Archive for July, 2008

Faith Finale

Posted: July 17, 2008 in Uncategorized

Not one of these people, even though their lives were exemplary, got their hands on what was promised. God had a better plan for us: that their faith and our faith would come together to make one completed whole, their lives of faith not complete apart from ours. Hebrews 11:39-40

I’ve often wondered why God gives us such big promises. Why plant dreams so big that they cannot be fulfilled in our lifetime? The answer is in this verse: turns out our lives of faith were not meant to be complete on their own. That means Abraham’s dream included Joseph and Joseph’s dream included Moses and Moses’ dream included me and my dream includes Tori and Tess and many others that I can’t see yet. God is using my dreams to shape me and draw me close to Him, yes. But He’s also using them to draw me close to others and to keep me focused on what’s coming behind me. In this way, we all become important pieces of an eternal strategy that is creating an army that will shake the gates of hell. This process keeps any of us from being able to write our own script.

Last year, my life was deeply impacted the book, Holy Spirit, by Maria Woodworth Etter. A powerful evangelist in the late 1800’s, her faith helped pave the way for women in ministry.

You can read a short bio here, but remember that her story is incomplete without yours.

Today I’m feeling just tickled pink to play a bit part in such a big dream.

Thankful,

Bo

P.S.  Tomorrow?  The end of productivity as you know it.  Stay tuned!

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Temporarily Homeless

Posted: July 16, 2008 in Uncategorized

Hey – I’m in Hebrews right now and you know what that means? It’s FAITH week here at the Blog o’ Bo, that’s what! Take a look at this crazy verse:

Each one of these people of faith died not yet having in hand what was promised, but still believing. They saw it way off in the distance, waved their greeting, and accepted the fact that they were transients in this world. Hebrews 11:13ish (the Message, so who really knows what verse it is?)

This is hard for me to read without weeping. The idea of Abraham, as he breathes his last, waving a wrinkled hand at the nation of Israel he would never see…or Moses, standing at the top of Mt. Nebo and giving a sharp salute to the Promised Land he would never enter…or Jesus, as the last of His life flowed out of Him, catching a glimpse of…you. And me. Brilliant.

I’m trying to develop an unshakable understanding that I – though blessed to occupy a two-story house in a beautiful city – am still quite homeless. My time here is transitory at best and if my roots go down too deep in my temporary location, my passion will get diverted to less-worthy things. Let’s face it, I’m on my way out of here – so some of the things that I’m believing for will only be seen from my rocking chair on the front porch of eternity. Someday I will see a generation flipping the world upside down, and I will smile and wave and say, “I am a part of that, because I believed.”

Gotta have faith,

Bo


What’s in a Seed?

Posted: July 15, 2008 in Uncategorized

About 25 years ago, I gave a short speech on the subject of “peace”. I prepared for that speech for about 20 minutes and spoke for about two minutes.

Many weeks later, someone stopped me at church and said, “Hey, I just wanted to mention that I heard your speech and I think you have a communication gift and you should consider being a speaker or teacher one day.” The seed of her words landed – but sat dormant for a LONG time. Many, many years passed and the tiny little seed sometimes gave me hope, and sometimes really annoyed me because it’s hard to live with desire unfulfilled and there really was nothing I could do to push it along.

This may sound silly, I know, but just yesterday as I wrote on the confession of hope, I had to stop and look and realize: the seed has become an honest-to-goodness tree. In fact, the “speaking seed” is a tree that helps to feed our family; it’s what I do for a living. Somewhere between the planting and the present, stuff grew. God moved. Rain fell. Sun baked. And the seed became a harvest. Maybe I wasn’t paying enough attention, because in reviewing the matter this morning, I realized: wow…that’s quite miraculous.

I guess I’m just writing this today, believing that at whatever place you find yourself, you will not give up hope. Perhaps the harvest feels so near you’ve got your baskets and boxes lined up to catch the fruit as it falls. Or maybe the vision of harvest is so hazy and distant that it’s painful to think about. I really think both are okay as long as you don’t give up. Hold fast without wavering. I promise that He is faithful. I’m evidence that He is faithful. Because when I look at my life, my talents and my gardening skills – there is no other explanation.

With Hope,

Bo

P.S. Thank you, Barbara Wright, for planting that seed in the most unlikely field…I want to be a faith-filled sower like you!

A Stake in the Ground

Posted: July 14, 2008 in Uncategorized

Let us hold fast the confession of hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23

Interesting. A “confession of hope”…in earthly terms? Not really worth much.

I hope it’s sunny today.

I hope my kids are safe.

I hope I have the winning ticket.

A confession of hope that is grounded in emotion – even really good emotion – is like Elton’s candle in the wind. A confession of hope that is grounded in a human’s ability to perform it is a quick (or slow…slow is the worst!) trip to disappointment. But a confession of hope that is rooted and established in the eternal is backed by all the force of heaven and is steady, sturdy, and strong enough to hold onto.

The promises I believe in are real and accessible because they’re not made from MY words – they’re made from His. And when His words are mixed with my faith, a statement that would otherwise be a wispy, nebulous dream, becomes a miracle marker in my life. It’s the place I drive the stake that shows where the seed has gone underground. I know that tomatoes will grow because I saw the seed – and though it’s now buried further down than my vision can go – I have the stake with the little seed packet taped to it, flapping in the wind and reminding me that tomatoes were promised, tomatoes were planted, and so tomatoes will grow. Tomatoes must grow. If anything else came up out of the ground, God would be a bumbling gardener. If nothing came up out of the ground, God would be a liar. But He is neither…He is faithful. He who promised IS faithful.

Here’s what I hold onto: the things that have been planted and staked out in my life – whether I feel it or not – are being cultivated and tended in places and ways I cannot see. His hand is working to prepare and perfect a harvest. And at the harvest? Joy. And tomato sandwiches!

That’s my confession. That’s my hope.

He is faithful,

Bo

The Corey Story

Posted: July 13, 2008 in Uncategorized

July 13th is his birthday, and so I am reminded about the many reasons I’m grateful for Corey Parnell and his presence in our family. In order to keep the mush to a minimum, I’m going to bullet-point it. Just straightforward, you know? No emotion involved. Straightforward reasons why it’s good he’s a part of us – in no particular order:

  • He can reach the stuff on the top shelves. So can Whit, but it’s easier for Corey.
  • He ‘s the only big brother Josiah has and so where else would he learn wrestling moves, fireworks skills and how to dress like a metrosexual 8-year-old? Important things.

  • He understands my daughter in ways that few people do. This was something I saw from the near-beginning of their friendship. In fact, they didn’t like each other much at all and I watched Corey determine to figure out how to make a friendship out of pretty much nothing. I love that he saw the things in her that made the pursuit worth it.
  • Corey is one of those people that everyone feels needs a little extra humility, and then they devise ways to provide it – mostly through sarcasm. I’m amazed that he – generally – lets it roll off and moves on.
  • He’s really talented and our family needed it!

  • He brought with him a fabulous family. Steve, Cathy, Casey & Jason feel like our very own and I’m so blessed by that.
  • He’s never had sisters, but he is an awesome brother to Tori and Tess (woe unto the young men who desire to date them.) I believe his presence in our family makes the idea of marrying a man of God not just possible, but non-negotiable.
  • He knows the Word. That’s a simple sentence, but behind it? Lots of power.
  • He’s funny. And life is too short to live with unfunny relatives.
  • He believes in a dream that seems elusive most of the time…but still he believes.
  • This will sound silly, but I love Corey because of all my kids, he may be the most like me. His communication style, his humor, his philosophy on life – and most importantly, his guitar skills – are things that make me feel like he was always meant to be a part of our family (in addition to his own!)

There are a million other reasons to be thankful for Corey, but he’ll be mad if I keep going. Mostly, I just want to say:Thanks, Cor, for loving our girl faithfully, for serving your God extravagantly, and for being a great representation of Him in the world. We know you will do exploits in year 25!

Happy Birthday,

Bo, the Mother-in-law

Daring Duos

Posted: July 11, 2008 in Uncategorized

Maybe I’m crazy, but I think one of the biggest killers of romantic relationships is purposelessness. Seriously, if more couples would run their lives through the grid of Proverbs 29:18, we’d see so much more success. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but here are just a few of the dangerous couples I have been blessed to know:

Brent & Virginia Earwicker: They married with a passion for the nations and they refused to let it get swept under the rug of ordinary living. They sold a bunch of stuff, packed up the rest and moved to Uganda to extend the Kingdom. You can read about their exploits at Plead the Cause.

Stan & Ellen Mishler: My parents are not missionaries, and they aren’t in full-time ministry…but they have given their lives to being the spiritual parents to hundreds of people from an overwhelmingly orphaned generation. Their home and hearts are big enough for just about any problem or need and I admire them more than words could say. They have given the devil many a migraine in their 50 years of marriage.

Mel & Emily Mishler: My grandparents – both with Jesus now (so they don’t have a web site). Who in the world moves to the mission field at the age of 54? Crazy folks who are dangerously in love, that’s who.

Jon & Ann Dunagan: I love to watch these two go! Since the day I met them, I’ve been hearing stories of their outside-the-borders-of-all-good-sense faith. They have both preached the gospel to millions, Ann has written a book, they are the “parents” to many orphans and their seven children will undoubtedly change the world. Marriage has multiplied their effectiveness and has launched an unstoppable legacy.

My dear “deleted” cousins: I wrote about my cousin and her husband’s commitment to reach the Muslim world, but then I realized that the next mission they are planning is edgy enough that they probably would like for their names NOT to be splashed about on the worldwide web. However, I KNOW their names are being splashed all over heaven, and the Father is ready to roll out serious resources! These two – and their amazing kids -are dear to my heart and they will – I’m convinced – reach millions by the time the ledger of the T Tribe’s legacy is read.

And finally…

Paul & Eleanor Stern: Don’t let the sweet picture fool you – my husband’s parents are some of the most dangerous people I know.

They met in college and Paul asked Eleanor to marry him on their first date. That’s just a sliver of the faith the man possesses! They have given their lives to the people of Nigeria, Nairobi, Bulgaria, Budapest, Illinois – just to name a few. They prayed and worked and believed and planned for more than 40 years to build King’s Kids Village – an orphanage in Nairobi which is now the home to many precious children who will know Jesus and change their world. Paul and Eleanor’s faith is astounding, their love for Jesus humbling and their committment to encouraging others into a radical living is overwhelming to me. I’m blessed to share a name and a life with their dangerous son and so thankful to be a part of their legacy.

Dangerously in Love

Posted: July 9, 2008 in Uncategorized

During the rule of Herod, there was a priest assigned service in the regiment of Abijah. His name was Zachariah. His wife was descended from the daughters of Aaron. Her name was Elizabeth. Together they lived honorably before God, careful in keeping to the ways of the commandments and enjoying a clear conscience before God. Luke 1:5-7

Now, this? Is a wonderful life! This is exactly what I want my marriage to look like. Zachariah and Elizabeth, living in the same call, walking in the same truth, pursuing the same character goals. And in response to the way that they’ve fashioned their family, God gives them the keys to the next generation and they give birth to the bridge between the years of dark, silence and the years of brilliant redemption.

So many dating couples fall into the trap of giving themselves primarily to one another. They give up ministry, get immersed in the process of falling in love – which is a GREAT process and it definitely deserves some attention – but they often don’t find a way back to the things that God had spoken to them before the hearts and flowers fell. It’s easy to believe that finding the right person actually IS the bulk of God’s purpose – kind of like the finish line – and all that we were doing before was a diversion to keep us occupied while waiting for the ultimate matrimonial prize. If that’s our mindset, we can easily spend the bulk of our energy after “I do” on keeping our marriage safe, our stuff safe, our time safe and our kids safe.

I’ve watched hundreds of couples walk this out and I’ve found that the most excellent and exciting relationships are those that allow God to multiply their kingdom purpose rather than trimming it down to fit inside the safety of the American dream. Husbands and wives who encourage one another to step into the fullness of God’s call and character, who push each other to become carriers of His authority to the world around them (even when it’s costly), and who keep their vision globally and eternally focused – those marriages are not just happy – they’re dangerous.

In love with a dangerous man,

Bo

P.S. Coming up: a shout-out to some of the most daring and dangerous couples I know.