Monday, January 30, 2006

Downunder Arrival

The United Airline plane touched down in Melbourne on Australia Day. I left Seattle 44F and stepped out to 39 C. (At this point go to www.ask.com and type in Celsius to Farahrenheit conversion if you aren’t sure what either temp is). Short hand version: I went from jacket weather to “Where’s the Air Con?” weather.

Got off the plane wearing my Seahawks cap and 12th Fan Shirt and was greeted by an unruly mob (Carolyn Boyd, Pier and Hil Van Van Netten) hoisting a meter (www.ask.com) long Australia flag and screaming. Of course I knew instinctively the correct reply was “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!” Which is always answered by “Oy, Oy, Oy”.

We went to Carolyn’s house where both one of our interpreters from Eastern Europe and an Australian missionary friend were staying for a few days. It was lovely catching up with them and sharing photos and memories.

On the weekend we attended CityLife Church for special meetings with Kong Hee from Singapore. It was great soaking in and being ministered to (before the busy schedule begins in Tasmania).

We take the 10 hr overnight Spirit of Tasmania ferry Thursday, arriving in Devonport with the car and it all begins. Our website: www.carpenters-cross.org has our schedule in Oz so feel free to use that when you’re talking to the Lord on our behalf. Off to get the newsletter sent out to Australian mailing list. By the way if you want a hard copy of our newsletter email your mailing details in the "contact us" part of our web. G'Day

Sunday, January 22, 2006

SUPERBOWL








Seahawks won! The city has gone crazy! We are going to the SUPERBOWL! The 12th man did it! I immediately checked the time and date. If my calculations are correct it will play out Monday Feb. 6th at noon in Australia. I'll be in Tasmania and already have found a place to catch the game. Perfect timing for me since Australia is a day ahead, all the weekend ministry will be finished and Monday is a break day.
Go Seahawks!

This morning I shared with Chapel of Hope in Puyallup,Washington my thoughts on the 12th man (See previous post). God doesn't really want US to be spectators. He asks us to join his team and, like the Seahawks today, to give it our best - leave it all on the field! So who is the 12th man in this respect? Hebrews 12 answers that. We are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses who have gone before us. They are cheering us on and we have home field advantage!

Friday, January 20, 2006

G'day!






I'm departing the USA for the annual 3 month ministry time in Australia. I will not miss the rain (but FYI we didn't make the record in Seattle - however Olympia was not so lucky).

Seattle VS Melbourne: Going from 45F to 84F, dark at 4:30pm to dark at 9:00pm. I will even see the Sun again.

Hardest part of the prep - packing for so many different kinds of ministry - kids/teens/adults - clowning to lecturing to preaching and trying to pick clothing for heat of summer while shivering in flannel sweats.

GO SEAHAWKS!!!!
Ok, so this Sunday is a big one for the Seattle Seahawks. One game between us and the Superbowl!!!!!

Seahawks VS the Panthers (Carolina).

This city has a dream - everyone is dressed in blue and the #12 is flying from the top of the Space Needle.
(Reference to #12 is the unofficial # given to the fans since in American Gridiron football a team has 11 players on the field)
One of the local female news anchors dressed up in a Seahawks uniform and did the following cheer on the air this a.m.:

Hey! Ok!
It's Panther heads that we'll be slammin'
Toss them around like a big King Salmon! (google Pikes Market)

Appologies to Panther fans, CARN the Seahawks!!

Friday, January 13, 2006

Rainy days


Seattle: We are now in our 26th straight day of rain. A record? No, apparently in 1953 the Seattle area had 33 straight days of rain. But the forecast looks like we are on track to break the record. You'll be happy to know that I am high and dry and in an area with no mud slides or floods. I learned my lesson well 10 years back when I lost my trailor home to a monsoon season here! After that experience my first criteria for a place to live was high ground, solid foundation and good drainage!

I was thinking how that relates to life. We all experience storms: health - finances - relationships - spiritual crises. How can we look for high ground? For me high ground is looking up to Jesus. The Psalmist says, "raise your eyes to the hills, it's the source of your strength." Looking up gives life perspective much the same way as going to the shore and looking at the ocean gives perspective. You are standing next to something so powerful, so much greater than yourself. You are no longer the center of everything. You can hold an object so close to your eyes that it becomes blurred or even looks doubled. That's what happens the longer and closer that we stare at our storm. Lift up your eyes, seek HIgh Ground!

A solid foundation means going back to basics. There are so many philosophies out there. Try this or try that, and each one may have one grain of truth mixed in with truck load of emptiness. These new age philosophies are also known as "the mystery of the vacuum" because in the end they leave your life with "nothing" for the storms. When I was studying in University I read a quote once that gave a great definition of the term "philosopher". "When you are walking through the dark forest of life with only a candle to guide your way, a philosopher is a person who comes up and blows it out." So what are the basics to go back to? The book "Purpose Driven Life" is a good resource to answer this. I was created for a purpose, God has a plan for my life, my only true joy will come on the journey of daily seeking that plan and it's fullfillment as I make God's will a priority over my self centered desires.

You were waiting for this one: Good Drainage! What do I mean by needing good drainage in my life. Storms come, rain falls. The Bible says rain falls on the just and the unjust. Becoming a Christian doesn't stop the storms but if we have a good drainage system we can stand through the onslaught and not be swept away. Laughter is a big part. "A merry heart is as great for you as medicine," the Word of God says. A day without laughter is a day wasted. It cleans out the pipes, the down-in-the-dumps go. Like sunrays bursting a rainbow through the clouds, it reminds us of God's promises by clearing our minds. The relationships God has placed in our lives are another great drainage source. I'm not talking about relationships that genetics or circumstance have given us. I'm talking about relationships God has provided that are positive, encouraging, and uplifting. Not pity party, gossip groupys whose ears are tickled by disaster. We all know people who derive their energy from the negative, wallowing in worry and justifying joylessness as proof of a caring spirit. They carry the weight of the world and share that load with all around them.

Mother Theresa once said, "Keep the joy of loving God in your heart and share this joy with all you meet especially your family. Let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love. I am not sure exactly what heaven will be like, but I don't know that when we die and it comes time for God to judge us, he will NOT ask, How many good things have you done in your life?, rather he will ask, How much LOVE did you put into what you did." Again the Psalmist says "The joy of the Lord is our strength." A woman on the news today was standing knee high in water, her lawn had become a lake and now the ground floor of her home was flooding. She said "If only someone could pull the plug, we would be saved." God's joy is your drain plug for life's floods. Keep the pipeline clear with your daily communication with Him - in prayer and music. Clear the leaves of lethargy from your gutters. Be vigilant and the rain won't devour your dreams.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Eastern Europe


Belarus Interpreters

Czech Worship Team

Belarus Leader's Seminar

Czech Chidren Worshipping

Beginnings


Just arrived back in Seattle. Great time in Boise, Idaho for the past 5 weeks. Visiting unstablemonkeys in Idaho City, family and friends in Boise, Eagle, and Meridian. Also caught up with a couple of my favorite grown up kids, Terry and Dena, now both residing in the Eastern U.S. but home for the holidays.

Did some speaking (in the Church I was on staff at for 10 years Central Assembly) at a Christmas Banquet and for the Sunday morning service.

It was snowy, windy, rainy, freezing, sunny, in short - everything you could expect in Southwest Idaho for December!

I really enjoyed the many Christmas lights and decorations for the holidays. This year seemed to be the year of giant inflatable. Almost every yard had one (as opposed to the year of the lighted icicles, the year of the flashing ORBS, etc). The movie "Christmas Vacation" is not just an exaggeration in America. I helped decorate three homes for Christmas - from the simple to the sublime!

This year the big controversy seemed to be a backlash from the term "Christmas" to "Holiday". Many Christians viewing this as another attempt to take the Christ out of Christmas. One argument went, "As a Christian, I am just as offended when you call a "Christmas" Tree a "Holiday" Tree, as a Jewish person would be if you called a "Mennorah" a "Candlestick".

A good point which made many retailers back off!

I must confess, however, I too have been guilty of sending out "Happy Holiday" cards long before this happened. But in my defense it was only because with the Church Banquets, Christmas Programs, decorating, shopping, parties, wrapping, board meetings, family gatherings, etc. I wasn't sure if my cards would get there for Christmas, New Years, or Valentines Day. But from now on I'll just let them assume "Happy Christmas" cards arriving in February are early for the next Christmas!

When I arrived home to Seattle (where I have only visited 3 weeks in the past three months - going to Idaho straight from an Eastern Europe tour) my autumn decorations were still up - paper mache' pumpkins and leaves! But then if you ever visit me you will notice representations from every holiday are tucked around if you know where to look (i.e. the leprechaun hiding in the silk fern for St. Pats Day).

What's up?

Get the heat back on in my condo (brrrrrrrrr) along with the hot water!
I hope to get a January newsletter published.
Write 5 sessions for Australian children's ministry conferences.
Collect new object lessons for Oz Kid's programs.
Catch up to some friends in the Seattle area before I fly out towards the end of this month.

Should keep me busy.
Hope your "Christmas" was merry and bright.
Thanks for visiting my first blog and to all a good night....