Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Wave 100%

The Newly Graduated "WAVER's"
in their WAVE Shirts!

When we first arrived on the island of Barbados, the WAVE team (Barry and Sandi Grecu, Retha Badenhorst, and myself) settled into the wonderful home they had prepared for us, looking forward to what lay ahead. We had one little problem…no internet. And when you have left home for six months and are leading a program to boot, internet is a necessary commodity. So, we called the provider and they brought us a modem…and we tried to install it, but it just wouldn’t work. So, Ekkehart, one of the WAVE participants and brilliant IT guy, was called in to fix the problem. And fix it, he did. And in doing so, he put a security code on the service…and when he told me the password he had chosen, I had to smile: “The WAVE 100%”.

Last night the members of the WAVE groups gathered together for the celebration of their completion of this season of their journeys together. I think for all of us it was a bittersweet evening…the glory of what God has been about was beautifully picturesque, while the realization that it would never be like this again, loomed a bit in the back of our minds. But still, we must give this experience it’s just festivities. Before dinner we shared conversation and drinks, then ate together a lovely meal of fish, chicken lamb curry, macaroni pie, the works…YUM. And then, as dessert was passed around the tables, we began the final moments in honor of those who has completed this miraculous adventure.

Learning to dance, Bajan Style!

Graduation Dinner was so YUMMY!

Each of the team shared from their heart as to what the experience of walking with these dear Saints has meant to us. And then, one by one, the WAVE’rs were called to the front to be distinguished and to be heard in terms of their own words about the journey. From one who sang a chorus of, “I will never be the same again,” to another who told of their transformation through a poem, to yet another who said just a simple, “Thank you”, all of their words came together to create a beautiful symphony of GRACE. Tears and laughter, applause and quiet reflection, all merged together to remind us of how faithful God is to do much more than we ask or imagine.

At one point in the night, the clouds suddenly released a bucketful of rain, and then a downpour. As I sat there, a thought came over and over into my mind: “This is the sound of what God is about.” And as His heart spoke to mine, this is what I believed Him to portray: “God is raining on Barbados Grace Fellowship (BGF). And the harder the rain came, the more powerful His heartbeat was heard, as His dearly beloved Saints, whom He has fashioned into the community of BGF, came more alive to who they are in the midst of this crazy world. Tonight is a work of glorious grace…fully complete as this season comes to an end. Nothing has been missed. No details were overlooked. No person missed out. No glory left to be revealed. It is complete. And you can rest in the reality that is has been, is, and always will be “Grace” that completes the work (“Being confident of this, that HE who began the good work in you, will be faithful to complete it.” Phil 1:6). The future may have many storms, but the rains bring Life to His body whichisdesperately in need of nourishment andrefreshment. Well done!”

...Marie is honored for
the worthy woman she is!!!
Wow, what a grand example of our Father’s delight in us
and to us and through us. And as we say, “Till next time…” to the lovely people of BGF and the WAVES #1, 2, and 3…(and you ALL are the best groups !), our hearts are overflowing with gratefulness for how you’ve shared yourselves so freely and so beautifully with us. No words really express the richness we’ve been privilege to experience and receive from you.

So, as I close the final “WAVE Blog” for this season, my
heart echoes Sandy’s song from last night, and I sing it to both Jesus and you all…

“I will never be the same again
I can never return,
I’ve closed the door
I will walk the path,
I’ll run the race
And I will never
be the same again!”

...Sandy sings "I will never be the same again..."

This has been and is The WAVE 100% - “till next time…”

I love you all more than my words can express. And I’m proud of you!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Below is the journal assigment of one of the Waver's...her name is Emma. What a delightful lady and a gifted communicator, especially in her writing. This is a response to the question, "What's the journey been like thus far?" It was given to them at the beginning of the second module with the hopes they would be able to get a glimpse of what Jesus had been revealing to them throughout the first half. We were all moved deeply by her response and she has been gracious to allow us to share it with you. Prepare for an encounter with Life!

Thomas Mangelsen devoted an entire week to the pursuit of this image. He writes for two pages, describing in detail his preparations for this shot, his failed attempts, his unerring patience and commitment to this solitary task.

I have no doubt that this picture was captured amidst a myriad of activity. Mother nature is prolific; an eternal source of distraction. She assaults your senses. She seduces, entertains, comforts, disturbs. Her labours are evident as far as the eye can see and beyond. Meadows become forests, become deserts, become oceans. Vibrant and magnificent, turbulent yet tranquil. Constantly evolving.

It is undeniably an incredible picture – yet in the enormous scheme of things, that is all it is. I cannot help but wonder how much Thomas must have missed whilst adjusting his tripod, improving his camouflage, awaiting nature’s compliance.

I can liken this to my own quest for the Lord. I commenced my active pursuit of God’s presence about five years ago. I attended Christian courses, I dedicated time to bible study and prayer. I collected an enviable (or not) library of spiritual how tos. I devised disciplined procedures and was immensely impressed with myself. I am not saying that such undertakings are fruitless. I definitely matured as a Christian. However, did I enter into a more intimate relationship with God? I confess not.

I recognize now that I was trying to harness God. Render Him a frozen image to be hoarded like a souvenir to return to in His seeming absence. What tomfoolery to think that His immensity and radiance could be so contained. Like the photographer, my concentration on capturing the ultimate experience, rendered me unaware of the continual possibilities for spiritual encounter. I was consumed by the instant. Akin to memorizing one note of a symphony. How bizarre.

The Wave has forced me to confront the absurdity of my methods. I have been so industrious in my endeavours to secure that elusive, life-altering revelation, made more unlikely by my demands that the instant be dictated by my own timetable, that the pleasure and comfort of His perfect and constant presence has eluded me.

Yes, Jesus makes Himself known in revelation. He can thrust deep inside to seize your soul and set it to music. But He can also be as subtle as dust particles caught in a shaft of evening sunlight. In both, however, He is of equal substance. One moment no less or more than the other.

Jesus is always my companion. So much so I could be suffocated by His presence. And He is not just sitting; waiting for me to stumble so that He may come to my rescue. But He is dancing and singing, whooping and hollering, flinging around rose petals with abandonment. Dressed in the finery and flamboyance of a carnival band leader; sequins and peacock feathers. A gyrating kaleidoscope of colour. A blazing brilliance. He is a maestro, conducting an orchestra of angels. He exudes majesty and never ceases His rejoicing in me. Nevertheless, I’m standing amidst it all, fiddling with my camera, adjusting the zoom, assessing the light.

The Wave has taught me many, many things, but right now the most glorious of them all is that I can stop chasing that indefinable, award winning frame. I can take Jesus’ hand to join the parade and dance and frolic or just step back and observe, content that He is close at hand. He may disappear from my view but I am never out of His sight. And if I am lucky, He may stop and strike a pose to indulge me, once in a while.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Today's Letter is the Letter "C"

Remember watching Sesame Street growing up? Every day there was a new letter to learn and lots of words that begin with that letter to go along with it. There are many words that begin with the letter "C" and this morning I'm thinking about a few in particular.

Yesterday I went to church - there's one - C-H-U-R-C-H! It begins with a "C". The place where I call "church" at the moment is a primary school gym in doesn't look like a "church" (at least what I experienced and believed to be a "church" in my early years of life)...but, I can tell you...the "CHURCH" is alive and well and being who they are as they gather together there. And I love being one of the "church".

For many (and sadly most likely most) people I know, church (I'm going to stop using quotation marks now and switch to italics) happens on a Sunday morning in a building called a church, in a time frame called church, with a group of people called the church. Wow, we interchange that word a lot. But what is it really? The true meaning of the word is "assembly" and specifically "the assembly of the redeemed."

I experienced church yesterday...I like that better...yes, that makes much more sense. You see, a bunch of the "redeemed" came together in a school gym and when we did, church happened. We laughed, we cried, we danced, we worshipped, we listened, we rejoiced, we mourned...all of us made up the "we" and the "we" was THE CHURCH. It's a regular thing that after the church gathers at the gym, the church moves to the coffee place (yet another GREAT "C" word). I particularly like this "movement" of the church. We drink coffee as we chat about life; about the weather, politics (definitely not my favorite topic), the happenings of our week, etc. There is always good "conversation" and the experience of "community". These are my other two "C" words of the day. And to illustrate both of these words far better than my own diatribe, let me tell you about yesterday's gathering.

Once we all settled around the tables with our coffee, it turned out at my table there were seven women, some who come regularly, a couple who come sometimes, and one whom I had just met earlier that morning. This lovely lady was a delight from the moment we began chatting. She shared with us about her dream to return to her home country of St. Vincent and to give back to the people there from what God has given her. Out of this beginning grew a glorious, miraculous conversation about Jesus and about her struggle to know just how much He loves her based upon nothing but His delight in her. She has spent most of her "Christian" life comparing herself to others and the way they know and express their relationship with Him. Through her tears she told us of how guilty and unacceptable she feels and even that she struggles with believing God loves someone else more than He loves her. I'm telling happened in the moments that ensued.

Conversations of the Church at the coffee shop

One by one, each of us sitting at the table began to share our own journeys, our personal struggles, and our moments of revelation that transformed our understanding of God's love for us. Several times in the conversation this delightful lady would almost shout, "REALLY? Is that true?" in response to the freeing words we were speaking to her about her belovedness and acceptableness in and from Jesus. She told us in the end that she felt lighter...a burden was lifted. It was wonderful. It was miraculous. It was a grand expression of the community of the church expressed in glorious conversation over a delicious cuppa coffee. Now that's a lot of "C" words...and when we left our gathering, I think all of us knew we had encountered the one "C" word who makes Life abundant - Christ had been amongst us and had made these words (and really just Himself) real in our experience. Cool (ooh, another good "C" word)!

You want to know what was really amazing about all of this? None of us meant for it to happen. No one planned a meeting, organized a schedule, picked out worship songs, called a preacher to give a sermon, convened a prayer ministry team, or made sure there were greeters at the door...we just were the church. Now, none of those things above are bad or need to be thrown out the door...but what we often forget is that we are His body...the Glorious Children of Abba...the redeemed of the Lord...a Chosen and Royal Priesthood...the very Bride of Christ...THE CHURCH. And wherever two or more are gathered, Church is real!

For me, today, I'm thrilled about
learning again my "C" words.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Artist

I'm in love with an Artist. He paints the most incredible visuals, every day, somewhere. Today, He chose Atlantic Shore, Barbados, to display His handiwork. It began to take shape around 5 o'clock in the evening and by 5:45, a stunning vista of glorious color was before my eyes. These colors had never been seen in the same palate: turquoise, deeper than you could imagine; ivory, the creamiest ever; salmon pink that was so inviting, it was almost edible; purple, deep and rich and royal; silver streaks and charcoal grey blobs and gold, turning to copper and brilliant deep yellow. Behind this amazing creation glowed a light that is beyond description; a light that brought all the other colors to life. The surfers had all gone home and there was not a single ship on the horizon. A Barbados sunset, just for me.
To put all of this in a context, Barry and I have been given the most incredible gift. A very sweet young English couple, Tom and Emily, invited us to housesit for them while they were on a three week Christmas visit to the U.K. We didn't have to think about it for very long. You see, we can walk across the narrow street outside their house with a cup of coffee in our hands, park ourselves on a bench and watch the roiling Atlantic surf. We can feel the spray on our faces. Every day we watch surfers waiting for just the right moment, that one special ride that will thrill their hearts and make the waiting worthwhile. We have been going to sleep at night with the sound of the ocean singing a symphony as the waves break on the shore. Emily and Tom perhaps were not aware that their gift to us was coming from the heart of Father God. Sometimes we are just not aware that He is using those around us to give us His great gifts.

I began to ponder the fact that each sunset is unique. There have never been two the same. Does that make you think of anything else? Perhaps your finger prints, or the irises of your eyes, or the grains of sand on the seashore? Of course, a snowflake. Perhaps your child or children: never two the same even if they are twins.

Let's get a little bit more up close and personal. What about you?

"For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother's womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, and my
soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them."

"Fearfully and wonderfully made." That means you. That means me. I don't think that we can really comprehend our uniqueness, our total one of a "kind-ness", the absolute wonder of being the first and the last like you.

Just as Father God creates unique, one of a kind sunsets, he created a unique, one of a kind you. There will never be another me, another you.

The next time you see a sunset, no matter where you happen to me, take a moment to remember: this sunset is one of a kind; you are one of a kind. You are unique, hand-fashioned in your mother's womb by the Artist.