Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Dreams, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.

Lately, i've been striving to learn to say no to more things so that I can say yes to more things. That sounds a little weird I'm sure, but let me explain.

There are constant demands on our most precious resource every day. Time. We have a very limited amount of it. (In fact I might write a future note on the subject itself.) But lately, I've been learning how to say no to some things so that I can say yes to other things that are better and more streamlined uses of my time.

As a result, I have been getting better rest, and I've started dreaming. I've started having dreams while I'm sleeping and while I'm awake. Now when you have dreams while sleeping, I have heard it means you are actually getting some deep sleep. Back in first century Israel, I have heard that there was a proverb that a person who went a week without dreaming was considered out of favor with God. (All the more reason to be glad I'm dreaming). I don't remember much about these dreams--just the people. For instance, my mom was in this last one. And I am frustrated that I didn't write out the details. But just like with any dream you feel like you will never forget it.

But I've also started dreaming in the daytime. Not so much day-dreaming as imagining what my life/ministry/community could look like. I was reading a book that said that many people don't have a dream or a vision that orients their life. They just go throught the motions and wing it day by day. For years. And years. And then one day, they realize that they have missed out on opportunity after opportunity.

As you read, take a moment and ask yourself Self, what are my dreams? Begin dreaming big. Just like the picture above--the sky is the limit. Most people at the end of their lives say they would like to have risked more, reflected more, and given their lives to things that will go on after they are gone.

What God-given dreams are you giving your life to? If you aren't sure, there's no time like the present to begin thinking about it and dreaming big!!!

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Gospel According to Moses: Land/People

Seneca, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.
I couldn't quite find the photo to represent last night's h2o message, but I hope you enjoy this view of seneca rocks.

Last night we continued our series The Gospel According to Moses at h2o with a focus on land and people. You can download this and other h2o podcasts from "H2O Morgantown Live" on itunes.

This series has been looking at some defining characteristics of ancient Israel, and how some very good things can go very bad at times. You see ancient Israel was promised through abraham that they would be a blessing to all of the nations, and that they would be given land from which they would be a light to the nations.

By the time of the first century, Israel had lost it's call. It had become a people who looked down on the nations, and who considered the lands beyond it's borders unholy. It had gotten so bad that if you stepped outside of Israel, you were defiled, and you were supposed to "shake the dust off your sandals before heading back within the borders of Israel.

I believe every group of people on the face of the earth has wrestled with similar ideas. How often do we wrestle with ideas like this in contemporary society. We see our churches or our nation as the holiest place, and we don't dare set foot outside them among the "bad" people. We don't want want to step out of our comfort zones and reach out to those around us who may be in "dark" places.

When Jesus preached he reminded Israel and us that we are meant to be a blessing to those around us. Our borders are not simply geographic. He encouraged patriotism but not nationalism or territorialism. He encouraged people to reach beyond their comfort zones and to love enemies and bless those who curse you and despitefully use you. He told us to help the ones who are lying hurt along the side of the road, and to help bring them restoration instead of busily walking by.

As you go through your week this week, take time to consider being a good citizen in the Kingdom of Heaven, and invite others to share in its amazing blessing. Reach out and step out of your comfort zones and engage in a conversation with some people who are different than you. If you've had a condescending or patronizing attitude toward others, check your heart, and make a change. Don't become territorial and spend time only with people who are just like you.

Look out your window and seek to be a blessing this week to the world around you!

Friday, October 26, 2007


Butterflies, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.
I was looking at the photos of our day in the wilderness together, and this photo just captivated me. There's my dad. So focused, and so full of care for his family. I just appreciate all the times we get to share to gether, and the adventures he's willing to go on with me. So many thoughts and memories get captured in a photo, and then get set free in our own minds.

Looking at this image, I remember that slightly after I took the picture, my dad had butterflies.

When I mention the word butterflies, I'm not talking about the small winged creatures that were at some time in the past caterpillars. Nor am I talking about the nervous feelings right before a big game, or a big speech, or that light feeling you feel when you are in love. If you are a fisherman butterflies have a whole different meaning.

I took this picture of my Dad as he was tying a trout magnet lure onto his fishing line. Just a little bit later, he had butterflies. A butterfly is a term used to describe what happens when you are fishing and for some reason (usually because you are casting too hard for the amount of weight you have on your line) your fishing line doesn't go back onto the reel properly, and you end up with a huge tangle--a butterfly. And if you aren't careful, the butterfly will knot up as you are trying to untangle it. Generally people will cut their line when this happens, but if we are patient we can slowly undo the butterfly and get the line back on the reel properly again.

Butterflies are a part of fishing, but they are also a part of life. Maybe we go at it too hard, and push too much in an area, and we produce butterflies. Sometimes, we just want to cut the line and start over, but in real life, the tangled line usually involves real people. So we slowly untangle and make things right. We reconcile. And when we do that, we have fresh opportunities.

For instance, I untangled the butterfly in my dad's line, and then I caught that awesome brood trout. Made for a great photo too!

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Perspective, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.
Early this morning I read this scripture, and it has just really stirred me today.

Only fear the LORD and serve Him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things He has done for you. 1 Samuel 12:24

You know, it’s really easy to get distracted. It’s really easy to get caught up in the wrong things, or even to let your circumstances dictate much of your life. It doesn’t have to be major events either. I think it is in the little day to day events that we get tested. We learn how to have selective memory.

The other day, I was fishing with my dad, and I drove my car into a ditch. Needless to say I was less than ecstatic over the recent turn of events. My dad was visibly upset too. He had a look as though all was lost. A few seconds later, I was able to drive my car right out of the ditch. It was all pretty amazing really.

You see, my dad and I had a phenomenal day. I caught a beautiful brood trout. We fished in a mountain lake. The fall colors were peaking and we were able to take some great photos. And the smells, there’s something amazing about those leaves on the ground, and the last harvests of autumn all swirling together in the cool October air.

And the conversations. We had great conversations about God and family, about remembering mom, even some dreamy conversations about potential future vacation together, and all of the trips we have taken together in the past. We were completely relaxed all day (a rarity for me), and we were immensely blessed with amazing weather, and plenty of time to enjoy walking talking, fishing, and exploring a small area of West Virginia’s beauty.

Sometimes we get caught up in the little ditches in life we get ourselves into. We begin to let those ditches define our lives. We end up getting into a panic during which we will do just about anything to get ourselves out of the ditch. We forget about all of the great things that happen along the journey.

You know it would have been really easy for my dad and I to both get so centered on the
I don’t know where you are spiritually as you read this blog. You may be bitter. You may be on the mountaintop. You may be just about to justify some secret, hidden sin.

Whatever it is you are going through, I want to encourage you today to take a moment and consider all of the GREAT things the Lord has done. I think that as we learn to look at life in general with a greater sense of gratitude, we are better able to take the tough moments in stride. May you find greater faithfulness and joy flowing from your heart as you reflect on His steadfast love and goodness in your life.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Fall Color

Fall Color, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.

This fall has been amazing. Although autumn certainly took it's time arriving, the colors have been radiant and seemingly lasting for a long time. Perhaps it has been all of the varied landscapes I have scene over the last month. I don't ever remember being able to enjoy so much of the color in the past.

And I don't ever remember being able to enjoy color so full or so late in the year. It's the last full week of october, and look at the orange and the yellow. (There were reds in some places too, but this color just seemed to illuminate the road).

My mom and dad had a tradition for several years of driving around the state and enjoying the Fall colors. Last fall, our entire family was able to do that together for the first time in years. And now, it is Fall again, and it's like my mom pulled some strings to get us the most amazing fall ever.

I feel like sometimes, we can be so hurried in our day to day toil that these seasons just slip right away from us. Even amid the search for Jacob, there were times I would pause and marvel at the sheer beauty God had placed all around us. I hope you have been able to get out, give some pause and appreciate this beautiful autumn.

What a gift!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Trout Fishing

Trout Fishing, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.
Yesterday, I decided to call up my dad and see if he wanted to go to Spruce Knob Lake and fish. I have been trying to juggle some things around to get a day to hang out with my dad, and things just worked out. Also, I knew he really wanted to see the fall color before it was gone. For several years, he and my mom would travel the state in autumn to enjoy the changing colors and the scenery of the place we call Wild and Wonderful and Almost Heaven. It was really cool to be able to venture out together.

For me, it was cool because Dad and I were able to spend some quality time together with no hurries and no worries. Seems like more and more I have a hard time making a clean break from my vocation and my "normal life". Seems a bit strange probably, but for as much as many would applaud my efforts to create a space of separation for relaxation, there are those voices in my head(maybe they came from other people at some point)--those voices that lay a huge burden of guilt at times for trying to pull away.

Well, regardless of all of that, I had a wonderful and relaxing time with my dad yesterday. And I caught a monster brood trout too. We met in Bridgeport, and drove together into the fall color. Yesterday marked the first time I have been able to fish with any seriousness since my friends Steve and Liz flew me to Minnesota and took me to Canada because they wanted to insure I took a break and relaxed once in a while.

It's so ironic to me that back when I started working at Mylan I bought my lifetime hunting and fishing license, and it was around then that I found myself with little time to hunt or fish.

Do you ever feel like that--like the gaps or the margins keep getting smaller? I think we have to really fight for those margins.

And in the end, if we fight for the margins, we might be able to enjoy the fall colors with family, or even better, we might land a huge trout on the bank of an Appalachian lake with enough witnesses for photographs.

True Heroes

True Heroes, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.
This past Sunday, we interrupted our series at h2o to talk about something a little different. The title of the message was True Heroes: Extraordinarily Ordinary.

Recently I've been watching the TV series Heroes. If you've seen the show you know how amazingly addictive it is. The show features a number of ordinary people who discover that they have supernatural powers. Each one is unique, and part of the series is about these people learning how to use their unique gifts together for the cause of good.

Last week, a number of real heroes marched around in the woods. They prayed at their workplaces, and in their homes and churches. They made food for a number of search and rescue teams. They donated funds to help provide for the efforts of finding one little boy.

But at the same time, these were ordinary people. People like you and me. People who have bills to pay, and families to feed. People who have homework assignments due, and classes to attend. People who report to other vocations much of the time, but make themselves available when they are needed.

As people ventured into the woods to look for Jacob on different days in Dolly Sods very few were search and rescue experts. They were just regular people who were willing to step out in faith.

I think God has given each one of us a unique niche for influence. He has equipped each one of us differently and has great things he longs to do through us. The great things might not be what we expect, but rather, he is looking for folks who are available.

When folks were walking through those woods, it had very little to do with our expertise—it had to do with availability. When folks were praying for Jacob and his family, it had little to do with expertise—it had everything to do with availability. When we share our faith or listen to a hurting person, or feed a hungry person it has little to do with expertise—it has everything to do with availability. God wants to use each one of us for His kingdom purposes. But will you be used? Will you be available?

It’s so easy to get caught up in a daily grind of tv, internet, clothing, gossip, youtube, facebook, fashion, sports, food, reading, and playing that we drown out the voice of God, and busy ourselves with things that have very little eternal value. Maybe God needs us to tune out of the daily routine, to tune into what he is up to.

Every day you have an opportunity to make a choice, you have an opportunity to invest in something bigger than yourself. You have an opportunity to simply show up. Much of what we are able to do has to do with simply showing up and not checking out from where we are. Lot's of people make it their life goal to check out instead of show up.

Do you believe that God could use you? More importantly, do you believe that God wants to use an ordinary person like you? Every day you have an opportunity to make a choice, you have an opportunity to invest in something bigger than yourself. I think that when we make those investments, and we make ourselves available, we become Heroes in God's story, true heroes.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Search Party

Search Party, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.
Hallelujah! Jacob Allen is found, and is recovering well from four days in the Dolly Sods wilderness area of the Monongahela National Forest. I am completely amazed at how thoroughly God answered the prayers of so many people this week.

Yesterday afternoon, a search team found him napping in a small clearing in a rhododendron thicket. He was alert and responsive, and they were able to get him out of the woods rather quickly. I am thoroughly thankful for God's care and provision for the Allen family during this time.

I'm also thoroughly thankful for the talented individuals and teams I was able to work with as we all searched for jacob together. In the above picture are my buddy Jeremiah, my friends Gina and Andy, and a handful of high school and college students including Johnny Haring. These folks were amazing, and it was really cool to pray together with these folks who are part of Chestnut Ridge Church. The really wild thing is that Johnny just happened to see me at the base as they were being sent on assignment. Jeremiah jumped out of the transport van when he saw me, and I was quickly added to their team. (This whole set of circumstances was pretty miraculous in itself, but there are much more important things to share in this blog.) It was even more phenomenal that because we completed our assignment which was near the vicinity where jacob was found, we were able to see Jacob come up out of the woods, and share some sweet fellowship/celebration with Jim and Karen as they waited for their boy to arrive!

So many people made the drive from Morgantown (and from even farther away too!). I met some folks from Charleston yesterday as we made our way back to the base station.

This whole series of events was marked with providence, here are just a few amazing occurances. First, Jacob was ok--that's pretty amazing for someone who spent four days in the wilderness with nothing but the clothes on his back. Second, the weather kept getting warmer each day--Dolly Sods is not known for warm weather in October--plus it was supposed to rain, but the rain stayed away for the most part (just a slight sprinkle one night). Third, so many volunteers, search teams, search dogs, etc. came on the scene--this is remote wilderness, and it is extremely difficult terrain for anyone to cover. (my team yesterday ascended nearly 1000 feet in our vertical sweeps over uneven and rocky ground with thick ground cover.) Fourth, a physician's assistant found Jacob--this meant that he could quickly go over Jacob's vitals and make sure he wasn't severely injured. God orchestrated everything to insure that a medical professional would find him.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Dolly Sods

Dolly Sods, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.
I just pulled back into town late last night from working in Dolly Sods with rescue teams and volunteers from all over the area. So far, we haven't found Jacob.

Here's another associated press article covering the situation. I believe it was updated around 8AM today.

Please pray for Jacob Allen and his parents today. Also pray for the safety of the rescue and search teams. This is extremely rugged country, and, for those who are attempting to scour the landscape, very physically demanding. The area me and the team I was part of searched folled both sides of a stream which runs through the wilderness area. The rocks are extremely slippery, and the canyon on either side is composed of rhododendron that is extremely difficult to navigate. When the thicket thins out, the ground is usually quite rocky and uneven.

It's been cold at night, but thankfully, unless something had changed since I left last night, at least the rain is staying away.

Bloodhounds are being used in the area of his disappearance to attempt to track him.

Please keep jacob and his family in prayer, and spread the word to pray as well. If you google his name, it should be a way to get updates on the situation as well.

Thanks again.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Emergency and Prayer

In this photo are Jim and Karen Allen. They go to church at Chestnut Ridge Church in Morgantown. For several years they have led an international student Bible study in Morgantown.

Yesterday they were on a hike with one of their three children, Jacob. Jacob was hiking with his parents yesterday and got separated from them. Search and rescue teams (including dogs) are scouring the woods looking for any sign of Jacob. The Associated Press issued this release.

I am writing this to ask you to pray for Jacob and his family. Pray that God would allow the rescue teams to find favor and Jacob would be found. Pray that God would comfort the family in this time of crisis.

The Gospel According to Moses: Torah

This week we started a new series at h2o, The Gospel According to Moses. I saw a book with that title (and read it) a few years back, and this fall I was just thinking about trying to convey to folks to show what we can learn from the Jewish roots of Christianity. Although the series has little direct connection with the book itself, it was still an interesting title and read.

So it's going to be a five week series examining different ways that ancient Israel was distinct from the nations around them, and how Jesus redefines those distinctions. For instance, ancient Jewish people had been given the Torah from God. So, Torah helped define and give identity to Israel. Torah is the word used to describe the first five books of the Bible, but in a sense, all of scripture is Torah. According to Eugene Peterson, "The noun torah comes from a verb, yarah, that means to throw someting, a javelin, say, so that it hits its mark. The word that hits its mark is torah. . . God's word has this aimed, intentional, personal nature. When we are spoken to in this way, piercingly and penetratingly, we are not the same. These words get inside us, and work their meaning in us. . . all of God's words have this chaacteristic: they are torah and we are the target.

Jewish children during the time of Jesus had the Torah memorized by age 10. Have you ever memorized a book of the Bible? I came close to memorizing Ephesians once, and me and my buddy Brett tried to memorize Romans last fall (didn't work out so well.). By the age of 14, the entire old testament was memorized by ancient hebrew children, and the most talented among them would go on to become rabbi's. Memorizing large quanties of scripture was the norm--man I feel like a slug when I think about that. And of course, if you read the gospels you can see Jesus quoting old testament scripture (including the Torah very often.

Jesus even goes a step further though. In the gospels we find out that He is the "Word made flesh." Beyond this, there was an ancient jewish proverb about Torah that went like this. "Torah is the way, the truth, and the life." Sound familiar? Jesus told the disciples" I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through me." Jesus shows the value of scripture in this, and also shows that He Himself is the essential point of our identity and our life.

Lest we think that scripture is not important, He also tells folks that "You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life." in the gospel of John.

So Torah has this value for us that it is God's piercing word that hits its mark in us and changes us. It is living and active--not just a reference book. Letter after letter, and word after word, it points us to Jesus and reveals Him to us.

With all of that in mind--here's a thought. Will you take time today to begin a habit of daily letting the scriptures shape your life and pierce you that you might know Jesus better? Take the time to soak in the sacred text. All scripture makes Jesus known to us; let them bring you to greater depth in your love for God and for others.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

View From the Mountain Top

View From the Mountain Top, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.
This past weekend my dad and I enjoyed another festival. We drove down to our cabin Friday evening, and attended the West Virginia State Forest Festival in Elkins, WV. There were funnel cakes, corn dogs, crafts, quilts, locally grown foods, and plenty of parades to be enjoyed by all. But interestingly, that wasn't the highlight of our time.

It was really hot Saturday afternoon (I think it may have been a record high for the area), so instead of standing in the hot sun for the whole afternoon, we decided to walk along the parade route when it started. The grand feature parade of the festival lasts up to 2.5 hours. So we walked along and probably saw 1/3-1/2 of it, and then headed back to our cabin.

You see the owner of the property had told us about a couple of cool places to see, so we made it a point to go check em out. Our cabin is just inside the Monongahela National Forest, and there is a road near our cabin that takes a person to the top of Bickle Knob. You drive on a narrow gravel road for several miles along the edge of a steep hillside, and it is simply a beautiful area. I think we passed 3 or 4 other cars on the road. (that part wasn't so fun).

But we were able to look out at any moment and see the valley spread out below us. And then, we finally made it to Bickle Knob. The knob is the site of an old fire tower, so folks could see and respond to fires breaking out in the forest. Bickle Knob's elevation is 4020 ft, and the firetower probably takes a person another 75 ft in the air. It's really cool because not only is the line of site clear all the way around you, you can see really far away too.

There's something about big views that leaves us in awe. Sunday night, at h2o, I couldn't help but think about this as we talked about the tower of babel. Those folks were attempting to build a tower into the heavens, but the intention of their heart was a little different than the folks who built the bickle knob fire tower.

There's something else that amazes me about this area. This view was convienently hidden out a road my family has driven by dozens of times. Again, it seems like there are treasures all around us if we only take the time to look. Maybe the best thing we folks could do is to take a little break from our regimen of productivity from time to time, and blaze a trail somewhere. When I look back on my fairly short life, the moments that have been most defining have been the ones that have put me out of my routine.

So what can you do today to shake up your routine a bit and explore? Maybe you need to drive out a country road, but maybe it starts for you by a conversation with a stranger. Or maybe, it starts by stepping out of the routine to spend some time with the Creator of the universe. Will you call time out from the rat race for just a little while? It may give you the perspective you crave.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

"Why?" An Open Forum with Ravi Zacharias

A few months ago, my good friend Dave Williams, whose blog is listed on the left hand side of my site, invited me to attend an event being hosted on the campus of Virginia Tech where he works in ministry.

After the tragic shootings of this past April, many in Blacksburg, and abroad are searching for answers. They want to know why things like this could happen. How there could be suffering in the world? How could God allow an event like this to happen? We ask similar questions to this every day. We wonder how people could starve or how people could fly planes into a building. How could God allow evil? How do we deal with disappointment?

I would love to attend the event tonight, but the trip is long, and my week (as I am sure your's is also) is extremely busy. Plus, it looks like the place will be completely packed out. Can you imagine it any other way?

Tonight, a noted theologian and apologist will come to blacksburg for an open forum question and answer session. In a short period of time, he will attempt to offer answers to some of the tough questions we often hear, or may have ourselves. That Theologian is Ravi Zacharias, and in my estimation is one of the leading religious thinkers in the world.

In a recent note on his website, he looks at how God shapes us through events in our lives. The article is a little long, but if you have the time, I highly recommend taking it to read it. He also wrote an article dealing specifically with the shootings that took place last spring, and this is also a worthwhile read, especially if the event left you with questions, Ravi candidly and honestly shares the questions that grip our minds when we are confronted with events like that.

Here's a "brief" quote from the first mentioned article.

"I was asked to speak at the United Nations for their prayer breakfast for a second time, and they gave me a tougher subject than the first one. I was to speak on “Navigating with Absolutes in a Relativistic World”—at 6:30 in the morning! I was asked to do this in twenty-five minutes and given one other requirement: don’t talk much about religion because people from all faiths will be there. I said, “I’ll do it, but on one condition. Eighteen minutes, your talk; seven minutes, why my belief in God answers these questions.” I spoke on the search for absolutes in four areas: evil, justice, love, and forgiveness.

“We all want to define what evil is,” I said. “We have people here calling other nations evil. We all want to know what evil is. You’re a society that’s supposedly looking for justice. You’ve left your families, and you miss them because you love them. And some of you are going to blow it big time with ethics; you hope the rest of your peers are willing to forgive you, and you want to know on what basis. Evil, justice, love and forgiveness.”

They’re all nodding. I said, “I want you to think for a moment. Is there any event in history where these four converged in one place? It happened on a hill called Calvary, where evil, justice, love, and forgiveness converged.”

There was pin drop silence. With five minutes left, I spoke on the cross of Christ and how the cross shows the heart of man, how the cross came because of the justice of God, how the cross demonstrates to us the very love of God, and how we find at the end of the day that without his forgiveness we would never make it. At the end one ambassador confessed, “My country’s atheistic. I don’t even know why I came here. Today I have my answer. I came here to find God.” That is the power of the cross. "-Ravi Zacharias

Like I said, the guy is brilliant. If you have the opportunity, definitely take the time to hear him in Blacksburg. Also, you may want to check out this guy's podcasts too. While this blog was meant to mainly share a little bit about the great event happening in Blacksburg tonight, it may have provoked or stirred questions in you. If it can be any comfort in the middle of wrestling with these tough questions, I want to encourage you to take advantage of the resources that are at our disposal to get those questions answered. Many great books, podcasts, websites, etc. have been dedicated to dealing with many challenges we face in a world in which we see may experience suffering and disappointment. In the end, God truly is good, and the amazing thing is that He has been there--the cross of Calvary says it all.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Broken: Language

This past sunday ended our series called Broken at h2o.

This week, we talked about how man's relationship with language was broken as a result of the Fall. You see, in Genesis Chapter 11, God intervened as human beings went to work building the Tower of Babel. It wasn't that towers in and of themselves are bad, it was what this tower represented. It was an attempt on the part of humanity to construct a world in which they would dictate a relationship with God. The desire was to build a tower to ascend into the heavens--to make our own way to God.

The irony is that in the story, it says that God "came down to have a look". As a result of the Fall, our relationship with language became broken. People had their language confused so that they would better understand their need for each other, and more importantly their need for God.

Even today, as we have made massive inroads in the world of language, we still continue to hurt and abuse one another with words. It's like we don't fully understand what we use words for--so we use them as weapons to cut and to hurt one another.

When Jesus came on the earth, he brought healing where there was once brokenness. In fact, in the Bible, one of the first stories of people sharing the gospel involved a change in the dynamic of language. People from every nation heard the gospel proclaimed in their own language.

Today, we play a part in reversing the tower of Babel, when we stop using words as weapons. We play a part in reversing the tower of Babel when we take the time, and the initiative to share the truth of the gospel and redemption through Jesus with other people. We play a part in reversing the tower of Babel when we use language to point people back to the God of all creation whose relationship with us has been severed by us.

Language that was once broken nowbecomes the great tool in the hands of humanity for sharing healing and restoration with the world. In fact, the Bible tells us that one day people from all of the nations will be gathered together in a worshipful community with God (instead of a tower) in its center.

Take time today, and share the powerful, healing message of the gospel with someone. Help them to become part of an inclusive community that will one day be composed of people from every tribe and tongue and nation united in worship in the eternal presence of God.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Life of David Brainerd

One of my dear friends sent me a link earlier this week with information about a free audio book available from Every month, I guess this website makes a free download available. This month, The Life of David Brainerd is the free audio book available. If you don't get the free version, it costs nearly $26 dollars for this book.

If you have an mp3 player, an audio book (especially a free one) is a great way to enjoy a book while going for a walk, or driving in your car. If you don't have an mp3 player, perhaps you could listen to a book like this on itunes while you did your routine work on the computer.

I don't know a whole lot about Brainerd. Not too many people do. He died at age 29, and worked zealously to preach the gospel to Indian people (especially Delaware) in eastern Pennsylvania during a period of history known as the The Great Awakening. This was a period of religious revival in the 1700s when Jonathan Edwards preached his famous "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" sermon--perhaps the most famous sermon in American history.

Anyway, while I do not know much about brainerd, I am looking forward to listening to this audiobook in the near future. As an American Indian Christian, it is of particular interest to me how the gospel was proclaimed to my ancestors. As a missionally-minded American Indian Christian, I find it interesting to see how people in the past worked to make the good news of the gospel available to a hurting world.

John Piper gave a sermon on the life of David Brainerd that is available on his Desiring God website.

If you choose to download the book, stop back by and let me know what you think. I am hoping to listen to the book in the next few weeks. Still waiting for it to download . . .

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Riding on the Clouds

Riding on the Clouds, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.
Last Friday, I was driving into town and the sky was amazing. So I had to take a picture.

It's pretty amazing that a day later, there wasn't a cloud to be seen in the sky. Every cloud is lined brightly, and they were so low and so clear in the sky it almost seemed like you could reach out and touch them, or even climb up and ride along on them. (I'm not so much thinking about angels and harps but that's probably the common visual).

It reminds me of the day when we will see the son of man coming on the clodus of heaven with great power and glory.

Although photos often don't do the real thing justice, there is a sense of majesty and awe I experienced when I looked up into the sky and just saw clouds that the Creator of the universe had sovereignly placed there.

As we look at the world around us that God has blessed us to live in, may we be cognizant of His invisible attributes and divine nature that He has made evident in the world where we live.

Take time to enjoy and savor the moments.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Fresh Water

Fresh Water, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.
This past Sunday, I went with a group of friends out to an obscure trail on the far side of cooper's rock, and hiked. It was refreshing because many Sunday afternoons I am spending time making last minute additions to a message or performing some administrative function. I am trying to change the flow of my week a bit though.

As I walked along this trail (one of my favorite places in the whole park), I noticed the water was extremely low. There was just a trickle of water in many places. In fact, I am accustomed to seeing the rocks in the photo above completely submersed in water.

Sometimes I think that our spiritual life can look like this. We can hit a drought, and then all of our energy and efficiency is reduced to a trickle. The problem is that many of us try to perform the same tasks at the same rate (and sometimes even more) when something like this happens.

I've been noticing this tendency in myself lately. It's not a recent pheonomenon for me, but a little bit of time with my dad last week made me realize how unrealistic my expectations of what I can get done on a given day truly are.

I think in our culture, we place such a premium on pragmatism and efficiency that we try to squeeze as much out of any given day as possible. I'm all for living life to its fullest, but sometimes I think that when we center our energy on effiency we lose our balance. We try to run on full power with only a trickle of water to propel us.

We can learn a lot from studying the created world. The rest of the world takes regular breaks. Animals in the woods travel a bit, and then rest, and then they travel again. I feel like my life has been a continuous relearning of balance and harmony.

As you go through your day today, may you have some time of slowing down, and of being restored and rejuvenated.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Spicebush Swallowtail

Nature's Beauty, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.
This past weekend, my dad and I drove down to Elkins, WV to experience the beginning of the forest festival, and also to get away to our recently acquired family cabin.

Saturday afternoon, we were walking along the highway coming back from Bowden Fish Hatchery, when I saw this little fella on a stick on the side of the road. As you can see, he doesn't exactly blend in with the greenery (but I bet he would be difficult to see once leaves start falling down).

He's a Spicebush Swallowtail larvae, and i just think the color and detail of this creature is amazing. The dot on it's head looks like a huge eye, but it is just part of a very unique design, and this remarkable creature was just crawling along the road waiting for someone to view and appreciate.

It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes by the author Annie Dillard, in her pulitzer prize winning narrative, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.
Here is the quote . . .

"The world is fairly studded and strewn with pennies cast broadside from a generous hand. But—and this is the point—who gets excited by a mere penny?...It is dire poverty indeed when a man is so malnourished and fatigued that he won’t stoop to pick up a penny. But if you cultivate a healthy poverty and simplicity, so that finding a penny will literally make your day, then, since the world is in fact planted in pennies, you have with your poverty bought a lifetime of days. It is that simple. What you see is what you get."

Often I find myself looking for the next "great thing." There is a strong temptation to see faraway and exotic places, and to "experience the world." Now don't get me wrong, it's fun to travel and to make discoveries as one travels. But there is also something to be said for appreciating the simple treasures that are along the side of the road. Or in your back yard. Or in the park just a few blocks from your house.

Treasures like this also make me think about our superficial nature; we tend to skim through life and zoom from event to event. But, do we take time to fully appreciate and savor our days? The Bible tells us to "make the most of our time because the days are evil." At one time I thought it was talking entirely about being efficient, but now I also think it is reminding us to savor every moment. So take time today. Go for a walk. Look around you. And if you feel like it, leave a comment on here and tell me what you saw.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Broken Creation

Broken Creation, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.
My brother took this specatular sunset picture back in August when he and my nephew visited WV. I think it is the Willow Island Lock and Dam, but maybe it's the Belleville one?

Regardless, we have been continuing our series at h2o looking at the fall of humanity. By the way, if you have itunes software on your computer, you can listen to messages for free by opening itunes, clicking podcast, and typing "H2O Morgantown Live" into the search box.

When Adam and Eve ate of the fruit, not only did they pollute all humanity with the stain of sin, but now all of God's good creation exists under a curse. And our relationship to the created world is also broken.

According to Genesis one, the first commandment we human beings have is to "have dominion over the created world." This word, dominion, means something different than domination. You see, parents have dominion over their children. Teachers have dominion over their students. If we saw one of these authorities abusing the responsibility they had been given we would quickly intervene.

In Genesis Chapter 2, Adam is placed in the garden to "cultivate and keep" the garden. The words in Hebrew here mean "to protect and bring out the potential of." So we are told that we need to care for creation and act as wise stewards over the resources God has entrusted to us.

So how are we to go about this? How can we be better stewards. I may blog more about all of this in the future because it is such an important and overlooked topic, but for now, here are a few suggestions.

Switch out your light bulbs for "Compact Fluorescent Bulbs" Personally, I have seen a significant drop in my electric bills. After you switch, you can join my group Friends of Chanchanchepon on One Billion Bulbs and see how much money and energy we are saving each year.

Another thing you can do is start walking, riding a bike or carpooling (or even taking a bus). In our little town of Morgantown, the bus system is free for WVU students. And as Morgantown grows, our streets will become more congested with traffic. When you walk, you feel better, save energy, and save gas $$$. When you carpool, you can potentially reduce the environmental impact of your travel by up to 80%.

Buy locally, and eat in. Locally grown food tastes better, and doesn't have to travel as far for you to enjoy it. Plus you get the joy of supporting a local farmer, and supporting your community. Eating in also saves money, and cooking can be quite relaxing. Morgantown's Farmer's Market runs until the end of October.

There are many other ways you can minimize your environmental impact and begin to be a better steward of the resources God has given you. What are some things you are doing to more faithfully care for God's world?