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Follow Jesus to the Ends of the Earth

These People Will Change the World

This week I’m at Cru’s World Stint Briefing in Chicago. We’re training and preparing close to 500 missionaries who will leave here in a few days to go throughout the world to reach students this next year. Many will go to difficult, hard-to-reach places. Most will be challenged by living in a foreign culture and being away from home this next year. All will return with fresh eyes for how God works and how God is moving among young people the world over.

We often hear in our world about something “changing everything,” which many times is no more than an advertising slogan. However, when one of these young people brings the message of the gospel to another young person who’s never heard the good news, then truly everything in their life begins to change. Hope replaces despair. Meaning replaces loss. God enters a life. The world changes, one person at a time.

Would you take a minute a pray for these fresh missionaries? Our prayers help pave the way for the conversations they will be having this year and, through our prayers, we get to join with them in changing the world.

Open My Eyes…

“Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.” 

So goes this prayer found in Psalm 119:18, the longest psalm and chapter in the Bible, written in praise of scripture and its benefits on our lives. The Holy Scriptures are worth reading, discussing, pondering, memorizing, praying over, listening to and generally spending any amount of time taking in. No moment in scripture is a waste of time.

The scriptures at our fingertips really are amazing. I don’t think about their life-changing qualities nearly enough. The prayer by the psalmist, “open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law,” reminds us of the profundity of the Bible. The scriptures are a conduit to the ways of the Lord, a power cord connecting us to wisdom and insight. Wonderful things lie before us if we will allow God to open our eyes.

The Wonderful Randomness of India

A couple of years ago I went to snap a photo of my friends and traveling companions in India. As I took the picture the man on the left photo-bombed us. Then, after the pic he wandered away. In India you never know what adventure awaits you!

Until the Cows Come Home

When walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain, you meet plenty of cows. You need to watch your step.

The cows meet plenty of pilgrims, but don’t seem to have much to say.

You’re never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.

CS Lewis

Laundry Day

Laundry hanging out to dry from windows in Spain

Abraham Lincoln on Freedom

I’m reposting this, my favorite speech, because it’s good to read these thoughts when we’re thinking about the independence we all value and the nation we so appreciate. Lincoln’s Gettysburg address…

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.

It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Abraham Lincoln
November 19, 1863

Does This Add Up?

On the passion facade of La Sagrada Familia, the magnificent cathedral in Barcelona, Spain, you’ll spot this odd grid of numbers. Designed and placed here by the cathedral’s architect, Antoni Gaudi, this is known as a “magic square.”

Why is this so special? Try adding the numbers in any direction and discover the sum (the bottom number on the right is 15 – apologies for my photography). Then, think about what significance that sum has in a cathedral dedicated to the glory of God.

Gaudi used a variety of imagery, light and shapes to draw the visitor’s attention and devotion to God when they walked through his cathedral. In my mind, this square represents a clever way to catch your attention and entice you to give thought to the image of the invisible God.

Still stumped? Shoot me a note and I’ll fill you in on the secret.

Chopsticks

Utensil rack in Beijing cafeteria

As a Westerner who needs a knife, fork and spoon (and sometimes fingers) to get food from my plate to my face, I appreciate the dexterity and simplicity of eating with chopsticks. It’s impressive. However, the above dining utensil option of chopsticks and only chopsticks, means that I’m looking at a long, slow meal, and most likely noodles in my lap.

For the Glory – Chariots of Fire Revisited

Eric Liddell, the subject of Duncan Hamilton’s biography, For the Glory, was both an Olympic champion in the 400 meters and an exemplary missionary in China. Perhaps even more impressive is how he treated people throughout his life. Rich or poor, English or Chinese, he truly “did unto others” in the sense that Jesus meant.

One of my favorite movies of all time is Chariots of Fire, which came out in 1981 and told the story of Liddell and fellow countryman Harold Abrahams, as their running careers culminated in the 1924 Olympics. This book goes much deeper into Liddell’s family background and follows his life up to that Olympic moment, then on through his missionary career in China. Liddell’s faith in Christ and his devotion to others shines through in the book.

Liddell’s life story is wonderful and tragic. As you read you’ll discover a new hero in the faith, just as I’ve done. This is a splendid book for your summer reading and I encourage you to watch the movie if you’ve never seen it!

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