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The Musings of a Stubborn Believer

Category: faces (page 2 of 3)

Church in Three Languages

Love it. 🙂
And we love meeting young people in other parts of the world that have the same fire burning in their souls that burns in ours. The army is growing… 

Halfway to Heaven?

Spent hours this morning in a warm little Austrian living room, talking of Heaven… (While the clouds were deciding whether or not to cry.) Now my heart carries a peculiar little twinge.

I want to go Home…

But then I look out the window and remember where I am, and what I have left to do before it’s time to leave. 
Heaven is my home, but earth is my workplace.

And it’s not yet time to go…
. . . . . . . . .
I live on a cursed planet, thanks to my first father’s ingratitude.  
But I think the curse rests more heavily in some places than others. 
This place is unreal. The pictures are pitiful.
I’ve never been to a place where the curse seems to rest more lightly.
Look, the sun just came out.

Sermon in Three Words [and photos of the week]

“Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God.” Romans 1:1

I set out to read Romans 1 today,
and I never got to verse 2.

Here’s the sermon in three words…
Paul– Called; Separated.

— * — * — * — * —

Just to set the record straight, I do like taking pictures. 
The reason I don’t call myself a photographer is because I lack in the hardware dept.
But every once in a while, some friend puts their Canon (sorry guys) strap around my neck, and I go to town…
up in the fire tower, getting the briefing on the last conflagration
10 cents if you can identify that logo. 
view from the tower
faces: my favorite shots
the county seat from above
more briefing in the tower
pretty faces
making merry with the dogs leash
another Canon friend
to turn chain into ribbon…
attentive eyes and a friendly face
that would be her Canon strap around my neck. (thanks Jessie! :))
[Seán’s] photo of the week 
the top

a few more photos in the web album

Why God Gave You a Beating Heart…

If this does not quicken your pulse, I don’t know what will.
2,000 babies died in India while we slept last night.
3,000 more will die before the sun sets this evening.
Five thousand. 
It will happen again tomorrow.
And 1,000 children who don’t qualify as babies will die with them.
On the streets. 
From starvation.
Just in India.

Dying parched with thirst.
Not a thirst for contaminated water.
A thirst for love…

Love them.
Love them.

That’s why God gave you a beating heart.
This is not so much a plug for one vehicle, or one orphanage.
(Though this is one of my favorites.)
It’s a plea for life.

Do. Something.
Do something.

I got a chance to chat with Jim Rennie at ASI Atlantic the other day. (He’s the director of Asian Aid USA)
He said what they need most desperately is sponsors. People to love.
Because love does.

I Have a Dream

“I have a dream.”

“I have a dream that one day–
Some day soon…

…there will be a thousand soldiers of the cross where there is now one.” 

“That on every corner of the globe, a fire will overrun the land.

And that from whatever corner of the earth I am in, I will hear a rumble…”

“And I will say: ‘I recognize that sound’…

‘That’s my God.’ 

‘That’s my God!’”

That’s my dream.

And I’m watching it come true.

*from closing comments, Walla Walla Youth Weekend 2011

Grace is Power…

Just four young adults and a veteran Toyota Corolla sporting new snow tires… 
That was us a few weeks ago. The trip was originally planned for 6, but God had other ideas. 

It was a trip like none other. We sorely missed having our parents along, but even in that I see the hand of Providence. He wanted this trip to be different. and different it was.

Our world is changing. I mean, the world of 4 young people from the edge of nowhere who love to work together, pray together, play together, serve together, sing together… And cry on each other’s shoulders. 

We hear the tread of armies. Constantly.

And we see the gleams of a golden morning…

All at once we are noting in the world around us things that we’ve never perceived before. 

Some things that not that long ago had little or no influence on our personal lives are fast becoming our reasons for living.

I have no way to explain it, other than the fact that we’ve been captivated by Grace.

In all my years I cannot remember another time when the four of us have jumped into the car after a day on the slopes with young friends, pulled off our helmets (hair to the four winds) and had nothing to talk about all the way down the mountain but Jesus… 

He is so irresistible. And every time I turned around, I was looking into the face of another long-time friend and seeing the same thing written there. (for the first time)

I can’t remember another time when one moment, I could be speeding down an icy road on a sled, surrounded by shouts of laughter and high spirits, and the next moment be on my back looking up at the blue sky saying “My Jesus, I love You…” (And the next moment be speeding down the icy hill again.)

I have never seen so much of Jesus in His children… Everywhere I turned, I caught another glimpse of His face. 

Our world is changing…
Or maybe not.
Maybe we’re just tasting more of His grace… And He’s changing the things we love, and the things we live for. Maybe that’s why we don’t pray for happiness, but for usefulness. Why we gladly exchange fun times for the pursuit of His glory…

I never imagined that broken pieces could be this happy… 

Grace is power. 
What it touches, changes. 

Eternal Weight of Glory, serving You is joy unspeakable!
Please keep us in Your hand…

Heaven’s Hands

You are called to be Heaven’s hands… and Heaven’s voice.
This is happiness…
I was already in my pajamas. In fact I had just plopped down on the couch in the living room, Spiritual Leadership in one hand, and my iPad in the other, waiting for family time.
Then the dispatcher down at the county seat hit a button on her console… The button that gets us moving faster than any other button in the world. 
And the pager came alive. 
“An ambulance is requested at _____for a s__ty-___ year old female with difficulty breathing…”
So much for the PJs. 

Joshua, Natasha and I were out the door by the time she finished repeating the tone. 
And driving down the road towards town, I prayed the same prayer that is in our hearts every time we jump into our uniforms and grab our radios. 
“…and let us be Your hands to our patient this evening. In Jesus’ name…” 
She really was in trouble. Enough trouble that when we got her in the rig, she got three lines of oxygen instead of one. But God knew she needed more than just our medications and a ride to the nearest hospital. 
She needed a song. 
It was the farthest thing from our minds…  
But no matter. He has His ways… And before we were halfway to the hospital, the three of us found ourselves singing O Lord, You’re Beautiful… 
And she was leaning back on the cot still wheezing heavily, but with her eyes closed and a smile on her face. 
When we finished, the panic was gone. She said she could die in peace… because her angels had sung for her.
I just looked at her. 

I promise you, we’re not angels. For one thing, angels sing in tune. We could barely hear each other from the three corners of the back of the ambulance with all the road noise…
But I learned that sometimes all He needs is for us to be willing to lift the lid on protocol for just one second and move our lips so that He can sing… 

By the time our charting was done and we left the ER, every staff member there had heard the tale of her angels.
All I could do was shake my head.
And wonder at what we might have missed… 
We are called to be Heaven’s hands… and Heaven’s voice.
This is happiness. And an honor entirely undeserved.

An hour later I pulled back through the dark streets of our quiet little town, and up to the white metal building we affectionately call “the barn.” 
Thank You, Jesus. Thank You for riding this ambulance today.

“Catron S.O. this is 2*67 on Davenport”
“Catron S.O. on Davenport, Go ahead 2*67”

“Good evening ma’am, we’re back in service.”
“10-4. Thank you. Welcome home sir.” 

Too Good to Be True?

The word is invigorated. 
Or as my beautiful little sister put it on the way back to Boston Logan after a full weekend–
“You always end with the upper hand if you’re on the right team….”
The God we serve defies the bounds of human logic. I decided that afresh while kneeling once again by the little pile of rocks where I begged for words last week. This time, laughing and crying at once–
“My Jesus! You’re too good to be…to be… 

No… Too good not to be True.”

Surrender to Conquer was the theme of the Northeast Youth Retreat this year… 
And the paradox has been driven home for me. 
Jesus, keep us faithful…

Photos: Elwyn Garaza & Joshua Nebblett

God is Good… [And the year in photos]

God is good.
Oh, so good.
That’s my theme song these days… 
My feet are finally “back to normal,” (after the miles logged in dress shoes in Baltimore :)) but my heart has only started singing. 
Though GYC flew by in somewhat of a blur, God still found ways to articulate His grace to me… Sometimes through thunderous throng, sometimes through stunning silence… 
Every time, right when I most needed a hand to hold. 
When a third of us flew home on a few hours notice partway through to be with my dying grandfather, that’s when grace swept me right off my feet, in more ways than one. It still makes my heart warm to think about it. 
He used sandwiches. One offered, and one bought for me even though I thought I wasn’t hungry. He used a 120-voice choir on its knees. He used the tears in a stranger’s eyes when she said how she’d been blessed. He used Elder Wilson’s compassionate words and prayers. He used the sound of 5,500 voices coming towards me during closing song. He used the prayer room. He used my amazing committee members. He used my little sister’s head resting on my shoulder. He used three hundred smiles from strangers, a “picnic” lunch with old friends and new faces, a solid vote of confidence…
And he used my own weakness. 
Yes, God is good. 
Oh thank You, Your Grace…
Do it again next year. 

For those of you with interest in getting a taste of our year in photos… 🙂


A strange mix of happy and sad I’ve never felt before…
Try loving, and praying, and preaching, and crying for souls… 
And being loved by them, and then saying goodbye knowing there’s a good chance you will never meet again on this side of the gates of pearl. 
Oh, I know.
I’ve done it before too. But this time was different. 
A part of me is still in Australia. 
And that part of me will never come home.
Maybe it was relinquishing claims to those hearts and hands 
to trust them to the grip of One infinitely stronger and wiser…
Or maybe it was just realizing how small I am…
Or maybe it was something else
Whatever the case, it makes my heart burn for Heaven.
Oh, let’s be faithful dear friends…
I want to meet you on the other side.

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