it's going to be a busy week...here's some of what is still left to do (aside from all the stuff on my desk at the church to crank out):
- fill sandbags with sand and secure around the sump pump
- final details for the dog's vacation from us :)
- finish reading material in prep for the trip
- one more meeting tonight with the team
- mow the lawn 2 more times
- thank you notes all caught up
- balance the checkbook and make sure bills are all paid in advance
- pack and weigh the suitcases
- a few final purchases for the trip
- and some other things that i'm sure i'm forgetting...
we feel so blessed by family and friends who have made this trip possible for us. the support of the church has been wonderful and the buzz in the air has been so refreshing. words can't even begin to express how amazed and blown away we are that right now all airfare and in-country costs have been covered for all 4 of us! God is so good...and we are so thankful!
i believe that we serve God...[long pause]...and then we die."
sometimes we get caught up in feeling that we are somehow entitled and that we deserve good from God. the reality is quite far from this. what good we do experience is purely an act of grace on God's part. but regardless of how life turns out, we serve Him. we build into others. we invest in things bigger than ourselves. we love others unconditionally. we seek to make His name great in this world.
and then we die.
like last night at our adult leader's meeting, for instance. we meet every 4-6 weeks with the whole team, and it's really turned into something super special each time. we usually gather at one of our home's at 4:30 on a saturday...we do dinner together, lots of small talk and laughing, some sharing time centered around "life" right now (which always results in people being vulnerable, transparent, and crying), and then we try to sneak in some "business" related to the youth ministry. after that people usually hang around for another 45 minutes just chatting...and people are pretty much out of the house by 11:00pm. crazy.
where it came out last night was at the very end. i knew it was getting late, and like most of these gatherings, i'm trying to cram some super important logistical stuff at the end of the "business" part, inevitably not covering everything. there was a dialogue last night during the meeting that was quite interesting:
(leader #1): "should we maybe start the meeting earlier...or plan to end the meeting later...because we never get to fit it all in."
(leader #2) "OR we should just shorten some of the other elements and make time that way."
the one leader was coming from a hot-culture perspective...the other from a cold-culture persepective...neither necessarily bad - just a reality of any group of people living in community.
more and more i'm finding myself valuing the hot-culture perspective...less of an emphasis on time, more hospitality and indirect communication, more people oriented than task oriented...and i'm actually wondering if we were created by God to be like that?
i'm still wrestling with it all...
not sure we're gonna figure it all out, but this fall we're going to try something that i think might point us in the right direction...
we're gonna have shorter meetings every 4-6 weeks focused on the "business" part of it all, in addition to us all being part of the same adult community group which will meet every other week. should be fun!
- later tonight we'll be traveling back to rochester from camp burton. it's been a really great week and God has really worked here. i've enjoyed speaking to all the students here...but i have to be honest - they're nothing like our teens back home.
- been blown away at the talents and abilities of the college students serving as counselors at the camp. they have so much energy and enthusiasm, and gifted by God to really connect with the teens. but the most refreshing thing has been to see their genuine hearts for God and how contagious that really is.
- almost finished reading foreign to familiar in preparation for the vision trip to mozambique in 3 weeks. what a great read - and so helpful for understanding not just other cultures of the world but also our own.
- shanna and i are sitting in a quintessential, nostalgic cafe here in burton right now. old 50's music...antiques for sale...small town america at its best.
- can't wait to get home (but a little scared of what we might find in the basement). we're keeping our fingers crossed.
i'm speaking at camp burton this week - camp burton is our district's camp about 4 hours west of us near cleveland. fun times. this video i quickly shot off my phone - the quality is bad, but it was during a really sweet praise and worship time this morning. God's really been working. praying that kids turn their lives over to Christ tonight and tomorrow night and make commitments to follow Him with more passion and intimacy.
as we described the story of jonah...i came to the realization of how hard it is to actually believe it literally occurred. i do believe it happened...i believe that all of the Bible is true and to be taken literally unless there's obvious clues that it's written in a figurative sense...but honestly if i was a skeptic, i'd have a hard time with...
- the fact that jonah was asleep during this "perfect storm" (was he drugged???)
- that some big fish just swallowed him whole as he floundered in the water
- that he ended up in the fish's stomach...alive
- that he just "hung out" inside there for 72 hours...and spent time praying in there too
- that he didn't go through the rest of the fish's digestive system...or get eaten by something else that came down the fish's throat
- that he got barfed up on the shore...and lived to tell about it all
seriously...if you're honest...it sounds like something that was made up by someone who was high. i'm sure there's scientific explanations for it...would really be curious to see them, etc. it's God's Word so i believe it...but wow - that one's a little tough. what other stories/passages are tough to believe?
- the water is out now (fire department came and sucked it up) late last night
- a plumber tried unclogging the floor drain unsuccessfully
- everyone says we need to get a hole dug and a sump pump installed because this will only keep happening as the water continues to run off the ridge to lake ontario
- currently the theater room's carpet is off the floor and drying on the back porch...fans blowing everywhere in the basement; the smell reminds me of our guys' cabin at the end of snowcamp
- fighting thoughts of frustration & anger at the previous owner who claimed the basement was "dry". why can't people just be honest? we probably would've still bought the house...we love it here...but be honest.
...we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. ~FDRI've always heard the first part of that quote... but the second half of the sentence is so true! I am paralyzed by fear way too much. Just this nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror!
I have some minor, outpatient surgery next week and if I dwell on it this big hunk of fear clogs up my throat! Anyways - I've tried to analyze what I'm afraid of... the doctor messing up and lasering off something vital? nope. having one of the hundred million possible complications? nope. (total exaggeration, Mom! there's only a few VERY RARE complications.) being in tons of pain? nope. I'm just afraid. I don't know why. its not logical. it just is.
but, there are other things i'm afraid of... things more important than a tiny operation... and they paralyze me. When I was a little girl, when I'd wake up in the night from another horrible nightmare - I'd try to lay as still as possible ... because if I laid very, very still "they" wouldn't see me. For some reason this response hasn't changed - when I get scared, I freeze. Whether that's from a weird noise at night or some new chapter in life. But, I don't want to be defined by my fear.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. II Tim 1:7And I don't have to live frozen in my fear - because I have a God that is pumping me full of power, love, and even self-discipline. So, instead of hiding in fear, I want to be facing the fear head-on, with all the power of God behind me.