Monday, February 25, 2013

The Bible - coming soon

There is a new epic TV miniseries coming soon called "The  Bible".  It is a 10 hour production that will be shown in 5 - 2 hour segments beginning on March 3rd on the History Channel.

I have watched a couple of interviews with the producer Mark Burnett, (he produced Survivor, The Apprentice) and one of those interviews  was with his co-producer and wife, Roma Downey (angel in Touched by an Angel)
Yesterday morning they were Lorna Dueck's guests on her show Life Beyond the Headlines.   

While I am looking forward to watching the series , I already know what my favorite part or film highlight will be. 

Roma described one scene during the shooting on location . 
She painted the scene from John 3,  filmed in the Moroccan dessert 

Jesus is sitting beside a small fire.  
The night is deathly still , not a sound, not a breeze. nothing / no one is moving.   
Then, following the script cues , there is movement and Jesus looks up to see Nicodemus approaching from under the cover of  night's darkness.  
He comes with questions but starts the conversation with the acknowledgement 
that he believes that Jesus was sent from God.   
But Jesus bypasses his introductory statement and answers the unasked question in his heart.   
Jesus says.. "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit.. he cannot enter the kingdom of God."  
In answer to Nicodemus' bewildered outburst of "How can that be?"   
Jesus said ....   
"Do not marvel that I said to you , You must be born again. The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit" .  

Roma said .. the very SECOND, as if on perfect cue ... when 'Jesus' said 'wind' ... 
the most unnatural wind blew across the dessert  ... a strong , steady wind that tossed hair and garments!   
She said it was like they turned on the fans , but they had no wind fans.  
She said everyone had goosebumps ...  I'm sure they did !   
 It would have been a God-moment... God reaching down to confirm His Word with a supernatural sign. 

 I know  that when I will be watching that scene ... I too will have goosebumps .. and be filled with awe.   

Friday, February 15, 2013

Celebrations -- Our new Cookbook

Today is a special day ... Run over to  the Mennonite Girls Can Cook blog to share in our excitement!
And a chance to win a copy of our new book!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Every once in a while I read a book that stirs in me the thought ... "I wish I could make everyone read this book!"
Such a book is "The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert"  by Rosaria Champagne Butterfield.

I read an article about her in Christianity Today and it tweaked my curiosity and interest.  I found her book on Amazon and 'accidentally' downloaded it on my Kindle.   I'm SURE I clicked on the "download a sample" button, not the 'buy' ... but didn't realize my error until I was reading the book.  I believe God moved my finger, knowing how the book would stir me.

It is a good book on so many levels.
It is an amazing conversion story, to use her own words, of an "unlikely convert".    Rosaria hated anything to do with Christianity. She said the name of Jesus stuck in her throat like a hair ball not allowing the name to cross her lips.   She was a tenured (can't lose her job) university professor,  a leader in the homosexual movement and especially the woman's causes and an open lesbian.  She was often a key note speaker at conventions promoting the gay community.  A brilliant woman committed to her cause and career and lifestyle.

Unbeknownst  to her,  an article she wrote against Promise Keepers would be the beginning of a life changing journey.   She received an outpouring of responses to her article.... some critical, some approving.  She had a basket on either side of her desk. As she read each letter it would go into one box or the other -- for or against her.
Until she got one letter ...  that didn't fit either box.
I won't spoil the story -- you'll have to get the book!  smile..

As well as being a great 'testimony', the book offers  more.   Rosaria shares with unusually keen insight  in   how she views the church, evangelism and also scriptural interpretation.   She has a very interesting view of worship in a church setting.  I may not totally agree with her on that one, but I can identify with  the 'spirit' of what she says.

I also enjoyed her views on what children need to grow up to be healthy, thinking , mature adults. Especially valuable is her insight gleaned from her experience with college kids coming from Christian homes.

I hate being a 'book spoiler'  so I won't say more but I'll leave you  with you one of the three life lessons   that Rosaria says she relies on.

When you don't know what to do, go back to the basics

When I used to run marathons, I had a training partner who would say to me, at the most horrific moments, usually at about mile 20, "Rosaria, this could be the best moment of your life!"
I thought this man was certifiably nuts, a DSM-IV special.  I tried to ignore him.

But later I started to understand his meaning.
This expression teaches me now that while I am motivated by the Big Question, I do not have the Big Picture. I do not know how student resistance, classroom explosions, my own general screwing up, or mean spirited colleagues will really affect my success or failure as an intellectual and a teacher.
So I find myself, in life's most unbearable moments, in and out of the classroom, saying, "this may be the best moment of my life."
At first, this makes me feel, perhaps too viscerally, that I am on mile 20 of the marathon and I'm about to throw up. And then it reminds me that even if I do throw up, I still have a marathon to finish, and something extraordinary will happen in the process of focusing on the rigor and simplicity of putting one foot in front of the next.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Electricity and the Heart

Some years ago I started to experience very sharp  pains shooting through  my eyes.  It was like a lightning bolt of electricity, startling in its sudden intensity. As it was happening fairly regularly I began to worry there was something seriously wrong.
During my next appointment with my optometrist, I told her about the sudden pain in my eyes and she explained it this way.   She said our bodies can build up electricity until it is at a point where it needs to find release and there is only one 'exit' from our body -- the eye!  
Her explanation made sense to me and put me at ease,  but as I thought about it I realized that it presented a vivid spiritual  application.

I think most people want to be 'good' , measuring by whatever standard they hold up for themselves.
Some people define good by what 'feels' right, others strive to please man and some try to please God.  
It is in our trying to please God that we realize how far we fall from His standard of perfection.

According to God's view of man, we all fall short --  we all are subject to a sinful nature, preferring to look out for our own selfish desires first.    Even when we strive to live outwardly pleasing lives,  giving an impression of a kind, godly person -- we keep things buried in our heart, resentment, unforgiveness, anger, doubt, fear, worry,  impatience.     It is these buried things that need to be taken care of.  They are like the electricity in our body that will build up until -- in the flash of a moment --  they find an 'exit' place.    Just like the electricity in our body has only 'one' exit , so also the hidden things of the heart have as their only exit - our flesh, often  - our mouth!
Have we not all experienced that flash of temper, hurtful words, angry outburst  or selfish act that  catches us by surprise and is often directed at someone least deserving of it ?
We think we can hide some aspect of our character or attitude or thoughts that we know is less than pleasing to God.  But it keeps silently  'growing' in our heart.

We  hide that feeling of resentment because we were slighted or passed over in being given what we 'deserved', holding onto it because letting go is like letting go of something that we have a 'right' to.
We  hide that secret fault or sin that no one can see or know because it takes effort to change.
But we can hide things in the 'cupboard' of our heart only until it is so overflowing that the slightest jar will spring it open  allowing its contents to spew forth from the door of our mouth!  

 "For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks!" (Matt.12:34)

How much better to keep a 'clean' heart, letting go of things that hurt us first and others in time.   If we bring our concerns/hurts/faults/sin  to God, He will never reject us and will be ever "faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness"  (I John 1:9)