Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The square's troubadour. I wake up to him most mornings.

The annual VIDE GRENIER - COURS SEXTIUS - an amazing flea market

My most treasured courtyard. It used to be a mansion of some French Aristocrats - and now serves as apartments.

The view out of my present apartment at about 9am. Thriving market!

Bursting at the seams

I'm moving again tomorrow. I’ve been doing this quite often this summer. Each location Ive been in brings in a new season. And as I said at the beginning of the summer - I am going to embrace each and every one of those seasons.
Some have been much much harder to embrace than others. But complaining about where your at does you no good at all. It dampens your spirits, and then everything looks grey.
I refuse to have a grey life.
Is been beaming with color while I’ve been in Provence, and I bask in the brightness of it!

So tomorrow I wrap up another season, and move to a new apartment. I will remain in the city - but will escape the ruckus a bit - that was talked about in ‘ New Rhythm‘, and for that I am pleased!

Then on Monday the real madness begins! Everything has been escalating to these next two weeks. All the preparation, anticipation and the prayers directed towards the camps will unfold. And God will move.
That is garentueed. He is invited into each and every second of these camps, and He will show up and move deeper then most of us involved will ever know.

I leave for Adventure Youth camp on Monday. Were we will be spending a week with 30 teenagers doing ropes course, white water rafting, caving, canoeing and laser tag, while teaching them about Gods grace through a different parable every night!
Please partner with us in prayer. For safety!
Most of these students don’t know the Lord, and rarely have the opportunity to. Pray that an intimacy with God will take root, and become apart of them for the rest of there life. This is such a crucial time in these kids lives, as they start to deifier through what faith looks like, and how they choose to interact with it and allow to affect their daily lives.

The following Monday is our Kids camp. Aixcalibure! This is the camp I was a counselor for last year - and really is what had me come back to live in Aix this summer. We have about 50 kids coming, and have started to have to waitlist kids! And no, those 50 are not coming from within the church. Most of them again, are kids from the community. Kids at the schools, children of local restaurant owners, anyone we know around town this last month has a child has gotten a flyer!

Let the children come.

Please pray that everyone working this camp will reflect Christ. That connections will be made with families. And that bridges will be built from ICCP to the parents - because many of these parents WILL not step foot in a church. Or publicly call them selves ‘on the fence’ about their faith - but they will bring there kids to camp, and invite 4 other kids to come along as well!
God moves outside the church, and we embrace that during camp!

Then I got back to the states. Not knowing when I will ever return.
God is moving in my heart quite a but the last few days. Sleep hasn’t really been an option - for He has kept me up. Or woken me up after I’ve finally dozed off.
I’m continuing to rest in Him, although its not as natural as it was when I first arrived here. He is sovereign, and I need to walk in that. No need to be anxious - for the God of peace that surpasses all understanding will guard my heart and mind. (Phil 4)

My time here is starting to wrap up - while at the same time It’s bursting at the seams.

Thank you for all your prayers and support.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Just Love

Sometimes we are more in a hurry to save the world than Jesus is. Ministers make the mistake of forcing a 3 point sermon and alter call to get all those lost and dying souls saved and on their way.
I do believe that souls without Christ are lost and dying an eternal death, but one mustn’t forget the importance of walking with someone through life; vs. shoving them out the front door with their new found religion.
Introducing someone to Christ here in France takes time. Not because Jesus is unapproachable to them, but because Christianity is. It’s this way with many people across the globe.
This religious intuition often looks like a cult to them - and is the furthest from what they are looking for. They don’t need another institution to follow and be trapped in - and that’s also not what Christ has set up for us.
Everyone on the face of the earth, young and old is looking for joy and love. Those things can be found in Christ Jesus.
It is therefore our role as followers of Christ to model those elements.
Not just talk about them. But live them.
Give love, and show the eternal Joy that God almighty produces in your life.
This is the most effective way to minister.
Live as Christ lived.

The problem with this is that sometimes, we feel like we aren’t doing our job when we don’t talk about our Jesus. The ministry I am doing in France is very ‘passive’ compared to say, street evangelism. Because that form of ministry would NOT work here, you have to get settled into a city, meet the locals and become apart of the community. This is what I have been doing for the past month. This is what the missionaries I work with have been doing for years.
I have been living life with these people, and constantly praying that my life is reflecting Christ.
The God of peace the transcends ALL understanding will guide your heart and soul (Phil 4)
His peace is evident in my life. I have never felt His peace more then I do right now.

Let me assure you that God is moving in France. Through interactions with the young girl at the café, the man at the local restaurant I visit often, the children I play with on recess, the college students I meet in the pub and on the street, the couple that owns the Italian restaurant, the kids that come to youth, the girl at the local bookstore. He is moving. He is evident.
Amazing conversations are happening with people that would never step foot in a church.
Relationships are being made and nurtured with the love of Christ.
If they wont come to church, then we will go to them, and be a light in their dark world.

Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Goodness, Faithfulness. Gentleness. Self-control.

This is how you show Christ. Embody His fruit. Allow the Spirit to move in and through you.

If you’re a Christian, here’s a question to ask yourself about your relationships with those who don’t know Christ:
Would I love them even if, in the end they didn’t accept my God?

People can tell if they are being used as a project. I encourage every follower of Christ (myself included!) to have unconditional love for ALL. No matter what the end result of your love is.
Just love. For Christ loves those who will accept Him in the end or not.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

New Rhythm

Tranquility to bustle
Once secluded and at peace;
Allowed to breath in silence
Now a constant roar is among me

Town was at the distance of a long peaceful walk
Crowded, twisted streets now are my only ways of escape
Unless the chaos is rejected;
By means of dingy white shutters

I close them and I close out the world
I now direct my own again

They’re my only means of escaping the raucous

But wait… the stairs take me higher
Past the once used store mannequins
Beyond the French chest and book self
Higher still I go
With the height comes light

I pause

And look through the inglorious stain glass door
It leads nowhere

One more flight, higher yet I go
Through the small wooden door there - there is my escape
Four stories high and the roar is now but a whisper
An afterthought

The wind takes over here
He moves me to a fresh tune
A faster song he sings; he directs his own
And allows me to breath in a new rhythm

Sunday, June 1, 2008

It is well

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

We sang this tonight at church, and I barley made it past this first verse. While not realizing the great impact these words would have on me, my eyes started to swell and I was overcome with a strong sense of nostalgia, history and meaning. My eyes just acted upon memory and started to weep.
This song is so powerful. The lyrics yes, but the way the words flow with such great power and heart is what really makes this hymn epic, and brought me to tears.
I think I sang this song very soon after a friend of mine died.
That’s why it moves me so.
The struggle with saying ‘It is well’ while facing death is what I believe I was re-experiencing.
Horatio Gates Spafford, who wrote this song wrote it in the midst of dealing with the sharp sting of death as well. While doing some research on this hymn tonight, and read something that caught my eye. Soon after the loss of many of their children, and much of their fortune his wife recalled a friend saying; “it's easy to be grateful and good when you have so much, but take care that you are not a fair-weather friend to God." That is the heart of this song.
No matter what scenario you are in, one is always able to say ‘It is well with my soul”.
It is well. Its is well because our soul still has a place with our Father. He is our refuge and strength in a time of need (Psalms 46)
It is well because we can find rest in Him.
It is well still because although pain has hit us here on earth we have eternal hope.
We have hope in what is to come.
We have hope in the Prince of Peace.

In the midst of everything
Its is well, it is well, with my soul.