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Showing posts from January, 2016

Feelings. Goodbyes. God's Sovereignty.

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It was easier, the first time, to move to China.  I had just graduated and didn't really feel like I had a home anywhere particular.

It was easier, in August, riding around the country with a few other ELIC people, to be excited.



But now I'm making doctor's appointments, and sitting through congregational meetings thinking I won't be here when they elect their first elders, and thinking about wrapping up my lease and the logistics of where my stuff goes and how it gets there while I'm busy going to the other side of the world.

Right now, my feelings suck.

(Also, the highly illogical nature of feelings makes me insane.  So there I was, right, thinking about how much I'm sad to leave Btown and BOOM, my feelings were like, "Also this is a good time to miss Aliquippa.  Why on earth haven't you moved there?"  At which point my brain sort of went, "Goodbye, this makes no sense, see you later.")

On the bright(ish?) side, or at least to balance…

The Surprising Story of Cyrus

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I think that the story of Cyrus might just be one of the most underrated Bible stories.

(photo by Lou Levit)

So this king.  He had an impressive resume, in case "king" wasn't good enough.  During his reign, he conquered multiple empires:

Cyrus the Great's dominions comprised the largest empire the world has ever seen.  At the end of Cyrus's rule, the Achaemenid Empire stretched from Asia Minor in the west to the northwestern areas of India in the east. (Wikipedia on Cyrus the Great) (Take that, Genghis Khan, Alexander the Great, and Napoleon.)

Looking at the list of kingdoms that he conquered, it's easy to be impressed.  What's even more staggering is realizing God's sovereignty over all that.  The book of Isaiah was written over a century before Cyrus was even born, and God's prophecies about Cyrus are beautifully specific.

Thus says Yahweh to His anointed, to Cyrus,
whose right hand I have grasped,
to subdue nations before him
and to loose the be…

The truth about my heart.

The truth is simple: My heart is greedy.

As I walked home from work tonight, I was trying to figure out why I was so insanely stressed.  Work itself had been crazy, because we're a bit short staffed right now and the afternoon had gotten busy while I was the only one working, but that's happened before.  You just shake it off.

Or not.  I was still stressed about work as I headed home, stressed about this summer, stressed about going to China.  So I was thinking about why.

Here was the rhythm of my heart:  I want... I want... I want...

I want more weeks in the the US.  I want to know that I will have enough time with my friends here, with my family.  I want to not feel rushed in preparations.  I want more Sundays hanging out with the Powells and more walks to Crumble in the the changing seasons and more movie nights with the Tautology Club.  I want to know... I want plans... I want...

Going to China is, in some ways, a kind of death.  Or that's what it feels like.  An intru…

So once I was in a sword-fighting club.

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I don't really remember what I thought that college was going to be like.  I'm pretty sure that I thought it mostly had to do with classes and was startled as anything to find out that I was learning just as much (and probably more) from all of the people I was living with as from the lectures.

Shocker.

Nearly four years out from graduation, it's been interesting to me to see which friends are still a part of my life in ongoing ways, ways that build new memories rather than leaving us with the "remember when" stories.

A few particular things stand out in my mind as having impact far deeper than I could have anticipated.

The first is Dagorhir.  The friends who I sword fought (or not) with, ate with, stayed up late with, froze with, squished into booths with -- those are the people who have been most a part of my life post-graduation.  Those friends have constituted the majority of my college friends where our friendships have continued to grow as we have grown.  A…

pictures of life

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Pictures because although Bastille's words, "it is not enough to be dumbstruck/you must have some words in that head of yours," have been echoing in my mind, and there are plenty of words rattling around in my head, nothing has quite coalesced into a solid post yet.


2016 kicked off with an eight mile hike through gorgeous woods with Eric and Jaji.  may every year begin so well.


what George and I do together: hang out.  pester each other.  chill.


these lemon cloud cupcakes Laura made -- vanilla, meringue & candied lemon -- are probably the most delectable thing that has entered my mouth so far in 2016.


with the first snowfall of winter, Bloomington turned into Narnia, making my walk to work both enchanting and chilly.

turns out that when I build my own planner, it involves lots of colors, quotes, and words.  who would have guessed? :)

The Last Enemy

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So I've been thinking about death recently.  With Isaiah 40 in view for Community Bible Study this week, and conversations with Nat and finishing reading a biography of Bonhoeffer -- well.  Apparently my thoughts all synthesized while I was sleeping last night.  So here goes.



A voice says, "Cry!"
and I said, "What shall I cry?"
All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field...
The grass withers, the flower fades,
but the word of our God will stand forever.
Seeing how fragile and fleeting my life is gives me courage, not despair -- since I know the eternality of the living Word of God.  Since my life is so temporary -- and designedly so -- I should have no fear in using, risking, or losing it.

As Jim Elliot said, "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."

No fool at all; he is wise and blessed.  May that knowledge motivate me to live courageously this year and every year after.

Natalie and I last nigh…