Archive - November, 2007

Luke 18:27

”But He said, ‘The things that are impossible for man are possible with God.’ ” Luke 18:27

VISION WITHOUT BOUNDARIES

What do you think goes through the minds of runners during a marathon? It’s not unusual for them to think about crossing the finish line. If they let themselves dwell on how long, painful, or difficult the race will be, they could easily fail.

With regard to our aspirations, we would be wise to follow a similar thought pattern. If we permit ourselves to think about obstacles in our path, we are less likely to succeed.

God’s vision is for us to share His message of hope all over the world (Luke 24:47-49). Like a marathon, it’s a huge task, and many Christians feel “all the nations” is too big an assignment. Other believers stop because of a language barrier or safety concern. And some just don’t know how to start, so they let insecurity deter them. But Jesus’ mandate must translate into our obedience, which means we must overcome any hindrances.

First, it’s important to identify limitations that exist in our minds. Second, we should be motivated by God’s transformation of our own lives. Third, we rely on Jesus’ promise of His presence and the Holy Spirit’s empowerment. Remember that the Lord said what would be impossible with man is possible with God (Luke 18:27). Once we break down our objections and obey in the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit, we’ll be amazed at what God will do through us.

What mental limitations have you put on sharing the good news of the gospel with the world? Ask for forgiveness, refocus on the goal, and tell the Lord that you are available to share and to serve.

www.intouch.org

One Month In, and Treated Like Local Londoners

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It was 4 weeks ago this morning that we exited that giant plane at Gatwick Airport, took the idyllic taxi ride to our Surrey hotel, and began what has been an awesome adventure for our family. We marked our 4 week mark by celebrating Chris’s 30th birthday today! (See pics by clicking on the blue links above.)

This evening as we walked home from dinner, I told Chris I’m so proud to be thought a local because a woman stopped me on the street this afternoon to ask me how to find the post office – which I was able to do! Chris laughed because he’d run across a man on our street this afternoon who asked him how to find a particular park – which he was able to do! It’s been a joy walking all around this great city of Wimbledon and learning the ins and outs of the major as well as some side roads, and now it’s paying off.

Nearly every weekday now I see someone in town I’ve seen several other times before, even though this is a heavily populated area. Sometimes we greet each other, both of us knowing we’ve seen the other previously and recently. I’m praying for these people and opportunities to know them better. We had a VERY cool experience tonight at the Wimbledon Winter Wonderland Festival when Chris spotted a woman and her son from the local church we’re attending. We visited with them and her son rode a ride with our kids. This is why we’re here – to meet people. We trust that spending time with people will eventually gain us the opportunity of sharing our hope (Christ) and our resource (www.lifechurch.tv) with them.

We notice our habits have changed as far as naturally looking the correct way before crossing the street, since the British drive on the right side of their cars and the opposite side of the road than in the US. I am able to have phone conversations better with locals and not needing to watch their lips move. Today a woman on the tram with the kids and me said Blake has a “lovely” accent, asking if we’re from the states. She could hear his Okie roots coming through.

We dropped by Blake’s school to pay tuition today and were pleasantly surprised for him to have been invited to stay a few hours both today and tomorrow before beginning on Monday to help with adjustment. It was as if the staff knew how eager Blake was to be back around kids his age once again. We jumped at the chance, and a very tired – though excited – Blake emerged from the giant school door this evening. I called up the school to check on him mid-afternoon, and one teacher said, “Oh! He’s absolutely thrilled to be here! He’s out playing in the garden now and is quite a refreshing boy to be around.” I love how emphatically some of the Brits speak, never hesitating to pass along a compliment. This mom was thrilled to know her boy was doing so well.

Thanks to all of you who sent Chris bday greetings today. We’ve had a wonderful day together as a family. Yesterday God laid a specific plan on Chris’s heart that I wholeheartedly support and we’ll have a meeting scheduled soon in an effort to see if we’ve found a host location at which to test out a LC.tv service using Open (downloaded LC.tv service). Please be in prayer with us about this (meeting is around 6am OKC time) and we will certainly let you know if anything comes of it. We’ll continue knocking on doors as God leads us.

God is so good. I praise Him for my best friend and husband as our family celebrates Chris today (who was amazingly born at 11:29am on 11/29). :) I praise Him for you who continue to pray for our family’s direction in our attempt to make a way for LifeChurch.tv to expand in the London area. We feel we are at home, and we know God is at work.

Technology in the UK (Part 1)

Yes, I am here in the UK with my family. You might not have guessed since I have not yet posted anything.

This begins a series on life in the UK…as I see it…so far. Hopefully it will allow you to live vicariously through our experiences.

We will start with technology…

My first look at technology came with the purchase of a mobile a few weeks ago. I needed to get a phone to communicate with estate agents while we were looking for a flat. Virgin had a kiosk at the back of a music store and so I walked in and asked for the cheapest phone they had. It was a pay-as-you-go (prepaid) phone and it was a £10 Nokia, no frills, black and white, indestructible. It was pleasing to have this low-tech device because I had just recently laid to rest my Blackberry* and was looking forward to a phone that did nothing but make and receive calls.

The rates for the phone were quoted as .15p to Virgin mobiles and landlines (only 010 and 020 numbers), .35p to all others. Clear? How am I going to know if it is another Virgin user? And little did I know that Virgin’s reputation here isn’t so hot. This is similar to the attitude the US might have if Microsoft had a telephone company, cable company, gym franchise, and airline.

As I paid, I learned that I am in a very small population of debit card holders that does not have (the chip) in their card. I wonder if the chip will be implanted in our body soon? They thus had to run my card the “old” way.

My final comment about the phone is the process of “topping-up.”

Top Up

You can add credit to your phone at ATM’s, banks, grocery stores, mini-marts, online, or anywhere else you see the green logo. These ubiquitous locations for topping-up also work for many other services like the Oyster card and utility bills.

Look forward to my upcoming technology posts about:

Skype mobile phone
broadband in the UK
buying a computer
the Oyster card

.rcb

*my FSA friends are no doubt simultaneously reading this post, typing a message on their Blackberry, and interviewing a prospective employee

Blake's in the White House

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I’m happy to inform you that God answered our prayers for Blake to find some “mates” here in London by providing a spot for him to attend Wimbledon Montessori College at the White House. The White House is a wonderful building that used to be an estate on Wimbledon Hill Road heading into the more chic Wimbledon Village area. There are 13 kids in his class, 5 teachers, and a hamster (or ‘hamper’ as Blake calls him). The children are currently preparing songs for a Christmas program for their families, and in March they plant an organic garden then “slice and cook the veg”, as a school administrator told us. :) The worst part of our tour today was convincing Blake to leave on the promise he’d return late next week to play with the toys and children.

Thank you for praying along with us! Blake was beaming before his nap this afternoon, knowing he’ll soon return to a school environment.

*I must include that the children have high tea at 4pm every day at Blales school.  I can only guess this means they have just a bit of tea with lots of sugar and milk in it, but how fun it would be to watch a group of 3-5 year olds enjoying tea every day.  Chris and I have discovered that it’s a very easy habit to become accustomed to, since it only requires one to stop what he’s doing and enjoy a hot drink on a cool afternoon accompanied by a biscuit (cookie).  :)

Never Pass Up the Chance for a Cookie

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Last night I made dinner for the four of us as usual. Mackenzie ate every last bite and asked for more. Blake, in going with his new theme of rejecting most dinners but enjoying his mid-morning snacks and post nap snacks said he’d not be eating. We told him that’s fine, but of course that means he gets no dessert and he cannot be excused from the dinner table until the rest of us are done eating since it’s family time.

The twist (thanks Dr. James Dobson) came in Chris’s covering up Blake’s meal and announcing he’d see it again at 7am today for breakfast. Blake said he understood but was less than thrilled when Chris re-heated the food at 7am today and laid it out before Blake (with a sly grin on his face, I might add). Blake squirmed around in his chair as we ate breakfast but opted not to eat the bowl. Bowl goes back in the fridge.

The significant element of this common pre-schooler standoff is that Blake had eaten ravioli before without a complaint. Amidst the many changes in our life recently, he continually poses the question to Chris and me (through behavior) – ‘Are you guys really in control?‘ Blake wanted to see how far we’d go to make sure he obeyed us.

This morning I strolled the kids to the mall. While there, Mackenzie enjoyed a small morning snack while Blake looked on, assuring me with his words, ‘I don’t want that food, Mom. I want a snack.‘ I assured him the blue bowl was waiting in the refrigerator at home and would be re-heated in a few hours for lunch. He wasn’t rude about it, but he was determined to see how far our authority over his life extends.

Lunch time came, and the bowl resurfaced. Blake looked at the ravioli – ‘Why is the food down?‘ (meaning he could see it’d settled in the bowl after repeated re-heatings!). Mackenzie enjoyed a lunch her jealous brother would have liked to have eaten (like so many of us who are jealous of other believers’ success when we’re unwilling to obey what God is personally asking us to do). She even had a small cookie. That’s all it took! Both Chris and I could see Blake had set his sights on one little cookie.

Chris laughed as he told Blake to ‘name it and claim it, boy!’. Blake said triumphantly, ‘I want that cookie! So I’m gonna eat this food!’ The food disappeared from his bowl in no time. Blake was beaming and so proud to enjoy a cookie like Mackenzie had. He gave us hugs and hi-fives and was obviously relieved to have fallen back in the line of obedience.

The moral of the story: Our Heavenly Father doesn’t reward selfish behavior. In order to enjoy the ‘cookie’ of fellowship with Him, you must partake in daily submission to His authority over every area of your life. Are you complaining about what He’s put on your plate today? You never know, there could be a cookie to follow.

Sunday

We had another great Sunday here in Wimbledon.  After considering it prayerfully, Chris and I agreed we’d stop visiting new churches each week (except for one or two we plan to visit early next year out of town) and attend Wimbledon Hillside regularly to build relationships and stay amongst Christian fellowship as we wait for God’s direction for LC.tv.  People at Wimbledon Hillside know our goal is to expand LC.tv to the area and are extremely supportive.  Richard gave a great sermon on Luke 11 yesterday and the four of us truly enjoyed the post-sermon fellowship.  Blake in particular was able to wrestle and run with some boys at church and loved that!

We’ve now met four of our neighbors and continue praying for them and more opportunities to get to know them well.

I mentioned last week we were wondering whether to put Blake in a local preschool, and we are confirmed this is what we should do.  We have an appointment to tour a nearby ‘nursery’ at 11am Tuesday.  If Chris and I agree it’s a great place for Blake, he’ll attend full day for two days each week.  Thanks to those of you praying about this concern.

The children’s health is improving as compared to last week, and we’re all doing well.  Mackenzie is entertaining us with new words and lots of gabbing these days – such a joy to see her blossom in this environment of having both of her parents around more often for security.

Yesterday afternoon we attended the LifeChurch.tv Internet Campus (4pm our time) and were blessed to see 66 people receive Christ as their Savior following the service.  Incredible!

We have a promising week ahead.  In addition to finding a school for Blake, I look forward to celebrating Chris’s 30th birthday on Thursday and having lunch in pastor Richard’s home on Friday.

Our faith is growing in that it’s only a matter of time until God makes known His plan for LifeChurch.tv in London.  We’ve had a small team of people praying since August for God to begin calling people to join our family in London (either locals or people from LC.tv in the US) to help us in ministry.  Chris and I are also praying now that God would lead specific persons of influence to step forward in faith and donate funds radically to the spread of our church to England.

We’ll keep you up to date!

Prayer Requests Welcome

In the past few weeks I’ve had various people who read our blog on my prayer list and it’s a joy to see God working in your lives. I know many of you follow our blog regularly and pray for our family. We know your prayers are making a great difference for us in our experience here in England. Thank you!

Even if we’ve never met you before, I invite you to e-mail any prayer requests you have to me. My prayers are no more powerful than other believers’ prayers, but I do find God’s provided lately more time for prayer and would love to include you on the list. All requests will be kept confidential.

How will it all end?

Today we made the 2.5 mile round-trip walk to Wimbledon’s Gap Road Cemetery.  We’ve passed it a few times on the bus and with it being sunny out this week I felt we’d better take advantage of a good day for taking pictures. 

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Once at the cemetery, we took the kids out of their stroller to walk around awhile.  Blake was naturally full of questions as to why people are buried when they die, what happens to them after they’re buried, and most important of all – he wanted to know the people’s names.  It was a good opportunity to discuss again the difference between what a believer experiences when they die as compared to the experiences of people who do not accept Christ as Savior (as well as those who *think* they’re saved but have not made the critical decision to acknowledge their need for The Savior). 

Blake asked me questions as I took pictures.  “So, if they have a cross on where they’re buried, does that mean they ‘goed’ to heaven they they died?”  No.  It takes a conscious commitment to receive Jesus’s forgiveness, not a symbol on your grave. 

After considering the answers I gave him, Blake deduced – “Well, I’m going to heaven but I don’t ‘tink’ I’ll go today.”

Blake is likely right in that he’s not headed to heaven today.  But none of us truly knows.  Don’t put off entering into a right relationship with God through Jesus Christ – God’s only Son who died on the cross and defeated death so that our sins could be forgiven – until it’s too late.  Neither The Lord’s Prayer ceremonially recited over you on your death bed by clergy nor selecting a cross headstone for your body’s final resting place will gain you eternity in God’s presence.  The responsibility and need are yours alone. 

Romans 3:23 – “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” (NIV)

Thankful for God's Forgiveness

Family Photo October 2007

From our family to yours: Happy Thanksgiving! 

We praise God for the chance to serve him here in London, that we are celebrating our first Thanksgiving with sweet Mackenzie in our family, and that we plan to see our parents and extended family via Skype webcam chats this evening!  May each of you have blessed fellowship with your families and with our gracious God this holiday.   

Devotional below from www.intouch.org

Imagine an old rundown shack. The windows are boarded up and covered with graffiti. Inside, decades of neglect have left the wood floors warped and rotten. Paint is peeling off the walls like a bad sunburn, and there is a strong smell of must and mildew.Now, is this a place you would want to live?Isaiah 64:6 says, “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment.” But think about this: despite the fact that we were dirty and filled with sin, God chose to intercede on our behalf and save us from the spiritual wrecking ball that is Satan.

The Lord could have left us to our own devices. He could have forsaken us, just like an abandoned shack. But the God of the universe— who is fit to occupy a mansion more glorious than man could ever build—chose to send His Son to live in and through us.

Of course, for the Christian, every day of the year should be a time of Thanksgiving. But on this holiday officially set aside for giving thanks, why not take the opportunity to reflect humbly on God’s countless blessings—of forgiveness, salvation, and life itself. Let the day be a time when you truly commit to placing Him first in your lives.

Sin separated us from God, but “He has now reconciled [us] in His fleshly body through death, in order to present [us] before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach” (Colossians 1:21-22). Because of Christ—not through our own actions—we are no longer a dirty, abandoned shack. That’s something for which to be thankful.

I Can't Keep Up With Myself!

I am grateful for the many wonderful details God’s planted into our last few days and only find difficulty in posting all about life as it’s happening!  What a nice problem to face.  :)

We ended our wonderful time with staff from church on Sunday by attending 2 different churches in inner-city London (don’t think “inner city” in scary terms; think “inner city” in Harrod’s (http://www.harrods.com/HarrodsStore/default.aspx)  and Oxford Circus and Leicester Square terms!!).  The underground tube ride into London went well (it was my first sight of the Thames River in over 9 years – so cool).  We first visited Holy Trinity Brompton (www.htb.org.uk) and then Hillsong London (www.hillsong.co.uk).  HTB’s worship pastor is Tim Hughes, whose written several well-known worship songs (including “Here I Am to Worship”). 

Just 3 days before we left OKC, Chris saw a sign in front of a church across from his parents’ subdivision stating a worship group from England would be performing that morning.  He went to see them perform, and they were from Hillsong London – so they were familiar faces this past Sunday afternoon in the service.  Speaking of familiar faces, the Christian/Gospel duo MaryMary was in town on tour with Kirk Franklin and dropped in the Hillsong London service to perform “How Great Thou Art” and their #1 worldwide hit from a few years back “Shackles”.  It was electric! 

Hillsong London sets up its temporary campus weekly to meet in the Dominion Theatre (where the hit musical “We Will Rock You” featuring Queen’s music is now playing live).  If you can imagine a crowded, busy mess of people outside the theatre doors, you get the idea.  But add to it scads of people who began Christmas shopping in the recently holiday-theme-decorated London area, and you’ll really get the picture.  (People line the city blocks on all sides of Harrod’s just to get in the door.)  Following the service, the four men from church surrounded our family on the busy sidewalk and prayed for us all.  Our time with them was an absolute encouragement, and our children are still asking for these guys by name (thanks to piggyback rides underground and on the busy city streets as well as frequent ticklings or peek-a-boo games).  We are praying fervently for God to provide these men and our pastor His widsom as to His plans for LifeChurch.tv globally.

I didn’t get a chance to share that last Friday we received the INCREDIBLE surprise of 4 boxes from Oklahoma – items we’d packed to send at a later date including extra clothing, toiletries, and some of our Christmas presents for the kids which were less expensive to purchase in advance.  While we managed to put the Christmas items away in our storage, the four of us probably looked as though we’d just experienced Christmas morning ourselves!  Chris’s mom sent them to us but we were under the impression it’d be another week or two before they’d arrive, so the timing was neat.  We were thrilled to see some extra clothing (translation: less laundry for Mom to do in her ‘world’s tiniest washer/dryer unit’)! 

I haven’t blogged about this much at all until I had some clarity on what to do, but to those of you who are BSF friends of mine, we made a trip south to Guildford last Wednesday for class.  There are a few snags in our plan, though, and after having prayed about it this past week I informed the class adminsitrator we won’t continue attending.  Amazingly, while searching for an online Life Group for Chris and me to join while waiting for ours to form, I picked one last night and learned from its leader today that a young man from Cardiff, Wales (straight west of London) attends!!  I think my mouth fell open when I received the e-mail that someone only hours away is attending the LC.tv Internet Campus as well as an Internet Life Group based in Oklahoma.  I praise God for this special detail, especially in His direction to me as I struggled with giving up the BSF opportunity.  I’ve already contacted the man in Cardiff and look forward to knowing him better.  I hope Chris and I connect well with this Internet Life Group (done via web cam) as we pray for one to form in our home.

If you would, please pray with us for friends (“mates!”) for Blake.  I’ve mentioned before that children his age are simply not around during the day but children Mackenzie’s age are easily found.  I’ve discovered two openings at nearby preschools (“nurseries”) but they are quite expensive, even for part time attendance.  Pray we’d have wisdom as to what to do – Blake is frustrated by his lack of interaction with kids his age (apart from his imaginary playmate, Heano, who smokes!…:)), and we believe that having Blake attend nursery could be a great way to meet other families.  But – we don’t want to step outside His will for our family.  I’ll let you know where God leads us on this issue.  In the mean time, I need to sign off – both children have colds and fevers, and I think I’ll take a little rest while they do this afternoon in case they don’t sleep well tonight.

Love to you all –
Dana

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