My Soul Sings forth....

Posted in Reflections.

beach

I closed my eyes and felt the warm breeze. I could feel the sand underneath me as I dug my feet deep within it. Warmth. The perfect temperature seemed to just engulf me.

I was tired. Exhausted. Completely drained of all energy. It had been a long winter in China.

Now, as I sat on a beach in Vietnam, every burden seemed to be flying away from my shoulders.

Nine underground churches to work with. Classes to teach. Bible studies to do. People coming to and also rejecting God. My phone was bugged and I was being watched each and every day. I was tired. Emotionally tired. I missed seeing my family. In fact, I had just missed my little sister's wedding.

The first day....

Posted in Reflections.

praise

My alarm is going off.
It's ringing over and over. My mind doesn't want to acknowledge it.
Just stop ringing already. Seriously. Stop.
I finally reach over and grab my phone, stare at the screen for a second as I try to remember my passcode. I groggily type in my password. 1-2-3-4. Nope...that's not it.
I finally remember my passcode, get into my iPhone, and find the alarm app.
Snooze or turn off the alarm.
Oh, the decision.

What a Savior!

Posted in Scriptural Encouragement.

jesus

Every once in a while I read something that really hits me. I was reading from the book of Luke the other day and I had one of those moments. Luke 10:21 says, "At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, 'I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.'"

It is not so much the context that struck me. It was the words.

Jesus stops and prays. He stops His conversation with His disciples and speaks to His Father.

"I PRAISE YOU, FATHER."

Praying in China

Posted in Reflections.

china

I remember very vividly the dark, cold night that I am about to tell you about. I remember the smell in the air and what I was wearing. This memory is burned into my mind.

It was really dark outside as I walked outside of my apartment in China. REALLY dark. The power at my apartment was off and it was obvious that the power to everything else on the campus was off also. I could tell that the power outside of the campus was on as I saw the glow from a distance. I zipped up my jacket, pulled my hat down further on my head, and headed towards the food district. You can't cook without power and I was hungry. Time to get some street food.

Do you pray weird?

Posted in Reflections.

small

Have you ever sat down and listened to yourself pray? I was asked this question recently and I found myself saying and doing some things while I prayed that I had never noticed before. So, I sat down and thought about how I was communicating with God and I realized the following things.

I use the word "just" a LOT! In fact, most of the time it is as a transition. "Lord I just...and just please....and just give us peace.....and "just be with us." It has become my go to word! Crazy, right? I just want for my prayers to be meaningful....oh wait, I just did it again. Man! I did it again! So, I'm going to work on this one.

Communicate Clearly

Posted in Reflections.

film

My little one absolutely loves movies. She really loves watching Disney princess movies, Pixar animation, and cartoons. She's a typical four year old! Most mornings she loves to climb in bed with us and watch Mickey Mouse Club-house.

Well, we sat down to watch a movie the other day and I was excited about this one. This is one of my favorite movies and I was really hoping that she would love it. I love movies and film and wanted to share with her some of my favorites. Side note – I love film so much that I actually taught a class in China called "American Culture through movies," so that I could teach the Chinese students about Caseblanca, The Wizard of Oz, and other classics. So, I put in the movie with a lot riding on this.

In love with Jesus

Posted in Reflections.

jesuslove

Love is something that is hard to explain to someone who has never experienced it.
And I am pretty sure that every parent I know has said the words, "You aren't really in love with them - You are just infatuated", to an exasperated teenager. At this point, every teenager I know has rolled their eyes and said, "You don't understand. You don't understand us and our love." This is followed by a lot of tears, storming out of the room, throwing themselves on their beds and burying their heads in their pillows. This goes for both parents and teens. Same exact scene in two different rooms in the same house.
Love is a strange fiend that is rarely understood until truly practiced. Love is not just an emotion. It is a choice that a person makes. But the feeling of love is something that has confused mankind since the beginning of time.

Falling in Love with....

Posted in Reflections.

heart

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to fall in love with a good book? I know this is going to sound crazy to most, but I absolutely LOVE a good book. A book that sucks you in and won't allow you to put it down until you have finished every single last word. A book that makes you dream, love, and feel every word.
As a child I used to read a series of books called "Redwall" by Brian Jacques. These wonderful adventure books took me on quests across seas, battles against badgers, rabbits, and mice, and allowed me to find hope and peace in the worlds of others. These books were originally written for children who were blind and were thus extremely descriptive. I LOVE a style of writing that allows you to picture every crook and cranny of the world that you are reading about.

Read?

Posted in Reflections.

baloonweb

When was the last time that you sat down and read the Bible without having anything else to do? I mean really sat down and had NOTHING to do. Can you even remember such a time? I can't!
As this New Year approached, I could hear the cry from the pulpits everywhere. "This year, commit to reading through the whole Bible!" Guides and lists were made available for everyone who wanted one. There were lists in chronological order, biblical order, and "logical" order (whatever that means). "You will be a REAL Christian if you read through the whole Bible in one year", said the fictional guy I just made up but we all know exists somewhere. He exists. He may be you.

As I read these lists and heard "the call," I realized something pretty neat.

What if?

Posted in Reflections.

whatif

Well, here we are. 2013. Take that Mayans!

Ok, let's be honest. None of us actually expected the world to end on December 21st of 2012 like the Mayan calendar "predicted." We all know better. We know that scripture says that no one will know the hour or day in which the Lord will return. We know this, but deep down inside, we were all thinking the same thing.

What if?

SonFlowers...

Posted in Reflections.

sonflower

     I love walking the halls of the church building on Tuesdays. Mondays can be really quiet, but Tuesdays are always loud!
     You see, the Sonflower Preschool is in full swing and it is something to behold! The kids are laughing, happy, learning, and (let us be honest) crying. They cry because they miss their mothers, fathers, homes, toys, etc. No surprise, right?
     Well, I like to think that each and every one of these emotions is a life lesson. It is good for a child to miss his/her mother/father. It is good to see children learning how to spell, read, write, and draw. It is wonderful to see them sing, play, and be children.
But beyond that, there is a type of learning going on that is absolutely vital to these kids.
   They are being taught about God.

Unopened Gifts

Posted in Reflections.

gift

    The Christmas tree lights sparkle and send beams of light dancing around the room. Red, Blue, Green, Yellow, White. Fast twinkle. Slow Sparkle. Train motion sparkle. The lights dance. The tree stands tall. The handpicked tree is in the corner of the living room and it is seemingly held up by all of the gifts under the tree. It was handpicked. "This one, Daddy!" The gifts.

The gifts. All of those unopened gifts. Big. Small. Gifts.

There will be a lot of unopened gifts at Christmas this year.

Deceived

Posted in Reflections.

poverty

"Some of the poorest people in the world only have money."
Harris III

I truly believe this statement. I have watched, over the years, men and women reach, grapple, lunge, and fight for the love of money. They clawed, scraped, destroyed, obliterated, and sacrificed their souls for the love of money. And they were changed forever.

Some found money and thought it would be enough. But it is never enough. When all you want is a thousand dollars, and when you finally get it, you want two thousand. And this cycle never ends. You always want more. Ecclesiastes 5:10 says, "He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity." It rings true, but is it what we are doing in our daily lives?

SERVE GOD

Posted in Blog.

homeless

I am currently teaching a class each Sunday morning entitled "Service." This little class is something that has been on my heart for a while. When offered the chance to teach on this topic, I could not pass it up. I simply love the idea of looking at the Bible and seeing what it says about "service."

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