Monthly Archives: November 2010

Mornings and Evenings

I don’t know how you spend your mornings and evenings, but I’m adding Charles Spurgeon to my daily Bible reading and Oswald Chambers morsel.

David Platt’s book, “Radical,” gives several challenges at the end. One of those challenges is to read the Bible through in the coming year. While I have read the Bible through several times, I loved the idea of reading it through this year with the expectancy that God will reveal new things.

I recently received Charles Spurgeon’s devotional book, “Mornings and Evenings with Spurgeon.” The book has daily Bible readings that correspond to the daily devotional. When I decided to read through the Bible this year I hadn’t decided what method to use. I’ve decided to use Spurgeon’s daily Bible readings.

Today’s devotional and Scripture reading reminded me of the importance of being a cheerful giver.

I’m looking forward to the divine adventure in the upcoming year.

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lions and tigers and bears. oh my.

I loved watching “The Wizard of Oz” as a child. Those ruby red shoes were so cool. I loved watching the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion interact. The line from the movie, “lions and tigers and bears, oh my!” still sticks in my memory.

I think “The Wizard of Oz” was a crucial part of growing up for many people my age. Granted, the movie came out in 1939, but most people I know have seen it. Many people can relate to one of the characters in the movie, whether it’s that we think we don’t have the capability to have good ideas or aren’t smart enough (the Scarecrow), or whether we don’t have the heart to love or be loyal the way we should (The Tin Man) or maybe we struggle with fears and insecurities (the Cowardly Lion).

As I morphed from a child to an adult, I first became a tiger, a Grace International School tiger. During that time I struggled with fears and insecurities, but overcame them with the power of friendship. Then, when I went to Baylor, I became a Baylor bear. I found that I did have great ideas. When I joined Alpha Delta Pi, I became a lion and learned more about love and loyalty.

I still have a lot to learn about friendship, ideas and loyalty. The yellow brick road hasn’t ended. I’m just going to keep following, arm in arm with lions, tigers and bears. (Oh my!)

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Radical

I’m an adventure seeker by nature. Some may say it’s because I grew up overseas. Some may attribute it to personality. Some may say it depends on the company you keep.

I’d agree with all of the above, but more importantly, I think my sense of adventure stems from Christ.

In David Platt’s book, “Radical,” Platt challenges the church to live a life of adventure, a radical life, in Christ. He argues that Christianity isn’t the safe, American dream that it’s become. Christianity is not the safe road by a long shot.

I love that.

As the title of my blog suggests, I like the path, that Robert Frost calls, “The Road Less Taken.” Following Christ, wholeheartedly and with all abandon, is taking the road less traveled by. Why is it less traveled by? Because staying in America, working on your 401k and building a family with 2.5 kids is easier. It’s easier to worship Jesus in a packed sanctuary where no one sees you come and go.

It’s harder when you are living in a different country and worshiping in a house church.

But, now, even though I live overseas, I tend to take the cushy road sometimes. It’s easy, for me, to do this because I grew up in Chiang Mai. It’s more familiar than America. Platt’s “Radical” challenged me to take a look at how I am living and see if I am manipulating the Gospel to fit my cultural preferences.

Are you? Is your version of Christianity the American dream? Platt goes into this more detail in his book and I’ll save the details for you to read.

Platt’s book challenged me to take a look and Christ’s message and take a look at my life and find the disconnect in where I am and where Christ is.

This adventure seeker (I’m talking about myself, in case there was any confusion) wants to stay on par with the radical life Christ has for believers. Now, does this mean it is always easy? Not at all. The road less traveled by is that way for a reason. It’s stinking hard sometimes.

Adventure isn’t always fun. Growing up, my parents trained my brother and I to see potentially frustrating circumstances as adventures instead of annoyances. In the same way, our view on how good our life is varies based on whether we choose to see life as an adventure or whether we choose to see it as a series of pitfalls.

Being at the center of God’s will is where we have the most freedom. As I was reminded in the sermon in church today, freedom comes through discipline. We have the freedom to play any song we want and play it well on an instrument because we’ve put in the time and effort into practicing. It’s the same with our faith. We find freedom in Christ when we are disciplined in reading his Word and going to Him in prayer. It’s then we experience the abundant life.

As Brian Regan said in his comedy routine about going to the optometrist, “Who doesn’t have time to see?” (That was a paraphrase) Who doesn’t have time to find abundant life?

Who doesn’t have time to live a radical life in Christ?

WaterBrook Multanomah’s Blogging For Books program provided me with a copy of David Platt’s “Radical.” My thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Grace

Grace, she became my mother.

Jimmy Needham’s song, “Moving to Zion” has a line that resonates within me. “Grace, she became my mother.”

Grace is my mother. And my grandmother.

My mom’s name is Grace Lyn. My grandmother’s name is Grace. If I have a girl, I want Grace to be a part of her name.

Grace is my heritage–in my earthly family and my heavenly family.

If there’s a theme, a thread or trace of an element in my life, it’s grace. Through Grace and Rudolph, my mom came into the world. Through Grace Lyn and Jim, I came into the world. Through God’s grace, I am His child.

Reading Andy Stanley’s book, “The Grace of God,” and listening to Jimmy Needham’s song, I am reminded of how crucial grace is in all of our lives.

“Grace is bigger than compassion or forgiveness,” Stanley writes. “Grace is the offer of exactly of exactly what we do not deserve.”

Sometimes I forget this. I try to earn grace, but grace can’t be earned.

“It is the knowledge of what we do not deserve that allows us to receive grace for what it is. Unmerited. Unearned. Undeserved. For that reason, grace can only be experienced by those who acknowledge they are undeserving,” Stanley writes.

Stanley says grace is understood best when viewed within the context of relationships. I agree.

In his book, Stanley outlines grace throughout the Old and New Testament. It’s part of our heritage as God’s children.

Stanley’s book reminded of me the ways my parents showed me grace throughout my growing up years, mirroring what our Heavenly Father does.

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound.

I love that grace is the undercurrent in my life.

How is grace playing out in your lives?

Thomas Nelsons’ Booksneeze program provided me with Stanley’s book. My opinions are my own.

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Subtle Ironies

I just read the book “Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half With America’s Cheapest Family.”

Oh, the ironies.

You are probably wondering why I chose to read a book about saving money on grocery bills with American families.

I live in Thailand, I eat out virtually every meal because it’s cheaper and I don’t have a family of my own.

While Steve and Annette Economides’ book may not be pertinent to my life at present, I trust it will be one day.

Their book shares their family’s secrets of how they saved money and fed their family of five on $350 a month. In the book, the Economides (yes, that is their real last name) give tips, strategies and ideas for how your family can save money on groceries.

In addition to their strategies on shopping, making meal lists and stocking up, they give tips for saving money when dining out. I took notice of this portion since most of my dining is out. Not everything applies to me, but the ideas are solid.

Their examples are personal and easy to follow. The Economides include charts, tables and lists to illustrate their points, making the chapters interactive and engaging.

I would recommend this book to families.

Thomas Nelson’s Booksneeze program provided me with a copy of this book. My opinions are my own

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Run to Overcome

It’s an American Tale.

One of my favorite movies growing up was "An American Tail." I called it "Fievel" and didn't know its true title until adulthood.

"An American Tail" is about the Mousekewitz family–they are mice–that immigrate to the U.S. from Russia in the 1800s–painting a picture of the fabric America is built on.

Meb Keflezighi's story, similar in many ways to the Mousekewitzes, detailed in his book, "Run to Overcome," is an autobiographical tale of his Eritrean family's immigration to the U.S. and his emergence into the running scene.

The Keflezighi family left Eritrea amidst internal violence and made their way to San Diego in 1987–starting a whole new life as so many have done in the past.

It wasn't easy, starting a whole life in a new country never is, but the Keflezighi family's spirit and faith in God carried them through difficult times.

Meb Keflezighi and his 10 siblings worked hard and did well in school and received scholarships to California schools. During this time, in high school and college, Keflezighi blossomed as a runner.

Winner of the 2009 New York City Marathon and world-wide celebrated marathoner, Meb Keflezighi has much to brag about. But, instead of taking the credit, he points to God as the source of his strength in his personal and professional life. His story is a testimony to God's faithfulness through difficult times and stacked odds.

Running is Keflezighi's passion–a passion he excels at. As another famous runner once said, "When I run, I feel His pleasure."

"Run to Overcome" reminded me that life is a race. There are hard parts, there are struggles, there are times when you fall flat on your face. But, we are running to win a prize. Just as Keflezighi learned how to pace himself in races to not wear himself out too early, we need to learn pacing in our life. Life is not a sprint. Keflezighi learned how to run in a manner worthy of a prize.

I want to run throughout life with that kind of pacing.

“Winning in life doesn’t happen when you overcome just one thing–do or die. It’s persevering, knowing that difficulties are bumps in the road, not the end of the world. It’s continuing to do the right things, knowing your time will come. After all, you have to conduct yourself like a champion before you can ever win a championship.”

For more information about “Run to Overcome,” please see http://www.runtoovercome.com
Also, there is a contest on the above website and one signed book will be given away per day from Nov. 1, 2010 – Mar. 31, 2011.
There will be monthly grand prize winners that will receive a signed copy of the book, other free Tyndale titles, as well as Sony and PowerBar products.

I received this book courtesy of Tyndale House Publishers. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

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