Tuesday, April 20, 2010

One Face of Heaven Breaking Into Earth

Grandpa. There are a few things you should know about this man.

He's 100 years old (101 this August). I'm not even a quarter of that! Needless to say, he's led a full life.
My grams passed almost 10 years ago, and I never thought gramps would hit the 100-mark. For each day he's given, for every other day he is on this earth, this man is doing some serious damage for the Kingdom. My grandparents were probably the first prayer warriors I've ever been exposed to. I remember there would be times when I'd want to sleep in my grandparents bedroom--I'd grab a sleeping bag, put it between their two twin beds (why do some old people do that?), and just lay there listening to them pray together as they sat facing each other until one fell asleep. To say that they were in the zone would be an understatement. It was their job, their joy, and their honor to come before our God in that way. As I lay zipped up in my sleeping bag, and their prayers literally were spoken over me, I never experienced anything but deep, deep peace.

He's an amazing story teller. I wish that I could have heard more while I was growing up. He's a man of conviction. He's a man who loves deeply. He's a man who sees with his heart. He's gentle. He's strong. He was an anointed speaker, a passionate pastor, and still is and will continue to be a true worshiper well after the day He meets our Jesus face to face. 

He gives the best sniff-kisses and grandpa hugs. Because his eyesight isn't the best, he writes the cutest little notes with his grandpa writing--it's hard to read sometimes, but you know that it's just him telling us he loves us.  He delights in his children and his grandchildren. He is proud of us. He's not afraid to cry in front of us. I'm a firm believer that he's a big fan of the happy tears :). Apparently, I come from a strong line of a lot of those, haha.

As he lay in his hospital bed with my uncle on one side and my mom on the other, he raised his arms toward the heavens, eyes closed, with an ear-to-ear smile on his face. My mom asked him what it was that he was seeing, and he cried out, "Hallelujah!! Hallelujah!! I see the face of my God. I see the angels and his children bowing before him worshiping. Hallelujah!!" Talk about getting one of the best gifts ever: a vision of Heaven, a glimpse of the face of his Maker, a taste of what's to come.

I know that Grandpa is ready to go Home. I know that His appetite for eternity has been whetted, and he remains on this earth knowing that God's timing is sovereign. I honestly believe he's still here for our sake. We're not done with him yet, and he loves us enough to stick around for a little bit longer :). I know that when he does go to hang out with Jesus for forever and ever, that my heart will be in a place of genuine grieving and joyous celebration. Words cannot express how blessed I am to know how rich of a heritage I have. 

My family--the men and women who have come before me have made me think about this verse in a different way:

Before a word is on my tongue
       you know it completely, O LORD.
You hem me in—behind and before;
       you have laid your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
       too lofty for me to attain.

In many ways, I have seem this hemming behind and before through the people God has placed in my life. They started down the narrow road knowing that Eternity awaits--being fully present along the way. 

Jesus, you are far too good to us. Thank you for Grandpa. Thank you for his story of redemption and surrender. Thank you for inclining his heart towards Yours. You already know this, but he can't wait to see You. 

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Giving and Receiving of Words as a reflection of the WORD

Some food for thought:

"In light of the more all encompassing perspective of how God and faith are deeply interwoven in the acquisition and instruction of language, it is important to bear in mind the fact that the Body of Christ is vastly diverse, beautifully unique and all functioning in a way that is different but necessary according to their specific cultural make up. Not only does faith speak into the diversity of our students and the way in which we approach them, it is also the catalyst for understanding that, as teachers, we are ultimately servants to our students as we do the will of God."

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Love: Freedom's Catalyst

There is nothing more exhilarating, more freeing and more natural than being able to be yourself. When you can laugh with possibility of snorting, cry with a chance of getting all drippy around the nose, speak freely and openly, express your opinions and expose your deepest heart cries with never once having to filter a single thing because you know that you are fully received--it is then that you are able to experience a huge, integral part of God's heart of love, grace and freedom.

In this place of full exposure and full acceptance, there is no striving, no pushing, no judgment, and no unmet expectations. Rather, there is the most beautiful expression of celebration of one's uniqueness--rejoicing in the insane reality that each individual bears the image of Christ. Here in this place of freedom is where we run free, dance with reckless abandon, and worship without reservation (in this place, there is an ease in seeing and experiencing everything as worship).

Here there are no anxious thoughts, no knots in the stomach, no guilt, or shame. They only filter through which we are seen and see ourselves is that of the Love of Christ. Here we sit next to His throne as sons and daughters of the king--as royalty. We join Him as those deemed part of the royal priesthood, His favorite friends, His most precious treasures.

This is a part of His kingdom. The fact that this can be our reality in greater and greater measure is crazy exciting!! This is present for the here and now, and this is what He desires for His children. We are given each other as community, we are surrounded by fellow royalty, fellow children of the King. He sees us as such and wants us to see ourselves and each other in the same way. I pray that He opens our hearts up and helps us to see the scales that He will continue to remove from our eyes. Let us love each other for who we are and what we're really worth. May our love for each other facilitate a deeper realization in our souls as to how much Abba loves us.

I don't write this as though i've figured it out. I'm just tasting it more and more, and I can't get enough of it. The joy of this type of freedom runs deep, and I pray that it is contagious. Eat up, friends! May we eat this up as it nourishes our inner wo/man!

"Oh taste and see that the Lord is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him! O fear the Lord, you HIs saints' For to those who fear Him there is no want...But they who seek the Lord shall not be in want of any good thing. Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord."

Monday, April 12, 2010

Short and Sweet.

Today's blip isn't to fashion words into some work of art. My hope is that it sheds light onto something that no one can place value on. It's nothing short of a miracle.

I have a pretty unique relationship with my parents. We don't talk very frequently, and when we do, it's not for very long. It really is just that: short and sweet.

My mom's actually flying up to San Jose to visit my gramps in the hospital. This is a really recent turn of events, so a lot of things are up in the air and everyone seems to be waiting by the phone for updates and the latest news on how he's doing. He's not doing well. He is 100, but it was still unexpected. We would love your prayers. I'll keep everyone posted as I hear more.

I called my dad today to see if he had heard from my mom. I also asked him how he was doing, and his response went something like this [pardon my paraphrase--I don't think the Vietnamese would have flown over too well]:

"Ummm, I'm doing ok. I'm alone at the office, and it's really overwhelming during the busy season without your mom here. Things just flow better when there's the two of us."

Just from the tone of his voice, I could conclude the following: He adores her. She adores him. They deeply dislike doing anything too far away from each other. This in fact, will probably be the first time in their 26 years of being married that they'll be spending multiple nights away from each other. They still hold hands. They crack each other up (even when no one else thinks anything either of them says is all that funny). They challenge each other. They're best friends. They're a team. It's just how they roll.

The few minutes I spent with my dad on the phone reminded me of the kind of love only God can fashion--the kind that sacrifices, supports, encourages, and nourishes--bringing about richer life.  It's not just a love that is shared between my parents. If that were the case, they'd be receiving way too much credit (I don't mean that disrespectfully). It's the type of love that is from Love. I praise God for the love that I've seen Him weave into my parents relationship with each other. I praise Him because it is His love that I see in their midst. Though it seems that this love is more rare than not, it reminds me that this is the type of agape that God intended for everyone. 

The short and sweet conversation I had with my dad showed me something incredibly sweet, but there's nothing short about the love I see between my parents. A love that reflects the cross and looks far into eternity is one that is rare; interestingly enough, it is the love that is mandated.

This agape love is intended for all (and no--not just in marriage relationships). May we experience life richly because we trust God enough incline our hearts toward agape-ing each other. May we as the Body experience agape in a way where its byproduct is but more Love!

More of your love, Lord.
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