Sunday, August 29, 2010

"Those Christians"

I haven't posted anything exciting lately because, well, nothing that was super "blog-worthy" has happened since New Mexico. However, this past week, Daniel got a job, started back to seminary, I started the seminary wives' class, we have the opportunity to go to India, I got 5 days off work in a row and we actually stayed HOME, and we're preparing for a trip to Arkansas with our good friends Brett and Laura Beth, and Bobby and Vanessa, and maybe a few other special friends that it's been way to long to visit with.

Job: Daniel is now working for Rockhaven Learning Center here in Fort Worth. He was originally hired to be what they called a Site Director (he would have been over the tutors and a liaison to the school and RLC), but RLC recently found out that the schools were going to be charging an outrageous amount of money for them to use the school's classrooms so they won't be tutoring in the schools this year. So Daniel is now officially a tutor. Thanks to "no child left behind" and your tax dollars, Daniel is now employed.

Seminary: Daniel is taking 13 hours this semester. He's in his 3rd semester of Greek, and also taking Church History, Old Testament, and New Testament. And he's still loving it. He's like a school-aged boy who comes home and has to tell mom everything he's learned during the day. Except he's a grown man and comes home to his wife and is teaching her in the process. I had my first seminary wives class last Tuesday. There are over 100 wives in the class. Four of the women in my church are taking the class with me. It's going to be an interesting class as the teacher is the president of the seminary's wife, and she is Superwoman. She does it all and I'm excited to learn from her.

India: This past Sunday our pastor told us about a trip to India at the end of the year. He's invited Daniel and I to go. There is a friend of our Pastor who has started over 200 churches around his area, a Bible college (or a few, not sure), and children's homes for orphans. Daniel will go to teach at the college and encourage the believers. I will be going to hopefully help with some basic medical needs, love on some precious children of God, and encourage the women. We are still praying about this trip as it is quite expensive and we currently do not have that kind of money to spend. But we are making sacrifices (selling things, not buying things - not animals) and seeing how God leads our finances in the next week or so. Please be in prayer about this decision.

5 days off: Not a very exciting time around the Bray house. Lots of sleeping, cleaning, watching movies, and playing with Jack.

Arkansas: I actually got the entire Labor Day weekend off so we are heading to Arkansas for some camping, hiking, and rock climbing with some amazing friends! We had originally tried to get a bunch of our couple friends from MS to join in, but people have jobs and other plans so that didn't work out.
Now for the Title of this blog. Daniel read this to me earlier today as we were discussing what it truly means to be a Christian and what it should look like to the world. In his Church History class, their textbook had this anonymous letter that was from the second century. It is referring to Christians of the early church.

"For Christians are not differentiated from other people by country, language, or customs; you see, they do not live in cities of their own, or speak some strange dialect or have some peculiar lifestyle.
This teaching of theirs has not been contrived by the invention and speculation of inquisitive men; nor are they propagating mere human teaching as some people do. They live in both Greek and foreign cities, wherever chance has put them. They follow local customs in clothing, food and other aspects of life. But at the same time, they demonstrate to us the wonderful and certainly unusual form of their own citizenship.
They live in their own native lands, but as aliens; as citizens, they share all things with others; but like aliens, suffer all things. Every foreign country is to them as their native country, and every native land as a foreign country.
They marry and have children just like everyone else; but they do not kill unwanted babies. They offer a shared table, but not a shared bed. They are at present 'in the flesh' but they do not live 'according to the flesh'. They are passing their days on earth, but are citizens of heaven. They obey the appointed laws, and go beyond the laws in their own lives.
They love everyone, but are persecuted by all. They are unknown and condemned; they are put to death and gain life. They are poor and yet make many rich. They are short of everything and yet have plenty of all things. They are dishonored and yet gain glory through dishonor.
Their names are blackened and yet they are cleared. They are mocked and bless in return. They are treated outrageously and behave respectfully to others. When they do good, they are punished as evildoers; when punished, they rejoice as if being given new life. They are attacked by Jews as aliens, and are persecuted by Greeks; yet those who hate them cannot give any reason for their hostility.
To put it simply -- the soul is to the body as Christians are to the world. The soul is spread through all parts of the body and Christians through all cities of the world. The soul is in the body but is not of the body; Christians are in the world but not of the world."

We don't know if this person was a Christian or not, but just think, what if he was a non-Christian and this is how he recognized believers of the early church. Is this what non-believers see in Christians today? Christians were not luke-warm in the early Church. They stood up for beliefs and defended their faith and were ultimately killed for it in many cases. We are so consumed by the world sometimes, we forget what we truly live for. This world has damaged us as followers of Christ. We are sidetracked so often with material possessions, worries, money, and our day-to-day lives, when really it's all about our relationship with our Father and the love that he wants us to show others. So I guess the question is are you one of "those Christians"?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Jackson and the Water Hose

Our dog does some silly things, and he constantly keeps us entertained and laughing. Since it's been so hot lately and he stays outside most of the day, we go out and hose him off to try and keep him cool. He likes to play with the water more than cool off.

Friday, August 20, 2010

One life at a time...

One day a man was walking along the beach when he noticed a boy picking something up and gently throwing it into the ocean.Approaching the boy, he asked, “What are you doing?”The youth replied, “Throwing starfish back into the ocean. The surf is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them back, they’ll die.”“Son,” the man said, “don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish? You can’t make a difference, it's impossible!” After listening politely, the boy bent down, picked up another starfish, and threw it back into the surf.
Then, smiling at the man, he said…” I made a difference for that one.”
- from somewhere else, but reposted on The Journey Blog *see below*

Goodness, my heart is breaking right now. For the past 4 years now, it has been a huge desire in my heart to work/own an orphanage one day. Recently, my amazing friend Katie (who by the way was just diagnosed with Malaria - please pray for her!) has been to and from Africa twice this summer working with an orphanage in Ghana. Reading her stories and seeing her pictures just fill my heart with sorrow and joy at the same time. Hearing her stories, led me on a search for other stories of African orphanages and I have found two girls who have given up their lives in order to serve children in Unganda for our Lord. I've been catching up on their blog posts (I am starting from back in 2007) and my heart breaks. There is so much pain, suffering, hunger, and death in their stories. But amazingly, there are also stories of love, compassion, faith, healing, and joy. God is truly a loving Father, and I thank Him for sending these girls, as well as others, to Africa to share His love to an seemingly unloved people group. God is the God of hope and of healing. I just cannot truly put into words how much these stories have touched my heart and the emotions that overflow from my soul. My heart and soul yearn to share the love of our great and wonderful and powerful Father with these children who are fatherless and unloved by any human. But until then, my heart serves Him here, in Fort Worth, in my hospital, in my church, in my community. I pray that I do not become content with where I am, and I continually seek His face and show His love to all those around me. I cannot do it all, I am only one person. But with the Lord, hearts can be mended, physical ailments can be healed, love can be restored. One life can be saved. Be bold.

Serving His Children
The Journey
Katie's African Adventures

Also from The Journey by a girl named Katie (not the Katie with malaria, although I'm sure this girl has had malaria at one point or another in her life). This post was from November 2007, after being there since June of the same year. There are so many things I wish I could share from her blog, her stories, her children, her love, but this is just a small piece of a sister's heart. It's challenging.

"someone asked me the other day, "really? is it really as great as you make it sound?i could never do that! are you really happy?" for all of you who wonder, this is my response.
you know what i want sometimes? to go to the mall and spend a ridiculous amount of money on a cute new pair of shoes. i want to sit on my kitchen counter chatting with my girlfriends and eat a whole carton of cookie dough ice cream. i want to watch grey's anatomy, or any tv for that matter. i want to cuddle with my sweet boyfriend. i want to hop in my cute car, go to the grocery store, and pick up any kind of produce i want. i want to wake up in a house with my loving family, not all by myself. i want to go to blockbuster and pick out a movie to watch with my little brother and his friends and i want to cook for them at midnight. i want to spend mindless hours with my best friends talking about boys and fashion and school and life. i want to go to the gym. i want my hair to look nice. i want to wear cut off jean shorts. i want to be a normal teenager living in america. i do.
but. you know what i want more? ALL the time?
i want to be spiritually and emotionally filled every day of my life. i want to be loved and cuddled by100 children and never go a day without laughing. i want to wake up to a rooster, my two africa dogs, and a splendid view of the nile river. i want to be challenged endlessly; i want to be learning and growing every minute. i want to be taught by those i teach. i want to share God's love with people who otherwise might not know it. i want to work so hard that i end every day filthy and too tired to move. i want to feel needed, important, used by the Lord. i want to make a differnce and i want to follow the calling that God has planted deep in my heart. i want to give my life away, to serve the Lord with each breath, each second. i want to be here. right here. "