Apologies in advance for any inconveniences you may experience reading this blog over the next day or so. I'm in the process of migrating this blog to wordpress for Bryan and Tara.
The new URL will be available soon.
I am at my parents in Prairie Grove, Arkansas where I can actually get a computer to work to allow me to blog. Our super internet blocker has been blocking blogger ever since they made the new changes. The picture above is from a Christmas past, probably 4 or 5 years ago, at the Riley household. Dad always loves Christmas and is extravagant in giving. In fact, although he has never been a church goer he has taught me more about being generous than anyone else I know.
My son, Tanner, now 8, enjoyed the fruits of the Christmas shown above and below.
What thrills my heart is that Tanner has that generous heart passed on from my dad. This year Tanner took on the role of teaching us all what giving is about. We arrived back from the University of the Nations to quite a bit of work. We often found ourselves still up at midnight working on the house, unpacking, Christmas, etc. As a result we ended up with only one afternoon to shop for everyone for Christmas and we simply didn't have time to take any of the kids to let them shop for their brother and sister. Tanner, without either Tara or I knowing, made or found presents for everyone in the family, wrapped them himself secretly, and hid them under the tree. So, this morning when we were all passing out the presents we were all surprised by incredible gifts from our little giver.
I hope to be able to blog from home soon. I have often thought of a "postable" note, but have been unable to share them (perhaps it's been a blessing in disguise to you). I just wanted to write this while i had five minutes (even though my family keeps asking where I am and wanting me to join them). If things don't work out with blogger, please be on the lookout for a post that says I've switched to some new site.
This season of serving at the University of the Nations
is coming to a close. We board our plane from Kona to Fayetteville, Arkansas tonight at 11:59 p.m. Hawaiian time (3:59 a.m. CST). We have been so blessed not just by great sunsets while here, but also by incredible relationships with people like Chong Ho and Kris Won, Nick and Jen Greener, Ben and Angie Wicks, Holger and Jillie Schein, Loren Cunningham, John and Sonja Randerson, Paul and Lynette Randerson, Josh Harmsworth, Tyler Johnson, Andy Huddleston and so many others. Our children have been discipled through our time together and by excellent schools, dedicated to teaching them to follow Jesus. We have worked on a number of projects and hope that our time here hasn't just been a blessing to us, but that we have blessed the University of the Nations. Most of all, God has renewed our faith and restored in us the joy of our salvation. We pray it becomes more and more manifest in our daily lives.
We know not yet where we will be come Spring of 2007, but we are praying about that earnestly and fervently. We have always wondered if God would release us to do our training in our home state, and that is still possible, but there are other opportunities of which we are becoming aware.
has an incredible mission and ministry. In our time here we have seen people truly seeking God's direction for their lives. The teaching is sound and the desire to see people hear and know the gospel of Jesus Christ is strong. Pray for YWAM. Pray for the gospel to be carried throughout the world. And please pray that we will not forget the lessons God has taught us here as we prepare to carry out our ministry.
"Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you.
This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved—and that by God. "
I'm not sure how many times I've read over these verses in Colossians and focused only on the very first part: conducting myself in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. That alone is an interesting discussion and I'd love to hear what people believe is such conduct. However, God really bolded the part above that I have bolded as I read these words: standing firm in one spirit and contending as one man for the faith of the gospel.
Wow! Does that describe today's church? It should convict us through and through. And, whereas we all can be convicted by the fact that people will know we are Christians by our love and that people will know that the Father sent Jesus by our unity, I'm not sure we often think about the fact that our unity also is a sign to those who don't believe of their impending destruction lest they receive by faith the gospel as well.