Monday, April 28, 2008

FTP is unreliable at blogger. My new blog is at:

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Journey 4/15/08

This week I've been thinking about a lot of things and have posted a couple of entires about those thoughts, so in my Journey I just wanted to share a quote that I found to be impacting.

“To evangelize a person is to say to him or her: you, too, are loved by God in the Lord Jesus. And not only to say it but to really think it and relate it to the man or woman so they can sense it. This is what it means to announce the Good News. But that becomes possible only by offering the person your friendship; a friendship that is real, unselfish, without condescension, full of confidence and profound esteem.”
Brennan Manning


Expectations and Eternal Perspective

Since the ladies retreat in March I've been mulling over the topic of expectations and how it relates to faith. I've thought a lot about the subject and could spend days discussing all the different perspectives that I can see in the Scriptures, but the theme that I have found repeating itself remains the centrality of an eternal perspective.

Why would God not move and do the thing that we think would be good and right and glorifying to Him in the moment? He sees all of eternity and can evaluate with perfect knowledge whether that thing is the BEST thing or not. We don't know whether a thing is really the best thing or not when held in light of eternity. We see only in the finite.

My own expectations and desires, as dear as they are to my heart, are still finite. I was re-reading The Weight of Glory by C.S. Lewis again the other night and once again I was left pondering the quotes below.

How many of my expectations and desires are simple little mud pies compared to what God really has planned for me? What will I miss if continue to focus on what I think I want in this life? If I fail to make the hard choices (over and over again) to lift my eyes up and look beyond the circumstances of the finite, then I lose sight of the hope, the true expectation, that will never disappoint and the eternal perspective that is so central to the Scripture.

"Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are halfhearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered to us, like the ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in the slum because he cannot image what is meant by the offer of a holiday by the sea. We are far too easily pleased."

"If a transtemporal, transfinite good is our real destiny, then any other good on which our desire fixes must be in some degree fallacious, must bear at best only a symbolical relation to what will truly satisfy."

On a side note: I think that eternity, including teaching on heaven and the Kingdom, may be one of the most under-taught aspects of the Scriptures in the modern church. I understand the catch phrase that someone can be "so heavenly minded they are no earthly good," however, what we often refer to as the apostolic hope, what we really believe about eternity, effects every aspect of our Christian life. We were made for more than this world and if you want to challenge yourself to awaken hope in your life I'd recommend doing a Bible study on the theme of the Kingdom and Eternal Hope, in both the prophets and the New Testament. For further reading I would also recommend Ted Dekker's The Slumber of Christianity and, of course, C.S. Lewis' essay The Weight of Glory. Below is another quote from the essay, not on the subject of expectations and desires, rather on the subject of how our views of eternity and the eternal nature of mankind impacts our life here and now, just for thought.

"It may be possible for each to think too much of his own potential glory hereafter; it is hardly possible for him to think too often of too deeply about that of his neighbor. The load, or weight, or burden of my neighbor's glory should be laid on my back, a load so heavy that only humility will carry it, and the backs of the proud will be broken. It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and circumspections proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal."
Ack - I'm having trouble with Blogger's FTP transfer not working! I've been getting error messages for the last week and occassionally I actually get something published, but nothing is working since Sunday the 13th. I wish they would hurry up and fix this! I guess I'll just keep writing posts and some day you might see all kinds of new things show up. In the meantime I am starting a new blog at :

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Love of God

I was reflecting on the words of the song "The Love of God" and I thought that I would share them with you. See my comments at the end.

By Rich Mullins
Romans 8:18-39, Ephesians 3:14-21

There's a wideness in God's mercy
I cannot find in my own
And He keeps His fire burning
To melt this heart of stone
Keeps me aching with a yearning
Keeps me glad to have been caught
In the reckless raging fury
That they call the love of God

Now I've seen no band of angels
But I've heard the soldiers' songs
Love hangs over them like a banner
Love within them leads them on
To the battle on the journey
And it's never gonna stop
Ever widening their mercies
And the fury of His love

Oh the love of God
And oh, the love of God
The love of God

Joy and sorrow are this ocean
And in their every ebb and flow
Now the Lord a door has opened
That all Hell could never close
Here I'm tested and made worthy
Tossed about but lifted up

In the reckless raging fury
That they call the love of God

The song really speaks for itself but here are some of my thoughts...

I've been thinking about the Christian life lately and about the character of God. So often I am tempted to put God in a box that I feel safe and comfortable with. Yet, God is so much bigger than me, (That is the understatement of the century!) and if I am feeling too comfortable, if I have lost that sense of awe that comes with realizing how beyond me He is, then I need to go back to my knees and repent of, once again, making Him too small in my eyes.

I often need to be reminded of the character of God in the line "There's a wideness in God's mercy I can not find in my own." It is like God to redeem His enemies, to love the most vile of sinners and to forgive those that we desire to see pay for their crimes. His mercy is what saved me, but His mercy far exceeds what I can imagine or give. In fact, to be honest, sometimes His mercy is more than I am comfortable with.

Also, I love the lines, "Keeps me glad to have been caught in the reckless, raging fury that they call the love of God."

To truly follow God is not something controlled or comfortable. It is often an overwhelming path that may appear reckless (as it may very well lead to a cross or some other path of abandon). We don't know how we will be tossed about in this world. We must trust his character, trust his goodness and hang on for the ride. If I wasn't sure that God was really good, if I wasn't certain that this life is fleeting and that I was made for eternity and if I wasn't convinced that God really does have a plan that will work out all things for good, then this would be terrifying. But God is good. I was made for eternity and He will work out all things for the ultimate and eternal good of those who love Him. God's perfect will is so much bigger and more unpredictable than can compare to my small plans and controlled ideas. And yes, for those of you who know me well, I do see the dichotomy that for all my personal desire for structure, clear plans and carefully laid out pathways, I find something irresistibly captivating about the wildness of God.

Like a river rapid, God's love doesn't so much offer a calm wading in a small creek as it sweeps over and consumes you, with the intent of leading you to surrender your life to this love even as Christ did. If we let Him, if we abandon ourselves to Him, then we will be enfolded and swallowed up in His love and I want to be consumed with nothing else.

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Saturday, April 12, 2008

Gödöllö Outing - Ibolya Nap (Violet Day)

Today we met the students from the Pécel English Club in Gödöllö for a tour of the palace. We have been looking for ways to get to know them better by meeting them outside of the school grounds. Only two students came but we still had fun. When we got to the castle we realized that today was a celebration called "Violet Day" with special programs, food, booths of items for sale and even pony rides. Here are some pictures of the outing.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Spring Flowers

One of the things I love about where I live now is that I have a garden. When I moved in the owners told me how the last renter let the garden become completely overgrown. I told them that I didn't have much free time, but that I enjoy gardening and I would try to keep it under control.

The front and side yards were completely dirt so last fall I planted a lot of bulbs. This spring it is very nice to see the flowers emerging and there are also a number of bulbs that were already here that are coming in now. I am waiting to see for sure what variety of flower they are.

The back yard is bulbs, grass, wildflowers and ivy. It needs a lot of work, probably more than I have time for. This year I plan to concentrate on the front and side yard and the circle of roses that I planted in the back.

The weather is nice and it is good to be out in the yard. The few random conversations that I have been able to have with my neighbors have happened while I was gardening.

I thought I would share some more flower photos. God's amazing handiwork is uplifting!

Monday, April 07, 2008

Florida Pictures

In March I was away more than I was home and one of the places I got to go was Florida. I enjoyed being at my home church for a Mission Conference. Here are some photos from my time in the Sunshine State. They automatically scroll forward but you can pause to enlarge the photos that say "click me." Enjoy

Click to play Florida

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Glory Revealed

When I was at the missions conference in Florida I heard the song By His Wounds on the radio. The other day I went looking for it in Itunes and I found this amazing album. It is a collection of songs straight from the scripture by popular artists.

What could be more encouraging than listening to the very words of God! You can watch the trailer about the project below.