Friday, September 27, 2013

Light the Night & Ride for Refuge

Dear Friends,

Shamelessly asking for your support for two great causes:

As many of you know, Joe Park lost his son Andrew after a valiant battle with cancer last summer. Joe will be participating in the "Light the Night" walk raising funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society on October 19th. Please consider donating to this worthy cause in support of Joe and in loving memory of his son Andrew. There are so many battling this horrible disease and every little bit will help. Read his blog entry HERE and please consider donating on Joe's fundraising page HERE.

Also, on October 5th my family will be participating in the Ride for Refuge to raise funds with charities that support the displaced, abused and or exploited. See list of non-profits supported HERE. Please consider supporting us as we hope to raise at least $500 to help those in our communities that are most in need of it.  You can find our fundraising page HERE (mine) or HERE (Kim's).

If you think about it, in a sense we are all refugees. Sojourners who are traveling through a temporary home until we find rest in our eternal one and so we should have compassion for these more than any other.

He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing. Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt. -Deut 10:18-19

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Seeing Jesus in the Sun

Grand Canyon Sunset July 2012
Last summer we had the opportunity to go to the Grand Canyon and watch the sun set (see link). As soon as that bright orange sphere slipped beneath the horizon everyone around us began to clap their hands. 

This surprised me.

I've been to maybe two movies in my lifetime where the audience has clapped at the ending credits but I'd never heard anyone applaud an act of nature. I wondered who were they clapping for exactly? The sun? The God who made the sun? Themselves for coming out to witness it?

I get it. There's something inherently glorious about the sun. In fact, if you look up solar deity on wikipedia (here) you will find that "sun worship can be found throughout most of recorded history in various forms" - from Aztec, African or Chinese mythology to major religions like Hinduism and Buddhism to those who religiously sun-bathe on the beach. Check out this amazing video which captures some the beauty of the sun. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

A Redemption Story

This video is subtitled and only three minutes long and yet it has the power to move us deeply. What is it about stories of acts of mercy, redeemed lives, forgiveness of debt and ultimate justice that stirs our hearts? This is the power of the gospel. This is what we all long for. May we see in every beautiful story the one story that surpasses them all.

And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. -Romans 8:23

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Seeing Jesus in Apple Cider

I love the outdoors but I have a strong aversion against anything that has to do with plants and gardens. (If you read the Beauty & the Beast series you might recall why here). That said, my brother-in-law Kurt and his wife Jenna have this beautiful farm about 40 minutes from our home and every time I go there I'm able to set aside my "issues" with gardening and find myself amazed. We recently went over for a visit and Kurt taught the boys how to make homemade apple cider. Pretty cool stuff (see video below).

As you can see cider-making involves a lot of time and energy for just a little bit of juice. It took many years for the trees to become mature enough to produce fruit worth consuming.

All this got me thinking about how God has used fruit trees to teach us about Himself and His ways. One of my favorite books of all time is a brief 91 pager entitled The Green Letters by Miles Stanford. I first read it back in college and it's an absolute keeper:
"It seems that most believers have difficulty in realizing and facing up to the inexorable fact that God does not hurry in His development of our Christian life. He is working from and for eternity! So many feel that they are not making progress unless they are swiftly and constantly forging ahead." (p.13)
I often find myself frustrated in my own spiritual walk. I see my own shortfalls, failures and inadequacies as a father, husband and person and feel I'm not growing and changing fast enough. And then I'm reminded that my victories and my failures are not wasted and are both being used by God to shape me into the image of His Son - for my good and for His glory.