Monday, February 25, 2013

Isn't nine out of ten good enough?

So the other day when I was at a store in town I grabbed a package of gum off the shelf. It was only $0.99 so I figured they wouldn't miss it. Then when I was walking to my car I saw this guy from church, he’s married, but for the first time I noticed how HOT he was! And that car he drives… man, I want it soooooo bad. When I got home I went to the wood pile and found this sweet piece of wood to carve out a little idol to put on this empty shelf in my room. Over all it was a good day!

Or was it? 

If you didn't catch on yet, that is just a fictitious story. But this is to illustrate a point that was made by our instructor at Mission Training International. Only in his story he was taking the student’s ice cream out of the freezer and lusting after a married co-worker. 

1. You shall have no other gods before me

2. Thou shall bring no false idols before me
3. Do not take the name of the Lord in vain
4. Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.

5. Honor thy father and thy mother.

6. Thou shall not kill/murder.

7. Thou shall not commit adultery.

8. Thou shall not steal.

9. Thou shall not bear false witness.

10. Thou shall not covet.

He brought to our attention that we are pretty aware of the Ten Commandments and really tend to avoid breaking MOST of them. BUT…. What about number 4? Are we allowing one day of rest out of every seven days? This struck me like it never has before. He’s so right. Especially when he took it back farther to the Creation story. It has been in place from the very beginning.

I know there were some in the class that were contesting his theology, but it really does make sense. Plus, having seen missionaries that honor a Sabbath day versus those that are continually on the run, the difference is obvious.

No, we don't have to legalistic about it. There are entire religions founded on this Commandment and sadly they have missed the point in their fog of legalism.

Our instructor was emphasizing the point that all of us humans need rest for our own well-being. Missionaries are no exception. So what will that look like in Uganda? During my time at MTI I discovered that I love to color and lay out staring at the sky. I re-discovered my love for coloring after several stressful days that they created for us. One being a simulation where we were under attack from a group of armed militants. Yes, my time in "The Box" will potentially be a blog in the future. But I went down to the kids department with a friend and we were each given a box of NEW crayons and some pages to color. Two grown adults coloring? Yes, it was AMAZING! I could almost feel the stress exiting my body.

I have always enjoyed taking time to stare up at the sky. Whether it is the daytime clouds and blue sky or the nighttime stars, planets, and satellites. But as I consider the dangers lurking in Africa, I have devised a great plan on how I can use the back of my truck as a portable location to hang a hammock. Even better, just the other night when out with some friends, I was offered a brand new, easy to pack, hammock!! Who knew it was the little things in life that could make me excited!

So not only does my preparation for Africa involve learning how to learn a language, interact well on a team, raising support, large animal medicine, learning participatory training methods, Bible study, conflict styles and resolution, identifying stress, adapting to a new culture- it is also learning how to care for myself. My goal is to not burn out, but to care for myself mentally, physically, and spiritually so I ONLY leave Africa when GOD says that it is time. Either time to move on to some other work that He has for me, or it is my time to leave this earth. So even when I get to Africa, I plan on letting everyone know that I have arrive safely, but will then abstain from communication with the outside world for at least a month as I settle in to my new home.

So what about you? Are you caught in the never ending treadmill of busyness and have rationalized why remembering the Sabbath and keeping it holy really doesn't apply like the other nine commandments? Take time to set aside that one day a week for rest. Make sure your ‘rest’ isn't more tiring than restful as well. Sometimes in the summer when my family likes to go boating/fishing… while I enjoy it immensely and will miss it.... the preparation and return is more tiring than the rest of the day was restful.

God put the Sabbath in place for our own good and He has our best interest in mind!!

Even though I turn 32 in less than 3 weeks...I will never be too old to color!!!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Is your filter the Truth or a lie?

So I generally avoid talking on my blog about the religion that I was raised in. But the past few days I have gotten in to some interesting discussions. Then this morning my pastor spoke on some of the same things, so it's just calling to be blogged about.

I had been discussing the distorted theology that states that Eve had sex with the serpent (who was the devil) and Cain was their offspring. Only later did Abel come, the offspring of Adam. The Serpent Seed is the name of this unbiblical doctrine.

Interestingly enough, my theologically sound pastor was preaching out of Genesis 3 this morning. This is one chapter before the birth of Cain and Abel. He said some quote worthy things that I wrote on the back of my bulletin.

"Half truths are ultimately a lie. It's the true parts that get us to believe the lie."

Eve actually stretched the truth when she told the serpent that they weren't allowed to eat the fruit or touch the tree. God had only instructed them not to eat the fruit. After hearing her complaint, the serpent tells her that "You shall not surely die." What was said next made me thing soooooooo much about our 'prophet'. He supposedly had these amazing revelations from God that explained things in the Bible that we couldn't know on our own. Sadly, many things are unscriptural and false. But this is what my pastor said, "The Devil wants us to think that God is hoarding his Godness, that we deserve more and can know these secrets. His key goal is this cosmic struggle is to separate us from God."

That last statement made me think of what I have told people in sharing my testimony. The devil doesn't want to turn us in to murdering, drug dealing, thieves. He just wants us to get off the straight and narrow path a little bit.

But what does this 'knowledge' lead us to? Francis Schaffer said: "The experience of sin is knowledge gained. But it is horrible, useless knowledge." Kind of like when you are told as a child not to touch the oven door when it is hot. You touch it anyway and suffer burns that cause your hands to blister so you can't crawl for a week. Yes, this really happened to me. But it could be even more severe and be something that results in permanent injury or even death.

"When you believe the lie you can't believe the Truth because there is a filter (the lie) and the Truth can't get through." Interestingly, when my pastor said this, I thought immediately about my time at Mission Training International. We learned a lot about filters. In that context it was either our original culture, our conflict resolution style, or something like that. But really it can be applied to all areas of life. Here is the chart from our class:

So this is why it is so difficult to witness and reason with people still in my childhood religion. They have the filter of the 'prophet' that they run everything through. My pastor laid it out very plainly by reading John 8:43-47 "Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.

So how does one break through the filters of lies? That is a good question. Though my note taking on the back of my bulletin didn't end when the sermon ended. Our Sunday school class is going through apologetics on Islam.

One bit of Islamic literature that was quoted really resonated with me:

"O people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians)! Now has come to you Our Messenger (Muhammad SAW) making (things) clear unto you, after a break in (the series of) Messengers, lest you say: "There came unto us no bringer of glad tidings and no warner." But now has come unto you a bringer of glad tidings and a warner. And Allah is Able to do all things." (Surah 5. Al-Maeda, Verse 19)

Interestingly enough, this sounds like the claims made by the followers of the prophet I was raised to believe was the one who finally came to make things clear. So who should I believe? Who should I follow?

As my pastor said in closing, "we need to rededicate ourselves to learning God's Truth. Not by reading books about the Bible, watching videos, or listening to sermons, but by reading the Bible."

How many of you have read the Bible cover to cover and read the Bible every day? There is sooooooo much in there to learn.

Like the Sunday School discussion today of Islam's beliefs on hell, which interestingly match up with what I was taught growing up. Hell isn't really eternal. It isn't going to last forever, it will end eventually. The argument is as follows: "In Matthew 25:41, it says that "everlasting fire was prepared for the devil and his angels." Now if it was prepared, then it wasn't without a beginning. If it had a beginning then it can't be eternal."

BUT... they stop reading there. If you read in context you will also read verse 46. "Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

καὶ ἀπελεύσονται οὗτοι εἰς κόλασιν αἰώνιον οἱ δὲ δίκαιοι εἰς ζωὴν αἰώνιον

Interestingly, the same exact word is used for eternal. But I don't know many people that will argue that eternal life is going to end any time soon. Strong's Concordance #G166 is used both times.

1) without beginning and end, that which always has been and always will be
2) without beginning
3) without end, never to cease, everlasting

English (NASB)  Strong'sRoot Form (Greek)
οὗτος houtos
will go awayg565
ἀπέρχομαι aperchomai
εἰς eis
αἰώνιος aiōnios
κόλασις kolasis
δέ de
the righteousg1342
δίκαιος dikaios
εἰς eis
αἰώνιος aiōnios
ζωή zōē


So looking through the filter of the lie, it could seem plausible when reading Matthew 25:41 that hell is going to end. Even several other Scriptures that are some times cited. But PLEASE, look for the Truth without the fog of the filter.

 Do you want to believe a lie or the Truth? Are you clinging to something and afraid to look beyond it because it might end up being false? Sometimes our human pride will cause this and you really aren't wanting to believe the ultimate Truth, you are wanting to believe what you believe no matter what.

"Half truths are ultimately a lie. It's the true parts that get us to believe the lie."



So as people sign up for my monthly support (48.5% raised already), the money that comes in before I move is building up towards my one time expenses (63% raised already). The last one time expense that needs to be covered is for my rugged 4x4 truck. Here is a great video of the roads in Karamoja made by another missionary. This is why I need a good solid vehicle!! Forget mud running for fun in the states. I get to do as survival in my daily life.

There are a number of other great 'road' videos on their YouTube channel.

Someone has asked what is needed yet for the truck... We have $20,000 budgeted for the truck. I only have $13,973 to raise yet. So far $23,777 has been come in!! This is for airfare, moving expenses, household set up, the training I just went to, and a good start on the truck! I have $2,205 monthly support already and need $2,342 yet. So if my monthly support was at 100% it would only take 3 months to get the rest needed for the truck!!

Friday, February 15, 2013

The True Size of Africa

I came across an interesting picture the other day. How big is the country of Africa? I know that Uganda alone is approximately the size of the state of Oregon. But check this out...

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Another Progress update

Progress to goal! It's been moving slow since I have been focusing on my schooling. I can't wait to get out and start sharing with people what God is doing! $10, $20, $50, or $100 or more a month... any amount makes an amazing difference! All monthly support that is started now goes towards the one time start up needs too. All that is left to raise money for there is a truck!!