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Posts Tagged ‘Family’

Teaching my son to crawl

July 16, 2010 Leave a comment

Cricket by simon nekdo.jpg

Do you know how I taught my son to crawl?  Not be telling him to crawl!  First, I tried crawling so he would follow me.  He would wiggle and rock back and forth, wanting to follow but unable to launch himself forward.

At the time, during the sweltering heat of a Dallas summer, we had been invaded by many unloved crickets.  After gently apprehending one of our visitors, I strategically posed one of the pulsating creatures mere inches beyond the reach of my son’s trembling fingers. Fascinated as the cricket skipped away, my son’s arms and legs discovered a rhythm previously unknown and off my son set in pursuit of what would soon become his prey.

Andrew had began his crawl towards becoming the man of whom I am proud today.

Please Be My Strength

February 21, 2010 Leave a comment

Sad morning.  A young MK from our mission and a long-time friend of ours (another missionary) died in the night.  John wrote, “We’re numb, shattered hearts and yet our soul is anchored by the firm foundation of Jesus, the author and completor of our faith.  I remember Lynn and celebrate a life well lived. With hearts surrrendered to His eternal purposes”

Found this song by Gungor last night.  Beautifully expresses what I am sure both families have experienced in recent days.  May these two families continue to know God being their strength.

Please Be My Strength
I’ve tried to stand my ground
I’ve tried to understand
but I can’t seem to find my faith again

like water on the sand
or grasping at the wind
I keep on falling short

please be my strength
please be my strength
I don’t have anymore
I don’t have anymore

I’m looking for a place
where I can plant my faith
one thing I know for sure

I cannot create it
I cannot sustain it
It’s Your love that’s keeping (captured) me

Please be my strength…

at my final breath
I hope that I can say
I’ve fought the good fight of faith

I pray your glory shines
in this doubting heart of mine
and all would know that You

You are my strength
You and You alone
Keep bringin me back home

You are my strength

You are my strength

You and You alone
Keep bringin me back home

Here is the Gungor myspace and their own website Unfortunately, I could not find the song above so you will need to go to itunes or another similar site. I did download it and the melody fits well with the words.

Tiger’ Great Confession

February 19, 2010 1 comment

Tiger Woods may be remembered as the best golfer of all time but after listening to his apology today, he may also be remembered as giving one of the best apologies of all time for a modern public  figure.

Since we are leaving town today, I was home and happened to walk by as the  Tiger was speaking.  Missed the first few minutes but from what I heard and from the tears I saw on my wife’s face, Tiger hit it right on the head of the proverbial nail!  What did I hear?

1. An acknowledgement of wrong–multiple times and in a variety of ways, Tiger confessed that he had failed, that he had done wrong.  I didn’t hear him say that he had sinned but with his Buddhist confession, that is maybe not so surprising.

2. Admitted an understanding of the way he had hurt others by his wrongdoings–his wife, his kids, his mom, his fans, sponsors, Foundation etc. He realized that he had violated the trust given to him, that he had failed to show respect to others (including his fellow golfers and the game itself), that he had brought shame on others by his misdeeds.

3.  Expressed a desire to change. Tiger said that he did not want to repeat his failings, that he was getting help to do so, that it would be a long road to recovery.

4. Possessed an appropriate level of emotion. No, he didn’t cry but from my standpoint this was not easy for him and there was a genuine level of contrition. Part of that, no doubt, was the public humiliation and damage done to his pride and reputation.

Read what a Christian suggested for a good Tiger confession. He wrote this before Tiger spoke publicly.  Except for the part about trusting Christ and seeking the help of other Christians/Pastors/golfers, I think he could not have done better.

Of course, I am sad that Tiger believes that Buddhism offers him the power to transform his life.  No disrespect intended but removing desire from my life has never worked for me or anyone else I know nor has self-discipline by itself.  I do know that change is possible as Jesus Christ transforms my desires, longings, thoughts and ultimately my actions.  But, according to the Bible, that battle between lusts of the flesh and the life of the Spirit is a continual one until we go to heaven.  I do wish Tiger the best with the demons with which he is doing battle.  But, I fear that apart from a daily desperate dependence on Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit he can never win  the battles ahead.  Transformation, not reformation is what is needed.

Thank you Tiger for leading the way with this courageous and I believe honest confession.  I am one that is rooting for you.

Pressures Korean women face

January 6, 2010 Leave a comment

Ever since I was able to listen to lectures by Dr. Jenny Pak, I have been looking for her book, Korean American Women: Stories of Acculturation and Changing Selves. It is easy enough to locate on Amazon but at over $100, I have been trying to find other options.  Well, I found it at the library where I am studying yesterday and checked it out.

Jenny was one of our lectures at the member care and counseling seminar my wife and I attend last November and she is a great story teller as well as being a scholar.  Since we have a number of Koreans in our mission, I thought this book would be helpful.  Jenny is writing about the challenges of Korean (women) immigrants face as they live in the U.S.  Instead of fitting into both worlds (American and traditional Korean), they struggle to fit in both.

Here is a quote from chapter two of the book.

We have seen how the contrasting traditional characters of “warrior-like household priestess” and “other-oriented, selfless self” have been fused to form Korean immigrant women’s identities as other-oriented, selfless warrior mothers and wives who would do any and all things to improve the economic security of their family in America.” 42

Heavenly Adoption

December 1, 2009 Leave a comment

I had written the following on a scrap of paper that I found as we were packing and sorting this week.  I think it came out of our conference in Chaing Mai a few weeks ago?

The question concerns the difference between heavenly adoption and earthly adoption.  When we have human adoption, is there not always some kind of loss?  But in heavenly adoption, rather than a loss, is there not a gain we receive? But for us to receive a heavenly adoption, Jesus had to suffer a grevious loss. And then, the question, “Do our losses here not stimulate a desire for a heavenly adoption?”

Responses welcome

Discipleship or spiritual formation?

May 22, 2009 2 comments

Just had an interesting conversation with an old friend just as she was about to depart from where I am staying.  When she asked me what kind of training my wife and I do, I told her that my area was spiritual formation and/or spiritual direction.  “Do you mean discipleship?”, she asked, as in the training the Navs give.   How do you answer such a question in a few minutes? This is not the first time I have had this conversation.  Here is what I started to say plus, plus.

The assumption for most of us growing up in the evangelical church is that if we just read our Bible and pray every day, we will grow, grow, grow. Right?   Well, I think for a lot of people, reading the Bible is just not getting it done in terms of leading to a spiritual intimacy with God.  I think that I could summarize what I am trying to do is to walk with people in their journey with God and to help them enjoy their relationship with God.

Perhaps using the metaphor of journey for the spiritual life changes the way we view things.  We never arrive–yet we are always arriving?  We recognize that we all journey differently and so we should consider personality types as we journey with God.  We are on a journey with God but also with other pilgrims.  As our life and environment change, we may need to travel differently and growth will not always look the same.

One thing that we always need is input from the Word but the best way to get that will be different for each one of us.  I personally love the traditional discipleship model of quiet, reflective reading and study of the Word, combined with Scripture memory and prayer.  But, is it possible that may not be the best way for everyone?  That is why I tend to avoid the use of “quiet time” or “devotional time” to describe my time alone with God.  Perhaps there is an awareness that God is present in all of my life and I am to be aware of his presence and to enjoy it 24/7 not just during an hour in the morning. That is not to say that people ever said that we were not to live our life as an integrated whole under the Lordship of Christ.  But, for many of us it just didn’t work out that way.

I suppose the biggest change in my thinking has been in the area of seeking to help people enjoy their relationship with God.  Maybe this reflects a narcissistic tendency in me?  But, have we not been invited to enjoy (in some way, at some level) the fellowship between Father, Son and Spirit?  Perhaps that is why I enjoyed reading The Shack so much.  Although flawed from the moment anytime someone tries to depict relationships within the Trinity, I think William Young is onto something as he describes the comfortable and genuine relationships that Mack observes and participates in during the book.

That is not to say that there will always be felt enjoyment or consolations in our enjoyment with God.  God may have taught me far more in the times when I only experienced the seeming absence of God or desolations.  Sometimes, we the main thing is to keep on the journey when the way around us is dark.  Well, many have written on this eloquently and I won’t even attempt to do so here.  The point I am trying to make is that we are always on a grace-filled journey with God.

I have learned and grown so much over recent years and am grateful for the many spiritual friends and mentors and yes, spiritual directors that have helped me in my journey with the Lord Jesus.  As I try to honestly reflect on what is happening in my ruach journey, may this blog encourage a few others fellow-sojourners!

Giving Permission to Die

January 12, 2009 Leave a comment

From one of the newsletters I get.  Sorry, can’t remember which one.  This seems to fit after reading updates by our friend David who recently lost his wife to cancer. To read his comments, here is a link to his blog.

One of the greatest gifts we can offer our family and friends is helping them to die well. Sometimes they are ready to go to God but we have a hard time letting them go. But there is a moment in which we need to give those we love the permission to return to God, from whom they came. We have to sit quietly with them and say: “Do not be afraid … I love you, God loves you … it’s time for you to go in peace. … I won’t cling to you any longer … I set you free to go home … go gently, go with my love.” Saying this from our heart is a true gift. It is the greatest gift love can give.

When Jesus died he said: “Father, into your hands I commit my Spirit” (Luke 23:46). It is good to repeat these words often with our dying friends. With these words on their lips or in their hearts, they can make the passage as Jesus did.

Is self-esteem more important than self-control?

June 17, 2008 4 comments

My wife pointed me to this article in the Houston Chronicle in which Ashley Herzog writes a damaging critique of the self-esteem movement. Here is a summary from “The flaws of the self-esteem fad” by Ashley Herzog

Herzog says the self-esteem movement proclaims to

  • make the kids feel important
  • emphasize their good qualities
  • refrain from criticizing children too much
  • encourage kids to feel good about themselves for no particular reason
  • “We want to anchor self-esteem firmly to the child so no matter what the performance might be, the self-esteem remains high,”

As Herzog points out, the goal of making children smarter and more productive using a focus on building self-esteem “has never been proved to work.” She provides an interesting example.

“Starting in the mid-1990s, a team led by psychologist Carol Dweck did a series of experiments on fifth-graders, who were divided into two groups. In the first group, students were praised for their intelligence — an innate trait unrelated to performance. In the second group, students were praised for their effort and good behavior. The children in the second group performed better and were more likely to attempt difficult tasks — probably because their teachers had encouraged them to work hard, rather than constantly telling them how brilliant they were.”

What has the self-esteem movement accomplished? According to Herzog

  • Americans “are unprepared to compete in the global economy.”
  • “our teens don’t let their ignorance bother them.”
  • “get good grades no matter what”
  • “Grade inflation in order to avoid bruised egos.”
  • “While the self-esteem movement hasn’t made children any smarter, it has made them more self-centered, demanding and hostile to criticism.”
  • they think they “deserve recognition and attention from others”
  • they think it is “acceptable and desirable to be preoccupied with oneself and praise oneself.”

She warns, “Self-esteem isn’t linked to academic achievement or good behavior. Nor does it protect against teen pregnancy, juvenile delinquency, alcoholism, drug abuse or chronic welfare dependency.” Instead, she suggests that educators should focus on “teaching the time-tested values of self-respect and self-control.”

Herzog, a resident of The Woodlands, is a journalism major at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio.

Feminism and the church

May 25, 2008 Leave a comment

Saw Michelle Malkins post in which she refers to an article in which Rebekkah Walker wrote about the pain she experienced growing up as the daughter of feminist Alice Walker. I admit to having little knowledge of feminism but as I read the full article, I have a lot of mixed reactions.  A couple of quotes from the article:

The truth is that I very nearly missed out on becoming a mother  -  thanks to being brought up by a rabid feminist who thought motherhood was about the worst thing that could happen to a woman.

You see, my mum taught me that children enslave women. I grew up believing that children are millstones around your neck, and the idea that motherhood can make you blissfully happy is a complete fairytale.

I was raised to believe that women need men like a fish needs a bicycle.

It was drummed into me that being a mother, raising children and running a home were a form of slavery. Having a career, travelling the world and being independent were what really mattered according to her.

The ease with which people can get divorced these days doesn’t take into account the toll on children. That’s all part of the unfinished business of feminism.

Feminism has betrayed an entire generation of women into childlessness. It is devastating.

We just had a couple join our organization and one reason they were attracted to us is because of our belief that both husband and wife are accepted as missionaries in their own right.  Both are expected to be qualified and both are expected to learn the language and to be involved in ministry.  However, we do expect that during those years when the kids are young that most often it is the wife who has limited ministry due to her primary care giving role to the children.  I must admit that we have taken some flack for our policy of allowing women into leadership at every level of our organization.  I think it has been worth it.

While I appreciate hearing the other side of the story of feminism In reading what Rebekkah Walker has written, I am also aware that in many places church structures continue to exist that do not honor and respect women as fellow heirs of the grace of God.  If the church treated women as does Jesus and the New Testament, would not much of the drive and anger behind feminism be deflated?

Two Gifts of Love

April 15, 2008 Leave a comment

This morning I received two gifts of sweetness.

Love of the Father

This morning, I was reading in Romans 5:1-11 and my attention focused on verse 5. I know God loves me but too often my experience is lagging far behind and I struggle, wanting to experience His love. Romans 5:5 tells me that it is the ministry of the Spirit to fill my heart with His love; there is no need for me to struggle with this. How beautiful!

“For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” Romans 5:5 New Living Translation

Love of the daughter

About 4:30 a.m. this morning, our 20 year-old daughter called (unprompted) from the U.S. and had a long talk with her mom (Dad was deep asleep). She told her mom, “You know, I really miss Dad.” Trust me, this is no small thing to hear her say! Later, as they were ending the conversation, she reminded her mom, “Be sure to tell Dad that I love him.” Double Wow!! How grateful I am for these two sweet gifts of love on this day.

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6 months after a stillborn child

March 23, 2008 Leave a comment

Just found the following poem by Abraham Piper at 22 words.  Writing at Easter on the 6 month death anniversary of his stillborn child.  Thank you Abraham.

Empty hangers, empty closet, empty clothes.
Empty crib, empty bath.
Empty bottles, empty breasts.
Empty lungs, empty blood, empty heart.
Empty grave.

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One of my new favorite songs

March 21, 2008 1 comment

Thanks to La Shawn Barber’s Corner I found out about seeqpod which is a search program for the web in which you can find lots of music (and much more although I have not looked at more than music). La Shawn Barber is a Christian political blogger that some of you may want to examine–her post about 11 years of sobriety is powerful. Thanks La Shawn!!

But what I really wanted to post was to tell you how I found on seeqpod a number of videos for the song “Slow Fade” by Casting Crowns. There are a number of youtube videos–not all I can recommend. By the way, I would be very interested to learn about the legality of posting a copyrighted song on youtube. Here is one home made video of this awesome song that I think will touch the most hardened among us.

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“Slow Fade”–a song worth hearing!

January 18, 2008 2 comments

Bought Casting Crowns “The Altar and the Door” CD and have listened to it a number of times. The third song, called “Slow Fade” is a delicious haunting melody with words that slap you around–in a good sort of way. Indeed, we are led astray by small, seemingly insignificant decisions.

Be careful little eyes what you see
It’s the second glance that ties your hands as darkness pulls the strings
Be careful little feet where you go
For it’s the little feet behind you that are sure to follow

It’s a slow fade when you give yourself away
It’s a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray
Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day
It’s a slow fade, it’s a slow fade

Be careful little ears what you hear
When flattery leads to compromise, the end is always near
Be careful little lips what you say
For empty words and promises lead broken hearts astray

It’s a slow fade when you give yourself away
It’s a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray
Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day

The journey from your mind to your hands
Is shorter than you’re thinking
Be careful if you think you stand
You just might be sinking

It’s a slow fade when you give yourself away
It’s a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray
Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day
Daddies never crumble in a day
Families never crumble in a day

Oh be careful little eyes what see
Oh be careful little eyes what you see
For the Father up above is looking down in love
Oh be careful little eyes what you see

Experiences of shalom

December 22, 2007 Leave a comment

Wanted to finish up a post I started last week on shalom, from Dan Allender’s seminar, “Learning to Love Your Story”

Where or when have I know shalom in my life? (It fits, I fit and all the pieces fit together) “the way life should be” (to use Plantinga’s phrase about shalom). Challenging–would like to do more on this.

  • Fishing off the lake dock with my grandmother and aunt. Playing scrabble or canasta with them. Life was simple and I was able to live in the present for those few moments, not worrying about what would come next.
  • Being with my Uncle Red and seeing tears come down his Lou Gherig’s ravaged face as I shared Christ with him.
  • A family counseling session with my wife, son and daughter in which for a moment everything came together
  • Learning to relax and just enjoy my experience of Scuba diving

Sunday night reflections

August 12, 2007 Leave a comment

I have a lot to be grateful for tonight. Just home from a visit with my mother-in-law and a church that supports us. I am always grateful for safe travel–especially when I see a bad wreck like I did tonight. One good thing that has happened in the last week is the new gift of the old practice of examen. One night I did not write in my journal but I still discussed the day with the Lord before falling asleep. It has been a busy time, packing up all our accumulated stuff and deciding what we can take overseas and what has to stay behind. Two projects I finished on Saturday afternoon–converted my old record albums to digital format and converting our photos as well. Actually, I didn’t quite finish either one but I am okay with what I was able to get done. I did pay a company to digitize a couple hundred pics, vhs tapes, slides and 8 mm film. Next project: put on the web the family pics. Present project as I type: adding all my digitized music to my ipod!

Spent half of the afternoon working on fixing the anti-virus program on my mother-in-law’s computer–successful at last but took a big chunk of time–I was not being obsessive but persevering!

I think the thing that encourages me the most is the way the Lord continues to use me in formative ways in people’s lives–from giving encouraging words to the worship leader this morning to listening to friends and helping them discern how God has and is continuing to be at work in their lives. This is really a God thing, trust me!

Once again, I am asking that this week, the Lord continue to redeem my past for His glory, for the sake of others who have been wounded and for future service to His body. It is hard to look at some of this stuff! Plus, all this comes during the sadness of saying goodbye to people I really care about around here. At least I am not alone on this journey

Letting go of my children

March 20, 2007 Leave a comment

“What do you think is most important for a 19 year old, David? What was most important to you at that age?” At 52, that was not so easy and yet the answer easily came, “Freedom–to do what I want to do without getting hassled . . .” Not bad but you are missing something. I missed “spending time with friends” which shows that I am out of touch. All Agree on that!!

Here is a poem I later read by Jeanne Murray Walker, from A Deed to the Light This helps me understand this odd mix of feelings inside as I am about to release another one.

To My Son, Off to College

We stand there in our vestibule, me clutching

my car keys, you, your suitcase

me about to recite the names of apples,

 

winesap, braeburn, etc., the way poets

recite them, then to chant the names

of poets, too, anything you’ll listen to,

 

stanzas of lightning from red mouths.

It isn’t loveliness I’m after, I can tell you

it’s any damn thing that keeps your hand

 

from pushing that door open. Though you’re

long gone already. And I know it’s wrong,

when the heart has stopped, to pretend it hasn’t.

 

Like a taxidermist. No, we’re mixed up

with time, my Love, and poetry, as usual

fails to stop you. You have to go away,

 

and you may not be back.

I eat one of the apples in your memory,

like a pioneer who’s down to eating seed corn,

 

the sweet-sour juices running into a future

without you, while a voice tells me

I don’t own you, you were a gift, and

 

my barbaric unteachable mother’s heart doesn’t get it

thinks, Okay, fine, so you’re gone now,

you’re that much closer to coming back.

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