Oh, Peter…

I’m reading my way thru Mark right now.  Generally studying it with this question in mind: what can I learn from Jesus in this?

Today I was a little distracted by what I can learn from Peter.

Oh, Peter…

And Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. And on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” And they told him, “John the Baptist; and others say,Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.” And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Christ.” And he strictly charged them to tell no one about him.

And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. And he said this plainly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?  For what can a man give in return for his soul? Forwhoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power.” Mark 8:27-9:1

What struck me this morning was that Peter kind of goes full circle thru this very brief section of scripture.

He’s walking with Jesus and talking about who people say Jesus is, when Jesus asks Peter “But what about you?  Who do you say I am?”  Peter confesses that Jesus is indeed the Christ!  The one promised Messiah that he was raised to watch and wait for!  Jesus was him!

Then, as Jesus is sitting with his disciples, he goes on to predict his death.  Peter’s faith is NEW and fresh and he is madly in love with this man that he has just confessed as the promised Messiah!  And now – this Christ tells him that he will suffer and die.  Peter is blown away!  Not his Christ!  In front of all the disciples Christ rebukes Peter – calling out the enemy in calling him “Satan”!  Talk about a low point…

But, in the graciousness and kindness of the heart of our King, he ends this time of teaching about his death by saying that some of those standing in his presence will not die before the kingdom of God comes with power!

Oh, Peter!

But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. Acts 2:14

Peter, you are the tool that God used to bring more than 3,000 people into the kingdom – with power – on that day of Pentecost!

Oh, Peter…

I’m thankful for you.  I’m thankful that your faith was new and fresh.  I’m thankful that you trembled in fear and doubt.  I’m thankful that God’s promise to use you was true.  I’m thankful that on days when my fear is crippling and faith is fractured, I can trust that God’s kingdom comes with power that isn’t dependent on me or my gifts.

Thankful for my Mr.

The Mr. and I recently celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary.  Oh, the bliss of maturity vs. the burden of naivety!  Our wedding picture looks fresh out of the pages of YM or Teen Magazine!  We were, after all, only 18 and 19 years old!

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Today, I am thankful that my Mr. pushes me to keep on working hard on the Jesus Mission.  One day, about a year ago, I wanted to give up on some projects.  I remember telling him “I don’t know if I have the strength to keep doing this!” and he said “You have to!”  He has cheered, loved and encouraged me to keep on pressing toward the goal!  I’m so thankful he did!

Happy 20th to my Mr.  I’m glad I have you on my team!

 

Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

…and the places you never thought you’d go!

oh the places

If I’m using my passport, chances are that I’m hopping on a plane to China.  My passport could be used as evidence to show where my heart is: China and the United States.  If I’m filling out an entry card on a long airplane ride, it’s written in Chinese characters and in English.  The language of the announcements on the plane are Mandarin and Cantonese and English.  When I depart the States, I’m flying west, not east.

“Out there things can happen, and frequently do,
To people as brainy and footsy as you.
And when things start to happen, don’t worry, don’t stew.
Just go right along, you’ll start happening too!” – Dr. Seuss

Crazy things are happening in our family!  It seems like God is opening some doors for the Mr. and I to go the places we never imagined we’d go!  I’m leading a small team from our church to host a retreat for a missionary team.  We’re going to Senegal!  I promise that I never imagined Senegal!  And the Mr.?  He has been invited on an orphan care trip to Russia!  That wasn’t even on the radar just a few short months ago, but it seems that God might be leading him that direction.

We’re trying to “just go right along” and follow where God leads – allowing him to use us to mobilize more Believers to go!  We really do see these new places we’ll go for that purpose!

I’ve taught little kids using a passport as an object lesson in submitting their lives to the Lord and allowing him to fill up that passport with the adventures he chooses for them.  I guess it’s our turn to trust how he will use stamps in the passports’ of a Mrs. and a Mr. for his glory!

 

 

 

Hello, my name is _______

Hello, my name is Tami…

hello

…and I am gloriously ruined.

I remember exactly when it happened.  I was sitting in an incredibly hot van in front of a government building on the other side of the world.  It smelled awful outside.  Culture shock was thick and I was whining to God.  “I hate this place” were my exact thoughts.  And then – in that glorious moment – God turned my head to look out the window of the van.  A woman was walking by and she had an incredibly blank look on her face.  God whispered to my heart “I love this place.  I love this woman.  She has no hope.  She doesn’t even know there is hope to be had.”

I was ruined.

In that moment it was no longer about me and my feelings.  In that moment God opened my eyes to see a need.

Do you know what one of the hardest parts about being gloriously ruined is?

Finding people that understand.

Being gloriously ruined completely changes you.  You think differently.  You dream differently.  You prioritize your time differently.  You spend your money differently.  You speak differently.

It’s almost like you need a group.  A group where you come as you are and the group members accept you without judgement.  They understand the road that led you here and they welcome you with open arms.  It’s this kind of group that encourages you to press into Jesus and look for ways to use your ruined-ness to make a difference.

I hope you have a group.

I’m thankful for mine…

We need each other.

 

 

Third Places

No.  Not 3rd place – as in a bronze medal.

I’m thinking a lot about third places after reading this excellent blog post by Brad Brisco.

Even as I write this, I am sitting in a little coffee shop on a college campus – the quintessential third place.  I overhear a conversation over my shoulder about Russia and China taking over the world.  I see a man who appears to be working intently on his Mac, but he might just be watching a Ted Talk.  A group of older friends are catching up at a long table over coffee and pastries.  A father is sitting at a high table with his two young children.  The one thing that unites us all is this “neutral ground” – a “home away from home”.

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Does the Church (the people) view their church (the building) as a third place?

I think they might see their church as their third place

but what if we chose to see it differently?

I have many ideas noodling around in my mind right now.  A lot of ideas that require us to hold all the blessings God has given us with open hands.  If we truly view our church buildings as God’s buildings, how might we use them differently for the kingdom in a missional context?

What if our neighborhoods and communities began to see our churches as a third place?  Not just a place to come for worship on a Sunday morning, but as a true third place?  A “neutral place”?  A “home away from home”?  Is it even possible for the secular world to view the Church that way???

A girl can dream, right???

Re-entry

My Facebook feed is filled with a lot of friends returning from short term mission trips.  Statuses and pictures and stories of adventures and hope and poverty and heartbreak…

re-en·try
noun
  1. the action or process of re-entering something.
  2. the action of retaking or repossession.

It’s a pretty rough ride – that process of re-entering life the way it was before your short term mission experience. Maybe therein lies the problem: you can’t re-enter life as it was before because you have been changed…

You’ve seen too much.  Your heart is too broken.  Your priorities have shifted.

To those returning: remember it’s a process.  A collision has taken place and with God’s help, you will process.  Clarity will come and you will respond.

To those welcoming home a short termer: be gentle and patient.  Listen and let your loved one or friend share as much as they care to.  De-briefing is necessary for a person to pull thoughts together and move forward in a new way.

My friend and I had an hour and a half de-briefing session with our ministry board last night about our recent trip to check on orphanages in China.  It was so good to share all we did and saw during our time there!  It reminded me why it’s worth it to leave my family for a week and invest in the work of the Father on the other side of the planet!