Sunday, December 28, 2008

All I Want for Christmas...

I have about 200 pictures of my sister's trip with us. I'll post a few now and some more later. She stayed about 2 weeks at our place and just kind of meshed into our daily routine.

We went to a German, Chinese, Brazilian BBQ place for Christmas Eve dinner. We had the traditional Christmas Eve fare: garlic chicken hearts, broiled fish-head included, garlic pickled pork belly. Ya know, all the classics. And who doesn't have a young Chinese guy dressed as a cowboy and outfitted with a medical mask at their party?!

We had a blast with Carrie's sister and her 8 month old, Grae. Grae had all the old ladies cooing when they saw her. They all said she was SO white and SO fat. So for the rest of the time, her Chinese name was "white and fat." I taught my sis how to knit; she met with lots of our friends; we went to parks; made and distributed cookies, cards and gifts; hung out; prayed and drank too much coffee. It was a wonderful balance of hang out time, rest and getting to know China. At the end of her trip, Carrie, Kim and Grae met up with Kim's in-laws in Beijing. We walked around a more traditional area and took tons of pictures. I'll post those another time. My sister's an incredible photographer, so it was really fun for me to get to take pictures alongside her.

This is a frozen lake. People and sheep were skating, sledding, riding and walking all over.

Here's Kim and her mother-in-law eating some local snacks. It was a beautiful day to be outside and enjoy the Beijing smog.

A guy changing some electrical wiring. Who needs ladders really?!

Kesed and his new best friend, Grae. The two of them got along really well, it was really cute.

Having her here was so much fun. She is such a blessing to me, my family and now to our friends here in the city. I've cried now, multiple times. She was here for about 2 1/2 weeks, which was just long enough to make it feel like she was supposed to be living here with us. She was a wonderful minister and friend to all of us. So until next time....We Love You!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

A "Personal Relationship" With Jesus

The Apostle John obviously had a very close, personal relationship with John. He was the disciple whom Jesus loved who laid on Jesus' chest at the Lord's supper, one of the three closest disciples. This language of having "personal relationship" with Jesus is the centerpiece of modern evangelicalism. Notice what happens in Revelation 1:17, when John sees Jesus:

"When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead."

Having a "personal relationship" with Jesus is no casual matter that is in anyway conducive to habit, trivialities, or apathy. To fall on our faces as though dead means we're doing something far more weighty and pregnant with meaning than catching up on to-dos, blog and email, or watching the latest news report or TV episode, or whatever other seemingly important thing we have to do each day.

We're compelled to ask ourselves, "Do I [practically speaking] regard my 'personal relationship with Jesus' with this sort of trembling and single mindedness?"

Friday, December 26, 2008

America: The Most Dangerous Place to Raise a Child

We have heard so many times that it's dangerous to raise our kids overseas, or that it's a disservice to them to rob them of America. In some form or fashion, people often say this to us.

Luke 8:14 counters this idea: "And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature."

It is far more dangerous for our kids to live amid the laxity, entertainment, addiction to comfort, apathy, affluency, and gluttony of America than here or anywhere else. These things may rob them of their souls. By contrast, the most dangerous places in the world or merely those that lack America's conveniences all offer our kids the life-giving chance to see what really matters, to live intentionally, as foreigners in the world....

As parents, we need to examine what we really think is dangerous...criticism, weapons, automobiles, cancers.... OR "the cares and riches and pleasures of life"? Do we merely care for their bodies and momentary happiness OR their entire lives, including their souls and their eternal joy? This distinction will radically affect how we parent, where we spend our money, where we live, what we eat, who we meet, what we watch and listen to, the risks we will take, and the sufferings we will embrace with gladness.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Penn Tells His Thoughts of Proselytizing

You gotta check out this clip posted Penn (of Penn and Teller) about strangers who tell other people about Jesus. He is an atheist. His words may catch you off guard. This is a must see.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

Psalm 16:11

"You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy, at your right hand are pleasures forevermore."

Merry Christmas to everyone!

We promise to post soon. We've been enjoying time with Carrie's sister, so computer time has been slim.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


We had a great Thanksgiving. We actually spent the day of Thanksgiving in interviews for the adoption. What a great way to celebrate! Some of our friends graciously invited us to join them on Sunday for a big Thanksgiving meal. We've got some teachers in other parts of the city, but they all came together for the dinner. It was wonderful! We got to meet lots of new people and eat some great food.

Here's the gang with tables set up in the hallway of their dorms.

Charis spent the first hour like this. She doesn't like white people. No joke. So she was scared of everyone....except for the one black teacher we have in the city. Charis likes her. After an hour, she took her coat off and we coaxed her to sit with Brad and I.

Kesed spent his dinner being fed by a friend. They sat and talked and played and ate. It was funny because about 30 minutes after eating, I see our friend holding Kesed by his thighs and waiting. He finally asked me how Kesed was going to go to the bathroom, because he had normal pants on (no split pants). I told him that he had on a diaper. I explained that he didn't need to hold him up (right next to the dinner table, by the way) waiting for Kesed to go to the bathroom. This is the way all Chinese parents do it, I just forgot to tell our friend Kesed had a diaper on. It was funny.

Malachi spent his after dinner hours at a dance party. He was in the center the ENTIRE time. He actually had some good moves. This kid cannot stand being still if there is a beat to be heard. It's so funny to watch his shoulders start moving. Then the head gets going. It's as if he's going to bust out of his skin if he doesn't dance.

Here's Selah playing guitar with a friend. They were singing "Great is Thy Faithfulness when I walked in. She loves playing any type of instrument. We had a blast.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A new winner!

So I have been dethroned.  I am sitting in the airport and just got done reading a little article on the rise of plastic the DEAD!  Face lifts, botox injections, tummy tucks, and whatever they will pay for.

Congratulations to all the men and women who have now taken the crown of Mr./Ms. Pathetic.

I hope they feel good about the fact that they spent thousands of dollars to look good as they lay under a patch of dirt and cow manure.  Way to go.  I'm sure the hungry, hurting and homeless can wait.   UGH....

People.         Sometimes, I'm not sure why God keeps us around.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Officially crowned... Ms. Pathetic

I, Carrie, have been gone for a couple of days.  I'm in a large city down south and it has caused me much culture shock.  But that's not the point.  I'm writing to confess that I could not possibly get more pathetic.  I have officially lost it on two separate forms of transportation in the last two days.  

Pathetic Encounter #1

I was on the airplane and reading "A Thousand Splendid Suns".  It's by the same guy who wrote "Kite Runner".  Both are intense... good, but really intense.  So I'm about halfway through and there's a situation with an orphanage.  ***Little Spoiler***  A mom has to drop off her 7 year old little girl at an orphanage in Afghanistan because the family has no food and the country is in war. So of course the author goes into this vivid explanation of the drop off.  The facial expressions, the dust swirling in the air, the unspoken was relentless, really.  Well, anyway, I just lost it.  Right there on the airplane.  And it wasn't the calm little dab your eyes on your sleeve kind of cry.  It was a sucking on a vacuum cleaner kind of cry.  So I faced the window and stared at the pollution as we landed.

Pathetic Encounter #3

Tonight, I walked through the streets for a little bit, taking pictures and just relaxing.  My introverted side needed some picture taking and people watching.  I'm listening to Christmas music as I'm walking the streets and watching cell phones replace the laughter of their child in the stroller.  I'm watching Christmas sales and lines around the corner to buy expensive jewelry.  I'm standing backwards in the subway and it was as if I was the only person standing still while people and things flew past me at warp speed.  "God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman" was playing as I was watching lifeless, oblivious people and things fly passed me into the background of Christmas.  As I was weeping, my heart broke for the confusion over this holiday.  As believers, we HAVE to celebrate differently than this world.  We have reason to celebrate.  We are not to remain in a state of dismay and confusion, especially during Christmas.  

Christ came, revealed himself to the prominent and to the lowly.  I pray that the Lord would allow me to remain somberly joyful this Christmas.  And thank you Lord, for the gift of tears....even if it is pretty darn pathetic :)

Monday, December 08, 2008

God Loves a Cheerful Giver

“God loves a cheerful giver” (this includes our time)

John Owen's Indwelling Sin

Wow! If you want to slay the incessant desires that wage war against your soul and thus pilfer joy, John Owen’s Indwelling Sin is a classic worth slowly chewing on. It is too dense in content for a fast read, however, if you would commit a few minutes a day to meditating on a few pages or paragraphs, greater victories will doubtless be gained.

Enjoy the following encouragement from Owen’s book, “Never let us reckon that our work in contending against sin, in crucifying, mortifying, and subduing of it, is at an end…Many conquerors have been ruined by their carelessness after a victory, and many have been spiritually wounded after great successes against this enemy…he who dies fighting in this warfare dies assuredly a conqueror.”

Justin Taylor has a great edition of John Owen’s most famous works on sin, entitled, Overcoming Sin and Temptation.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Weary of God

Just read a tough word in Isaiah 43:22, "Yet you did not call upon me, O Jacob, but you have been weary of me, O Israel." We all know weariness; applying that to God, our sin looks even more deplorable!

All sin is becoming weary or tired of God. A good question to ask ourselves is simply this, "Where and when am I weary of God?"

Not "if"...since we all sin. Why do we grow weary? From this perspective, we have a different way to approach our prayer time, Scripture study, worship, service, and life in general....what do you do to not grow weary in a day and throughout the day? In the words of George Mueller, our duty evey morning and all day is to make sure we are "happy [i.e. overflowing in joy] in God", otherwise, we are useless at the breakfast table or anywhere else.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Thank God

If you want to grow in your knowledge of the Father, read Paul and Jesus' various prayers of thanksgivings. We only thank people when they did actually did something. So, whenever we read "I thank God that...", we know that God actually did... otherwise, there would be no need for thanksgiving. Right?

With that said, check out this little jewel in 1 Thessalonians 2:13, "And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers." Notice what Paul says God did---God made them accept the gospel (cp. 2:5, 8, 9; 1:5), the word of God, as the word of God

Most people think God offers the word of God but we are the ones who finally decide to accept it or not. But when you actually read the Bible, notice what it says. This is yet another example of sovereign grace! May we constantly thank God for the grace he gave us to accept the gospel at all. We contributed nothing to salvation but our sin!!

Monday, December 01, 2008

My little make-up artist

After rest time the other day, Charis emerged looking ready for a night on the town. Not sure which town exactly, but a town of very shady proportions. Sorry for the eye thing, but I wanted you to see that Selah also drew a watch on one hand and a bracelet on the other.

So if you're short on make-up, any markers will do.

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