Monday, September 19, 2005

Friend 1- Brother, Musician, Travel Buddy

Name: Benjamin John
Age: 18
Relationship: Brother

"So, how did you two meet?"
This question was posed to us as we introduced ourselves to someone this weekend. Ben jokingly replied, "I was born." Well, that is the truth. I was almost four years old when my first baby brother entered this world.

All About Ben
Food: Pizza, Dr. Thunder, doughnuts, anything fatty, sugary, unhealthy and greasy. Basically a typical eighteen-year olds diet. Yes, he stays skinny.
Music: Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, Charlie Hall
Authors: Louie Giglio, Oswald Chambers, A.W. Tozer, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis
Hobbies: Guitars, guitars, guitars... did I say playing his guitar? Ok, playing the guitar.
Enjoys: Ultimate frisbee, movies, music, family, board games, sleeping, etc.
Movies: Lord of the Rings, Anne of Green Gables, Pride and Prejudice, The Man from Snowy River, Return to Snowy River and others
Characters he has starred as: Peter Pan and Jim Elliot (what a variety!)

He was Ben-Ben for the majority of our younger years. As we grew this changed to a number of affectionate titles such as, "GET BACK HERE!!!!" and "STOP THAT" as I chased him through the house. Wait, those aren't nicknames. I am sure he thought they were! Seriously now, I have called him Benji and Benny the most. More interesting names I will keep in strict family confidence. Oh, yes... Matthew Cuthbert is one of his "nicknames" which I will explain next.

Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert
We tease each other that we will never marry since no one around seems to match...yet. Therefore, we will live together until a ripe old age like the famous brother and sister Cuthberts. We may even adopt a red-headed orphan. Nah, we'd rather run a whole orphanage in the middle of a deep jungle. I would teach and Ben would lead music. We kind of act like Matthew and Marilla sometimes. Ben can be passive. I can be too serious. Praise God that we are a work in progress, always growing and changing through His power!

We have done everything and been everywhere together. The following is truly a brief list :
- Skiing, singing, sleeping, eating, walking, talking, riding, running, swiming, biking, drawing, painting, cooking, cleaning, sledding, shopping, vacuuming, hiding, tattling, hiking, driving, gleaning, meetings and many other "ings".

- Laser tag, ultimate frisbee, touch football, softball, baseball, tennis, etc.

- Mission trips, vacations, homeless shelters, orphanages, concerts, stores, lock-ins, conferences, doctor, dentist, salon, theater, stadiums, churches, museums, airports and much more.

-Cars, trucks, buses, planes (one flown by Ben), boats, trains, taxis, ferry, go carts, wagons, bumper cars, roller coasters, ferris wheels, horses, elephants and Safari Jeeps.

- Romania (x2), Tanzania (without either parent), Austria, Holland (x2, once without either parent), Canada and over 30 U.S. states.

I think you get the point...

Most of these only Ben will know what I mean... "HI COW!" Austrian rain. Flaggler. Aspen. Love, Liberty, Disco. Babati roads. Extreme sledding. Concert in the rain. Cattles Wart. And more and more and more.

Faithful Friend
Growing up my mother always told us that we would be the best friend each other would ever have. How true that has been. My friendship with Ben is not like others. He sees me at my worst and sees me at my best. I have criticized, tortured, got in trouble, slapped, bossed around, begged and yelled at him. But do you know what?

He still loves me. He still kisses me goodnight before he heads to bed. He still listens to my crazy ideas. He still encourages me to grow. He is always there.

I love you, Ben. I admore your courage, honesty, playfulness, responsibility, talents, memory, knowledge, goals, convictions and passions. I am honored to be your sister.

My Friends

I love my friends. God has blessed me with amazing friends. Some I know very well. Others I am just getting started. Some I see almost daily. Others I have never seen at all. Some I have traveled with around the world. Others have only seen my picture. Some live with me. Others I see a few times a year. Regardless of the differences they all have one thing in common. The true bond that unites our friendship is Jesus. My closest friends are in love with their Savior and seek to please Him.

So, with all that said I have decided something. I am going to blog about my friends. I will choose some by name, others will be as a group. Please do not feel left out if I do not pick you as a friend by name. You are ALL important to me and I love you very much.

Who should be my first candidate? Hummmmm....

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Believing God- Part 2: Be Like a Duck?

A woman decided to take a walk on a beautiful Saturday morning. During the night rain had fallen, leaving the ground moist and the air crisp. As the woman approached a hill at the edge of her neighborhood she noticed two ducks in a puddle. She knew that right over the crest was a gorgeous lake where these ducks could swim. Lake. Freedom. Puddle. Cramped. Lake. Creator’s design. Puddle. Second (or tenth) best.

What are some responses the ducks could give the woman?

1- The puddle is just fine for me.
2- The hill is too steep to climb.
3- Are you judging me for staying in the puddle?
4- The puddle is all I have ever known.
5- I’ve never seen the lake, how can I trust it is there?
6- The lake is only for important ducks.
7- I always thought there was more to being a duck than this.

Now shift to God’s perspective. No, I am not talking about ducks. This is about me and you.

Do you ever wonder if there is more to the “Christian life” than what you are experiencing? Do you ever watch great Christian men and women longing to have their type of relationship with God? Do you ever open the pages of your Bible and stare like it is a foreign language? Do the sins in your life seem overwhelming at times? Is victory over those sins short lived or non-existent? Do you have a burning desire to know God deeper? Do you long to follow Him the way the ancient men of old did? Have you ever thrown up your hands and cried, “There has GOT to be more to it than this!”

Join my club. The club of the Seekers. The club of the Believers. The club of the Sometimes-Like-a-Duck-Puddle-Dweller-Instead-of-Lake-Owning-Christian.

I think many times God calls out to me, “JACLYN! I have a lake prepared for you and you are in the puddle! YOU ARE IN THE PUDDLE!!! I have given you everything you need to know me deeper. You have the strength to overcome sins. You have all the promises of my Word. If only you will BELIVE Me!!! Get out of the puddle!”

And what are some of my or our foolish responses to God? Strange, they sound almost like the duck…

1- The puddle is just fine for me… translation- “I like my life the way it is even if I wonder sometimes if there is more to it than this.”

2- The hill is too steep to climb… translation- “I do not want to do the work it would really take to be the follower of God that I want to be and know I should be. Memorize Scripture? I can’t. Read my Bible EVERY day? I don’t have time. Give up the movies and music I love? I don’t think so.”

3- Are you judging me for staying in the puddle? Translation- “I know that there are some Christians who live their faith out to the fullest, but I am content with just knowing I am going to heaven when I die. Are you judging me for the type of Christian I am?”

4- The puddle is all I have ever known… translation- “This is the way I was raised. This is all I have ever known. I am scared to step out of my comfort zone.”

5- I’ve never seen the lake, how can I trust it is there? Translation- “If God wanted me to know more of Him He would have shown me by now. Some Christians make up their close relationship with God to try to look better.”

6- The lake is only for important ducks… translation- “God does not let all Christians that close to Him. Authors, pastors, missionaries and great speakers are the only ones that get close to God. If I got closer to God people might think I am arrogant.”

7- I always thought there was more to being a duck than this… translation- “I want to know God more. I really do. I have no idea where to start. I am no longer content with mediocrity.”

So where do we start? What is the first move in becoming closer to God? In my own journey and discussing with others their walk of faith I have found several key beginnings. There is no formula. There is no three step method. No cure. No easy way out.

I am sure you have read verses like…
Matthew 5:48 “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
… and wondered, me? HOW?

Then we have encouragement and promise…
2 Peter 1:3-4 “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.”

We can do it through Him. We CAN become more like Christ with the Spirit’s help. We CAN be godly. We CAN be holy. I don’t know about you, but that is encouraging to me. I pray that we will rise up and become believers that are recklessly willing to believe God!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


Destination: Unique Thrift Store
Quest: Find new clothes to revive my wardrobe
Outcome: Mission Completed
Completion Details: 1 skirt, 2 shirts, 1 capri, 1 shawl for sister, 1 video for brother
Total Cost of Mission: $20.60
Mall Total of Same Items: $189.99

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

My Life

Birthdays- Timothy turned the big 10 yesterday! He has been so excited the last few months. Yesterday he said it seemed like just another day. It is amazing to watch him grow, mature and learn so much! He is a blessing to all of us with his love for God, smile and thoughtfulness. We will celebrate with a party on Saturday. Our birthday parties are always grand events for they only happen every couple of years on our "big" birthdays! Happy Birthday, Ducky!

Church- I will not go into much detail here. All I have to say is that every day it becomes more clear to me why there are thousands of pastors leaving the ministry. Pastors and their families who are tired, depressed, apathetic, joyless, weary, weak and worried. Where are the valiant men of character that left seminary ready to change the world for Jesus? I have one phrase for you: church politics. The death of all pastors, all visions, all energy and all that the Holy Spirit wants to do.

Do NOT get me wrong here... I love the Church. I know God Is. He is Sovereign. He is Control. He is Grace. He is Mercy. But the Church, His Bride, is so far from where we need to be. And the men that God has placed a call on their lives to lead and refine the church are "dying" because the church is wallowing in mediocrity.

Maybe I will post on this sometime. I desperately want to write a book. I want the "common" church member to know the life of the pastor. I also want to encourage the fellow pastors and their families to remain true to the King... no matter what the King's people do.

Bicycles- I have had an increasing interest in bicycles. I am not a runner. I am not a jogger. I lvoe riding the bicycle. Timothy, Victoria and I have been riding 3 miles on selected days. We are almost under 20 minutes. Pretty good for the terrain we are riding and the age of the youngest. My legs fair well. My backside on the seat has not. I keep telling myself that the pain will go away after more consistant riding. We'll see.