Monday, November 25, 2013


I read this in the wee hours of the morning, and I've been chewing on it for much of today. 

This is a quote from Bishop Festo Kivengere (1919-1988), a man often referred to as "the Billy Graham of Africa." He said this right before persecution in Uganda by President Idi Amin drove him from Uganda:

"Revival doesn't come to respectable Christians. If you think that because you're a good church member, or because you belong to such and such organization, you're going to be revived you had better forget it. The basis of revival is men and women shattered by their failures- aware that all is not well, helpless to do anything about it…. The church is like our African grasslands, where I herded cattle as a boy. Huge fires roar over it, and the land looks black and dead. But immediately after the first rain, the grass springs up more luxuriantly than ever. The plains turn green and the cows fatten. No fire passing over the church can destroy the seeds of victorious faith. And the church in Uganda today is springing up, rich, green and growing." 

I love that. 

Let's pray for the persecuted church and their seeds of victorious faith. 

And let's repent of our "respectable Christianity."  

The quote is from the book,  A God-Sized Vision- Revival Stories that Stretch and Stir. It's crazy good. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

lunch recess.

There are some lessons as a parent that are just painfully hard to learn.

My oldest, Caleb, just had his ninth birthday. In the last couple of years of moving and school changes, he has been such a champ. I love my kid. I love his corny jokes. I love how he snuggles with Finlee and pretends to be a puppy with her. I love how he'll struggle through practice spelling tests with me at breakfast every day because he really wants to get 100% on Friday's spelling test, and that's not a subject that comes easily to him. He's growing up and I emphatically and passionately love this little person that he is. Caleb's the best nine year old in the world.

He's in the third grade.
Do you remember the third grade?

I remember wearing a ton of neon, getting the chicken pox and trying to invent sweater pants. I also remember some of the insecurity and longing to be in the popular crowd that all started right about then. You know, the days when recess just hurt because you so wanted to be part of the other group of kids doing the other (much, much cooler) thing? You're doing your four-square, but all the cool kids are playing handball- so for recess you've just got a mean case of handball envy, even though you really do like four-square?

Tell me it wasn't just me.

For a couple of weeks when we ask Caleb about recess he tells us that he just hung out by himself. Or went on the swings. By himself. Or just ran around. By himself. Most of his friends are playing soccer, and he doesn't really want to play soccer because "the soccer kids" get in trouble, get hurt, fight, have bloody noses, break their ankles- basically soccer is ruining everyone's life.

Everyone except Caleb.

When I picked him up from school today, Caleb was bursting with news and smiles about lunch recess. One of the soccer kids was absent and they invited Caleb to play. He was stoked, telling me all about who did what and how exciting it was. Maybe I'm dense, but that was when it clicked- he's been on the outside looking in on those lunch recess soccer games.

He wanted in, but he was watching from the swings.

That realization broke my heart.

I would love to be able to shield Caleb from the hurts of lunch recess.

As I thought and prayed about it, the Holy Spirit brought this Scripture to mind:

"And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope." Romans 5:3-4

I daily pray that Caleb would grow up to be a man of persevering character, rejoicing in the hope of his King Jesus who faced the deepest pain of rejection on his behalf. I don't often think of any of my kids going through times of trial or pain- those are things that I would absorb for them if I could. But that's not always best. This is a lesson that's new for me.

In all of these musings I begin to see a little more clearly a shadow of the love that our Heavenly Father has for us. Able to shield us from the hurt and brokenness of this world, but in His wisdom and mercy refraining. Meeting us in our brokenness with healing arms and words of comfort that bring life to our weary bones, because that's best.

"The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit." Psalm 34:18

I think of Isaiah 53 and I'm a little more humbled than I was yesterday by the greatness of our Father's love.

All because of a third grade lunch recess soccer game.