It’s been too long since my last update! I apologize. It’s not necessarily that I was tardy (although that HAS been the outcome) it’s just that I have been waiting, expecting for God to drop something in my lap that just screams to be shared! I’m not sure that has happened, and I’m OK with that for now. We continue to make appointments with families, individuals, and churches, and we continue to watch our support creep closer to 50%. We have been gathering information in preparation for homeschooling Ella in the coming school year, in order to make our transition to homeschooling and Japanese school in Japan a less chaotic one. Our family has been in relatively good health, although Tracy has been experiencing chronic abdominal pain for well over a month now. It’s been challenging for her to push through the discomfort in all of her duties as a stay-at-home mom, and we would definitely appreciate your prayers for healing or an answer from her doctors as to the cause of the pain.
We continue to wait on God as he brings about opportunities to find partners, share our vision, and hear how other people are finding their purpose in God’s kingdom and their place in His Great Commission. Almost daily I am encouraged by someone’s story locally, or by hearing what God is doing overseas in our future home, Japan. Just recently I read a missionary blog post talking about how people from the nations of China, Korea, and Japan, along with other smaller Asian nations, all got together to profess their family bonds as fellow children of God, and to commit to loving each other despite politics and history because they are all the church, and the Bride of Christ. It spoke about fathers reconciling with children they had wronged, and calling all fathers in Asia to try to better emulate their heavenly father. This can only be a God thing, and stands in stark contrast to the most recent news on the decline of Christianity in the US. God is indeed moving!
Now, while God hasn’t dropped any knowledge in my lap, He has had me wrestling over some issues lately. I would really love to dialogue with you about what God has been laying on my heart. It all centers around the question “What makes a Christian?” I’ll start off the conversation by saying that it is Jesus and it is Grace. These are non-negotiable. Salvation comes only through Jesus Christ as a free gift by his grace, through the power of his death on the cross and his resurrection from the grave. But how does this play out in a life? Is it enough to say that a Christian is a “sinner, saved by grace”? What is it, then, that makes the difference between the good and wicked servants (Matthew 25:14-30), or the sheep and the goats (Matthew 25:31-46)? What deep reason lies behind Jesus’ admonition in Matthew 7 that “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” These are the words of Jesus himself, and I have loved working through some of these things in my mind, but I would much rather do this in community. What do you think? How does your image of salvation relate to these passages?