Archive for January, 2008

Kenya.

Posted: January 29, 2008 in Uncategorized

Steve’s brother, Jon, and his family live in Kenya, where they run Kings Kids Village – an orphanage for children who have lost their families to AIDS. Please pray for them as they are in the middle of rampant violence and unrest and are responsible for many children and workers. Here is the latest update from Jon Stern – it’s long, but important in understanding the scope of the situation. Our God is GREAT and His power will prevail…but I believe that prayer is going to be the key that turns the lock. Here’s the letter from Jon:

Hello everyone, and sorry we haven’t written an update
lately…….we’ve heard from some of you that you are hearing the news
and following that way – you are probably getting as much as we are –
EXCEPT for what’s on the ground here at KKV……so that’s why we are
writing an update today. The unrest is getting worse and worse, and
there is talk that now things will be really bad for the rest of the
week……and it has slowly encroached on to Nairobi and anarchy
ensues. The country is shaken to it’s very foundations.

Here at KKV, like I said before, we have been in a haven of peace. But
today, the unrest comes close. Many of our workers who live in this
area are fleeing their homes with only what they can carry – threats are
coming that whole housing areas will be burned. We have taken in all
of our employees and their families from these areas……..today, we
went and bought mattresses for the floor and a good stock of food to
cover the extra mouths…..hopefully, enough for a whole week…..and we
are yet to see if more will still come – as many went home early to get
their children out of the schools and to see if their area is
threatened.

The saddest thing is the tension that is here – right here
among us……pointing of fingers and accusations and side taking. WE
told them ALL that if they are to come here to stay, they must leave all
that outside…..we are Switzerland – TOTALLY NEUTRAL, both tribally and
politically.

Otherwise, i don’t know how to tell you to pray – just pray in the
Spirit and let Him guide you…..but please DO pray – we need God’s
protection and KNOW we will have it AND we believe that God has the
only answers……no one else seems to get to the real bottom of the issues.

Thanks and blessings,
Jon and Molly Stern

My Friend, Janna

Posted: January 24, 2008 in Uncategorized

This is my friend, Janna Meyen, who’s life is a clear picture of the strong & beautiful grace of Jesus. She’s totally famous and was in TWO newspapers this week – here’s the link to the one that quotes ME! 🙂 http://www.bendbulletin.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080124/SPORTS05/801240427/1013/SPORTS&nav_category=SPORTS

I’m so proud of you, Janna.

I get frustrated with women who don’t know anything about politics…seriously, friends, you live in the greatest country in the entire world, take a little time to get to know it! I actually LOVE the political process and have been continually surprised to run into women who know nothing about what’s going on in the nation they call home. Many have asked me to write a political blog, but every time I try it just sucks the fun out of it for me. SO, instead of a blog, I give you this post!

A few things that will help you in this pursuit:

1) West Wing -Tori and I watch it on DVD and have converted Whitney and Corey and many others. Whether or not you agree with the political bent of the series (I don’t), you will definitely be captivated by the clever dialogue and suck-you-into-the-story plot lines. You can pick up a whole season (22 hours of episodes!) for about $15 at Costco or you can find it on http://www.half.com for a little more than that. Great stuff to kill a rainy Saturday, especially as we head into a full-blown election year. If you like An American President or A Few Good Men, you’ll love West Wing. If you don’t know either of those movies, you gotta get out more!

2) http://www.polichicksonline.com. It’s a relatively unbiased site for women who want to know some – but not ALL – about the political process. Also, it took some time of weeping in my office to get over the fact that I didn’t think of that clever domain name first!

3) http://www.realclearpolitics.com TONS of information – most of it slanted one way or the other. Still, if you read a couple of commentaries each morning, you’ll get a fairly good idea of what people are thinking and saying about the elections.

One thing I’ve found: women who know even a little about politics are given an automatic 20 point bump on their AIQ (Assumed IQ). Go for it – you may be surprised to find that you like it and then you’ll be running for president instead of Hillary someday.

And hey – if you find any great sites for the lowdown on politics, let me know!

AND…here is my favorite political moment this week:

The Shack

Posted: January 21, 2008 in Uncategorized

I’m right in the middle of reading The Shack by William Young. This book is just unlike anything I’ve ever read. It’s absolutely exploding through the book world and I tell you: you gotta read it! It’s very difficult to describe, which makes it all the more miraculous that it’s soared to the top. The reason for it’s great popularity, I believe, is that it deals with going to the dark and painful places of your history, and meeting God there. While it’s official genre is “religious fiction”, it’s very prophetic in addressing the stuff we keep hidden in the back rooms of our lives that are secretly shaping and distorting our picture of who God is.

Pick it up at Barnes and Noble and let me know what you think. I promise it’ll challenge you and mess with your thinking…don’t give up on it, though. I think it’s a really important book for everyone who’s ever been hurt or felt abandoned.

I recently read one theologian’s viewpoint on why women should not teach, preach or pastor. Turns out, it all goes back to that crazy apple (I Tim. 2:8-15). Eve was deceived and ate the apple and disqualified every other woman from ever having significant insight to impart to a man, henceforth and forever. Amen. So be it. Selah.

It’s interesting to note how many other scriptures have to be eliminated or re-invented in order to build a whole philosophy on I Timothy 2:14. These include Galatians 3:28, Ephesians 4:12 (“the” and “saint” are gender-inclusive words so Paul is saying, “Equip men and women for the work of the ministry”), as well as all the Biblical accounts of women who did amazing things like Deborah, Jael, Miriam, Huldah, Esther, Phoebe &Priscilla. (He mentions these women, but says they’re too rare to establish a pattern. Sigh. Don’t even get me started, Mr. Theologian.)

Anyway, I’m not here to duke this one out…just interested in how we arrive at our opinions. Most people I know who have disqualified women from leadership would not really be able to tell you why. They usually have picked a comfortable viewpoint without applying much muscle to analysis and you’ll generally discover a wide load philosophy teetering on the tiny shoulders of I Timothy 2. (If you wonder how I know this, you’re welcome to stand next to me on a Sunday after I speak and listen to the conversations that ensue.)

It’s taken a long time for me to build a philosophy as well. I’m blessed to be married to a man who loves what God is doing in my life as much as he loves it in his own. I’m also grateful to have a pastor who frees me to speak without fear of reprisal or rebuke. If these human men in a fallen world want that much for me…wouldn’t my Father in heaven want even more? Or am I – 2000 years after the greatest act of redemption and release in all of history – still silenced by an apple?

Beautiful Anna

Posted: January 9, 2008 in Uncategorized

Luke 2:36-38 (The Message)

36-38Anna the prophetess was also there, a daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher. She was by now a very old woman. She had been married seven years and a widow for eighty-four. She never left the Temple area, worshiping night and day with her fastings and prayers. At the very time Simeon was praying, she showed up, broke into an anthem of praise to God, and talked about the child to all who were waiting expectantly for the freeing of Jerusalem.

I love Anna and I love her story.

Born in the last quarter of a 400-year silence, her life – with all of it’s tears and tragedy – is wedged somewhere between Malachi and Matthew (a dark season if ever there was one.) In addition, she has the distinction of having been married just seven years before becoming a widow – not for 5 years or 10 years, but for 84 – for all the years she has left. The woman has so many reasons to give up or get mad, but she chooses a completely different plan. Instead of sitting around, soaking in the puddle of her circumstances, she runs to the House of the Lord for refuge…and it becomes her reason for living.

Day and night, night and day, Anna prays.
And worships.
And waits.

All that time in the presence of the invisible God positions her to recognize the flesh-and-blood-God the minute she sees Him. In fact, it seems like her spirit sees Him long before her aging eyes ever catch a glimpse, and as soon as the facts sink in, she’s telling the world about what she just found. I don’t think Anna would have traded her 84 years of aloneness for that one look at God.

There must be some seriously significant principles in this tiny little story, because rarely do I run into a life story that looks so sad and yet makes me so envious. I want to see God. I want to run to His House and find my hope there. I want to announce His arrival to a dying generation. I want to worship day and night, night and day, in the good and bad and dark and light and quiet and noisy seasons of my life. Such a lovely story.

Beautiful Anna.

One by One

Posted: January 8, 2008 in Uncategorized

Luke 4:40-41 When the sun went down, everyone who had anyone sick with some ailment or other brought them to Him. One by one He placed his hands on them and healed them.

I love the words, “one by one”. Earlier in the chapter, Satan offers Jesus many ways to use and demonstrate His power and all of them involve some kind of mass-produced, impersonal result. Jesus refused to wield His power apart from relationship. He is focused on the needs of each individual and His relationship to them is critical to His “Lord of All” character. Clearly, He could have waved His arms and healed everyone and fixed everything, but He instead insisted upon demonstrating that He is the God of every person…not just the God of mankind. This awareness builds the groundwork upon which we construct our understanding of His most powerful act of all. As we watch Him take the long walk to the cross, we know that this is not just for “all people”, but for every person. It was for me. And Steve. And Josiah. And my neighbor, Berta.

One by one, He healed them all. One by one, He still does.

However, I wonder: when we serve the “one by one” God, why we so often work mostly to become like each other. He constantly demonstrated a passionate desire to maintain a real relationship with individuals…and yet we tend to model our lives after those around us, hoping that our friendship with Him will look just like their friendship with Him. Someone told me recently that they absolutely would not read a certain translation of the Bible because their small group leader didn’t like it. Another person mentioned a specific philosophy that they had disregarded without evaluation because their mentor was not a fan. I understand following leaders. I get that we all need discipleship…in fact, I’m really passionate about that fact. I don’t, however, want to ever assume that as followers of Jesus we will all look, speak, pray or even believe exactly like one another. The image of God – stamped on each one of us – allows for some really beautiful and startling diversity if we’ll truly get to know the one-by-one God.