Dating in Antiquity

I’m in the middle of a study on the book of Exodus for a teaching I hope to give at a kids camp in July. I discovered this fascinating book called The Pentateuch As Narrative. Although my roommate informs me that it’s not a universally intriguing title, I was drawn in by it. Here’s why- I love stories. I love stories of all kinds: true, fiction, short, long, funny, disturbing or serious. I came to discover, last year while doing the School of Biblical Studies, that the Bible is chalked FULL of true and interesting stories.

I see that yawn/eye roll. But don’t give up yet. In studying about Moses, I found a treasure that I want to investigate with you. All throughout the Bible (from cover to cover) are themes and connections. The connections are sometimes too big picture for us to catch and certainly too subtle for a cursory reading.

Here’s what jumped out today: this book about the Pentateuch (the first 5 books of the Bible, written by Moses) points out that Moses met his wife by a well (Ex. 2:15-22). Not only that, but she was not a Hebrew (not so shocking for us, but for the original reader, this would have been noteworthy). This is a pattern with many of God’s chosen men preceding Moses. Isaac (Gen. 24), Jacob (Gen. 29) and Judah (Gen. 38) also met the mother of their children (all foreigners) at a well. These are not just men, these men are the ones through whom God promised to get the whole world blessed (ancestors of Jesus).  Although Moses is not an ancestor of Jesus, he is a foreshadow of Jesus in that he delivers God’s people from slavery into the land of promise (The book of Matthew shows the parallels between Moses/Israel and Jesus in detail)…. Continue reading “Dating in Antiquity”

Burnout For Jesus

I felt a call to be a missionary when I was 17yrs old. It started with a concert put on by an organization called Operation Mobilization. I read a book written by the guy leading the organization (George Verwer) and I started filling out an application to join them. It was part way through the application that my heart sunk right to the floor…

They wanted to know if I’d ever struggled with depression.

Bummer. I had and I did.

At that point I actually allowed the question to stop me from moving forward. I can’t remember if I thought I might ‘get better’ and be able to apply later on or if I just lost hope in fulfilling this great calling.

Four years later I went to Bible college for a year because I thought maybe this would be the preparation that I needed to finally become a missionary. Unfortunately, I didn’t do very well academically. The only class that I passed the second semester of my freshman year was Christian Missions. It was in that Christian Missions class that I began to understand a little bit more about what missions might actually mean… but it was a strange lesson. A few books I read informed me about the experience of past missionaries; From Jerusalem to Iryin Jaya, Bruchko, Perspectives on the World Christian Movement, and a book that pertains to ministry, A Man Called Peter. There were others, but these are the ones that stick out to me…. Continue reading “Burnout For Jesus”

Inner Healing, Outer Armor

This week the students are learning about spiritual warfare. Their speaker is a power house of a guy named Wes Tullis. His teaching method is much more circular and story oriented than our Western minds are used to, but it’s also kind of blowing my mind.

In my own DTS (in 2003)  the speaker used the book of Ephesians to teach on spiritual warfare. Things like knowing the truth about who God is and who we are in Christ. There was more to it, but her basic message was about living from that place of truth to stand against the enemy because it is God’s power which has already defeated that enemy.

Secular humanists would say there is no spiritual realm and Spiritualists (or animists, Buddhists, Hindus, etc) would say there really is no physical realm but only spiritual. As a follower of Christ, I believe that both physical and spiritual are real. Whatever your beliefs are about angels and demons, the spiritual realm is real and is intrinsically linked to what happens in the physical realm- both directions.

There are two things I want to share on this topic… Continue reading “Inner Healing, Outer Armor”

What it Takes

Last week I had my first meeting with a Life Coach. You know what that’s all about, right? Of course.

I don’t want to speak too soon, but it’s pretty awesome. Digging deep into the root of problems is one of my favorite things to do. No, really. I mean it. I also like to eat ice cream and lay near the ocean and listen to the surf come in and out. I won’t say they’re all equal, but since I’m not eating sugar and the beach is several hundred miles away, I’ll settle for poking at inward hurty places.

Here’s why; God shows up. He just barges right into these situations and speaks the truth…. Continue reading “What it Takes”

We Want to See

I’m reading this book called We Want to See Jesus by Roy and Revel Hession. It’s one of those old little paper-backs with everything so richly worded and meaningful that, though it is this tiny sliver of a book, it is packed full of good stuff.

He’s talking about how, as followers of God we often look for ways to serve or ways to be better people above looking for God Himself. But that no matter how much we serve, if we are not seeking God first, our efforts will merely be selfish and prideful striving.

But how do we want God? My normal way is to have a few days a month when I am just longing for Him specifically. The rest of the time I either just want to want Him or it doesn’t even occur to me to want Him

CS Lewis, in The Problem of Pain said, “It is natural to wish that God designed for us a less glorious and arduous destiny… It is a burden of glory, not only beyond our deserts, but also, except in rare moments of grace, beyond our desiring.”

And then Hession says, “Left to themselves, men arrive at a false knowledge of God, a knowledge that only begets fear and bondage, and which repels men rather than draw them to Him.”

What do we do?… Continue reading “We Want to See”

Birds Have Nests

The simple definition of sojourner is “a temporary resident”. To me the word conjures up so much more.

As we were reading Exodus, I was moved by the command in 23:9 which says “You shall not oppress a sojourner. You know the heart of a sojourner, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.”  God is talking to people of Israel who had spent the last 400 years as slaves in Egypt. They were clearly not treated like honored guests there, but driven hard. They were oppressed, to be sure.

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Anytime, too that either Exodus or Leviticus talks about a Sabbath rest of any kind, it mentions the sojourner or the “alien” among them… Make sure they also get to rest. Any guest should be treated like family. Conversely in Leviticus 25 it talks about what you should do when your own brother is too poor to own his home or even “maintain himself” (vs. 35), you are to treat him like a sojourner- you won’t make him work for you like a slave, but treat him as an honored guest.

There is God, being funny again. Treat strangers like brothers and brothers like strangers. It actually makes so much sense, right?.. Continue reading “Birds Have Nests”

The Guts of my Heart

Somehow we always want fairy tale endings even right smack in the middle of our lives. Am I right?

The last year or so I have felt a kind of fairy tale take-off  happening within my heart in a way that is, I think, slightly deceiving. This is what it is like to straddle adulthood. To try the balance beam of “going somewhere”.
But it’s kind of a lie, to be honest. Because here is the thing; after having several years blast the daylights out of me, blast so much soot and the childhood scars away and the unreal expectations and the misplaced fanciful hopes… AFTER such a few years, when I’ve rinsed off what had come undone (which was a lot), stand up straight (which feels like, and possibly is a miracle), and head back into the fray (and by that I mean purposeful living), I realize that the mini-Armageddon of the soul I had just experienced was merely round 1…. Continue reading “The Guts of my Heart”

We Want to See Jesus

First week of the second quarter done!  The main low for the week was that it was possibly more work than we’ve had thus far (is that true?) studying the book of John, but my brain’s inability to engage and work quickly was disappointing to the extreme.
This last year I have learned a lot about how to push myself beyond what I think (thought) I can do but this last week really threw me. So I worked steadily and did not give up, but I also did not finish charting the whole book.

That’s a little sad considering that the book of John is so amazing but here is the high for the week.

God kept showing up. What I saw most clearly in this book is Jesus Himself. I saw him exhausted as he sits by a well in Samaria. When the woman shows up, a sparkle enters his eyes as he knows he will get to reveal himself a bit to her. Then the disciples show up, confused that he’s talking to a Samaritan woman and when she leaves to go tell the people in her village Jesus is awash with excitement- exhaustion forgotten, hunger extinguished- he joyfully anticipates all the people who are about to show up and encounter their Lord…. Continue reading “We Want to See Jesus”

Whole Hearted

Life, as a concept is much like a real human being. Blood and bone and muscles… gooey organs packed into a flesh container. It seems pretty precarious and complicated – how it functions, grows and then deteriorates. And so many things effect its processes.

There are positive equations- exercise, vegetables, sunshine, sleep. Friendship, hugs, worship of God, rest.
And negative, too- laziness, sugar, drugs, insomnia. Enemies, loneliness, self-centeredness, distraction.

We think if we just do enough of those positive things to tip the scales then life and body should be good. But there are always factors outside of our control.
And where does “inner peace” come from? Do you experience it? I know that I do and sometimes the distance between inner war and inner peace is merely shifting my focus. Sometimes it’s a matter of doing battle against whatever is coming against the peace. Sometimes I have to do battle with myself.

Where am I going with all of these random thoughts?… Continue reading “Whole Hearted”

let us press on

Depression does funny things to the mind. Maybe funny isn’t the right word.
I have certain certainties in my mind and I know I’m not just having a bad day when those certainties pop up like a broken photo link in my heart and mind.

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But maybe there are good things to be found in the land of emptiness and question marks and broken links. It definitely leads me to pay closer attention, ask deeper questions, walk more gently with my feet, pray more thoughtfully.
Am I just repeating the things I always pray? Am I handing people comfort or advice out of some prepackaged place in my head?
Am I listening?

I am listening.
And tired, too. And restless…. Continue reading “let us press on”

Influence vs. Propaganda

Today I am thinking about influence and propaganda.

I had a really good conversation with my friend Gorm about “social campaigns“. We studied social campaigns briefly in the communications course I recently took and although I did not have time to really dive deeply into the ramifications of it, I had warring thoughts in my mind about the rightness of them…. Continue reading “Influence vs. Propaganda”

Wherever You Go

Great change is required inside me for there to be great change on the outside.

I don’t think that is an exact quote, but I heard something like this on Sunday and it just came back to me as I was sitting here. I had a photo shoot yesterday with some friends and I was here at the computer to edit them.  I also needed to call someone with YWAM in Colorado to tell them that I will not be coming as soon as I had previously estimated, partially because I am broke.

Confused is a good word to describe how I feel. How much detail should I go into here on the internet?
I think, for one, that it fits with my personality to wrestle with decisions, directions and changes. I just do that. Sometimes I wonder if I overdue this part of the process. On the other hand it’s possible that I need the struggle to somehow prepare me for the eventual change…. Continue reading “Wherever You Go”

The Excellence of Joy

Several things want to burst out of my head and go galloping across this page.
I’ll start with the first and hopefully I will not get lost in a tangent and forget the big second thing.

Excellence
Last week this woman, a prophet, came and prayed  over us in class. Whatever you may think of prophesy or prayer, this woman was a beautiful, loud and honest version of wonderful. She said something to me about my desire for excellence in the details. At first I thought she was saying that I’m Detail Oriented, which would be an extremely inaccurate way to describe me. Unlike my mother and most of my close women friends, I am not a bean counter or an organizer. I do not get so much joy from making lists and checking them twice.
What she really meant was that I am Beauty Oriented…. Continue reading “The Excellence of Joy”

Part of You Pours Out of Me

Growth is painful. I attest to this.
Do I have to ask whether it is worth it?

Would I change the things I have gone through if I had the choice? This question has always bothered me a little. I wouldn’t want to boil down my hard times to one or two “why”s. Oh, THIS is why that happened. I don’t want to do that because it seems to limit the ripple effect of growth.

Today a friend payed me a high compliment by saying that he enjoys how honest I am with myself… not just honest to others about who I am, but honest with myself about who I am. After he said this I considered how it would be if I did otherwise… or rather, how it is when I do otherwise. I constantly come back to the reality that I must always live with myself. I cannot get away from me, no matter what I do or where I go. I am with myself when I wake up in the morning, at my side all day, and then, still there when I lay down to sleep at night….. Continue reading “Part of You Pours Out of Me”

Principles of Effective Procrastination

For class I’m reading this book called The Revolutionary Communicator. I’m having a difficult time focusing because my head is all over the place- thinking about other assignments and decisions about the future. Both the assignments and the future seem very overwhelming today. To be honest, I do not feel great right now.

So I’m pushing myself to read- and it really is a good book.  It talks about seven principles Jesus lived to impact, connect and lead.  I don’t really think Jesus was ticking little check marks next to his interactions with people, “I was definitely authentic with that person“, “ I’m going to connect with this lady through questions“… Clearly, being what John calls The Word, he has an inherent handle on communication. But having 7 principles is good for those of us who are not Jesus…. Continue reading “Principles of Effective Procrastination”