Clinton Door

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Hong Kong and Friends

I must be in a "blogging mood". Two in one day....phenomenal:)

The Dean family is on my heart today. I love each one, Matt-April-Josh-Caleb-Luke, just as if they were my own "flesh & blood"....wait a minute, we are...we share the blood of Christ! YES!!

I am amazed at the hand of He is working in their lives....providing every piece of manna they will need as they move to Hong Kong. He has provided housing, He has given the boys excitement for their new home and new friends.....He is going before them, preparing the hearts of the students in Hong Kong....and even more than we can see with our own eyes and heart. That is just the way He I can trust He will calm our hearts that are weeping already, as we will miss their presence here.

I sit here and I see the faces of so many students who don't even know how their lives will never be the same as they are introduced to Jesus Christ! I sit here and see the faces of so many college students in this area who have met Jesus Christ through Grace Campus Ministries and their lives will never be the same again! What has been cultivated will go on from person to person because each one will reach one. That is how this ministry began...with a desire to live the Word, to breathe the Word, to give the Word to each person. So many students have gone, moved on to their careers, some in ministry - some in the work force.....and they all bear witness to the grace of Jesus Christ.

Thank you Matt, April, students and each person who has supported this ministry financially, spiritually and through their presence. Lives have been changed because of your obedience. Lives will continue to change because of your obedience.

My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Colossians 2:2-3

The Grace and Aroma of Our Lord

Two weeks ago, I picked up the Saturday edition of the OaNow - When I read this article, my heart wept......and rejoiced at the same time. Wept for the family of Maria Sue; Rejoiced for the power God has in our life. We may become broken, be we are never unfixable. When we surrender to the Lord.....allowing him to fill us in our grief, our pain, our brokenness.....our lives will be richer and we will become the "aroma of grace."

Written by Walter Albritton ~
Methodist pastor who writes a weekly column in the Opelika-Auburn news

Recently, I read again about the accidental death of Maria Sue, the 5-year old daughter of Steven Curtis Chapman. That tragedy reminded me of a profound idea I had gleaned from an earlier story about this popular Christian singer. The idea was capsulated in the phrase, "The fragrance of the broken." The words came to Chapman during a walk in the woods. He had gone into the woods to pray, desperate for release from a drought in his soul. Pleading with God for a breakthrough, he gathered some rocks, stacked them into a make shift altar and began to pray. While praying he began to smell cedar, so strongly that it distracted him from praying. Opening his eyes he soon spotted a little cedar tree that he had snapped in half by stepping on it. The broken tree was the source of the smell that Chapman felt was sign from God. Quickly he wrote down the words, "The fragrance of the broken."

God does provide a "fragrance" that we may learn to cherish as we wrestle with our brokenness and that of our loved ones. Like the little cedar tree, it may not be easily recognizable. We have to look for it as Chapman did. Finding it, we begin to enjoy what may be called the "aroma of grace."

Each of us must learn to handle brokenness of one kind or another. How we deal with it determines whether we live well or merely endure life until it ends. Misfortunes can make us better or bitter. The good thing is that we have a choice.

Pain is inevitable but misery is a choice. As we face the pain with honesty and hope, something wonderful can occur. Character can happen. We can become finer people because we have faced our troubles with courage. Courage is contagious. Deal with brokenness bravely, with a positive spirit and your example is bound to encourage someone else.

When you find a way to smell the "aroma of grace" in your pain, then the fragrance of our brokenness becomes a sweet perfume to all who savor the essence of your life.