We will pack a mental picnic
for years before we go.
Some will say the sky’s the limit,
but we will answer: No,
the mind was made to travel.
So, too, indentured hearts,
and knitted fears unravel
with adventure in the dark.
- “Come Picnic on Mars”
It was early in the morning, but he knew exactly what was happening in his chest and woke my mother to ask her to call an ambulance. Our telephone was in the living room, but before she could leave their bedroom to use it, he asked for something else. My father asked that the ambulance not use its siren.
Weeks later, when the fear of death had receded like some strange tide, my mother asked him about the siren. My father said simply that he worried it would have woken and frightened his three sleeping daughters. It is true that we were all light sleepers and that our farm was usually blanketed by the polite silence that comes from having no close neighbors, but what impossible kindness there was in my father’s request.
I have called it an act of kindness, which I think it was. It was considerate in a way I cannot begin to understand; generous in a way no one would expect, much less demand. Years later I still do not comprehend how in what very well might have been the final moments of his life, my father thought to ask for quiet so that his daughters might continue sleeping.
Kindness is like holding an ice cube in your hands. It stings, but then the cold dissolves; what at first you could barely hold becomes something you cannot let go. My father’s request for a quiet ambulance came from a man so familiar with kindness that the sting was completely gone: the ice was no longer cold, but one with the flesh.
Henry James, it turns out, was right.
Do your soul a favor and read Cep’s full essay.
hey andrew (andy? drew? a?). yep, still in laos. :) would you want to follow my other blog for pictures/updates, seeing as how i don’t have ig anymore? let me know, and i’ll give you the password.
i deactivated my fb a couple weeks ago and then made the decision to delete my pinterest/instagram/everything else this week. this devotion triggered the latter decision.
something that triggered all of this is that i’ve really been trying to fight pridefulness, and social media is definitely something that eggs pride/self on. i don’t want “self” in a form of something as trite as “like/follower/comment”-receiving to get in the way of what’s really important.
for example, i’m in southeast asia as a missionary with a million ways to serve God and the people here, yet sometimes i’d stay in my room for hours at a time, scrolling through facebook. the fact that social media is a huge time vacuum/ego booster is true anywhere in the world, but it just became more startling to me here. plus, people were really starting to get the wrong idea of the work i’m doing here, because my pictures were so smiley and seemed so vacation-y. i don’t want people to get the wrong idea of what mission work is—it’s hard and emotionally/spiritually/physically draining—and that wasn’t coming across on facebook.
so yeah, i guess i’m trying to hate social media too, haha. it’s a big part of my identity. it used to be a big part of my job description too. but even still, it’s never as necessary as you might think it is.
this is long. i’ll end it here. i hope you’re well! i enjoy your photos! i think you’re immensely talented! :)
bah! i didn’t mean to post it publicly, and i don’t think i can leave you a message this long on your “ask me anything” thingy. sorry! :(
In the West, many Christians have an abundance of material possessions, yet they live in a backslidden state. They have silver and gold, but they don’t rise up and walk in Jesus’ name. In China, we have no possessions to hold us down, so there’s nothing preventing us from moving out for the Lord.
It’s almost impossible for the church in China to go to sleep in its present situation. There’s always something to keep us on the run, and it’s very difficult to sleep while you’re running. If persecution stops, I fear we’ll become complacent and fall asleep.
Many pastors in Europe and America have told me they want to see great revival. I’m frequently asked why China is experiencing revival but most places in the West are not. THis is a big question to answer, but some reasons are very apparent to me.
When I’m in the West I see all the mighty church buildings and all the expensive equipment, plush carpets, and state-of-the-art sound systems. I can assure the Western church with absolute certainty that you don’t need any more church buildings. Church buildings will never bring the revival you seek. The pursuit of more possessions will never bring revival. Jesus truly stated, "A man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions" (Luke 12:15).
The first thing needed for revival to return to your churches is the Word of the Lord. God’s Word is missing. […] Not only is knowledge of God’s Word missing, but obedience to that word. There’s not much action taking place.
You can never really know the Scriptures until you’re willing to be changed by them.
All genuine revivals of the Lord result in believers responding with action and soul winning. When God truly moves in your heart you cannot remain silent. There will be a fire in your bones, like Jeremiah, who said, "His word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot" (Jeremiah 20:9).
I’ve seen people in Western churches worshipping as if they’re already in heaven. Then someone invariably brings a comforting message like, “My children, I love you. Don’t be afraid. I’m with you.” I’m not opposed to such words, but why is it that nobody seems to hear a Word from the Lord like, “My child, I want to send you to the slums of Asia or the darkness of Africa to be my messenger to people dying in their sin”?
The Great Commission has not changed. There are many churches trying to create a heaven here on hearth, but until the Western church obeys the Great Commission and takes the gospel to the ends of the earth, people are just playing with God and are not really serious about the truth. Many churches look beautiful on the outside, but are dead where it counts, on the inside.
If you truly want to see God move, the two main things you must do is learn the Word of God and have the obedience to do what God tells you to do.
- The Heavenly Man, by Brother Yun
remember the quiet, when mornings were luxurious, sunlit, and smelled of sunshine and rain
remember the sparkle, of debris-free sidewalks, smooth skin, and thick, monogrammed shopping bags
remember time, and how slowly it moved, and yet how we were always in a hurry
remember searching for a meaning, a purpose, and now that it’s here, it’s bigger and more vivid and more frightening than anything i could have imagined in my prior ignorance
i feel like i should be more scared than i am.
but what i’m more afraid of is the thought of going back. where THE WORLD is felt more heavily, in all of its machine-like expectation and persistence. where success is earned first by college, and then by graduate school, and then career and marriage and family and the relative unchangingness of the rest of your life.
before i left, i wondered how this year might change me. i thought that perhaps i’d learn to be more compassionate. maybe i’d learn a new language, make exotic new friends, experience hunger and a pinched wallet for the first time in my life.
and then i’d probably come back home to america, ready to apply my “world experience” to a resume and some cover letters. and i’d likely be accepted by some kind of creative nonprofit work that preferably paid a comfortable salary and allowed me to do overseas work from time to time.
but then, this year actually happened, and life has never looked so different. i never expected it to look like this. i never planned to let my thoughts wander down this current path. i never did, i never did…
God gives us different gifts (romans 12:6-8; ephesians 4:11-13). we’re given different callings. but again, i never thought that this would be mine. please pray that i listen to God as He guides me to the next stage of my life. pray that i am willing (ephesians 4:1-6). and forgive me for my continuing ambiguity.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. - Romans 12:2
yet always renewed.
"I wonder what kind of finger and thumb God has been using to squeeze you, and you have been like a marble and escaped? You are not ripe yet, and if God had squeezed you, the wine would have been remarkably bitter.
To be a sacramental personality means that the elements of the natural life are presenced by God as they are broken providentially in His service. We have to be adjusted into God before we can be broken bread in His hands.
Keep right with God and let Him do what He likes, and you will find that He is producing the kind of bread and wine that will benefit His other children.”
I shy away from writing posts like this.
I cringe when I come across one written by friends.
But, let me throw out the ultimate cliche and say, “this is different.” This is love!
As God takes center stage,
purpose and principle align
and so do
Somehow, it all makes sense.
Somehow, it’s all joy.
The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings, but shorter tempers; wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints; we spend more, but have less; we buy more, but enjoy it less.
We have bigger houses and smaller families; more conveniences, but less time; we have more degrees, but less sense; more knowledge, but less judgment; more experts, but more problems; more medicine, but less wellness.
We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get angry too quickly, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too seldom, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.
We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often. We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life; we’ve added years to life, not life to years.
We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbor. We’ve conquered outer space, but not inner space; we’ve done larger things, but not better things.
We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul; we’ve split the atom, but not our prejudice.
We write more, but learn less; we plan more, but accomplish less. We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait; we have higher incomes, but lower morals; we have more food, but less appeasement; we build more computers to hold more information to produce more copies than ever, but have less communication; we’ve become long on quantity, but short on quality.
These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion; tall men, and short character; steep profits, and shallow relationships. These are the times of world peace, but domestic warfare; more leisure, but less fun; more kinds of food, but less nutrition.
These are days of two incomes, but more divorce; of fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throw away morality, one-night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer to quiet to kill.
It is a time when there is much in the show window and nothing in the stockroom; a time when technology has brought this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to make a difference, or to just hit delete…
the world has never felt so small and the heavens so big.
time and time again, i’m reminded of my shortcomings and neurotic fears. it’s like everything i’ve despised in myself for the past 23 years has been put under a microscope and then set on display. i’ve never felt so exposed. i’ve never felt so humbled.
yet how He loves. how He loves me.
nothing matters, except that He loves. and like a gentle wave His love will wash self from self. and in its place will be a disciple—emptied, purified, dependent and wholly trusting in His call.
i need this to be true. the upcoming year in overseas missions is zooming and closing in around me. and as it nears, i’m realizing that i am nothing. and that is good.
Today during a 3-hour lecture about mission trip logistics and paperwork—something that had every reason to be boring and dull—I felt joy and the distinct feeling that this is what I am to do with my life.
Everything is exciting, hehe,