Monday, November 24, 2014

The Thirsty Heart

“If any man is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in Me,” as the Scriptures said, “From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.” John 7:38

Are you thirsty? The truth of the matter is we are all thirsty. Deep within us there is a thirst put there by God, and it can only be quenched by Him. Chapter one of “The Heart of the Matter,” by Dave Busby, pointed out that we are all thirsty for a love that is free, a love that is strong, and a reason to live.  

Over the years Kevin and I both would say, that we have been doing the dance to earn love from others. If I am to be honest, I must say that I am one heck of a dancer. I spent my childhood and teens as a dancing fool. I danced to gain popularity. I danced to be noticed. The bottom line was I dancing to be loved. I was tired. Then Jesus called me to his side and I began to learn of his great love for me. I can’t say that dancing for others approval stopped immediately but eventually my dancing days became fewer and fewer. Now, most days I live in the freedom and rest of undeserved grace. However, there are times when I find myself exhausted and it never fails, I look down at my feet and realize I have laced up my old habits and the dance has begun once again.  And as we pray for our 3 boys we have found two hearts one that is a ‘dancer’ and ‘bored heart’.  

So what about you? What are you thirsty for, a love that is free, a love that won’t let you down, or a reason to get out of bed in the morning? Whatever you need the answer is clear. The answer is Jesus. He said, “Come to Me.” He said, “Believe Me.” Go to Jesus. Take Him at His word and ask Him to quench the thirst deep within. 


“My people have committed two evils; they have forsaken the fountain of living waters and they have taken shovels and are digging wells, broken wells, which can hold no water.” 
Jeremiah 2:13  

When you are thirsty you look for something to drink. The question is where do go to quench your thirst? 

What is Sin?


Monday, November 17, 2014

Join our Challenge!

From Kevin...
I had the opportunity to spend some quality time alone with God recently. Unfortunately it coincided with the 4 days I spent in the hospital, go figure. While there I read "The Heart of the Matter, Moving from the external pressure of religion to the internal passion of Christianity" by Dave Busby.  When I was young man I had the opportunity to meet him.  He was an incredible man who loved the Lord with a passion and intensity that is rarely seen. The things I learned from him changed me and since then I have never met a man more honest and full of the Spirit of God.  

The book is a very simple and quick read but Anjie and I believe that the principals found there can revolutionize a life.  This book has challenged us to examine our hearts, and we have decided to read it to our boys as well. We would like to invite you to join with us too.

If you would like to be a part we challenge you to spend some time praying specifically for God to reveal the condition of your heart.  Then follow along with us while we read and discuss this book.  Anjie and I will create some discussion questions for our family based on each chapter and we'll share them with you each Monday. We would love to hear what God is doing in your lives as well.  The first round of discussion questions will come out Monday, November 17th.  If you decide to follow along we are quite certain you will be blessed!


KEY VERSE: Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” John 37:37-38

HIGHLIGHT: We must begin by looking within. Are you thirsty? The bottom line is we are all thirsty. God created with us this thirst in hopes that it would draw us to Him, but often we look everywhere else to be satisfied. 

QUESTION: With which thirst, thirst for love and acceptance, thirst for a love that is strong, or thirst for a reason to live, do you most relate? Why?


Thursday, November 6, 2014

My First World Heart

Something I have discovered about myself in the last four months…I am a first-world kind of girl. This has come as a bit of a shock to me. I mean, I knew that I loved my first-world country but I didn’t think I was as addicted to the comfort of living there as I am. 

I guess I was fooled because in the states I felt a bit odd. Through out Kevin and I’s marriage we have always had enough but rarely an excess. For ten years we lived in a neighborhood that my children fondly refer to as “the hood.” Over those years we grew accustom to graffiti, questionable people in our alley late at night, and the occasional sound of gunfire. To put those things on paper seems very stark, however, it was home and we loved our time there. Honestly, it was hard to move. 

Another reason I thought I was ready for third-world living was that we rarely had anything that was new. Our last truck was well over ten years-old and had 200,000 miles. We loved that truck.  Most all of our home furnishings were hand me downs or purchase used at GREAT discounts. We laughed (if I were honest I’d say we were prideful) that in 20 years of marriage we had never purchase a TV. We watched the huge and extremely heavy box TV years after the flat-screen came on the scene. I can even say that most all of our clothes were purchase used at thrift stores or were hand me downs. We lived lean, and I was proud of that.

Pride is the key word here. I was prideful and I felt I was better than others because I was content to do with less or even without. This pride came to the surface on a recent trip to Bangkok.

October Break was upon us and we decided to travel to Bangkok on the over night train. When Kevin and I booked our tickets we requested an air-conditioned car with sleeping berths. However, we choose 2nd class because we did not want to be pretentious. I had no idea that this trip would reveal just how much of a snob I really am.

When we arrived at the train station, the discomfort began immediately. There were two trains side by side, the Special Express Train to Bangkok and our train the Express Train to Bangkok. The Special Express train was sleek and shiny with relatively new cars. All I can say about our train…it was NOT. 

Most of the cars on our train where old and rusted. In fact I was pretty sure that the only thing holding one of the cars together was the rust. I envisioned that car splitting in two somewhere between Chiang Mai and our destination. As we walked passed the dining car we saw picnic tables with plastic chairs for a dining room and I quickly shut my eyes so I couldn’t see the kitchen. What I don’t know won’t hurt me, right? The accommodations on the train ranged from simple bench seats, cushioned airline type seats and cars with sleeping berths, and our car was the only one that had the luxury of air-conditioning. 

Our car was the nicest on the train, however I still found myself a bit distressed. I have never been one to worry about germs but I quickly pulled out my hand sanitizer. The car was not as clean as I am used to, and I had to resist the urge to run when I saw the bathroom. It was a squatty potty (see photo). To top it all off it was not connected to plumbing but instead it had a hole where the waste dropped straight onto the track (note to self….don’t ever walk on a train track in Thailand). 

I laid in my bed that night waiting for the train to stop so I could go to the bathroom. Let’s just say the rocking and rolling of a train car and a squatty potty are not a good combination. I kept telling myself, “This is an adventure, I can handle this,” but somewhere along the way the realization hit me…I am not handling this. All I can think about is, “Thank goodness I booked a nice hotel!” I am spoiled rotten. Ouch! 

The majority of Thailand lives in third-world conditions. I am embarrassed when I think about my attitude. I HAVE NEVER EVERY GONE WITHOUT, not really. I have always had food, a roof over my head, and a nice clean, comfortable bed. I may not of had a new car but I have always had a way to get where I needed to be. I am rich.

God has called me here to this land where so many have so little. I am supposed to be salt and light. How can I do that when I get bent out of shape over plumbing? It is clear that God has a work to do in me. I am thankful that He doesn’t require perfection from His servants. He knew how squeamish I was when He called me here. One of the mystery of walking by faith is that even though I am prideful and spoiled God has a plan to use me anyway. I don’t see how, but I am grateful that He does.

DISCLAIMER: We have found the following video to be incredibly insightful, convicting, and humorous, HOWEVER, if you will be offended by a REFERENCE to an inappropriate word…DO NOT WATCH.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Missionary, Really?

The view from my house.
Missionary is a loaded term. Now that I carry that title it seems heavier than it ever has been before. Missionaries are supposed to be super Christians who share the gospel with everyone they meet. They never feel self conscious. They never struggle with what to say. They never shy away from meeting people. They are always willing to sacrifice everything in Jesus’ name and they never ever think of themselves. This is what I think when I think about missionaries. This is who I think they are supposed to be, and I can say with complete confidence that this is most definitely NOT ME.

The past few months I have been afraid to let others in on this little secret. I don’t feel like a missionary. I am introverted by nature. I am self-conscious and I struggle sharing my faith with others. 

I did step out of my comfort zone and meet my neighbors across the street. They are a young Thai couple with a 8 year old boy. Their names are Aiy, Tock, and Cume. They only know a little bit of English and as I have said before I can say hello and thank you and that is about it. So as you can see, trying to have a conversation is out of the question. If I happen to see them outside I cringe. I am so self conscious about what I will say and how I will communicate that I have to fight off the urge to hide. I am not the only one in the family who feels this way either. Jon and I were out front playing frisbee. Cume, the eight year-old boys was watching us through the glass door. I encouraged Jon to ring the bell and invite him out. That idea completely stressed him out. I guess he is like his mother.

Learning the language will make a huge difference and I am committed to working on that, however, we have been encouraged to wait until after Christmas to begin lessons. This has proven to be wise counsel being that I have been overwhelmed with a new job and normal living ever since we have arrived. Knowing some Thai will help, but I know that being able to communicate won’t fix everything. 

All of these thoughts have been plaguing me. In the midst of my turmoil, a friend sent me these words by Oswald Chambers:

“…the challenge (for missionaries) comes from the perspective of the missionary’s own personal relationship with Jesus Christ— “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” (Matthew 9:28). Our Lord unwaveringly asks us that question, and it confronts us in every individual situation we encounter. The one great challenge to us is— do I know my risen Lord? Do I know the power of His indwelling Spirit? Am I wise enough in God’s sight, but foolish enough according to the wisdom of the world, to trust in what Jesus Christ has said? Or am I abandoning the great supernatural position of limitless confidence in Christ Jesus, which is really God’s only call for a missionary? If I follow any other method, I depart altogether from the methods prescribed by our Lord— “All authority has been given to Me . . . . Gotherefore. . .” (Matthew 28:18-19).” 

My focus has been on my inadequacies, instead of the truth that God will work His will through me. If I abide in Him, he will do the rest. After all, its not my job, it is His.

Last night we invited Cume and his parents to come out in the street to watch the boys shoot off some fireworks. No tracks came out, the Bible was not quoted, but a relationship is beginning. For the first time in a while I am not looking for a place to hide, but I am eager to see what God will do.