Breaking Blog Silence: after almost 3 years, I’m reengaging in the blogosphere and excited to see folks have visited The TIPing Point in China in the meantime. My great friend Mike Redeker just started his blog and gave me a great excuse to break the “silence” and start posting here and other places. Be sure to check out his blog as I promise he’ll always serve up some great truth to ponder or be amused by, along with some great pics from around our great planet.
Cheers from the great nation of Texas!:)
There are three purposes for this blog.
1) I’m in search of thoughts that will outlive myself. Thoughts about God and His creation.
2) I’m looking around this world to photograph God’s glory in every day life.
I love people. I love talking to people, dining with people, listening to people. People are like a book with many chapters in their lives. Most stories go to the grave without being shared. That is a tragedy. Our stories can encourage others. They can help the next guy say, “Hey they are like me!” Each individual on the planet is created by God for a purpose. I’m not claiming to be better than anyone else. I’m a messed up human attempting to follow Christ. That being said, here is the final purpose:
3) I want to encourage you. I want you to allow God to bring out the best in you.
Now more than 10 hours ago, I left Beijing after what seemed like the 10 months I spent there had lasted about 10 minutes, but had also somehow been more like 10 years. How so much adventure and fun and amazing, supernatural work could get packed into such a "short" time on this incredible journey of joyful uncertainty that has officially come to a close has only one explanation (see also below). I have a lot of unpacking to do when I get back, and not just with my luggage. So much was packed into these last days and weeks and even the final minutes of my time that I am thankful for and want to unpack with words here, which I will. My original connecting flight home was even canceled and let me have some bonus face and talk and prayer time at the airport with one of my great friends, Kyle, who had already returned from his faithful time on the journey in China with TIP.
For now, before my laptop battery dies as I cruise the last couple of hours to Dallas at 40,000 feet above the earth, enjoying the free in-flight wi-fi on Alaska Air, I want to share the lyrics to a song new to me that my great friend, teaching partner in TIP, and amazing sister in Christ, Dorothy, shared with me moments before I boarded the plane in Beijing. I can’t imagine a more special message to receive during my last minutes in the place where I enjoyed so much of what God is doing in the great land and people of China. I got to listen to and read them for the first time in the Starbucks where we were supposed to rendezvous before we even knew each other, but didn’t, when we both first arrived last August 5th in Beijing Capital International Airport. So amazing to consider all that has taken place since then….I’ll write it about all of it more in the coming days.
Praise God that He allowed me to participate in all that took place this last 10 months! I will never be the same.
To all my friends in the TIP family and all my friends all across China, I have so much I could and want to say, but for now this is my parting wish for each of you:
"I Wish You Jesus" by Scott Wesley
I could wish you joy and peace
to last your whole life long.
I could wish you sunshine
or a cheerful little song.
I wish you all the happiness
that this life could bring
But I wish you JESUS
more than anything.
I could wish you leaves of gold
or may your path be smooth.
I could wish you treasures
so that all your dreams come true.
I wish you all the paradise
that every day be free.
But I wish you JESUS
more than anything.
For when I wish you JESUS
I wish you everything.
Watch this sometime and share it with someone you care about:
This morning I woke up wondering if God designed that we would need sleep everyday to remind us of the Resurrection of Jesus when we wake up. In ways that echo and provide a shadow in a sense of this event, the daily pattern of rise, live the day, sleep, wake again gives a picture of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. I wonder why do we have to lie down to sleep? Why didn’t God just design us to not need sleep in the first place?
But to wake up daily in the knowledge that, even if it’s hidden behind a line of clouds in a storm, or a hazy day fogged over with pollution, the sun will rise and light the day. In an odd sort’ve way, lying down nightly foretells the eventuality of the grave for all of us, but the morning renews the reality that we will live on beyond the darkness, beyond this life, beyond physical death.
And praise God for His provision that the life both here and beyond is intended to be full of Him, even in the brokenness and suffering of this world that is not ultimately our home, just like our beds are not ultimately the place we are to exist. The vastness and magnificence of the universe is meant primarily to display His glory that we might praise Him, and not ourselves, and awaken and surrender fully to the desires He originally intended for all of us to have to be in a relationship with the Creator.
So I praise God that I woke up today, that the sun also rose again, and today we can celebrate that the One who created everything also rose 2010 years ago and proved His defeat of death, sin, Satan, and even self so that we, as the first two women to see Him that first Easter morning did, would worship Him with all our life, in all we do. Just as the angel instructed them, so am I instructed to “come and see” that it is just as He said–He is not here, He has risen, just as He said–and then “go quickly and tell.”
So I will go eat some french toast now, watch some live Final Four streaming, and look forward to carrying out today’s assignments to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19).
” So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31
If you’re reading this and don’t know this Jesus who is celebrated today, invite you to come and see, and consider Him who today we celebrate, and Who is not asleep, but alive and risen indeed. Just as He said….
Thanks to my friend and teammate, Geoff Hill, for creating and sharing this fun four minutes that gives a glimpse of some of the TIP events and our students and facilitators during our monthly English-only sessions…think summer camp for English!
Enjoy it here also… 🙂
I look ahead as March Madness rolls on toward its climax this coming weekend while I look back on the beginning of this month here on its last day and wonder how it seemingly just evaporated into a time vacuum. For me, March began not with madness but series of sudden events and a mad dash to join my kids in Southeast Asia while their mom returned to Canada to be with her family that lost Dabney, her stepmom, to a sudden and fatal heart attack. This came only days after my family and this world lost a great one when my uncle, the senior most male member of our family, also passed away suddenly from a stroke. Maybe all that’s why March, 2010 "suddenly" seems to be over.
So much took place in this month I can hardly recount it all. Two deaths, the birth of my new nephew, an unplanned, week-long tour of Southeast Asia with my kids to Bhutan, Thailand, and Laos, the lost passport and visa adventures of leaving China and moving in and out of 3 countries, hiking, temples, archery, special time at an orphanage with 29 children cared for by one adult couple, feeding and washing 33 elephants rescued by a most unlikely and diminutive lady, planting 120 trees where 30,000 others had been added in only the prior 10 months, and Muay Thai kick boxing with some semi-professionals. And then there was plenty of after arriving back in Beijing as a both a final blast of snow and Spring arrived in the same week while we were redeveloping training plans and programs for next year, participating in the close of our session with Dot’s amazing Genius Group of Gladiators from Class G, and joining our team to help lead worship at the English Fellowship service of Haidian Christian church. I’m aiming to unpack each of these separately here in a series of new posts, so hang on for more, including a few flashbacks from earlier this year as well.
Meantime, for now we can welcome April tomorrow and a new month full of more joyful uncertainty to experience. In store is a brand new session, TIP #35, with 100s of new students arriving, and when it wraps up a chance will arrive to visit bunches of TIP alumni students, as well as training the trainers for the dozens of new TIP facilitators that will arrive this summer, and preparing for the next chapter back in the great "nation" of Texas when I return in just 2 months for a new adventure with Teach for America. I have a feeling they will pass quickly just as March did.
This has been a very unique week that has unusual events unfolding. After two relatively sudden deaths in our family, my uncle and dad’s oldest brother, Don, and Sue’s stepmom, Dabney, both from that great southern state of South Carolina, Sue is headed home to Canada for the funeral and to care for her dad who is not well. I am leaving tonight to be with our kids in Bhutan and travel with them to Thailand and Laos before Sue returns there and I head back to Beijing.
Please pray for safety and protection in our travels and our kids, and the comfort and peace of our families who are mourning the losses of two very special people.
There’s no guarantee of tomorrow for any of us, so call someone special in your life today and tell them you love them while today is still today, and before tomorrow becomes a yesterday.