Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Giving.  That's the side of the equation that is most familiar to me.  I was raised by two truly generous people who didn't just teach me to give of my time, of my resources, and of myself...they modeled it for me every day.  They still do.

Like most givers, it can be very difficult to recieve.  I'll admit part of it is a pride thing.  I know I live a blessed life, and I want to be able to do things on my own.

So when God laid on my heart to send out a letter about the mission trip I'm going on with my mother, I really struggled about it.  I really struggled.  But the idea or impulse or whatever you want to call it just wouldn't let me go.  I finally convinced myself that besides just being begrudgingly obedient, I wasn't doing this for me...I was doing this to help my mom.  It's not about me.  It's about her.

See, I'm not receiving.  I'm giving.  *insert cheesy grin here*

I wrote what was in my heart, sent it out, and kinda placed it in God's hands. I was only hoping for enough to cover my mom's expenses. But her faith, and God's plans, were much bigger.

The money for the trip is due July 1st, but already we have more than enough to pay for the both of us. The both of us!  And more money is on the way!  Through the generosity of our sponsors, we will not only be able to go, but we will be able to bless others -- to sponsor ministers to attend the training that will be offered during the day and to give a gift to each of the orphanages we visit as well.

What God is teaching me:

The power of many, small donations.  I needed to see this because even though I'm a giver, I often feel guilty about only being able to give a little bit. But seeing the power of all the little bits is showing me that support is not really about me and what I can give. It's about being obedient and a good steward of whatever my resources are. By a whole bunch of little bits combined, stuff happens.  And the result is somehow so much more than sum of all the little parts.  "Every little bit helps." -- I thought that was just something people said to make be feel better, but it's not.  It's a powerful truth and I'm seeing it in action. 

The value of prayer support. There are people who can't give financially, but who are partnering with us spiritually through prayer. And it's something that I know in my head -- prayer means so much -- but now that I am on the receiving end of it, I can honestly say that prayer means so much. It doesn't matter to me that there isn't money attached. Knowing that people I care about are standing with me, believing with me, and investing in what God is's hard to put that into words. But it's a great lesson.

I don't think I would have learned it had I not been on the receiving end.


I have been learning how to look at the Bible with a Hebrew mindset.  It's been challenging my theology and deepening my faith. 

For example, was enlightening to learn how the Hebrew language is written.  Instead of letters representing sounds like they do in English, each letter is symbol and the meaning of any Hebrew word takes the combination of each letter to make a meaning.  As one translator puts it “each Hebrew letter is a picture so each word is like a comic strip.”

"We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all." Isaiah 53:6

In my Western mind, I usually group iniquity in with sin.  The two are pretty much Biblical synonymns to me.  But the combination of Hebrew letters used to form the word “ iniquity” translate to the picture “that which your eye hooks onto, multiplies.”

It's a principle that can be good or bad.  For example, back before the bite of fruit Eve saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye.  Her eye was hooked and it all went downhill after that.  The writer of Hebrews encourages us to "run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith."  Whatever our eye hooks onto multiplies.  Iniquity is a picture of the battle that rages in our mind.

...and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

This is what clicked for me:  Jesus just didn't take on our fully realized sins, he took on everything back to the moment our eyes got hooked onto the wrong thing. It makes so much sense doesn't it?  If "you've heard it said...but I say..." took the meaning of the law deeper, wouldn't it be just like Jesus to take his sacrifice and provision just as deep?

This is going to sound silly, but when I realized that, I felt like I had just found a $20 bill in the pocket of my favorite coat.  I knew it would keep me warm, that extra gift just takes it to a whole new happy place.  Like I'd been struggling with how to pay a bill, when all along it's already been taken care of.

How great is this love that has been lavished on us.

Monday, June 25, 2012


Not too long ago, someone gave me an "Orgreenic" pan.  My benevolent patron raved about its non-stick surface that requires little to no butter or oil while cooking.  And while I would love to say my first Orgreenic cooking venture was was a tremendous success...

My new pan did not live up to my expectations.

I had envisioned two over-easy eggs sliding merrily onto my favorite breakfast plate.  Instead, I found myself salvaging what mangled eggs I could and scrubbing the rest off my "non-stick" pan.  In short:  It was an epic fail.

Now before you scold me about needing to "season" Orgreenic cookware before using it, please rest assured that I did.  (How does one season a pan? Coat the green surface with vegetable oil and keep it on medium to high heat until it starts to smoke. Then let it cool completely and wipe it with a paper towel, and it's ready to go. ...allegedly.)

Maybe I used the wrong oil.  Maybe I didn't let it smoke to the proper level.  But whatever happened, my pan didn't make it to non-stick status.

I was really disappointed.  The pan is totally usable, but it wasn't very "Orgreenic."  And that's what I was so excited about.  That special quality that made it different from other, ordinary pans.

And as I was scrubbing off that first pathetic attempt at an egg, I realized something:  I have something in common with my new pan. 

I've been messing up.  Missing the mark in a few areas that I didn't struggle with in the past.  Where once I confidently produced eggs perfectly over easy, I've been scraping away nothing more than a scrambled, mangled mess.  Somehow I lost my non-sticky-ness.  (In one area in particular, it scared me to admit just how bad things had become.)  Not Orgreenic at all.

Conviction chooses the strangest time to surface, doesn't it?

So now what?

I wrote the first part of this post a few weeks ago.  After drafting the story of the messed up eggs, I took a closer look at the directions and discovered even if seasoning is successful, it doesn't last forever. "To maintain the exceptional performance of Orgreenic, we recommend you repeat the seasoning process at least twice a year." So I tried it again. I went out and bought some new vegetable oil.  Then heated my pan over medium heat until it started to smoke.  (Which, by the way, takes a fair amount of time.  It definitely requires patience.)  When the smoke finally arrived, I took the pan off the burner, let it cool, cleaned it off, and returned it to the cabinet until I was brave enough to try to cook some new eggs.

I'm very happy to report that they were beautiful.  Perfectly over-easy and wonderfully delicious.

I think there's hope for me too.

Oh, the argument in my head raged for a while!   The guilt side of my brain shouted: "Once salt has lost it's saltiness, how can it be made salty again?  It's good for nothing except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot."  But the grace side of my brain answered: "He that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out." "We recommend you repeat the seasoning process at least twice a year." 

Over and over, I've seen "where sin abounded, grace abounded much more." God's not in the throwing-out business, and I know he's patient enough to season me and bring out my Orgreenic quality again.  Restoration is somewhat of a specialty of his.

Oh yes, I'm certain there's hope for me too.

Bring on the eggs.

"Don't assume you're good soil." ~ Francis Chan, Crazy Love

"Until you're broken for your sins you can't be social." ~ Jimmy Needham, Clear The Stage

"You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows." ~ Psalm 23:5