Saturday, April 28, 2007

Who will be my advocate?

Last week I went through one of the most difficult proceedings of my academic career--an interview with a student facing a dishonesty charge. I'm sure it was a difficult position to be in, and before it started, he asked me, "Who will be my advocate?"

While I've never been on his side of the desk for this kind of incident, I know that the day is coming when I will face God in such a setting. And I know I will be guilty of all the charges, whether I knew about them or not. But luckily, I will have an advocate--1 John 2:1 says, "We have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One."

Who better to have on my side, to testify that although I am guilty, my guilt has been washed away by his blood, the perfect, innocent Lamb of God. I can rest assured that he will be at my side, and have confidence that his sacrifice is enough, that although I am guilty, I do not have to pay for it--Jesus more than covered it. Alleluia!

Thank you, Jesus, for being our innocent lamb, great high priest and advocate. Thank you for dying for my sin, so that I may have life, and have it abundantly.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

What has the web done to communication?

I was at a conference this weekend, and saw a really interesting video about how the web has transformed/is transforming communication. It's by Michael Wesch at Kansas State University, and it talks about how the web is changing commmunication, and us. To see it, click here.

Lord, thanks that you and your word are unchanging.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Henry, the lasso evangelist

Henry has always loved swinging stuff. Last year it was his socks--they regularly turned into propellers. We gave up on the clips to keep his mittens attached to his coat--they also became propellers.

While the swinging phase has mostly subsided, Henry re-discovered it last week at Purdue's Bug Bowl, where he got to lasso straw cow (with a little help). Tonight he found a cord, and begged me to tie it like a lasso...and I obliged. He then told me that he was going to lasso the bad guys and tell them about Jesus.

Hmm, interesting concept, Henry. How many evangelists have tried lasso techniques, tying someone up, flipping them on their back, and putting their brand on them? The thing about lasso evangelism is that the targets probably have the same reaction as our cat, Ali--the more Henry tries to pin her down to pet and love on her, the more she tries to run away.

Once again, I don't know where I'm going with this analogy...but maybe it has something to do about how I should be presenting Jesus to people. Am I tying them up, burning them, and sending them off scared? Or am I showing them Jesus's love, his transforming power in my own life, and inviting them to join me in the journey?

Lord, show me who needs to hear about your love, and how I can best show it to them.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Running on E

I got less than 6 hours of sleep last night.
I didn't eat lunch--instead I ran 6 miles.
I couldn't tell you how much gas is in my car, but I know it's less than a quarter tank.
Spiritually, I'm running on fumes, too.

It's the end of the semester, and there is the usual crush of grading, papers, exams, meetings and all other kinds of joyous (not) stuff. It really is the final sprint of a race. And as I prepare for the Indianapolis Mini-Marathon on May 5, it's the final leg of preparation for a real race, too.

Paul compares our spiritual life to a race too, both in Corinthians and in Phillipians. I guess the difference between it and a typical race is knowing where the finish line is. I know the mini-marathon is 13.1 miles. I know, one way or another, classes are done on Friday, and finals are done the week after that. But my spiritual race? Who knows? I could be like my grandma, and live to be past ninety--that would mean I've got another 55 years to press on. Or I could be killed in a car accident tomorrow, or Jesus could return tonight. It's that uncertainty, not knowing how much longer, that makes it a struggle to keep on, keeping on.

Lord, give me the endurance to keep on in my spiritual race, even when I'm tired and don't know where the finish line is. Send a mile marker or water break soon, I need you!

Saturday, April 21, 2007


Yup, the sum of the legs is definitely longer than the hypotenuse...Today I had a meeting in Chicago, so yesterday I dropped the kids off at my Mom's house in Illinois, then drove to Chicago (via BIL/SIL house)...five hours in the car. Today I drove straight back, and it was more like three hours. Lots of car time for two days!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Feeding the masses

Tonight we had my freshmen students over for dinner. We went through two bags of spinach, a package of crutons, eight pounds of pork tenderloin, three boxes of stuffing, three cans of corn, a large pan of brownies, a gallon of ice cream, a 1/2 gallon each of ice tea, lemonade, water and grape juice. And that was only thirteen students! Luckily there was enough for them (and us), and a few leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

I spent about an hour last night and two hours today preparing for the meal, and it went pretty well (though Rachel Ray's recommendation of 20 minutes at 500 degrees was not enough for the cumin and lime roasted pork tenderloin!)

I can only imagine how the disciples felt, when surrounded by 5,000 hungry people, and Jesus says, you feed them. What? No prep time? I don't even have a kitchen, and only a couple of buns and sardines to work with. And the budget! My dinner for 17 cost $65 dollars--that would be almost $20K for 5,000 people...if there was a grocery store nearby! What the disciples forgot is that Jesus had already empowered them to do the impossible--they had just gotten back from casting out demons and healing people. How quickly I (and they) forget what God has already done for us and through us!

Lord, help me to remember all you have done for and through me, and have confidence that you will provide.

Cumin Lime roast (normal scale)
2 lb pork loin roast
2 T lime juice
1 T olive oil
2 T cumin
1 T ground coriander
3 cloves garlic, sliced

Cut off slivery layer on pork. Rub with lime juice, then olive oil. Coat with cumin and ground coriander. Cut small slits in roast and insert garlic. Bake at 375 for 45 minutes; remove and tent for 5 minutes (check for doneness). Slice and serve.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Henry's first soccer game

Tonight was Henry's first soccer game. It was 30 minutes of large group practice, followed by a 24 minute game. Henry's team color is hot pink, so he's easy to pick out of a crowd :) Henry did very well, but when the teacher of the practice told them to dribble, he picked up the ball to, well, dribble. Guess he really is a Hoosier!

As Patrick said,watching the kids play was better than TV. They alternated between being in their own little world (Henry was shooting arrows at imaginary enemies at times) to chasing after the balls. They didn't even have goalies--the organizer said they had a hard enough time getting it in the goal without a defender.

As beginners, they have no idea about defense strategies. What they do know is that what is important is the ball. Where the ball goes, they go. So what's the "ball" in my life? That's a hard question this time of year, but I know what the answer should be: following God. Jesus would second Henry's hot pursuit of the ball...but only when the ball is what God is doing. In John 5:19, Jesus says, "the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing." So the question is...what is God doing, and how can I "chase the ball"?

God, help me to have open eyes to see what you're doing, and follow the ball with the enthusiasm of a preschooler.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Happy Birthday, Princess

Today was Harmony's 3rd birthday. My, how time has flown. Happy Birthday, Little Princess :)

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Taking the plunge

I was baptised today! I've been a Christian for, oh, 12 years, and decided it was time. I was bapized as an infant, by my grandfather at home--I still have the cut glass bowl that was used. You might think it's strange that I've been baptized twice, but after much study, I've decided they were two different baptisms. The first one was my parents and family testifying that they had faith that someday I would receive grace and choose to follow Christ; the second is the testimone of that I have.

It was an appropriate time for that--I've felt very unified with Christ in his death, and it's time that I be united in his ressurection. I know he can take these shambles of my heart and create something new out of them, and this was a physical way to represent the work he's doing in me.

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Psalm 51:10

Friday, April 6, 2007

Bees and bearing fruit

Today I was outside with Henry, age 4.5. Our hyacinths are in bloom, and Henry loves walking along the wall and smelling the flowers. However, the bees like them too, and Henry doesn’t really like the bees. So I tried explaining that bees are good. They pollinate flowers, which allows them to develop from flowers into fruit.

Hmm…flowers into fruit. I know there is a spiritual lesson there, but I’m not getting it yet. I know there are spiritual fruits: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). I know the parable of the sower, how the type of soil (our hearts) determines the outcome of the seed (Mark 4:3-9), and how some are called to plant, others are called to water, but God makes the plant grow (1 Corinthians 3:6). I know that Jesus is the vine and we are the branches, and if we stay with him we’ll bear much fruit (John 15:5).

But I don’t know what the bee is. What pollinates us, to go from just pretty things to nutritious things? Are the bees the things in life that sting, but God makes honey out of? Are we all just “wind” (spirit) pollinated? Does this have something to do with interacting with other believers, since most plants are self incompatible and need to receive pollen from another plant?

Any insight?

Monday, April 2, 2007

The sound track of my life

Lately I've been into "The Jesus Record" by Rich Mullins and the Ragamuffin Band. In 1997, Rich Mullins started the album, and had made a tape of a bunch of songs in a small country church. He was killed in a car accident shortly after that--I still remember getting the call from Patrick when I was in Korea, and trying to figure out what he was crying so heavily about that he couldn't speak. It was that Rich Mullins had passed away. Rich's friends took the tape and turned it into an album. It's cool because it comes with "The Jesus Demos" which is the original recordings he made. Anyway, tracks 9, 10, and 1 have been my soundtrack lately. I don't want to put all the words on here, but Track 9 is the one that's been my theme song....

You who live in heaven, hear the prayers of those of us who live on earth
Who are afraid of being left by those we love and who get hardened by the hurt
Do you remember when You lived down here where we all scrape
To find the faith to ask for daily bread?
Did You forget about us after You had flown away?
Well I memorized every word You said--Still I'm so scared, I'm holding my breath
While You're up there just playing hard to get

You who live in radiance, hear the prayers of those of us who live in skin
We have a love that's not as patient as Yours was, still we do love now and then
Did You ever know loneliness? Did You ever know need?
Do You remember just how long a night can get?
When You were barely holding on and Your friends fall asleep
And don't see the blood that's running in Your sweat
Will those who mourn be left uncomforted
While You're up there just playing hard to get?

And I know you bore our sorrows, and I know you feel our pain
And I know it would not hurt any less even if it could be explained
And I know that I am only lashing out at the One who loves me most
And after I figured this, somehow, all I really need to know

Is if You who live in eternity hear the prayers of those of us who live in time
We can't see what's ahead, and we can not get free of what we've left behind
I'm reeling from these voices that keep screaming in my ears
All the words of shame and doubt, blame and regret
I can't see how You're leading me unless You've led me here, where I'm lost enough to let myself be led
And so You've been here all along I guess
It's just Your ways and You are just plain hard to get

I've had it playing at work, in my car, and at home. It just captures my struggle to understand the miscarriage without blaming God--I just cry out like Job does. And God has been faithful to comfort me. I know the babies, if they were old enough to have souls, are already in heaven, and it's better for them to be there than to be here (Track 10--That Where I am, You may also be). But I mourn all the missed opportunities--for me and for my family. But we'll meet in heaven someday, and it'll be great getting to know them then.