Thursday, May 26, 2005

Muchas Gracias

Thank you all so much for your prayers and support. It's overwhelming to think of how much support we have going into our marriage. I guess that's a good thing. I certainly wouldn't want to start out on this adventure alone.

Based on the opposition we've been facing, as Jesse mentioned, I'd have to say that someone is not very happy about our upcoming marriage. Which leaves me feeling both excited and apprehensive at the same time. Excited about the prospect of advancing the Kingdom, whatever that looks like. And apprehensive about the prospect of continued opposition. I mean the first couple years are supposed to be difficult any way, right? But thank God that he can carry us through anything, including trials and opposition.

Jesse and I have talked a lot about what we want our life mission to be as a married couple and, eventually, as a family. It can be encasulated in the words of Isaiah 61 especially verses 1-3. We believe that mission God has called us to is to heal, restore, and proclaim freedom. In John 10:10, Jesus says that the enemy's main goals are to steal, kill, and destroy. Which means that our goals stand in direct opposition to that. Is it any wonder that he does not stand by silently while our wedding day pushes closer?

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

More Abundant Life

First off, thank you so much to all of you who are praying. We need your prayers, and we need God to answer and come through for us. And he is, in so many ways. It's really wonderful. He's taking care of financial needs, taking care of emotional needs, giving us eyes to see what's really going on and the strength to act on what we know is true.

I was reading a book called "The Sacred Romance" today and have been thinking about the battle we face living in this world. God granted Amy and me some respite from it today, which was fabulous. We got to spend some time with each other and talk and be together, and it was truly a picture of heaven to me. Communion. Intimacy. Connection.

And that's really the point of the battle, isn't it? We don't fight just for fighting's sake, because it would be pointless. We aren't made that way. We desire peace. But as King Arthur says in "First Knight" to the evil Prince Malagant, "There's a peace that's only to be found on the other side of war. And if that battle comes, I will fight it!" We fight for life, for intimacy, for connection with God. Christ's agenda for us is abundant life. The enemy's agenda for us is theft and murder and ruin. When those things run headlong into each other, as they do every day all around the world, there is war.

I'm not trying to say something about what's going on in Iraq and the middle east, or the civil wars in Africa, or the unrest in eastern Europe, though I think that has something to do with what I'm talking about. What I'm talking about is the war on our hearts and for our hearts that happens in all kinds of ways whether there is physical violence or no. The far greater warfare is never seen except in glimpses like the book of Daniel.

He has a troubling vision and fasts for 3 weeks, seeking an answer from God. Silence. Nothing. What can we make of that? We know that God loves Daniel. We know God wants to speak to him; God has, on several occasions. What if Daniel had decided, "God must not be interested in my situation. He must not care about me anymore." So many of us have come to that place at one point or another.

Then, suddenly, an angel appears. He briefly explains what took him so long to get there: he was denied entrance to the Persian kingdom by the "prince" of that place, a mighty evil spirit, and was forced to seek aid from Michael the archangel to bring Daniel the explanation of the vision in answer to his prayer.

This is really stunning, if you think about it. I do not believe this is the case with all prayers, that God is looking to answer all of them and the answers are simply being held at bay by enemy powers. But surely SOME are. We have at least one instance here. How many others happen all the time, and we don't even see it?

Satan wants us dead. Jesus wants us more alive than we ever dreamed possible. This is worth fighting for. This is worth the toil and battle that Christ invites us into. Otherwise, why fight? There must be a goal worth fighting for to keep us going, to drive us on. It can give even the worst moments an element of hope, because there is life to be had on the other side.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

After You Have Done Everything...Stand

Wow. We are fighting right now against some amazing opposition. Just saying that kind of makes me feel strange...but it is clear to me that Satan is furious about our marriage. There are all kinds of things: feelings of pressure and frustration, wanting to just bail out, sudden changes in other relationships that are causing stress and anxiety and anger and strain and hurt, trouble with health and jobs and so on and so forth.

I'm tired. I'm angry. I'm weary. We are in need of a canopy of prayer and spiritual covering. I would like to ask those of you who are reading out there to fight with us against the enemy...we are desperate for the life and freedom that Jesus has for us.

God told me something a while ago when Amy and I were struggling with some other issues. He said, "Jesse, this is a small thing. You will face much worse." (God's so encouraging sometimes, isn't he?) But he also brought me back to the truth that Christ has overcome the world, made a public spectacle of the powers that be by the cross, and has given us authority in his name.

So there it is. This is a call for the church: Amy and I ask you to rise up now and be who you are. We can't fight this alone. Stand with us!

Father, I praise you for who you are. You have been good to us all this time. I know that you will continue to take care of us, because you're a wonderful Father. Thank you for the promise of heaven and the fact that we have a home with you. I declare your rule and reign in my relationship with Amy, in my work, in my finances, in my relationships with other people. You are king and God. I want you to be praised and honored by our lives. Accomplish your will in us, the way you have it planned out in heaven. Take care of our needs today--you know better than we do what it is we need. Forgive us for our sin, and cleanse us with Jesus' blood. Protect us from the enemy and teach us what you would have us learn through the situations we find ourselves in.

I also stand against the powers of darkness in the authority of Jesus Christ. Thank you for your work--your cross, your resurrection, and your ascension. I have died with you, Jesus, and my old nature is put to death with all its pride, idolatry, selfishness, and self-glorification. Through your resurrection I have new life, and I live through you. By your ascension I am seated in heaven and have been given authority over the enemy through you. In your authority, I declare all agreements with Satan null and void, and renounce them in Jesus' name. Your covenant, Father, is the only one I recognize. I invite you to be my king and I ask to walk with you.

Thank you, Father, for new life in you.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Wedding Details

For those of you who have been browsing around and happened upon our little blog, our wedding date is August 13, 2005. That's 84 days.

The planning is going pretty well. A few hiccoughs here and there, but I suppose that's to be expected. Finally getting invitations printed and put together.

For those of you interested in such details, our colors are pink, silver, and ivory. The ivory came into the color scheme after Jesse gave me an ivory veil that he bought in Israel several years ago. (Before he met me--you'll have to get him to tell that story.) We're basing our wedding on the ancient Jewish model, kind of a foreshadowing of the time when Christ comes back for his Bride, the church. In that spirit, I am having ten bridesmaids, following the tradition of ten virgins accompanying the bride to help her prepare every night as she waited for the groom. My sister will also be accompanying me as the maid of honor. I know, I'm crazy for having eleven bridesmaids, but what can you do?

The virgins carried oil lamps to light the way for the groom to come the bride, after hearing the trumpet blast and shouts heralding the coming of the groom. Jesus used this tradition in his parable of the ten virgins. In keeping with that spirit, the bridesmaids will be carrying wine goblets with tea lights in them to light the pathway down the aisle.

Jesse will have six ushers/groomsmen and his best man. They will be "playing" the part of the groom's friends who help him prepare for the big day. LOL Since about half of them are married already, they've already started giving him marriage advice. I'm hoping that out of the seven of them, someone will be able to keep track of the ring and making sure Jesse gets there on time.

We're getting married in the church Jesse grew up in. In keeping with the spirit of the Jewish wedding happening at midnight, we are using candles to comprise most of the decorations, with the lights down low. We're hoping for an ethereal feeling to the ceremony, with the reception afterwards being a celebration of the event.

The reception will be held outside at a park in Puyallup, picnic style. Music, dancing, lots of food and fellowship. We're hoping that this reception will be one of the ones people look back on with fond memories of meeting new friends, catching up with old ones, and eating lots of good food. :D We just to have fun and relax a bit after the ceremony and hang out with everyone who made it.

I think that's about it as far as all the details and stuff. If you have any further questions, drop us a line and one of us will try to answer it.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Changes (Part 2)

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New Job

Well, kids, I finally have a job. If you've been praying for me, thank you so much. If not, well, God did what he wanted to do anyway, and you just didn't get to be involved. But don't worry - I'm sure there'll be another chance.

This week I've been training to work for Dell Direct Stores at a kiosk in the Tacoma Mall. It's a temp job--I interviewed with Comcast last week, and I'm waiting to hear back from them, but at least I have something to do in the meantime. And who knows? Maybe this is what God has in mind for me. Part of me hopes not--I'm a little burned out on the whole retail thing. But he has provided this, at least for this time, and I'm really grateful.

We just watched "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade". It's the best movie of the three, in my opinion. I mean, for goodness' sake, SEAN CONNERY plays Jones' dad. How cool is THAT?

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


Hey everyone.

I changed the settings so you don't have to be a Blogger to post a comment (but hey, why not, it's fun). Please post--it's nice to just be able to write, but it's also nice when you know someone's reading it.


Monday, May 16, 2005

Fun Stuff

I've always thought this would be really fun, too. So here's my first post on this blog.

Hi... how are ya? :-D

The bridal shower yesterday was inSANE. I cannot believe how many people showed up for that. There had to have been around forty women that showed up. I guess people kinda like me. It was kind of flattering and almost embarrassing at the same time. Of course, Mom and Kari being who they are, we had to have a time of telling favorite memories or something special about the bride (me). I love hearing that kind of stuff, but sometimes I think I'd rather hear it one on one than in a large group like that.

For those of you who don't know me very well, I'm not exactly the most socially minded person in the world. I am definitely your classic introvert. So I went to a couple of social functions the last few days, so my social energy has been pretty well sapped. It's okay, don't anybody panic, I will recover eventually. I just need a few days of peace and quiet. Ha! Like that's gonna happen at this house. I'll figure something out.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Christmas in May

Wow. Amy had her first bridal shower today, and I can't even believe how many presents we got. It was compLETEly insane. I'm really overwhelmed at the generosity of our friends and family. Just amazing.

Now the next question is, what the heck are we going to DO with all of it for the time being?

Who am I, Anyway?

I was talking to God about worship today at church. I have played several times with a group of people who, honestly, I've had some of the best times of worship of my life with. The thought went through my mind that really, the best thing about playing with Dan and the other guys is that we know how to just get out of God's way. But then I reconsidered. I don't want to say anymore that my job is to "get out of the way and let God use me". That belittles and diminshes what he has done in me. It discredits his creation of my life.

Paul wrote that "we have this treasure in earthen vessels to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us." That is true. But that simply means that Christ is everything-not that I am nothing. I am a son, a servant, a warrior, a poet, a musician. Those things all come from him.

I have glory and power and dignity, but none of it is from my own effort. I am created in the image of God-how could be nothing? I have been redeemed, with all the things that entails-how could I take credit? I am who I am because of my Father, and being myself does not diminish his glory. It brings him glory.

If At First You Don't Succeed....

Well, here I am again. Let's see how this goes this time.

My friend suggested to me that since I'm getting married (to the most fabulous woman who has ever lived, by the way), I should create a blog for us so our peeps can see what we're up to. I already had one, but I thought that was a great idea! So I went back to my blog to start writing again, and lo and behold, it was gone. Oh well. Such is life, I guess.

So, here is my second attempt at a blog. It's pretty sweet. Mostly this will be about us, life, philosophical musings, goofy anecdotes, etc. In short, what we usually talk about with people.

Thanks for reading. Mazel tov.