Christ the Lord: out of egypt

March 29, 2007

Anne Rice surely amounted to more than her birth name of Howard Allen O’Brien would suggest.

I just finished her latest book, Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt.

Not your average book for a woman who’s penned more than 20-some books.

Mostly about vampires.

I love that God is still in the business of changing lives.

In the author’s note chapter in the back of the book she says:

“I stumbled upon a mystery without a solution, a mystery so immense that I gave up trying to find an explanation because the whole mystery defied belief. The mystery was the survival of the Jews.

“As I sat on the floor of my office surrounded by books about Sumer, Egypt, Rome, etc., and some skeptical material about Jesus that had come into my hands, I couldn’t understand how these people had endured as the great people who they were.

It was this mystery that drew me back to God. It set into motion the idea that there may in fact be God. And when that happened there grew in me for whatever reason an immense desire to return to the banquet table.” (She’d left all of “religion” at 18.)

“In 2002 I put aside everything else and decided to focus entirely on answering the questions that had dogged me all my life. The decision came in July of that year. I had been reading the Bible constantly, reading parts of it out loud to my sister, and pouring over the Old Testament, and I decided that I would give myself utterly to the task of trying to understand Jesus himself and how Christianity emerged.”

“I wanted to write about the life of Jesus Christ. I had known that years ago. But now I was ready. I was ready to do violence to my career. I wanted to write the book in the first person. Nothing else mattered. I consecrated the book to Christ.”

I fell in love with Jesus all over again in the pages of this book. I’m surprised that a vampire lady could do that. But then, again, that’s not who she is.

Anymore.


i’m queen of the world!

March 27, 2007

Woo hoo!

What a feeling to be here (right) at Table Rock State Park in South Carolina, and overlook where Colleen and I climbed (and) hiked (and) tripped up rock steps for 1.5 hours yesterday. It only took us and our quads-of-steel 50 minutes to come down.

We figured if we rolled straight down we could cut it to an impressive 10 minutes. We didn’t try. I wanted to live to tell about this. It’s not every day this Nebraska-girl hikes.

I don’t LOVE hiking, but I like having hiked.

I flew back to Orlando this afternoon and am now miles away from the mountains and dear Colleen, the recent transplant.

What a wonderful mini-vacation. Restful, active, restorative, hilarious, delicious, and sweaty (good thing this photo isn’t scratch and sniff).

Click on the photo to see about a dozen I uploaded to Flickr from the weekend.

Oh, funny side note: on the way home I sat next to the guy in 25E, all dressed in black. He had a scripted tattoo on his left hand that caught my eye. I commented on it. He turned it so I could read it.

Sober.

“I got it after two drinks.”

Huh.


let ’em work :: let ’em live

March 27, 2007


I’m assuming there is a problem here in Anderson, S.C. if they have to put up a sign like this.


march madness

March 23, 2007

Ok, basketball fans, check out BeyondTheUltimate.org. You might recognize the name from the Super Bowl articles and stories from coaches. It’s been redesigned for March Madness.

Watch the short interviews with legendary coach John Wooden and CBS Sports broadcaster Clark Kellogg.


isaac: a not-so-young dad

March 22, 2007

I don’t know if you’re like me, but I am. Anyway, if you’re like me, you act surprised that this life isn’t about instant gratification. As my mom would often say in the direction of my ear, “The world does not revolve around you.”

I thought that was pure tragedy.

But, seriously, what on earth has led me astray into this illogic? That what I want I get now. Or I get in the near future. Or at least before Ann Taylor replaces it on the shelf for something for the new season.

Isaac was 40 years old when married Rebekah. (Isaac as in Abraham’s son, not the bartender on “The Love Boat.”)

Did you know that?

I didn’t.

They lived a lot longer back then, but still…40!

I was reading Genesis 25:1-11 and – if I’m reading it right – was amazed to realize that Isaac (a.k.a “child of promise”) was still single when Ishmael was married with 12 sons of his own. Now if I was him I’d be scratching my head wondering if ‘ol Dad heard God wrong. Um…isn’t it through me that the nations will be blessed and my descendants will be like stars in the sky? Is he the blessed one instead? Am I confused?

But the promise stood. Invisible. It just didn’t look like what the human eye could see.

Then, today, I read more. Did you know that Isaac and Rebekah were married 20 years before she finally got pregnant?

Sarah? Barren. Took forever – oh, and a servant-try – to get pregnant.

Rebekah? Barren. Took 20 years.

Kind of 0 and 2 when you think about populating the earth with God-followers quickly.

But God’s never been about quick action in lieu of a lesson. He’s about faith and trust and all of those things that make my head swim.

So, at 60, Isaac becomes a dad and Rebekah becomes a mom.

Whew. What a powerful reminder that’s been for me today that a typical journey of faith isn’t without barren terrority.

Deserts. Valleys. Mountains. Sleet. Rain. Hurricanes.

Fulfillment.

And often, fulfillment that looks nothing like what I’d thought it’d look like.

But then, sometimes, it shines brightly. Just like the stars on a cloudless night.


march newsletter: celebrating the laps

March 18, 2007

A shout out for the photo goes to carajune. I looked for a photo with a finish line and found this one on Flickr.com What a hoot!

Celebrating the Laps

This is what I want. Big letters. Larger-than-life Mountain Dew cans. The FINISH line. Cue screaming fans, the band and the flag-wavers in the stands.

I’m a fan of closure. I’m the woman who likes to check things off my list. I’ve even been known to add something to the list just so I could check it off.

Here’s my dream world: I come in to work and boot up my computer. The screen blinks to life and announces, “Angie, it is finished. All those various projects your team has been working so hard on? All the loose ends are tied up. The Staff Web has reached completion. The Campus Crusade missionaries now have the best of everything your team can give them. Their lives will be easier because you’ve put valuable tools and help at their fingertips. Nicely done.”

Cue trumpets.

But in reality I turn on my computer and it painfully reminds me of the 82 tasks on my list. (The problem with being an idea person is that there’s never any lack of ideas!)

I wonder if you crave that finish line, too. Whether you’re single or married, with kids at home or not, working or retired, that finish line calls us. It beckons us to believe that we’ll be happy or relieved when we reach it.

But I’m learning a new lesson: to celebrate the laps. This came about on our team one day when we had the ah-ha that our job (in communications with our 5,000 U.S. missionaries) was never going to be over. There wasn’t a finish line. So we decided we’d intentionally rejoice when we completed a “lap” of the race.

What a great parallel to my spiritual life, too. So often I take inventory and my heart cascades with the realization of how far I still have to run.

Then Jesus encourages me with a reminder that I’m not who I was when I began on this asphalt. No, I haven’t arrived at the finish line, but I look more like Jesus than when the gun first fired. That’s something to celebrate—God’s work in my life! It’s my job to run with perseverance the race marked out for me (Hebrews 12:1). It’s His job to provide the strength to do that.

If it was only about the finish line, we’d immediately be ushered into Heaven the moment we place our faith in Christ. But it’s not.

It’s about the laps we run in between. I want to run with a joyful heart, enduring the runner’s cramps, enjoying the view and looking out for opportunities God brings across my path as I tread.


orlando makes national geographic

March 15, 2007

Who knew they offered more than just photos (albeit beautiful)?

Read National Geographic’s take on Orlando, my home of 6 1/2 years.