Thursday, July 31, 2008
1 Corinthians 4:1-2 says, "This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful."
It is sad that we have so often considered people who knew a lot of the Bible to be the most mature people around us. Now we see how foolish that is. Otherwise, the people who killed Jesus were really mature. The absurdity is obvious when you look at it that way. In these verses, there is a very clear distinction made between having the mysteries of God (i.e. the gospel) and being a faithful steward of it (compare verses 1 and 2)
It has probably been the most destructive habit in our walks that we so easily assume we're being faithful (i.e. obedient) when we're not. In fact, all we might have in knowledge. Every single day, we must beg for the mercy to be faithful, just as Paul said he himself needed when he described himself " as one who by the Lord's mercy is trustworthy." (1 Cor. 7:25)
Many of us are faithful stewards of money, tasks, etc. but not of the gospel (v.1). Therefore, we plead for you also to examine yourself. Do you assume you are being a faithful steward of the gospel? This is the daily question WE too have to ask ourselves. We love you.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
We saw our fair share of cops and soldiers and security guards and volunteers though. And they were all quite pleasant.
And we got to see big army trucks, cop cars, ambulances and the black government official's cars. We thought maybe we mixed up the torch relay with the transporting of nuclear materials, but alas...
the torch. Well, kinda. There are 220 torches. Each person got to run 35 meters with it and then hand it off. And these torches aren't actually lit. And these two weren't actually running, but riding in a car. So the torch wasn't a torch, and the relay wasn't a relay. For those old Saturday Night Live fans, it was like an episode of Coffee Talk "The torch relay was neither a torch, nor a relay...talk amongst yourselves." Ahhh, just how I imagined it when I was a wee girl.
But we did get to cheer when our friend came by in a black, unmarked car. At least we got to give a shout for something!
The other highlight was watching this couple run off with some herbs they took from somebody else's garden.
This picture of the kids sums up our morning. Poor kids were so confused. "I thought we were watching the torch!" "Is it over?!" "Mommy, I didn't see anything!"
But on a more exciting note, a friend gave us soccer match tickets last week. It was a scrimmage between the New Zealand and Chinese woman's soccer teams. The stadium was packed. It was kind of a trial run for the Games. We took Selah and Malachi and we had a blast. When the game was over (China won!), we saw this guy. Can you imagine being that tall? I felt bad for him though, tons of people were taking pictures of him. It was weird seeing people do that to someone else besides our family. And that sash around him is an advertisement. That's his job, he walks around as "the abnormally tall guy" and advertises for companies.
This was the kids first big sporting event. We got the balloon clapping things, ice cream, drinks and had a blast. Only a few more days to go until it's "One World, One Dream" time. Happy Olympics to all.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Friday, July 25, 2008
We want to share with you a little bit of the grace God has given us in recent weeks. The album "Pages" form Shane and Shane has been a mighty instrument of change in our lives. It's music and lyrics have worked together in life changing ways. Here is one song whose words are worthy of hearing. It's called "Embracing Accusation". Enjoy Him!
The father of lies
Coming to steal
Kill and destroy
All my hopes of being good enough
I hear him saying cursed are the ones
Who can’t abide
Alleluia he’s right!
The devil is preaching
The song of the redeemed
That I am cursed and gone astray
I cannot gain salvation
Could the father of lies
Be telling the truth
Of God to me tonight?
If the penalty of sin is death
Then death is mine
I hear him saying cursed are the ones
Who can’t abide
Alleluia he’s right!
Oh the devil’s singing over me
An age old song
That I am cursed and gone astray
Singing the first verse so conveniently
He’s forgotten the refrain
Monday, July 21, 2008
Here's Charis and one of the Fu Wa's (literally, "good luck dolls"). You can even see the dirt on her legs in the picture from faraway. We're a mess. Each one represents something Chinese. The red one, "Huan Huan" represents the Olympic flame and the passion of the games. These FuWa's are in a park right across the street from out apt. They've also put up a bunch of new Olympic statues, new flowers, trees, roads, and every shop was required to get a new sign.
The black one, "Jing Jing" represents: the panda and the "harmonious coexistence of humankind and nature."
The Yellow, "Ying Ying": the Tibetan antelope and representing good health. One of the things I really appreciate about China is that they like to use symbols and representations. It makes simple dolls like these much more interesting.
The Green one is "Ni Ni" ": representing the swallow. Many of the kites flown here are modeled after the swallow. It represents good fortune. When you put all their names together, it says "Bei Jing Huan Ying Ni" which means "Bei Jing welcomes you!"
Blue One "BeiBei" : represents the fish and aquatics. And also, "to follow and obtain your dreams." It's Fu Wa mania around town. You see them EVERYWHERE. Cups, trash cans, buses, sidewalks, signs, the list goes on and on. Because people here are so superstitious, it's been eery to hear people link the meanings of the Fu Wa's to the bad year China has had. For example, every Fu Wa is linked to places or things around the country. Every one of them have had a tragedy happen to them this year. A little eery, I must admit.
The torch comes through our city on the 30th, so things are on super high alert right now. For the past week, we've seen tons of 'volunteers' that are walking around patroling and keeping the peace. Many of these are plain clothed citizens. But there are also over 11,000 police partroling the areas. Our city isn't that big, so 11,000 makes quite the presence. That's not counting the soldiers that have come. They are at every street corner, intersection, park, etc. There have also been a few torch practices, where they shut down several roads (including the one right outside our apt.). Police and soldiers are 10 feet apart all down the long road.
These army helicopters have been doing fly overs and drills. A friend told us that on a campus nearby, they have set up an armory. Fully armed with missiles and heavy artiliary. We came back from our trip and found out that all the schools in the entire province are canceled until after the Olympics. Tons of restaraunts, malls, and shops are forced to close. Any type of outdoor vendor (fruit, vegetable, tofu, etc) is either stuffed into a hallway somewhere or just not allowed to be out. It's funny, because now the Olympics has become the "El Nino." People are blaming everything on the coming of the Olympics. A car crash...the Olympics. A bad day.....the Olympics. Bad weather....yep, the Olympics.
So we're hoping the ending to this movie is more beautiful than the beginning. That the boy really will get the girl and all will trot off blissfully into the sunset.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Reading through Hosea and Song of Solomon these days. Quite a contrast
God calls His people adulterous whores. How’s that for name calling.
So I began thinking, how are we, his people, like
Keeping in mind that God’s word is his intimate revelation of himself,
1) learning a lot of theology without obedience is like being addicted to pornography….no relationship, trust, or intimacy.
2) Flaunting what we know (simply for the sake of others’ admiration) is like publically celebrating one’s sex life other public consumption.
3) Keeping a checklist of our spiritual deeds (quiet times, donations, church visits, other good deeds) is like a guy I once met who literally keep a tally on his wall every time he has an “interaction” with his girlfriend. Disgusting!
4) When we use our faith for public acceptance in any way, we act like a pimp, selling God’s revelation for the sake of our own gain.
The imagery may be crude, but it is Biblical and worth our full consideration. May we be disgusted with disobedience and spiritual casualness in ourselves.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
We've been mediating recently on the never ending quest for "balance" in life. It seems like people are always trying to find "balance" between family, personal, work, hobies.... However...
...the search for "balance" is a luxery of our affluency.
Imagine those in Darfur, or in the Great Depression, or in most of human history trying to find "balance". They are too busy surviving and making ends meet!
Whenever we find ourselves wanting "balance", we ought to be thrusted into thankfulness...genuine, humble thanksgiving.
Saturday, July 12, 2008
We took a little jaunt over to three islands. We rode in a huge boat and stopped some to snorkel and swim. I have consistent nightmares involving my child and water, so this trip scared me half to death. These are morbid dreams, like having to choose which one to save from drowning. It's awful. But I sucked it up and we went (albeit with life vests on)
Here's Malachi with the fish. The kids actually caught some in plastic bags. We played with crabs and fish and met some groups visiting from China.
Here's Selah and her hair braided. It's a big thing to do in Thailand and she's always wanted to get it done. She's was beautiful.
Here's the whole gang. I think we intimidated most restaurants as we came wandering in. We had a wonderful time with our friends. They are really a blessing to our family.
Here's Charis getting her toes painted in a feisty blue color. She was also quite the glamour girl. It's low season in Thailand right now, so this lady is a manager and came in and painted all the girls toenails for free. It was supposed to be rainy season, but it only rained one and a half afternoons. The rest was beautiful. God is good.
Inside our hotel lobby. The Thai's do a wonderful job of peaceful decor.
Here's my little buddy. He loved the sand. He even liked to sit in next to the surf and play in the sand and water. He was so fun to watch.
That's it for now. Enjoy the pics.
Friday, July 11, 2008
We will have to do the pictures in the course of a few blogs because there are just too many. So we loaded up the family and headed to Phuket, Thailand. We needed to go to Singapore, so decided to stop off in Phuket for a few days of rest before heading out. Since many times you need a vacation after you vacation, we decided to pretty much do nothing. Here Selah and I are on our "girl time". We had milk shakes and coffee in the pool. And while we were chatting away, we glanced over at the cozy Russian family nearby. Something I have discovered about many Russians, is that they just pretty much disregard bathing suits. No matter the shape of your body, you wear as little material as possible. Well, Selah and I happened upon a 12 or 13 year old girl with only bottoms on. Some of us could have probably gotten away with it at that age, but let's just say....she didn't. We had quite the laugh.
These pictures are all from the hotel. We spent most of our time here. Too bad it wasn't very nice. :)
As you can see, the hotel is beautiful. And it had 2 or 3 restaraunts in it. Pre-kids, a good vacation spot meant wonderful eats, lots of attractions, adventurous journeys. Now, it's a great vacation if we can stay at the hotel, swim and eat hot dogs in our swim suits.
We had such a wonderful time. The kids swam and swam and swam. It was really nice to get away and focus on family for a little bit. Our time with our friends was wonderful too. They have 4 kids also! So it was 4 adults and 8 kids ages 7 and under.
I don't normally post pictures with me in ANY type of swim suit, but I couldn't help but show the flowers in the pool. There were actually those sweet white flowers floating all in the pool. I always wondered if that happened outside of the hotel website. Beautiful.
Here's Selah and her friend.
I promise more pictures later. For now, it's off to bed. We had a great trip. Our time with our kids was wonderful. They are such a blessing and bring joy to all our days. Oh ya, tomorrow is Brad's birthday! Happy 31, we love you!!!