Category: Uncategorized

Advent 2015 – Hope

In keeping with this week of advent, I have been reflecting on hope, and this is the song I keep coming back to. Take a listen, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I have been!

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Bathurst Days 6-8

Two weeks after we arrived home, I am finally sitting down to sum up the last few days of our Bathurst mission trip.

It’s hard to describe the progress that we made over the course of the week in terms of what we did because the days sound the same on paper – wake up early, pray as a team, eat breakfast and head to the church, run VBS and connect with the kids. True, each day of VBS followed the same pattern, but what happened within each day truly built on the day before, and the whole team was inspired with the progress we saw over the course of a week. girls day

Most of the kids who started the week by testing limits and challenging our leadership finished the week proudly participating in the different stations and singing the songs we learned together. Some kids brought friends over the course of the week, so we finished with more campers than we started! One huge highlight for me was on the very last day of camp with a boy who came for the first time that day, and when the day was over he said, “This was so much fun, I wish I came all week! Are you coming back next year?” 

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Spending Time and Money

When it comes to money, I’m a saver not a spender. I love to save money so much that I will hide the odd $5 or even stash a $20 somewhere out of sight just so that one day I can discover it and feel like it’s free money. I love to accumulate money through automatic transfers to savings accounts, through birthday and Christmas money hoarded in an envelope at the back of my sock drawer, through an empty coffee can that collects our spare change. I love to save up for a big splurge and then cheap out and only spend half what I planned. Actually, I don’t love that, but I do it all the time because I so much prefer to have money saved up than to spend it.

Money In Pocket 3

Some of you might wish you had my problem, and I will admit that I have indulged my pride a time or two, justifying my control binges of locking down spending as discipline. I mentioned that Matt and I are working through a marriage prep course with a couple from our church, and it has been really helpful to go back over the basics of building a healthy relationship together! One of the videos examines the lead couple’s differences in how they handle money – one a saver and one a spender – and how they needed to learn from each other. It is so easy to classify savers as “good with money” because they don’t waste money on frivolous purchases. However, as a saver, I am all too aware of the times I have wasted opportunities to spend my money well because I couldn’t bring myself to let it go.

Don’t believe me? Here’s a recent example –

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Poetry: Steadfast Love

When I came to verses 22 and 23 of Lamentations 3, they stopped me in my tracks with their goodness – an oasis of hope after two and a half chapters of despair. I spent the day humming “the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end” and along came this poem as a prayer for God’s truth to seep into all the cracks of my soul and become my truth as well.

Beach

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases

But my patience dries up like grass

Turning brittle and sharp

In the heat of late nights and clingy days

Erupting teeth and toys underfoot

I find you at the end of myself.

Like the beach where island meets ocean

Where jagged rocks are worn smooth by endless current

Where the shards of my feelings, broken like bottles

Are disarmed and made safe

And grains of sand remind me of your promise,

The legacy of one soul devoted to you,

The offspring of a thousand generations that you bless

Beyond counting, the weight of Earth

Does not tire you,

As one heavy soul tires me.

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Good Friday Reflections

Now at the feast [Pilate] used to release for them one prisoner for whom they asked. And among the rebels in prison, who had committed murder in the insurrection, there was  a man called Barabbas. And the crowd came up and began to ask Pilate to do as he usually did for them. And he answered them, saying “Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?” For he perceived that it was out of envy that the chief priests had delivered him up. But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release for them Barabbas instead. And Pilate again said to them, “Then what shall I do with the man you call the King of the Jews?” And they cried out again, “Crucify him.” And Pilate said to them, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Crucify him.” So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified. (Mark 15:6-15)

Today as this passage was read at our Good Friday service, I was haunted by the contrast between Jesus and the crowd. My own attitude and response to circumstances are so much closer to the fickle crowd, stirred up and impatient for results. Jesus was the Messiah they didn’t want, proclaiming a kingdom that is like the grain of a mustard seed, the smallest of all the seeds on the earth (Mark 4:31). The Jews were tired of living off crumbs, under the thumb of violent oppressors, and the people were not interested in a leader who was beaten and spit upon without offering any retaliation. It doesn’t seem that anyone was under the impression Barabbas was the Messiah, but at least he was a man of action, someone who was willing to shed blood for the cause of his people.

Jesus had taught his disciples, “Unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3), but the crowd had lived through Herod’s slaughter of the innocents when every baby boy under 2 was killed in Bethlehem and the whole region. Who in their right mind would become like a child to pursue God’s kingdom? No, there must be some other way, and the people’s rejection of Jesus could buy them time, helping them appear loyal to the Roman empire while they waited for God to send someone to actually deliver them. The high priest advised the people that it would be expedient that one man should die for the people. (John 18:14)

So today I was slapped in the face because my response is the same as the crowds: I choose to believe God if I think it will work.

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