Friday, June 18, 2010

Being Born Again

Some people are really turned off by the phase "born again" Christian. My dad once attended a "christian" conference of a liberal denomination and the guest speaker made a joke about "born again Christians" and everyone in the room laughed--except my dad. He didn't think it was too funny; having recently accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour, he realized the significance of what the term meant. My dad got up and left the room, and that afternoon, the conference (good for him!).

There was a time in the 1980's when the phrase "born again" was thrown around very loosely, perhaps it was a term used by new age movements, cults, and "religious" people to describe various experiences they had encountered. I recall people making fun of President Carter when he proclaimed he was a "born again" Christian.

Regardless, Jesus commanded Nicodemus, who was a leader of the Jews, a Pharisee, that he must be born again. John 3:3 tells us "Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."

Jesus went on to explain what it meant to be born again, telling of the first birth, which is the physical birth, and then the second birth, which is a spiritual birth. And he repeated the command in verse seven, "Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again."

If you are reading this post, you are alive physically--but my question to you--have you been born spiritually? You should definitely recall a day when you were born into God's family because a transformation takes place in your heart as you pass from darkness into light. There is no gray area, either you are God's child through the new birth, or you have not entered into his family. It doesn't happen "automatically" because your parents were Christians, or because you go to church, or were baptized, or because you have had some type of religious experience.

I would encourage you to read the Bible for yourself, and make sure you have been born again, because the Bible also talks about a second death....Revelation 21:8. Just as there are two births, a physical and a spiritual, there are two deaths, a physical death and a spiritual death. My question to you dear friend, have you experienced the second birth, so you don't have to face the second death?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Full House

Our house is once again buzzing with activity.....we are so pleased to have Hannah and Jenny home with us during the summer. It is probably quite an adjustment for them to make the change from dorm life, waking up extremely early, and their fast paced life at Fairhaven to the more relaxed atmosphere here at home, but I am thankful they are able to get a little rest and relaxation. They are also a blessing here in our church. Jenny is playing the piano for our services, and they also are a good example to our ladies and young people.

Hannah is spending a lot of time with Rebekah as they work on sewing projects nearly every day. I am thrilled because I don't sew much, but Rebekah enjoys having her sister to help her with all her creations. She (Rebekah) lovingly spent hours making a pair of culottes and a purse for a friend's birthday present.

I am attending driving school every morning so I can get my Spanish driver's license. I have to take a written and practical test, and the practical test is done in a car with standard transmission. Thankfully I used to drive one when we lived in Ohio, but it has been a long time. I am a little afraid of driving on the steep inclines and mountains here, but I imagine I will get the hang of it.

Church is going well, we have had some victories in the past few weeks in the lives of some of our people which is always a blessing. Sunday we are planning a day in the park after church in celebration of our two year anniversary of the church in Los Gladiolos, Santa Cruz.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Building Project and Being a Team Player

"Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands." Proverbs 14:1

We are in a building project-- we are in the process of "building" lives. It isn't easy work in the U.S., neither is it easy in a foreign land--it is only complicated by cultural differences, language barriers, and fatique on the missionary's part as they try to work without a lot of encouragement from other believers.

That is why the wives of missionaries play such an important role on the field; our attitudes can either encourage or discourage our husband. So often I find myself complaining and sharing my own discouragement with my husband, as he is the only person I have to confide in. I am a natural born critic--I can easily find the negative in any situation, and tend to dwell on the problems. My husband, on the other hand, is an optomist.....he finds the silver lining in every cloud, and by nature only sees the best in every person.

I suppose we balance each other out, but there are limits. In the workforce and in competitive sports, there is a mentality of being a "team player." I have to ask myself, as a missionary's wife, "Am I doing everything on my part to work as part of the team?" Sometimes it is easy to be a spectator on the sidelines criticizing how someone else is playing, or doing the work. We think that we could do it better. We offer advice on how they could improve. There isn't necessarily anything wrong with that, if it is done with the right spirit.

I imagine my husband grows tired of my "coaching" if I am not actively involved in the game, carrying my fair share of the load. Churches and ministries are filled with people sitting on the benches, spectators, and sometimes people who don't even show up to support the team.

If you are "playing" on the field, when engaged in the heat of the game, you will realize that it isn't as easy as it seems. Don't professional sports players make it look so effortless? If nothing else, at least be a "cheerleader" who encourages the players and tries to boost morale. I realize that the Christian life is not a "game" but the apostle Paul used sport analogies. In actuality life is a battle, and the stakes are much higher-- all the more reason to take these matters seriously because the lives of men are at stake.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

My Family

I just had to post these two photos of my mom and brother. I love my mom; she is a young, adorable lady who loves the Lord Jesus Christ, and is a dedicated Christian. My brother Ture is in the Army National Guard and is getting ready to be deployed in Afghanistan. I would appreciate your prayers for him, and his safety as he serves our country.