Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Foreigner - Going Off the Grid

God the father knew you and chose you long ago . . . now we live with great expectation. The Apostle Peter

For seven days I was alone in the city of Nanyang -- population 10.5 million. For seven days I never saw another light-skinned person, or any people group other than Chinese. For seven days I had access to one Chinese who could speak in my native tongue. For seven days I never saw English print.

Out of the bubble . . .

Though the first of many more to come my first exposure to total immersion into Asian culture was a quantum leap from the soft environment of living in Peter Hall! At SIAS foreign teachers are not required to learn to speak Chinese. We have our own compound. To a great extent we can maintain our Western lifestyle. Once instructing for the day is finished we can retreat to faculty housing. In PH you will see no more Chinese than you would if you were roaming the halls of an American university.

Peter reminds us . . .

When it’s time to go off the grid, God says, live with great expectation, and not just in the hope of the good ole' days or the sweet by-and-by, but in the present anonymity of the sketchy now-and-now! God will show up!

Enjoying the Adventure,

Bill

Monday, January 16, 2012

Foreigner - Chapter 2

God the father knew you and chose you long ago, and his Spirit has made you holy. As a result you have obeyed him and have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ. The Apostle Peter

God’s picks and chooses. A truth that has been cussed and discussed since God chose to accept Abel’s offering and rejected Cain’s. Since He chose to, “love Jacob and hate Esau.” Theological systems have been developed to explain the “why’s and wherefores” of election/selection. However, it’s a train of thought that is above our ability to comprehend. The baffling examples of Divine prerogative can’t be harmonized with human logic. God’s choices are unexplainable, but from my view of the deck His unbreakable commitment to stick with His choices may be the most profound!

Peter writes to people living far from home, and says (I paraphrase), “Your heavenly Father knew you and chose you for His own before you were a twinkle in your earthly daddy’s eye.”

During 2011 Dad’s health began to deteriorate rapidly. By March a series of medical complications piled up and like an avalanche swept him into the valley of the shadow of death. My sister Barb called to tell me that Dad's Dr. believed his passing was imminent. I got on a plane in Charlotte, NC and to his bedside as soon as I could.

With just God and me present Dad told me of some of his fears – confessions I have heard at least a hundred times by the faithful in their final moments. Dad was as “saved” as saved can be. He was redeemed. But he was about to enter eternity and in his mind there were “logical” reasons to doubt that God’s grace and love could cover all his sin. It was a surreal moment as we sat and talked and wept and found peace in the illogical love of God.

Perhaps you’ve heard the, “St. Peter met so and so at the pearly gates” jokes.

I smile -- when in my imagination – my father passes through the veil and is met by rough and tumble Peter! Redeemed, but still gloriously wild, he pokes my father in the shoulder and says . . .

“Burleigh! Your heavenly Father knew you and chose you for His own before you were a twinkle in your earthly daddy’s eye. Welcome home!”




Sunday, January 15, 2012

Foreigners

This letter is from peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, I am writing to God’s chosen people who are living as foreigners pontus, Galatia, cappadocia, asia, and Bithynia.

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ

Screw-ups, like myself, are grateful that God chose to preserve many of the unflattering details of his Peter’s spiritual journey, yet kept him close, transformed him, and kept him on the frontline. The bodacious fisherman was presumptuous and impetuous, and his first response to nearly everything was to meet it head-on with misguided zeal and uncensored responses. God was constantly at work in Peter’s life turning up the heat so as to burn away the dross. The endgame? Peter would reflect Christ, not Simon.

I am writing to God’s chosen people who are living as foreigners. Says Peter.

As I write Sandy is my muse. How is that? God brought her to the apostle’s words in the early morning hours, and as she shared with me how He was meeting her there, my own thirst sent me to the same well.

Sandy and I have stayed on the forward edge of the Kingdom’s advance as trailblazers, but I can say that the day-to-day of living abroad has caused us to look more closely into Peter’s brief letter. This is different. At the present we belong to the unique fraternity to whom Peter’s speaks in his first letter; we are foreigners.

If Chinese internet technology will cooperate I will leave a few posts for anyone interested to read.