Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Grateful

photo credit: Taylor Radovich
The days are long. The responsibilities are many. The weight feels heavy. But we do not live like those without hope. There isn't any one thing going on- no single problem that I can point to and tell you THIS. It's a lot of little things (that are not all bad): our firstborn turning 13, working more days so Josh can get his seminary work done and do his WGM Uganda HR duties, baking, hosting, praying, parenting, marriage... your list goes on like mine.

I'm already in melancholy advent mode- feeling the weight of the world as we wait with longing for the day when He sets all things right. And Advent is just around the corner, but first Thanksgiving!



So I'm writing a different list:

photo credit: Taylor Radovich
8012. linking arms with a fellow warrior and letting her cover me in prayer
8013. Your daughters raising hands and voices in prayer and surrender
8014. Women getting set FREE!
8015. friends here.
8016. middle schooler getting saved!
8017. pumpkin spice VIA from a friend
8018. Waiting Songs by Rain for Roots
8019. cinnamon bun day
8020. Josh and Caleb off on a guys adventure day for his 13th
8021. singing in a choir again. it's been too long
8022. stories of Your faithfulness
8023. the perfect playlist for the ride home from retreat
8024. a miracle happening before our eyes- voice in the mic after three weeks without a voice!
8025. the smell of the girls freshly washed hair
8026. Boy Meets World with our boys
8027. homemade ricotta cheese
8028. teenage girls sitting around a table discussing how to shift perspective on mundane days
8029. the radical change that happens when I shift from "I have to..." to "I get to..." it's all privilege.

photo credit: Taylor Radovich
the team for Journey Together Retreat

Monday, October 07, 2019

An Individual in a Community

"Community" has become a buzzword of such these days.  I freely admit that I have blown the trumpet call to community even within our missionary community of WGM Uganda.  The funny thing is that everyone seems to have a different idea of what community is and should look like.  How do we ever find common ground when we all want the same thing and yet disagree on what it looks like?  I think there is a lot of beauty in such tension.

Check out this picture I found...
Photo Credit:  Rupert Britton, photograph, https://unsplash.com/photos/l37N7a1lL6w
Here is a beautiful field of tulips.  No one can argue that this is not a community of tulips.  However, we can argue over the color of the tulips.  Clearly, the center of the photo shows a red tulip surrounded by yellow.  There is nothing wrong with the red tulip, nor is there anything wrong with the yellow tulip.  Unfortunately,  many of us Christians look around at one another and complain or argue that we all must look a certain way (usually we want people to look like us).

At Heritage, we have the unbelievable benefit of being a very diverse community.  400+ students from over 25 different nationalities.  We are a field of multi-colored tulips and even many different types of flowers.  It is truly a beautiful thing.  However, as we join hands as a Christian community and seek to journey together, sometimes we can begin claiming that we need to look and act in a very specific manner.  Instead of helping each other on the journey of faith, we begin to judge each other's journey.

John Wesley described salvation as a process calling it "the way of salvation".  There is a community element to that process. So while salvation is a very personal thing between you and God, it has a communal aspect to it. That does not mean, however, that we can begin dictating what each person's "way of salvation" must look like. 

Do me a favor, think about your salvation experience thus far and share in the comment section how it has been different from someone else's salvation journey  (no need to mention names).  In a positive way, describe how someone has encouraged you in your journey without demanding that it look a certain way.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Justification and Sanctification

I am not a "car guy".  I do love to drive and I do love my Mitsubishi Pajero here in Uganda and Bajaj Boxer 150cc bike.  Those are probably two models of vehicles you have never heard of unless you live on this side of the world.  It's OK, that is not the point.  I did pause when I came across this picture, though...
Tama66, Ford Mustang, photograph, https://pixabay.com/photos/ford-mustang-v8-67-ford-mustang-2705402/
(Photo Credit: Tama66, Ford Mustang, photograph, https://pixabay.com/photos/ford-mustang-v8-67-ford-mustang-2705402/)
This is a picture of a Ford Mustang and it looks BEAUTIFUL! Clearly, it has been washed and polished to perfection. This almost makes me interested in becoming a "car guy".

When I came across this photo I actually began to think about holiness and sanctification (further evidence that I am not a "car guy").  If this was my car and I was able to make it this shiny and clean, there is little chance that I would drive it around. Especially not here in Kampala, Uganda. Why? It would stay this clean for about 1second before being covered in dirt and dust.

Most of us is aware that the world we live in is "dirty".  Sin and evil seem to reign unchecked in many corners of our communities and there are people who desperately need to discover the love and salvation offered through Jesus Christ.  The main way that people will discover this love and salvation is through you and me... believers.  When you and I stand out in the crowd, people notice. When we live a life different from the rest, people notice. I want to make a statement here that you may not agree with. I believe that you and I can be this shiny, clean mustang each and every day no matter how dirty our city is that we drive around in. Once we have accepted, through the grace of God, the free gift of salvation offered to us, we begin a process called sanctification. This is when God begins to return us to our proper image as found in the Garden of Eden prior to the fall. His image. Justification saved us from the penalty of sin and sanctification saves us from the power of sin. It's all salvation! We can become shiny and new!

Just like we did before, take a look at these scripture verses and then comment below your thoughts. Is it possible to be the shiny mustang again in our dirty cities?

Verses:  Colossians 3:1-17

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Grace


Grace In Action
photo credit: Anna Earl, girl in blue top planting outdoors, photograph, South Bend, IN. https://unsplash.com/photos/ZbuP5oXM_zA
I (Josh) came across a fun new article from my hometown area of Philadelphia, PA.  Not a lot of positive news comes out of the “City of Brotherly Love” and so when something like this comes out, it catches my eye.  Do me a favor and click over HERE and read this story.  Then come back to this blog post for a bit of reflection.
I was struck by the love these Fathers showed the kids entering the school.  Specifically, I thought of little Ian who may or may not have a positive male role model in his life.  It seems that he does not.  Ian was terrified of this new school experience (sound familiar?) and I am sure when he came upon the school and saw a red carpet and a bunch of cheering men, he felt just a little intimidated and like he didn't belong.  However, Ian was exactly where he needed to be and these Father’s made sure Ian felt accepted and encouraged. 
This got me to thinking about our journey as Christians.  When God's grace hits us and we discover our sin nature and our total inability to save ourselves, we feel a bit like Ian, don't we?  We are scared and feel lost.  We come face to face with a challenge and realize that we can't handle it.  And then we turn the corner and come face to face with our Heavenly Father.  And I picture our Father in Heaven like those Dad's that day that Ian came face to face with.  Full of love and acceptance and Ian didn't even know who they were.  But that didn't matter.  Likewise, when we come face to face with our Father in Heaven, we don't know who He is because of our sin.  And yet He overwhelms us with love and acceptance.  This is grace! 
Take a moment and read the following passages of scripture.  Do me a favor and comment on this post your reflection to the news story about Ian, your reading of scripture, and if this is a good picture of God’s grace in our lives.  As always, let us know if you have any questions we can wrestle through with you.
Scripture to read: Ephesians 1:3-10; Romans 5:1-11
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