“If you’re a first time visitor please stand up, we would like to welcome you,” said the person giving announcements, as they do every Sunday. An elderly, white-haired couple stood up behind me. When it was time for all members to stand up and greet one another, I turned around to shake their hands. “Oh, they don’t speak English,” said the young man sitting next to them, “they are from Argentina. He is a pastor in Argentina, they are just here visiting us.” He proceeded to introduce himself. I fumbled through what Spanish I could remember and managed a “Nice to meet you.” The man and woman smiled and nodded their heads. Then through their son we had a conversation about how long I had been in Cambodia and what I did here. I learned his son and his wife were teaching at Hope School. Our conversation ended with “God bless yous” and “Nice to meet yous” then worship started and I turned back around. Worship was very powerful and in the middle of a time of prayer and the Holy Spirit moving I heard behind me, “Hallelujah Gloria a Dios. Gracias por todos. Gracias Senior. Gracias por todos. Gloria a Dios . . . ” and I began to weep. Why was I weeping? Because of JESUS. Because my view of Jesus became very BIG in that moment. Americans were standing on my left. Argentineans were standing behind me. Cambodians were standing to my right. In our congregation that morning there Canadians, Philippinos, Australians, British, Singaporeans, Kiwis, and other countries from all over, and the thing that knit us all together, the thing that made us family, that made us join together, our voices raised in unison- even if we weren’t speaking the same spoken language, we were speaking the same heart language- and that thing is the name of JESUS. The reign and rule of JESUS. The fact that we were all children of ONE FATHER. We were all citizens of ONE KINGDOM. JESUS is the only name that transcends all time, all culture, all language, all barriers and unifies people from all walks, all backgrounds, all economic statuses, all languages, all countries, all cultures together as family. And the invitation to join his family is withheld from NO ONE!!! The invitation to live in his Kingdom is open to ALL people!!! HOW IS THAT NOT THE BEST NEWS IN THE WHOLE WORLD!?!?!?! . . . it IS the best news in the WHOLE WORLD. There is nothing greater than that news!! There is nothing more soul-satisfying; nothing more sweet; nothing more fulfilling; nothing more life-giving; nothing more hope-inspiring; nothing more miraculous than the name of JESUS. In that moment at church it felt as if Heaven touched earth. As if the sky opened up and God gave me a glimpse into the Kingdom, the Nation, the Priesthood that He is building for Himself. One where, because of Jesus we are welcome; where because of Jesus we are blameless; we are cleaned; we are adopted in. One where God is our God and we are His people. Dwelling together under the reign and rule of Jesus. It’s the Kingdom. Our worship time ended with one of my favorite songs, “Set a fire down in my soul that I can’t contain and I can’t control. I want more of You, God. I want more of You, God . . .” My BIGGER view, my expanded view of Jesus and the Kingdom has truly lit that fire in my soul. I walked out of church hungry; hungry for more of God; hungry for more of Jesus; hungry for more of the Kingdom.
Carry a light with you . . . into the night with you.
I AM: a DREAMER. a nurse. a daughter. a sister. a best friend. a story teller. a traveler. a writer. a romantic. a disciple of Christ. a healer. an artist. a mischief maker.
MY HEART IS: coy. compassionate. bold. honest. alive. gentle. mysterious. worth fighting for. beautiful. confident. authentic. natural. one-of-a-kind.
I DESIRE: wisdom. laughter. affection. change. travel. danger. holiness. adventure. romance. passion. life. love. kingdom.
I LOATHE: insincerity. slothfulness. ants. jealousy. materialism. alarm clocks. superficiality. betrayal. birds. cattiness. loving and losing. grudges. judgmental hearts.
. . . oh, and tomatoes & cats- with a passion.
I LOVE: my Jesus. my global family birthed out of the World Race. photography. spending time in Dayton, OH with friends and family. Pancho and Lefty by Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard. laying in my hammock with a good book. learning new languages. caring for children. thunderstorms. starry skies. road trips to anywhere coupled with good music. sushi. being barefoot.
I HAVE: seen I AM and now I know who I am. followed the Lord’s leading to be a missionary and discovered that home is not a place. an ever increasing adversity to beans even after eating them in every country on the World Race. white water rafted the Nile River. lived out of one backpack for a year. prayed healing for people and they have received it. tramped the Hillary Trail of Auckland, New Zealand. seen the Holy Spirit set young girls in Kenya free from condemnation and shame. become a modern day abolitionist. realized the value of being silent before the Lord. gone on a safari. shaved my head bald and experienced the deepest freedom I have ever known. completed two full circuits around the globe- take that Magellan!
I WILL: marry the man my heart loves- Leang, Bi. unveil beauty- the beauty of Christ, in the world around me. ride my bike across the USA. publish another piece of literature. go skydiving. become a photographer. adopt children. fight human trafficking through social enterprise. speak French, Spanish, Khmer, and one other forgein language fluently. give the Kingdom of Heaven to every neighbor God brings me. visit the Holocaust museum again. ride in a hot air balloon over some magnificient panorama. and if i must, lose my fingernails for Jesus’ sake.
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