Wednesday, November 11, 2009

If there is any encouragement in Christ...

I can't believe it's already almost 10:30 (EST). I got up early this morning (that's Scout, with her leash, telling me to "GET ON WITH IT!") because I knew today was going to demand a little extra and the first couple of hours have simply involved catch up...

...With one notable exception. Rebekah and I had a delightful twenty minute conversation with our son, Andrew, courtesy of SKYPE. SKYPE, for those who don't know, is a computer program that allows us to talk via live video with anyone, anywhere in the world, who has the same program running at their end.

I still can't wrap my mind around the technology; but I can wrap my heart around the impact it has. There's Andrew, perched in his 36th floor apartment in a downtown high-rise in the middle of Bahrain's biggest city in the middle of the dessert - carrying his laptop computer around his home and showing us all the rooms and the spectacular views. And here we are, 8,000 miles away, siting in our kitchen, sipping coffee, sharing a moment with our son.

At the same time, I'm building a relationship with 20 participants in my first ever on-line workshop; people from literally all over the USA. This is a powerful technology, still developing faster than most of us can keep up, opening a world of connections.

Early this morning I opened an email I'd like to share, written by the commanding officer of a Naval base in the Pacific Northwest:
  • I first would like to thank you for putting together three great books. Our Bible study group used your book In my heart I carry a star last year at advent and we have all tried to move toward the goal having that Christmas feeling all year long. We found the emphasis on connecting the Christmas celebration to that of the triumph of God at Easter. This week we are finishing up your most recent book on the unmaking of a part time Christian. We have all found your unique writing style and the stories of family and friends as a particularly rewarding in its natural connection to our own walk in faith and love of family and friends.... ...Thank you for your work. There are at least twenty people on the pilgrims path that have moved closer to Christ because of your books.God Bless....

The idea that we can encourage one another and strengthen faith and support people thousands of miles away in their journey as followers of Jesus - that is exciting and motivational and it makes me want to work all the harder to honor God in this ministry - wherever and however it takes me.

And so, Paul wrote to his friends in the Philippian Church, "If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others...."

Amen - DEREK


Al Paton said...

Go Navy ... sorry couldn't resist. And OBTW ...Happy Veteran's Day

Andrew must be experiencing quite a cultural shift with his move from Tuscany to Bahrain. I'll be he prefers the Tuscan cuisine ... though anything can be found in Bahrain.

Can you imaagine how long yesterday's session could have been in preson ... would have taken quite the facilitator to control all the wonderful sharing.

Thank you for the tasking from Paul ...certainly a sermon in itself.

Al in SoCal

Sherry said...

Psalms 16:11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
This is my HOPE

Anonymous said...

I couldn't help but wonder if Andrew will have a Nativity set at his apartment in Bahrain this Advent. And if so, that some 8,000 miles away, will he allow you via Skype to see the wise men find their way slowly to the manger scene with the baby mysteriously appearing once again?

Lucy in FL

Kyle said...

Love your blog. It is so versatile and interesting. It is kind of you to share so much about yourself and your family. We at St. Timothy's have been fortunate enough to have 2 female priests. One became a priest while her husband was our minister so we ended up with a husband/wife team. She moved on to become the first female bishop in the Episcopal Church. The other one came to us from Seminary in Sewanee, TN. Her husband was over maintenance at Sewanee and commuted here every weekend and sang in the choir. Both seem to have good marriages and are very supportive of each other. We are living at such an interesting time.
Sandra in Alabama