Thursday, July 27, 2006

Well, we're settling in to life in the city of Red Birds, Grizzlies and the Pyramid. Barb and I have been on the fast track it seems the past few months and even now as we are looking for appropriate employment, a house (!), and growing a faith community that God would be proud of.
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Thursday, July 13, 2006

To Amarillo and Beyond

Whew, that was fast. We just crossed the Mighty Mississippi a few hours ago. We left on Tuesday around 2pm and arrived 2,600 miles later in Memphis tonight at 7pm. A few impressions of the country we are so blessed to live in. First of all, if you start in northern California it takes forever to even get out of the state into Arizona. Secondly, hot is hot no matter the humidity. It doesn't matter if it's 102 degrees with no humidity or 84 degrees with the heat index of 102 degrees--hot is hot. Thirdly, it pays to have a car with great gas mileage--well, in relation to most cars sold in the US. Fourthly, life is better ten miles per hour above the speed limit. Fifthly, they really do leave the light on for you. Even past midnight. Sixthly, it's very difficult to get a decent cup of coffee. That's why nation chains like The Mermaid (Starbucks) is appealing to me. I can go into any Mermaid--Corte Madera, SF, Amarillo, and Memphis and not exactly what I'm getting because of the amazing consistency.

Barb has several interviews with schools tomorrow in Memphis. We're hoping and praying. Do that with us, please.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Withdrawing Pennies and Getting Back Gold

I became a follower of Jesus when I was fifteen-years-old. I don't really know why it took me that long to get it, but it did. It was the best decision of my life--well, and the best decision of my afterlife also. Several months after I bowed the knee to Jesus I "surrendered to the ministry," as some call it. I simply said to Christ that there was nothing else I could ever see myself doing than teaching Scripture and helping others along the path toward faith in God through the work of Jesus.

In college I remember bowing down between my bed and my bookshelf and saying with fervency, "God, I'll go wherever you want me to go. I'll do whatever you want me to do. Just make the way clear. Make it evident. Provide the way. I just want to be about what you are doing in the world."

I knew then, and had for a while, that God was going to ask of all of me. That is, that God was going to use me up. He was going to ask all from me. The picture I drew in my head of what that looked like was something similar to martyrdom. I'd give my last drop of blood on the mission field somewhere--China, India, or some other foreign country. My body would be laid in a hero's grave. The preacher would wail about my godly, sacrificial life. I'd be loved in life and revered in death. Young women would cry in the afternoon sun. Simply--I thought God was going to draw out of my account and that he would do so by writing one big check.

What I've come to recognize and what I'm living with right now is this--he does and is drawing from my account. He hasn't written in my big check. No, it's been in a series of small checks in varying amounts. That's not to say that God has been nickel and diming me to death. No, that is to say that God knows how much is in my account and he knows exactly how much I can withstand. It's been in a series of small checks in varying amounts.

What I once thought was large, even to large, when I thought he had gone into overdraft, now is really small. It seemed big for the moment because back then my account was small. Ten dollars matters to an account of One hundred dollars. But one hundred dollars isn't as significant when the account is holding hundreds of thousands. Yes, those big withdrawals in the past look like pocket change now. It's a mystery to me.

This current check that he's written--well, at times I've been wondering if that comma was supposed to be a period. Surely he doesn't mean to withdraw that much. He's never asked that much from me before. He knows I can't take that. But what if something else comes up? What am I to do then?

So, since he hold the account anyway and knows my p.i.n. I (un)willingly accept that withdrawal. Why? Because he's bigger than me and I have a fear in him? Not unlikely. Because he can push me into bankruptcy and make me long for a recession of his presence? Hmmm. No. Well, because I know that he's really good at transfers. He has credited to my account over and over again. And as I reckon the account I see that he has always transfered more than he has taken out and that my account always increases. He has interest in me and that interest is paying big dividends. He has credited to my account all the riches and promises of heaven that have been secured through the benevolent work of Jesus Christ.

Oh, this current withdrawal is tough. But I know that one day I will reckon my account again and see that the transfer back in has not only filled the debit but has increased many times over.

No, I will not give my last drop on the mission fields on foreign soil. Not yet at least. The preacher will not wail and young women will not cry in the afternoon soon. But as I pack my bed and my bookshelf, and as I stand between them I am overwhelmed with the reality that he has stayed true to himself--he has provided, he has spoken, he is leading.

So now I say to you, friend, may the Lord bless you and keep you, cause his face to shine upon you. May he prove himself faithful to you as he withdraws pennies and gives back gold. May it be so among us also. Amen.