Saturday, July 30, 2005

Bedroom painting

I am very pleased to say that we are painting our bedroom today. To this point we actually have been sleeping in the spare bedroom of our condo. The pressure on us is two-fold: 1) We are hosting someone for work during the International Conference in September, and 2) The temperature drops at least 10 degrees when you leave the spare room. For these and other reasons, we very much want to move into our bedroom and leave the spare bedroom days behind.
At this point the room is basically painted. We just need to come back and care for some details and it will be done. Once we put up window treatments we will be able to move in. We are very much looking forward to that!
Hope you have a great weekend!

Saturday, July 16, 2005

More Thailand thoughts

This picture is a collage of the Sunday Morning Christian celebration service and a couple other winners.

Much of the last day in Thailand was spent briefing the Vision Team Members how to answer the question, "So, how was your trip to Thailand?" Dave warned the kids that folks back in the States would have absolutely nothing to relate to when attempting to understand what the team had experienced. Dave prepared the kids to expect very short attention spans on the part of those listening to Vision Team adventures. There is just no way for folks to imagine what is being conveyed.

As a team leader the best way to sum up the entire Thailand experience was verbalized in a testimony given by Clark Perry at the Karen jungle village Christian church service. In paraphrase Clark expressed; "I didn't know what I expected when I came [to your village]. But what I found were 'on fire' Christians who knew more scripture than us, understood the meaning of the scripture better and understand what freedom in Christ is better than us. It puts us to shame." When the service concluded the village pastor did not pray for his poor small church, but he prayed that the Vision Team would gain in understanding and grace in their life in Christ. In salutation he looked forward to heaven where we would all have
no language barriers, just sweet fellowship.

Dave explained that the prison of animal sacrifice, spirit worship, and Buddhism gives the Thais a formula to follow to get to heaven or at least to an elevated level of reincarnation. If a white person offers the plan of Christian salvation to a Thai they will quickly accept it then ask for the new formula of works to follow to heaven. That is why missionaries spend 3 years laying out the gospel chronologically so that the Thais understand unequivocally that Christianity is a relationship, not merely a lifestyle. When a Thai grasps the gravity of the message, the freedom from works to get to heaven, they cannot clean up their homes quick enough, they cannot memorize scripture fast enough, they cannot walk 12 miles through the jungle to the the next village with the Good News soon enough. They cannot contain themselves with their new found freedom in Christ.

What so gripped the Vision Team was the fact that since the Thais from the Karen village had never been to "Church" they were totally and absolutely unencumbered by having to conform to a "Christian Lifestyle" immediately following a verbal decision for Christ. Bottom line, all the Vision Team saw was the freedom of Christ living through the Karen village people. There were no human rules or traditions tacked on, just a fresh, exciting new life in Christ.

Even though the teens had heard this 'sermon' dozens of times it came to life when they saw and experienced it through the lives of those in the village. "I get it. I finally get it."

This understanding of who we are in Christ may have been made possible for some of the team ONLY by being placed in this environment after such a great investment of money, time, effort and prayer.

Thank you to all who supported this effort that so revolutionized the lives and understanding of all fifteen Vision Team members.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Long time, no posting

Sorry for the silence on here. It has been a good week at work and we are headed to Cleveland for the weekend. My friend is getting married in September. Since I can't go to his wedding, I am going to his shower with Becca on Sunday. Actually Becca will be going to the shower. Mark and I will hang out while the ladies exchange gifts. Looking forward to a good time with my family and will be singing at my parent's church on Sunday.
Let me leave you with one thought from today's Our Daily Bread that challenged me. The Scripture reading for today was Matthew 6:25-34.
Look at it this way: Whether or not you live only for money, you'll ultimately leave it or it will leave you. But if you focus your life on God and doing His will, all these other things will be provided.
Does your concern for making money and keeping it overshadow your concern for doing God's will? If so, stop and look at the birds.

Friday, July 01, 2005


The curriculum the Vision Team experienced in Thailand is a modification of the Summit Program. A portion of that program involves cultural studies. Without understanding the culture it is impossible to relate to the people. Buddhism is the driving force in Thailand so David spent much time in preparation of materials in the study of that cult. Dave was amazed at the parallels between Buddhist practices and Old Testament Jewish traditions.

At the top of the mountain, overlooking Chiang Mai, at the premiere Buddhist temple, Dave asked the team, "Why was Satan banished from Heaven? Because he wanted to be equal with God." Instead Satan created a counterfeit cult setting himself up as the head. No place is there a better counterfeit to the Israelites temple than the Buddhist temple, with its encompassing wall, overlays of gold, the holy of holies, the offering of three incense sticks, the list goes on and on.

Below is a picture of the 300 steps leading up to the temple and the gold steeple at its peak, center between the walls.