Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

The miracle of a baby born in a manager, the blessings of family and friends, This year is no exception to HIS goodness towards us and His provision and His grace. We are so thankful for all that He has done and we are overwhelmed at the sheer anticipation of all that He will do in our lives in 2011. As we sit at His feet and listen to His words, I am  captivated by the soul of compassion, of mercy, grace, love, acceptance and unending faithfulness that His spirits grows in me. I pray that we can be a light in the darkness, a beacon for the hurting, a manager for those that need a place to stay, that without needing to know "why" that we will do unto those that He puts in our paths!
Blessings to you and your families this Christmas. will post up our family Christmas pics tomorrow, as we welcome all our kids, grandkids, parents and family for Christmas on the 26th!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A decision to participate...

My heart has always been one of the eager, encouraging, lets join in where we can and help, kind of person. I love to be part of the bigger plan. I love to be part of His bigger expectations.  In grade 6, I was introduced to apartheid and when my teacher explained what it was, I sat dumbfounded that people could treat people differently because of their skin color. I remember thinking as a white kid in a native community that it must only happen in Africa. I of course then, was blinded of adult things, of racism, of differences, and the injustices of the world. I begged to learn more, I read novels, I read autobiographies. I worked with a little boy in grade one that had little English  and a desire to learn about his new culture, one vastly different to his birth country. I never saw at that time the impact of Parjminder and Desmond Tutu. It was the idealistic dream of a kid for there to be no racism in the world.
As an adult,  life takes many turns and it was in June of 2005 when God showed me a side of me, that I had buried for many years. I was living in a society that valued independence, I was assertive, I affirmed myself by saying I was good parent, friend and wife. I was externally compliant to the call of God, serving in ministries of the church but not allowing myself to see the depth of the Father's desire for my life. As a footnote it was most likely because it scared me. I was comfortable, had a good job, nice house, two kids and a dog.
At that time, I suppose I gave God lip service and said I would go to Haiti, but only for three weeks and with a guarded heart. Deep down I knew God was calling us to much more, but I was unwilling to speak   out loud what my inner burdens were because I was afraid.
What God was calling me too was a attitude of expectation, of anticipation, of longing for something more. Today our pastor preached from Luke 2, I was listening to the story of hope, the story of anticipation of something so much more than a baby being born...the story of a Messiah. I was taken back to the old testament and the hope in Isaiah 66. That a humble person would have reverence for God's messages and their application to life vs my worldly person and my rights. Was I the worldly person? Was I allowing my freedoms and rights of society to chose my path or was I humbling myself to allow God to chose my path. I was writing like crazy and listening with one ear (sorry Pst. Scott) to the message of burdens and I realized the thoughts the verses Pst Scott was sharing intersected for me. I wanted to allow God to constantly burden me with HIS burdens, I wanted my internal compliance to be evident in the external physical side of me doing. I wanted more of Him and less of me. I wanted to question my every choice...was I allowing Him to lead or questioning "why"(see I was listening). I did not want to be the person in church that the decision was made by obedience, I wanted my decisions to be made because I got to. My decision to participate in what He has called me to do, needed to be "Yippee, look what He has for me now" ..a decision to not be the audience, but the name on the billboard of heaven, under servants heart. I am so thankful for the supportive church family we have, the supportive praying family and friends. I know God has called us to the mission field, and so I wait, anticipating, expecting, with promise, trust and assurance and happy to see the blind faith of the gangly kid of my childhood return! Lookout 2011..I can't wait!










Saturday, November 20, 2010

Give with Love...and shop from home...win win in my books



 Today I had the best time at the World Artisan fair. In our community and on a snowy morning, I went for the opening hour and was happy to find few people and lots of booths to shop at. What started as Jussi asking me to go to town for something for him, ended with me at the fair LOL. When I told him I could go I did say "Do you know what you are getting me for Christmas this year? At which he replied, "No, but I guess I will know in a few hours!" he is so clever. He knows my love of supporting third world artisans and also my yearly Christmas wish. A nativity from somewhere in the world. Now there were many from Peru and Bangledesh but I found a really unusual one from banana palm leaves from Kenya, that is 2010's addition. I have ceramic and wood, my Haitian one with a coconut for the stable and a few others. Now I have one made from banana palms.



Using readily-available palm leaves, creative artisans in Bangladesh weave a multi-coloured garland featuring holiday stars in carnival purple, teal and fuchsia. A length of this also found its way home....

Now the decision is it a gift or for me .....
And one of these


And one of these...
Artisans with Noah’s Ark International in India fashion this decorative wrought-iron candleholder from iron rods and sheet metal, using about 40 percent recycled iron. The cards from Nepal are handmade beauty. Each box contains a textured celebration of the festive spirit – a dove, candles, a crown, stars – crafted from handmade paper by the artisans of Nepal’s GET Paper.


Last but not least our local L'arche was selling cards and so I have original works by Bonnie and Gail...smile



I had so much fun, but then there were items on the web that I did not see...like this fabulous wall hanging...and some olive wood shaped hearts, and nativities from South America....always next year...sigh! (If you need any Christmas gifts for that hard to buy for person check out the two sites I shop from...


http://www.tenthousandvillages.ca/cgi-bin/category.cgi?category=collections

and

https://www.thehungersite.com/store/site.do?siteId=220

Sunday, November 14, 2010

They Fight Like Soldiers They Die Like Children

In the last few weeks we have been somewhat tested and prompted about a feeling that something new was to come to us. Many things throughout the last few weeks have brought us to our knees asking why, and to tears saying it doesn't make sense. God has been showing us things and sharing His strength in our weakness. This weekend it culminated into some sense. Our hearts for many years have been burdened for the children who are indoctrinated or enlisted into war because quite simply, someone thought they were dispensable. We knew that the sick feeling, the anxiety shakes vs the holy spirit goosebumps meant something was going to be revealed.
(sidenote) War is something I do not want to debate, it is not something that I  try to understand but I will try to advocate for the over 250,000 child soldiers currently serving in over 30 different countries that are being robbed of their childhoods.
We attended the book signing for the Honorable Lieutenant-General Romeo Dallaire's new book,  They Fight Like Soldiers They Die Like Children. Dallaire talked about the signing of the International Rights of the Child Protocol that was signed by over 58 governments pledging to do their part to eradicate the use of children in armed conflict but since that time there has been little done to stop the recruiters around the world. He shared about the history of his involvement in Rwanda and the genocide that took place in front of his eyes. The hurt, the pain and the nightmares of witnessing children with tattered uniforms, eyes glazed from drugs that carried machine guns and his ache for the ethical question "Do you kill children who kill?" You could have heard a pin drop as he described the effects of watching 800,000 people die in 100 days, slaughtered because of their ethnicity. His inability to act because he was in Rwanda as a peace keeper and not fighting a war. It was sobering at times but in amongst his humorous anecdotes, he was talking about change and immobilizing others to get involved, he called upon each person to be part of the solution.

This is where the sense of what we had been feeling came in. Many months ago, I wrote to Dallaire, asking if he had any plans to come out to the west coast to speak, this is before I knew about the book., just with the knowledge of his involvement in Rwanda. Jussi and I had been burdened for the child soldiers over the years and although we had spent all our time in Haiti working in a different role, we had applied and were working with Child Voice International to serve in Uganda. The email to Dallaire was personally answered with  "Hi Jussi where do you live?  and a personal email address to respond. After several emails back and forth we were given the news he was coming to Victoria. To make a long story short we bought tickets and showed up anticipating hearing him speak. Jussi choked up as he  stood before his hero, shaking his hand, as I thrust the book towards him for a signature and tried to make a phone camera capture the moment.  One word "IMPACT"
This man had seen more than we could imagine and he wanted to chat about Haiti because our friends had shared we had served there. We could only nod and smile and thank him and basically stumbled on our words, if there ever comes a time when you have a chance to meet someone you admire, stop and breathe. I do not think we did. On our way home, we cried and tried to make sense of where we felt we could help, we felt so burdened, we physically felt heavy. Sunday morning as we prepared for church we continued to share how we were feeling and where we thought we could help. Still no mountain top experience or catapulting vision.
Wth heavy hearts we hustled off to church. We started into worship and watched 100's of youth enjoy the excitement of freedom and promise but we were both teary at the injustices of our world. (youth conference weekend) As we sang and the tears flowed down my cheeks I praised His name and  felt completely powerless and direction less..if that is a word. You see the interesting part is I didn't think I was looking for direction, I was not searching, nor was I discontent with my life. As a prophetic word was spoken to me, I sat humbled that God would speak to me, to encourage me, I can't remember all that was said; I do not know the worship leader that brought the message but I know above else when I was feeling completely inadequate He reminded me that He was going to use me and suddenly transformed me from a teary mess to a teary mess with a direction. I stand before each of you asking for prayer. I do not know what to pray for us personally but pray that globally countries around the world would hold those accountable for using children in war. That consequences would be enforced by all 58 countries that said they agreed that children should not be involved in armed conflict. Pray for Romeo Dallaire as he shares around the world about his new book and the Child Soldiers Initiative.
www.childsoldiersinitiative.org
My boots...

Romeo shared when people asked how they could get involved that "you" needed to get your boots dirty, he shared "you need to see it for yourself".  As christians we know the signature of God is on each and every child and person in the world. A promise that regardless of where we are right now, He has a plan and purpose for our lives, He knows our struggles, He knows our fears, all that we have done and HE LOVES US ANYWAY. Pray for the children, that someone will reach them with the gospel and share the love of Jesus to them. I want  to get my boots dirty...how about you?

http://www.zeroforce.org/contact.html

http://www.romeodallaire.com/

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Remembering and Being Proud to be Canadian


My heart aches for those that are away from their families serving in the Canadian Military. Every time I hear O' Canada I am reminded of the incredible sacrifice of those that served in the wars of years gone by and for those that today Stand on Guard for us, here and now. 
This year make an effort to get out to the Remembrance Day celebration happening in your community or take some time to go on You Tube and share with your children the importance of a minute of silence at 11:11 on November 11th. Talk to them about family or friends that you know of and share the stories, pass on a heritage of honour, a heritage of remembrance. 
This morning in church as we prayed and sang O'Canada I envisioned faces that came to mind, of friends whose sons are in Afghanistan and silently prayed "O Lord hear the cry of our hearts to keep them safe!" 
Please teach your children about honour and respect, tell them in the quiet place the importance of respecting the poppy, the symbol for remembering. So many young people do not understand the depth of the hurt, the depth of the sacrifice and it is because no one ever gave them a face to symbolize  or represent freedom, the freedom that we afforded every day. Young men and women, with quiet eyes, eyes that have seen things we pray our children will never have to see. I am proud to be a Canadian and I pray I never take for granted those in my family that served in the Canadian Armed Forces. 

Watch the video, grab a tissue, because somewhere today at this very minute someone is still over there...





In our prayers...
Lest we forget...

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Thank you!

As October comes to a close I am reminded of the fact that we call October Pastor Appreciation month but God has called us to appreciate our Pastors all year long. Is is not because of Hallmark or other marketing agendas that we  save Oct for the month to say "thank you". Jussi and I are so blessed by our Pastoral team. From the tips of their toes they spend their days praying for our church family. They plan, they organize, they pray, they learn and then they teach. As a pastor there are many times when he or his family goes without his time as because someone needs his ear, his wisdom, or his time. I am sorry that I cannot express in words my thanks, but I will hard to do in actions. If you are part of our church family, join me and if if not start a season or honour and respect for your pastors.


Prayer, pray for them, their spouse, their children. Petition the Lord for safety, health, love and strength. If you think you have opposition against you some days can you imagine the enemy's daily quota for your Pastor and his family.


Honor them by speaking words of life, remember when speaking about your pastor you are the practical witness to your community of God's grace and mercy. Imagine what God looks like to non believers if they hear negativity. 
1 Timothy 5 v 17The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. 


Encourage them by truly believing that God wants to use him to bring His Word to life that day. 


Serve, become part of the team! Nothing blesses a Pastor more than a waitlist to serve in ministry.


Engage, although I have been accused of having Holy Spirit Tourettes, I believe a few honest AMENS in a service is a good thing. If he thinks everyone is engaging, the sermon will be shorter, if he is repeating himself, engage LOL! 


Respect is a word that is huge to me. I was taught as a kid to respect my elders, respect those in authority, and to respect those I call friends. To me respect is every much a part of the golden rule, do unto others as you wish them to do unto you...you see we all feel encouraged when we are respected. 
You can never go wrong by telling your pastoral team that you respect them. As the leaders that God has chosen respect brings a mutual respect for us and our families. It is a win win.


To our pastors we send our love and appreciation.   For all that you do, each and every day.  You have all contributed to the overwhelming love for each other we have in our church family.  BLESSINGS. November and then December is around the corner and I pray that I do not lose sight with busy ness to stop and appreciate you all, I pray for church families around the world; for health, prosperity, love, growth, vision, purpose and patience and most of hope and anticipation of the year ahead. 
This poem has been reprinted 

Our Pastor

Have you ever walked in our Pastor's shoes,
And gone where his feet have trod?
Have you ever thought of what he means to us,
And on your knees, given thanks to God?
Have you ever told him thank you,
For being there, when times are tough,
For comforting words and fervent prayers
When trials come and the storms of life are rough?
He answers our calls in the middle of the night
And tells us not to worry, for he will be there.
He gives up his comfort of quiet rest
And comes with prayers of comfort to share.
Have you ever thought to say thank you Pastor,
For preaching God's word to help us understand,
For all the times he has asked for things
That will lend us a helping hand?
When you pray, put him at the top of the list
And ask the Lord to surround him with loving care,
To give him strength and walk with him,
To help him with the burdens that he must bear.
Have you ever walked in our Pastor's shoes,
And gone where his feet have trod?
Have you ever thought of what he means to us,
And on your knees, given thanks to God?
A Pastor Appreciation Poem by Judy Crowe


Pastors Scott and Naomi, Ken and Eunice, Corey and Janice, and George and Jessica..you are appreciated, loved, respected and honoured, and we are blessed to be part of your team!  UC and C
Corey and Janice
George and Jessica
Scott and Naomi
Ken and Eunice


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

He hears our prayers...To Him we give GLORY

Please continue to pray for the people of Haiti, there has been some advances in the Cholera spread. Pray for little baby Sophie that is struggling for life in an orphanage in Haiti, pray that God will show her caregivers the next step in her care. Pray for the young man Luke I told you about, he has been moved out of ICU, he is sharing with family his desire and determination to believe in miracles and the power one can have when God is on your side. He is 19 years old and after a terrible car accident,  is going to show them he will walk again. GO GOD! We know this will be a long road for Luke, keep praying for him and his family. Luke we are behind you all the way!

I am so thankful that He hears our prayers, I have friends around the world that we chat with via the internet and HE knew the power of connections. Right now most likely every second of the day, a miracle is happening, a prayer is being answered. That is 86,400 a day...WAHOO. God we give you the glory for over 31 MILLION miracles that happen every year and we claim those miracle is Jesus's name for Luke, for Sophie, for the people of Haiti and those communities around the world that are struggling with poverty and disease. Use your connections to spread the news of miracles so that God is glorified.

This is a great song to remember to praise HIS name in all things.

Sing out
The Lord is near
Build Him a temple here
A palace of praise
A throne of thanksgiving
Made for the king of kings
Sing out
A joyful song
Hes love goes on and on
When praises abound
Hes glory surrounds us
Building His temple here
Sing out the Lord is near
The Lord inhabits the song of His saints
And lives in their praises
The Lord inhabits the song of his saints
And lives in their praises

Have a great day, C

Friday, October 22, 2010

Haiti once again...on its knees..praying "Somebody help us"

Please pray for the people of Haiti, World Health Organization has identified a cholera outbreak. This is the first in decades and it has not reached the tent cities of Port Au Prince, but I know, it is only a small window before it does. Death can happen in hours and in the last 24 hours the estimates are over 100 people. What we would bedoing if 100 + people died in 24 hours in your hometown! Please join me and getting the word out to pray. For so many they ask, how can I help. Don't send any more money, the big organizations are still struggling to get aid that was received as the result of the earthquake. Estimates are that only 10% has reached the Haitian people. Life is difficult, there has been rioting, there will be a change of government, there is still a huge food shortage and hundreds of thousands of people still live in tents. The cholera outbreak is to the north but travel is so congested that those that can get on a bus and head to other towns to stay with family or friends and in their fear take the outbreak with them. The tent cities of Port Au Prince is a vulnerable place for this fatal disease. Please pray that they will be able to find the source, quarantine an area and limit the numbers of those that will be in contact. The hospitals are full, people are laying on cement, IV fluids will be at a minimum. So many concerns. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

too busy to pray....





“Prayer is an unnatural activity.  From birth, we learn the rules of self-reliance as we strain and struggle toward independence, and frankly, prayer flies in the face of all that…Although prayer is alien to our proud human nature, somehow, at some point along life’s journey, most of us fall to our knees, bow our heads, fix our attention on God and just plain pray.  We may look both ways to be sure no one is watching, our knees may creak at the foreignness of the activity; but still we pray.  It’s as if something within us is hard-wired with the knowledge that in doing so we weave stronger threads of intimacy with the One who alone can provide peace to endure and power to overcome whatever challenges we face.”  From Bill Hybels..."Too Busy Not to Pray” thanks Melissa, you encouraged me! Get your copy of this book!


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Thankful...

This weekend we waited the arrival of our youngest daughter and her husband, coming home for Thanksgiving. We sat and laughed at how fast they had grown up. How crazy our lives had been in the last few years and were we home for the second thanksgiving in a row? It was then that I realized we had raised our children to understand the bigger picture of serving others and then I got a wee bit teary. You see sometimes we laugh at funny things that happened living on the mission field, great experiences, bug stories and then we remember the things we missed back home. While serving on the mission field in Haiti we missed births, deaths, and weddings, we missed Christmas, birthdays, and Thanksgiving. I also realized sometimes it must have been easier for us then on them.
Being thankful is a state of mind, like a cup half full. It is something I need to do more. There is so much in our lives we need to be thankful for.

This fall we are home in Canada and as we celebrate all that we have with 14 or so for dinner, I will remember to bask in the family time. I will let the dishes sit until later (that is if I can keep Gill out of the sink) and visit. We will share and laugh and talk about about the future, the past, the present and the gifts we all have in family and friends. We will all eat way too much and after everyone is done, I will share that the stuffing, gravy and all the fixings were made gluten free LOL.(usally i get a bad rap about eating cardboard!)

I know our steps are ordered by the Lord. I am thankful that our families have understood our desire to follow different paths set before us. I am thankful that our children continue to support us with their love and prayers, every time we get on a plane to a foreign land. I am thankful that God showed how to raise spiritually equipped and globally minded young men and women that make us so proud. I am thankful that Jussi is just as eager as I am to follow the leading of God and change direction. In our car sometimes the GPS decides to go a different way then Jussi plans and the thing goes crazy saying re calculating... and our lives sometimes do not plan out they way we intended but for that I am also thankful.  
As we embark on a new season of thanksgiving I want to be open to the Lord saying...re calculating. I also want to remember Be thankful for your mistakes  They will teach you valuable lessons. Be thankful when you're tired and weary, because it means you've made a difference. It's easy to be thankful for the good things. A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are also thankful for the setbacks. Find a way to be thankful for your troubles, and they can become your blessings.


Praying for you and your families that this year you will see an abundance of God's love, His blessings, His power in your everyday, and that we will all remember that being thankful should be a daily thing! 
Don't be shy.....share your thankfulness....

Friday, October 1, 2010

Sorry the delay...

It has been a crazy month and I apologize to those that read regularly. I went back to work! Now I know that sounds funny but we have committed the last five years of our lives to missions and being "ready". This meant no permanent job for me. I worked for the School District as a braille transcriber in 2005 when we decided to take a leave and go to Haiti. In 2007 I gave up my position and from that point if I was in North America, I could work as a sub but my life was very fluid. This summer as we had prepared to return to Haiti in the fall, Jussi had to make a commitment to his employer. We have been so blessed by Rick and Carmen, they have allowed us to come and go for the last five years and would have given us their blessing again. It was in the summer when a bid came in for a 45 tug boat, Jussi was needed to complete the project within the time lines so we felt his employer needed to be supported so we decided to postpone Haiti. During this time, the last week of August I was approached about a job for the school year. So to make a long story short, we committed both decisions to the Lord and He showed us the need to stick around for this time. In today's job market is it a blessing to both have full time jobs.
Is Haiti in our hearts....every day! Do we plan to return to Haiti or another mission field, absolutely. We know God is done with us just yet.
As we step into the ministry year at church we are delighted to serve and to encourage our local church family, jump start some missions minded folks and see where God would have us serving.
For now I am excited to be back on a worship team, over the moon at some of the missions opportunities that I have researched and look forward to sharing with our church family what having ready feet looks like. Our desire will always be to return to Haiti, we pray that 2011 will bring open doors for us and for many others. Please continue to pray for our Haitian friends and families, for ministries that we continue to care about and pray for: OMS Haiti, God Littlest Angels, Lifewater and all of the ministry work that goes on daily. We ask you to lift up those that serve in Haiti and to bring new people to lighten the loads and build strong healthy ministries that glorify the only one that matters!
Thanks for your patience as I worked out how I was going to have time to blog, work and go to school at night. It has been a stretch but it is happening and I am feeling less overwhelmed!
This weekend we are off on a sabbatical of sorts, quiet no phones, no internet,  no TV, good food, great friends and ocean breezes! Looking forward to spending time with Him, surrounded by His beauty, looking through my camera lens!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Do your wheels turn when you are supposed to be sleeping...


After another night of interrupted sleep...I realized I need to focus on what is good, instead of the rolling, getting up, restless husband. A few months back I wrote a blog story about the fact that I  covet Jussi's sleeping patterns. He falls asleep so easy but lately he is a pattern of getting up...it is making me crazy, because he goes right back to sleep and in the wee hours of the morning, I am left awake and thinking. I hate thinking in the middle of the night. It is never pleasant happy thoughts, it is usually business, finances, things to do, things to remember. So last night I decided to write a list...saves counting sheep...of all the things I am thankful for. Now you can get into the biggies, God, family, friends, our church, food, warm house, health and a job, but what about the things we forget to be thankful for.
So... I am thankful for


black shoe polish, that makes old shoes look new
for a coffee pot that keeps coffee hot
for a cheese grater
for soaker hoses
for Tupperware
for travel mugs
for Internet
for q tips
for purple pens, that allow creativity when list making
well in that category I am thankful for highlighters and post it notes
for tools to help make renos easier
for a toaster that allows cheese to melt on top of bread
for a toilet that flushes and water you can drink from a tap
for spiders that see me coming and leave
for bounce sheets
for cameras that capture a moment that you can look at time and time again
for dish scrubbies
for remote controls that allow you to stay under the blankets
for a good book
for reading glasses
for fresh peas and strawberries in the garden
for International Delight French Vanilla
for the smiling faces of barristas , cashiers and others we meet...a smile is a good thing

You see the list is endless, we have so many things that touch our hands daily. We have been given provision for all our basic needs and although I don't mean to trivialize most of the important things. We have some cool things, some things that I am thankful we don't need to live without. May have to write another chapter to this, I can feel it brewing...all things that are useless.
Have a super wonderful day, appreciate your coffee, your Kraft peanut butter, and of course your children. Today is First day of school eve in BC, so as I prepare for tomorrow, blessings to the moms that are preparing for their little people and for those with teenage daughters that are marvelling at the bevy of colored pens, new binders, with dividers in all color coded sections.
C

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Superhero Mentality

Some days I sit down to write and I am overwhelmed at the thoughts that swirl and twirl and how do I say what I am thinking, or what the burden on my heart is. Yesterday I came across an article that prompted me to pass it along. I know many people struggle with this, it was what God was laying on my heart as the start of the ministry year is drawing near. I knew with work, my desire to be on worship, practicing keyboards, braille extras, and life at home, my time would need to be well portioned out. Many things start up again in September and at the risk of being the burned out person in hindsight I am thoughtfully and prayerfully considering my evenings and spare time for the fall and winter. God is teaching me to be dependent on Him, and walking through life looking to Him for direction. 


The Superhero Mentality

Why God Doesn't Need Us to Be More Than Human

By Daniel Darling

Weakness is not the first word that comes to mind when you think of Elijah. That’s because Elijah did things nobody else did.
Like accurately predicting a three-year drought.
Like calling down fire from heaven.
Like outrunning a king’s chariot.
But the book of James reminds us that Elijah had a “nature like ours” (James 5:17). It’s tough to imagine Elijah as an ordinary man, but a story in 1 Kings 19 sheds light on the humanity of the most feared man in Israel.
Here we find Elijah fresh off a stunning victory on Mount Carmel. He defeated the practitioners of Baal worship. He persuaded all of Israel to swear allegiance to Jehovah. And after his appeal, God opened the floodgates of heaven, ending a year-long country-wide drought.
Not a bad day. And yet, do we find Elijah celebrating his successes? No. No post-game party for Elijah.
Instead, we find him miles from the epicenter of victory, brooding under a shade tree—a mere shadow of the man we saw on Mount Carmel. And he’s begging the Lord to take his life.
From Courage to Fear
So what happened? How did this bullet-proof superhero suddenly crack? And if Elijah can lose it, what does that say to lesser men and women?
It was a perfect storm. Three-and-a-half years of intense ministry. Threats from an enraged and unstable political leader. And a flaw in Elijah’s theology.
Here’s what you and I can learn from Elijah’s downward spiral into discouragement: the prophet bought into a common spiritual myth that still plagues believers today. I call it the “superhero mentality.” Others have labeled it the “missionary mindset” or the “martyr complex.” It’s the mistaken idea that activity for God is a worthy substitute for intimacy withGod. Along the way, we begin to assume responsibility for results and act as if normal human weaknesses don’t apply to Christians.
Honestly, I see a little of the superhero mentality in myself. Granted, I won’t ever be a hairy-chested, Baal-challenging, never-say-die prophet. I sip lattes, attend Weight Watchers®, and prefer to hunt my meat at the local supermarket.
But I have adopted the superhero men-tality by acting as if the entire kingdom of Christ depends on my working another 16-hour day at church or pounding out another Christian book or scheduling another ministry meeting.
And so God allows us who think we’re superhuman to come to the end of our abilities. Then He is there to receive with grace another burned-out prophet.
Practical Ministry
So what was God’s cure for Elijah’s superhero mentality?
Another Bible study?
Another Christian best-seller?
Another three-day seminar?
Those are things we’d suggest. And we have the four-color brochures to prove it. But God didn’t tell Elijah to pray more, read additional Scripture, or build an altar.
No, God did something so practical, it would almost seem unbiblical. He brought food. And not stale cafeteria sandwiches or day-old carryout, either.
This was a fresh meal, cooked to perfection by a heavenly chef and served to Elijah in his shade tree motel.
When was the last time Elijah had eaten? I’m guessing he skipped a few meals because he had “important ministry to do.”
But the Creator of the heavens and the earth—the same One who designed Elijah’s body to be nourished and rested—knew better what His servant really needed.
After Elijah polished off that meal, guess what God did? He brought another. I think there is some important theology tucked away in this story. You don’t even need a degree in Hebrew to pluck it out.
Sometimes physical needs have to be addressed before we can minister spiritually. The truth is that God doesn’t intend for us to try to be superhuman. He delights in our humanity. He shines in our weakness. His glory is revealed when we’re so frail. And we need to lean on Him for strength.
The psalmist writes, “For he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust” (Ps. 103:14 niv). Funny that God remembers, but we forget.
We often worship in an evangelical culture that’s in love with measurables, so we can see the good we’re doing spiritually. But isn’t our weakness—our inability to produce anything good—at the very heart of the gospel message?
Are we really doing God a favor by neglecting the normal, natural care of our bodies? This is man-centered, performance-based theology. As if God sits aloft in heaven, crossing His fingers and hoping one more saint puts in a 16-hour day.
Here’s the naked truth that revitalized Elijah’s life and equipped him for years of fruitful ministry: God wasn’t dependent on Elijah; God wanted Elijah dependent upon Him.
Under that shade tree, Elijah wasn’t a superhero. He was helpless. He was weak. He was right where God wanted him.
Unfortunately, it often takes a meltdown of biblical proportions for us to come to this place.
(reprinted without permission)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Happy Anniversary to my wonderful husband

Today as I looked through pictures of our last 16 years together I realized lots changes and little does. Our hair and our glasses, changed the most. Our bodies still look about the same..so that deserves an amen. Our kids have all grown up and we have added two grandkids to the mix. Our home has been built, remodelled and finished all in the last 15 years and in that order...yes still finishing our room and bathroom, but have remodelled other rooms along the way LOL. We have been blessed with son in laws....they are all fabulous and we are thankful. We woke up this morning and realized that we don't feel older..I know wait.. until it is cold and we are creaky LOL...but we have grown older. Our hearts are more in tune, our minds think the same and we seldom have complete differences of opinion. I am so thankful for the most amazing man, the wonderful husband, father and papa. For 14 years I have heard every morning "I Love You" before anything else...and it is not because I need to hear it, or that he needs to remind me, it has become a habit that I am fond of....hard for the day to fall apart when your waking thoughts are that I have Jussi as my constant.
Thanks honey for the great years and for the many more to come...for the laughs that we have shared and the tears...for being the God honoring man that I always dreamed of. I love you...

Monday, August 16, 2010

Sing, sing, sing...

Worship is like food, sunshine, water, it is my life sustenance. Recently on a trip down island I had a new worship CD I had borrowed and I was singing at the top of my lungs, worshiping, waving my arms in the air, all while driving at the posted 110km/hr. Now this may have been a lil dicey except for the part that God loves to hear our worship, the praises of His people, and I have never heard of an accident that was caused by a person that took their hands off the wheel to lift praises to their King. If Pastor Craig is reading, he probably did...he has the weirdest newsworthy items, good thing we love him. Anyway the depth of worship can be anywhere is the reason for the car story. God doesn't need us to be in a certain place, church or at home, he needs our heart to be in the right place. 

I have always found joy in music. I have been blessed to have children that love to sing, and they have fabulous gifts, that they not only share with me but with others. God is so good.  Worship is defined as the feeling or expression of reverence and adoration or the acknowledgment of worth. It is the expression for me, the expression of my love for my God: so big I cannot put a word to it, but yet so completely personal, I can't define it to anyone else. I know in church some people struggle to clap to the beat, some people find standing difficult, some do not like all the waving and dancing, the bouncing of the youth. I love watching others go to a place where they do not care about anything else but the adoration of the Father, His worthiness, His love for us. There will always be sermons about shouting from the mountain tops, what worship looks like but remember worship is as individual as our smiles. God knows our hearts, the hearts that are happy clapping to the beat, He knows the hearts that want to jump and dance, those that are physically unable to bounce and He knows the hearts like mine. I will worship like David, (in church I will keep my clothes on LOL) unabandoned in my spirit, with victory and freedom that I am able to worship.
I am so thankful for the musicians that share their gifts with all of us. This week I am going to send my praises to heaven every day not to bless Him but to bless me... join me...you will be encouraged, filled and feel closer to Him. Blessings on your week, C

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Love vs Acceptance -

It has been a busy few weeks. I apologize for not getting the posts up. I have so many God moments that I have been overwhelmed. He speaks to me in story, I am sometimes driving, sleeping, gardening, walking or doing my devotions but God shares a thought for me to ponder or an idea to investigate. Some times I get so fired up I write it my head more than once and then this week something funny happened. I had considered the idea of those that feel so judged within the church. Then I branched off to share with Jussi about a person we had met and the fact that she was exactly the person God wanted us to bring to church. Now the person was not one that would have been an easy " Hey, want to come to church" It would have been more of a long term relationship, trust, commitment and non judgemental attitude that would have got her into church. Not because of where she was but where others were.
As I was pondering the church of today and how many had changed, there are still people that would not sit next to the young lady I would be bringing to church. I also knew that the many religions I hear about from friends and the questions they ask, it is  important that I don't take a holy than thou stand. My job as a Christian is to listen, to model, and to share what I believe. I am not a finger pointer. Where is the line between pointing out the sin or the wrongness vs sharing that is wrong according to God...Hard line to differentiate.

As I read a post from a young man in our church, I was so taken, because he had captured what I was thinking. Seth has always struck me as a young man with a deep thought process. His Facebook postings make me think, and certainly convict me to think outside the box. So I would like to share Seth's post, with his permission. I am thankful that his generation is thinking like this and that our church youth group has a young man like Seth.


Just a little while ago I ran into this comment on a Christian message board: 

"so its a trend ... in Christianity in general, to wag ones finger at someone who has differing beliefs than oneself. now im definitely not a typical Christian. i love nature and revere it [it is Gods creation after all. does that mean i worship it? of course not! but it should still be respected], i believe in natural medicine, im liberal [i would have voted for Obama if i had been old enough. sue me], im extremely open minded, and one of my best friends is a Wiccan. if i dont agree with someones behaviour or beliefs, I DONT SAY ANYTHING! i dont mock them [even behind their backs]. i ACCEPT them. ive been chastised so many times ... just because i listen almost exclusively to non-Christian music, most of my friends arent Christian, my beliefs are apparently pagan to some [since when has a reverence of Gods creation been non-Christian?!], i know hardly any Bible verses, and im open minded. i just want to say that being a Christian means you have a responsibility to love people. LOVE. who cares if someones atheist, Bhuddist, Hindu, pagan, Muslim, Jewish, or even a different Christian denomination. love them no matter what, even if they hate you. dont put them down. accept them. Jesus taught us to do that, yet i see that the majority of Christians dont. they sit on high horses and condemn others ... is that Christ-like? not to me. so please, be kind and accepting no matter who it is." 

Now, I agree with the main theme of this post: Christians are called to love others, regardless of their beliefs, choices, or circumstances. But I've noticed that a lot of Christians (including myself) have trouble distinguishing between love and acceptance. 

What do I mean by that? I'm saying that I've often found myself hanging out with non-Christians and have not commented on their sinful behaviour. My motivation is my desire to show them Jesus's unconditional love: it doesn't matter what they do, Jesus loves them and thus I love them too. But by being silent I am really condoning their behaviour. 

Many of my friends don't know any better. They were born in sin and are still living in sin, and they don't even realize it. When I see sin it is my responsibility to point out that's it's wrong, because I am often the only one who can recognize it. I need to be loving, yes, but I also need to tell my friends that what they're doing is wrong. 

While Jesus was loving towards everyone He met, He also wasn't afraid to point out sin. Take the story of the woman caught in adultery. The religious leaders brought her before Jesus, but He didn't condemn her. Instead He told her to "go and sin no more." He showed her mercy, but He also told her to leave her life of sin behind. 

We as Christians are called to be loving and compassionate, but we also have a duty to "go into all the world and make disciples." There IS going to be a judgement day,and you're not doing your friends any favours when you ignore their sin. They don't know any better, and it's your responsibility to bring them to Jesus. 

Don't get me wrong: loving and accepting everyone regardless of who they are or what they do is not a bad thing. That's what Jesus did: He looked past the sin and saw the beautiful child of God that was imprisoned. But He did more than just look: He set them free. 

*** 
Thanks Seth...for reminding us that He did more than just look, HE set them free. What a promise we have in Jesus.  
Coming next...Sing, sing, sing...

(ps Annie...sorry it took so long)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Too Busy for Jesus


This week marks the 6 month anniversary of the EQ in Haiti. It was a time for me to think of the day it happened and what has happened post EQ. It is sad that so many people are still without housing, that giant loaders are scouping up rubble and in the rubble lies someone daughter, son and family. Society pages in magazines show stars and famous people lending a helping hand to Haiti and to other countries but I wonder if they really think of what it must be like. I for one cannot imagine not having closure after the death of a child, a family member. I heard time and time again in Haiti that same painful truth.." I never got to have a funeral". With no sense of closure with billions of dollars being sent and only tiny portions actually making it ground zero it is no wonder that many in Haiti think the world has forgotten about them.

It reminds me of a Christmas play when our daughter Kelsey was little. She wore a polka dot dress with a large floppy hat, high heels, pearls and a great hand bag and she was Ima Rush. Ima Rush was so busy with her social engagements, her charity work and her church she was too busy for Jesus. The plot was bigger than that but the thought of her scurrying here and there, making people smile for the brief glimpse of her heading in another direction beings me back to how it must feel in Haiti. Do the Haitian people feel like we are too busy to help long term? Do they see the numbers of NGO's and hear about the amounts of money coming into Haiti and wonder why more isn't happening? Do they pray for God to bring them out of the tent cities they are living in and trust that He will? Do they pray that change will come to Haiti in the form of social systems that they hear about, similar ones to other nations? Do they pray that someone would listen to their hearts and hear their story?

Politicians and famous people, people with connections, military from countries around the world, and dozens and dozens of NGO's all came to Haiti. They came with the plan to see what they could do to help. They came with good intentions and they came with manpower but the sheer scope of what needed to be done was so overwhelming they felt defeated at the outset. Where would they even start?

I see the Haiti that was pre earthquake and I see the social problems that were, I see the missions and organizations that were working tirelessly to make a difference. Most of them, already okay with the knowledge that things take time, Haiti would not change overnight.  I am thankful for all those that have gone to Haiti in hopes of seeing where they can help. I am thankful for all the missions that have been in Haiti for decades and served faithfully. I am thankful that God is in control of the relief effort, in His way. But...I pray and wish and dream that the commitment was not only money. Yes, money has poured in and I wish I could say I know it has all been spent in the way it was intended but prayer is what is needed and a commitment to do our part. From our living rooms, from our staff rooms and from our churches, we need to share about Haiti.  Many people want to help, many have, many have given all that they had but we need to continue to pray for Haiti. I have had pre-chrsitian friends and those that believe in karma and positive thoughts and they all still believe that we need to continue to help Haiti. Do not let it off the radar. I know the world saw the Olympics, then the earthquake in South America, then a volcano in Iceland and then an oil spill in the gulf, but Haiti never stopped needing your prayers. Haiti was hurting and still is.

Please take time to pray for Haiti, take time to share about Haiti. I do not want to be so busy in my church, so busy at my work or in my life to be too busy for Jesus. We are called to be His light and maybe sharing about Haiti and your connections will bring someone else to the team. Haiti needs all of us. I challenge everyone to share about the needs in Haiti and take time to see where you fit. Are you goer, are you a supporter, are you a intercessor, God appoints all three.

I am so thankful for all those that have given selflessly over the years so that we could be the goers. For those that never stopped praying for us and for our Haitian connections. I am thankful for so many people I wish I could surround you with the love that the Haitian people have showered on me.
I know Haiti has a face to each of you. I am thankful for your prayers and know that you are making a difference in the Kingdom. Please join me in saying a prayer for the continued relief effort, for the million plus people still living in tents, for the children orphaned, for the missions that work day in and day out, and for the government.

I have a little sign in my kitchen and it says..."What would you do if you knew you could not fail?"

Thanks for reading...C