Monday, December 19, 2005

Not the most pleasant part of being a parent

This weekend is usually one of my favorite of the year. We have our morning worship service, followed by a lunch together as a congregation, followed by our annual Christmas program. However, such was not to be the case this year. Oh, the day we pleasant enough. The Christmas program was quite good, bringing together Christmas and Easter, but I was not very comfortable. You see, on Saturday night my baby son decided that my one eye was fascinating to him, and he reached out with his sharp little nails (talons would probably be a more accurate term) and scraped my cornea. Off to the hospital I went to have my diagnosis confirmed. Sure enough, I had a bad scratch to the cornea, and it was quite big. I expected them to put on an eye patch for 24 hours, as that is what they used to to, but no longer. Now they put a whole host of eye drops in the eye that is scratched. The first one is to relax the eye, and it immediately takes away the pain, and dilates the pupil so you can't see clearly at all. The next is a pain killer, and finally an anti-biotic. The good side of this is not having to wear a patch. The bad side is I had to preach with one eye that would not focus at all. That meant reading scripture and all the rest by closing the bad eye so I could see to read. Even looking at the congregation was uncomfortable, and eventually resulted in me wishing I was just home in the dark. The meal as usual was great, and even the Christmas program was very good. However, my eye was a major pain the whole time. Even typing this I keep my one eye closed. I am very thankful that I am at least a passable typist :) The great part is that in all of this God gave what was needed to proclaim his word. In spite of the discomfort, the Lord's day was still a good day to be with his people. Now I just need to remember to keep my eyes away from little baby hands :)

Friday, December 16, 2005

Who would have thunk it?

David Palmer
David Palmer

Which 24 Character are you?
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Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Christmas Light's Will Never Be The Same

The Lights of Christmas Story

OFTEN ACCUSED OF ILLEGAL GATHERINGS and creating social unrest, house church pastors in China face arrest, persecution and imprisonment. When imprisoned they are forced to do hard labor – making bricks, mining coal, putting together cigarette lighters...and even assembling Christmas lights. The same Christmas lights we use to celebrate the Savior’s birth are being used to punish Chinese pastors who have risked everything to share Jesus to the largest people group on earth – it’s a story that captures everyone’s heart who hears it. Instead of boycotting these items, house church leaders in China have asked that we use our Christmas lights as reminders to pray that they have the strength to stand firm for the Savior during their suffering, and for the Lord to protect and care for their families. The Lights Of Christmas Story PICTURE THIS! A COLD, DARK PRISON CELL IN THE NORTHERN INTERIOR OF CHINA. The cell is only 20' by 20' and occupied by 40 prisoners. One of these prisoners is a Chinese underground church pastor in his mid-40s, sentenced to a three-year prison term for preaching the Gospel of Christ. At 5:30 a.m., after being allowed four hours of sleep, a swift blow awakens him to his back from the boot of a communist prison guard. Pastor Stephen is allowed to have one of the two bowls of soup that will be his food for the day including the one small steamed roll he is given each day, he will consume perhaps 500 calories. Now all 40 prisoners are taken to a room and put in two lines facing each other and forced to kneel. In front of each prisoner is placed a box containing unassembled Christmas lights. The guard viciously barks out the command and Pastor Stephen quickly grabs the empty strings of lights and begins to assemble them. He takes the tiny individual light bulbs and threads the two small metal wires extending from the glass through the plastic holder and bends them into place. Before long, his fingers are raw and bleeding. Then he puts the bulb into the fitting on the string of lights and clamps it into place with his teeth, as prisoners are not allowed tools. His quota for the day - 5000 bulbs. Work will continue for 16 to 20 hours or all night if necessary. If the guards are unsatisfied with the speed or quality of the work, he will be beaten mercilessly. Such is a normal workday for this humble servant of God. When he is taken back to his cell, he recalls the many verses of Scripture he has memorized and thanks God for His faithfulness in spite of the hardship. Then quietly he begins to sing worship songs he has hidden away in his heart and he begins to pray for the well being of his family. Tears of thanksgiving begin to roll down his face as he ponders how blessed he is to be considered worthy to suffer for Christ. Blessed because he is a part of the underground Church of China - the largest Church in the world, numbering over 80 million believers. A Church that is vibrant and passionate and deep in the things of God. A Church that is paying a great price for this great turning to God with persecution and suffering. For more information on this click.