la vida es bella

"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me...I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Phillippians 3:12-14

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Location: Twin Cities Metro, Minnesota, United States

Thursday, September 29, 2005

to be missional

q. How can I remain in this world and not of it?

A thought I have been pondering a lot lately seems to bring me back to this question. I recently wrote an email to a friend after having been overwhelmed by the evidence of anti Christian sentiment that continues to make a mark on our thoughts, our people, our governments, our world; it stated the following:

"...i used to think that this country was over-saturated with christ followers, and that missionaries were more needed in other parts of this world- especially the 10/40 window. that is obviously not true...san francisco. new york. new orleans. las vegas. minneapolis. wherever...where is this [world] headed? sometimes i wish i didn't know."

Quite frankly, I am ashamed to have spent one too many days playing the thick in the head game, trying to convince myself that I would only serve a purpose in a place that I was passionate about. I would seriously lay awake at night and dream of where I would be used in the future; I would pray and plead that God would send me somewhere real soon, so that I didn't drive myself crazy where I was at. What I failed to realize is that it had nothing to do with place, & everything to do with people. All people. Every people. God's people.

I recently came across a short post in which David Crowder writes of his definition of a missional lifestyle. I appreciated the correlation between people & place.

"[To be missional] means that we understand ourselves to be missionaries in today's culture. Missionaries are those whose lives are constituted by a mission: to know Him and make Him known - this is our purpose, our goal, and our end in life. An ongoing relationship with God should result in a lifestyle that is God-centered and seeks to incarnate Christ. Missionaries always seek to understand 1.) the culture in which they live, and 2.) how to embody Christ amidst a kingdom that is not God's kingdom.

For several hundred years now, America has always been considered a Christian nation in which Christianity has been the predominant religious influence. Since Christianity has been the predominant religious influence in America, many American Christians understood "missionaries" to be those people who take "our" gospel to non-christian people overseas, therefore, since American Christians ceased understanding themselves as missionaries, we no longer saw the need to discern the culture in which we've lived.

Many American Christians have bought into several American (cultural - not biblical) mindsets. Here are a couple: 1. Capitalism - that our purpose, goal, and end in life is to be profitable in business or other avenues in the professional world; therefore, we understand that all of life is ordered to that end...that our involvement in school or work is primarily about capitalism, not primarily about mission. Does this mean we neglect excellence and diligence in school or work? Absolutely not. This mindset actually motivates us to "do all things as unto the Lord" with excellence and diligence, yet with a different mindset - that our ultimate goal here is not about financial profit but bringing others along in our faith journey. 2. Consumerism - that the reason things exist in this world is for me, the consumer, to consume; even though the local church is called to be a body of people sent on a mission into the world striving to establish the kingdom of God (definitely not a consumer mentality). Unfortunately, although the local church has been ordained by God to carry on the mission of Christ, most American Christians simply view the church as another venue that simply exists to meet our individual needs.

...How can I be missional? Accept the call of Christ to live out your life as a missionary amidst a culture that constantly tries to sell us a different purpose and a different vision in life..."

I am learning the ways and culture of the place I am in. It may take the rest of my life figuring out how to balance all that this culture entails. But my main goal should always be to know Christ first, and to in turn make Him known. Could he send us away on an adventurous journey to the seven seas and beyond with nothing but the clothes on our backs? I love knowing it's possible. But my mission field is here now. Never later.

Side note. Speaking of mission fields, I have my very own battlefield in my own back yard. D has ten times the will of his mother if that is even humanly possible. I think I will start fresh there in the morning. Make that 5 hours.

whom have i but you

"Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." Psalm 73:25-26

Wednesday, September 21, 2005


The world around me has been silenced as if stricken with awe by its Creator. His glory was revealed for hours on end as lighting danced its way through the night sky. The winds threatened all in its path and the thunder beckoned with its call. And then came the rain to drench the earth, satiating its need for replenishment. Down it came until it had finally had enough. And now, silence…

We all had fair warning of the storm coming through, but it seems so much larger than life when it actually hits. The clouds were moving in faster than I have ever seen, yet as we contemplated migrating to the basement, there was an unmistakable pull towards the windows and doors to watch it unfold. When the lights finally went, a slight scramble ensued as I had seemingly misplaced anything resembling a match. After solving that dilemma, we reverted back to the stone age as we sat in the living room talking life with our favorite people in our candle-lit shelter from the storm.

During my childhood years, I used to have such fear of any type of storm. It may have been due to the time the rain had washed part of a river bank away in the Fiji Islands as we were walking, and my dad and I took a spill down the river bank. I remember hating the rain that day. It also may have been due to the time a we trekked our way down into the crater of a volcano in Ecuador (as if standing on top of a heap of lava isn’t scary enough, which, by the way, blew its top only a few short years later), only to get stuck on the way out by a sudden ice storm which forced us to seek refuge under a large boulder to keep the rock avalanche that followed from impaling us. I definitely hated the ice that day. Or maybe it was the time the snow decided to fall in leaps and bounds before the eyes of someone who had never had to drive in such crazy weather conditions on her first day of work, and she ran inside with tears in her eyes, begging her husband to please take her (okay, so maybe this one wasn’t THAT long ago). I hated the snow, and Minnesota, that day for sure.

Tonight, though, there was no such fear. I was thrilled, actually. And all of the above only to record God’s whisper in my ear tonight, saying, “Erin, I am your peace in the midst of all things.” I heard it so loud and clear I turned to see who was talking to me. Wow. I needed to step outside to breathe it all in for a moment; to soak in His presence and allow myself to be amazed at the wonder of His creation.

What a storm can do for the soul. I could really get into watching them. I pray I am always quiet enough to hear that voice.

Thank you, God, for being my peace.

“Be still, and know that I am God…” Psalm 46:10

Thursday, September 01, 2005

life is beautiful...

Okay, so this is my first official blog entry ever. Brenton Balvin was kind enough to get this started a while back, as well as posting "my" first entry. I was self admittedly quite ancy, though, so they may as well have been my own words. So yes - I am now the mother of two (d & j), wife of one(p). My boys are wonderful, indeed, and consume most of the hours in each day.

For the mere purpose of clarification, I will explain only a few more things about myself if by chance I do continue to post. I am a Third Culture Kid: born in the US, raised overseas, and am an adaptation of a culture all my own. My tendencies, opinions, and contemplations reflect this more than most are aware. I am a Missionary Kid: I have been surrounded by a diverse group of people in a diverse place all serving for the same purpose. Lastly, I am God's Kid: self explanatory.

And so, after the birth of son #2 a couple of months ago, I have stayed home after having been involved in full time ministry for the past year and a bit as a Worship Director. I felt a strong calling back into full time motherhood. I often times resort to having life figured out. And yet here I sit, still faced with the same question I did years, months, days ago...What's next?

My family is incredibly important to me, and yet I miss being involved in full time ministry for one pretty simple reason of many: serving Christ and the Church was my job. It makes it easier from the outside looking in, doesn't it? Just one thing - it must always be my job. We are created to love; we are created to serve...we were born to be worshippers. We must incorporate these things into our lives regardless of circumstance. And so how will I accomplish this tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that? I can't lay it all out, but I know that I am striving for "Well done"...