Thursday, January 27, 2011

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow

I think one of my favorite parts about God's creation is snow. It is so much fun to watch it fall from the sky, and not to mention that each little snowflake has been uniquely designed by God himself. Amazing! I think my love for snow really developed when we lived in Colorado. Drew and I would take the lift to the top of the mountain and find parts that had untouched powder. Oh, it was so awesome! There was something so magical about cutting through the fresh powder in between trees. I would look at all the snow and just smile at God's creativity. How is it possible for frozen water to be so much fun?

Snowboarding at Copper Mountain

I haven't even told you how much I love snow days! Last week we had a snow day, and Drew and I went sledding with a bunch of friends at Art Hill in Forest Park. It was a blast. Here are some pictures from our adventures.

So many people come out to Art Hill. It's awesome to see strangers laughing and enjoying each other over sledding in the snow!

Drew and me about to be pushed. Not sure why I had to go in front. Drew's legs are so long.

Drew and 7 other guys about to go down the hill...It was awesome!

Then it was the girl's turn! Imagine all of us screaming down a huge hill. I think we lost a few on the way down.

snow angel time

What do you love to do when it snows? All of you east coast people who just got hit with a blizzard how have you spent your snow days?


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

New Directions

A lot has happened over the last couple weeks. In addition to cramming in a number of condensed Jan-Term classes, we spent a number of days working with MTW in Atlanta, GA to hammer down a few new thoughts about how and where we are going to fit into the organization. Linds and I had a pretty good idea of the where all the pieces were going to settle, and we were really excited about it! The week was a pretty exciting one, we got to make some pretty good friends while we were there, we had the opportunity to get to know some of the more experienced missionaries with MTW, and we got blasted by an ice storm that froze us into the hotel the whole week (Atlanta has only 8 snowplows. Yeah, 8) - the picture above is a piece of ice I peeled off of a holly leaf.
However, at the end of the week, we sat down with some of the other planners, but we didn't get the news we were expecting. Don't get me wrong here, we are still on board with Mission to the World and with the Global Youth and Family Ministry, but some of the directions that Linds and I were expecting to take did not quite work out. It was a hard conclusion to be met with, and to be honest we were really caught off guard by it. While it doesn't really change much about the ministry itself, it does change a lot about the ways Linds and I were expecting to engage it.
When I was a kid, I recall standing in the basement with my Dad talking about something that had to do with understanding God's plans. I don't really remember why I was asking him about that, but I do remember his response. He told the that as far as he could figure out, the best way to discern God's will is to look around at the opportunities you have in front of you, choose which one looks best to you, and then pray saying, "God, I've chosen what I think is best here, and I am going to pursue it with all my heart. If this is what you have for me, please bless my efforts, but if it is not, please close the door and point me in a new direction."
God closed the door for us on this particular plan. However, though it was rather confusing in the moment, the more we have reflected on it, the better we've felt about the situation. First of all we trust that the Lord knows what we need and desires to care for us! We trust the people who made the decisions, we see the wisdom in their reasoning, we felt very cared for by those who made the decision, and we have felt even further affirmed in our call to next generational cross cultural ministry. It is hard to shift tracks, but as we are beginning to explore some of the other doors that have remained open, we are also beginning to catch other visions of ways we can continue to serve. Again, though we might not have arrived at them ourselves, we trust the new directions we have been given, and we are excited to see where God will lead.
Please pray for us for wisdom, discernment, and patience as we begin to formulate new directions.


Monday, January 3, 2011

A Quick Mental Devotion

Devotion; the act of devoting, giving over, doing in honor of, accomplishing something for someone or something else. Devotions. What an interesting concept. We have no problem doing "spiritual" devotions, commonly understood as reading the Bible and spending time in prayer, and I think this is truly a good thing. However, I wonder to think of the possibilities of expanding our categories a little bit here. Though such reading and prayer certainly do much to enrich our spirituality, would this simple action perhaps better be termed an intellectual devotion? After all, in studying we are primarily opening our mind to God. Sure these devotions augment one's spirituality, but the primary action that is being done is intellectual study. I do not mean this in such a way as to limit the concept, but simply to categorize it. Once categorized, there is much room left for other devotions as well; surely we are not encapsulated by our intellect. As such, here is an extremely short list of other facets that could be enriched by being practiced devotionally. Besides the above-renamed intellectual devotions, there could be:

-physical devotions with our exercise
-interpersonal devotions with our relationships
-intrapersonal devotions with our own knowledge of self
-vocational devotions in or occupation
-spiritual devotions in our meditation
-artistic devotions in our creativity
-culinary devotions in our meal contents and preparation
-marital devotions in engagement of their spouse
-reflective devotions in our contemplations
-aesthetic devotions in our designs

Here, even a quick search from a concordance demands more of us than the common understanding of devotions can give...especially if you don't skip over the OT sections (see Joshua 6:21)! How greatly this impacts how we are to understand what it means for us to be devoted to God!

What in our lives do we devote to God? How much more of ourselves we have to offer to God?


What will you devote to God? How will you be devoted to him?


unable to identify statue's maker. Photograph by Fred_T of Flickr.