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Month: January 2016

Great Ball of Fire

Great Ball of Fire

I’ve never been a sun lover.  In fact, since moving to Alaska I’ve discovered that I’m really a snowman trapped in a human body (and all those years I thought I was sweating—turns out I was actually melting!).

But here in Port Graham where the mountains rise higher than the sun for three months out of the year, even a non-sun lover like myself can begin to feel the negative effects of sun-less days… weariness, sadness, depression, and a feeling of imprisonment (not to mention that terrible glow-in-the-dark skin color us whities get)!  Who knew the sun was a giant battery charger for our bodies?!  

A few days ago, just when I was convinced the sun had been swallowed up by a black hole and was never going to shine again, I caught a glimpse of that great ball of fire. For ten glorious minutes its beautiful rays shone between two mountains, and I stood in the middle of the road (children, don’t do this at home) with my arms spread wide, my eyes closed, and my face lifted toward the sun, basking in its warmth.  Amazing.

And then it hit me.  The physical effects we suffer from lack of sunshine are strangely similar to the spiritual effects we suffer from lack of “Son-shine”.  Weariness, despair, complacency, and prisons of addiction can plague our lives and slowly drag us away from the Son.  But unlike the physical sun in Port Graham, the Son of God can rise above the mountains in our lives and shine his forgiveness, grace, love, and healing into our souls.  

Are you feeling Son-starved?  Why not crack open God’s love letter to you and bask in the warmth of His words.  It will do wonders for your health.

“Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.'”   –John 8:12



When we moved to Alaska, we were on an adventure to experience God.  Little did we know that would include a taste of His power through a 7.1 magnitude earthquake!    Early Sunday morning, we were jolted awake by a loud “Crack!” followed by a whole lot of rattling, rumbling and rolling.  For over a minute (which seemed like an eternity) the ground beneath us shook, shimmied, and swayed, and then it stopped as suddenly as it had started.

The next morning at church when the Chief of the village asked if I was going to give a sermon on the power of God, I replied, “I’m pretty sure God preached that sermon last night, and I have nothing to add!”  Thanks be to God who protected us (and our village) from any serious injuries or property damage.

Today our nerves have calmed down, our wall pictures are straight again, the contents of our cupboards are newly organized, and we are grateful we didn’t have to do any tsunami surfing…God is GOOD!  Thank you for your thoughts, prayers, phone calls, texts, and emails over the last couple days.  It is such an encouragement and blessing to know that although thousands of miles separate us from most of you, we are close in mind and heart.

Let There Be Light

Let There Be Light

A few weeks ago I discovered a treasure at the local store.  I found some of those battery operated tea light candles (it’s the small things!).  Candles of any sort are a little hard to come by in the village, and these little tea lights were going to put the finishing touch on one of my decorations.  

With great anticipation I opened my package of candles and flipped the power switch to “on”.  Expecting the warm glow of candlelight to emanate from my new decoration (okay, so maybe LED light isn’t exactly warm, but you get the idea), I was quite surprised and more than a little disappointed when nothing happened.  No flickering LED light, no warm glow, nothing.  

Thinking the problem must be the battery, I opened the back of the candle to investigate the reason for the lack of light.  What did I find?  A little plastic shield that prevents the battery from providing power to the candle. Of course if I had read the instructions, I would have saved myself some frustration because the instructions clearly stated that you “must remove the plastic shield over the battery before the candle will operate”.  Oh.  Right.  It’s amazing how things work when we follow instructions!

Isn’t that just like our life?  When we discover the treasure of Jesus and choose to embrace him, he promises that we are a brand new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17) and we will be a light to the nations (Isaiah 42:6). Sometimes however our light doesn’t work and we wonder why.  But when we read God’s instruction book, it clearly states that in order for Jesus to power-up our light we have to remove the thing that prevents us from tapping into His power:  sin—anything and everything that displeases God (Romans 8:13). The more we indulge our sinful nature, the further we get from God’s power, and the dimmer our light grows until it finally disappears altogether.  

Together, let’s turn away from the sin in our lives that prevents us from tapping into God’s power.  Then, and only then, will the warm glow of the Holy Spirit emanate from our souls and shine so that those around us will discover the treasure of Jesus, too.  (Matthew 5:16)

21 Lessons Learned

21 Lessons Learned

1. When learning a language be sure to verify the pronunciation of new words before trying to converse. If you don’t, you might mistakenly call your host another name for a donkey when you thought you were asking for a cup of tea. Oops.

2. People over productivity – Opportunities to spend time building new relationships always trump getting things done on the “To Do List”.

3. Which is scarier? Large animals outside the church that go bump in the night, or a stark white pastor investigating said “bump in the night” in his skivvies armed with a flashlight and a loaded 9mm pistol? Pastor won.

4. Count your blessings. Friends, family, haircuts, and burgers are a luxury—don’t take them for granted!

5. God provides. Always.

6. Riding an ATV with your mouth even slightly open guarantees a non-vegetarian meal. Yumm!

7. Silence is golden.

8. God’s armor: don’t leave home without it! There is an intense war waging for our souls.

9. Remember the plug or your boat will sink….rapidly.

10. Everyone in the village owns multiple pairs of binoculars, and they are often aimed in our direction. We like to think of this as built-in accountability for practicing what we preach!

11. Remove suckers before eating octopus legs.

12. Hurt people, hurt people. BUT Jesus has compassion on them, and we should too.

13. Eskimo Ice Cream will never be Baskin Robins’ flavor of the month. Somehow Crisco, fermented fish eggs, and mayo don’t go down as easily as Pralines and Cream.

14. Don’t just read God’s Word, know it!

15. Seal oil is an immediate (and very effective) laxative….enough said.

16. Pets are angels in fur.

17. God can use loss to bring blessings.

18. Who needs entertainment when you have crazy white man in village?

19. Observation is the best teacher when learning to live in a new culture.

20. God’s will, not ours.

21. John 3:16. JESUS is the answer for everything and everyone, no matter what culture you embrace, language you speak, or where you live.