Tuesday, July 31, 2007

How We're Being Changed (a.k.a. What We're Learning) Part 1

(The first is a better question as too many of us habitually settle for the cognitive nature of the second.)

These past weeks have been tough on our family, with many national and foreign friends moving away, a lot of language struggles, and the change of plans in birthing our 4th child in Thailand where we will be displaced for 2 months. In this process, our zeal and impatience have had to be quite tempered. We are not promised anything in the short or long term, except his pleasure as we reflect on him, obey, and enjoy Him. This can be a hard pill to swallow. Oswald Chamber’s entry in “Utmost for His Highest” (July 28th) summarizes what we’ve been learning, entitled “Obedience…now what?”

One word of encouragement to us that we’d like to share with you comes from Ephesians 2:20, often overlooked when people teach on this passage. Paul remarks that we were “created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” There is great encouragement in this verse for it tells us that there are significant works for us to do which He has prepared for us! We all want to lived significantly; the problem comes when we start getting too choosy about which works those will be or the timing of them. Don’t get me wrong—we can forfeit significant living by indulgence in the comforts of the culture, by avoidance of pain, discipline and hardship, or ignored sin. However, there is much reason to rejoice when we realize that it is not up to us to create our own works of service and that in fact the Lord has sovereignly equipped (Eph. 4:7; Rom 12:6) and assigned us certain works to do. This ought to instill in us hope, patience, faith, and endurance when we are not doing the what we’d rather choose to do or in the timing we’d like. We must remember that even the great saints of Scripture could not have described the daily ins and out of their life by the few episodes we read about in Scripture (i.e. Moses didn’t see burning bushes and go through raging sees every day).

Friday, July 27, 2007

Close to Home Irrationality

Here is a quote from a former political and economic leader in a large Asian country: "The core content of communism is for everyone to get rich, for everyone to have ultimate or unlimited resources, for our morals to be elevated to the highest level. But to realize that, we have to take steps," [he] said. "It's not going to happen overnight." It is interesting how capitalistic this actually sounds since communism's greatest historical realization has exactly been that resources are finite, thus everyone could never be rich. It's an impossibility. Amazing how tasting even a little wealth has the power to corrupt, blind, undermine, make naive, and frustrate. I wish we Americans would not also believe the illusion which this quote portrays.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Beijing and Home

So here our travels begin. We took a train from our city into Beijing to pick up Carrie's cousin, her husband and their 8 month old. We also decided to go to the doctor and eat some Western food for Brad's birthday. As some of you know, the doctor's appointments did not go as planned, but the pizza (at a place called Kro's Nest for those ever in Beijing. It was wonderful!), the Mexican food and Starbucks were better than imagined. Here's the kids on the train. They have a new fast train that takes only two hours to get there.

Charis spent much of her time walking the aisles and mooching food from unsuspecting passengers.

Here's Malachi in a picture captured by spying paparazzi. This is us at the beach with our family. There's a great beach about 30 minutes away. Once you get over the speedos, the sights are great.

Selah and Charis enjoying the beach. It was really Charis' first time to enjoy the beach. She spent most of the time sitting and throwing sand.

This is my kind-of nephew (he's my cousin's son). Looking dapperly in his new shades.

Here's Charis, Malachi and I. Just wanted to show the fat pregnant woman. I'm not sure why fat is cute for a baby but not so much for a woman. I'm getting large...only about 8 weeks to go!

Here's the fam.

We also went to Olympic park with my family. It's an entire park dedicated to the upcoming Olympics. It's got statues and memorials and monuments, it's really great. We spent the morning there looking around.

We had a great time with our family. It was some much needed time of fellowship and refreshment. We went to the end of the Great Wall, Olympic park, downtown and just rested. We did get to do a free talk and parade around their 8th month old, but all in all it was a good combination of work and play.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

From Beijing to Thailand

It's been a while since we wrote, but in the past week, we've travel
to Beijing, had family visit, been to two hospitals for pregnancy
checkups, been rejected by one because we were foreigners, found our
the baby is measuring big (early perhaps), and that we'll have to
have the baby in Chiang Mai, Thailand, which means we'll be out of
the country for 6-8 weeks. Yep, we're not pleased about that, but so
life goes. We'll have friends who can help us there but the time away
from the Chinese language and people will be a set back. We just have
to be patient. Keep us in mind as we go through the whirlwind on
logistics and challenges facing us in the coming weeks and months.

Christianity in China

Here is an interesting article for those who are interested in a
brief account of Christianity in China: http://



Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Right Now Counts Forever

The night is gone
There is no moon,
another missed opportune

The day now wanes
the kids asleep so soon
and for what was left no room?

We long to live without regrets
so strange the sacred that we fear
and still the sacred brings a tear

Oh how I hope in someday still
I pray with sweat upon my brow
how to live forever, here and now.

Monday, July 16, 2007

We are going to Beijing for a few days. We'll pick up my cousin, her
husband and their 8 month old. We are going a day early in order to
indulge in some Western food. Carrie will go to the doctor for the
first time since April, just to check up on how the baby is doing.
We're rounding the corner to his delivery.

We are excited to have visitors and will post some pictures of their

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Money and Happiness

Why are scholars looking at this? Didn't Solomon already figure this out in Ecclesiastes?

"Scholars ask: Why Can't Money Buy Us Happiness": http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19709408/site/newsweek/

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Interesting Articles on China

"Neglect, tourism besiege Great Wall": http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19679449/

"The Toxic Republic: For Profits Sake, China's People are getting poisoned": http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19649894/site/newsweek/

Monday, July 09, 2007

The difference between "diligence" and "hastiness"

At lunch, we were talking today about how much of a disservice things like dishwashers, microwaves, TVo(?), cell phones, Starbucks, fast food, and other similar things do to us. In fact, we commented on how desperately we need to watch out for these things in that they create in us strong desires that completely skew our understanding of the Lord's purposes. For example, today I was reading Proverbs 21:5 and had no idea what was the difference between "diligence" (which is said to lead to abundance) and "hastiness" (said to bring poverty). In my little eyes, being diligent has always meant hastening the result.

Diligence inherently implies endurance, perseverance, and patience. Hastiness leads to quiting when things don't go as fast as we want. Consequently, because our instant American culture demands everything now, we Americans quit marriages, quit waiting in "too long" a line, complain about everything, get addicted to pornography or food, have bad expectations of ourselves, our kids, our spouses and friends; we assume God doesn't listen to prayers, assume God isn't acting or that we're being disobedient. Typically, we Americans have no clue what diligence is. We're simply hasty but we call it "hard work".

This lifestyle is so pervasive, dangerous, joy choking, and down right evil, it will require all of us to serious watch and fight against the sin. All sin kills. Sometimes though we can begin to sarve it with fasting, prayer,, confession, genuine accountability relationships. We find ourselves discouraged by unreal expectations we put on ourselves. We hope you will join us in putting to death these worldly, cultural values with all diligence.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

East meets Eastside

So it's a hard day for our family. Our best Chinese friend, Iris, just got her visa approved to go to England with her husband. He is already there and she will be joining him for the next 10 months while he works. They might even be able to extend, depending on his future with the company. She's been a main stay in our family both this time and last time we were here. She's also both Brad and I's tutor. So needless to say, we spend a majority of our week with her. She's also the one who got married when we first arrived. We've been helping her secure the visa, so we knew this was coming, and I think it's going to be a great thing for her to go. She's looking to leave in the next week or two. Our last day with her is tomorrow. She'll be over here all day and most of the night, so please think over our time with her.

We are rejoicing at His great plans. Continue to think of her as she processes the things we have shared with her. The kids are sad and so are we. Here's a picture of them dancing the other day. We refer to this picture as "East meets Eastside," because they are dancing to old school Grits.

Here are the kids in our "Castle!" It came complete with a jail, a garden and window treatments.

Charis and mom after bath time. She's almost a year and a half. Oh ya, did we say that she's got chicken pox?! So much for that vaccine we put her through.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Malachi's priorities

Malachi told us over breakfast that there are 2 things he wanted to do today. He said "Today I want to enjoy the world and WRESTLE." "Just those two things."

And on most days wrestling=enjoying life to its fullest

Monday, July 02, 2007

For once, a logical discussion on a moral issue

Check out: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19486507/site/newsweek/page/0/

It’s an article on MSNBC sorting out the moral arguments around embryonic stem cell research.

This is probably first logically consistent article I’ve read on the topic; I wish he had gone farther and exposed the logical inconsistency of opposing embryonic stem cell research yet endorsing birth control pills. After all, one on the ways that birth control pills work is that they stop an egg (if it gets fertilized) from implanting. (For more on the birth control topic, check out a shorter article: http://www.epm.org/articles/bcp3300.html  or for the longer text: http://www.epm.org/articles/bcp5400.html



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