Monday, April 27, 2009

Asia Trip, Spring 2009

I realized that I hadn't posted any of my entries for the Asia trip here. I got them onto my Facebook. So, here is Day 1's update.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Well, we've arrived in the city! We are checked into our hotel, and I am about to bed down for the night. It's weird having left US soil Tuesday morning (as it feels it's still Tuesday), but bedding down on Wednesday night. All total, in travel time, we were on the move for 23 hours. Trying to stay awake on the train ride from the capital city to our city was brutal. But we are alive and well. Tomorrow starts early for us. We will join American friends for breakfast, and to video conference back home with family so they can see we are well. If you are family, and would like to visit with us, be at THF at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday night! I will be speaking with my students, and afterward, families can say hello. AND, since that is early morning here, I am now off to bed. I'll update more tomorrow!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

An Observation From East Asia

Having just returned from my 3rd trip to Asia, the greatest observation that stands out to me is that The Word is spreading there. One my first trip, I got to be involved in a new convert's observance of ba9tism, or what we call a swim party. On my next trip, I got to participate in an outreach that was sponsored by that student where we met 35 - 45 students, and out of whom 3 or 4 came to faith. During my 3rd trip, while we were sharing with new students, the ones who came to faith on our last trip helped us share, and had been sharing their faith on their own while we've been gone. It was very encouraging to me to see that the kingdom is not just being paid lip service. These new friends take it seriously, and understand that this Good News isn't just for them. Thanks to students like my friend pictured here (whose face I blurred on purpose!), the Good News is being taught to many.

Friday, April 24, 2009

My Recent Travels

Just a few hours ago, I returned from NE Asia where I hung out with some friends, shared the Good News, and rediscovered some things about home that I often take for granted. I missed the scent of my wife's hair. I love getting hugs from my kids. But when I showed up at Cayla and Jeremiah's school today, she just grabbed a hold of me and wouldn't let go! Never take for granted the hugs of your daughter. Jeremiah wanted to see pictures and here stories while he leaned against me. Never take for granted the lives that are impacted by the telling of your story.

Just a few minutes ago I realized how much I missed MILK, of all things!

I'm in full recovery mode, but am looking forward to narrating the trip here over the next few days.

In the mean time, my right ankle is swollen to the size of my calf, and is very painful. I think it's from the airplane, but I'm not sure. And I am trying to stay awake to force my body back into Texas time. Thanks for all of you who prayed for us, encouraged us, and financially supported us for this trip. Check back over the next few days for pictures, insights, and stories from the trip.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Blind Spots?

The Holy Week is upon us. I’ve been reading through John’s telling of Jesus’ life during this week. Usually, It’s John 13 that draws me in. But today, a passage in John 16 really caught my eye. It’s the interaction between Jesus and the Disciples in 16: 25-33. All of the events leading up to this moment, the miracles, the wisdom, the transformation of lives, and NOW they believe. I laughed out loud when I read Jesus’ words in v. 31, “You believe at last!” I imagine Him laughing as He says it! Like He’s saying, “FINALLY!” But what is it about this most recent discourse of Jesus that brings the Disciples to the place of finally believing? What exactly is it that turns the lights on for them? So I started really digging into this verse, and discovered that the Greek frames it as a question, “Do you now believe?” The Greek could actually go either way, but most see it as a question. I’m not sure why the NIV departs from the NASB at this point, but anyway…It seems that Jesus has shifted into “Yoda Mode,” and is asking them a question that will soon show them that they answered wrong, to some extent.

Although they do believe, and probably more so than before, Jesus begins to tell them that the events of the coming days will show them their lack of belief. Isn’t that how it seems to go for us? At the moment we think we have it all figured out, God awakens us to something that reminds us we don’t! Which brought me to a moment of reflection: What are the areas of my life that I think I have it all figured out? Where are the places that I neglect out of arrogance? And what will it take for God to turn my head enough to see something more clearly than before? Rather than assume that the Holy Week consists of this or that, seek out the Christ who was crucified and ask Him to enlighten you further into the sacrifice He made for you. Ask Him to do for you what He did for the Disciples by pointing out an area of your faith where you are going to falter. Just as the Disciples thought they had it figured out, Jesus say, “Oh yeah? Well, you’re all going to desert me in the coming days.” What are the areas in our lives we are in danger of deserting Jesus?

Pace Bene - Jason