Surgery moved up!

My brother-in-law’s kidney transplant surgery has been moved up to tomorrow (5/1) at 10:30!  Please pray!  How appropriate that it’s on the National Day of Prayer.  Speaking of the National Day of Prayer, we are meeting tomorrow from 6-8 at the Los Altos flagpole for prayer.  Pray that the Lord would move on our campus!


Please pray

My sister and brother-in-law, Matt and Deanna, have been ministering for years at their local church with Pastor Jeff and his wife Karen. Jeff and Karen (and Matt and Deanna) really need your prayers. Jeff is in the midst of kindney failure, and Matt is donating one of his kidneys to him. The surgery is scheduled for May 8,  but may have to be moved up to May 1 because Jeff’s condition is deteriorating.  Please pray that he would make it.  I understand that the worse he gets, the surgery becomes more difficult.

Even worse, Karen was diagnosed several months ago with metastasized lung cancer. It’s the “we can’t really do anything, but will try to keep you alive as long as possible” kind. They have children who are I believe young teenager/pre-teen age. Because Karen’s medications are having difficult side effects, Deanna is going to be leading their church women’s retreat. Obviously, both Matt and Deanna are being stretched mightily as they love their friends. I am reminded of Jesus’ comment to Peter in Luke 22: “Satan wants to sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail.” The context is a bit different, but it seems like the enemy is on the attack against this couple and their ministry. Would you pray for them?

More Way of the Wild Heart, Eldredge

“If a man does not find his life in God, he will become a very thirsty man, and thirsty men have been known to do some very stupid things. Remember Buechner’s realization about the girl in Bermuda: ‘All the beauty I longed for beyond the beauty I longed for in her.’ Oh, how we must understand this, that there is a Beauty we long for calling to us through the beauty of the woman we are enchanted by. She is not the Beauty itself, only a messenger. If we never look beyond, we will try in vain to find it in her, causing both ourselves and the woman a great deal of pain. But to find it in God, to begin to experience in God what he sent Eve to fortell—now that is what David meant when he said, ‘Your love is better than life’ (Ps. 63:3 NIV)” (p. 208).

Our girlfriends, our wives, and the girls on the internet cannot satisfy us. Our heart longs for something much deeper. God placed in us a desire for beauty that no woman can ultimately satisfy. When we find our hearts and our lives in God, we stop looking at the woman in our life as something primarily there to meet our needs. Then she is free from the burden of performing to meet them. The goal is two people so in love with the Father that they are found complete in Him, and therefore free to love each other without condition—not with their own fallen, human love, but with His love.

Lord, may I seek you to this extent. I am nowhere close, but Lord, I know you can lead me there.

My testimony

I have written out some of the story of my walk with God. Click here or above on the tab “My Experience with God.”

Good stuff!

I was sick last weekend, but am finally feeling better!

Tonight I am going to pray with several pastors from Hacienda Heights and La Puente. The goal is to pray for revival in our community. I have been a big fan of the Transformations videos, and apparently these videos have also been instrumental in bringing this group of pastors together. Please pray that this movement of pastors and churches would grow!

Here is an interesting article I read recently (subscription to World required for full text). It pointed out a resource for non-Muslims to better understand the Qur’an (Koran). A long-time critic of Islam has decided to go through it chapter by chapter in order to help us understand it in context. The site is here.

There is big news about our rival high school in Hacienda Heights. Wilson High was shut down today because an obviously disturbed teenager made a very specific death threat against several students on the school’s Wikipedia site. Please pray for this young man (who has been arrested and has confessed) to come to know Christ, who is able to heal his mind and heart.

I have arranged to take my AP students on a field trip to the Reagan Library in May! I am excited, largely because of Air Force One. It’s going to be so cool.

My oldest daughter has chosen to be baptized this Sunday at church! Praise His name!

Finally, my most excellent principal has chosen to take a different position in the district, partly in order to see his family more. Please pray for a godly man or woman to be hired to replace him! Mr. Roberts has been exceedingly fair in terms of the ministry of our Christian club on campus, and we have appreciated his efforts. I look forward to building a positive relationship with whoever comes next!

Pictures of the Heights!

I finally changed the pic on my blog to be actually of Hacienda Heights.  You may have thought I lived in a quaint, seaside, farming village!  If you have scenic pictures of Hacienda Heights you think I would like, send them to me and maybe I will use them on my banner!

Easter Break at Doheny!

My girls!The Marine Animal Rescue team came and got him.

Advice to the new (or old) believer, pt. 2

Part 2 in a series… (back to part 1)

Choosing our one True Love over the false loves!

Oswald Chambers wrote “Get into the habit of saying, ‘Speak Lord,’ and life will become a romance…one great romance, a glorious opportunity for seeing marvelous things all the time.” God romantically pursues us, but because He must be looked for, we often choose to chase after false loves. We are born a huge wad of neediness. Then our life experience adds an extra-large helping of pain and disappointment. We crave acceptance and approval, someone to say “you are valued, loved, and I enjoy you—you are captivating, you have what it takes.” If we stopped to really listen to God, he is saying that to us, but it’s hard to hear his voice (see Pt. 3!).

So when we are feeling lonely, rejected, low, tired, weak, incapable, foolish, or in any other way bad about ourselves, we look to something to lift us up. God wants to be that something. He wants us to come to Him and tell Him exactly how we feel, even if the feelings are negative, even if we are telling him about our temptations as we are experiencing them. (I believe Psalm 139:19-24 is an example of this, and there are others in the Psalms—King David was especially good at this.) Then he wants to pour out his grace (favor, power) and mercy (forgiveness, releasing from punishment) on us to enable us to endure. And he will also show us why we are feeling the way we are feeling and will heal us over time, if we are faithful to seek him.

But you know what? That’s really hard sometimes. Chocolate is so much easier. Or shopping. Or TV. Or jumping on Facebook and hoping that others will help meet those deep needs in our hearts. For men, pornography is a common escape. And don’t forget the classics: drugs and alcohol. We self-medicate our pain, even though the Lord is there offering understanding and healing.

These false loves will never satisfy us. They leave us empty and broken and addicted. A good friend online or on the phone may help a little, in that we are for a moment not as lonely, but in the end the hole in our hearts are just covered over, but as deep as ever.

Does saying no to the false loves and yes to God just happen because we are now aware of the choice? Well, sometimes, yes! But often we choose the false loves anyway. One of the major themes of your (and my) lifelong journey of becoming a lover of God will be to allow him to reveal and heal. If you ask Him, He will reveal to you why certain false loves have power over you (often something from your past), and then will begin the process of healing that area of your heart. What a great God—the lover of our souls!

So next time you feel the desire for one of the false loves that will never satisfy, draw near to the Lord.  Ask Him to show you what the real unmet need is, and ask Him to meet it His way.  And then we have to trust Him to do it, even if He does it in a way we don’t like at first.  If we trust him anyway, the blessings are countless!

Update: As I was eating my ice cream right out of the carton standing in front of the fridge just now, the thought occurred to me that some might interpret my comments as to mean that we should never enjoy things like chocolate or alcohol. While I would say there are clear scriptural commands against things like pornography and drinking unto drunkenness, other things against which there is no scriptural command can be enjoyed in moderation. But we can abuse almost anything unto addiction.  The Holy Spirit will let you know when you overstep healthy boundaries for you, but it’s important not to judge others for whom the boundaries are in different places.

On to part 3!

Advice to the new (or old) believer, pt. 1

During prayer Thursday morning, I was praying for a student that recently came to Christ, and was reflecting on what encouragement I would give her.  And I decided to turn it into a little series. As I am certainly not an expert on Christian discipleship, I would love your input as well.

Pt. 1:  The love of the Father.

This is where it all starts.  It has taken me about 20 years as a Christian to get this, but it didn’t have to.

Drill it into your head that you can’t earn it.  You really can’t make God love you more.  You can’t win his approval by praying more, or studying the bible more, or by sharing your faith more, etc.  Many of us old believers have spent years under the burden of counting our minutes of prayer and bible study, wondering if we have done enough.  To the new believer (and old), understand that you are not primarily a servant of God (John 15:15), but a son (or daughter) (Romans 8:15-16). So what?  Well, it changes everything!

Consider this analogy.  If you are merely a servant, and your master gives you a task, you are extremely concerned about how well you perform the task.  A master/servant relationship is one of performance—did you do what you were told, and and how well did you do it?  But how much different when we have a loving father.  Imagine a loving father with a two-year old daughter.  The father is sweeping the floor.  Like any two-year-old, you want to get a broom and do what your father is doing (John 5:19-20).  Now, is the loving father going to say to his precious little girl, “hey, you missed a spot!  And over here you actually made it worse!  You’re an idiot!”  Of course not, he is going to loving say, “sure, here’s a broom, let me teach you,” meanwhile he is the one going behind you and actually making sure the floor gets clean.  He is concerned about our heart, not the performance of the task.  And he draws joy from our desire to be with him and to please him.

Now, as we hang out with the father, will we get better at sweeping the floor (or whatever else we see Him doing and partner with Him to do)?  Of course, but that is not the main point.  The main point is to experience a loving unity with the Father.

So often our earthly parents couldn’t love us in all the ways we needed (who could?).  So we spend our early years trying to earn more love from them.  When they are not available, we try to earn the love and approval of others, which leads to pain and disappointment.  When we come to Christ, God says, “you can stop trying to earn it.  I already love you with a perfect love.  Enjoy my love and rest in it.”  And when we have our need for love and approval met in Him, oh, how wonderful a Father He is!  His love transforms us, and enables us to pour out his love to others, even if we don’t get it back.  As am imperfect disciple, I don’t walk in this love all the time, but it’s so good when I do!

Here is part 2!

Praise him

Just heard that a precious student of mine came to Christ in Europe last week!  It was a trip sponsored by two of the teachers at our school, and has no spiritual content at all that I am aware of (though I did hear they went to Notre Dame on Easter Sunday). But God works!  

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