The title of this update might be longer than the actual update.

Okay, maybe the title isn’t longer than the update, but I wanted to tell you quickly about all the things I am doing this fall.  In short, I am going to school…school…and more school.

We have completed two full weeks at the elementary school where I work.  I am looking forward to learning a lot this school year, both in my work and in my own education.

I am taking statistics through the local community college.  It’s been a few years.  Seven, to be exact.  Statistics is only the beginning, and is a prerequisite for most speech language pathology programs.

To ease myself into grad school, get some ideas about the current research and leaders in my field, I am taking a course on Autism through UC Davis Extension.  It is a master’s level course which is geared toward all students, from parents to post doctoral studies, so I figured it was a perfect place to dip my toe in the educational pool.

And perhaps the most exciting part to me is that I have decided to take the a 9 to 12 month course in Reconciliation through www.gracebridge.org.  I am hoping to find a few friends to take the course with me, so if you’re interested, check it out and drop me an email.  (You can check out some of the modules through their guest login.)

The YWAM base here is running their first Basic Leadership School, which starts today and runs along side the Discipleship Training School which starts next week.  I’m hoping to connect with those schools over the next few months.
So many schools, I might be a fish.

What does this new season bring into your life?

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Quiet

I saw the sun rise three times today.  Third time’s a charm, Mr. Sun.  Actually, I lost count after the fourth or fifth time the sun rose from behind a peak, only to be obscured again as I drove through the hills from San Luis Obispo to Pismo Beach.  I dropped my housemate Tyler off at the train station early this morning.

Things are pretty quiet around here.  Most people are gone on outreach or vacation and support raising trips.  Will and Lori are having a new baby girl any day now.  We received a new staff woman, Jael, from the Netherlands a couple weeks ago and now she is away on her new staff outreach.  Our most recent addition is a friend from the surf DTS which ran at the same time as my DTS, Hoover.  We set him up in the guy’s room at our house, and he’ll start training next week.

Other than that, I am enjoying the newly redecorated office, painting a couple walls in the office, making a lot of art, playing violin in a musical, preparing for the next DTS and praying that God sends us more students so we can HAVE a DTS this July.

Like I said…quiet.

Spring Cleaning

This week the speaker on the DTS, Donna MacGowan, spoke on Fear of the Lord.  Due to me being sick, I didn’t get to spend as much time with her as I would have liked, so maybe some of our amazing students can fill me in on how God moved in their lives this week.

Fear of the Lord is a topic we like to have on every DTS.  It is about honoring God in every area of your life, submitting all things to His loving discipline, and ridding yourself of the impurities, however great or small, that God brings up.  I say the words, but so many of my friends have been so hurt by churches that meant “Fear of Leadership and Our Opinion” rather than “Fear of the Lord”, that I know some of these words land in tender spots.  Many of you know that I have struggled long and hard with some of these battles, and the only freedom from other’s opinions can be found in a healthy reverence for God.  If it helps, I have been thinking of it as spring cleaning.  And God has been doing some spring cleaning in me.

Tom Gaddis, the pastor at Father’s House Church, mentioned last week that “When words are many, there is much sin…”  He himself was feeling convicted of some things, and something in my spirit stood up and took notice of this Proverb.  “Hey…I talk a lot…I ought to keep that in mind.”  I have been finding myself, for the past several weeks, with my proverbial foot in my mouth…and some times are more serious than others.  I have been confronted internally for things I have said to others, and have had others confront me regarding thoughts about myself I have verbalized.

I keep thinking of this kneeadable eraser I have.  It is a grey, sticky, elasticy putty.  It turns black when I use it to erase charcoal or graphite, but as I pull it and fold it and squish it back together, the black marks magically disappear.  Due to it’s stickiness, it also collects carpet fuzz.  And hair.  And sand.  And wood shavings.  And pretty much any other small debris it touches.  So in college, when I was doing more charcoal drawing, I would sit and pick all the little fuzz bits out.  You have to stretch it like bubble gum, then fold it in on itself over and over again to even find them.  That’s how I feel now…like God is stretching and then folding me and picking out all the dirt.

I wish I could say it was wonderful and refreshing, but it’s actually a little awful.  Sometimes I wonder why God and others even trust me, and I could sure use an angel to come burn my mouth with a coal*.  I am painfully aware, after many tries, that I cannot pull myself out of this one.  Repentance (rising above) is going to take an act of God.

Fortunately He has already acted.

Here I am, back at the cross, to be made new.  Forgiveness for sins isn’t just wiping the slate clean…it is changing my very nature, one foolish, careless thought and word at a time.

The people in my life have been so gracious and God has been so faithful to push me back on the path each time I stray.  I am not thrilled about this season, but I am grateful for it.  A thoughtless word and a sharp tongue can do so much damage, and my life is primarily about loving people.  Among other things, I am staffing the DTS this summer.  I know I won’t be “all better” by then, but I know this season is a very timely preparation for leadership.

Pray for me.

 

*From Isaiah 6,  “In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. … And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”

Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”

Sabbath (Bible Week…Day 7)

“In repentance and rest you will be saved,
In quietness and trust is your strength.”

…But you were not willing.

Isaiah 30:15

All through the Old Testament, God talks about keeping the Sabbath.  Before the Israelites go into exile, and especially when they return, He talks about the importance of the Sabbath.  In fact, upon their return it seems almost synonymous in keeping the law in the promises that go with it.

It is not surprising, then that when Jesus arrives, the Jewish people have gone a little…extreme…in keeping the law, especially the Sabbath.  But still they missed the point, and actually crucified Jesus over working on the Sabbath.  Especially in the gospel of John I noticed over and over that Jesus kept healing people on the Sabbath, and the religious leaders got their panties all bunched up every time.

So it seems that understanding Sabbath is crucial to understanding the character and nature of God and His hope for us.

I prayed about this as we listened to the book of Matthew.  I feel like God answered with Matthew 11:28-30

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Sabbath is about working with God.

Sabbath is about trust.

Oh the Humanity (Bible Week…Day 5)

Isaiah.  Ezekiel.  Daniel.

Today we read a lot of the prophetic works.

Oh the humanity.

The Bible speaks not only of what will happen, but of what is happening to the Hebrew people at the time the book is written.  And the people who surrounded Israel were e-vil.  Evil.

The Jewish people practically sold themselves to them.  They did the same things they did.  They worshiped their gods.  This is not like going to R rated movies.  This is like…wicked.  Purely wicked things.  Think Nazi.  Think worse.

If you know me at all, you know I know of injustice that would make your blood run cold.  Still, as I’m listening to these things recounted…and as I’m thinking, “This really happened.  It’s not figurative.”…and as I’m realizing how absolutely unjust the injustice was when Isaiah was written…I’m realizing that there really has been change in the world.

The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; Those who live in a dark land, The light will shine on them. Isaiah 9:2

Like, I’ve always thought the world was going to hell in a handbasket (literally) but God’s grace through the cross, the blessing for the world that is promised to come through the Jewish people, really did work.  The kingdom of God, here and now, in human hearts throughout history, really has made a difference.

And I started to weep.

In my heart I saw the earth, filled with light and life.  So I drew it.

I finished my drawing somewhere around Habakkuk 2:14…

For the earth will be filled With the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, As the waters cover the sea.

For the earth will be filled With the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, As the waters cover the sea.

And some more blurry pictures for ya…

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(To stop the slideshow and view one picture, hover the mouse over the slideshow.  Three buttons appear.  The middle one, a square, stops the slide show.  Left and right arrows allow you to progress at your own pace.)

Wind and Fire (Bible Week…Day 4)

They heal the brokenness of the daughter of My people superficially, Saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ But there is no peace.

Jeremiah 8:11

The words caught my ear quickly as they passed.  I have trouble following along in the text, so I had no idea where we actually were in the book.  I only knew that it was Jeremiah.  I scribbled the words in my notebook.  Again at the end, a similar statement caught my ear, and so I scribbled 48:10.

Cursed be the one who does the LORD’S work negligently…

Words like “superficial” and “negligence” carry such a heavy weight as I consider my life’s purpose to come from Isaiah 61: “to heal the brokenhearted.”  Jeremiah’s life exemplifies my desire for this purpose to come from within.  His famous quote…

But if I say, “I will not remember Him Or speak anymore in His name,” Then in my heart it becomes like a burning fire Shut up in my bones; And I am weary of holding it in, And I cannot endure it. (20:9)

…contrasts starkly against the religious activity of the day, illustrating his continuous cry that God is more concerned with the heart issues.  As we are fond of saying around here, dealing with the root instead of the fruit.

Colors of the Temple: blue, purple, and scarlet

A bit of context for you: Jeremiah is written well after the “glory days” of the Jewish people, after things have been going very badly for hundreds of years, there is a brief season of restoration followed by devastating moral deterioration which lands the people in exile.  Jeremiah has the joyless task of warning the king and the people that the path they have chosen leads to destruction, begging them to choose God.

As we are listening to the books being read, and most of the other students are following along in their Bibles, I have my art supplies spread out on the floor in front of me.  My doodles began with fire and quickly changed to page after page of windblown trees.  I could almost hear wind rushing past my ears.

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Later in the day as we watched the Jeremiah movie, I noticed that they also used images of wind and fire over and over again in the film.  Even as I drew each tree, the lines reflected the story I was hearing.  I started the art to keep my hands busy so I could concentrate, but I the process of creating is helping me to engage the reading on a whole different level.

Reflecting on the experience as a whole, I know it is affecting me on so many different levels.  At one point in the afternoon, I felt this shift in my thinking…nothing specific I could describe…just a growing confidence in God, in His faithfulness and His ways.  It’s been really powerful, and I honestly believe it will change…is changing…my life.

I missed 1 & 2 Chronicles this evening, but hope to rest well and start on Proverbs and Isaiah tomorrow.  Two of my favorites.  I’m excited.

Turn Turn Turn (Bible Week…Day 3)

Go figure.  A week ago I posted about waiting.  And for two days I have heard about people who did…and did not…wait on God.

Israel was impatient for a king, so God concedes and the prophet Samuel anoints Saul as king.  Saul was impatient for battle and went on without God and lost his crown…and his mind.  I think I’m getting the picture.

Then there’s Ecclesiastes and even Song of Solomon. “A wise heart knows the proper time and procedure.”  “I adjure you, oh daughters of Jerusalem, do not awaken love until it pleases.”

And the Byrds, “To everything (turn turn turn) there is a season (turn turn turn) and a time to every purpose under heaven…”

Okay, we didn’t listen to the song.  But wouldn’t it be great if we did?

We do watch at least one movie a day.  It adds to the reading.  Today it was the movie David.  I thought you might like to join in the fun.  About 7 minutes in, you can see a depiction of the rather pithy (and rainy) scene I referenced above.

Samuel:  Saul!  What are you doing?

Saul:  I am making a sacrifice…You were not here to speak on my behalf.

Samuel:  You were told to wait.

Saul:  I had to do something.

That’s all you get.  No more spoilers.  I just had to laugh at how obvious it was…God definitely wants me to learn about His timing.

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