31 August 2013

30 August 2013

Five Minute Friday ~ Worship

Original photo found at Messiah.edu
Last week, Brendan and I trekked to central PA for his week of orientation (provided for international students as well as missionary/third culture kids). Last night, I hugged him goodbye, and both excitedly for him but tearfully for me left him there, right at the conclusion of an annual tradition: a candlelight worship service for all incoming freshman to the college.

It was beautiful.

We worshiped the Lord in the responsive reading of His Word:
Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His Presence continually. Remember the wonderful works He has done, His miracles, and the judgments He has uttered... He is the Lord our God; His judgments are in all the earth. He is mindful of His covenant forever, of the word that He commanded, for a thousand generations... (from Psalm 105)
Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God, based on faith. I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the sharing of His sufferings by becoming like Him in His death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me His own... (from Philippians 3)
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus... (from Hebrews 12)

We worshiped Him in song:
Bless the Lord O my soul O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I'll worship Your holy name
...You're rich in love and You're slow to anger
Your name is great and Your heart is kind
For all Your goodness I will keep on singing
Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find... 
Here I raise mine Ebenezer, hither by Thy help I'm come,
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure, safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger, wandering from the fold of God.
He, to rescue me from danger, bought me by His precious blood.... 
...In Christ alone, Who took on flesh
fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save.
'Till on that across as Jesus died, the wrath of God was satisfied.
For every sin on Him was laid; here in the death of Christ I live.
There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world, by darkness slain;
Then, bursting forth in glorious day
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory, sin's curse has lost its grip on me;
For I am His and He is mine, bought with the precious blood of Christ.
No guild in life, no fear in death -
This is the power of Christ in me!
From life's first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man can ever pluck me from His hand.
'Till He returns or calls me home, here in the power of Christ I stand! 
...High King of heaven, my victory won,
May I reach heaven's joys, O bright heaven's Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.
We worshiped the Lord in prayer:

  • of thanksgiving for the past, 
  • for grace to live in the present, 
  • of hope and trust for the future...

We worshiped as everyone present accepted a charge:
Charge to parents, family and friends ~

Having trusted God for the provision, wisdom, and protection to bring you thus far, will you trust God's work in the life of your child as you continue your journey in separate places? Will you be watchful in prayer for them, liberal in encouragement, courageous in hope and unswerving in the knowledge that God holds them in His faithful hands? 

Charge to educators, staff and student leaders ~
Knowing that it is God who calls and equips you for your task, will you accept your mission to educate these students toward maturity of intellect, character, and Christian faith? Will you pray for them diligently, challenge them faithfully, encourage them wholeheartedly, lead them with integrity, and accept them as fellow companions on the journey of faith? 

Charge to new students ~
Being confident that He who began a good work in you will be faithful to bring it to completion, will you accept this opportunity and responsibility to prepare for a life of service, leadership and reconciliation in church and society? Will you seek God as the One in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, will you trust God to do in you more than you can ask or imagine, and will you be faithful in the stewardship of the gifts He has given?  

Right before the actual candle-lighting ceremony...

Talented musicians - staff and alumni - performed the song below... 
a prayer of blessing as the school year commences.

I pray you'll be our eyes, and watch us where we go.
And help us to be wise in times when we don't know
Let this be our prayer, when we lose our way
Lead us to the place, guide us with your grace
To a place where we'll be safe

La luce che tu hai
I pray we'll find your light
nel cuore rester¨¤
and hold it in our hearts.
a ricordarci che
When stars go out each night,
eterna stella sei

The light you have 
I pray we'll find your light 
will be in the heart 
and hold it in our hearts. 
to remember us that 
When stars go out each night, 
you are eternal star
Nella mia preghiera
Let this be our prayer
quanta fede c'¨¨
when shadows fill our day

How much faith there's 
Let this be our prayer 
in my prayer 
when shadows fill our day
Lead us to a place, guide us with your grace
Give us faith so we'll be safe

Sognamo un mondo senza pi¨´ violenza
un mondo di giustizia e di speranza
Ognuno dia la mano al suo vicino
Simbolo di pace, di fraternit¨¤

We dream a world without violence 
a world of justice and faith. 
Everyone gives the hand to his neighbours 
Symbol of peace, of fraternity
La forza che ci d¨¤
We ask that life be kind
¨¨ il desiderio che
and watch us from above
ognuno trovi amor
We hope each soul will find
intorno e dentro s¨¦
another soul to love

The force his gives us 
We ask that life be kind 
is wish that 
and watch us from above 
everyone finds love 
We hope each soul will find 
around and inside 
another soul to love
Let this be our prayer
Let this be our prayer, just like every child

Need to find a place, guide us with your grace
Give us faith so we'll be safe
Need to find a place, guide us with your grace
Give us faith so we'll be safe

E la fede che
hai acceso in noi,
sento che ci salver

Is it any wonder most parents and students were teary-eyed as we then said goodbye?

Personally, I didn't stand a chance!

a short video, put together by the school, to give others a glimpse
of how Messiah welcomed this year's class... to the neighborhood!

(So... this post was a lot longer than 5 minutes... and a lot of it was copied from the program of the Candlelight Worship Service...

But this little piece of Brendan's new beginning was what I wanted to share with those of you who like to follow our family.

Click on the graphic 
if you'd like to join up with the 5 minute Friday writers this week!

29 August 2013

First glimpses of Bren @ Messiah

Ever wonder why when they do those introductory - meet and find out about new people - you end up doing things that make some people feel like complete idiots and totally foolish while others just love it and shine once the silliness starts?

I do. Those things, while I can appreciate their purpose and see their validity and effectiveness... drive me crazy.

Don't know if Brendan was thinking the same thing as he played "Dead Bug Tag" with a whole bunch of international/third culture kid freshman and mentoring upperclassmen at Messiah College the other night...

If I understood correctly, you crab crawl around the field, like a bug and "tag" your classmates by swiping at their arm or leg. Once an arm or leg has been "taken out" you can no longer use it to move. Once both arms and legs have been swiped, you lay on the field on your back, all appendages in the air wiggling about like a dead bug...

I think both arms had been tagged in this photo and he's bum scootching around...

Now, only a single appendage remains active...

"O NON! Il est mort!"
(which translated means... Oh no! He's dead!)

And so now, back to my original question...

Why these games?

After the other night, I know what I was thinking...

And I'm convinced...

Purely for the benefit of the spectators...


(PS I DO think Bren is having a great time, 
despite some of the silly games that introverts like he and I detest!)

28 August 2013

Voice of the National ~ in which I find myself in a really awkward, uncomfortable conversation

It was one of those conversations that I could have never planned on happening… and it was so super awkward when it did – but God allowed it… He even had it happen with most of my biggers standing right there and listening... absorbing...

But first, a tiny bit of the back story.

Our son graduated from high school at an international school in W. Africa, we vacationed in Scotland and then flew back to the States for a whirlwind, but long road trip through the western United States. The goal was LA for a wedding and then we wanted to create some family memories before the chapter of life where all-the-kids-are-still-just-kids-and-in-our-home closed. We picked several places we planned to stop and wanted to see… But there were also some of our stops we just stumbled upon. This was one of those stops.

I’d never heard of the Crazy Horse Monument, but it is in the Black Hills region of South Dakota and we decided to take a look.

To find out the gist of that awkward conversation, please join me over at a life overseas: the missions conversation... and be sure and add your two cents to the conversation. I love to know what you think and how you respond the the stuff running through my mind and heart.

27 August 2013

The first storm

After we left Donner Pass, Truckee and the Tahoe region... we struck off across Nevada.

It was a long drive and really, this was pretty much what it looked like most of the way across the state.

However, as we neared the Goshute Mountain Range on the east side of the state... near where we were planning to camp that night, the clouds started to build...

A full-fledged thunderstorm...

...and I'm not sure what we found more amazing: watching the clouds themselves or watching the shadows of those clouds move across the mountains.

I'm sure if I meditated on this some, there's be some great spiritual application to pull out of watching the clouds that day... but mostly I remember being thankful that the storm (with the accompanying direct strike lightening) passed to the south of our campground while the resulting winds made what could have been an intensely uncomfortably hot night of camping more tolerable.

26 August 2013

Encountering Jesus ~ Bread of Heaven... Bread of Life...

Then they said to Him, "Lord, give us always this bread." 
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.” (John 6.34-40)
Last week, I finished by asking myself what "every whens" I'm insisting Jesus meet or fill or satisfy... at my whim and at my demand.

Remember that "every whens" means that the moment I think I want or need something, I expect Jesus to handle it for me. But its not only that. I also expect Him to do so in a matter pre-approved by me...

Hmmmmmm... and with those types of thoughts rattling around, just who am I actually worshipping as a god?

I'm convicted that it isn't great "I AM" as He describes Himself in the Bible. 

It means, instead, that for all practical purposes, I want to place my trust in a god who operates a lot more like a magic genie in a bottle to grant me my wants and perceived needs than wanting to rest in the goodness of an Almighty Who is unchanging and always good... but untameable and unpredictable with thoughts so far and high and above mine that I'm just not going to understand - a really big chunk of the time.

I forget that that's the way it should be. 

Who wants to worship a god who always makes sense to the finite, fallible, corrupt and often weak mind... whose actions always soothe this troubled, unsettled, battling against self and often what's right soul? 


Sometimes I think I want that sort of God...

 ...until I taste sweet once again 
...until I remember what it means to rest 
in the care of the Always True and Ever Almighty One.

And a sweet taste is what Jesus then tells this group of people that that sort of all-dependent-all-trusting-ever-choosing-the-resting hoping and believing in Christ is... that that is Who and What He Is.

Commentators, theologians and brilliant minds have dissected the words of Jesus in the passage quoted above. They've studied and debated applications to daily life. Pastors have preached on the significance of those words as they relate to our eternal future and security. 

However, as I'm in the midst of a differently busy week (even though most of the kids are with hubby and I'm off taking oldest bigger to college), my thoughts and prayers and meditations have flitted here, there and everywhere. But, as I've been able to read and think on Jesus' words above... they've been the perfect prescription for my heart in these days.

 this week's gratitude list
(#'s 4104 - 4123)

time with Brendan as he moves in and transitions to life at Messiah College

safety traveling

hubby, family and friends who step in to help hubby with the rest of the gang 
while I'm gone

meeting lots of new people - even though it is tiring

a queen bed, all to myself - for the first time EVER in my life, I think

crashing a church picnic - and finding my old pastor from my college days pastoring a church near where Bren will be attending

safety traveling

20 seconds of play in a vball tournament, and learning to keep the serve/receive books that was so exciting for her

looking forward to camping with friends over Labor Day Weekend

loving my trimmed hair

hanging out in central PA

sunshine and beautiful weather

free wifi

forgotten stuff is in the mail

cell phone photo of littles singing

that the car trouble wasn't serious

a little white truck with a radio to occupy my mind while driving

looking forward to a visit from Niger friends - a buddy for me and one for Bren

dear friend flying into Harrisburg tomorrow... and my girlies are so jealous


Ten most recent posts in this series: 

25 August 2013

those long trips - road or otherwise - with a parcel of little and not so little people

So, I should probably warn you before you even start to read. 
This post has many photos.
And none of them are ministry-ish... none at all.

No kidding.

Head on over to Missionary Mom's Companion where yesterday I posted a list of tips we compiled to help everyone get along, and for travel to move along as smoothly as possible - all based on our recent, extended trip.


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