Sunday, December 31, 2006
Friday, December 29, 2006
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
...if we could open the door.
Timothy is building a tunnel in the five foot drift....
...and Samuel is saying, "We love Colorado!"
Ben becomes the sledpuller and Samuel is grateful. This picture is amazing, if you have been to our backyard, because right after where Ben is standing there is a little hill that continues to slope to the fence. In this picture it looks like it is flat and with the snowpack it almost is!
This is my favorite snowdrift picture:
This is Ben using the snowblower the day after it stopped snowing.
This is our neighbor, Ryan, snowboarding off of a pile of snow (that was bulldozed into a mini mountain by a neighbor's truck). They were holding a rope that was attached to a snow mobile and launching themselves over the mound. Ok, so this is what we do with blizzards, ok? We ARE professionals here!
And last, but FOR SURE not least, is a picture of Samuel and I-
Friday, December 22, 2006
I had a choice to make. Would I allow the fleshly emotions to control me or would I rise up in truth? The easiest path would have been to wallow in self-pity, misery, anger and bitterness. It was a battle like I had never faced before and haven't since.
This article was a key turning point for me. Would I be a sober woman? The answer was, "If I want to obey Christ, I must." It was painful for a while until true joy began to shine through!
When I started this blog I remembered the article. As a woman, what did I want to convey about myself? What do I want people to know about me from the first time they look at my blog? Three things, besides my deep love for God, were the result: purity, sobriety and simplicity.
Several people have asked me, "Why is your blog address 'sobrietyandsimplicity'?" Well, the first answer is, "pureandsimple" was alreday taken. The second answer is that I want people to know I am seeking sobriety of mind, will and emotions. I want to be a woman that has her heart based in truth- not emotions.
So, read on and maybe you will discover freedom like I did!
(Guys, you can read too, the Bible commands sober men too!)
Wanted: A Few Sober Women
By Miss Christie Ballmann
Sobriety is not a trait that attracts much attention among women in our generation. Typically, it brings to mind Prohibition era rallies, off–the-road Breathalyzer tests, or AA meetings. If a pollster were to walk up and ask if I consider myself an overall sober woman, I’d probably give an amused grin. I don’t even walk down the liquor aisle at the grocery store, of course I’m sober. By God’s grace, it is just not an issue for me.
But that is going by my definition of sobriety; God’s definition is a whole other matter.
What is Sobriety?
Two words translate “sobriety” or “sober” in the New Testament. Nepho, the first, carries the most popularly understood definition of abstaining from wine. It is the Greek word used in I Tim. 3:11, “Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderes, sober (nepho).” Nepho is also used in I Thes. 5:6,8; I Pet. 1:13; I Pet. 5:8.
Second, there is the sophrosune sort of sobriety found in Titus 2:4, I Tim. 2:9; 2:15; 3:2. Sophrosune (So-fros-oo-nay) is the Greek word used in Scripture to describe the beautiful character of a self-controlled woman, a woman who by definition moderates her opinion and passions with truth and is sound of mind. This lady takes her emotions and thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ.
The glaring opposite of sophrosune sobriety is extreme or unbridled emotion. Sadly, examples are prolific. We don’t have to look far to spot an emotional woman or girl. The world, the flesh, and the devil are experts at throwing the most outrageous, albeit subtle, lying emotions into a woman’s mind. You may recognize some of them:
"I’m a failure."
"I’ll never be able to change."
"God can’t handle this situation."
"I deserve better."
Lack of biblical sobriety is displayed when we fail to bridle these un-Scriptural emotions. Rather than putting the lies to death by confronting them with truth, we tolerate them. Sometimes we even embrace them. This tragedy is the fountain of all the yucky emotional quagmires we face: selfishness, condemnation, pride, envy, guilt, etc... Consequently, strife and spiritual defeat leave us wanting to pull our hair out, cry in shame, or run away to the remote ends of the earth. We feel angry and then we act on mere emotions, then we feel worse yet, and the cycle continues. It delights the enemy to see women caught in such a trap.
Of course, not all emotions are bad. Some are wonderful gifts we can offer back to God, like the love that swells in our breast when we hold an infant close, or the delight of looking at a sunset painted across the sky.
The striking deficiency of sober women has set me pondering the tendencies of my own heart. Do I pass God’s sobriety test? Sobriety is certainly not a natural inclination of my flesh. My mind will no more spontaneously go God-ward and dwell on truth than my dog, Beau, takes to having a bath. "The carnal mind is enmity against God" (Romans 8:7). Sobriety is hard work; my flesh and my mind are inclined to sloth!
Both Old and New Testament brim with passages that let me know God is very much concerned with what I allow my mind to dwell on, all 86,400 seconds of each day. He sees the innermost ponderings of my heart—lying on my bed in the darkness of night, standing in line at Wal-Mart, or driving to church each Sunday. He longs to be glorified in my mind; He longs to see me express my love to Him with my entire mental capacity. I can’t do either when I let emotions have free reign.
How then, does a woman adorn herself with sobriety in a culture that is completely given to whimsical indulgence of emotions?
The most beautiful promise for women desiring sobriety comes from John 8:32 “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” It is the Truth of Scripture that sets us free to be the feminine, joyful, creative, gentle, uncompromising women God desires us to be.
Cultivating sobriety requires intentional feeding on truth. “Teach the young women to be sober (sophrosune)…” Titus 2:4 is not just a passive suggestion, it is a command. Sobriety is built into our lives as we discipline ourselves to act upon God’s Word as truth.
Without Scripture, any attempt to develop sobriety is frivolous. Sheer will power is not enough to withstand fierce emotional storms. It is the Bible that anchors and moderates our opinions and passions. The more we saturate our mind with Scripture, the less room we have to embrace lies from the enemy.
All this, however, is only offensive preparation. When lying emotions come we must be ready to follow Christ’s plan of defense.
What is the truth in this situation?
Scriptural reference to the mental process of thinking can be divided into two categories: God’s thoughts and man’s thoughts. Our instruction from God is to think less like earth-bound humans and evermore like the redeemed, royal daughters of the Most High that we are. If we are going to do royal battle against the lies that come our way, we must be able to recognize these carnal thoughts for what they are and replace them with God’s thoughts.
The LORD has blessed me with the example of several dear ladies who intentionally mentor sobriety. One of the most useful pearls of wisdom one of these ladies shared was to ask the question, “What is the truth in this situation?” I am amazed how this simple question can calm a sea of emotion.
I faced an emotional battle earlier this week that God no doubt orchestrated for purpose of illustration. These lying emotions came on quite suddenly after an accident in the kitchen. I know it sounds most odd, but I actually broke our new microwave. It had been a long, demanding day and this expensive accident before bed seemed, at that moment, proof that I was a failure. (Self-condemnation is always a brilliant emotional attack, especially when we are tired.) The more time I spent dwelling on my mistake, the more my day seemed to multiply with failures. I am ashamed of my initial response. I was angry; I began pouring out a torrent of condemning tears in self-pity, giving in to all those awful emotions. I certainly didn’t feel like looking for the truth. As the inner battle raged, the Holy Spirit kept calling me to sobriety. Finally, I let out a very weak, desperate prayer, “Dear God, what is the truth in this situation? Help me see the truth.”
As I began to repeat precious truths, out loud, my mind found her anchor. It went something like this:
"I am a sinner saved by grace;"
"I am a work in progress, but He will be faithful to complete that which He has begun;"
"God never gives up on me, and He will never call me a failure (even if I break the microwave);" "Dwelling on me and my mistake is prideful; it does not glorify God;"
"The Lord God is faithful and compassionate, and abounding in mercy."
A quote by Corrie ten Boom came to mind: “Look outward and be distressed. Look inward and be depressed. Look upward and be at rest.” When I turned my mind from self and onto truth, rest came.
Toss the Lie, Cling to the Promise
Once the lie is recognized we stand at a point of decision: embrace the lie or take the lie captive to Truth. We must not hesitate. There is but one battle cry for unlawful intruders into our mind: "No quarter! I am Christ’s; He has purchased and redeemed me for His kingdom with His blood. Get behind me, satan; I choose to trust the promises of Truth."
I faced this crossroad that night as I cried over the broken microwave. I had a choice.
Satan cannot win an emotional attack when we wield the sword of the Truth. There is no lie that does not have a truth as revealed in Christ Jesus. That is why it is so vital that we have our arsenal full of truth. When attack comes, we can have more than John 3:16 to quote back. Our sword must be direct and sharp.
One of my mentors suggested keeping a journal of Truth to record promises of Scripture to read when feeling overwhelmed. This is a valuable sobriety training resource.
Here are a few examples:
Am I feeling guilty? What is the truth? If I have broken God’s law, I must repent, seek restitution, and press on humbly by grace. Anything that demands more is a lie (I John 1:9; II Cor. 2:7; Heb 12:11; Phil 3:13).
Am I feeling discontent? What is the truth?God has provided food, clothes, and a shelter (I Tim 6:8).I have a relationship with Jesus Christ that promises hope and future (Jer. 29:11). God promises to withhold no good thing from those who walk uprightly (Ps. 84:11).
Am I feeling anxious about terrorism?
Am I feeling “put out” serving my family, again?
Am I feeling overwhelmed with my “to do” list?
What is the truth in this situation?
Your journal of truth can be as personalized as you want. The key however, is not just having these truths written down, but claiming them when the dishes are piled high, children are fussing, bills are due, and weariness is bone deep. One need not feel sober before displaying this character. Most frequently we will act out of obedience. A quote by Elisabeth Elliot nails the point, “When the will of God crosses the will of man, one of them must die.”
Holiness with Sobriety
Developing sobriety is a life-long assignment; it takes discipline of will over emotion. Most of all, it takes faith in Jesus Christ. However, with God’s Word at our disposal, the Christian wife, mother, and daughter is absolutely capable of soundness and stability in her mind.
Does this mean we are never allowed to have weak moments, times of discouragement? No. But it does mean that we recognize our discouragement when it comes, acknowledge our weakness, and ask for a flood of prayer, counsel, and truth to be spoken to us.
I continue to sit in God’s classroom of sobriety, trying to learn how He would have me apply His Word to every situation without hesitation. I know that when I do fail, He does not want me to linger in my failure. God calls me to repent, get up and press ahead. “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before” Phil. 3:13.
Jesus Christ is calling for “daughters of Sarah” (I Peter 3:6). He is looking for women who will saturate themselves in the truth and calmly face emotional lies with the sword of His Word. May we each day rededicate our mind and heart to continue that race marked out for us, “in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety” I Tim. 2:15.
Sunday, December 10, 2006
I thought I would post a picture fest of my family, immediate and extended. I love my family, quirks and all, so very much! I do not even want to know how lonely life would be without them!
Two of my family members have celebrated monumental birthdays the last month. My dad turned 50 and my grandpa reached 80. "SURPRISE, dad!" And he was, can you tell? We had told him that Ben and the band were doing a concert for a young adult group at this church. My dad had not been feeling well that day and told Ben, "I'm sorry, I don't think I am going to come tonight." He almost panicked, but with puppy dog eyes (that Ben is VERY good at) pleaded, "Dad, it would not be the same without you." So he came. We were ALL glad he did!!!
Next, my family gathered with my mom's siblings to congradulate my grandpa on 80 wonderful years! He is an amazingly wonderful grandpa. I cannot believe he is 80. He was 57 when I was born, isn't that incredible??? We got him a rubber band shooter. He was tickled and gave us a detailed description of the homemade ones he used to make when he was younger. He also shared some things about the world he grew up in and the tension that existed with Iwo Jima. What a wonderful, wise and generous man he is! I love you, Grandpa!
My aunt, Bonnie (left), bought my dad a black birthday cake, which we ate the day after Thanksgiving (still stuffed, mind you). They (not WE) had a great time making a royal mess with the black frosting. What can I say, this is my family. :-)
Samuel absolutely loves our cousin, Aaron. He laughed and laughed when he put the "hat" on Aaron and Aaron promptly put the other arm chair cover on Sam. Aaron is a faithful family man and comes to see us every time we are in Cheyenne. He loves to beat us all at croquet, eat and tease.
Isn't this picture of Tori with the bulb awesome? She is a precious girl and i am so thankful God gave me a sister! She is quickly becoming a young lady who can cook, clean, sew, crochet, dance, etc. My favorite sister, too!
How cute are these two? Katie came with us to my grandparents to celebrate my grandpa's birthday. Since Katie is apart of our family, she has come to several holidays, been at birthday parties, events, celebrations, etc. My grandpa LOVES Katie and always reminds me what a wonderful friend I have, "She's like a sister to you, Jaclyn." Well, my grandpa was quite devistated when I told him I had decided to take a new job. He questioned my intentions and asked, "What about Katie? I sure hope you will be friends with her still. She is a good friend to you. When will you see her? She is such a good friend for you." So when Katie surprised him and came for his birthday "party", My grandpa was very excited to see us together and declared that it was "so good to see us (Katie and Jaclyn) together."
Timothy, Timothy, where is your head? We went to an energy plant for a fieldtrip. I have no idea how we decided to do this and take a picture, but we did. Notice the shirt he is wearing, for it is what makes this picture hysterical!
Then there is me, yes, a self-portrait-stick-your-arm-out-as-far-as-you-can-so-the-picture-might-turn-out.
Friday, December 08, 2006
I have the honor of working with Jonathan at OMF International. I thought I would link his blog and MySpace for all of you to read. The music on MySpace is Jonathan and he is finishing his CD this month. Look for it soon in stores everywhere! (I think I should get a free CD for that advertisement.)
Also, for those of you who did not know, my brother Ben (links on left), recorded his first two songs in October. He just received the copyright confirmation. The songs will be uploaded to his music myspace page soon!
They sound INCREDIBLE. I am not speaking from the bias of my sisterly connection. Ben has incredible talent! I cannot wait for you to hear them! Until then I will sing it for you...
"Holy God, Humble King, there is nothing hindering You, Mighty Lord, Righetous Son, You are the Precious One..."
from Holy God, Humble King, yes, copyrighted by Ben! (so don't steal ;-) )
Thursday, November 30, 2006
There is no greater mystery than God, in all of His Infinite Majesty, becoming a tiny baby. Creator of the heavens and the earth, All-Knowing Encyclopedia, Ever-Loving Father and any other praise worthy title you can think of- He wrapped Himself in humanity.
A baby. I cannot wrap my mind around the concept. God became a baby. It is easier to think of Jesus as a man, walking around
confronting the religious tyrants... but a BABY? A helpless, squirmy, crying baby? A baby that spit up, cooed, wore diapers and burped when Mary patted his little back?
Wednesday night (November 29th) my family saw a preview of the movie, The Nativity Story. If you have not seen it as of yet, do. Take tissues. You will need them.
The above picture was one of my favorite scenes. I have not yet had the honor of bearing a child, but I have been able to feel numerous babies in the womb as they shift around, press and kick. It is an amazing thing. There is something so strange about thinking how giddy Mary must had been, like every other first time mom, when she felt Jesus move for the first time.
I am at a loss for words. I wish I could communicate the thoughts and emotions that I had when I was watching the movie. He was real. God became man. I cannot say it enough...
God. Became. Man.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
The test took me a little over an hour and covered everything from preferred tasks to logical problems. It was an interesting test and I would be SO curious for all of you to take it!
I got my results last Thursday and nothing suprised me. So, would you like a run-down of who I am (according to this test)? You don't have a choice... (the scale is 1 to 10, with 1 being on the low side of the description and 10 being identical to the description. I did not type out the whole descriptions, but the key words and characteristics.) I also put things in green bold that I agreed with about myself and italicized in orange thoughts I had about the results. Let me know if you have questions or if something surprises you! :-P
Learning Pace 9- Learning, reasoning and problem solving potential.
Verbal Skill 10- Vocabulary skills.
Verbal Reasoning 8- Using words as a basis in reasoning and problem solving.
Numerical Ability 9- Numeric calculation ability. This surprised me at first, but then I remembered how easy the mathematical questions had been!
Numeric Reasoning 10- Numbers as a basis in reasoning and problem solving. I LOVE logical math problems such as "What number comes next in this pattern 1, 3, 6, 8, 11, 13?"
Enterprising 5- Seeks to promote change through ideas, products and services.
Financial/ Administrative 8- Interested in activities such as organizing information. Seeks consistency, predictability and control. Umm, yes. This is not so much financial, like accounting, as it is administration. Although, I do enjoy some accounting and attention to financial detail.
People Service 8- Seeks to be of genuine help to others in need. Which, as you see later, is my "motivational" ie, spiritual gift.
Technical 2- Interested in scientific activities, technical data and research. Usually good at trivia. HA. I think the only thing that I can slightly agree with is the research. NEVER force me to play a game of trivia. I might cry. I am all about logic, not random facts.
Mechanical 5- Interested in working with tools, seeks to see tangible results as a result of labor. Usually fond of the outdoors.
Creative 10- Interested in activites using imagination, creativity and original ideas. Seeks to be different. If I am not allowed to let my creative juices flow, either in serving others, teaching or organizing, I will eventually go crazy.
Personality Behavioral Traits
Energy 4- Tendency to display endurance and capacity for a fast pace. Since I am on the lower end of the spectrum, this means that I like a more paced day instead of one that is completely crammed. I can handle a full load for a while, but need a break- especially if the schedule involves a lot of interaction with people.
Assertiveness 4- Tendency to take charge of people and situations and speak up. With this definition, I am surprised that I did not score higher. One of the reasons I scored lower is because I like to have a lot of facts before jumping into a situation.
Sociability 4- Tendency to be outgoing, people-oriented and mixes with others. I score low because after a while, people drain me.
Manageability 5- Tendency to follow policies and work within the rules. Most of the time, but I need to be able to be creative, without crossing moral boundaries. I will follow procedures, unless I think there is a better way to get things done.
Attitude 2- Tendency to have a trusting attitude regarding people and outcomes. When I saw a 2 next to attitude I thought, "Oh dear." But after reading the definition I can totally relate. I am more guarded when I first meet people. I do not trust immediately. I want to see what you are about and then relate to you accordingly. The person who did the assessment said that a low score means a person is VERY discerning.
Decisiveness 4- Tendency to make decisions quickly without additional information. The more facts the better.
Accommodating 6- Tendency to be friendly, cooperative, agreeable and team-minded. I go with the flow, for the most part. I am not hard to please, nor do I get upset easily.
Independence 5- Tendency to be self-reliant, self-directed, and pursue own agenda. Tell me what to do or let me figure it out by myself- either way I am good with it. Being alone is great, being with people is great. Making my own decisions is nice and working things through with advice is good too.
Judgment 5-The Higher scores tend to think clearly (logical and head driven) while lower scores tend to express emotion and feeling (heart driven). I was happy and feel like this score is accurate of me. When making a judgement about something I use about the same emotional energy as I do factual perspective. I will not make a decision based on only facts or only emotions.
Serving 10- Driven to quietly free up others by tirelessly taking care of routine and short-term tasks and details without complaining. Likes to entergetically pitch-in without being asked. Needs to be appreciated. Obviously, since I scored the highest possible number, this must describe me well. And it does. I get so excited and energized by doing small things for people, without being asked. I cannot say that I ALWAYS do it without complaining, but if I know that there is a need I can meet, why complain? I usually am complaining that others are not helping meet needs. I do need to be appreciated. A simple thank you means the world to me.
Leadership 7- Ministers to improve the business side of ministries by increasing efficiency and effectiveness. Irritated by chaos, waste and disorder. Can set goals and delegate. Good creative problem solver.
Prophesying 3- Driven to speak up and assert the truth and stand up for principle. Sees in black and white. Hates evil. Dislikes deception and poor leadership. With this description, I was surprised that I scored low. I think the difference for me in this category, is that I am not brazen or harsh when I assert the truth. I want to be well educated and be able to persuade you instead of beat you up over the truth.
Contributing 4- Driven to accumulate then generously give money, time and other resources to worthwhile causes. Thrifty and economical. Low-key approach.
Mercy 6- Ministers to the hurting and less fortunate. Forgiving. Mantains loving relationships. Non-judgemental unless loved ones are under attack. Self-sacrificing. Avoids confrontation. Genuinely values others. This is the first time I have scored high on mercy in a spiritual gift test. I think part of it is the definition and the other part is growth in my life. I can see how God has shaped me the last year to be a more merciful person. There is too much suffering around me to not see how God can get the glory through ministering to those in need.
Encouraging 6- Offers hope and optimism. Offers positive influence to others. Promotes discipleship. Dislikes criticism, details and inflexibility. I hate it when the very essence of a person's personality is being criticized. I want to see how God has designed people before I judge. I want to encourage them to be more than they are to the best of their abilities to the glory of God. I still have work to do.... for there are some people it is harder for me to encourage than others.
Teaching 8- Driven to accurately clarify the truth. Dislikes ignorance and false teaching. Thorough. Finds new insights others do not see. Likes to share knowledge. In almost every siritual gifts test I have taken since I was a pre-teen these three have been the top: serving, teaching and leadership. Every time. I love to do research and learn. I love to take what I have learned and share it with others in a way that challenges them. I hate ignorance, yes, NOT innocence. Some people should know different... and others have just not yet been taught. There is a difference. False teaching scares me and so I want to know the Truth- the Person and the facts.
Monday, November 13, 2006
I finally have couple moments to write an update. This weekend was extremely busy and I am exhausted. There is also a cold front moving in, which, without fail, gives me a headache. That or the lack of sleep.
(Since I wrote the above paragraph I have gone upstairs to my office, written emails, filed papers, had a meeting and answered 10 phone calls... excuse me, there is number 11. And a person walking in the building.)
So, what was I going to say when I started writing this post?
Friday, November 03, 2006
Oh, this is what I want to be able to say with confidence in my death. I lived, I loved, I served Christ and through it all made no sacrifices.
This Wednesday I began my new job at Initiative360 and OMF. It has been a pleasure and a joy to be in an environment where the main focus is to further the name of Jesus. Sure, programming, marketing, promotion, finance and communication are the functional peices of the puzzle- but the goal is the same.
As for some details:
- I WILL have two email addresses, two offices (plus the reception area) and A TON to do!!!
- I have met ALMOST all of the 80 people who work in the MissionPlex.
- I have neither of my computers.
- My office for OMF gets very warm- not good for a person that runs hot already. I brought my fan, just in case.
- Ann Marie brought me a bag of Dark Chocolate on my first day. They taste great, thanks my dear!
- I have not had a chance to write my dearest Dawn and email yet... and I feel horrible.
- I miss my "work" time with Katie and Dawn.
- I work three days this week, four days next week and five days the week following, then I have another three day week for Thanksgiving. I am SO grateful for the timing of this new job, God has been so good to ease my into a schedule that would have been OVERWHELMING if I have to jump in at 5 full-time days!
- I used the time change WAY for my advantage this year- seeing as how I need to LEAVE at the time I was GETTING UP!
- I miss my family, since I have not been with them much this week and this weekend I must go to Ft. Collins. ::Sigh:: such is life.
- Yogurt with granola is wonderful.
I hope all of you are well!!!
Friday, October 27, 2006
|You Are a Frappacino|
At your best, you are: fun loving, sweet, and modern
At your worst, you are: childish and over indulgent
You drink coffee when: you're craving something sweet
Your caffeine addiction level: low
|You Are Sunrise|
You enjoy living a slow, fulfilling life. You enjoy living every moment, no matter how ordinary.
You are a person of reflection and meditation. You start and end every day by looking inward.
Caring and giving, you enjoy making people happy. You're often cooking for friends or buying them gifts.
All in all, you know how to love life for what it is - not for how it should be.
|You Have Your Sarcastic Moments|
While you're not sarcastic at all times, you definitely have a cynical edge.
In your opinion, not all people are annoying. Some are dead!
And although you do have your genuine moments, you can't help getting your zingers in.
Some people might be a little hurt by your sarcasm, but it's more likely they think you're hilarious.
|You Are a Pegasus|
You are a perfectionist, with an eye for beauty.
You know how to live a good life - and you rarely deviate from your good taste.
While you aren't outgoing, you have excellent social skills.
People both admire you - and feel very comfortable around you.
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
I stand on the edge of a vast canyon. It is beautiful to gaze at, hold as a picturesque postcard and say I visited. Yet, the Lion invites me to step off the top and journey to the bottom, where ever that leads. I am scared. Comfort will be gone. Sacrifice will be manditory. He calls. I must follow.
Then, in my correspondence with the staff recruiter, I was given the link the organization's new website. Last summer Caleb Project and ACMC merged into one missional organization. They discussed a new name for months. Finally, it was decided.
Take it global.
So I clicked the link. I was astounded what I read. It was confirmation, exciting and fits my desires perfectly. And at one point it said exactly what I had expressed I needed to do: step off.
And as soon as the priests who carry the ark of the LORD
We're standing on the edge.
God, the Divine Initiator, is moving us
Watch God work. Step off. Believe.
And we're not alone.
God has chosen to bring His plan to completion
Standing together gives us the
Who knows what direction we might go?
Or how far?
It might be in your own neighborhood
It will take commitment and sacrifice
Our mission is about:
Step off. Step out.
Embrace God's mission.
Take the initiative.
When I read it for the first time I truly want to dance, shout for joy and cry! It sounds like my heart. It looks like my dreams. It is a challenge to the Church that I embrace.
Please go to www.takeitglobal.org to browse the current websites for Caleb Project International and ACMC. Also, I will be working for OMF International, started by none other than Hudson Taylor- one of my spiritual and missional heroes.
So, my official title for the position is Mission Plex Executive Assistant. Basically that means: I do what anyone wants me to do, hahaha. The Mission Plex is a building that houses OMF USA National headquarters and Initiative360 National headquarters (formerly Caleb Project and ACMC). There are 80 people total who work in the building and have to pass through the lobby welcome center. So for 8 hours of my work week I will be co-welcome receptionist to cover lunch for the main secretary, Ashley.
Second, I will be the assistant for OMF's Finance Director, helping her with accounting, filing, currency exchange documentation and donation processing. Third, and the only part of my job where I am officially working for Initiative360, I will be assistant to the Chief People Dude (his actual title). He is responsible for program development and implementation. He oversees all of the ministry avenues like Perspectives on the World Christian Movement, Encountering Islam, Vision Trips, etc. I will assist the people in those departments in what they need from the Chief People Dude. I will also be head of a new program, network organizer and springboard for new mission mobilization ideas.
I cannot believe this is happening. Definately a dream come true.
I am excited to see what God will do with me, in me, through me and for others as I take this step off. I pray that YOU will somehow be impacted by this adventure of mine by joining me in taking Jesus to the nations. And do not write me off by thinking that you have to go across the pond to the nations. If you haven't noticed lately, the nations have come to us. You have no excuse. Besides, God commands it. Take initiative. Pray for me that I will too!
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
A little info on this picture... it was taken in our backyard, while it was raining, Samuel is yelling at mom and I to not get wet and our dog is bringing toys to me as a hint it is time to play.
Check back later to see pictures of my siblings with the same background. Hope you all are having a great day!
Monday, October 16, 2006
Soon, though, the beautiful colors of Autumn will be replaced with naked trees, a dead earth and frigid temperatures as the area undergoes the change from one season to another.
My life has gone through many changes this past year and is about to take another drastic twist. I have been offered a job at Caleb Project International as Executive Assistant to the Human Resource department, Finance team and Mission Plex. I interviewed with the Finance Manager and the Executive Director last Thursday.
I must give them a decision by tomorrow morning. I am excited and scared to death at the same time. It would be an extreme amount of change all at once. My "work" time, including travel, would triple. My income would double. My freedom would be incredibly limited. My opportunity for missions and ministry would explode. My life would be poured into an area where my passion lies and yet it would consume me.
For over a year I have cried out to God telling Him that I do not want to continue pouring my life into insurance. It has been a wonderful job, stable, money-producing and flexible. I have asked God that when I leave insurance I want to be getting married or pursuing my desire to make Him famous through missional devotion. And if the mission work could be a paid position, it would be perfect.
And perfect God is.
For He has, it seems at this time, answered several desires and needs all at once. Still, there is a part of me, faithless and scared as it is, that wants to talk myself out of taking the job. I have no idea why. It seems like a sparkling gift is being handed to me and I turn my nose up at it as if it were a rotten egg. There would be a level of sacrifice for me, but all things good come at a price.
Goodness, Jesus died to make it possible for me to even THINK about having this job! I long to be faithful, to give my life for His story and to further His fame to the nations.
I stand on the edge of a vast canyon. It is beautiful to gaze at, hold as a picturesque postcard and say I visited. Yet, the Lion invites me to step off the top and journey to the bottom, where ever that leads. I am scared. Comfort will be gone. Sacrifice will be manditory. He calls. I must follow.
Please pray for me as a make the transition of a life-time.
After all, I am not one who is willing to waste my life.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
And I think it is a good idea.
~ Today, I have a job interview with Caleb Project International. Please pray that I will have wisdom as I gain information and make a final decision.
~ Today, my dad has a meeting/interview with our financial planner, who is a good friend. He has offered my dad a job that will focus on taking financial planning seminars to churches. Initially it will not pay as much as we need to pay the bills, but as the vision grows, so will the paycheck. I am very excited for my dad. Ron is an incredible man of God and will be a perfect mentor as my dad heals from ministry abuse- since Ron has faced it too. Ron is 15 years older than my dad and 15 years ago he left the ministry (as a career) because he was not willing to take the abuse from the laypeople any longer. I think my dad is encouraged that in 15 years he can be where Ron is. Praise God for encouragement and hope.
~ I am currently doing The Blazing Center Bible study by Desiring God Ministries with Katie and Ann Marie. The young adult group at my church is also doing this study, which is fun for me to have a bunch of my friends doing it at the same time.
~ I really, really, REALLY love my family.
~ Tomorrow, Ben records his first CD. His voice teacher and a producer are paying a local studio to record a demo CD- that will be forwarded to advanced producers in Nashville. Pray for Ben that he will be focused and have endurance. Pray that he has time to complete three songs! He will be in the studio for 9 hours, the time "professionals" use for half a song, but for a demo CD the songs do not have to be perfect, he just wants variety. Hopefully he will be able to upload the music to his MySpace page so that all of you can listen to it. :-)
~I love Autumn.
~ Saturday, the ARC Thrift Store is having a 50% off sale. I know because yesterday I was at the Dollar Tree that is right next to the thrift store... so of course I had to browse there too. I usually go straight for the books. Sadly, there is always a GREAT variety of AMAZING Christian books at the ARC. Yesterday my gold prize find was Dietrich Bonhoeffer's The Cost of Discipleship. I did a VERY risky thing. As an avid thrift store shopper, if there is a 50% off sale on Saturday, why buy it today? Still, there is the possibility that a. I will not be able to find it if someone moves it or b. it will be purchased. I guess I am willing to take that risk, although I have been thinking about it constantly, even praying that God would keep it safe for me!
~ I got my hair cut, 6 inches off in some places, and have yet to post a picture, sorry. I am loving it.
~ I am craving the chocolate no bake peanut butter cookies that are sitting at home.
~ When I left home this morning I had to carefully step over the four children playing "Samuel is falling down the stairs which we are pretending is a mountain" game. They quickly informed me that I was walking straight down the side of a cliff and needed to be careful.
~ We had fondue for dinner last night, an October tradition.
~ Timothy shared with us what he learned in history about Martin Luther. Did you know that Luther posted the 95 theses on October 31? I didn't! I think we should celebrate his life on that day instead of indulging in and supporting an otherwise dark "holiday." I would encourage all of you, if you have not already, to read this document. I have conveniently posted them on A Distant Thunder for you.
~ I have done something to my internet tool bar and have no idea how to fix it.
~ It is time to go, I must fix some kettle style popcorn for Katie and I.
Saturday, October 07, 2006
Now I see opposites in another light, like the colors on this map in the sanctuary at my church. There are two countries, both dear to my heart, that have solid colors dominating the map. My home country, The United States of America, is green, and the land I yearn to visit, India, is red. Red and green on this chart are opposites, extreme opposites, and here is why:
Dark Red- No Evangelical churches or Christians. No access to major Evangelical print, audio, visual or human resources.
Red- Less than 2% evangelical. Some Evangelical resources available, but no active church planting within the last two years.
Orange- Less than 2% Evangelical. Initial (localized) church planting within past two years.
Yellow- Less than 2% Evangelical. Widespread church planting within past two years.
Light Blue- Greater than or equal to 2% Evangelical.
Light Green- Greater than or equal to 5% Evangelical.
Dark Green- Greater than or equal to 10% Evangelical.
This map is a model which describes the progress of the gospel among the peoples of the world by considering:
1- The extent to which a people group is Evangelical.
2- Accessibility to the gospel.
3- Church planting activity, whether localized or widespread, within the past two years.
(This and more information, maps, charts and details at the IMB website.)
If you read my post about the Lausanne Covenant at A Distant Thunder, you will remember me saying:
When I look at this map of the "progress" of world evangelization I get both discouraged and excited. There is a lot of green in the Americas and Australia, but in comparision to the rest of the world, especially the Middle East and Asia, there is not enough. About 80% of the world's population has NO evangelical churches, NO active church planting, NO Christ-centerd spiritual influence, NO Jesus... NO hope, NO peace and NO love. You would think that the SOLID green country would be so overwhelmed with love for Jesus that they would take that love to the red country. Yet, India is starving spiritually while America is spiritually obese.
Since I was nine years old I have dreamed of visiting India and being a missionary there. When I saw this map a month ago that desire burned even deeper into my soul. There is too much red. TOO much red. So I want you to imagine...
IMAGINE growing up in a society where there was NO church, NO presence of Christ, NO freedom to walk into a place where YOU want to worship.
IMAGINE being told you are not good enough to enter Hindu temples because you are less than human.
IMAGINE being convinced, at a young age, that you are an outcast because you were evil in your past life.
IMAGINE living in a land where the cows eat more than the children because the beasts are considered holy.
IMAGINE being raisied to believe that the lighter your skin the more perfect you are.
Can you imagine?
No, you cannot.
India is home to 1/6 of the world's population numbering over 1 billion people, all of whom reside with the oppresive caste system. Almost 700 million of those are backward caste and lower caste citizens. A mere 5% are elite caste (priests doctors, lawyers), another 5% uppercaste (army, administrators) and 5% more as medium caste (commercial). Three out of five people you meet in India are below poverty line, with two of those three being a Dalit, or "untouchable."
Dalits are treated as less than human and are believed to BE a lesser creature than animals. They tan leather, remove human waste and bury the dead. They are required to get their food, supplies and clothes from strictly Dalit stores- that is if there are Dalit stores available. An uppercaste person (the top 15%) is considered cerimonally unclean if even the shadow of a Dalit falls on them. Dalit children are sold into slavery and women (starting around 10 years old) are used as sex slaves.
The Hindu religion tells them that they are Dalit because they were evil in their past life. The only way to escape being a Dalit in the next life is to be a perfect Dalit now. If they are perfect then maybe in their next life they will move up the ladder to being... an animal. The Hindu guide also tells them: their skin is dark so their heart is dark- light face, clean heart.
So what are we going to do about it? What are we going to do about the slavery, the oppression, the lies and the caste system? Many Dalits are already realizing that Hinduism equals the caste system and the caste system is controlled by Hinduism. They do not want to be Hindus if that is where their oppression is fostered.
They want to be free. There is only One Freedom Giver that can break the chains of oppression. I have a relationship with Him and He has commanded me to let go of my life for the sake of a country that is in bondage. Living a happy, comfortable, middle-class life is a wasted life. Risk is right when we claim to know Christ.
Please visit The Dalit Freedom Network website for more information on the Dalit people. Sponsor a child. Pray. Give money. Step out of your comfort zone. Go to India. (Just make sure to take me with you.)
Friday, October 06, 2006
Not that any of these are things to be proud of! Bold is what I have done.
01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
02. Swam with wild dolphins (They were in the same ocean I was swimming in, does that count? ;0)
03. Climbed a mountain (a couple of them…)
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula (her name was Rosie)
07. Taken a candlelit bath (not by choice, really, but the power was out!)
08. Said “I love you’ and meant it
09. Hugged a tree ( I was making fun of “tree-huggers”)
10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea (a couple years ago during hurricane Jeanne)
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game (I live near a big city, although I have NEVER been to a Bronco’s game, shame, shame)
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby’s diaper (just a few ::wink:: and many more someday, maybe MY children? ::sigh::)
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten tipsy on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity (this is relative to if I go over budget or if I am draining savings to give. I have done the first, but not the second, so maybe I have not given more than I can “afford.”)
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope.
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment. (like during church- and the pastor stops to ask if everything is ok, yeah, my mom was giggling too!)
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight (I live in Colorado!)
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster (oh, YES!)
35. Hit a home run (I can hit a baseball farther than some boys I know…)
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer (or three?)
40. Visited all 50 states (I am at 39, though!)
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk (yes and no)
42. Had amazing friends
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country (Rahela in Romania)
44. Watched wild whales
45. Stolen a sign (I watch someone switch the men's and women's bathroom signs, but we did not steal them... just a couple people's dignity! How embarassing...)
46. Backpacked in Europe (I had my backpack in Europe, does that count?)
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing (not with official gear, maybe, but enough to be dangerous!)
49. Midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized your CDs (it did not last long)
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day (what is ALL day? Only when I am sick…)
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theater
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken (do baby siblings count?)
69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on television news programs as an “expert”
83. Got flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one/both of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship
94. Spoken more than one language fluently
95. Performed in Rocky Horror
96. Raised children
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn’t stop when you knew someone was looking
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn’t have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Petted a stingray
110. Broken someone’s heart (I wonder if my story counts…probably)
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a T.V. game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a body part of yours below the neck pierced
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours (usually when sick or after getting home from overseas)
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
124. Visited all 7 continents (a goal of mine... 4 more to go!)
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school (back in relation to what kind of break?)
132. Petted a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad
135. Selected one “important” author who you missed in school, and read
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating (chicken and rabbit)
137. Skipped all your school reunions (If I won’t have any TO skip, does that count?)
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream (while standing in the middle of the African desert with a tribes-woman in her grass hut.)
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care (I did not personally have to make the decision, but I remember when my autn (who is only 45 now) went into hospice care because she has M.S.)
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn’t know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146. Dyed your hair
147. Been a DJ
148. Shaved your head
149. Caused a car accident (I hope not!)
150. Saved someone’s life
If anyone wants to waste their time and do the same, I would love to learn more, ummmm interesting things about you! :-P
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
A distant thunder rumbling in this generation... and it shall not be stopped, I say. Too much is at stake this time.
Thursday, September 28, 2006
Galant shared that at his church a guest speaker, who was from Iran and a former Muslim, had briefly mentioned Eastern countries being ‘shame based.’ He also touched on the reality that Western cultures are ‘guilt-based.’ Galant was disappointed that the man did not further explain the concept.
As you know, I am extremely passionate about spreading the message of Christ to all nations, languages, cultures and sub-cultures. There are not enough hours in the day for me to read and study the myriad worldviews that constitute humanity.
Humans are incredibly complex. There are no two people that are exactly the same. Similarly, cultures are complex and no culture is like another. Inside each group of people there are foundational beliefs and emotions which govern that culture’s general behavior. Their public actions, though, are only surface representatives for the undercurrent of their theology, philosophy, sociology and ethics.
There are three major classifications of cultures. They are the following:
1- Shame/ Honor based cultures
2- Guilt/ Innocence (or reward) based cultures
3- Fear/ Power based cultures
So I gave Galant an exercise that would declare what cultural worldview he possesses. Daniel Oh, a missionary trainer who travels around the world, taught a lecture at Perspectives on the World Christian Movement with this "quiz" as the central focus.
Have someone walk in front of you and drop something (like a pencil).
What did (or would) you say to them?
Before I share the explanation, here are some responses left in comments:
Galant answered- I'd go to pick it up and let them know they dropped it. "Excuse me...you just dropped this" - hold it out to them. Hopefully I'd smile, and then I'd go on about my business.
If someone walked in front of me and dropped something, I would pick it up for them, or attempt to pick it up for them and say, "Excuse me, you dropped this."
The easiest way to pinpoint a person's cultural base is to see where they place blame. There is one word in both of these answers that lets me know what culture base Kathie and Galant are from. Whether or not they meant to "blame" the person for dropping the item, they both said, "...you dropped..." They placed the blame on the person which leads me to conclude that they are from a Guilt/ Innocence culture.
People from the Shame/ Honor based culture would never think to say to a person, "you did this." Instead, they would pick the pen up and respond, "The pen fell from your hand" or "The pen jumped to the ground." Honor is so important to people from these cultures, that lying and cheating are better, if it honors a person, than bringing shame to someone.
Western cultures, such as the United States and England, are overwhelmingly guilt focused. Think about our advertisements, evangelistic strategies, laws, news and books. Everything is centered around who is right, who is wrong, what rewards we can get for doing right and who is being punished for thier bad choices.
Eastern cultures, such as Iraq, are overwhelmingly honor focused. People watch the news, of Iraqi men burning American flags and we blame, "Look at them. That is wrong." Yet, they are not thinking about right and wrong, they are trying to shame us and bring honor to their people. An incredible article, although lengthy, on Honor and Shame is here. They want more honor for themselves, their people and their families. They seek to honor others as a way to gain honor. They shame those who have brought shame.
The third culture, fear and power, is most commonly seen among tribal nations. Tribesmen fear spirits, disease and weather. The only way to overcome the fear is to be strong. If you have studied Jim Elliot and the time he spent with the Acuas, you will understand this culture a little bit. I encourage you to watch The End of the Spear, a movie about the missionaries to Ecuador, and the documentary Beyond the Gates of Splendor.
The most fascinating thing for me, as I have studied different cultures, is the reality that Jesus lived among people whose mindset flowed from honor/ shame. Many times when we read the Bible we filter passages through our guilt and reward biased mind. Did you know that when you talk to a person from an honor/ shame society they might answer a question with a question? They do this to bring honor to themselves by showing you that they can have a better question. Now, think about how Jesus related to the Pharisees. They asked a question. He responded with a question. And who had the question that left the other party speechless, bringing more honor to Himself (whether THEY realized it or not)? None other than- Jesus. Who honored those who were shamed by dining with them? Jesus. Jesus took the idea of honor/ shame and completely upset the basket.
Jesus and his apostles, like Paul, after Him, challenged people to honor others above themselves. This was a new concept. Honor one another above myself, my honor, my dignity? Think of them before I think of me? You have got to be kidding. Life is all about getting me honor and shaming others, isn't it? Not if you follow Jesus.
Neither is there blame or reward. Both cultures are seeking to make themselves look better, either through guilt or honoring self. Although two different worldviews, they lead us to the same place. Pride. And pride and the gospel cannot function together. Therefore, neither perspective is right all the way. We need the only One worthy of recieving honor, Jesus, to set us free. Since we are powerless to have a right relationship with Christ outside of His death and resurrection, we cannot boast. What can we boast about? There is no amount of honor that we can earn that will pay off our debt to God. There are not enough good things we can do to get a passage to heaven.
Jesus paid it all, for all cultures, for all times, for all worldviews and for all of humanity. He made Himself the center of the crisis, erased our debt and set those who believe free. So, honor one another above yourself. Let go of your guilt. Be free.
"Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.