Thursday, July 31, 2008

Lightning, thunder and tornadoes

The other day, we had a real strong set of thunderstorms and even a tornado warning. It made me really appreciate the following passage - "At this also my heart trembles, And leaps from its place. 2 "Listen closely to the thunder of His voice, And the rumbling that goes out from His mouth. 3 "Under the whole heaven He lets it loose, And His lightning to the ends of the earth. 4 "After it, a voice roars; He thunders with His majestic voice; And He does not restrain the lightnings when His voice is heard. 5 "God thunders with His voice wondrously, Doing great things which we cannot comprehend. 6 "For to the snow He says, 'Fall on the earth,' And to the downpour and the rain, 'Be strong.'" Job 37:1-6Now I didn't go storm chasing so this wasn't actual lightning from this storm but it's an old picture of a previous storm in Kansas that I found on line.

As the storm was just beginning, we talked about the above passage and how God's voice is like thunder to which Andrew replied, "Then lightning must be God's fingers and a tornado must be God's body spinning round and round!" Classic.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

What do you boast about?

It is tempting for me as the husband of a beautiful wife, 2 funny boys, and a cutie pie baby girl to boast about my family. They are all precious to me.
But Gal 6:14 says, "But may it never be that I should boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world." How easy it is to boast about God's wonderful blessings in this life, making more of the blessings than the Giver of those blessings.

It is easy for a proud man like myself to find something other than God to boast about. But Jeremiah 9:23-24 says, "Thus says the LORD, 'Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; 24 but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice, and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things.'" How much more incredible is it that the wrath of God was poured out on Christ for a proud and wretched sinner like me so that I might understand and know the Almighty God of the universe for eternity. Isn't that amazing and humbling? God is so good and worthy of boasting about.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Random observations

It has been 1 month to the day since I came to Emporia. For those of you who don't live here, I thought I'd describe some of the unique things I've noticed.
  • No gun signs posted in many government buildings and banks. Though I noticed that the gun store didn't have this sign posted.
  • So far, it has rained 1-2 times a week since I've been here, and they have been significant rains sometimes 2-3 inches. I think it has rained more in this month here than all of this past year in LA.
  • Tornado siren testing goes off every Wed at 10am. They went off for an actual tornado once too. Sandy thought there were a lot of fire engines going by.
  • How many times can we go to Wal Mart in 1 month? I think we're setting the record as we had been going there every day though now we've tapered down to every other day.
  • But the strange thing is how empty Wal Mart is and it's the most crowded place in town I think. I never have to wait in line with more than 1 person ahead of me. And when I go to other stores in town, there is rarely more than 1-2 other customers. I feel like there's something going on somewhere else and no one told me about it.
  • This is the friendliest place I've ever lived. Who hasn't said hi to me?
  • When will the wind stop blowing? There is a constant breeze.
And one funny story from Andrew. After taking a shower before bed, he says, "An iceball melted in my ear!" It turns out that he had some water stuck in his ear.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Not Batman

One of Matthew's God given gifts in his short little life is seeing how he can make even the simplest things in life messy. However, I'll give him a break this time because staying clean while eating Korean rice is not an easy job for a 3 year-old.He said he was "Bop man" - not Bat Man. To our non-Korean speaking friends, Bop is rice in Korean.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The new living room

My wife has many talents. And one of them is interior design on a modest budget. Now keep in mind that the living room is not complete yet as we are waiting on window treatments for the window and a few other final touches (after all, it hasn't even been 3 weeks yet). But I think Sandy has done a fabulous job so far. So first the old room before we bought it... Now we must acknowledge that we had help as our generous and kind church family painted the walls and ceiling.
And this is the new room living room. Again, the new room from a slightly different angle - it's our grown ups only retreat...

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Swimming lessons

Emporia has a pretty new and impressive aquatic center which has a water slide, lazy river, and a nice gently sloping beach area for the little ones.
Notice who looks the least comfortable. That one is about to start his swimming lesson.
The things you can do with a life vest...
Mommy gives swimming lessons for free.

When he's swimming like a fish, I know that one day we will all look back on this and laugh...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

What does it mean to be filled with the Spirit?

I am preaching this Sunday on Ephesians 5:18 "And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit." When I asked most people that question, they told me something to the effect of - walking in the Spirit (Gal 5:16), spending a lot of time reading/obeying/studying God's Word (Col 3:16), and being influenced/led by the Holy Spirit in your life. And this was my perspective until I spent a lot of time studying Eph 5:18 this week.

Paul prays in Eph 3:16-19 that Christians would be strengthened with power through the Holy Spirit so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And that we would understand the breadth, length, height, and depth of the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge so that we would be filled up to all the fullness of God.

It is God's design that believers would be filled up to all the fullness of God. Specifically, that we would be filled with the incomprehensible love of Christ that is immeasurable, having infinite breadth, length, height, and depth. And not only Christ's love, but also we are to be filled up with God's infinite majesty, glory, and holiness. It is God's command that we be filled with the very character of God, all that makes God, God. Be filled with the Holy Spirit.

Isn't that amazing? How could God fill me with all the fullness of God? That is grace. And this is the culmination of God's design for the church (Eph 1:23). And of course, when we are filled with the fullness of God, we will walk in the Spirit, bear fruit, and be led by His Word. God is so good.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Free Slurpees For All!

Emery just turned 2 yesterday. Her birthday is on 7-11.
Unfortunately for her, the nearest 7-11 is about 100 miles away. So I guess she's not really going to know about slurpees.It's probably better that way...for her sake.
But I think she had a nice birthday regardless.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The New House

The new job is great (more on that later). But the new house is great too! I thought I'd post a picture for everyone (not in Emporia) to see.I think the kids seem to like the backyard better though.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Why Kansas? Part 2

On the eve of starting my new job tomorrow as equipping pastor at Flint Hills Christian Church, I feel humbly excited at this personally historic moment. Granted, in the eternal scheme of things, moving my family some 1500 miles away to Kansas to serve the Lord at a very good church is pretty inconsequential. But personally, it is a significant journey and testimony to the faithfulness and grace of God to use a worthless vessel such as me for any good purpose. God has also used our family and so many good friends back in California and Maryland who taught, encouraged, guided, prayed for, and served me in so many way to whom I am eternally grateful.

So before I start tomorrow, I want to continue my original post on this blog - why Kansas? To answer that, I need to ask a question - What is the greatest commandment? Matthew 22:37-38 says, "And [Jesus] said to him, 'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' 38 This is the great and foremost commandment." Moving to Kansas for me, is how I can love God more.

How is that? When I stay in a place that is comfortable and familiar with good friends, with a good church, with family nearby, and lots of things to do and lots of things to have, it's harder for me to love God more and not love all of those people and things. But leaving all of that (though it is not truly a sacrifice compared to what so many others have sacrificed) has already helped me to love God more.

And on top of that if I had never moved to Kansas, I would not have been overwhelmingly blessed with love, help, gifts, meals, etc. from God through our new church family. For now, I am in a time of plenty, and I love God even more for being so kind. But whatever the future holds, our perfectly wise, absolutely sovereign, and mercifully good God will continue to do the best thing for me. How can I not love Him more? Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Bath Tub Buds

So how are the kids adjusting? Surprisingly well. Praise God!

I'm not sure if either one will make it on American Idol, but who cares?

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

We Made It!

After driving for 2 straight days (some 24 hours and almost 1500 miles), we made it! And this is what we saw. What a sight for sore eyes. Now this isn't where we live. But I stayed at a friend's house and this is his backyard.
And as great as this is, what was even better were the many, many helping hands that were painting, unpacking, and cleaning our house this week and during the past month. Praise God for the love of the brothers and sisters in Christ here. John 13:35 says, "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." We are truly loved. Our start in Kansas couldn't have been better.