Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Saturday, April 24, 2010
"Father in Heaven! You have loved us first, help us never to forget that You are love so that this sure conviction might triumph in our hearts over the seduction of the world, over the inquietude of the soul, over the anxiety for the future, over the fright of the past, over the distress of the moment. But grant also that this conviction might discipline our soul so that our heart might remain faithful and sincere in the love which we bear to all those whom You have commanded us to love as we love ourselves."
Friday, April 23, 2010
So, I was checking weather.com this morning and pulled up the hour by hour for zipcode 50613. It showed rain today every hour, thunder and lightening with the rain through the night, dark clouds through the morning hours tomorrow, and then for 2 hours- noon and 1 p.m., it showed a cloud with sun over it before thunder, lightening, and rain resumed in the pictures and hours beyond that.
Tomorrow's Love Cedar Valley Kindness Explosion into the community is from Noon to 1:30. I don't know how the day will play out, but it was just such a cool visual to see rain, rain, rain....those exact 2 hours of partly sunny...then rain, rain, rain. :) Just a little picture of a God of light and hope.
giving ourselves away. (Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. for even Christ did not please himself....vs. 2)
unified. (May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and one mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. vs. 5-6)
humble. (Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. vs. 7)
hope-filled. (May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. vs. 13)
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Saturday, April 17, 2010
"Prayer is friendship with God. Friendship is not formal, but it is not formless; it has its cultivation, its behavior, its obligations, even its disciplines; and the casual mind kills it. So we offer here, as a guide-map not as a chain, a simple regimen of private prayer."
1. Silent self-preparation and an act of faith.
2. Thanksgiving. "We need deliberately to call to mind the joys of our journey. Be specific..if we are "thankful for everything, we may be thankful for nothing." The thanksgiving should also probe deep...so to save gratitude from earthliness and circumstance and be rooted in Life beyond life. This prayer should end in glad and solemn resolve: "Lord, seal this gratitude upon my face, my words, my generous concern for my neighbors, my every outward thought and act."
3. Confession. A wise order, as "God has been exceedingly kind, and I have given him selfishness for love." Because of our sin against God, "we have neither inward peace nor inward power until we have offered prayers of penitence. Confession, like thanksgiving, should be specific. Assurance. "The wise prayer of confession always leads to an acceptance of God's pardon. It might be wise to rise from kneeling at this point in the prayer as a token of our acceptance of God's pardon, our sure faith in his absolution, and our new freedom in his grace. That standing erect might also symbolize both our resolve to make wise restoration insofar as we have power to mend our blunders, and our sincere renunciation of our sins. Confession is incomplete without that resolve. Our will, however feeble it may be, must descend squarely on the side of a new life."
4. Intercession. Needed to keep from sinking into selfishness. Private intercession should be specific and pondered. "Genuine love sees faces, not a mass...it requires us to bear on our heart the burden of those for whom we pray." Praying for our enemies might be first in order. "Bless ____ whom I foolishly regard as an enemy. Bless ______ whom I have wronged. Keep them in your favor. Banish my bitterness."
5. Petition. "We should fear the encroachment of a selfish mind. Petition is defended against that threat if we first give thanks, confess our sins, and pray for our neighbors....Petition should grow in grace so as to 'covet earnestly the best gifts'; and it should always acknowledge that our sight is dim and that our purposes are mixed in motive. It should always conclude with, 'Nevertheless, not my will but thine be done.'"
"The intervals of these four prayers should be filled by meditation. Prayer is listening as well as speaking, receiving as well as asking; and its deepest mood is friendship held in reverence. So the daily prayer should end as it begins- in adoration. The best conclusion is, "In the name of Jesus Christ: Amen." For in the name or nature of Jesus is our best understanding of God, and the best corrective of our blundering prayers. The word "Amen" is not idle: it means 'So let it be.' It is our resolve to live faithfully in the direction of our prayers, and our act of fatih in God's power."
Friday, April 16, 2010
"Make it your life's goal to personally grow closer to Jesus and to touch every single person you can with Christ's love." - Steve Sjogren
"Silence and inaction do nothing to change anyone's negative perceptions of Christianity. The only thing that can change those perceptions is for people to personally experience Christ's love firsthand." -Steve Sjogren
"The way forward for churches that want to redefine their position in the community will be through service and sacrifice." - Reggie McNeal
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Good Morning Everyone!
We just returned from church, worshiping with our brothers and sisters in Christ. The message today was from Mike Brost, it was from Malachi Chapter 3:6 about giving back to God and his generous blessings to us. JeanJean had everyone welcome us and we each stood up in front of the church and announced our names. Jared and Stacy Nikkel from Pella who recently moved to Pignon are out here at JeanJean and Kristie's house to eat lunch with us today. Since it is Sunday the cooks do not prepare our food so we are having Kraft macaroni and cheese and PB&J sandwiches! Later this afternoon at 2 there is a "come as you are" service in the new worship center at UCI.
Yesterday we continued at our work sites building the two houses. We are divided into two different groups, the first location will house a mother with 13 children that she cares for. Her current house is ready to collapse, she is too scared to sleep inside so she is sleeping outside under banana leaves. The group working on this house is: Natalie, Luke, Pat, Mel, Diane, Michaela, Darrell, Deb, and Aaron. Some of the members of this group had to walk 1/4 mile (up hill and barefoot both ways) with 5 gallon buckets of water. The second team is building a home for a refuge family from Port au Prince, this family is currently sharing a home with a total of 26 people under one roof. The group working at this site is: Sally, Kaylie, Elaine, Mick, Marla, Judy, Craig, Mike, and Dean. We spent most of the morning hauling sand and rock but took time to paint nails, blow bubbles, and spend time with the children.
Yesterday UCI received a wonderful delivery of 930 boxes of "ready to eat" meals. This amounts to almost 11,000 meals! We formed an assembly line handing the boxes from person to person from the truck to the storage room in the worship center. The youth group joined in for a total of nearly 40 people in our line. We will have the opportunity to distribute much of this food to families in need during our stay.
Last night we called in pizza and it was delivered to our table! Just kidding, but we did receive Haitian pizza for dinner last night along with homemade cookies for dessert. It was awesome!
After our wonderful meal we enjoyed a Haitian men's choir, which consisted of 16 men. This choir was formed and has been going for the past 30 years. The other half of the choir was singing at a harvest festival. You can really see their true love for Jesus through out their music. Our team also sang the "Fill it Up" song for them, and they joined in at the end.
Tomorrow we will rise again to the sound of roosters crowing and donkeys "hee hawing" before we head out to our work sites. In the afternoon we will begin one of the three sessions of Vacation Bible School. We are all looking forward to that! Elaine and Mel will be conducting a clinic for people with medical needs. The men have been working really hard on the well system to help regulate the pressure. As of last night it is a success!
We all miss our friends and family back home. Keep our safety and renewed energy in your prayers everyday and we will remember you in ours!
In Christ's love and ours,
Haitian Mission Team
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
The reporter from ESPN was quoted saying, "I've never come across a story with as many layers as this one has. It went from sport to humanity in a heartbeat. Compassion and mercy are two words that keep coming back and are most common in mind."
Way to go, Thomas family, for reflecting the mercy and love of Jesus in such evident and powerful ways. As our church leader often says, "the people were amazed and perplexed." I think this story fits that statement.
I was able to share this idea with a friend in Hampton, IA, and then watch how Bridge of Hope became a vision and a reality there this past year. My prayers are that Bridge of Hope North Central Iowa will continue to be led by the Spirit of God as He links people together with people for growth, reconciliation, transformation. You can check out Bridge of Hope National at http://www.bridgeofhopeinc.org/.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
It was a great opportunity to talk about how weeds spring up in our lives all the time too. And how they don't just permanently disappear, but we constantly have to tend to our souls and uproot the weeds that threaten to take over our lives and keep us from blooming in Christ. There's intentionality and discipline needed to grow a healthy garden and a healthy soul.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
The Cleope's are friends of Orchard Hill Church and have been serving as missionaries in the Philippines for several years now. They'll be relocating back to the States this summer, but in the time between now and then, Lauren Cleope is busy playing soccer.
Lauren, a senior in high school, and her teammates, put on a soccer clinic for children this past weekend in Manila. Soccer skills, snow cones, the Gospel message, and lunch. Looked like a great day and a great way to connect with kids relationally, have fun, and to learn about soccer and Jesus!
Monday, April 5, 2010
She's left me with a trip itinerary, so I will try to post her daily schedule beginning Friday. I am guessing that God will use this trip as one of those "defining moments" of Laurie's life, and I am praying that her trip will create God ripples into the lives of her family, friends, and church after her return.
To close our evening together, we took time to pray together, share communion together, and sing together in worship. As we stood in a big circle, I looked around at the beautiful diversity in the room. A great mix of Hispanic, African-American, and Caucasian friends, and even one Indian friend in this big circle. We held hands, we clapped hands, we lifted hands all in praise to Jesus who reconciles us to Himself and to one another. The night closed out with one of our Hispanic friends taking the guitar and singing "Open the Eyes of our Heart" in Spanish. It was tremendously good! If that was a little glimpse at the worship together on April 24, then you all will be in for a beautiful time of coming together in worship as the Body of Christ that day!
Saturday, April 3, 2010
philosophy professor, Rhodes scholar, and the author of many devotional books through the years. The following quotes are taken from a book entitled Prayer and Worship (1938), and focus on intercessory prayer.
"There is no greater intimacy with another than that which is built through holding him or her up in prayer."
"It is not a question of changing God's mind or of exercising some magical influence or spell over the life of another. Before we begin to pray, we may know that the love of the One who is actively concerned in awakening each life to its true center is already lapping at the shores of that life. We do not do it at all.
Such prayer is only cooperation with God's active love in besieging the life or new areas of the life of another, or of a situation. If you pray for something other than what is in keeping with that cooperation, you go against the grain, and if you remain in prayer and are sensitive, you will realize this and be drawn to revise it. As in all petitional prayer, the one who really prays must be ready to yield."