Showing posts from June, 2011

Our Jealous God

On Sunday we had a powerful message on Encountering God in Worship. One of the points that he dared to bring up was that God is God-centred. (Or, if you prefer the American spelling: God-centered). We discussed this in the following class, 2nd Look and it got me to thinking. We think of God as the ultimate of everything - we can't peg Him down. We can't fathom His greatness, His wonder, His majesty, His depth, His being. We are hushed when we encounter Him. And so often we attempt to encounter Him but forego the awe and wonder, and then, I believe, we are not really encountering God, but playing ritual.When I first realized that God's highest aim was His own glory I was a bit puzzled. (This was many years ago - not sure if my brain has grown enough to really get this...but I try!) We think of arrogance, pride, jealousy, self-worship, self-love and self-focus as negative. This is appropriate, when we speak of human arrogance, pride, jealousy etc. If I am arrogant, it means …

Dear Blog Readers of Mine,

Thank you for visiting my blog! I really enjoy writing and getting the Bees out of my Bonnet - if only they would stay out. It is very fun for me to realize that people actually read the things I write. I began to blog after so many people asked me to write my story, and that was the primary purpose... but then there were so many other things that floated through my mind that would keep me awake at night that I began to view it as my venting spot. The millions of thoughts that putter around in my head now have an outlet - how refreshing!
I am not techno-savvy. I don't hardly know how to add gadgets or extras to this thing. I just followed the basic instructions that the blogger site walked me through. I also so far refuse to add any sidebar ads. I am possessive of what appears on my screen and don't want any unwelcome stuff there - and also I figure it just makes it simpler for readers to not be distracted by clutter. If only I could get myself to see the beauty of eli…

Emails from the week after the burglary 5


I want to write lots to answer everything from your emails, but the more I write the more you have questions, so the more you write, then I have so many questions and the more I write. I wonder if eventually we'll stop having questions and we'll run out of things to talk about.
I won't begin to answer your last email. It may take a long time.
-------------------------------------------------------------- Samuel,
I don't feel as if we'll run out of things to talk about. You've lived 25 years. I've lived 22 years. That's a lot to talk about!
October 13 1999
Dear Sam, I have your emails printed out. There's so much in them and I want to respond to it all! I'm starting with yesterdays, and will probably only cover them in this email, so today's will have to wait until tomorrow. How's that for confusing?
I know I've known you such a short time and I too feel like we …

Love is Kind...even in parenting

I have lots to say on parenting. I've come a long way, and perhaps not long enough, in these past 10 years. We've read books, watched child training videos, listened to friends, interviewed seasoned parents, watched others and tried to avoid their mistakes and emulate their strengths... I can detail the extremes we've gone to - from strict disciplinarian to seeing the importance of nurture - all over the place! We went through the whole frame of mind that goes something like this: if we don't do it right in the baby's first 6 months, he's sure to become a rebellious teen. If we instill strict discipline and obedience in the first 2 years, the rest of childhood will be a breeze. If we do, do, do, and regiment and plan and order their world, surely they will give us no trouble. Much of this thinking, I have come to realize, is hogwash. We bought into a lot of what we read, and some was good and some wasn't.
My latest frame of mind however has come to…

Bubbly Externals vs. Inner Depth

I am sure to get some annoyed responses to this, but oh well. I am not saying that being a bubbly personality is in any way wrong! I am just going to comment on what I have read in Ecclesiastes 7. I am not a bubbly personality. I don't exude energy. I don't wear a silly grin on my face, everywhere I go. I don't seem 'happy' all the time. (I use quotations because I am trying to imply that happy isn't necessarily an external thing). Some of this is cultural training. In fact, in Hong Kong as you walk along the street randomly bumping into people right and left, and them bumping into you, you generally do not come across giddy, bubbly, smiley people everywhere. It really was a shock to me when I came to this country that almost EVERYONE I encountered was smiling, openly friendly, and chatty. I didn't know what to make of it. And I simply couldn't join in the crowd. It seemed less than genuine to me and I had a snobbery I learned to work throu…

Emails from the week after the burglary 4

Dear Sam,

I can wreak havoc with pen and paper. I will try to be careful with what I say. Sam, I can't tell you how much I enjoyed talking to you and just being with you this weekend. You think your questions meant the conversation was one-sided? Sam! I learned more about you in this one conversation that you realise. I found you to be a man of honour, integrity and with pure intentions. I really appreciate this in you - it is so encouraging to me to know a man who truly seeks to honour, please and glorify God in everything. You are such a reflection of His Son. Your zeal and fervour strengthens my spirit and makes me yearn to be closer to God...
You want the 999,999 thoughts, huh? Well, I don't know how wise it would be...Here's one of them though: 1. When you were talking about your longing to be married, for companionship, love, a family - my stomach began to churn. (I'm not saying you make me sick!) That's because I too have deeply longed for thes…

African Curry Soup

Here's one of our favourite soups - the kids love it - and it is a complete meal by itself!
Sauté: ½ cup chopped onions½ cup green peppers1 tsp. Pepper 3 tablespoons butter + 1-2 Tbsp Curry Powder (depending how much you want to put in!)Add: 1 cup fresh tomato choppedSimmer together with above ingredients:Add: 24 oz. can kidney beans 2 cups coconut milk,less than 3 cups water (add salt or a chicken stock cube if you like)Simmer Add: 1/2 cup cooked rice
Serve it up!

But Christ

But Christ – 2 Corinthians 4(written: 28 April 96)There is on each side pressureBut Christ does not allow us to be crushed.At times great perplexity invades our minds.But Christ leaves no room for despair.Persecution may come,But Christ never abandons.And struck down as we may be-Christ sees, and allows no destruction.Though carrying death – Christ’s death - in our bodies,Christ’s life may be seen, in that same life of death.And as we die daily, life we have eternally.What we see passes, that which we can’t lasts.So we don’t lose heart,For in each trial of life,Christ bears a part.

Being Judged

I once thought a fitting title for a review of the relational struggles of my life could be: Judged. I limit it to relational stuff because it wouldn't be a fitting title for my whole life since so much else has happened that takes center stage. But when I think of how I've lived with and around others 'Judged' is probably the first word that comes to mind. A couple years ago I heard a sermon on not judging others. It was a very good message - and helpful, challenging, convicting as sermons tend to be. At the same time it left me very frustrated. I felt like I was the proverbial 'choir' being preached to. I wanted to stand up in the middle and say, 'Yes, I know all that - about not judging others - but what do you do about those who chronically judge you?' Of course I had barely enough self-control to not do that. (I wonder what church would look like if we could raise our hand and ask a question in the middle of a sermon? Wouldn't it be fun?! It…

Why I love Hymns (many of them, not all!)

I always wonder a bit when someone mentions to me, 'Oh, I do like the old hymns - I have such fond memories of singing them as a child.' No offense, I probably nod politely when I hear that. But in my mind I'm thinking, 'Oh, you don't love hymns the way I love hymns.' Then I smack myself for my own personal revelation of a less-than-humble, snobby attitude. To each his own I say - yes, you can like hymns because you sang them as a kid - I like them maybe some for that reason, but maybe that amounts to less than 5% of my personal choice of music, lyrical appreciation of this form of sacred music.

I guess I wonder if people who haven't come to appreciate hymns (I mean, the ones that appear in those old, worn, non-descript, boring-looking, dull-coloured thick hardback books that are nowadays relegated to some back closet collecting dust), have just not hit major grief in their life enough to find the deep solace offered in the texts of these older gems. …

A bone to pick with the Little Red Hen

I have another annoyance to vent about so here goes:

It's the story of the Little Red Hen. You know - where she decides to make bread and goes out to get the grain, grind it, mix it, knead it, bake it, slice it and then eat it. She invites help from all her wee chicks to help in the process, as well as the farmyard animals. They all decline citing other activities that they can't spare the time to help her. So when it comes to eating the bread, they all step up to the plate to 'help' with that. At which point she goes, 'Oh no, you didn't bother to help with the making of the bread, so now I will eat it all myself...' - and that is what she does. I think there is a moral to this story - the proverbial 'sowing and reaping', that if you don't volunteer your help don't expect to partake of the fruits of others' labours. This is fair enough. I think it is a good lesson and should be taught to our children. But we shouldn't stop ther…

A Tribute to My Dad

The hospital where Dad was born is now a museum. When we found out about that as teenagers we relentlessly teased him as being a product of another time and an archaic thing that should be a public curiosity. All joking aside, I truly believe he is worthy of public curiosity and praise for the many qualities I admire in him. I don't just say that glibly - it is true. Did you know that even though he performed poorly in school (much like myself, in fact!) he also would read encyclopedia's for FUN?! In this way, he gleaned and grew in knowledge in such broad areas and developed the uncanny ability to interact with almost anyone on their level - from PhD's to little children. I've watched Dad have intelligent, stimulating conversation on almost any topic - from quarks and nutrinos (these are some kind of sub-atomic unit of some sort), to economics and politics, to Russian history, to how to solve a simple math problem with a fourth grader. He had trained as a fourth grade…

A Tribute to Auntie Eleanor

Recently for bedtime stories I’ve been reading my treasury of Paddington bear stories aloud to the kids.This book was given to me in 1988 by Auntie Eleanor (Shulz) who lived at the end of our village in Hong Kong.She was a widow – a missionary like my parents and our nearest Western neighbor.On the long days of summer, when school was out and time was for wasting, I would ride my bike up and down the long driveway in front of all the village houses.After tiring of that I might hike up the mountain behind our house – at the end of the row of houses was a small pathway that led to no-where, but you could take it and blaze your own trail.I would sometimes hike up far enough to get to a little stream where we might catch brine shrimp or tadpoles.On other occasions, if I didn’t feel like hiking up so far, I’d just take a left before starting the mountain path and wander up the steps to Auntie Eleanor’s house.She had a nice courtyard and further steps up her side of the mountain and we’d of…