Monday, March 31, 2008

book reviews...

during the forty days leading up to easter, our church body united in prayer and fasting. pressing into Jesus, personally and corporately.

during the final week, during my own personal final fast, a package came in the mail from a friend of ours. he has a heart the size of texas, and has blessed us in so many ways. he founded a ministry a few years ago to reach out and love kids without a father in their life. as part of an outreach to make the invisible faces of orphans visible, his ministry began a read it and seed it program. basically, you get a book, you read the book (or not) and then you pass it on.
and in my hands i found a book called It's Not Okay With Me by Janine Maxwell.

if i were to be honest, i would tell you that i didn't want to read it. basically because of all the other unfinished books calling my name. one in the gym bag, three on one side of my bed, two on the other, and a random variety on various book shelves. next to me on the folding chair are six.
but i have this weird legalistic side of me. if someone went through the effort of choosing a book for me, perhaps within it's pages, there is some little piece of information that i am to hear. so normally i always place a book i receive from a friend first. (aside from the boundrie's book-tina, which took me forever!!) so i knew i had to read it.

and i did. it captivated me. the pages filled with the author's view on the streets, homes, and lives of Africa.
sometimes we pick up a book and it gives us valuable information. entertainment. an interesting perspective. never has a book came alive to me as this, other than the word of God.
and left me with this burning need, desire to pack up and just move there!!! i wanted to call my friend and say, why!?? why did you choose to mail me this book... yesterday? does it directly mean something?? what can i do? and as i shared with Josh the children's stories, he began to read. and our nights filled with visions of these children. faces of children, God's children. mothers. babies. fathers.

last week i read the book Father to the Fatherless, the Charles Mulli Story by Paul H. Boge. it is a man and an organization that Janine Maxwell directly worked with. unbelievable.
i think that maybe the prior book hit my heart because i have always had a burden for Africa. but this book is the story of a man who had nothing, orphaned. made everything, success and prosperity. and gave it all for His call. everything. you can read about it here.

his story makes you passionate, not about Africa, as much as the call you have on your life and the God that you serve. the greatness and love He has, for the nobodies according to this world. how one person can make a difference when used by the hand of a mighty God. a God who still moves in ways that are powerful. a God that can do the unthinkable in our lives.
a man who went from being relevant in religion and society to being relevant in our generation for the kingdom of God. doing simply what God called him to do. one who daily still faces persecution, but who wouldn't trade back for his old life for anything. who doesn't know how it's all going to happen, but knows someone who does.

our mission in america is just as great as africa. aids in africa is like the holocaust. children dying. but in america we are being smothered under our stuff and desensitised. believing that there is no hope, we can't make a difference in the lives of our neighbors, our friends, our relatives, our world. but Charles Mully did. and he did so not with eloquent words, but with an eighth grade education. for his Father compensates for anything he may lack. he is the man God called him to be, in dependence of his relationship with Christ. and God has moved.

the treasure of his testimony is more than i could have asked for this easter. what a gift of truth, knowing that God is indeed The Almighty and he is moving if we are willing in Africa, Bulgaria, North Korea, America, and to the ends of the earth.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


applesauce. there is nothing like a good applesauce fight. come on.. try it. you know that slight hesitation before flinging your spoon across the room, don't hold back. let it go. live the vision. and that's all i'll say. (mel)

ok know lets get down to the nitty gritty. (josh)....
why do we make such a big deal about stupid things. no seriously. in america we are so consumed with what drink we want at starbucks and what we are going to pick out on the menu, we miss out.
i have never really been anywhere.. other than mississippi, nebraska, and colorado... and well that's about it. but it seems to me like we live in a big world. and i know a lot of people say it's small but there is a lot out there. i have been thinking a lot lately about different parts of the world. especially africa.
do you ever get a word or a name stuck in your head. and like rainman.. it keeps repeating in your subconscious over and over and over and over... well you get it. and when you stop thinking about what you are thinking about you realize that all along there it was... not pertaining to anything.. just a word. lately it's been "kampala." no big deal. just the capital of uganda. maybe i'm supposed to open a body shop in uganda. or maybe run for president there. uh... the bad thing is i hate bodywork and i don't think that i would be a good politician. and melanie hates politics and i don't really hate bodywork. i just hate chemicals. so there.
my whole point.. uh... is there a point in one's life when they stop dreaming? cap off their passions. God given passions, you know the ones that make your heart thump so hard and you feel like you need to burst.. say in a weird blog... ? i don't know, you know. but, i think the secret of it all is losing yourself. the more i know God the more i realize i know nothing, really. and that feels so liberating.
it's weird how there are seeds He has planted along the way. and how we can look at them as coincidences. like the creating of a baby in a mother's womb. and miss the miracle of His pursuit and nudging and timing. and before you know it, you find yourself at His feet. not like metaphorically, but really. and then it's done. and then it's begun.
but then there's today. how about your dream?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

the box

i don't know if "out of the box" is necessarily a good phrase. most people think of it as someone who thinks of nifty things that contribute somehow to their organization or brainstorm. but when it's a way of life, living outside of the "box", questions arise.

have you grown up?
have you thought of how your five children fit into that plan?
and how do you expect to make that happen?
is that a cult?
what if it doesn't work out?
are you spilling too much of who you are?
how does your mom feel about that one?
is it safe there?
where is that at?

you fill in the blank. it isn't difficult.

sometimes we wish we could grow up and simply be normal. be satisfied. be content. not daydream about an rv trip across america. checking out oregon.. why? dunn know. planting a church. running an orphanage. or maxing out every credit card application we receive to distribute it in Africa. come on.. that's a good one, isn't it? how long would it take to find us tucked away in some hut. it's like our own version of robin hood. too bad the problem itself isn't the least bit amusing.

so what do you do when you put two people together who enjoy dumping apple sauce on each other. whose dreams are so often themselves, and they spend hours sorting out the which dreams are in the plan of their God.

see we have very light understanding so often. seems when we have it all figured out, it is all of us. and "us" isn't the plan we're after. but there is one thing we are so very confident in, that is the light of men.

only His light is worthy to follow.