost me yet.

29 June 2010 - more of Your mercies

moving day, actually for me for once... after 11 years. thankful for all the nice help in the heat, and His mercy. a day for lots of mello yello indeed.

21 June 2010 - His provision is rich

we've(?) already covered in the space how God provided for such big things as a house, but it should also be documented what i'll call the wedding hookup. hard work alone (i researched over 100 locations) could not have enabled such a dream setup as what God provided. it turned out that what we were looking for (i won't list the details, but it was just a few things) was a lot harder to find than you might think, leaving us with only a few possible locations... even with those it seemed like we would have to compromise on something, as time was running short, and the grueling process seemed to have already run its course, looking into every possibility. but we did the best we could do (as in we prayed) and God provided 2 locations we are excited about, right in Philly like we wanted! thankful for God's rich provision, and just like with the wedding, i hope that He gets glory. in this case, it is easy. . .

19 June 2010 - the value of things

making progress with the massive task that is known as packing my apartment, thanks to help from a friend. musing on the value of things, and how it can change over time. another one of those pretty obvious yet also deep truths... some lose value, but some gain. while this has always been a bigger issue for me than most, i realize it is also more multifaceted than you might think. also, many things have greater meaning than their intrinsic essence. think of the journey a wedding ring takes through its lifetime.

17 June 2010 - farewell to a longtime favorite

enjoying the roof and trying to make the most of the last days (while a MT resident). tonight it was a memorable roof party with kw and dominoes pizza!

12 June 2010 - kick it

after waiting long for it to come, the World Cup is finally here! ...it was a good soccer day.

1 June 2010 - off-roading

praying, after quite the week... as proverbs says, "each heart knows its own bitterness." while some things cannot be fully shared, prayer proves quite the vehicle to go through (offroading, perhaps even cliff jumping) with a friend. and it was good to pray through the Bible tonight and to take God at His Word and see what He will do. Though everyone's journey is rough, it is never the same path... but it should be encouraging to know others whose wheels were stuck in the mud, not moving, spinning backwards even, that ride smooth today, because God, the One who calls you, is faithful and He will do it.

24 May 2010 - cares of this world

"But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world how he can please his wife and his interests are divided." it is so true, how much time, how much focus it takes...to no longer able to be focused on just one thing, it becomes easier to at times even lose sight of it. such is the changing from one season to the next. often the change from the crisp days of fall to the winter chill is hard to notice before it is all of a sudden here, since it is a gradual change... but sure enough you look out and the trees are bare. so it is, mourning losses of one season, yet celebrating joys of the next- perhaps akin to nights by the fireplace after frolicking in freshly fallen snow.

23 May 2010 - yellow calla lillies

kids sang this to me at church today :)
"You're handsome, You're handsome, You're really, really handsome. You're handsome, you're handsome, you're nice!" ha ha...
but even better were some beautiful yellow calla lillies i got yesterday.
and today i bought a mello yello at the 15th & Spruce CVS, and it didn't even matter that it was overpriced.

20 May 2010 - called to love and lovin' it

what I thought was excuse, I understand is duty.
and good at that. "this is my commandment that you love one another, that your joy may be full." Word once again proved so true.

17 May, 2010 - the sickness is myself

loving the newest switchfoot album!
"There ain't no drug
There ain't no drug
No drugs to make me well
There ain't no drug
It's not enough
I'm breaking up
The sickness is myself
The sickness is myself

I made a mess of me
I wanna get back the rest of me
I've made a mess of me
I wanna spend the rest of my life alive!"

15 May, 2010 - take that, haters

2000 is now retro. how crazy is that... throwing out the rest of my bottle decorations today. the newest of which are from the keep smooth days. just in time for a new era of free flow. another design, old made new. new and improved.

06 May 2010 - they should put that in a bottle

could it be? after at least 12 years, right?... mello yello can once again be found in philadelphia in bottle form! thanks to a tip from a friend, i was on to a nearby pizza shop where i bought 2 20 ouncers. oh the goodness- what a day!!

1 May 2010 - ode to God's provision

today was a good day. there are many reasons, but i'll just comment on one. many of you know my story of how God provided my amazing apt. that i've lived in the last eleven years. to me that was a great reminder to pray and trust that God could provide for me again as i embarked on the house search. after seeing many houses with major issues despite the photos and wondering if there were any decent prospects available, after seeing all the houses in the most desired neighborhood gobbled up immediately, with time running out, it was easy to wonder what would happen.
but once again God provided beyond expectation... that was seen especially so in today's inspection. rather than having to find out about unexpected problems that we'd have to deal with... we actually encountered unexpected surprises. our inspector being more than once surprised at the highest quality upgrades. and learning about new features of the house that we didn't even know of that leave us room for exciting improvements. and that of course in addition to finding everything else we were looking for on our initial list, from rooms to location to garden (not to mention the much lower than expected price)... and again there is a (new) story to be told of answered prayer and provision for needs.

29 April 2010 - this love that will remain

there is a time for everything. today it was time to say goodbye to some of my green and yellow decorations. tomorrow, time to give notice. now, time to leave you with some hillsong united,
"The second chance I've gained...
On You I throw my life
Casting all my fears aside
How could greater love than this
Ever possibly exist. . .And I'll wait upon You now
Dedicated to Your will
To this love that will remain
A love that never fails"

25 April 2010 - giving everything you have

some people have more skills than others, perhaps a better speaker, more education, whatnot. But that doesn't mean they will be more useful. what is far more important is how available the person is. Someone just 'average', but fully given, can be of great use in God's hands. I have a feeling that on the day Jesus fed the 5000 there was someone in that huge crowd with access to more food than a few loaves and a couple of fish. But it was the young boy who fed (ah, who with Jesus help fed) thousands because he gave everything he had to Jesus. Jesus took it, blessed it, broke it, and then used it. And so the pattern can be with our lives. If you offer whatever it is that fills your life even the pain and brokenness, if you offer it to God, He will redeem it, He will use it, He will multiply it like only kingdom math can.

23 April 2010 - worthy of the calling

hard week. meanwhile, just been rereading ephesians 4 of late. Wanting to soak up some practical Biblical to do's. the part that is hard to get beyond is "live a life worthy of the calling you have received". verse association: Jesus. Humble. Patient. Loving. Pig sty vs. son...

21 April 2010 - on worthwhile drama

i feel like i'm only going to get at the edges of this topic i want to discuss because i don't know yet how to best put it words. if you read the Bible there are many stories that sound sort of amazing- like wow that happened to that guy... that doesn't happen to me or my friends. (he had to be lowered in a basket to escape a city, he came across a guy reading Isaiah that wanted to know how it applied to him, people threatened to worship them, a jailer saved in an earthquake, a shipwreck brought to safety, etc.)
there are many reasons to consider, if this is not happening. the primary, the natural tendency is probably to try to avoid such uncomfortable situations... and to seek comfort instead. as opposed to the warning, 'woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort.' Luke 6
Secondly, these are most likely going to happen to someone who _wants_ to seek first God's kingdom, and who puts himself in those places where such opportunites are ripe. But by wants I mean really wants, as there are 2 different kinds of desires. You can 'want' water ice, as in you like the concept of water ice but it doesn't nec. move you to action (you gladly eat it if someone gives it to you but you don't go search the city for it) OR you can 'want' water ice so much that you make it a priority, plan around it, you drive there before closing, bring a B1G1F and get the water ice because you really like it. the catch is there is a lot more at stake with Jesus than with water ice. both in terms of enemies and opposition that come and in terms of gain, so the level of want becomes an even weightier issue. if a long line for water ice turns you away, what of the rocks and tears?

"Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.
Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man."

15 April 2010 - on disagreements and second chances

had a really good time at sg. one thing we talked about was paul and barnabas' disagreement over John (Mark), who had deserted them and the work before. Paul didn't want him to come, and so Paul and Barnabas ended up splitting up as travel partners. This is all the more interesting because Paul was only able to rise to prominence after Barnabas stood up for him when everyone else was scared and didn't trust that his conversion was real. Their disagreement is also interesting to me because i've faced similar situations where mutual friends have ended friendships because of disagreements on faith expressed through action. my tendency is to give the other person more chances. i think the encouragement from this passage is that God can work through people of both kinds, the chance giver, and the hardliner. in this case, not only did paul and silas go on to many good adventures, it also seems like later mark was still sailing the course and paul was working along in coordination with him as well.

14 April 2010 - punishment

as usual, it was enlightening to try and teach children. tonight we were talking about punishment- what it means, who needs it, why it's around.
and how for us it is linked with really good news... Someone was punished even though He was the only one ever who didn't deserve it. That was our punishment He took!
"If you, O LORD, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared." from psalm 130

9 April 2010 - on firm foundations

so the house buying process so far has been an interesting one. trying to remember to trust God not an address. and then dealing with a failed offer. trying to hope in the Lord and not tree lined streets... because if the hope is actually in Him, that's when it will not be disappointed.

04 April 2010 - my name is resurrection

there are old ways to say it, like the song i hear often at work from church bells down the street:
Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia!...
Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!...
Made like him, like him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!
And there are new ways to say it, like this song i heard on the radio

but in light of resurrection, it is easy to see why everybunny should love Easter!
27 March 2010 - all about the promise

the finale to the month of counseling, where else? redeemer... conveniently located in the land of bulgogi burgers! yes, it's true.
still need to go through my packet more and do homework, but i can still share a little. marriage is a covenant, and a covenant is a promise. (furry) animals can't make promises, but humans can. we can't promise to love another person perfectly, but we can vow to love them and keep on loving them. marriage is not as much about the love that is currently around, but about the promise of that future love, which is even more amazing. . . because who knows what will come, not to mention the inevitable redemptive confrontation that so defines marriage. glad to know it is the vow encouched in the greater covenant, God's covenanted love to us... till the end.

20 March 2010 - spring is coming

one of the fullest days i can remember in quite some time, ib-definitely-nlt free water ice day, my first attempt at a szechuan meal all from my new book, and city church seminar. from the latter- it's not just the veracity of words that matter, the manner can keep even true words from getting through. and the fridge: if the fridge represents the problem, it's a lot easier to move from the same side, as opposed to opposite sides. ok this too- His mercies new every morning.

17 March 2010 - spoiled

on Wednesdays I've been going through one of Sinclair's question and answer books with the kids. Recently we talked about how the world was just how he intended it when he created it, and then today we talked about how sin spoiled it like spoiled fruit! Or other spoiled food. . .I've seen quite my share, that is a pretty good picture.

13 March 2010 - we gonna party like it's your birthday

we had a party to SSyng psySSahbuSS cupcakes! the failure of surprise on this endeavor all the more highlights the success of the surprise attempt of last month. or something.

06 March 2010 - differences abound, but the goal is the same

the more you get to know someone, the easier it is to see differences... differences which can materialize to contempt if gazed at so long they block the greater person, made in the image of God. the thing to remember is- most likely in this context in which you are getting to know this person, this person is not really out to get you. it's more likely that you just need to see beyond the thing you don't like, understand the differences so you won't be wounded by it.
as with many other aspects, things will go deeper as the relationship progresses, including conversations.

24 February 2010 - family tree

the theme starts early- God putting the lonely in families... even with Adam, for it is not good for man to be alone.
it has been said one of the best ways for children to understand the gospel is in the context of God's invitation to His family. And we see in the family trees in the Bible, God calling the unexpected to be a part of what He is doing. Adopting as many as would join the family.

14 February 2010 - this thing love

best valentine's day ever.
some things wait until the moment is right. some tears. some love. some prayer piled up, not so much unanswered but answered in far better time than we can imagine.
the love statue from a distance. fuzzy. now we see in part. one day in a whole. now it's like a cloudy mirror. but one day we'll all see love as it is. then we will get it. then how much more of a 'now it comes'. what we've been glimpsing in moments all along will no longer be dulled by the off moments. no rather the grin will break out into all out laughing smile shout of joy. the dancing will- can't help but to jump and sing along to that song- He loves me...

12 February 2010 - love

it is also the theme of the Bible (whether in French or English). From the opening pages- a walk in the garden, to even more telling, clothing from skins... to the middle- His 33 years of talking to others, healing many, and gathering children to Himself, to laying down his life for His friends...to the end- the city He loves, Zion, with its people made ready, ready for the greatest wedding feast of them all.

10 February 2010 - on big backpacks

cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. 1 peter 5:7
sometimes this burden casting has to be a very active thing. let me give you a picture. say you have a big backpack (think Jefferson backpack big!)... to even hand that to someone takes quite some effort, putting your hands under it and hoisting it over to the one who will carry your load for you. and so it is with our burdens... they can be large and weigh us down. but we can (and must) actively put them on one who can carry them. One who carried a far greater load. And who in doing so proved He cares about these things too.

9 February 2010 - the grace that could be yours

ok, ok, just one more Keller book inspired entry. Jonah's story is encouraging. Someone clearly mentored by God (think big fish) who has the moment of realization (the whole 'those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs') in chapter 2 of his life story... yet when an exposing moment arises later (forgiveness for his enemy in his case) it is clear the idol is not gone, as his heart motives are clearly displayed, he even tells God he wants to die. you might say- uh, doesn't sound very encouraging. but it is for someone who's seen the whale and wonders how in the world can i still struggle with the deep longings of my heart. . .little by little, every day, little by little in every way, He's changing me. And God grew some shade for Jonah. _He_ didn't just say- I've had it! Just like He was patient with Ninevah, He was patient with the lessons for Jonah. And so we must continue to let the truths of the gospel seep into our lives. It is one thing to believe something in your mind, it is another entirely when truth so grips your heart that it effects all you think, feel, and do.

08 February 2010 - cosmic disillusionment

finished book three of the year, the aforementioned keller, in addition to home buying for dummies. i like how he opens up a Biblical naarative for each chapter/topic, shedding new insights all over the place. in the love chapter (love is not all you need) he talks about how through all of life there runs a ground note of cosmic disillusionment. how no matter what we put our hopes in, in the morning, --it is always Leah, never Rachel--. things here never quite keep their promise, even the best of things. we see this in all of our lives, but especially in the things upon which we most set our hopes. there are several ways people respond to this, but the best is reorienting the entire focus of your life on God. as cs lewis put it- if i find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that i was made for another world.

06 February 2010 - follow the leader

it can be hard to follow a leader who is error prone, or even whose good qualities tend towards inefficiency. when you are going into a battle, the stakes are even higher. you want someone you can trust to follow when it's all on the line. and so how good it is to follow someone who is trustworthy and true... someone who perfectly leads even through the valley of the shadow of death. and someone who when it all was on the line took the fall to get us there... when we wouldn't have made it on our own.

04 February 2010 - tyranny of the urgent

ran across my old 'tyranny of the urgent' printout. a good read for me any time. here's some of it..."The gospel records show that Jesus worked hard. . .Yet His life was never feverish; He had time for people. . .Here is the secret of Jesus' life and work for God: He prayerfully waited for His Father's instructions and for the strength to follow them...He discerned his Father's will day by day in a life of prayer. By this means He warded off the urgent and accomplished the important." He went on to talk how the root of sin is self-sufficiency and how the opposite is prayerful waiting on God and meditating on His Word. It's not God who loads us till we crack. He knows our limitations. Jesus didnt finish all the urgent tasks in Palestine...but He did finish the work which God gave Him to do. And sometimes that meant being interrupted.

24 January 2010 - a little princess

finished first book of year. one of the big themes was that of belonging. becoming family is an amazing thing. and i think that is also one of the best invitations of the christian faith... to be called part of a family. to be loved like _that_. to have brothers and sisters to clown with, cry with, and drink tea.
"You set in Your family/ Calling me Your own/ Now I, I belong to You" hillsong
"if you are longing for a place of belonging, the Home you've dreamed of is waiting for you" geoff moore
and like in the story even in the no good down duldrums days where noone appreciates us we go on with the faith of a little princess even when we taste hunger and feel cold. caring for others amidst the ache. we do have an inheritance, and a Father who dotes on us. whose fortune provides for us even in our sleep.

22 January 2010 - syrupy sweet

we went ice skating and i didn't fall once the entire time, even in fast races whirring between a sea of others.

21 January 2010 - witness

cleveland, so i'm thinking what it means to be a witness. like the time near the end of mj's career, we got seats in the way up, just to see him. and of course i think of acts 1:8, witnesses local, farther, and even to the ends of the earth. a witness by nature is a contagious thing, right... when you see something great, how do you not tell others. and then they want to see too. how much more when it's not just the greatest at something, but the greatest Someone. which leads to perhaps the most interesting verse including witnesses- "since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."

20 January 2010 - song of the day

oh, how He loves us oh
Oh how He loves us,
How He loves us all... How He Loves
Yeah, He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves.
Yeah, He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves!

19 January 2010 - cut up

i fittingly cut myself at work today in my hurried maneuvering with my staple remover.
"And as for us, why do we endanger ourselves every hour? I die every dayI mean that, brothers just as surely as I glory over you in Christ Jesus our Lord. If I fought wild beasts in Ephesus for merely human reasons, what have I gained?" 1 corin. 15
"see in it a chance to die" a. carmichael

15 January 2010 - leadership

it's been said, "Leadership is figuring out what needs to be done and then doing it."
i'm far more likely to take the lead when the void is clear, and the stakes are high. but when there are others who could or should lead the way, i am much much more likely to sit in the background. still need to figure out how to lead the other times i should lead and how to get things done when i'm not the one in position to do them.

14 January 2010 - the far-off country

you're overdue for some lewis, weight of glory- "there is something self-defeating about human desire: that which is desired, when achieved, seems to leave the desire unsatisfied. the books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust them; it was not in them, in only came through them, and what came through them was longing. these things- the beauty, the memory of our own past- are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshippers. for they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have not visited."

13 January 2010 - God's mercy

tough night, but through it lessons on God's mercy. oh the times, many times, when we don't do what we should. even when we know the consequences. and yet. and yet, He does not treat us as our sins deserve... He knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust. He knows the cost, but was willing to pay it Himself. As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion...

12 January 2010 - keep us from just singing

thinking about this song, and my mom's thoughts. partial lyrics follow...
God of Justice, Saviour to all
Came to rescue the weak and the poor
Chose to serve and not be served
We must go live to feed the hungry
Stand beside the broken
We must go
Stepping forward keep us from just singing
Move us into action
We must go
Fill us up and send us out
Fill us up and send us out
Fill us up and send us out Lord
Acting humbly
Loving mercy
We must go, we must go
To the broken
And the hurting
We must go, we must go

11 January 2010 - He cares for you

we were about to land on one of the most dangerous runways in the world, me and my team that i was leading to a country not only of a different language and culture, but also one in the midst of post-coup uncertainty, just hoping to serve. . .when through the plane window, a mere 50 yards from where our plane was landing, something familiar in the midst of all the unexpected... pizza hut. it was exciting enough just to see it, but it turns out we were going there for lunch! the organization could not know of my pizza hut love, but God did. so we started out the trip eating pizza and drinking banana soda. and the picture of me and my spectacular, multifarious group of friends there graces the background of my computer screen, a reminder of God's great love and care for me.

10 January 2010 - can't stop

good sermon on philippians 3. paul didn't stop because of his handicaps. paul didn't get stuck on past sins & failures. he was not stopped because of other's failures. and we shouldn't get stuck on successes.
how many things that we do started in failure? eating, walking... it doesn't matter that you fail many times if eventually you do it well. meanwhile, you can choose to use even your weakness for the glory of God.

5 January 2010 - failure is victory

maybe you've heard this illustration before... 2 groups of people were in a contest to make the best pots, but they were secretly given different instructions. 1 group was told to each make the best pot they could in the time allowed. the other group was told to make as many pots as they could in the same amount of time. the winner? in each instance, the best pots came from the people told to make as many as they could. the repetition and missteps proved a stronger pot-builder than focussed attention without practice. sometimes we just have to keep at it.

2 January 2010 - on the thing we most want

read just the start of my christmas present book, keller's 'counterfeit gods' and already good. even people who _got_ what they most longed for ended up ruining it precisely because of the implications of the thing holding a greater place than it should... the block didn't fit in the hole and so the edge's burst under the repeated strain.
and somehow this helps me with lewis' whole toffee later notion. i see, once again, it's actually grace. while it may not be quite the same excitement as a kid eating candy, there is a different level of satisfaction of being able to eat candy whenever you want when grown up... in the context of knowing, not only its goodness, but its possible dangers. and yet to eat candy in that proper perspective it can be all the more satisfying. it is good, but it's not ultimate. it's just a gift, and how much greater is the Giver!

01 January 2010 - year in review

where 2008 was a year of beginnings, 2009 was a year of continuations from the first full year in a new church building to a continuation of desires to love the children of the world to celebrating an anniversary, just to name a few. there were also the usual continuations for which I am thankful; from (especially) times with friends from near and far, to celebrations, such as 2 weddings and a lot of birthdays, returns, the flower show, koja, and more and the extant rhythm of life, all the way from the hard times in may to the most spectacular first week of december (or as cold pirates like to say 'decemburrrrr').
2009 included watching God provide not only a trip, but a team of 10 no less, to go to Honduras. From trip prep to team meetings to the trip itself, it was a substantial part of the year. But how great it was to be able to not only voyage with dear friends but to make new ones and learn from children and people that God loves in another part of the world.
meanwhile loving kids back in philly too even when they cry. Learning together about the kids of the Bible, singing 'Promises', having to be ready to improvise at times. Being able to devote more time to orginization and ideas. Alsoa baptism, yg starting, miscommunication, growing and praying.
reaching 10 years at my 'third job' of the year. After much studying the first half of the year, again not passing my exam, thus taking a welcome break from studying. my computer exploding at work, and subsequent restricted site access for all. But at least there were also the 10th yr of Friday lunches.
year in travel- my first cross country road trip, with stops in: seattle-san fran-vegas-zion-grand canyon-new mexico-wyoming-nebraska-chicago-indy-columbus- and home. elsewise: b'more x2, chicago again, ny foliage, beach, princeton, susquehanna state park, shenandoah national park, VA, and teguc. and locally visiting 6 of philly's amazing gardens!
memorable eating- jim's w. phila, tacconelli's (finally), beef chow fun, dukboki, pre-honduras team meals, gino's east, toasted almond, pepsi throwback, licuados, from cactus to cactus cooler, franklin fountain, soup & grilled cheese, rita's, party pizza, mongolian grill, postobon, and a whole lot of korean highlights, from best kalbi to the elkins park double, ayce to my own koreations to mem. day taeji. . .a delicious year!
sports related- "a 6 foot guard from Georgetown" the saga of to memphis, then the unthinkable; to philly, and already happening to have tickets to his first game back. Well you say 'happened', I know better the gators and penguins winning it all, the nuggets playoff run. Watching melo's playoff buzzer beater with kw. getting to see the ncaa's and the confed cup. MLS to phila. All Star weekend. Santino. tough soccer demotion, but then fighting to go back up. Another lza championship loss, subsequent redraft.
funny- "We're good No, we're good", do you know what the chapter was about?.. Yeah, George Mueller prayed and God provided for orphans. How NOT to cut a jackfruit. Singing 'God loves the postman'. and of course there were others.
ok, i think it's now time for the moments of 2009, free flowin'....... snow angels, big hugs, reading through the Bible, lisa, hb and hb, scotland letters, first victory, uncanny similarities, surprise gifts like island lime, tired penguin, laptop note, God's creation is beautiful, seashells, bee sting, hot sauce, losing in settlers, textability, amazing afe hug fest, best double date ever, needing to exercise, welcome homes, bike meets grate, bedtime routines, needing alone time, jacuzzi, pcom grad, aquamarine, outdoor movie, car lockout, used bikes are the best, the kick return marathon, paris hotel, breaking at Ihop, no more tv, bike races, research, sweatshirts, country sleepover, silence, seeing all 50 license plates, mukisa, delayed honking, alternative easter, brothers, bike freestylin' & singing, dn retreat, new sg, new laptop, sleeping beauty mountain, praying for tears, 40th anniversary, hard convos, ethiopian voting, house hunting, summer study, making a snowman family, many kinds of difficult struggles of friends, not living the ideal life, hard fasting, almost endings, wonderful new year's day, engagements, sundays in the park, calendar, philly 50, fbs slimdown, timelines, cleveland excitement, uganda, rainouts of many kinds, old college essays, accountabilities, video chat, birthday scavenge, beautiful, awesome wns, picnic, neice dedication, travel agent, birth, God proyect, I'm still broken, early thanksgiving, penn grad, moveout, Wednesday help, prayer closet, 2 on 2 soccer, prayer from friends, prayer by friends, valentine's day, senor futbol, "dhink, dhink, dhink", make your own pizza, family visits, sandwiches not found, grace not run after, 23 inches of snow, a philly 4th, communication is hard, God's knowing love is sweet, bad days, improvement, hillsong united concert, rest of life kind of .,answered prayers, like Zechariah, prayer cards, august tears, finding mello on our long journey. . .
some things have already been said here. Some are worth repeating. You can't build your own history, because sometimes it just happens. It is great to know a God who makes everything beautiful in its time. 2010 could be a hard year in many ways (but what do i know). But if the forecast goes as planned, mello yello at least will be back. And then free flow will really be here. But for the rest of it, the vast majority of what lies ahead in life- the unknown, may we resolve to know Him more, to love others better, to give generously, to live tenaciously, and to run with the joy of a little child.


31 December 2009 - year in books

books read in 2009:
Bible
A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller
A Praying Life by Paul Miller
The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
Escaping North Korea by Mike Kim
The Prodigal God by Timothy Keller
The Family Nobody Wanted by Helen Doss
Tales of the Resistance by David and Karen Mains
Prayer: Finding the Heart's True Home by Richard Foster
Your Personal Penguin by Sandra Boynton
Cities: Missions New Frontier by Roger Greenway and Timothy Monsma
A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken
Leaf by Niggle by J.R.R. Tolkien
When Helping Hurts by Steve Corbett & Brian Fikkert
Come Thirsty by Max Lucado
The Giver by Lois Lowry
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle (on tape)
some great reads on this list! i think that is all, aside from several short children's books... and the following, still in progress:
A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan
Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby and Claude King
The Autobiography of George Mueller
The Breaks of the Game by David Halberstam
and yes, the Complete Works of E.M. Bounds on Prayer

21 December 2009 - Je me souviens

history definitely repeats itself. but we can't repeat history. which is why the time machine of nostalgia is interesting... it takes us to that place we ache to go again. not sure what to do with this, except the Book says- don't say why were the old days better than this. we shouldn't try to recreate what was. our failings do enough of that on their own. and as for good things in life... they are usually best when they just come on their own, unexpected, but brilliant, and yes, memorable.

17 December 2009 - beautiful

thankful. wrote a song that seems to go well with yesterday's sermon. excerpt: 'and it was all very so unexpected. because even hope had stopped coming around. when out of nowhere there shown in its glory the object once lost that now was profound. and maybe redemption has stories to tell...' pray for me.

16 December 2009 - hope

listened to a helpful sermon on zechariah and elizabeth. it was really good. "Zechariah, your prayer has been heard." not only the prayer that he and his wife had probably stopped praying, but even bigger for Israel. then the faith lessons would continue, through silence, and john's life. the words came true at the proper time. and when zechariah spoke agin, he was praising God.

14 December 2009 - we go by faith

want to think more about romans 14. "everything that does not come from faith is sin." mutual edification. acting in love. righteousness, peace, and joy. If we live, we live to the Lord. to our own master we stand or fall.

10 December 2009 - Someone who carries grace in His pockets

there are some situations where it seems that nothing can make them better. but that is one of the great things about knowing Jesus. that situation is never 'final answer'. i always think of the words of those on the emmaeus road - "We had hoped he would that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel..." and yet he was dead. except that He wasn't. He was actually walking beside them through it. Just like He can do with us on our emptiest days.

6 December 2009 - surprises

good sermon from p. jeremy on Gabriel's visit to Mary. what a surprise it must have been... and isn't that how life can be for us? but we have to choose to enter in to it. it might not be what we are expecting, it might not be what we were thinking. . .but not sure we would want a God that we could understand. and what is better than His surprises. Especially this one, that brought the Saviour of the world. "I am the Lord's servant, may it be to me as you have said."

3 December 2009 - a day of uncomfortable chairs

in humility consider others better than yourselves...
[He] made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.

2 December 2009 - a spectacular start to december

mello yello is back. Or _will_ be. An advertising firm was hired specifically for the brand. And come the second half of 2010, there will be free flow.
speaking of obvious bright ideas Allen Iverson is back. It is like a dream. That seemed impossible. _especially_ 2 weeks ago. Or really really impossible 3 years ago. But the time was right. And allen iverson jerseys again can be seen in philadelphia.
sometimes, the time is just right. Houses, fields, and vineyards will again be bought in this land. There will again be pastures. . .

1 December 2009 - it's a hard knock life for us

listened to a jay-z interview, and he talked about the song 'it's a hard knock life', and how a song from Annie could become a hip-hop hit. and it's interesting to think of the connections between orphan annie, and those who grew up in the inner city from jay-z to the knicks and nets that he high-fives to my kids. And I think how some nba players are misunderstood. (And to whom much is given much is tested.) And I think how much I have always loved the nba. and how sometimes eph. 2:10 is manifest by the God infused dna that at some point becomes latent when you're walking in it- those good works you were made for. which perhaps explains why some things you feel destined for.

18 November 2009 - now i see

sometimes when i first watch a dvd, after the movie is over, i'll rewatch the very beginning. because usually in those first few moments, there is something in there that intimates what is to come. but you may not catch the significance the first time through. this, related to thoughts on a day off bike ride, and poetry interrupted by the arrival of my spicy pork with eggplant.

14 November 2009 - how to be a humble, bold, liver

d miller managed to top him self yet again. this time telling such the stories, which proved to elucidate his own. and these stories arrive in the context of life as story- a character who wants something (more than anything) and overcomes conflict to get it. and yet how much of our lives are about avoiding conflict, craving comfort and order instead. over and over, we're told not to fear. and yet often it still takes something to make us run.
life could be magical if we take a few risks, a story full of whimsy. going against the force that wants us to create meaningless stories and not good ones. stressful and tiring perhaps- but definitely not meaningless.
and great stories have memorable scenes. those days where we work harder to make a day stand out. even if it might cost, looking back we see life in the simple, in the photographs, the memories that will be our souvenirs.
even for a tree in the story of a forest, nobody gets to watch the parade. we're in this with others, guys who are just guys, girls who are just girls. but called to an extravagant love.

8 November 2009 - still waiting

"On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine-- the best of meats and the finest of wines. On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all the nations; he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth. The LORD has spoken. In that day they will say, 'Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the LORD, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation." isaiah 25

7 November 2009 - when i rise, give me Jesus

finally saw groundhog day. What are the implications that we only live each day once? How then should we live? and how should we live not having to relive the shadows of the past? his mercies new every morning, so opposite that alarm clock he would wake too

5 November 2009 - a severe mercy

though I really was trying to not read as much, I couldn't help it with this find. A Severe Mercy, by S. Vanauken. Intriguing on many different levels, I just gobbled it up. Once again, it was lewis who more concisely put what I experienced but could only partially label. be it in answered prayer or unanswered prayer, a severe mercy just about says it.

4 November 2009 - buck up

praying for courage. the best life is a courageous one (among many things).
is it possible to be desperate to be desperate...

3 November 2009 - the children shouting

read this the day after I taught it in Sunday school. Somehow never got the whole role of kids in this happening before- the children shouting in the temple area 'Hosanna to the Son of David', right after the triumphal entry. the teachers of the law were indignant- do you hear what these children are saying?
and Jesus quoted back to them the psalm 8 verse, from the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise

2 November 2009 - where is your faith?

what would it have looked like for the disciples to appropriate their faith to their fear in the midst of the storm what does it look like for us to appropriate our faith. sometimes it is playing a song. Or singing a song as you bike along.
"wish I could pray the way my friends do back home but this is what I have been given, and I will make the best I can"

29 October 2009 - timelines

i think i finally figured something out. timelines make me cry. hey, i'll take it. nowhere is God's sovereign shepherding seen so clear as in retrospect. even with things long gone, the annals leave clues. like king xerxes reading history when he can't sleep. and one timeline connect4's another... even when pictures are the only remnant, like the trace of storefront letters long gone, they intimate the hyper-story of an even greater grace woven through the years.

28 October 2009 - is it safe to land?

and the nba season is here! and music is back in a listenable format at my computer at work... a big help. you don't build a tower unless you know it is safe to land. more gospel reading. just a sampling follows. Jesus saying Scripture cannot be broken... and what is highly valued among men is detestable in God's sight.
be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning. this at least a partial repost, but the time is again right, "Suppose one of you had a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Would he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, 'Come along now and sit down to eat'? Would he not rather say, 'Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink'? Would he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, 'We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.' "

27 October 2009 - redefinition

you can't always see it. but sometimes it is still there. "The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, 'Here it is,' or 'There it is,' because the kingdom of God is within you." Jesus

22 October 2009 - cdg

one of those days where things were just going wrong, including the bike. but had some mello on the roof, concocted a delight in God plan.
and started the new don miller book. so far, so good. life as story. interesting contrast between someone who doesn't see there life as going anywhere, and the implications of that, versus life with a destination in mind, a kingdom. and then i read Jesus words the next day- I know where I came from and where I am going.

21 October 2009 - you salty

six kids tonight.
meanwhile, check it out, from Mark 9:50- "Have salt in yourselves"

19 October 2009 - herb & butter

i figured out i've been reading more than i realized. i finished the cities book. the many different chapters were interesting, but perhaps the most relevant was the survey chapter on living intentionally in the city. like-minded community is nearly essential.

17 October 2009 - lost and found

fall road trip! on which almost all of us lost items. but thankfully, they were, for the most part, found. it is only items of worth that you go searching for. if you lose a penny, it's not that big a deal. but there are other items for which you retrace the path, backtrack for. and when it is found- rejoice! just like the searcher, peering out that window, waiting for his son to come home. and as a movie reminded me, there's some people who more than anything else in the world, just want to be found.
it was a five hour hike in total, up and down sleeping beauty mountain. but we almost missed the summit! directions and signs weren't really clear. we almost turned back, or went down another way. but a mere 50 yards from the top, some helpful others without asking pointed us to the top. and when we got there, we were sure glad. an amazing panoramic view, color splashed trees in every direction... well worth the hike. we found what we were looking for after all. sometimes you have to just keep going a little bit more.

14 October 2009 - a praying life

finished reading the oft recommended new paul miller book, A Praying Life, and I can add my rec. as well. In addition to addressing some prayer struggles I had thought about, it ended up offering some helpful practicalities as well. It has already helped me rethink how I journal. And it served to give me new ideas how to better intercede persistently for people, an improved reformulation of an old techinique whose habit i should restart.

11 October 2009 - sunday in the park

a nice sunday at one of my favorite philly parks... reading good stuff in the gospels. * Jesus redefining family again, not only father, but mother, brothers... * Jesus and busyness- My father is at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working. even amidst retreating, he was busy with the people that came to him there. one time he couldn't even eat, and his family came to get him saying, "He is out of his mind". * Woe to you who are rich- you have already received your comfort. * Why do you say to me- Lord, Lord, and not do what I say?

7 October 2009 - purple mountains majesty

we've been going through children of the Bible on wednesday nights. there's a lot, if you think about it that way...and it's been good to learn more about them.
we've also been using a lot of crayons, and noting their interesting names. the kids prohibitive favorite is shocking pink. i just checked crayola's website. check out all the colors just with a purple hue- blue violet, cerise, eggplant, fuchsia, lavender, mulberry, orchid, plum, purple heart, purple mountain's majesty, purple pizzazz, red violet, royal purple, violet (purple), vivid violet, wisteria. not to mention vastly different colors like timberwolf, gold, and aquamarine. as i read out the names to the kids, it reminds me of how creative God is... splashing purple pizzazz here and there from orchids to the sky, especially these days with leaves ranging from golden yellow to green to orange red speckles...

29 September 2009 - 32

and i can live through anything if magic made it.

28 September 2009 - there's a stirring

zerubbabel, who was like the LORD's signet ring, had his heart stirred at a particular time, along with Joshua on a specific day, and they came and began to work on the house of the LORD.
praying it in, stirring on my bike, finally.

26 September 2009 - still eating

i had a party today. sometimes you have to make your own pizza. and if its mine- that's bulgoki, mandarin orange, scallion, roasted garlic goodness. . .mmm.

24 September 2009 - shallow or ideal...

still pondering what an ideal day would look like, in terms of a daily schedule. how much sleep, how much exercise, prayer, etc. obviously many think it would be ideal if there were more than 24 hours in a 24 hour day. but aside from that, wondering how to ever move closer to those ideals as compared to reality. as i read- shallow prayers = shallow lives.

23 September 2009 - consequences or truth

loved reading through esther this time around, noticed a lot of details i didn't notice before, not all of which i will recapitulate here, rather leaving you room for discovery as well from the richness of the Word. but 2 themes to note- first there's a proverb that describes well haman's folly. it goes- "If a man digs a pit, he will fall into it; if a man rolls a stone, it will roll back on him." Not only did his own schemes like the gallows come back on his own head (literally), but even his decree, ended up entitling the jews to kill 800 of their enemies just in susa, including his sons.
and secondly, the grandness of the king. how vast was his empire. how enabling was his command. even his horses- fast, especially bred for the king. and it is into that situation, that an orphan girl comes and in the place where one was summoned and did not come, she comes when she was not summoned... and when the king saw her he was pleased. he extended the sceptor of his favor. and she still had to plead for her people. but the king heard her cries, and her people were saved. joy and gladness filled the streets.

19 September 2009 - strength in lack of numbers

conversation with a good reminder about numbers and their lack.
of course who wouldn't want to see more people come to a good place, a place where they can see God and His greatness. But in many ways, that is out of our hands, and so all the more the focus should be on pleasing God with what is at hand, in front of you. The less people, the more personal attention and love can be given. And if it is a 'God project', He's the one that will bring the increase anyway. Just you wait. Sow and wait, love and reap, that is.

16 September 2009 - times for faith

the button to my floor on one of the elevators at my office doesn't work. the rest do.
if you didn't know this, surely you would press it a few times, to make sure it would stop. but if you do... you can press it one time confidently even when other people walk in, assuming you forgot to push any button.
once when i was growing up i prayed and prayed for this one soccer game later that day, over and over that we would win. i thought surely by the sheer number of times i would pray about it, that might be enough to overcome the strength of the other team. while there are definitely times for frantic button pressing prayers.. there are also times to just press the button, and retreat to the back of the elevator. . .knowing that we have been heard.

14 September 2009 - hint: it's not looks

got to see all of (the newer) Hunchback for the first time since it was in the theatre. one of the reasons it is good is how effectively it contrasts what makes a monster and what makes a man. and in that vein, if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. and if the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness. . .

12 September 2009 - time to start training

sadly cleaning out my closet is a little like when the israelites discovered the book of the law. oh, -that's- what that was all about... but with that comes the flip side- renewed purpose to make use of what was found.
ai to memphis. and he still amazes me. hoping to turn memphis into a winner, embarassing even management in their expectations. this in the face of more naysay than any player his caliber has received by far.
meanwhile all the summer nba talk of players and their training makes me really see... physical training _is_ of some value. (and i could use some, esp. for this soccer season). but it goes on. . .godliness has value for all things. train yourself to be godly. we beat our bodies. . .everyone in the nba goes into strict training (well, most everybody)... they do it to get a trophy that will not last. but we to get a crown that will last forever. and all the teams play, but only one gets the prize. and we are to run in such a way as to win the prize.

08 September 2009 - sameness amidst change

ten. a little crazy. a little misty. first day and its bringings. currently reading: the family nobody wanted. currently drinking: mello yello

01 September 2009 - favorite month

yes for september. sermons are back, fall is coming, prayer was walking.

31 August 2009 - perspective

'if those who do not deserve to drink the cup must drink it, why should you go unpunished?'
'why should any living man complain when punished for his sins?'
'yet i will restore the fortunes of Moab...'

29 August 2009 - the return of the king

thespia loved the king - "the one who was strong but not brutal, who could laugh with joy and weep with freedom... who told stories to children and gentled the fears of the old, whom the young men followed because he was the bravest of all, who found beauty in the ugly, and whose very words spoke hope."
have you ever heard of a kingdom where outcasts were welcomed, where every orphan had a home?
and she became a street player in the back alleys...acting out the King's story in such a way that all who saw her suspected-then hoped- that there was a real kingdom.

25 August 2009 - waterworks

"In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling." Exodus 15:13
"She who was barren has borne seven children, but she who has had many sons pines away. . .The LORD sends poverty and wealth; he humbles and he exalts. He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor. "For the foundations of the earth are the LORD's; upon them he has set the world." from 1 Samuel 2

24 August 2009 - real life faith

back from Honduras... it was good to hear stories of all God is doing there, and to be a part of it, and to look forward, with hope.
at one point, George Muller was mentioned. It is one thing to have been reading about his life of faith this summer, it is another thing to be able to see similar faith lived out for children today. believing God's word, and praying for God to provide for great needs. what the faith of a little child can accomplish is remarkable.

18 August 2009 - how grace garden grows

some plant. some water. "neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who makes it grow."
Senor Futbol had the same words for all... but the responses were vastly different. soil matters too.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

14 August 2009 - a King's man

back to a favorite book series, just in time, as we prepare to leave for our trip to Honduras...
what he loved most in the world was the King and to be a King's man and to do the King's work.
voice of the King- it is time. it is time to begin the restoration of the kingdom. I need a King's man with a hero's heart. will you come?
when one belongs to the kingdom he is never alone in the terrible places of the world; he can always hear the single, clear note hum.

7 August 2009 - to see Him

"what has happened to all your joy?" oh the cares of this world that can come and crowd us out... choking truth we once knew and held dear. and more than that, blocking the view of the One on whom we should ever set our gaze, the true joy giver. it is the persistent seed that seeks the source of growth and avoids the perils around him that grows. oh to see Him, the one who sees us, remembers us, knows us, loves us. children reveling in a Father's love, free from all that would try to hold us down.

6 August 2009 - You are stronger

song of the week for sho': You are stronger you are stronger, Sin is broken you have saved me, it is written Christ is risen, Jesus you are Lord of all- Hillsong.
"be our strength every morning" Word

1 August 2009 - a garden read

finally finished foster on prayer while enjoying philadelphia's gardens, really good book... many things, here's just 1, not even on prayer, but related to a topic who's truth to me is ever poignant. the curse made work change to be by the sweat of our brow. 1 of the clearest signs of grace is when the results of our labor are far in excess of the amount of work we do. the 2 sides of input vs. output comes up all over the Bible... the all for nothing is expected because of the curse. but sometimes there is grace. because of Him we can sometimes eat the fruit of the vineyard, and see the flowers spring up from the dirt.

31 July 2009 - just to be with You

and July ends... on the roof, with the One who can move me like no other. oh for more being, less doing. worried about many things... but only 1 is needful. i want to be Yours. all of the way all of the day. You are my help. i give you my burdens, because You care for me.

23 July 2009 - the way there

old thought. but there is something to be said for the way there. you could drive to cityline target. or you could ride your bike. and you'd end up at the same place. but it would be an entirely different experience. and thinking about this whole trip preparation process... the journey matters, the road, the way. and the Shepherd leads us on through it. With the actual endgame somewhat shaped by the road we took to get there, wherever it leads.

22 July 2009 - rest easy

good to remember on another 2am night. who has asked this of you? if i were to compare what He really wants for us vs. all my strivings, it would be quite different. from isaiah- in repentance and rest is your salvation.
and finally thinking of those words- come unto me all who are weary and heavy laden, and i will give you rest. . . i will give you rest... for my yoke is easy. and my burden light.

19 July 2009 - sabbath

have i mentioned recently how Sundays are the best? because i know i've mentioned it. from a baptism, to a convo on heaven from someone almost there, to pDA sermons, to reading in the park about breath prayers. ahhhhhhh. . .

18 July 2009 - why did He come

back to reading...current book started with a chapter about why Jesus came to earth, and the implications of that. it is dangerous to fall too far to one side of the spectrum without the other, we should be people who seek the King and the kingdom, and the comprehensive healing it brings. to be those who rejoice in His triumph and who say come Lord Jesus, come.

17 July 2009 - applying truth

nice friday. including dominoes and Bible study, finding old valentine's from little friends, among other things. . . there is something to be said for speaking truth into someone's situation. it is one thing to hear and listen to someone's problem. a whole nother to appropriate God's truth into the picture.

15 July 2009 - lessons from jonah and friends

it wasn't until the fish that Jonah prayed. everyone else was already crying out. the storm and the fish were obeying, not jonah. he went all the way to the bottom, wrapped in seaweed, before he was rescued. and a dear friend, sharing similar sentiments about prayer... often it is that knowledge of neediness that brings us to true prayer. if we really knew our state, we would be praying more.

14 July 2009 - accountability

accountability is a great thing, especially for a burning stick snatched from the flames. as it says in proverbs- he who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.

12 July 2009 - clarity

a convo with mother theresa on seeking a clear answer on how to best spend the rest of his life- "Pray that I have clarity." She said firmly, "No, I will not do that." when he asked her why, she said, "Clarity is the last thing you are clinging to and must let go of." When Kavanaugh commented that she always seemed to have the clarity he longed for, she laughed and said, "I have never had clarity; what I have always had is trust. So I will pray that you trust God."

10 July 2009 - what joy is found

went to a Bible study... realized it had been quite some time since i'd gotten to do that. we talked about work and rest. we have a Sabbath not only because God rested, but also because God delivered us. sg + roof = good night indeed.
What joy is found * In communion with You * Beholding Your beauty * And knowing Your truth * And living a life * That pleases Your heart * Responding with praises * To all that You are... Singing Oh how lovely Is the King in all His glory Is the Christ who is Holy Who was, and who is
And how amazing Is His love so unfailing Is His grace that draws us near

9 July 2009 - invitacion fountain

there is something to be said for availability. some tears that are sown spring up soon, others much later. started isaiah, good stuff.

6 July 2009 - be proactive for good

reading the history of kings of Israel. some good, some bad... but even for many who were otherwise good, "the high places, however, were not removed." earlier i read how one king made golden calves to be gods and for the people to make sacrifices to- and the people just went along... like another religious ceremony.
and both cases show how it is easier to do nothing than something. easier to go along with the flow, and to not ruffle any feathers. but sometimes the right thing is not the thing everyone is doing. this has been seen sadly many times in history. if we are looking to man for direction in what to do, it can be trouble. "We do not know what to do, but our eyes our set on You."

25 June 2009 - oh, right

it's not just to want the right things, but to love the right things to the right degree.

20 June 2009 - i want daddy

got to babysit! couldn't help but come away thinking of those repeated words- 'i want daddy!'. it wasn't that we were unable to provide all the basic needs that daddy could provide (ok, ok, debatable... i'm still trying to navigate diaper covers, but you know what i mean). but there was something that only daddy could provide. something forged by love through the channels of time that would cause a three year old to feel safe and secure in his arms. glad to see the lessons up close, the Father's love pictured even through a dad's constant vengeance against assailing insects. comforts me on those 'i want daddy' days that are bound to come for us all. how great, really- how great- is the love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called children of God.

19 June 2009 - the oil of his grace

from reading pilgrim's progress aloud... liked reading about the fire that burns hotter and brighter not withstanding the water set to douse it- because there stands Someone behind the wall, secretly casting oil into the fire. . .Christ who with the oil of grace maintains the work already begun in the heart, making us gracious still in spite of appearances and foes attempts otherwise.

18 June 2009 - easy obedience

taking a day off from work provided a great opportunity to sleep, read my Bible while it was still daylight, journal, pray on the roof, praise on drums, explore on my bike, exercise, journal some more, and on and on... all of which are quite good for me. makes me wonder why is what should be such easy obedience (rest, recentering, and rejuvination) so hard for me?
the aforementioned reading was proverbial. "if you find honey, eat just enough-- too much of it and you will vomit." and a long time favorite- "to the hungry even what is bitter tastes sweet."

16 June 2009 - more grace snapshots

a night of everything. at a new favourite place. kids and soccer, good food, and i mean doubly good food!, good company, fun times, wisdom, and much needed prayer- the most practical of all.

14 June 2009 - no other sweeter, no other fountain but You

some things never get old. thinking on His love... that never giving up carry you when everyone else could care less. like no other. that took the train force cut off wrath forsakeness to write for us a story of hope, life, and love. . .

13 June 2009 - coram deo

started reading George Muller's autobiography. it is very encouraging. just the story of a life lived in the face of God. of a man who believed God and His sufficiency... and prayed like it.

10 June 2009 - You keep Your promises

"Promises...You keep Your promises" dancing to that song with all 4 kids, because it is one kid's favorite song. and i told her i would bring it this week, and play it. And i want to be someone who keeps His promises. And so be like Him. And I realize that is part of my testimony. As I prepare for double Sunday sharing... The LORD detests lying lips, but delights in men who are truthful. men may lie and say one thing one day and another the next. But there was One who kept the truth even though it hurt. That is something worth dancing about. . .He has kept them. He will keep them. His Word is like rock.

9 June 2009 - the giving cycle

got together with a friend to watch the finals. then more interesting proverbs... One man gives freely and gains even more. A generous man will prosper. A poor man's field may produce abundant food, but injustice sweeps it away. He who gives to the poor will lack nothing.

4 June 2009 - quick

fear the LORD and shun evil.
He gives grace to the humble.

2 June 2009 - i have three jobs

if you haven't heard, i'm going to Honduras this summer! Excited about our team of 10. and how sometimes prayers are answered even after you've stopped looking for the answer.

1 June 2009 - alive

all things serve You. even Philadelphia. something about walking through the city hall archway a few weeks back. thinking of the old in philly transposed on the modern. the great things done here, in this city. and the good things He has prepared for us in advance to do, still in this city today.

28 May 2009 - psalm 113:8-9

"He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes, with the princes of their people. He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children.
Praise the LORD."

27 May 2009 - thankful praise

"Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats? Sacrifice thank offerings to God."
Encouraged by a friend's desire to just praise. Oh to remember Psalm 50... to simply live a life of thankful praise.
"I have no need of a bull from your stall or of goats from your pens, for every animal of the forest is mine...If I were hungry I would not tell you"

23 May 2009 - the site of mercy

new mwY, continuing to amaze...at least in this song, "the Angel of Death came to David's room and said friend, it's time to go...good Angel, don't I get a warning sign before it's my time to go?
a sign? come now, David! where's your Grandma gone? and where's your grandpa gone? their time came to go. . .where's Uriah gone, stranded on the battlefield, the troops withdrawn? his time came to go. come now, David! where's Bathsheba gone? and where've your binoculars and rooftops gone? and the unexpected Baby-from-the-bath-night? their time came to go."
It should be noted that the house of the Lord was built on the former threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. Where the Lord spoke to the angel of the Lord, who put his sword back in his sheath.
"Was it not I who ordered the fighting men to be counted? I am the one who has sinned and done wrong. These are but sheep.' 1 Chronicles 21:17 and now 22:1. Then David said, "The house of the Lord God is to be here, and also the altar of burnt offering for Israel." just like the length of cord that would inevitably spare one, but not the man next to him, so too were Araunah's neighbors, one was 70,000, the other was not 70,001. But his time too would come to go. But a new Temple would come and take the unsheathed sword, so that an ever greater mercy could be ours.

20 May 2009 - best house

"in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation" psalm 5:3.
and a name scrawled on a piece of paper- by my computer so i can pray, proves useful months and months later, providing the silver lining to a night of otherwise poor communication.

14 May 2009 - grace like rain

"i need your grace, to remind me, to find my own..." sp
sometimes even the wanting to pray is manifest grace.
psalm reading for the day: "let everyone who is godly pray to you while you may be found." 32 "broken spirit" 51 "a sign of your goodness" 86

13 May 2009 - crowns, crowns, crowns

we made crowns at church tonight. they were a hit. i should pray more. "be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care...eager to serve... being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receveive the crown of glory that will never fade away." 1 Peter 5

11 May 2009 - flybye

"the day is gray outside. it's still brighter than the day would be, if i was without You." seven day jesus
studying almost over with.

5 May 2009 - daily and forever

"and there will be an end to these troubles, but until that day comes, we'll live to know You here on the earth... O no, You never let go through the calm and through the storm. O no, you never let go, in every high and every low... Lord, You never let go of me." m. redman
"Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. Our God is a God who saves" ps. 68

29 April 2009 - seriously?

made my way to the roof tonight. He is ever good.

27 April 2009 - because they trusted in Him

"They were helped in fighting them, and God handed the Hagrites and all their allies over to them, because they cried out to him during the battle. He answered their prayers, because they trusted in him." 1 Chronicles 5:20-21

22 April 2009 - psalm 9/10

probably originally one big poem. "He does not ignore the cry of the afflicted... the needy will not always be forgotten. . . But you, O God, do see trouble and grief; you consider it to take it in hand. The victim commits himself to you; you are the helper of the fatherless. Break the arm of the wicked and evil man; call him to account for his wickedness that would not be found out. The Lord is King for ever and ever; the nations will perish from his land. You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more."

21 April 2009 - now i ride my bicycle

after stolen tires, broken locks, failed attempts at bike fixes, several work consultations, actual attempts that still don't pan out, late night tire changes in random places with nice help, stranded bikes meanwhile rusting or being irrevocably broke, no bike and walking around the whole city, waiting for my bike to arrive... how great was it to be back riding my bike, flying around city streets!

18 April 2009 - fig newtons

hi from chicago, the land of good pizza, on the starting day of the nba playoffs! was thinking again on what it means to know people. some of people's interests change- several of the foods i liked as a child are vastly different than the foods i like today, while some are likely to never change (me and mello yello are tight). perhaps another part in knowing someone is to know and understand the person as they change. we can't have just a snapshot knowledge of a person and expect it to be accurate on every count. sometimes we see this well when we see someone we haven't seen for a long time, even more if they are from a different season in our life... thankful for friends who have seen the here and the there and who put pieces together. and even more the One who knows it all and understands the change better than me.

13 April 2009 - scott Park

someone knows.
someone knows about the days where feelings play a greater role than they are supposed to... when life, strangely cyclical as it is, adds its own toppling weight... when normally available outlets are shut due to past problems requiring maintainence... when wounds that are supposed to no longer hurt, sting like a freshly skinned knee... someone knows, even when others do not understand. Oh, Someone knows...

12 April 2009 - resurrection life day

resurrection is not normal, natural. death is. and yet another reason why it is so great... once people get past the unexpectedness, they'll find something that works backwards into their lives. something that goes against the downward spiral of nature they see all around them. bringing life to where there is only death, hope to where there is only despair, and triumphant joy to where was previously defeat, defeat, defeat.

04 April 2009 - the first we hear from samson

"His father and mother replied, '... Must you go to the uncircumcised Philistines to get a wife?' But Samson said to his father, 'Get her for me. She's the right one for me.' (His parents did not know that this was from the LORD, who was seeking an occasion to confront the Philistines; for at that time they were ruling over Israel.)" from Judges 14

31 March 2009 - the road to Zion

i recommend driving across the country. especially with plenteous good food, mello yello finds, moments of hilarity, and lots and lots of driving. wish i had more time. somehow amidst the studying i snuck in some time to read my new book- escaping north korea. you should read it. some of the stories are just woah...

19 March 2009 - thought of the day

people can leave who don't feel connected.

08 March 2009 - giants they do fall down

doing chronological Bible in a year! thoughts from numbers- The giants that the explorer scouts saw were the same. the huge grapes were the same. but the responses vastly different. to some, "Why is the LORD bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword?". (this is an incredible question. . .and yet one that i am not immune from when i let the nephilim become bigger than the One they are grasshoppers to.) But Joshua and Caleb believed God. the grapes were a sign of the goodness they were coming into. and the aftermath... an 11 day journey became a 40 year journey to which only Joshua and Caleb would complete.
can't help but think it was a parallel situation with David and the israelites. they all heard the same cry from Goliath day after day. but only David heard it in the context of who God was and knew he could answer the call.
"everything that can stand fire you shall make go through the fire."

03 March 2009 - on your true prayer

more ponderables from vineyard sermons. sometimes we pray for things and we may not get them and yet what we wanted most was not that thing, but that thing seemed to be the necessary route to what we want/need to such a degree to not realize to think that we could pray for what we really want behind what we want... perhaps there is a better/different way to what is lacking, and One that certainly knows better ways.

13 February 2009 - on showing grace

sometimes it's not until the situation changes and you see the capacity to act the same way the other person acted toward you... for it's all inside of you, too. and since it's more often than not that we don't know the back story, perhaps it's that benefit of the doubt that better enables us to love the way we should, and all the more so to one going through and in need of some grace.

11 February 2009 - then they will call upon Me...

a Calvin quote on Zech. 13:9 (from JP) It is therefore necessary that we should be subject, from first to last, to the scourges of God, in order that we may from the heart call on him; for our hearts are enfeebled by prosperity, so that we cannot make the effort to pray.
busyness also keeps us, but as Luther says, that should prove the opposite, so busy, need to pray more.
things that make you pray, praise God for them.

10 February 2009 - don't send us on -- without You

listened to vineyard sermon on it during the day, then at night the scheduled reading also included exodus 33. i still remember p. paul preaching on it from year's ago... in the sermon, dave said he read it in His wedding.
"You said, I know you by name and you have also found favor in my sight. Now therefore, I pray...show me now Your way that I may know You and that I may find favor in your sight... And the Lord said, My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest. And Moses said to the Lord, if Your Presence does not go with me, do not carry us up from here! . . .Is it not in going with us so that we are distinguished."

6 February 2009 - powerful and effective

elijah was a man just like us -so constitutued, but he took God at His Word, and there was no rain for a really long time.
from sinclair insight to an obscure verse of a favourite hymn of mine, "Soon shall the cup of glory
Wash down earth's bitt'rest woes,
Soon shall the desert briar
Break into Eden's rose;
The curse shall change to blessing -
The Name on earth that's bann'd
Be graven on white stone
In Immanuel's land."

4 February 2009 - my life not as a movie

i get it backwards sometimes when i consider such drama. it is good to remember the fly that sat upon the chariot-wheel, and said, "What a dust do I raise!". and even better to think how it is all His story.

31 January 2009 - abandonment and faith must walk together

thinking back to the twenty year old vs. the four year old. one needs to ask if he can go out and play. the other has grown to the place to have the freedom to make decisions without having to call home from college. one is easier. the other, painfully necessary. but we are not left alone. we can take to Him the Lord as best I know. . .'s. and try and do the right thing today, even if tomorrow is unknown. and it takes years to understand parents' love. how much more to get His- who keeps sending us back to school because He wants us to know more of that deep deep deepest of deeps Love.

25 January 2009 - end of the spear

another finally got to see movie. with violence that was not for the sake of violence. but that came with the words, "i am your friend."
from John 15, "I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruitfruit that will last."

20 January 2009 - now or later

remember esau. he sold his birthright for some red stew. a double portion of the inheritance, the head of the family... and heir of the promised blessing vs. stew. showing contempt for those rights while living in the moment, for a single meal. rather than living by faith, and taking the future seriously, as he later wished he did.

15 January 2009 - job's tears

before understanding that it was a plant, when I saw the name Job's tears associated with things like soup or tea, I could only guess why it would be named such. Perhaps it was something that was not so good going down, but was really good for you. Well, either that or something that really cleaned you out. . .Or _maybe_ it was just really good soup. named not for job's initial tears, but his latter tears... that surely must have come when his brothers, sisters, and friends came and feasted with him in his home.

13 January 2009 - waterfall

the good thing about having bike issues is the long walks home...
from the book of job: How great is Godbeyond our understanding! The number of his years is past finding out. "He draws up the drops of water, which distill as rain to the streams; the clouds pour down their moisture and abundant showers fall on mankind. Who can understand how he spreads out the clouds, how he thunders from his pavilion? See how he scatters his lightning about him, bathing the depths of the sea. . .He does great things beyond our understanding. He says to the snow, 'Fall on the earth,' and to the rain shower, 'Be a mighty downpour.' So that all men he has made may know his work, he stops every man from his labor."

10 January 2009 - you do not have because you do not ask

and so the studying begins in earnest.
thoughts meanwhile: it is one thing when you ask and you don't get. it's another altogether when you mope about not having something when you didn't even ask for it.

7 January 2009 - lunchtime reading

while enjoying a tangerine. . . the spring of persistent love

01 January 2009 - 2008 year in review: longest entry yet

I like new year's day, not only because I love celebrating, and holidays provide occasion, but I doubt it is without reason that people celebrate a new year, even when in some sense it is arbitrary and not remarkably different from the day before. But because He is making all things new, because it is a 365.25x picture of "His mercies new every morning", it is all the more a time to refocus, restart, and keep on running. As you must know by now, part of that for me involves recapping the year that was. Some lessons are only learned when distilled with a wider lens. It is good to think over the year. Not only does it help us to see the sheer wonder of life and its bigness, but it also aids one in examining life rather than just letting it fly by unmeasured. Such introspection has its place, when rightly framed. Too much self look can lead to despair. But if after looking, you look back up, and redirect towards the maximum glory of God, it can be very good. That is my hope, and while I won't cover all the year held (some has already been written here) I surely did think through so much of it. And yet it was perhaps the hardest year to recap to date. At times I did feel as I was not the one leading the way. And perhaps I was not. . .As the (random) phrase of the year says- that was a crazy game of poker.
I'll begin where I did- it was good to start the year in prayer. It was definitely needed all the more in January with the carryover of unresolved health issues (and new ones), the shock of a church dismissal that threatened everything, and a stressful work situation, just to name most of the major things that month. and He saw me through. The year had quite the full spectrum of a relationship- writing out prayers, soccer prayer, and yes of course on my bike and walking around the city. There was also marked struggle, and long (too long) periods of lack. and learning well where two come together in His name, that He is there, ever amazed at His love. Memorable march prayer and tears, marveling that He hears and knows my heart. while on march, it was an early spring and somehow (after hurried cleaning and dominoes) i ended up in pittsburgh. and from there, it was planes, trains, and automobiles indeed.
oh there were highlights. more babysitting than the rest of my life combined, from pizza and dancing with evie, to westminster party and more! a new friend of the year. a new neice. RLC begins in earnest!
church held some amazing moments. opening the church with prayer and the gym by playing with the kids. and the next day 2700+ people for convoy of hope despite a fatal shooting across the street. hearing God of the city before the remarkable survey crew hit the streets. the rest of the grand opening week. children's ministry extension, teaching Sunday school. getting to lead worship myself. secret agent thursdays. leading Bible studies. follow up prayer. and on i could go.
the year in food (partial at best): mac and cheese (from cauliflower, lobster, ritz cracker, to buffalo chicken!), bulgogi hot dogs, octopus pizza, wegman's rolls, grace garden, ekta, eggplant coins, chicago pizza, pork&eggplant, jamaican, ncaa bbq, blueberry lemon zest pi, hershey kisses - from candy corn to candy cane, and so much more good eating, including the many usual suspects. reading a lot more than I realized: ranging from letters to malcolm to my friend is sad. And of course book series of the yr- tales of the kingdom. music: the (jj mix) cd of year, hillsong videos. movies- from north korea movies to prince caspian. traveling: minny twice, va many, Chicago, Rhode Island, maine, nyc, beach, dc, princeton, potter co. but "scott miller may belong in PHL". fav family fivesome was key- ungame, heart motives, dinners, get togethers, keller, nba,. . .
6 weddings, 2 funerals, bike troubles galore, soccer slump, more worship drama, 2 is more than 0, going crazy, church harangue, feeling bad, 3 championship losses (2 casa, 1 lza), unfun health visits, blasted feelings, central park exploring, SHASAM, banana pancakes, parade, running the loop, epic smath, wns, seeing 22 shooting stars one night, 23 total, cupcake dunk, the super catch, heart issues, LiNK, best fireworks ever, tent adventures and games, 2 fists to my paradigm, John Legend in the rain, ice cream festival, church double church, indian queen, drinking while walking, texts on the hour, ridiculous weather forecasts, king's x, exasperation, don't stress don't stress dont stress, you do it!, fun at work- bike and otherwise, family histories, dunk hoops, skedoosh!, say something about policemen, joy joy joy, support group, more exciting births, dedications, baptisms, birthdays; rlc reunion, seeing former kids baptized and teaching my Sunday school class!, friends visiting or returning from afar, sg, playing with kids, Jesus storybook Bible, keller in philly, great friend times, DQ, dolce, many sermons, satsuma and mello, flower show, ice cream guessing, smiling so much, catching leaves, franklin institute, magic, treehouses and hammocks, sunrise, TOTC, plateau, clark park easter, amazing bday of philly friends food and 31 mello's!, orchid, big slide, self photos, the swings, ski trip pizza hut, may wknd in VA, running through fountains, going aways and coming backs, starbucks, haverford, lemongrass, letters, ctown, lunchtime stroll, bookstore reading finding studying, south street, the holiday party, always losing, penns landing, dating (i'm bad at it), church cleaning, praying, wording, praising, time together, walks, runs, rides, broken clock, studying late, can't see, sick, fairmount park, art museum, free libr. bkstre, papaya salad, phonecalls, va run playground, basketball, shopping, kfc coupon hunting, moments, glimpses, fridays, romans 8, va trips, reading books aloud, old photos, new photos, faithwalking. realizing redemption is not a one off thing. i need Jesus badly. God's grace is big.
wanting to live by faith not by fear. this despite all its length a song still unfinished. . .2009 here we come, happy new year to all.

29 December 2008 - this life of contradictions

from The Message, "I need something more! For if I know the law but still can't keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don't have what it takes. I can will it, but I can't do it. I decide to do good, but I don't really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don't result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.
It happens so regularly that it's predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. **I truly delight in God's commands, but it's pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight.** Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.

I've tried everything and nothing helps. I'm at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn't that the real question?

The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different. With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ's being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud."

26 December 2008 - simple prayer is simple

reading Foster on prayer. good to remember how easy what he calls 'simple prayer' is. and how at whatever stage we are at we can go to Him. even now. without our excuses. with simplicity of heart. and find such love.

25 December 2008 - joy of every longing heart

merry christmas y'all!
it is good- i think- to long for Him to come, to a life that 's been so bethlehem.
"Come, thou long-expected Jesus,
born to set thy people free;
from our fears and sins release us,
let us find our rest in thee."

14 December 2008 - long time coming

got to hear Ron Sider speak... 4 years after writing about his book here. interesting to hear him speak on microloans. and the call to live more simply so others can simply live.
but even better was praying back from w. phila. not only does He delight in genuine prayers, but i like the much needed activity as well. it is so nice to have the venue to go to Him honestly and know that He understands.

11 December 2008 - we will reap a harvest if we do not give up

time for your at least annual IAWL entry... as we got to watch it while the jovial kids slumbered upstairs.
the sacrifices that made George seem stuck on the hard days, were the same ones that lead to the fruit he could celebrate in the end. this, of course, after realizing that even the ultra hard day could be viewed differently when awakened to life perspective. life is a gift... that sometimes needs to be reopened.

9 December 2008 - and a light unto my path

took a few days to read over the longest psalm, and it was good to dwell on... such words of road signs, and the way of life.
"build me up again by your Word. grace me with your clear revelation... i'm wiser than the wise old sages simply by doing what you tell me." the Message

6 December 2008 - welcome introductions

baby eliza is here! got to visit my newest neice, journeying through the snow. and a mello yello was pre-chilled waiting for me with the grandparents...

1 December 2008 - easier to be a baller than to be taller

there are some desires we have that it would be hard to do much about. the best example of this might be- wanting to be in the nba. but there are some that are clearly in our hands, that we can do things about. it is frustrating to see others with the same desires make it happen when i can't. but on the flip side, it is encouraging to think about desires- if they are really priorities, do something about it. it can be easy to let the urgent or convenient override, but better to fight for the life you really want.

30 November 2008 - children, heirs, friends. . .

thinking about the impact made by those who choose to pour their life into certain people. not knowing for sure how the choice of investment is made. but realizing grace repeats itself on many levels.
meanwhile, it seems like sin is always settling for less. like insidious pride in a title. when those God bestows are far better. take heirs. heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings... and not servants, but friends if we follow, and who bestowed as such go forth and lay down life for one another.

18 November 2008 - worth the voyage

i would purport that you would question things with kids running crazy, and a 75% cry rate. but as someone said- if nothing frustrates you, you're living a boring christian life.
"Disturb us, Lord, when we are too well pleased with ourselves, When our dreams have come true Because we have dreamed too little, When we arrived safely Because we sailed too close to the shore...
Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly, To venture on wider seas Where storms will show your mastery; Where losing sight of land, We shall find the stars, We ask You to push back The horizons of our hopes; And to push into the future In strength, courage, hope, and love."
it's always easier to do nothing. or follow our own comforts. but His dreams are so much better, and worth pursuing. and as It says- "Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain"

9 November 2008 - miracles

read some of a keller book. he was talking about how Jesus' miracles weren't done to just show capacity, but to invoke worship. and sometimes i need to turn things around- and see the work of God displayed in my life, and give Him worship.

7 November 2008 - broken for good

life conference was about being broken for the city ...2Cor4. what you want to do for others must first happen to you. Jesus said- anyone who wants to come after Him they have to take up their cross and follow after Him.
noone would think to look for treasure in easily breakable vessels used for refuse. and if they wanted to get the treasure out it was easy to break, demolish. sometimes God breaks up our plans, our wills, what we are trusting in. . . to show off the glory of Christ in every area of life.

5 November 2008 - on a handful of fortune

you just happened to be standing there. when it dropped. all sorts of the finest goods off the delivery truck. and as you gather as much as you could hold in your pockets and in your two hands pressed against your chest, you notice the others starting to arrive who heard the din, yet find not much remaining. could you really not share?

31 October 2008 - sparkle parade

everyone was straining to see. there were people (children and adults) on each other's shoulders, people climbing street poles, people on roof decks, looking out windows in every direction you looked... it was a sea of red and anticipation. and then the confetti rained from the sky, covering a city together to celebrate a victory, to watch a team parade down broad st. it was quite a sight to behold. and yet i couldn't help but think, if this is the reception for a winning team, what will it be for a returning King... victorious over the greatest enemy of all. 25 years is indeed a long time to wait. but not compared to millennia. there are ardent fans, but what of those that are giving their lives for the city that is to come. those that didn't just watch from the stands, but actually fought the fight, ran the race, kept the faith, who not just wear the king's colors, but have a crown waiting- and not only for them, but to all who have longed for His appearing.

27 October 2008 - debt collector

i'm sure you're familiar with depictions of those who use rough and threatening tactics to collect outstanding debts, with such ruffians hired specifically because of their size and imposing ability to invoke fear which would get the owed money back sooner. in joseph's day the people gave up all their lands and everything to buy food, becoming indebted to egypt. Jesus told a story of a man who had to be sold along with his family because he was not able to pay the massive debt he owed. but he begged the king, and the king had pity on him and cancelled the debt. what would it be like to be that man? it is one thing to have a debt of ten dollars cancelled, but what of the millions this man owed? but how could it be? the lunch was not free. the debt did have to be paid... but when the debt collector came looking for life and limb, there was One who stood in the way- the King Himself- who was first roughed up, and then cut off from His Family because those He loved had no resources to pay the debt, who had no recourse when the debt collector came. . .
"Let no debt remain outstanding except the continuing debt to love one another." Romans 13:8

23 October 2008 - double entendre

the church helps me better understand total depravity.
sermons are helpful. the corinthian church was so bad, but paul loved them so much.

21 October 2008 - dream job update

from one dream job to two. the new one unpaid but with better benefits. funny how life works out (i guess that is why it is called life, it is always moving). already such great moments like singing and dancing to joy, joy, joy that first week of sunday school. pray for me- yet another case where my weakness is going to have to be my strength.

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