Jul 31, 2008

Southern Blues

So, I have been to El Paso/Juarez a number of times. Today, particularily, I want to go back. I miss the food, and the culture, and the smiles from the children. Life there just seems so much simpler. And believe me, mission trips are no holiday, but yet they are. There is something so fullfilling about doing God's work. About doing something that actually benefits others.


My best friend and one of the community children



Las Tapias over the years:

2006

2007


2008

This is my favourite place in the world. I hope someday I can make a real difference here. Of course, that is if God is calling me there. Where He leads, I will follow.

Jul 29, 2008

Do Hard Things

Teenagers today have ZERO expectations. No one requires them to be smart, nor punctual, nor wise. No one requires them to be anything less than teenagers. I am excited that I am finally overcoming that time in my life. The 'high school drama party mean-girls' part. What's sad is that cultural expectations of teens are so low, that the majority of kids see no reason to fulfill any sort of potential.

I read an interesting book this summer. 'Do Hard Things' by Brett and Alex Harris, two teens who had one huge desire to rise above cultural unexpectations. Their battle cry started with a blog, which literally became an instant hit. Turns out they weren't the only one frusterated with the idea that teenage life was somehow coordinated to be 'fashionable and easy'. Is there anything really farther from the truth? God calls us to be ambassadors of His name, even as teenagers. God doesn't cut us slack because 'kids will be kids', no He demands that we act with virtue and salt no matter what age we are at.

I wonder where all those things we learned as children disappeared to the second we turned 13. I wonder where the whole concept of 'no lying, be nice, no kicking, use your inside voice, treat others with respect, etc' disappeared to in the teenage years. Why did our parents become the enemy? Why is it that the only expectations we had for ourselves at 16 were to dress the best and attend all the wild parties on weekends? Why is it that society said this was okay? At what point in time did we look at the teenagers in our world and think to ourselves, "Oh, It's only a phase, they'll grow out of it when they turn 20." As if that is the official age real life begins.

Alex says this in the first ever Blog post 'The Myth of Adolescence'

My contention is simple: The young adults of our generation are the elephant. Our twine is the 20th century concept of adolescence. Our twig is societal expectations. We stand restrained as a hurting world burns around us. Yet our twine and twig are of a recent origin. Young adults of the past were not so encumbered.
David Farragut, the U.S. Navy’s first admiral, became a midshipman on the warship Essex at the age of 10. At the age of 12, a mere boy by modern standards, Farragut was given command of his first ship, sailing a capture vessel, crew, and prisoners, back to the U.S. after a successful battle. Young David was given responsibility at an early age, and he rose to the occasion.
The father of our country, George Washington, though never thought to be particularly bright by his peers, began to master geometry, trigonometry, and surveying when he would have been a 5th or 6th grader in our day and ceased his formal education at 14 years of age. At the age of 16 he was named official surveyor for Culpepper County, Virginia. For the next three years, Washington earned nearly $100,000 a year (in modern purchasing power). By the age of 21, he had leveraged his knowledge of the surrounding land, along with his income, to acquire 2,300 acres of prime Virginian land.

...The only thing holding young people back in America today is the twine of this perpetual recess called adolescence and the twig of lowered social expectations. We expect immaturity and irresponsibility, from ourselves and from one another, and that is exactly what we get.

The question that remains, is why?

Alex and Brett Harris have started something, The Rebelution. You can check out more at www.therebelution.com . There are links to the blog, and so much more. 1 Timothy 4:12 says, "Do not let anyone look down at you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in faith, in truth, in life, in love, and in purity." But to do that, we need to live it. That might just require doing some hard things (and no, deciding between Nike and Puma doens't count).

Jul 27, 2008

Selah

One of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard. Put together with some of the most beautiful photos I have ever seen. Matt has been taking lovely shots of creation as the bike tour continues. It never ceases to amaze me, the handywork of God. From the roaring mountains to the sweeping valleys to the deserts and everything in between.

'And the holy voices sing, "Allelu, ever will thy reign be." As I wander through this life, o Lord, be thou near to me.'

video

The song is by Selah and can be found on their duets CD.

A small part of me cries this every morning. Oh Lord, Be near to me, get me through this day. But these lyrics, paired up with the amazing works of HIS hands, are just incredible. Some of the greatest moments I've experienced, humbled in the Power of Christ, have been in the simple awe of his creation. Where He spoke in the silences. Not in the wind, not in the rain, not in the thunder, nor the lightening. But in the rainbow, and the sweet flower. "I am near to you." The desire we have, to ask for His guidance is what fuels life. What fuels the church.

This summer, 221 riders from the CRC and RCA have embarked on a cross continental bike tour to raise money for the poverty campaign. They have reached and heightened their fundraising goal. They have experienced the North American terrain, taken photographs, grown close to the other riders, and grown closer to God. The ambitions are great, the glory is God's.

NOTE: Matt's blog can be found at http://www.rekmanseatosea08.blogspot.com/ . He keeps updated the bike tour, as well as fundraising goals, and simple things he has experienced on the trip, however, you won't find anymore of his pictures there. For that you need to go on Facebook.

Jul 21, 2008

A short list of some of my favourite Quotage

'If in living we die and in dying we live, what happens when we're in a coma? Do we become omnipotent?' -'Speaker unknown'


'And all I'm saying is, see what a wonderful world it would be if only we'd give it a chance. Love baby, Love, thats the secret yeah. If lots more of us loved each other, we'd solve lots more problems and then this world would be so much better. Thats why old Pop's keeps saying....i think to myself, what a wonderful world.' -Louis Armstrong, What a Wonderful World


'R&B lanes do not take responsiblity for damage to personalized balls!' - A sign for a bowling alley


'When the electricity goes off, we can all watch tv by candlelight.' -Anonymous


'Why didn't Millie just unscrew the parlour walls and take them with her??' -Craig Vamos



Are there any more than need to be added? I'm willing to take suggestions. In the mean time, a photo from the most beautiful wedding ever.

Short Stuff

I seem to have an abundance of blog readers. Shout at me if you are listening!

Oh, and FYI: Marineland now has radio commercials too.

-bk

Jul 16, 2008

Some things money can't buy...

Casting Crowns wrote amazing lyrics. 'I will praise you in this storm, and I will lift my hands, for you are who you are, no matter where I am. Every tear I cried, you hold in your hand. You've never left my side, and though my heart is torn, I will praise You in this storm.'

Today, I had an experience money cannot buy. I spent the entire afternoon shopping with my mother. We had a lovely time, shopping for incredible shoes, and outfits, and all the razzle dazzle (which some people call bling) to go with the outfits. It was wonderful. For all the money we spent, the best moment came on the drive home, through the lightening storm.

Those Casting Crowns lyrics became very literal to me as our van chugged along the 402 towards Strathroy as the clouds sort of enclosed around us....or above us...whichever creates a more dramatic mental photo for you. Thunderstorms scare me. And so all I could think (even through the blasting Michael Buble music we had in the CD player) were those Casting Crowns lyrics. I will praise you in this storm. This one, right now, God, protect me. Let me tell you, there were a few strikes of lightening that came close to the highway.

But the more I watched the storm, and replayed the lyrics over and over in my mind, the more I found the storm to be quite breathtaking. Terrifying, but incredibly breathtaking. The lightening danced between the clouds in hues of blues and oranges and yellows and white. Spectacular evidences of the hands of God. 'I will praise you in this storm.' Not a storm of life, and no, my heart was not broken, or torn, nor had I cried any tears, but the lightening reminded me that even in the storms of life God's hand is right there. His handywork is evident, and He is protecting us. How often we wonder why we are put through the tough times. How often we curse God for making things miserable, and perhaps even unbearable, but there is still beauty. Even in the most terrifying moments, look at the colour in the lightening and remember God is there.

'I will praise You in this storm, and I will lift my hands.' Perhaps I won't lift my hands at the lightening, but because of it.

-bk