Archive - November, 2008

Temporary Pain

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David asked Saul, “Why are you after me, hunting me down? What have I done?” 1 Samuel 26:17

Sometimes we find ourselves in painful circumstances in life that create a period of difficult experiences. Having people or things in the way of what is meant to be enjoyed creates misery.

For the past six weeks Blake has been pursued by children on the school playground. These children tease, give black eyes, hit, and spit. (He’s pointed some of them out to me and I’m surprised none of them have green faces and warty noses.) Two weeks into the bullying God provided a miracle – classmate Louie! Both boys get along famously and are united by their sweet personalities and distaste for bullies. It was a grand solution until Louie fell quite ill this week and has been gone from school for 5 days.

Chris and I do believe school staff are keeping an eye on the case and we have a plan for further action should we arrive at that point. In the interim I’ve had my fair share of tearful nights, lip-biting when I see the other children’s parents, and prayers made that bitterness not set in lest our ministry suffer.

Knowing my children to be a key resource God uses to speak through to my heart, I should not have been surprised to hear Blake refer to some of these misguided children as his friends two days ago. He proudly said this week his approach (sans the added strength of Louie’s companionship) has been to make new friends and avoid the ‘baddies.’ “Mommy, I’ve been hiding in secret places where those kids cannot find me. I am safe and just play with other kids so I’m not bothered.”

When Blake said this to me I instantly shared with him that David was pursued by a big bully named Saul but was kept safe by God in various hiding places because God would one day make David a king. Blake understands that, like the rest of us, God has a very unique and specific plan for his precious life.  He’s embraced this week that he is safe and God will provide “supah-powers” to hide from his enemies (whom he’s just assume be his friends).

Do you feel pursued lately? Are you struggling just to keep one step ahead of someone or something? God’s plan for your future is grand, but you must determine to keep battling or hiding as necessary until the enemy is dissuaded. Blake has never once asked to stay home from school to avoid these children. Nor has he resorted to joining them in their poor choices. No doubt God is as weary as I am of this situation but He restored David’s rest and will do the same for Blake and for you.

David said, “Just as I honored your life today, may God honor my life and rescue me from all trouble.

Saul said to David, “Bless you, dear son David! Yes, do what you have to do! And, yes, succeed in all you attempt!” Then David went on his way, and Saul went home.” 1 Samuel 26:24-25

View on Christians

Recently an Englishman told me, “It’s hard for me to believe you’re a Christian, because I don’t feel like you’re judging me right now.”  My heart sank to hear such a clearly defined, universal opinion on what Christians do so well: judge.

I don’t blame him for forming this conclusion.  I grew up attending church and managed to misunderstand grace for many years – thinking communication of rights and wrongs was the primary function of Christianity.

An old song popped up on my iPod yesterday while walking to get Blake at school.  The lyrics communicate so well the thoughts that came to mind when my new friend commented on Christians being known more for regulations and less for their love of Jesus.

“Saving the World” by Clay Crosse

So many preachers
So many churches and denominations
Got their opinions and their documents
And statements and beliefs and sometimes
There’s a miscommunication

And we complicate the truth
And convolute the story
But as far as I recall
I do believe it all

Chorus:
Comes down to a man dying on a cross
Saving the world
Rising from the dead
Doing what He said He would do
Loving everyone He saw
When it’s said and done it all
Comes down to a man dying on a cross
Saving the world

It isn’t a secret
And maybe I’m being simple minded
But it’s about Jesus and a way, a truth, a life
That can change a heart and a soul forever
And we need to be reminded

It’s the power of the blood
That brings us to redemption
We can rise above the fall
And the reason for it all

chorus

Wow!

We typically have 5-6 regular attendees in our Sunday morning life group that meets online immediately following the 10am GMT Internet Campus experience.  Last Sunday we had 11 people attend!!

More on the London Live Event

Billy Ritchie’s Blog

Live London Event: 2 Lives Changed Forever!

Thanks everyone for your prayers!  We had a total of 67 people attend today (40 people locally, 27 online).  Two people committed their lives to Christ!  We also have a few people planning to attend this Wednesday night’s follow-up dinner in Soho.

We’ve handed out more than 1700 invitation cards on the streets of London this week.  We’ll keep our eyes peeled for more UK visitors to the Internet Campus in weeks to come.

The Milton Keynes Christian Centre worship team and volunteers were excellent.  I am proud to have played part on such a successful team today!

Dana

PS – Thanks Mike Jones for the screen shot!  :)

Dana on the Internet Campus experience today

Countdown to Jayma's Leaving (*sigh*)

Chris abruptly informed me a few nights back that this week marks the dreaded ‘one month until Jayma leaves’ date.  The four of us ate dinner without her as she was in the city last night – and it felt like walking around with shoes on the wrong feet.  Jayma has become a member of our family.

Nearly six months into obeying God’s leading to London, Jayma’s still patiently seeking to understand His will for her and whether she’ll get to return.  (Sound familiar?)  Please take a moment right now to pray for Jayma’s strength as she waits upon the Lord.  Pray she would know His specific will and see Him provide miraculously the faith and means for her to obey.

Jayma – you are such a shining star!  Your commitment to serve tirelessly and sacrifice for the Kingdom is admirable.  Your care for the four of us, your insight, and your involvement in all we’ve done since June are shrouded in excellence and humility.  Our family is better for having had you live under our roof.  We love you!

You won’t like this (which is reason enough to do it) – but I publicly dedicate to you these words written by Marianne Williamson:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

The Power of Praying Mums

We’ve had good interactions with unbelievers lately that have been opportunities to plant seeds of Truth.  But today I couldn’t help sharing with you instead an example of God’s faithfulness in the lives of even the youngest of believers.

Yesterday afternoon while waiting in the school yard for Blake, I received a neat surprise.  One of his classmate’s mothers approached me who’d heard I’m a Christian and our sons are in the same class.  Would I ilke to pray at the same time every week with her for the children in the boys’ class as well as their teachers?  We very quickly scheduled a time and day to pray each week then got busy getting to know one another.  This woman and her husband were missionaries in Russia for two years.  We have plenty in common, and our sons even walked out of school together while we were speaking.

Blake has been sharing about Jesus at school whenever he finds the opportunity, so imagine how special the moment was for me to tell him there’s another boy whose family loves Jesus in his very class.  Suddenly his world is feels more secure, I think.

6 Days to Go!

We filmed the closing video for Saturday’s LIVE in London Internet Campus experience in a park this morning – it was interesting watching people jogging, biking, and pushing strollers past as they listened to me speak to the camera about salvation through Jesus and watched me pray.  Some sped up walking and I think they thought I was calling them out.  It was funny.

We had a record of UK attendees at the 10am GMT experience this morning.  One of them even joined us for our online life group after the message today!

One of my best friends and my life group leader when we lived in Edmond is passing through to visit this week on her way back to OKC from a mission trip to Africa.  She is volunteering at the experience and I am personally relieved to have an old friend along as we prepare for this weekend.

A member of H20 church in Ardmore (a LifeChurch.tv network church) e-mailed me today he’s in England on business and plans to come into the city on Saturday morning to volunteer at the experience!

Milton Keynes Christian Centre has a team of 20 people coming down to London in a mini-bus Saturday morning to hand out invitations on the street and volunteer at the experience.

Local friends have been in touch this week just to say they’re praying for this event, for us, and are trying to sort things out to attend.  May all 133 seats in the cinema be filled!

The list goes on and on…God is wrapping us in His loving care as we make final preparations for Saturday.  It’s exhilarating and we praise Him for this opportunity to share Christ with hurting people in London and all around the world online.

Sarah Scharbrough

Our friend with whom we attended Anderson University has just released her third Christian CD.  Sarah Scharbrough’s jazzy melodies are available at iTunes.com  One of my favorite songs of Sarah’s is “So Many Reasons”. Check out the song “Made For You”, first performed in August 2000 as the song Chris and I danced to at our wedding.  (I’ve been very nostalgic while listening to it tonight but my happy tears were interrupted by two noisy kids in the bathtub!!)

Christianity Magazine just gave Sarah’s latest CD a great review.

Thought I’d do my bit to spread the word.  :)

dlb

My Global Community

It might sound like we are beating the same drum over and over again but I just can’t get over it.

We live in a global community.  In London almost half of the population is not white-british.  While they are still the majority it is only at 60%.  40% of the London population is made of people from many nationalities, countries, continents, cities, religions and backgrounds.

Now shift to the Internet.  Just this past Sunday I prayed with someone from the Phillipines and Pakistan.  In our life group (small group) following the experience we had people from the USA, UK, Pakistan, Phillipines and Austria.

How about missions.  Our friend Deziray is in Sierra Leone this week helping hundreds (yes I mean she personally is seeing hundreds) of desperate people get medical attention that they need.  A friend of ours is leaving soon for a country that has recently been very dangerous to Christian workers.

And adoption.  We adopted from Guatemala.  We have personal friends (and you probably do to) who have adopted from Addis Ababa, Africa; Russia; and China.

In just a moment I have pretty much touched the globe.

This is why we live in London.  This is why we are hosting the London LIVE Internet Campus experience.  We can all learn and grow and teach and love this world.  The event here in London will give us a chance to invite new people to experience this global Internet community.  We want to get to know them and we want to see how a local group of people can interact physically and online to change the world.

How can you change the world?

Chris

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