Monday, February 29, 2016

1001

This post marks my 1,001st blog post. I started this blog almost 8 years ago as we were heading off to Kansas to begin FT ministry there. This is somewhat of a milestone as 1,000 blog posts is a lot. And 8 years ago, I would not have suspected how my life would have turned out. Back then, I was full of hope and excitement. Hope for the future. Excitement to use my life for whatever God would have me do, pouring out my life for His glory.

Today, I look back with great sadness. The wounds are less painful. The memories less haunting. But the scars remain. The pain is still deep. It's like a chill in my bones that never leaves. In one sense, it was a great experience. I loved FT ministry. I loved everything about it. I loved learning and studying deeper about the greatness of God. I loved equipping the saints. I loved shepherding His flock. I loved discipling. I loved counseling. I loved organizing and leading ministry. I loved being a pastor of God's church and the special bond that results with God's people. My high expectations were exceeded. I am so thankful that I had this opportunity to pour out my life for God and for others. The relationships we built are some of the best I've ever had. The way so many stood by us even during the darkest of times, doesn't cease to amaze me. We are truly blessed.

On another level, I think I have come to some level of forgiveness towards others and peace within myself. I see in many ways how God used this suffering for my good, for my holiness, for my complete dependence on Him, for the Lord to show Himself greater and more incomprehensible than ever before. I see more my nothingness, my sinfulness, my lowliness before His magnificent sovereignty.

But I am left with the question that I have been wondering for 3 years - what now? Where do I go from here? In my first blog post, I quoted missionary David Brainerd, "Oh, that I might be a flaming fire in the service of the Lord. Here I am, Lord, send me; send me to the ends of the earth...send me from all that is called earthly comfort; send me even to death itself if it be but in Thy service and to promote Thy Kingdom." That was my prayer. That was my hope. That was my expectation. And yet, it appears as if God sent me...back home. He sent me back to CA, back to earthly comfort, back to material wealth, and back to what?

It has been a strange journey, these past 3 years. God rescued us and physically blessed us beyond what I thought possible. I should be grateful. I still feel guilty that I'm not more thankful. The boys and girl are thriving - spiritually, physically, emotionally. I am so thankful for what God has been doing in them. I have made a commitment to give them stability in these years (after so much instability) and see them graduate HS in Benicia. They are responding well to this stability in our lives for the first time in a long time. God is blessing Sandy with some much needed rest and peace during this time as well. I will not sacrifice the boys and girl or my wife for my love for FT ministry. I think of poor Mrs. Carey's madness. As great as William Carey's legacy is, and it is great what God did through him, he sacrificed her sanity to do God's work in India.

So I am finding a great paradox in my life. I left CA thinking that I would melt my personal will to do God's work in going out to spend my life in service to Him. As Jeremiah Burroughs wrote, "A gracious heart [a Christian] is contented by the melting of his will and desires into God's will and desires." Little did I realize, that melting my will meant NOT serving Him more, NOT studying God's Word more, NOT sacrificing my earthly comforts for Him more, NOT going out to do His work. And while I do serve Him now, and I do study God's Word, and I do sacrifice some of my earthly comforts, it's just not the same thing. It is hard to be content with doing less for God's kingdom, that is less in terms of quantity and quite possible quality too. But that is God's sovereign will for me.

Who knows what the future holds? Thankfully God does. He is incomprehensible. His ways are far higher than my ways. I wonder if this is my destiny and that sadness will pervade my life until Christ returns to remove all mourning and pain. I wonder if I will accept my role with joy at some point sooner rather than later. I wonder if someday, I will truly feel this in my heart as God's goodness and blessing as His Word promises and not just think it in my head. I don't know. But I fight on.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Romans 15:1-2

For quite some time, I have been working with the boys and girl to build up their knowledge of Scripture and to have a high view of the magnificence of God. My hope is that they will see their brokenness before a holy and perfect God and cling to Christ for mercy and grace, not see themselves as "good" people who are Pharisaically better than others. They have internalized moral standards and are pretty consistent in not seeking after worldly friends and pleasures. BUT developing that compassionate, kind, love for others is not an easy endeavor. We'll keep working on it...
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Romans 15:1-2
Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves. Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Recital

Emery had her first violin recital!

Her violin teacher and Sandy held a joint recital with Sandy's piano students. Emery played two songs. The first song was "Perpetual Motion" with mom accompanying.
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The second was a piano duet of Pachelbel's Canon in D. One of my favorites. Nice job Emery and Mia!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Psalm 16:11

I'm still amazed at this truth that in God's presence, we cannot have any more joy. We will experience the most glorious and wonderful of all happiness which will never end. Every moment and every day will be that most blissful, most pleasurable and most lovely of experiences that will keep going on without ending. Amazing.
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Psalm 16:11
You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Romans 10:13-15

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Romans 10:13-15
13 for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14 How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? 15 How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!”

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Happy birthday Matt part 2

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Matt's birthday continues. Thanks halmonyee and hadabagee!
Can't believe Matt is already 11?!
He's got to work on his breathing though.

Happy birthday Matt!

Matt's birthday had a little bit of a slow start. Unfortunately, I think it's the after effect of Christmas break and New Year's. We went out for lunch but only had one of his presents ready for him on the actual day.
 Eventually, the presents started rolling in.
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Here he is with his kendama. Thanks Cancun!
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Here are his stacking cups. Did you know that there's stacking cup competitions out there? Who knew?
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Emz had a big head start because Matt is SPEED!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Isaiah 40:8

I finally caught up to the verses we have memorized for this academic year. Phew!
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Isaiah 40:8
The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Psalm 141:3-4

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Psalm 141:3-4
Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips. 4 Do not incline my heart to any evil thing, To practice deeds of wickedness With men who do iniquity; And do not let me eat of their delicacies.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Music

In the past year, music has filled our home in so many ways. It's been exciting and fun to share this gift from God with the boys and girl. They are still learning how to play so things are just starting out. But it's fun to imagine what we may be able to do together someday.

This video is really old, probably close to a year. Andrew is much, much better with the guitar. And Emery has improved also.

After about a break of about 20 years, I whipped out the old violin to play with Emery. This was filmed several months ago so she has gotten much better. I, however, am probably the same!
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 Matt's not in on the action just yet, but he's close. He practices just about everyday and is almost ready to play some drums for me as we all play a praise song. The Lee family praise band is coming soon!
I've always dreamed of playing the drums...