If it weren’t for Jesus working through his church, situations like this would be hopeless; God has come to earth to set its people free from death only through Jesus’ death.
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world-the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions-is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. (1 John 2:15-17)
Culture plays a tune our ears have been accustomed to admiring. We must retrain them, and this must be done by listening repeatedly to a better sound. This sound may at first seem irrelevant, dull, and outdated since our hearing has already been warped by the world’s form. And this world would draw us away from music which would truly delight our souls. A sound so pure so transcendent so marvelous that naturally we do not have the capacity in and of ourselves to comprehend it.
So, where do we find ears fit for this kind of listening? Where can we buy the equipment to harness this sound?
We go to our Father. We go directly to the Creator of the world. The one in whom we “live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). He had given us the ears we seek, but we gave them up for malfunctioning imitations because we delighted in the sound of death, though it was cloaked in a lie as life, like a wolf in a sheep’s skin.
Our Father, The Father, sacrificed his Son’s (Jesus) perfect listening so that more might call upon him to play the sweet sound of salvation. To play a tune of cheer and joyful noise, Good News to those who have rejected death’s droll (no matter how it is painted) and long for a lovelier lyric.
That is love, and to the trained ear it is the most marvelous masterpiece. We who have thrown out our abilities to listen to living music have again the opportunity to hear.
Let these verses be a warning to not go after that which is merely dressed-up dross (worthless and dangerous material). Do not pursue the song of self; It may last 80 years. Fight for, neigh, die to listen to the everlasting refrain of the beauty of God and his gracious artistry to weave our joy into his sovereign plan for the world.
Abide forever. Do the will of God. Love (1 John 4:7-12).
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
Was there ever condemnation for those in Christ Jesus, and now there is not?
That was my first question looking at this verse. I didn’t like that idea. It did not seem to line up with my understanding of being in Christ Jesus.
Rather than saying that now there is not condemnation in Christ, the Text is saying that, being in Christ we are not doomed. Our fear of punishment is released.
Once we were (or, perhaps, still are) apart from Christ and then the condemnation of sin and guilt and death weighed on us heavily, but now we breath freely as the Spirit of God dwells inside of us.
Jesus, sent by God, did what we failed at. He pleased God. He lived free of sin and shame and offers his spotless record to those who love God (8:28). Jesus gave his life taking our death.
He took our punishment at the cross, and “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
Want to be free of condemnation and live in joy? Of course you do. Get in Christ Jesus. Love that Jesus is who he says he is and rest in that for the rest of your life.
Believer, same goes for you. Love Jesus.
I love having the opportunity to spend time with my students outside of the classroom. There is a lot of time for me to do this and I try to take advantage of it so that our friendships grow and we get to see Jesus’ work in our lives.
On Friday nights there is a youth group for the missionary teens here in our area. This is a time where we can come together and worship God looking into his Word, enjoying one another’s company, and praying and singing.
I have the privilege of leading our time in the Bible for these next few Fridays. We will be looking into a few of Jesus’ miracles so that we can know who Jesus is better and worship him as we see him more clearly.
This past Friday, we looked at Jesus healing a man with many demons in Luke 8.
One thing I was particularly challenged by was how, after Jesus healed the man, he asked Jesus if he could stay with him and Jesus answer was “No, go back to your hometown and tell others about what I’ve done for you.” And that’s exactly what the man did.
He didn’t need any formal training to be a missionary, and he was going to a very difficult place, a place not only that hasn’t had much exposure to the gospel, but a place where the man was known for who he was. The people knew him and all of his past and dirt.
It might have been easier to huddle up with Jesus and his boys and go to somewhere new, but he was called to his hometown. This is often the most difficult are for me to share of Jesus work because that hasn’t been my usual pattern for the last 22 years.
My prayer is that we would see the great and miraculous work that Jesus has done in our lives (bringing us from death and judgement to life and liberation) and that that would lead us to delighting in Jesus so much that breaking old habits would be joy giving and telling of what the Lord has done would be would happen easily.
Driving on the left-hand side of the road isn’t weird anymore.
Neither is weaving my new (used) baby blue Yamaha Mio
motorcycle scooter through heavy Thailand traffic.
I’m comfortable here (sorry mom…). Not that I don’t miss all ya’ll back in the good ol’ U.S. of A., but Thailand’s nice and so are the people I’m experiencing it with.
It is also nice to know that (Lord willing) I’ve got some consistency in my schedule for the next 5 months. I haven’t had that in a while. Recently, life’s been a series of transitions into stages of indeterminate lengths.
This enigmatic lifestyle has pushed me, surprisingly, towards a deeper belief/trust/faith/rest in God resulting in a life that is more consistently characterized by those things.
Prayer Request: After these next 5 months in Thailand I’ll be transitioning again. The future isn’t clear on this one, but I have applied to a seminary. If the Lord should open the doors for further training there, I think that is the direction I would like to take. Please pray that I’ll be accepted and for more faith and wisdom.
‘s all for now folks.
I’ve just come to the end of my first week of full-time teaching here in Thailand. Before this week, I’ve had a little time to acclimate, acculturate and observe classes.
Since I’ve got zero classroom experience and just about as much teaching experience, I had no idea what to expect. It’s been more enjoyable than I expected. Not that I expected it to be unenjoyable, but I was a bit nervous about giving myself to this job and ministry from basically a blank slate.
Not only has it been a privilege and wonderful opportunity, but teaching has been very educational. I’ve been learning, and learning a lot. Here are a few of the things I’m learning:
Here are pictures of the children I teach (minus one because Robert is still with his parents on furlough):
I’ve adopted badminton as my new sport. Just bought a new racket for 1,000. That is, 1,000 baht = 30 US dollars. Every Sunday we play hours upon hours of badminton as a church.
Sundays for me start out around 9am. Because the service here is all in Thai, we are encouraged (strongly) to sit under the teaching and faithful proclamation of God’s Word in English regularly. I like to do this Sunday mornings before church, and Will, a student of mine who is a senior this year, and I are planning on listening to Matt Chandler‘s current sermon series titled “Ultimate Authority” together for this purpose. Pray for us that our hearts would be soft to the teaching of God’s word and that we would be doers of it and not hearers only.
Around Noon, we then head over to our church building to have lunch and get ready for the church service. Here we have the opportunity to nourish our bodies with some delicious Thai food and our souls with each other’s company.
From here, we move into worship through singing, giving, and then the preaching of God’s word. All of this is in Thai, of course.
After the worship service, we all gather for more fellowship over fruit and other light snacks, and once things wind down a bit, we move into the gymnasium (attached to the church) for badminton.
A lot of those who come to worship Jesus at the church also will stay late and play badminton. Both guys and girls are extraordinary at this sport. My hand-eye coordination isn’t quite up-to-par yet, but I’m learning quickly they tell me.
We usually go to Jaypon (not sure if that’s how it’s spelled, but it’s how it sounds), on the campus of Khon Kaen University, after Badminton in order to grab some more absolutely fantastic food for dinner. Pad Thai is quickly becoming a favorite of mine, and they always have great fruit smoothies. Food seems to be something that really brings people together here, especially eating out because it is so cheap (~$1 per plate).
I have really been able to enjoy getting to know these Thai believers, many of whom are first generations Christians.
There are so many things I could write about (and maybe should have been writing about), but for now I just wanted to give a brief update and share some pictures.
For four full days now (seems like more!) I’ve been in the “Land of Smiles.” That’s a nickname that the country of Thailand has been given, and so far it has lived up to it, and I believe, with pleasure. Not only has the Campus Outreach team, with whom I am working, been warmly welcoming, but the Thai people have been quite friendly.
Maybe this is out of curiosity more than anything, but as a foreigner I don’t walk past many people without eliciting a small smile, often somewhat bashful.
As I write this, I sit at Coffee World (sipping a small frappe mocha) inside of a large mall in the middle of the city of Khon Kaen. I might be fooled into thinking that I’m in one of many large shopping establishments stateside, save for the fact that most signs are hieroglyphic to me and the surrounding chatter is similarly mysterious.
Enough writing though… Here are some of my experiences captured digitally:
I’m flying to Thailand on the 15th.
Here are a few ways you can check in on what I’m up to:
Please keep me in your prayers:
Here’s a really good look at how I spent my summer:
I played the role of a “Team Leader” on the Summer Training Project (STP). What that means is that, of 120 students, I was responsible for about 30 of them. My role was to serve them through leading them in thinking for weekly assignments and when the project would break up into smaller units to digest things. Also, as a team leader, for the second half of the summer (after the staff leaves), I had the privilege of leading Bible Study Training. If you check out the STP blog you can find out more about the summer and even find the audio for my talks.
You can also find out more of what Campus Outreach Minneapolis is up to at their blog.