Sunday, May 29, 2005
if i could, i would see it all...every place Your hand created. i think i'd like to start right there. so close to You that the kiss of the clouds breathes like You on my neck. i feel like i'm dreaming just looking at this place. Jesus, let me live the dream.
Saturday, May 28, 2005
here is what floods my mind as i ponder the last 7 months (in no particular order):
catching up with good friends
taking a class on world missions
lots of rock climbing
traveling to California
getting rid of my debts so i can be prepared to "GO!"
being blown away by the Word
walking away from the Word
returning to the Word
being challenged in an amazingly HUGE "SmiG"
preparing to "lead" a team to Namibia
being happy with being single
being frustrated with being single
being overwhelmed with God's provision
driving in a blizzard
returning to Youth ministry
singing whenever possible
emailing people all over the world
working night shift
sleeping during the day
losing a lot of sleep
eating ethnic food
being called "Schmanda" a lot
quoting Napoleon Dynamite
did i mention rock climbing?
cutting my hair
enjoying my church
getting a new tattoo...
yeah, that's pretty much what i've been up to, i guess.
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
Thursday, May 19, 2005
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
a terriffic trio. thanks, K.
a cool spring evening was the perfect setting for a long-overdue roomie chat. the sun began its decent and slowly fell into night as Kristi and i perched on our stools overlooking the brick-hewn streets of the Oregon District. sipping hot cappucinos we gazed through the glass of the Fifth Street fishbowl as college kids giggled and flirted at their street-side tables, and "tighty-whitey" man peddled by on his bike. (technically, they were red, not white, but i digress, and kristi still gets points for "best-fitting nickname of a stranger") conversation flowed as easily as the coffee was poured, and i'm reminded of countless evenings at Barnes and Noble, discussing the Word and dreaming up decor for the house i was sure someday to buy and of course we'd be roomates. hey, come on...the other half of my brain, right? or the infamous canada road trip with PB&J from the backseat and gas station threats that have now become so comical. or random times at gloria's house painting the fence, taking summer walks and visiting AJ, or making collages upstairs.
and again, God demonstrates that sisters in Christ never have far to walk back toward one another, even when the distance and time seems to have flown by. love you girl.
Sunday, May 15, 2005
CHALLENGES FOR PRAYER:
There are numerous signs of spiritual ill-health in the nation. The catastrophic impact of Marxist ideology in the Communist 'Democratic' Republic (GDR) accelerated the secularization and de-Christianization of society. The Church is widely perceived as irrelevant and marginalized. Although 70% of the people claim to be christian, only 45% believe in a personal God, and mere 8% worship regularly. There is increased open hostility to anything Christian. The occult, alcoholism, Satanism and a New Age worldview are on the rise. Pray that the spiritual blindness of most of the nation may be removed and these trends reversed. The post-war exodus from organized Christianity accelerated during the last decades of the 20th Century. This is worst in the old GDR where 80% are unchurched. By 2000 only 5% of the protestant membership and 18% of the Catholics were active participants in church life. Overall, only 3% of German men are actively involved in the Church.
praises to my God for giving His money to send me to Africa! at the start of the week, i still owed $1,012 towards my trip. (due on May 25th) between monday and friday He gave me $800! that means (for all you non-math types) only $212 left! and guess what else He has done? today He provided a profit sharing check (under the guise of Kettering Hospital - my employer) that is $288. so, in one week, God gave me over $1,000. isn't He good? anyone want to sit there and tell me that our Heavenly Daddy doesn't want to lavish good gifts on us? In one week, He reinforced to me that the earth is His, and ALL that is in it. He has made it perfectly clear to me that He is able to pay off my student loan debt as quickly as He would like, and that when He does, I will be moving. and i don't think its too much for me to believe that He might just want to do that before the end of this year. bring it!
this is me strapped in, and holding on tight for the ride!
Saturday, May 14, 2005
OPERATION WORLD COUNTRY OF THE DAY: GEORGIA
ANSWERS TO PRAYER:Since independance in 1991, interest in spiritual things and the Christian faith in particular has increased greatly. The former department of Atheism at the national university is now a theological faculty.
CHALLENGES FOR PRAYER:Evangelical ministries have been repressed, their work maligned as sectarian. They had had problems in acquiring buildings and the necessary permits for holding meetings. There have been incidents of meetings broken up, sometimes violently, and materials confiscated. Pray for true religious freedom, as some Orthodox leaders have sought to deny non-Orthodox Christians the opportunity to build churches and evangelize openly. Pray also for healing of the deep divide and disunity between the Baptists and the Pentecostals, which form the major component of the evangelical witness in Georgia.
Thursday, May 12, 2005
77% of Gabon is dense tropical rain forest. The official language is French. Exports are wood, oil and minerals.
CHALLENGES FOR PRAYER: Gabonese Christians need teaching and pastoring to mature, but the first step is to train national pastors and leaders for this. Pray that God might raise up those equipped for the task. Pray for the mission agencies working among the people of Gabon. The Babinga people, or Pygmies, live in the virgin forest and are despised by the other peoples.
The CMA and Deeper Life are working among them and are seeing much responsiveness to the gospel and many conversions.
cheep! cheep! cheep!
has anyone ever seen "The Music Man"? at work tonight i felt like i was stuck in the middle of the gaggle of women who sing that song above...*sigh*...is it time to go home yet??? i am reminded of the Word where it says that a woman's beauty is in the inner quiet spirit. i think that a godly woman's beauty lies in her quiet spirit because that is where Jesus lies. because without Christ, i think that a woman's tendancy is toward talk like the above - gossip, backstabbing and boasting to ease their insecurities. i've seen it in just about every secular social circle i've been a part of and definitely in my workplace - past and present - a field in which there is a high percentage of female workers. it's absolutely draining!
but what a breath of fresh air it is to be around my sisters in Christ. the whole atmosphere is... just different. i appreciate you ladies and your willingness to allow Christ to change that natural bent toward those tendencies that i often see within women. and praise be to God for giving light to my eyes, so that i may not sin against Him. praise to Him for calling me out, setting me apart, and giving light to my eyes to see the darkness of those "gaggle" type conversations.
Jesus, give me wisdom and show me how to respond. show me how to not only keep myself pure, but how to approach the darkness and bring the light.
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
a constant battle...
ego vs. Holy Spirit
self vs. God
any wise believer can look at those odds and in a second determine the winner. but some days i choose to align myself with the losing side.
case in point - sunday night i linked arms with my ego and made myself comfortable in self-pity. i sank into my couch and mulled over the thoughts swarming through my head, getting ready to do battle aginst the One who never loses. the battleground was this statement:
"Singles, the way for you to be fruitful and multiply is through evangelism."
ok, i know that to many people the above statement gave them peace, a sense of understanding, a realization of sorts. not me. in all honesty, i was angry. i felt slighted. wronged. i wanted to stand up and shout, "what the heck? that's your answer? Unfair!" it just seemed too simplistic to me; a pat-on-the-back easy answer to satisfy the elephant-in-the-room question that so many had. why? because everyone is commanded to produce spiritual offspring through evangelism, right? how is it that evangelism is my "substitute" for marriage and children when those who are married with children also get it too? it felt like i was getting either/or, while they get both/and. round one of self.
i think Rob hit it exactly right when he said this: "our culture has elevated an act of sexuality to the point of defining us." and that we "deify sex." if i may be so bold i will add on that we deify romantic relationships in general, sex being a progression of the former. i have lived for 28 years being conditioned to believe just this. it's so difficult to divorce myself not only from the conditioning of my culture, but from even my Christian brothers and sisters who, although well intentioned and often full of joy, have made statements to the effect of the following: "once i experienced the birth of my child, i had a deeper understanding of God, an understanding i just couldn't grasp before becoming a father/mother." it sounds beautiful, but let's hope this isn't true. for if it is, than how is a single person ever to reach that "deeper understanding ungraspable" without being a parent? it's so difficult to hear things like this and not feel as though on a "lower plain" of understanding. we live in a culture that elevates relationships to the status of completion. here's the paris hilton quote: "i want to have kids in the next two years because i know that completes your life." no lie. that is what she said. and i venture to say that whether they'd admit it or not, many people would agree. it's hard not to buy into the thought that this world is about searching for that someone, and when you find them, success!
because marriage is seemingly placed on a pedastal above singleness, i find myself thinking that the worship experience and outcome of sex in a godly marriage is somehow higher on the ladder than glorifying Him through song, or prayer, or evangelism. and i in my self-pity thought, "i may never be able to experience God and worship Him like this...boo-hoo...Unfair!"
and a voice spoke to my heart that said, "since when is one person's worship better than another? or one type of worship higher than another, amanda?
is not worship based on the heart, not matter how it is expressed? and you speak of unfairness...there is a man who longs to dance for joy and worship Me as david did, but he is in a wheelchair. is it fair? there is a woman who hears how sunsets display My spleandor and show my artistic side - but she doesn't know what they look like, for she is blind. is it fair? there was a king who was beaten and hung on a cross for those who think mostly of themselves. of which you are one. He died in place of you. is it fair? but even so, I have given countless ways for you to worship - many that you don't even take advantage of...and yet you long for the one way I have not given you."
how like a child am i - having millions of toys, yet longing for that which she sees others have. have i been faithful in worshipping with what i have? if not, how can i even begin to call out, "unfair" when i see what others have that God has not seen fit to give me? and when i think of His return, or the day i shall stand before Him in His glory, awaiting His perfect judgement of the life lived, none shall stand there with husband or wife.
alone with Christ.
all will be single.
Isaiah 65:17 - "For behold, I create a new heavens and a new earth. and the former shall not be remembered or come to mind."
as beautiful a gift that godly earthly marriages are, they will not be remembered or come to mind. no pedastal. only Christ.
Friday, May 06, 2005
Challenges for prayer - Pray for a fresh movement of the Holy Spirit. Although the Faeroes have complete freedom of religion and the majority claim Christianity, they are part of a largely nominal state Lutheran Church. Pray that God would make the Faeroes worshippers in Spirit and in Truth, not merely in name only. Also, Christian growth is hampered by a lack of trained, godly, leaders, and secularization.
*the Doulos had recently left the Faeroes when i began my time onboard. it was a highlight for many of the ship's company. everyone told me how beautiful this place is. and most of the fish we ate onboard came from their time in the Faeroes, as fishing is the country's major industry. there are several Faeroese believers who made a decision join the ship's company following the Doulos' visit to their country.
things that are making me smile today:
emails from the Swede who's melting in the hottest parts of the world
bear threats: "Gimmie all your food!"
becoming more aware of prayer
home-cooked breakfasts by similar-souled friends
one more day till the weekend!
my mom and dad
Thursday, May 05, 2005
The main export is coffee. Pray for Ethiopia when you drink your morning brew!
Challenges for prayer - the muslim advance. their numbers are growing significantly, with converts from animism and the Orthodox Church. muslims strengthened their position under Marxism, and have launched a massive campaign for the Islamization of Ethiopia by penetrating Christian areas with the offer of bribes and mosque-building programes - many were reported to have been built during the time that many Christian churches were being closed. pray for breakthroughs among the muslim peoples.
i love those days when God breathes down your neck all day long and you can't wait to meet with Him. and when you finally steal a moment away it's like at long last you're with the one who has been courting you and you can breathe deep of Him and rest in His arms.
i've missed it so much. why in the world do i settle for the call of lovers much less wild?
Wednesday, May 04, 2005
and worshipped. his son had just died due to the consequences of his sin. God told him that his sin would cause the death of his son. david prayed, fasted and mourned anyway, hoping God would spare the son. when He did not and the child died, david worshipped. am i as stubbornly hopeful? am i as faithful after my own wrong choices to sin? do i hope for grace, yet in seeing justice, am i filled with worship? can i obediently worship and accept God's justice and grace?
Jesus, show me how to worship through my bad choices and my sin. show me how to accept grace and worship the God of this grace instead of allowing the enemy to guilt me into silence - to sulk away ashamed. i am a child of the King. a prodigal. YOU have been awaiting my return and rejoice with dancing when i turn homeward. Thank YOU for remaining faithful in the midst of my unfaithfulness. YOU are faithful.
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24