Thursday, March 25, 2010
Considering that several of our friends are excellent cooks, I think we experienced the best cuisine that Ireland has to offer! Among many wonderful dishes, we experienced Limerick Ham, Irish stew and a traditional Irish breakfast of eggs, roasted tomatoes, mushrooms and potatoes with a scoop of hot beans in the center and “pudding” patties on the side. White pudding is similar to sausage served in the U.S. However, the black is also called “blood pudding.” I politely finished one blood soaked pattie! Although black tea is the traditional Irish beverage, Gary and I developed a liking for the bold, full-flavored taste of European coffee.
Arrangements had been made for us to share about our spiritual journey with a group of about 20 people. The evening was filled with encouragement, tears, laughter and lots of hugs. From that point on, our days were filled with invitations for dinner, site-seeing, and most importantly whole-hearted sharing with brothers and sisters in Jesus. Our hosts commented that they felt as though they were housing celebrities. It seemed that the Lord used our willingness to be honest about our struggles and our hunger for understanding what God intends for His Church to open a floodgate for others to safely share their personal struggles and desires.
This fellowship of brothers and sisters from Ghana, Hungary, Poland, Nigeria, Ireland, Romania and America typically gather four mornings and evenings each week, to praise Jesus, study His Word and to pray for and edify one another. It is also not unusual for them to participate in various daily activities with one another on a regular basis. What a blessing it was to witness and enjoy such a precious, intimate family!
I found myself frequently enthralled by the beauty! Yes, we were privileged with opportunities to savor breath-taking Ireland. However, the incredible vastness of the Irish Sea is only a drop in the bucket compared to looking across a room filled with brothers and sisters from around the world who are my eternal family. The rushing, thunderous waterfalls have little power when weighed against that of diverse languages being lifted to the same Lord in prayer. Two days of touring historical Dublin isn’t nearly as fascinating as learning of the spiritual history of my brothers and sisters from various nations. And yes, Trim Castle, where Brave Heart was filmed is intriguing, yet I know that it doesn’t hold a candle to the mansion being prepared for God’s royal family from every tribe and nation.
“…with your blood you purchased men for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation.
You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth” [Rev. 5: 9-10].
Although we are still sorting through the Lord’s purposes for our trip, I am more aware now than ever that in all of God’s creation, including the majestic mountains of Ireland, there is nothing comparable to the splendor of His Kingdom of Chosen People.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
What’s With Paul and Women? authored by Jon Zens
“allows the reader to see, maybe for the first first time,
how Paul’s instructions in 1 Timothy 2 are consistent with
Jesus’ belief in the full, functional equality of women within the assembly."
– Wade Burleson
Jon Zens is one of few scholars enabled by the Holy Spirit to remove the tainted lenses of traditional interpretation in order to clearly see God’s Truth. It seems that Jon, like Timothy, has been called by God to this place at this time in order to “command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer!” It is obvious that Jon’s goal is love, which comes from a pure heart, a good conscience and a sincere faith [1 Tim. 1:3, 5].
Jon’s tender heart toward women, but more importantly, his insatiable hunger for Truth resonates with my heart!
Time and again, through years of counseling, I’ve been honored to witness the Wonderful Counselor lovingly release women from spiritual bondage. However, my heart is greatly burdened that many of these precious women have fallen into the suffocating bondage of false teachings within the church regarding gender issues, choking out the Life so graciously given to them. I would love to place a copy of this liberating studying into their hands!
Jon has obviously done his homework! With Scripture used in its proper context, this study of 1 Tim. 2 offers a broader panoramic view than any I have read. One cannot rightly deny the clear image which Jon paints of the Artemis cult and its tremendous impact on the church in Ephesus. With our lenses cleared of distorted interpretations we are enabled to clearly picture 1 Tim. 2 in this context; our understanding of God’s Kingdom will be changed forever!
"The book you hold in your hands
is comparable to an antidote for a venomous snake bite.
The viper known as
'the doctrine of male authority'
has bitten the church.
The toxin emitted by this errant teaching
affects the Females within our assemblies.
It debilitates their God-given gifts,
denigrates their Spirit-led ministry,
downplays their role as New Covenant priests.
Those of us who have seen the church bitten
need assistance,and help has arrived.
This book will help you suck out the venom of
male only authority within the church . . . .”
- excerpt from the Foreword by Wade Burleson,
pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Enid, Oklahoma:
If you still think the Bible supports male authority over women,
I dare you...read all of this book.
Jon has given us another significant tool
to dismantle the male-centered theology and practice
that has been in the driver's seat far too long."
-- William Paul Young, author, The Shack
My heart leaps with excitement as I consider the freedom soon to be experienced and expressed by our brothers and sisters set free through God’s Truths in What’s with Paul & Women!
What's With Paul & Women? Unlocking the Cultural Background of 1 Timothy 2 by Jon Zens will be released in early April by Ekklesia Press. This book can be pre-ordered for $11.00 postpaid at www.jonzens.com
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Personally, I have had the wonderful privilege of living in and visiting many places in this country and around the world. In the process I have met people from hundreds of cultural backgrounds and lifestyles. I have taken advantage of these opportunities to discuss and address all sorts of life-issues. I have benefited from reading thousands of books and articles about a wide variety of topics. Many would say that I must certainly have attained wisdom by now. However, that gathering of knowledge is not evidence that I am on the road to truth or fullness of life.
On the other hand, I recently met a man whom I consider to be very wise. Now in his 70’s, he has never traveled more than one hundred miles from the place of his birth, a town of which you have likely never heard. Yet, I sat spell-bound for hours as he opened up treasures of truth about life and about God that I had missed (or never absorbed) along the way. Attaining wisdom may include gaining knowledge, but far more important is understanding that information, how it fits together in a positive and purposeful way and then applying it to life.
It has always been fascinating to me that many of the most significant “trailblazers” have been men and women, born and raised in small, relatively unknown towns, without the “advantage” of exclusive, high-priced education. St. Paul once wrote: “We preach Christ crucified…the power of God and the wisdom of God.” (I Cor. 1:23-25). Wherever people are willing to seek truth, to be challenged, to act with integrity on what they have come to believe, the door is open for wisdom. Where there is true wisdom, Godly wisdom, there also is Godly power.
Several years ago, when Bonnie and I were “free” to live anywhere in the world, the Lord clearly led us to Diagonal. We believed then, and still do, that this community holds the potential to be a center to bring about Godly change in this world. Let’s keep on encouraging one another to live and grow in Christ, challenging each other to increase in wisdom, and to watch what the power of God can do in and from Diagonal.
Thursday, March 4, 2010
Although neither of us felt well, another nurse and I went to spend a few days working at a local Haitian hospital. Within a few short minutes of witnessing the sickening, unsanitary conditions, we couldn’t contain our plight any longer. Realizing that we needed to be in bed, the staff directed us past the kitchen to get to the nurses’ dorm. The stench in the kitchen was awful! We witnessed the staff plucking feathers from a chicken with as many flies feasting on it as the open wounds in the next room. A few hours after getting us settled, someone knocked on the door and hospitably offered us homemade chicken soup. We pretended like we were asleep!
National Palace, 1975. The Negre Maron statue is a tribute to the first runaway slave. Haiti, the first black republic, gained independence in 1804.
National Palace, Haiti. 2010
Fond Parisien: As I bustled about helping to restore a church building in this village 40 miles east of
Speaking of rest rooms….the place for toileting was behind the work site where there were no stools or privacy walls, only the desert floor and the little lizards that crawled around my feet!
I was amazed as the little girls swiped their fingers through the wet, bright red paint that we were using on benches and brushed this across their fingernails! With no access to Glamour magazines, they knew how and desired to adorn their nails!
One little girl especially enjoyed sitting on my lap so that she could smell my hair! She repeatedly lifted my long hair to her face, took a deep whiff through her nose and then smiled at me! The freshness of my shampoo was very foreign to her. Another little girl repeatedly rubbed her dark little finger across my cheek and then gazed in astonishment that the white wasn’t coming off my face! She thought it was funny when I did this to her.
Upon completing the renovation, we held a dedication service. What a precious experience it was to praise Jesus together, in English and in Creole. We had made a sign to place above the door as a gift to our brothers and sisters. The love and appreciation they demonstrated made it difficult to part from them.
Dedication service after completion of the church building for our friends in Fond Parisien, Haiti, 1975.
A field hospital in Fond Parisien, Haiti, was started lessn than a week after the earthquake hit on Jan. 12, 2010. Meeting inside a makeshift ofice are doctors from across America. Justin Ide/Harvard Staff Photographer.
The home-sickness was so intense that for a few days I experienced strong impressions of never going home or seeing my loved ones again. Yet, once I was home I longed to return to