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The Auld Triangle

The Auld Triangle,” is an beautiful Irish song about a man in prison. The old triangle, made of metal, rang every morning to wake the inmates. The song was written for a play about a prisoner in Mountjoy prison and occurred in the play just moments before the prisoner’s impending execution.

Here, some of Ireland’s best singer-songwriters sing together with a great crowd in the Royal Albert Hall, London. Enjoy (or as they might say, “cheers.”)

 

We’ll be goin’ round to China

Well, seems as though another trip to China is in order.

Aging relatives, job opportunity, and missions are all factors that inspired us to buy tickets last night.

Linli had an successful interview with one of Memphis’ largest companies, and they’ve asked her for another one next Friday. If all goes well, she might start in June.

Since we have a couple of weeks between school and that potential beginning of a new career, we think the time slot in between might be one of the last chances we get to visit friends and family in China for longer than one week. We plan to stay three weeks, leaving on May 16. (My final presentation is on the 15th, as well as Linli’s next CPA exam!) We are leaving the next morning.

Please pray for Linli’s interview, that God’s will be done. Also, please pray for our endurance, because this is the final stretch of the race that is this semester. We’ve both bitten off more than we like to chew, so we are ready to finish but finish well.

We are happy for my nephew, Bailey, to have an appointment at the National Jewish Hospital in Denver. Maybe this trouble of his will find healing. Please pray for the Hyder family and keep them in your prayers throughout the season. They’re set to fly to Denver on Easter day–which is a good sign.

http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/help-bailey-get-to-special-skin-clinic-in-denver/102046

The New Creation in Revelation 21-22, Summary & Musical Remix of Stories in the book of Acts

Dr. Richard Oster has poured lots of energy into his commentary on Revelation. Commentary on the first three chapters already printed. Check out his words here and the songs his students made. Pretty awesome.

Molding Citizens for the Kingdom of God

Next post is Guest Post ~~~ you will not want to miss it!

Post 07 [Whew!, the last one]

Summary

Tonight I have not wanted to spend my time illustrating John’s imagery and teachings against the important backdrop of Second Temple Judaism or against the backdrop of important sources from the Graeco-Roman world.  Although I do enjoy doing that, and I did some of that in my recent commentary on the Letters to the Seven Congregations of Revelation, that was not my goal tonight.  Nor did I want to do an exegesis of the texts of Rev. 21-22, although that is a crucial step in the process of good and reliable Bible study.  Rather, I wanted to highlight a few points on John’s spiritual agenda and then make some very needed applications for God’s people in the early 21st century.

I began with some brief comments about interpretive pitfalls. …

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Chinese-American Year of the (Wild) Horses: Blessings and a Tribute

The Chinese Year of the Horse has recently begun, and the next time this could  happen would be in twelve years. So, many who were born in a Year of the Horse (at least 12 years ago) are very excited about 2014.  To learn more about the Chinese Zodiac, you can Travel China Guide or Google(v.) it.

Horses are considered by some Chinese as “energetic, bright, warm-hearted, intelligent and able.” I borrowed those adjectives from Travel China Guide because of all the ways I’ve heard horses described tonight, I like these the most, particularly the latter two: intelligent and able.  “Able” in my mind connotes humility to accompany one’s abilities. Perhaps, though, Americans  primarily see horses as wild and free-spirited. All good things.

Tonight, at Memphis’ Chinese New Year celebration hosted by the Greater Memphis United Chinese Association, the opening speaker said this is a year many people will make big decisions and changes for their lives. Whatever you believe about the Chinese Zodiac and the Year of the Horse, I hope you have an amazing year with lots of joyful surprises.

While I was at the show tonight (which was awesome–it really was one of the most well-ran and entertaining New Year shows I’ve ever seen!), I was thinking about the meaning of the year and the fact that my awesome wife “is a horse.” All of a sudden, I remembered a song I used to love to listen to and play along with back in the days that I was really “into” songwriting.

I  love a well written song. One of my favorites is by Ray LaMontagne: “All the Wild Horses.” It’s a tune to listen to with eyes closed, meditating on the lyrics. I found a nice video put together and shared by Sandy Elmore, the woman behind the blog, Wild in the Pryors. She captured some beautiful images of the wild horses up on Pryor Pountain in Montana. The video looks great, and I’m glad it includes Ray’s song.

The lyrics mostly go like this:

“All the wild horses–

all the wild horses, tethered with tears in their eyes–

May no man’s touch ever tame you.

May no man’s reigns ever chain you,

and may no man’s weight

every lay freight your soul.

And as for the clouds,

just let them roll.

Roll away, roll away.”

May your dark clouds roll away and our shared Year of the Horse 2014 be blessed with freedom in Christ.

Notes for Reading Philippians 2:1-5 in Chinese

Well, Sam keeps putting me on the list to serve in the Chinese service at Highland, so I’m forced to stretch.

I’m pretty excited about this Sunday’s service. I’m supposed to read Philippians 2:1-5 and pray. Though I always feel inadequate for this kind of ministry, I’m thankful for the opportunity.

Often I use a Bible that has English, 汉字,and pīnyīn(transliteration of the sounds of Chinese characters), which Beng Chuan Tan gave to me, but this time, because the Powerpoint has the scripture in a different Chinese translation, the reading comes from notes.

I copy/pasted their preferred Chinese translation into Microsoft Word, and thankfully, I know at least half of the characters, so I’m just adding pīnyīn and definitions to the words I’m still learning.

Mostly because I love this chapter of Philippians and am in sharing kind of mood, I want to share what I’m using to read tomorrow. This aims not to glorify me but rather to encourage others struggling to learn a language, especially missionaries. If these notes reveal anything of myself it is my weakness, not strength. Also, the name of this blog comes from the eighth verse in the same chapter of Philippians.

philip 2 chinese

Fall (Study) Break, Worms, Men and God’s Missions

Fall is here and more importantly, fall-like weather came along, too. 

I see now why not many seminary students have blogs, though: who has the time?

When I simply work, in the restaurant, for example (in past summers), the workday is over when I leave the “office.” When class is over, though, well–the fun begins. Truly, I am enjoying all of my classes and especially the community. I’ve never lived on a campus, and I have never attended a Christian university, until now. 

I love it.

I’ve noticed a motif bouncing around this semester, mostly in missions meetings, but you already know what it is.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deep down, you know:

God is in control — absolute control.

Therefore, He does not need us to make excuses for Him, so as to try to “get Him off the hook,” as it were. 

The problem of evil, sure, is a mystery, either somewhat or very much, depending on how your day is going, maybe.

A long-term missionary (I’ve removed his name to protect his privacy) corrected himself once in chapel: “we built…[x amount]…of churches in Indonesia — well, I should say: God built them.”

 

See what happened there? God uses us, sure, yes and amen, but He does things. He gets the glory. 

 

God also uses worms, by the way. (See Jonah 4:7)

 

Neither the one who waters nor the one who plants is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. (1 Cor. 3:7)

 

Last Sunday at Highland, another long-term missionary (who spent many years in Russia and China, among other places) came for a weekend of stirring up the missions committee for worship and missions, and he shared a strikingly similar concern as the previously mentioned visitor: the mission not our mission, its God’s mission. He said we need to check our pronouns and get them straight: not ours, but His

So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ,provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. (Romans 8:12-17, ESV)

 

 

 

 

 

Reblog/Press: Keep Your Identity Small

Keep Your Identity Small, by Paul Graham.

A friend of mine recommended this article, and I found it useful, so here’s to sharing.

Graham writes: 

I think what religion and politics have in common is that they become part of people’s identity, and people can never have a fruitful argument about something that’s part of their identity. By definition they’re partisan.

The most intriguing thing about this theory, if it’s right, is that it explains not merely which kinds of discussions to avoid, but how to have better ideas. If people can’t think clearly about anything that has become part of their identity, then all other things being equal, the best plan is to let as few things into your identity as possible. [2]

Most people reading this will already be fairly tolerant. But there is a step beyond thinking of yourself as x but tolerating y: not even to consider yourself an x. The more labels you have for yourself, the dumber they make you.

via Keep Your Identity Small.

The wise friend who share Graham’s piece with me also has a website worthy of your attention: http://rbiser.com/