Sunday, November 21, 2010

Thoughts on Worship

"...The mind is mainly the servant of the heart. That is, the mind serves to know the truth that fuels the fire of the heart. The apex of glorifying God is enjoying him with the heart. But this is an empty emotionalism where that joy is not awakened and sustained by true views of God for who he really is." John Piper from his book, Think: The Life of the Mind...

We went to church this morning. Our landlord Suantzy brought us. It is called "Comunidad Paz" or Peace Community. We thoroughly enjoyed it. A couple of the songs were recognizable so even Matt was able to worship in Spanish. It was a special thing. Worship is a special thing. I understood a good amount. The sermon was entitled, " The power of worship." The pastor focused on excerpts through out 2 Chronicles 17-20. The story of Johosephat. It is a wonderful story. I read it again when I got home. He was an honorable king who walked in the ways of King David and followed the holy law. He also made his nation great. The pastor coined a phrase. He said, "God's grace opens doors, and character keeps them open" Johosephat was blessed by God for following the law, but his continual practice of worship despite circumstance, this compelled God's continued grace in his life. Jehosophat even called the nation to worship and fast in time of trial.

Piper in his book, "Think" discusses the importance of both thinking on and seeking the wisdom of the Lord for the sole purpose of true heart worship. Thinking and worship go hand in hand for this matter. In the preface of "Think" Mark Noll says that there are 2 books written by God that we should study seriously: The bible and the world... I love that. I love that we can study the world and see God's word proven true, and we can study the bible and better understandour experiences in the world. And in this dual studying, we heighten our ability to worship the creator of it all.

How perfectly balanced this is. How divinely thought out. The totality of it cannot but bring someone to worship. And so Piper, and Noll and our new pastor's words are proven true, that true wisdom, should breed true worship.

Nuestro Lugar

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Our hostel the first night... Las Palmas. $10 (He hustled us. Everyone said it was usually $7) Pura Vida

At the Waterfall of La Fortuna. I want to blow this picture up and frame it.

Along our hike to the Arenal Volcano. This was a lake that formed from a lava crater when the volcano erupted in 2000.

His words are enough

It will be one week this evening. I finished reading BLUE LIKE JAZZ, by Donald Miller on the plane ride here. It reminded me of the tug of war I often experience as a Christian in a post modern society. The tug of war of balancing standard and free grace, knowing by the latter I am sustained and yet by the first I am held accountable. Then in our devotional, Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon there seems to be this reoccuring theme of allowing God to be my complete portion despite circumstance. And then, I picked up on an antique (on my kindle) called, ABOUNDING GRACE FOR THE CHIEF OF SINNERS, by John Bunyan, and in this, even this afternoon, I have been reminded that God is sovereign, and in his sovereignty he gives us easy things and he gives us hard things...but neither can make and break us. Only the giver himself should have that power. Not the gift. It reminds me the importance of speaking truth to myself moment by moment, which deductively reminds me to be memorizing scripture.

All that to say, this morning, I woke up and starting thinking how strategic these nuggets of truths are that were sent my way. They seem random and disconnected but no, they have proven to be perfectly connected. Because they have appropriately spoken to me in every situation this past week. I cannot begin to explain the situations, but inevitably almost in quotes, I have recalled lines from each book. That moment in Arenal for example when Matt and I were waiting for Tony's tour bus, thinking we had screwed ourselves... I remembered Spurgeon's words regarding circumstance and not allowing it to affect our joy and that faith cannot be grown with out experiencing trial. When I was debating on jumping in the waterfall with Matt because it was freezing cold and it couldnt be safe... I thought of Donald Miller and his encouragement to live in our liberty, instead of calculating everything we do...swimming in the waterfall has been my highlight of everything. Honestly, I could go on and on. A final example, at lunch time today, Matt came to me and his head was spinning from class. He had a headache and he wasn't sure he could go back, and he opened his email and we received an email from Greg (father in law) reminding him to medidate on Phil 4, verse 13 I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST WHO STRENGTHENS ME.

Gods words are not just perfect, they are timely, and even though they come through several channels they always align with his word in the bible. It is a beautiful thing to learn that by experience and not just read it in a book.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


We met some students at the school Thursday after the aprtment deal who were going to the Arsenal Volcano for the weekend. We decided to join them. We would have just been chillin until school started Monday so we figured why not...

One 5 hour bus ride, through fog, up a mountain, packed to the brim and we got in yesterday afternoon. Matt ended up standing most of the time giving his seat to a woman with her baby, elderly... Wasn{t the best start to our getaway. In our Costa Rica handbook it told us to watch out for over friendly people once we got in the bus terminal. But when we got off the bus we met this very friendly guy named Tony who pointed us in the direction of a hostel near by and we got a room next door to the other students. $10 a room...cold water, but the sheets were clean. Tony stuck around and talked us into buying a package deal that his cousin could get us... hiking-hot spring-dinner tour tickets. We paid him cash and pretty much almost pooped our pants waiting around for the tour bus to come, thinking we had just made the biggest mistake of our life and we were out $90 for sure and would be doomed by the handbook God. Tony showed up though, and we actually got picked up! Im sure the whole thing was not legit, BUT, we did hike up the side of the volcano, led by a tour guy who I am sure is a local who does this as a side hustle, but he showed us some pretty cool random things that real guides probably wouldnt have. He literally would pick out a plant on the ground, sniff it and say (picture it with a thick spanish accent)... here we have the ginger plant...and then stick it in his mouth and keep walking. it was sweet. He ate a couple of plants along the way I think. After we went to the hot springs.. which was a part of another resort that we definitely couldnt afford but..Tonys guy got us in. The best part though, was the dinner. On our way back, we asked Carlos the driver guy, when we were going to get our dinner (its like 10pm at this point) he made a call on his cell and then later dropped us off at a closed restaurant that had a table outside, set complete with a candle and a flower arrangment. Pretty sure Carlos called his friend who was the manger of this steak restaurant and made arrangements. Nonetheless, we had a candle lit dinner on a restaurant terrace opened just for us..rice, beans, plaintains, steak, fish, papaya juice, coffee...clear night. God is faithful and funny... we are grabbing dinner at lava loung now. Upgraded to a hotel in town with warm water tonight. We bus back tomorrow afternoon and sharpen our pencils for school starting Monday. Pura Vida

Thursday, November 11, 2010

God is faithful

Thank you for those who prayed. The Lord honored them that is for sure. We found the apartment...which was actually a beautiful, very wealthy home with a terrace and secure gates. We got there 40 minutes early... it is VERY close to the school. So we walked around and checked out the neighborhood to kill time, it is simply nice and quiet. Not near the main road. Good number of restaurants and shops around it. We felt good about it. We got back and we met the sweet wife of the home named Sauntzy... She showed us the apartment. Spacious kitchen, bedroom area, internet and there is a terrace balcony that we have extending from our bedroom window (floor to ceiling). Overlooks some preserved land in the area. We both had complete peace. Then she showed us their home that is connected. When I tell you gorgeous I mean...marble stone, wood floors, furniture imported from Germany. She said an old long term renter of theirs is living in their section while they are in Israel... we secretly want him to cancel and then will have to take his place! ;)

When she asked if we wanted it, Matt said he was pretty sure we would take it, but we would need to pray about it, she stopped him mid sentence and said.."You are Christians?" We smiled and said yes. She grabbed her heart and her eyes welled up and when she got herself together she said, "I have been praying God would bring me good people for this house." She went on to explain how her husband and her became believers late in life and that it was so important to them to have good renters that would not bring any unclean spirit. She shared her story with us about coming to faith. And when her husband (who works for the foreign affairs) had to choose a location for work for the next 3 years, they chose Israel in light of the roots of their faith.

She was so happy. That confirmed it for us. She is buying a bigger bed, since it is 2 of us (Matt is happy about not having to push singles together anymore :) and she is having some construction done in the stove and stools put in before we move in on the 19th of Nov. We are with Rosemary until the 18th. She drove us back to the school after our convo and tour..started raining so we were glad she took us back.

It is such a relief to have a spot to live! OH AND, for those praying about church and getting connected, she is bringing us to church next Sunday :) And so, once again, God is more than faithful, he is amazing.

Apartment Hunting

Bueno, we have our first apartment adventure this afternoon. We spent half of yesterday looking up apartments after breaking down the math with the administration here and concluding that home stay would cost us about $600 more a month unnecessarily. So, we have our first appointment at 2 this afternoon. Its 12:43. We are leaving soon considering our directions are the below (there are no real addresses here):

"From the Subaru Car place, walk north on the main road. Make a right at the gas station. Pass the Cultural Center and the Vegetarian/Yoga cafe, make a left at the Japanese retaurant and go about 2 blocks. Look for the big brown wall, with 2 gates and a big tree. Its across from the big lot."

Yep so, pray us luck. :) We need something in the $350-400 range. No more. This one is $450, but we think we can talk her down in light of length of stay. She has another unit in San Pedro (not too far) for 350 ... not sure if that's still available though. Keep you posted...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

our room...

Matt perusing the local paper this morning... :) Not sure he understood much...of anything.

Final moments

Here !

Got in a little after 10. Got through customs, to the driver and to our homestay around 12. Sweetest Abuelita (grandmother) greeted us- Rosemary. I dont think its ironic that I left Gramma for a Gramma. Ill take that one as a kiss from God.

A cold shower, a little water, a listerine wash (because the airline confiscated our toothpaste) and we were knocked out. Caught the bus to our language school this morning..which is where we are now. Very nice. Little. Looks like nothing from the outside, just medal gates with plants ..and then you walk into this bright, stone walk way that leads you to classes, kitchens, sitting areas, computer rooms... feeling good about this place. Cooking class at 4 Im going to try and catch.

In Matt and my morning devotional this morning we read about home being where God dwells. And since we believe he dwells in us, well, it gave us some perspective on feeling "at home." He is a good and gracious God. My knowledge of the language is coming back quickly. So glad to be here with my boo though. Pictures to come