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Tuesday, 30 September 2008

A near death experience anyone?

Enjoying a cappuccino in Florence Italy this weekend.

I was reading in Romans this weekend and came across chapter 6 verse 13. "Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness"

"as those who have been brought from death to life" I know people who have had "near death" experiences. Those people view life differently after that experience. They appreciate their life more. They value everything around them, all their experiences and relationships, more than before their life flashed before their eyes. They tend to live more intentionally and with more purpose.

It is like they were given a whole new chance to live a whole new life!

And that is what God has done for us! Given us a whole new life! I sat there reading in Romans and marveling again at the amazing gift of life that God has given to me.

I suppose that those who have had near death experiences can more fully understand the sheer awesomeness of this gift and how such an experience changes your life. But since I was saved from eternal death to eternal life it dramatically changes my life.

I should live every day, every moment, through the eyes of one who had a near death experience and lived to not only talk about it... but to live more alive and with more purpose.

Anyway, I was just struck again with the awesome magnitude of what God has done for us and I wanted to share.

And here is a photo from Ethiopia... I hope to write more about that soon.

Monday, 22 September 2008

Lord, give me YOUR eyes

I arrived back from Ethiopia on Saturday morning. Sunday I went to a wine festival parade in a nearby town. As I watched the parade go by, tears stung my eyes as I thought of how these people in their cultural costumes need Jesus just as much as the people in Ethiopia.

We all need Jesus, no matter if we have a house with 20 bedrooms and 21 bathrooms or a tent with no bathrooms that you share with 143 others or a 3 bedroom 2.5 bath house.

Jesus goes beyond our circumstances to the core of who we are inside. It is not our outer circumstances that define us.

A friend sent me a link to this song by Brandon Heath called Give Me Your Eyes. As I watched it tonight I was reminded of what God showed me at the Parade yesterday.

Brandon Heath - Give Me Your Eyes from Brandon Heath on Vimeo.

Sunday, 7 September 2008


So tomorrow morning I get up at 3:30 am to begin my journey to Ethiopia. I will be returning home on the 20th of September.

Why am I going?
Because I am part of a leadership team that is helping to prepare the next generation of leaders for Agape Europe. We call the 2.5 year program, Next Generation Leader Development.. or NG for short. 20 participants from all over Western Europe are gathering to begin this program together in Ethiopia. We (participants and leadership team and guest speakers) will be out of our normal elements to learn about community, leadership, serving, shepherding, stewarding. We will be praying a lot, building houses, discussing and learning.

Many of you know that I respond involuntarily with tears and a deep heart connection to some key events... 1 being when someone comes to know the Lord as their saviour and the other being when I hear stories, see photos or see video footage of people who are desolate. Many of my dear friends have spent time in Sudan and Burundi and their stories choke me up every time. I know that my instant reaction to a story is empathy. It is not hard for me to imagine the way a person feels.

I know that where we are going we will be around many Christians. I know we will see and be among extreme poverty. I know I cannot walk away unaffected.

And there is much unknown about this trip.. but the one main thing that I know.. beyond a shadow of a doubt.. is that God knows! And in that I want to rest.

Pray for me?

Thursday, 4 September 2008

eating alone in a room full of people

Prior to coming to Spain, I was part of a coaches preparation time for all those who will be coaching the participants of our Agape Europe Next Generation leader development program. I am so excited for the participants that they have people of this quality and caliber to invest in them!

So I am in Spain. I came here for 2 days. I am here to meet face to face with the people at this hotel whom I will be working with in November and then again in May. November with about 70 people in attendance and May with about 170 in attendance. Part of the time here, I enjoyed the company of Marga, a lovely woman whom I thoroughly enjoy! She is Spanish and is the main assistant to the Agape Europe director Javier. I was blessed to have her company for dinner yesterday, and lunch today.

Dinner tonight.. I knew I was eating alone. This is something I have avoided most of my life. Not eating alone.. but eating alone in a room full of people. I am not like my brother Michael who could do this easily. He would probably end up sharing great times with every person in the room before the night was over. He has the ability, as our biological father, to put anyone at ease and to bond with them quickly... even if they are all at their own tables in a restaurant.

Me? I find that I enjoy connecting with people when I have a role that platforms me to do so. For example, if my role in a situation is as the conference organizer, or the leader of the meeting, or the hostess for the event.. I have no problem being the social butterfly who flits around to put everyone at ease. And I enjoy meeting everyone and getting to know who they are. But...

When I am just a single girl in a room full of families, couples who are each enjoying dinner at their own table... it is REALLY difficult for me to find a seat, to choke down my food. This is very different from eating at home alone. At home, I have other things to keep me engaged and occupied: emails, cleaning, art projects, work, talking with friends. In a restaurant, as I was tonight.. the restaurant of the hotel.... in a restaurant, it is me at a table by myself alone with my own thoughts.

As I sat there tonight, there were moments where I could barely choke down my food. I felt so alone. And moments that I was fascinated by the people around me. Maybe if there had been music playing instead of the silence. I would have stayed longer. As it was, I noticed which servers smiled at me as they took my plate and which ones never even looked at me. And then God bless the head server who came and chatted with me even though he was not confidant in his English. We even exchanged some German phrases. funny... since I understand and speak more Spanish than German.

But... I survived. I survived something that I do not choose to ever repeat. God has not created me to be alone. I am a people person. I come alive when I get to interact with people.

Tomorrow morning I shall have breakfast alone in a room full of people... but perhaps I will have a different perspective... not sure what... but we shall see.

in other news... I am working on a painting for my living room... here are the beginning stages....

July.... and September...
I wonder when I will finish it. In between the other things in my life. :-)