Saturday, October 1, 2011

Preparing to Launch

Well, we made it to Houston. The A/C on the Honda went out sometime in California, which meant we crossed the Mojave Desert without air conditioning and with only one working window in the front. Memories, the stuff of life. It was so hot and desolate, we didn't bother looking to get it fixed until we reached Boerne, Texas. Our new home is quaint and quiet, and well, empty. One day we'll get furniture to fill the rooms (a big transition from 1000 square feet to 2300!). We are enjoying the call that God has for us here. Our children are enjoying the culture of Covenant Academy. If you'd like to learn more about our new school, check us out at Most of my time is spent on writing, reading, studying, reviewing, talking, training and listening. When I'm not doing that, I'm cooking, cleaning, ironing and exercising. It's not an exciting life to some, but to me, this is why I'm on the planet. I hope to write again, but for now, if you want a view of island life from a couple who are seeking to live out the Gospel in their community, check out our daughter Laura's blog at:

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Waterfalls of Gratitude

When it rains, it pours on Oahu. When it rains, we look to the mountains if we can see them through the clouds. Hidden behind the fog are waterfalls, overflowing into streams. It is a glorious thing to behold and worth a drive on the highway just to get a glimpse. Those waterfalls are responses to the blessing of rain from above. In the same way, gratitude should be the response to the overflowing blessings in our lives. Like the rain, we may not see them clearly. But that rain is a gift. Like the mountains are shaped by the rain as it chisels through the stone of our hearts, so does God's grace teach us and shape us. The right response to God's work is gratitude: overflowing thanks for His goodness. In this way will others see His glory in our lives.

Today in church our son Jon was overcome with the idea of eternity and what it means to know God. He came to me to talk about it and said that he wanted to know what it actually means to know Christ. I shared with him this verse from Galatians 3:26, "You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ." I shared with Jon that Jesus didn't come just to be a good teacher, but to fulfill the Law of God because we could not. None of us can achieve God's holy standard, but Jesus did. I asked Jon if he felt that he was able to obey God perfectly. He knew he had not. We all sin and fall short of what God rightly requires of us. I related this to what it feels when he works in the field with Dad, he is covered in dirt from head to toe. I then shared that God, through Christ, has taken off Jon's dirty clothes, put them on Himself, worn them on the cross and now is offering Jon His Beautiful Priestly Robes to wear instead. I explained that this is what it means to be clothed in Christ. This is what it means to know Him, to be a Christian. He understood. He wanted this clothing. Tears were flowing from his eyes. I asked him why. He felt unworthy. It had been raining. I told him that the only thing that God wanted in return was a waterfall of gratitude from Jon's life. God rained down blessing on us through the love of His Son, all He wants in return is a waterfall of gratitude.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Open Door

" But I will stay on at Ephesus until Pentecost, because a great door for effective work has opened to me. " Paul at Corinth

"Now when I went to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ and found that the Lord had opened a door for me," Paul at Corinth

"And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ," Paul at Colosse

Ever wonder how the Apostle Paul knew what to do next? Did he hear an audible voice from God or see a neon sign telling him where to preach and teach next? How did he know when his time in Corinth was completed? Paul spent two years in Corinth and his visit there was very productive. How did he know when it was time to go to the next town or, in his case, to the next continent? His method was pretty simple and it applies to us today: look for the open door.

We have felt that the door has closed for our time in Hawai'i. Though we love this island and its culture and its people, we are struggling to see how we can continue to provide for our remaining children . Our reason for coming here was twofold: 1. Help Laura get to a better climate and 2. help Trinity Christian School navigate the difficult transition from a traditional Christian school model to a Classical Christian School model. We feel that we've accomplished both of these goals. Laura is thriving and Trinity has overcome the biggest hurdle of transition, curriculum philosophy and development.

When we came here, we could see in the future a need for a counseling ministry and a need for a ministry to Hawaiians to understand their own culture in light of the greatness of Christ, who gives meaning to culture and history. On Oahu there is a great need for affordable housing. We envisioned an opportunity to utilize the island's need for affordable housing to establish a ministry community so that all of these needs could be met in one location, if the Lord opened the door.

We could also see that while Laura had found her niche, our other three were struggling to find their way with both parents working SO very full time. Children in the teen and tween years need more structure and parental input, not less. Our full time hours, which were taking our focus away from our family, were enough to pay rent, but never a mortgage or a down payment for a house (a small house here is about 600 thousand and banks want 20% as a down payment! ). We began to ask ourselves if it was time to go. After all, what is more important than being available to our children? But what about our dreams for ministry? Funny as it is, Laura's passion is counseling, and Shawn's passion is teaching Hawaiian culture. Could it be that God was closing a door for our family but opening a door for Shawn and Laura? We decided to knock on doors and see what opened. In light of our desire to have our children in a classical school and live in an affordable location, Dave encouraged me to find a school where I could use my administrative gifts. I have interviewed with several and am about to make a second visit to a school in the Houston area to see if the Lord is opening up a door for us to use our gifts, love on our children and afford our own home. We're knocking. If the Lord opens up that door, we will go, right after Laura and Shawn's wedding. Please pray for us that God will make the door of His will open very wide so that we will know which way to go. Either way, we know that we cannot afford to stay here, we just don't know for sure where He is leading us next. We'll keep knocking.

The next question you will ask is: but what about Laura? Laura and Shawn are clearly called to minister here in Hawai'i. It's where they belong. And we see doors opening for them for the future, for housing and for ministry. We did not raise Laura to keep her, we raised her to send her out into the world to make a diffence. Laura and Shawn are eager to begin life together and make an impact. As for the specifics, they will pray and wait for the doors to open.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Mother of the Bride

When Laura was a newborn I wanted time to stop all together to savor every second of her newborn sneezes and grunts and wiggles. As she grew, I came to accept that life would keep going, she would keep getting older. And then 3 more precious children came. Our house was full of kids and toys and giggles and stomping feet. When she was twelve years old, I had a friend sketch the four of them so that I could freeze that moment of their childhood forever. It was such a special time. I distinctly remember beginning to mourn the loss of my motherhood when Jonathan stopped using his pacifier. I began to treasure every moment of watching my children grow; intensely aware that this would not last. One morning as I brushed her hair, I remember wondering what it would be like when she was old enough to get married. And then it hit me: what would I be like? Would I be an emotional wreck? Would I want to plan her wedding so that it fit my tastes, would I like her future husband?

A few weeks ago I waited outside the dressing room as Laura tried on her wedding dress for her final fitting. No violins playing in the background to set the mood, no soft lighting, just a dressing room in a busy store. But Laura was beautiful. Every dress she tried on looked fabulous because she is tall and slender. This was the dress that she wanted, the dress that she will wear through the entryway of her next journey. And how did I feel? Did I want her to wear a dress that looked like the one I wore? Surprisingly, I didn't. I wanted her to have what she wanted. I really didn't have an opinon as long as she was happy. People have asked me what it's like to be the mother of the bride. To be honest, it's a great honor and privilege to watch her making wise decisions and seeking the Lord's guidance in every detail of her wedding. It's been that way all along in her relationship with Shawn. Laura and Shawn have sought to honor their parents and the Lord in every step of their relationship. They want desperately to do one thing: live in such a way as to make an impact on others. And I think they will, they've already had an impact on me.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Not by Bread Alone

"Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God."

Matthew 4:4

That's a fascinating statement from the One who called Himself the Bread of life. Note the phrase by "bread alone." The idea here is that bread, by itself, cannot give us the full picture of God's presence with us. We have heard that statement so many times that it loses its stunning reality. Bread communicated presence to the Israelites. Bread was the means by which God communicated to the Israelites that they were not, in fact, alone. Bread was a physical symbol of the presence of God.

God was with Israel. He chose them, made them His beloved people, rescued them from slavery and made them into a great nation. They were a most insignificant of people, but He was with them and His presence made them great.

In Egypt, He called Moses and instructed him to make a Passover feast, with bread.

In the wilderness, He fed them with manna.

In the tabernacle, He instructed them to keep a Bread of the Presence on the table.

In the temple, He instructed them to have a Bread of the Presence on the table.

And then the Bread of the Presence, Emmanuel, came. He was God with us.

"The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.”

There is a profound truth in a simple loaf of bread: God is with us. He, who will make His own kingdom grow like leaven in a loaf, has broken the reign of sin in our lives. He who embraced Israel and led that nation embraces and leads us. He who understood their need for signs and symbols instructing them to keep feasts and celebrations understands our needs and instructs us in the Lord's Supper. He who said, "take and eat"...also said "this is My body." His sacrifice on our behalf was not happenstance, it was planned and calculated. He understood our great need for redemption and intercession. He was our high priest. The priest that offered up His own life as a sacrifice.

"Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great high priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful."

He who promised is faithful. We are not alone. God is with us. Take and eat.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Saturday Morning Hike

Another Good Book Ya Gotta Read...

I just finished reading another excellent book by Paul Tripp. Regardless of your age, it's well worth the read. He writes compassionately and honestly and offers both encouragement and challenges to those who are in their middle years, doing what we all do at this time: evaluating our harvest. Here is an excerpt:

"As you stand at the center of this midlife moment, what do you see? What do you hear? If all you see is disappointment and loss, if all you hear are the sad songs of what once was or what could have been, then you need to listen again. Within your loss there is a God of amazing grace to see, and woven together with your sad songs you can hear the celebratory music of redemptive grace. The note of disappointment , regret, weakness, decay, defeat, restoration, reconciliation and sight are not parts of another song. They are each a part of God's symphony of grace and redemption."

I bought this book because I knew it would be challenging and perfectly geared to this time in my life. But, I'm not at all unhappy with my life. No regrets. Life is hard and I've had my share of hard knocks, but God is so good. Once again, Paul Tripp challenged me to grab each moment of life with redemptive hands.
Saturday morning hike.

The Lanikai mokes.

In the distance on the right is the lighthouse where we took our last hike.

Island Adventurers!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Sunday Hike

Look out below!

The view from the top of our hike.

Not a starfish, a plant that grows along the trails.

Can you see the whale? They come to Hawai'i to birth their young at this time of year.

As we ascend the trail, we see this lovely valley.