"May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, oh Lord..." Psalm 19:14

Friday, February 26, 2010

To Like or To Love?

One of my greatest pet peeves is hearing that old Christian cliche, "Well, you don't have to like everybody; you just have to love 'em." Do people still say that? Something like it, right? It's just funny, because, think about it -- have you ever felt loved by someone who didn't like you? I guess it's possible, but even if you have, was it a weak, human kind of love...or the life-giving, world-changing kind of love God commands us to give?

Maybe I'm not making sense, because you know full well that it's just not possible to like everybody in the world. Even "loving" them is a stretch. To this, I totally agree. So I humbly suggest a new response for all the difficult, unlikeable people we come across -- a revision to the old saying, if you will: "You don't have to like who they are right now, but you sure can like who they're meant to be." Right?

As Christians, we believe some radical things about people. Like, wow, we believe that everyperson was made in the image of our great God and Creator. What's more, we believe that this very same Creator knit each of us together perfectly and beautifully. Amazing. On the other hand, we believe that sin has entered the world and has distorted every part of creation, even seeping into the depths of each heart. The ugliness? No one can fathom. And ever since the Fall, we've been trying to re-discover the people we were made to be in the first place.

Oh, I wish I could say I was good at liking the unlikeable, but the truth is, I write this today because of the darkness of my own heart -- the darkness I see so easily...in others. I've been critical and impatient and unloving. I've set out to examine and "fix" the people around me, instead of enjoying them. I've let their flaws point me to the sin nature in all of us, instead of seeing the imperfections as a mere reflection of what's meant to be.

Jesus said, "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:34-35)

Oh Father, teach us how.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

taking flight

gibbon [gib-uh n] -noun small, slender, long-armed ape of the East Indies and Southern Asia

Last weekend, we visited "The Flight of the Gibbons," a 24-platform zipline course through the jungles just outside of Bangkok. We got to swing from treetop to treetop, just like little monkeys -- except that we could glide around hands-free! Gotta love the safety harness and cables. :D Always wanted to try ziplining, so it was super exciting!! I know, now you wish you had come. So here's a video to make you feel just like you were there. (Sorry I kind of scream like a pansy.)

Then, we visited this open zoo, where some of the animals (tigers included) were only a small wooden fence away from us. A little different from the hyper-safe zoos in the states -- but, hey, much easier for picture-taking! Doesn't that tiger guy look like he wants to bite someone's head off? Hehe.

All in all, another great "tourist" type outing. Love it. More pics below. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

fighting normal

I always knew it would happen. I knew that, eventually, the excitement would wear out and this great "adventure" I embarked on six months ago would actually become everyday life. It would finally, one day, become my new normal.

But, it's actually been more of a challenge than I expected, because, really, leaving home and losing what you love is much easier in the name of adventure...or sacrifice...or, even, recklessness. But leaving it all for...normal? That's no fun.

The funny thing is, the story that brought me here and the great God who provided have not changed. It seems that only I have. Again, His grace has grown old and again, I find myself following comfort instead of convictions...yes, even in Thailand.

How easily we forget, even in the midst of going, and giving, and serving.

You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first.

Revelation 2:3-4a

May we remember that complacency is not intentional; it's where we all end up unless we do something about it.

Some praises and prayers...

  • Praying for how to use my time here well. I'm involved in many ministries and such, but I don't know where to really invest. Longing to make some deeper impact somewhere...
  • God is doing an awesome work at my church here, Evangelical Church of Bangkok. Our new pastor just arrived last week and I really sense a renewed energy and passion in the congregation -- so stinkin' exciting! Praise God! Oh and guess what I realized?? With the time change, I go to church in Bangkok at the same time my church back home is having their service (Calvary's Saturday night service). It's like, across the miles, we are still worshiping our God together. Crazy cool.
  • Our school raised thousands of dollars for Haiti, and we're still praying for how to be a part of what God's doing over there -- as well as how to meet the needs of those all around us here. Maybe you're praying the same thing wherever you are.
  • Looks like I get the phenomenal joy of traveling to Nepal with some friends this April!! We're going to do a week-long trek, admiring God's beautiful creation...namely, the Himalayas! :D