Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Just Peacemaking

Over the weekend beloved Fuller professor Dr. Glen Stassen passed away.  I took Dr. Stassen's Ethics course while at Fuller and have been profoundly impacted by his teachings.  Dr. Stassen's ability to research complex passages and explain then in a digestible manner allowed me to experience the Word in new way.  I highlighted, marked and underlined so many sentences in his book, Kingdom Ethics, that it is almost unreadable now.  Dr. Stassen is best known for his work with Just Peacemaking ( and his scholarly work on the Sermon on the Mount.

The principles I learned in his class will remain with me forever. My biggest take away from Dr. Stassen's teachings is the Kingdom principle of reconciliation.  His heart is for people to be brought back into right relationship with Himself, each other, and the world around them.  J. reached out to people who were rejected by society.  He stayed at Zacchaeus' house as a sign that even the most hated person in town is worthy of love and a relationship with the Creator.  The Kingdom is about restoring relationships, bringing those outside back into the love found in right relationships.

Kingdom Ethics helped me better understand love.  One of my favorite lines from the books: "Love sees with compassion and enters into the situation of those in bondage (or enmity)."  I am so thankful for his wisdom that helped me prepare for a life of working overseas with amazing organizations that reach out to those on the margins of society.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Second Chances

I was introduced to this song on Easter Sunday and have had it playing non-stop ever since.  I absolutely love the powerful words of this song that highlight the redemption of the Cross!  Because of His sacrificial death, we have restored relationship with the Creator of heaven and earth. 

I love Rend Collective's lyrics which reminds us that:
        Everything is redeemable through His blood. 
        There is always forgiveness for our mistakes when we seek Him.
        Hope restarts at the Cross.  He has victory over our circumstances.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Human Condition

22 million people, 8 million cars, and immeasurable numbers of buses, cyclists, and pedestrians.  To say that this city has a traffic problem is a gross understatement.

No one is their best self when stuck in a traffic jam after a long day at work. Knowing this fact in my head has not helped my attitude.  I have found myself easily frustrated with the sheer amount of people on the road.  I have found myself judging traffic patterns, saying things like: "This would never happen in America.....if everyone would follow the rules we would move quicker......why do people always do that?"  Without meaning to I was judging a culture and people I love so much.  I was comparing my new culture to the one I grew up with, focusing on the negatives.

One day when I was riding my bike to language school and grumbling to myself about bad drivers and how no one actually stops at the lights, He gently whispered one word to me: selfishness.  Every single human being is selfish and is only looking out for their own good, myself included.  People are born selfish.  Parents do not need to teach their children how to look out for themselves, focus on their own interests.  It's the opposite.  Parents exert a tremendous amount of energy teaching their children to set aside their own interests and consider other's.

I do not even want to know the number of times a day I only consider my own interests.  He knows that number, which is way too high, and He uses my grumbling to highlight an area that I really need to grow in.  He gave me a supernatural glimpse into traffic and then called me to be less selfish. Now, anytime I see a bad traffic situation or someone running a light, I am reminded that I need to be less selfish and that my actions effect other people.  A crowded bus is a call to live out the Fruit of the S.  I always need to be showing people more love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self control.