WRFusion update Country #1, Update #1 (or Blue Sky Needed)

IMG_6264Saturday morning, January 3

Tim and I are on the way to Thailand via Shanghai. As in Shanghai, China.

I am sitting in the lobby listening to Tim trying to communicate with the hotel personnel who speaks  “a little” English (said while holding their fingers in tiny-mode.)   I also hear the tinkling of 42 million glass thingies that are hanging from the massive chandelier. If I let allowed myself it could put me back to sleep.  We are 12 hours ahead of Atlanta.

We soon leave the lobby and get into our shuttle and wait.  Again.  This time I sit and watch as an older Chinese man (ok, he’s about my age) pulls out a thick hand duster from a plastic case that has been hidden in the trunk of a black Mercedes. He then begins the arduous task of wiping off the fog-dust from the entirety of the high-end car while three businessmen look on.  (My confusion begins to set in as I ponder: “I thought this was a communist country…”)  IMG_6269

The fog-dust is everywhere since fog is everywhere.  As we leave to return to the airport I notice that many people have on smog-masks (we also had some provided for us in our hotel.  However, we left them behind!) The smog (fog-dust) is so profound but the people seem as accustomed to it as we are to the humidity in the south.  The sun is shining, but cannot break through.  I am suddenly aware of how much I miss the BLUE…and how sorry I am that the Shanghai-ians miss it everyday.IMG_6274

We are waking up to our first full day of many days to come this year as coaches for the very first World Race Fusion squad. This squad is composed of 23 young adults (Racers) from three different countries–most of whom are presently on a nine hour bus ride from Bangkok to Chiang Mai Thailand where all of us will be  for the next two weeks. Tim and I will help (a little) with their training and then launch them into their first of eleven ministry sites for the next 11 months.

Our job, as coaches, is to fly every other month to meet the Racers  (in the particular country they will be in at the time) simply to encourage them and prod them on as they journey with each other during 2015.  Each of our 4-5 jaunts will last about a week.  HOW FUN IS THAT for 2015!?

My goal is to document this journey or at least a few of the quirky happenings, during our 2015 venture.

Update #2 to follow quickly. (Lord willing and the creek don’t rise–I don’t reckon they say that ’round here….)

So, I’m writing a book

A publishing friend of mine says that everyone has a book inside of them.

I believe it. I believe that there is a topic that is swimming around in everyone’s gut that is screaming to get out.

My gut screams kingdom-a seemingly medieval word that conjures up visions of knights and round tables but in reality it the most intricate, vibrant word on the planet.

I began to discover the reality of the kingdom back in 1995, which is also the year that my mom died. Attached is an article that I wrote describing that discovery. It is also the first chapter of my book–or the preface. I don’t have to decide that today.

Anyhow, the article was/is meant to whet the appetite of those who have never given thought to this amazing word. And it is for those who have long believed that “the kingdom” is the equivalent to “heaven”. It is not.

Nor is it simply Christianity or Judaism or Buddhism or Islam or Hinduism.

Nor is it a code of morality or wisdom principles or the least bit religious. (As Jimmy Fallon says, “ew.”)

Nor is it limited or measurable.

Nor can it be marketed.  Whew.

Over the past 2,000 years, the collective-we has diminished the meaning of kingdom.

Exhibit A: The word kingdom is found twice in The Lord’s Prayer. Most people can quote that verbatim as if they were uttering their address. Unfortunately, it rolls off the tongue like a religious eulogy.

If God cringes, he would certainly cringe.

So here is the article that I wrote back in the late 90’s. It is the thesis of my book. And it is the essence of what is currently spilling into a black and white composition notebook, being punched into my computer, and scratched onto a few random pieces of scrap paper.

It’s in my gut.

 

How I Discovered the Kingdom

By Karen Dilbeck

It was her 60th birthday and I was taking her out to breakfast. While we finished our blueberry pancakes, mom casually mentioned that she was going to the doctor later that day to have a knot on her neck looked at – “probably an infected lymph node.”

Within two days, the diagnosis came: squamos cell carcinoma. Surgery was imminent. Then came radiation. Weeks turned into months with more surgery and even chemotherapy. At age 61, which is far younger to me now than it was then, my momma died. And my inner war began.

I had the typical testimony: reared in a Christian home, received Christ early, later drifted away, only to come back and find that He really was faithful even when I had not been.

Now, here it was: my first real crisis of belief with the countless “why” questions.

The opened Bible came next with its seemingly neon word “kingdom” that appeared and reappeared. I grabbed one of my many unused Bibles from the shelf and began a journey with a highlighter that continues today.

This is what I have found:

  • John the Baptist shouted that the Kingdom was near.
  • When Jesus started speaking publicly, He said the Kingdom was here.
  • He added that prostitutes would enter the Kingdom before “righteous Pharisees” and that
  • one had to become like a small child in order to receive this Kingdom, which, by the way, was
  • a gift and, strangely enough, was
  • inside of us. Oh, and
  • this Kingdom wasn’t something one could physically see or touch, but it was composed of “righteousness, peace, and the joy of the Holy Ghost.”
  • To walk in the Kingdom, one had to be convinced that the last really would be first and that
  • the first really would be last; that
  • being a servant, turning the other cheek and going the extra mile were “literal” responses that spawned action in the heavenlies.

After Jesus rose from the dead, the Kingdom was the only subject He spoke on for that short 40-day period before He stepped off the earth and into eternity.

Then Phillip picked up where Jesus left off, preaching about the good news of the Kingdom and of the name of Jesus Christ.

Paul continued with great passion, describing how to get into and walk in the Kingdom. He also offered the warning that everything not of God’s Kingdom would be shaken.

What I learned personally was that “the Kingdom” was everywhere and that to “seek it first” really did mean “and all these things will be added unto you.”

With this new unquenchable quest, God provided for me an eternal view and the unshakable conviction that though my eyes saw my mother breathe her last breath, she had, like Jesus, simply stepped into eternity and her eyes saw what had previously been unseen.

Life really is a vapor.

Knowing the King and seeking the Kingdom is life … the only life that He intended for us to live.

______________________________

 In case your interested, here is a little extra stuff to read.  It’s free.

For Downloadable PDF, click here:   The Kingdom of God is

 

 

 

 

I am obscene.

I clicked on the video link: “Iraqi Christians Persecuted”.  As the three-minute tragic story ends, a legitimate tear appears in my eye.  I think, “so sad”, but don’t even utter those words aloud, as I slowly shake my head.

And then I clicked another link.  I opted for a 2:14 feel-good video.

That really happened.

I have gotten into the habit of watching one or two or, if time permits, three short videos a day.  It has become part of my personal entertainment grid that I have added to checking email, Instagram, Facebook and, well, whatever.

Somehow, though, the Iraqi Christians getting beheaded got lost in that grid.

Until God.  Until God put this article in front of me last night after I played with my Pinterest and before I clicked on my Kindle app.

It was short, well written and even had the accompanying 3:55 audio to keep my brain in focus.

One line punched me in the face: Not mincing any words, the author called the world’s indifference to ISIS’ mass execution of Christians “obscene.”

It insulted me, calling out MY obvious indifference.  IT called ME obscene.  No, it screamed to me: YOU ARE OBSCENE.

I have never had one of my links condemn me.

The article was the last thing on my mind last night as I toss and turned and finally, and comfortably, fell asleep.  Then, it was the first thing on my mind this morning.

So, this morning, I  re-read the article.  And re-read it again. And then, once again.

imagesIt’s true.  I am one of the obscene.

I am one of the many that has buried my head in the sand under the guise of “but what can I do about it?”

I believed the blatant lie that “I am help-less.”

But am I?

I had read and heard the word ISIS MANY times recently.  But, I confess that I haven’t known (nor did I care enough to find out) what that acronym stands for.  I had surmised that ISIS is the BAD GUYS.

But then I finally clicked on the link inside the article.  It tells me this about ISIS:

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is not a loose coalition of jihadist groups, but a real military force that has managed to take over much of Iraq with a successful business model that rivals its coldblooded spearhead of death.   It uses money from banks and gold shops it has captured, along with control of oil resources and old-fashioned extortion, to finance its killing machine, making it perhaps the wealthiest Islamist terrorist group in the world. But where it truly excels is in its carnage, rivaling the death orgies of the Middle Ages. It has ruthlessly targeted Shiites, Kurds and Christians.

“They actually beheaded children and put their heads on a stick” a Chaldean-American businessman named Mark Arabo told CNN, describing a scene in a Mosul park. “More children are getting beheaded, mothers are getting raped and killed, and fathers are being hung.”

I also learned that this is taking place in NINEVAH….yeah, remember when Jonah preached and the people repented and turned to God?  Yeah, it’s their great, great, great, (etc) grandchildren.  Their families are the ones that are being raped, beheaded and massacred.  Their descendants are being driven from the very place that Jonah preached THOUSANDS of years ago.

This is not a one time, isolated event.  It is going on while I am checking Facebook and pinning on Pinterest.  I have attempted to imagine that kind of fear–that type of aggression–in my town, my neighborhood, my street.  What would it look like for them to drive their jeep into my driveway…?  Our American borders mean nothing to them.  I know this now–I am, finally, becoming informed.

We are part of their several-thousand-year-old-plan.  When I say “we”, I mean those of us that won’t renounce our Christian or Jewish faith…well, basically any faith that is not theirs.

This isn’t a trend.  This is not a Youtube video that stops when the 3:55 is over.

My indifference has been obscene.

Truly, all (ok, most) of us WANT to DO SOMETHING.  That has been proven by the recent ALS challenge.  We are ready and willing to pour a cold bucket of water over our heads, post the video AND even write the check.  We are also eager….

So what can I do?  (Emphasis on any of these words.)

I have four suggestions, not necessarily in this order:

1. Think.  What do I have at my fingertips?  Where is my influence?

When I lived in Montgomery, I had a LOT of influence, but now that I live in Georgia, I have almost nill.  But when I THOUGHT ABOUT IT, I realized that I blog.  As a fairly new blogger, I have 72 subscribers, and if only 25% of those read it, than I have influenced a handful of people to possibly not be obscene!  That is progress.

Who do you influence even in small, seemingly insignificant ways? 

2. Ask God.  Yes, ask God what YOU can do.  He speaks to those that have ears to hear: i.e., Jonah.

3. Google.

We all Google everyday, all day.  And we Google what we want to Google

So take time, a real purposed block of time, to Google a few things, like the phrase: Arabic N  (It is the symbol/letter on this kid’s shirt to the right. You will be astounded.)

Then, Google ISIS.  Google Persecuted Iraqi Christians. This is not for the faint of heart.  Nor is it for the obscene.

Also, watch the videos–they are horrible but watch them anyway. 

Then, think again.   And ask God again what your role is in this.

4. Become less obscene.  It really is a choice.