Monday, January 07, 2008
Sunday, December 16, 2007
The world's best footballer these days, a young Brazilian by the name of Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite, or better known as just KAKÁ isn't just a wonderful football player, he is also a great testimony of Jesus Christ and what Jesus has done in Kaká's life. After each goal, and there are many, he points to heaven to show who gets all the glory in Kaká's life, and after each trophy he has won, and he has won many, he shows his t-shirt saying I BELONG TO JESUS!
In fact it seems like the only problem with this wonderful Christian brother, is that he isn't willing to switch club to Real Madrid..!:-)
More about Kaká here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaká
Torben - who also belongs to Jesus!
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Is that concern born out of a love for people? I hope so. I am a discipleship trainer. That's my job, my calling, and who I am. And I want more out of life. More of the abundant life that Jesus promised. More for myself and more for others.
Sometimes it gets overboard, and I end up challenging too much or in inappropriate ways, or I am plain, old wrong.
I am sorry to anybody who has felt judged by my clumsy attempt to express the sadness I do have in my heart regarding friends who seem to be far away from God. And I apologize that I didn't mention that obviously my sadness and concern is more based on personal contact than on a Facebook-profile.
In Christ's service (also when I'm clumsy:-))
A while ago I gave into peer pressure for the first time in my life (??!!!) and joined the Facebook world. Now, a few months later, apparently I have 160 friends! Friends seems like a pretty broad term, especially for those people who have 400 or 898 friends:-)
It's been interesting and fun to catch up with old friends and acquaintances from different eras of my life. Some are married and have kids, others look like they haven't changed a whole lot since I said goodbye to them 10-15 years ago. Some are still going strong with God, but I have to admit that there is a huge sadness in my heart when I read a lot of my friends' profiles. So many who once claimed to be Christians and where the things of God were their, at least spoken, priority seem to have changed those priorities. I'm not the Holy Spirit, and I can't say what's going on in peoples' hearts, and I realize that not everybody wants to put a big sermon on Facebook, but still....your interests, your spare time activities, the books you read, he music you listen to, your favorite quotes, what your friends write on your wall, etc. all of it a story. And - as far as I can see for a number of my friends - a sad story.
"All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost" the author of Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien once wrote. And I have to hold on this little nugget of truth. People might be running away from God, but he doesn't run away from them. People might be caught in mediocrity, suffering the consequences of poor (relationship) choices, etc., but God is the constant one. His patience doesn't end. His love never fades.
So I'll keep praying for my wandering friends, even those who have decided to cut contact with me, because I talk too much about God and the things of his kingdom...:-(
I know God is in control, and I know that he has plans and purposes even for those of his children who run far away. Thank God he is always out looking for us. And thank God he never gives up on me. I can always come back to him.
"But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him" (Luke 15:20)
God bless you!
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
This past Sunday a tragedy happened in Colorado, USA. Two young YWAM’ers (Youth With A Mission), Tiffany and Philip, and two young churchgoing sisters, Rachael and Stephanie, were murdered by a young man, Matthew Murray.
Murray was attending a Discipleship Training School (DTS) five years ago, but was asked to leave due to health and most likely mental issues that were hindering him from getting everything out of his DTS. Five years later he showed up at YWAM Denver, murdered Tiffany and Philip and wounded two other young men. Then he traveled to New Life Church, murdered the two sisters, injured three others, before he was eventually shot to death by an alert security guard.
A terrible tragedy. And obviously for me as DTS director, who have also had to ask students to not continue their studies with YWAM this hits home with a lot of force. I’ve cried when I’ve read the reports from these tragedies, and I’ve asked God to intervene in mighty ways.
And this is one of the cases where your view of who God is comes out in the open. Either God doesn’t care about us, and this is yet another meaningless tragedy, or he is he who he says he is in the Bible, and we can trust that God will bring life and resurrection out of this terrible event.
I believe and hold on to the latter understanding. God is the God of life and resurrection, and he will always bring life out of death. Jesus had to die to bring life to many. We die to ourselves to get full life in Christ. In the kingdom of God things are turned upside down. Death brings life. Lay down your rights to receive all God has for you. Humble yourself and God will exalt you. Don’t defend yourself and judge others, for God will do both for you. How do you grow? You die to yourself and accept that you have everything in Christ.
Because there is a God of of life and resurrection I’ll never lay down my life and die without being resurrected again. Every time I humble myself, God will exalt me. In situations like the one in Colorado, all we have to cling to are verses such as Psalm 30:5b “weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning” and John 12:24 “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds”.
I believe God will bring resurrection, life, freedom and joy through the sacrifices, the kernels of wheats, of Tiffany, Philip, Rachael and Stephanie. “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church”, the historian Tertulian wrote hundreds of years ago. And it’s still true today. Life will spring forth. Death and darkness shall not have the last word. This may look like a victory for Satan, hopelessness, depression and darkness, but it isn’t. God will bring life. God will bring victory. If he didn’t, he wouldn’t be the almighty God of the Bible that I – and many others – have put our lives in the hand of!
May God bring forgiveness and life to Matthew Murray’s parents as well who now after the death of their son are left with the haunting question: “what did we do wrong?”. May the God of all comfort, comfort them and bring hope into their hearts.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Beautiful song of surrender. I especially love the line "as if you should do things my way". So often I want God to do things my way. How safe it is to surrender to the God of love and allow him to have things his way. And his ways always happens to be the best ways in the long run! I need to be reminded of this truth these days when my perspective is clouded and my head and heart seem filled with doubt, unbelief and fear regarding the future. He knows what he is doing "and I surrender to Your ways"
How hard it is for us to love. How precious and wonderful it is when we allow ourselves to love. In this weekend of Thanksgiving in America, I've been reminded of how thankful I am that God has given me the courage to love. Or rather that he is loving through me. He knows that I'm afraid, but I'm so glad that he loves people through me.
I'm so happy that God has given Jeannette and I the courage to be vulnerable and open with each other. What a wonder that is!
Thank you, God! - are there any readers out there??
Monday, November 12, 2007
Mohammed had no idea who Jesus was, but Jesus kept showing himself in Mohammed’s dreams. Jesus sent a local, Christian missionary to speak to Mohammed and after a while Mohammed gave his life to Jesus Christ.
And he was never the same again.
It’s an incredible story of how Jesus found and completely transformed Mohammed’s life. I have never met a young believer, Mohammed has only been a Christian for four years, with such a clear understanding of the truly important things of God. He understands very well who God is and who he is in God. I’ve been amazed of the clarity of his faith every time I’ve had the privilege of talking to him.
He has been a huge blessing to me these weeks. I have a heart for Muslims and want them to meet Christ and get to experience real life, truth, peace, joy and love. And it has been so encouraging to see how Jesus has met Mohammed. It shows me that there truly is hope for all Muslims. There was no good reason that Mohammed would meet Jesus. But Jesus found him, and he can’t find anybody. Even those who seem far away from him.
And now Mohammed has to leave again. He thought he was gonna be here for nine months, but now he has to go after just a couple of months. Circumstances didn’t work out. Some people didn’t do what they promised to do, and he couldn’t get the right visa. And he has to leave, and it doesn’t make any sense.
It doesn’t make any sense that he isn’t gonna stay here. He doesn’t think so either, but how encouraging it was to hear him say: “those who hope and believe in God will renew their strength”. Mohammed will go and make a difference no matter where he goes. Jesus has changed him and will continue to change him. And Jesus will meet other people through Mohammed.
I will continue to pray for my friend, and I’m looking forward to seeing him again some day whether it’ll be here on this planet or on the new earth someday.
I know that God’s plans are higher and better than ours, so I’ll trust in him. And I’ll look forward to hearing how God’s plans will look like for Mohammed.
“I’ll praise you in this storm, and I’ll lift my hands. You are who You are no matter where I am. And every tear I’ve cried, You hold in Your hands, and though my heart is torn, I’ll praise You in this storm”, Casting Crowns “Praise You In This Storm”
Monday, October 29, 2007
Jeannette and I just saw the wonderful movie Les Misérables, based on Victor Hugo's novel, again. What a wonderful movie. And what an excellent portrait of the contrast between grace (Jean Valjean) and the law (Javert).
Enjoy this little clip where a new man is born.