How could I not capture this moment.
A true Alaskan boy, loving the -16 degree weather.
I have come face to face with judgment lately.
I judge. I judge you. I judge others. I judge those I don’t know at all. I judge wrongly.
And it’s ugly. It makes me ugly. It reveals my heart, the part of my heart I’d rather not show the world, but I confess judgment has been a big part of my life. It became normal to find something about someone that I can judge so I elevate myself, or compare, or use as an excuse not to let them into my heart.
What a prideful, damaging thing judgment is.
What leads up to judgment is worse than the final gavel.
The opposite of patience with another, is judgment.
Patience with people is driven by mercy. And there is no mercy in judgment.
James, Jesus’ little brother, calls me out in chapter 4:2.
“You are jealous and covet and your desires go unfulfilled; so you become murders [to hate is to murder as far as your hearts are concerned]. You burn with envy and anger and are not able to obtain the gratification, the contentment, and the happiness that you seek, so you fight and war.”
I can be self focused, filled with and driven hard by my desire to obtain contentment and happiness. And doing everything in my grasp to find it on my own leads me to envy, jealousy, selfish ambition, anger and ultimately JUDGEMENT.
“You do not have because you do not ask. Or you ask God for them and yet fail to receive, because you ask with wrong purpose and evil and selfish motives.” James 4:3
I ask selfishly far too often. Anyone else?
I want contentment and happiness and gratification on my terms. My life. My plan. My longings fulfilled the way I think they should be, on my time frame. Pride envelops me and turns my eyes inward, hot with judgment on others. A dry and arid place.
There’s my ugliness out on the table.
“Therefore you have no excuse or defense or justification. O man, whoever you are who judges and condemns another. For in posing as judge and passing sentence on another, you condemn yourself, because you who judge are habitually practicing the very same things that you censure and denounce.” Romans 2:1
Gut punch. I will be judged with the measure I judge. Let God do the judging…and instead of judging he offers MERCY. He waits patiently. He offers peace.
“Or are you so blind as to trifle with and presume upon and despise and underestimate the wealth of His kindness and forbearance and long-suffering patience?” 2:2
Yes, I’ve been so blind at times. I have presumed upon his kindness and patience for me…but have not given that to others. Long-suffering is not really full of dancing and rainbows and pretty things. The word makes my mouth dry just saying it. Yet I’ve been given that kindness, forbearance and LOTS of patience in all that ugly junk I just laid out on the table before you.
“Are you unmindful or actually ignorant of the fact that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repent? 2:2
“But he gives more grace…” James 4:6
God’s patience with me, his mercy, his kindness is the trump card in all my ugliness. I can choose to be unmindful, ignorant of it and live in the bondage of Judgment and all it’s ugly associates, in lock down, wishing I could find heart peace.
Accept the kindness, accept the mercy, accept the grace… it will lead to heart peace.
“Come close to God and He will come close to you. Recognize that you are sinners, get your soiled hands clean; realize you have been disloyal wavering individuals with divided interests and purify your hearts… Humble yourselves, feel very insignificant in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you, He will lift you up and make your lives significant.” James 4:8-10
I think those Words of Life speak for themself. Heart peace and patience is not found without the submission to the Prince of Peace.
The amount of peace in my life is directly related to the amount of my life I’m submitting to the Prince of Peace.
“But glory and honor and heart peace shall be awarded to everyone who habitually does good…” Romans 2:10
I have tasted this heart peace recently. It’s more satisfying than I can describe. It’s truly the “peace that passes all understanding.” It’s life changing. It’s free of judgment. It allows me to look at people and not find that one thing to hold against them. I can see them as an Image Bearer.
Stop the war and ask for more of Him.
In this season…
In the quick weeks of February, not “a lot” has happened since my last update. Administration carries little pizzaz, plunking away at emails, organizing timelines, learning more about non-profits and the legalities involved. In the midst of the administrative to-do’s I’ve been able to build rich relationships with those within Tanalian and within our community. Jesus always put people first. Relationships always won over the paperwork. Sometimes it’s hard for me to shift focus and have a deep heart conversation, but always the reward is far beyond the check mark on my to-do list. My relationship with Jesus has been rich these last few weeks too.
I’ve been learning a few things about…
- Finding heart peace in the storm called “overwhelmed” through submitting to the Prince of Peace. Living out of a new calm in my heart is truly the “peace that passes all understanding.” It’s life changing.
- Understanding that in our close relationships Jesus wants to bring the “worst out in us” so that we can be refined. It’s one thing to know it in my head and quite another to see relationships through this perspective and pursue those hard relationships with commitment.
- Belief has no doubt. No doubt! I have been praying big, in full belief God will accomplish far beyond what I can even pray, dream or imagine…and thanking him in advance for it. It’s the praying in belief he wants to use to build my faith, and then my heart is set in belief with Him and his greatness vs. focusing in on if this big prayer will come true or not. It’s not about the outcome, but the faith built in the process. Then my faith is strengthened when he does choose to bless the request above and beyond!
- TLC Students: Focus in the final two months, to continue pursuing the Lord and growth. The up coming guest speakers coming would have an impact in their life.
- Summer Camp Prep: The next three months will be very focused on all of the summer camp prep details. Please pray as I walk forward in many new areas and for the Lord’s provision financially and with volunteers.
Thank you to those who faithfully give for me to be able to serve here at Tanalian. I cannot tell you how important the support has been! Your prayers mean a tremendous amount.
We now have the capability to receive donations through Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT). It’s easy to set up, and is an efficient way to give. Please call me to set it up or visit www.tanalianleadershipcenter.org/give
I am blessed to live in a place of epic beauty. Life changing epic.
That word is thrown around a lot these days, but truly my nook of Alaska beholds some breathtaking views. I have wanted to capture the same view once a week for an entire year and share it. After two years of “that would be fun to do…” I’m actually doing it! Proof I am human and while I do take on a lot of big projects, I also procrastinate like the best of them.
I debated what view to capture. It’s hard to get sunrises and sunsets with the way the sun dramatically moves throughout the year. Similarly, taking the photo at the same time of day will lose some its pizzaz after the days become long – in light and in darkness. And let’s be honest, I have less to commit to each week that way.
Tanalian Mountain and Hardenburg Bay represent the iconic images of Port Alsworth. Taken from the end of the Alsworth runway, facing Northwest, the photos capture the mountain, they bay, the channel and in the distance a view up the lake and into the pass. Year round you’ll see the beauty of the light, the various traffic by plane, boat, barge, kayak, canoe, bike, four-wheeler and foot. I decided this must be the one.
Enjoy the first two months of photos! See the caption for dates, times and weather details.
January 1st – Late afternoon. The bay is frozen over, the winter is looking promising! Boats beached for the winter and a skid steer that just cleared a skating rink for Winter Camp.
January 7th – It doesn’t even matter what time of day it is. This is what it’s looked like for the last week or two. This is also proof that it’s not always sunny and beautiful here!
January 14th – 11:37 am. You can tell the sun is on the horizon to the right, it hides behind the mountains most of the day, but it pops out for a short while. Soon it will be above the mountains all the time.
January 22nd – Noon. What I wish I could have captured was the 60 degree weather and 80 mph gale force winds. Not kidding. You can tell there’s “no snow” and the bay ice is rapidly melting. Port Alsworth ranked top in the state and broke a record for an all time high of 62 degrees. Everyone in the Lowers is experiencing crazy cold weather and we are hanging out in t-shirts. WHAAAAT. We would trade it in a heart beat. No winter is a silent killer in Alaska.
January 24th – I know it’s not a week later, but you couldn’t miss this epic sunrise at 9:38 am-ish. I rallied down to the bay and passed 3 others out taking photos of the sunrise. And this was the tail end of it!
January 28th – 4:27pm. Just before the evening sunset. Magic hour. Sigh.
February 9th – Noon. Notice the difference a week makes? We are gaining 6 minutes of daylight a week. I love this time of year. You can see the moon too! Clear nights with the full moon are almost as bright as day. Wonder if I can capture that photo…
February 11th – 5:44 pm. My evening run consisted of this view and then the real part of the sunset down the lake. I wish you could jump into this picture and be a part of the full experience. Like Eustace in Narnia. Nothing more filling to the soul than the crisp air and a view like this.
February 15th – I know. It’s not the bay. My camera battery died yesterday when I went to get the photo and I didn’t have my iPhone with me. Boo. But then the unbelievable happened! COLD SNAP. Never before was I so excited to see negative temps. And the main lake froze over. Boom. Just like that. And we went ice skating and made a fire and worshiped the Creator. Thank you for a slice of winter!
To all the dads who have a daughter…
You’ve been given a treasure if you have a daughter. At least this is what I’m told…and I might be a little biased on the subject because I’m one of those treasures. But seriously. If she’s still young or even if she’s grown and living in a far away place, you have an opportunity to impact her life like no other person can. For the better, and sadly, for the worse, your relationship with her as a child will define much of who she becomes.
- You have the ability to instill in your daughter her value and worth as a woman.
- You have the power of inspire and encourage dreams. Remove the glass ceiling in her life and she will surprise you with how she can change the world.
- Affirm her with a simple “you’re beautiful.” She is longing to hear it from someone and you should be the first and most often to say it.
- Fight for her, defend her, she longs for you to do this for her in small and big ways.
- Be vulnerable, listen and share your story. You’ll gain a friend and her trust.
- Equip her with the invaluable skill of problem solving.
- You can empower her to grow in intellect and fully use her talents and gifts.
- Teach her practical, handy skills. She wants to and needs to know them.
- You offer protection and safety. Never. Ever underestimate the importance of this!
- Listen. Just listen to her. She will always need that…
- Pursue quality time with her. Take your daughter on dates or do what she enjoys doing. You’ll fill her love tank, big time.
- If she’s a little headstrong… be careful not to crush the spirit, but gently coach her to use it in the correct way.
- Let her fail. And be there for her when she does. Encourage her to keep trying.
- Her relationship with you will have a dramatic impact on her view of God and relationship or lack of with Him.
- Tell her you love her.
- Affirm the good qualities you see in her, who she is or who she is becoming. Do this often.
Dads, your daughters need you to fight for them, love them, empower them, pursue them, and cherish them because they are precious, valuable gifts. Don’t get so wrapped up in life that you overlook the daughter who’s growing up around you. She’s watching you and waiting for you to show your love to her.
I have been blessed to have an incredible loving, encouraging, supportive, life-giving dad who has done and continues to do all those things above and more. Yes my list is a bit skewed from my experience, but many are truths about a father’s role in shaping his daughter. I’m fairly certain I was the child that challenged my parents the most, pushing the limits, but it’s how my dad responded to that in patience, trust, and asking the tough questions to help me search my heart’s attitude that has shaped me as a person.
Thank you dad.
I know many women and girls who are fatherless for many reasons or whose relationship is not what they wished it was. I hate this. It grieves me to see the impact it has on these girls and women. Other men who can have a powerful role in a girls’ life and I have also seen the incredible value and how this can transform a life. Men, be aware of the impact you are having or can have on the girls and women around you.
My dad did his best at the above list, but my dad is human. He made and still makes mistakes. We’ve had our share of “growth opportunities” as father daughter. He had challenges parenting… probably, mostly what I threw his way, but he taught me to pursue the Lord and taught me about the only One who is perfect. The One who designed me specially, knows my days, who fully knows me and fully loves me. More than my dad ever can or will. My dad gave me the most valuable life skill and empowerment of all… Knowing Jesus, where my true and full identity lies. Knowing Jesus and living through HIs power enables me to do anything!
My Heavenly Father knew what he was doing when he gave me my earthly Father and I’m blessed beyond belief!
Thank you Dad. Happy Birthday and I love you!
Why do we so often start the new year in a frenzy.
The days roll over. One into the other, not even stopping to take a breath, a break. Or we make a long list of resolutions, desiring to live a different life, continuing to add to the busyness, strive to do better this time, fix what we don’t like about ourselves. It becomes a chore focused on us.
When our eyes are down, focused on the work of our hands, the busyness of our feet, the work undone, the list uncrossed, it’s a focus on what I’m accomplishing. Among that life, there’s not much place for rest or trust in anyone but ourselves. Many see it as a weakness, resting equals failure.
When did we get it so wrong?
When the posture of our eyes are inward we have a hard time looking up and seeing Jesus!
Our culture is controlled by the Tyranny of the Urgent.
My community, Port Alsworth, has this especially mastered and I am just as guilty as the next person. We are obsessed with “one-upping” each other with our busyness. If we don’t have seven projects going, three companies we’re running, a family of 5+, a pile of wood to chop, endless laundry, an engine to fix, a plane to fly, grain to grind, a youth activity to lead…we must not be that successful or of much worth. Not doing life so well as the next person. Not cut out for life in Alaska.
And if we had to cease from speaking of work for one day… what would we really even talk about? Would we dare to take the time and ask each other “how we are actually doing?” And then actually have the time to sit with a mind undistracted from the list of to-do’s and actually be able to listen well?
What are we busy about? How would that radically change our community?
When did our busyness become a measure of our worth, our success, our spirituality?
Where is a place for rest? Not just physical rest, but deep spiritual rejuvenating rest which only comes from an open handed surrender type of trusting Jesus. You won’t often find people in my community talking about the wonderful rest amidst the chaos they are experiencing. An enjoyable, peaceful hike or get-a-way in the middle of the day, *gasp!* We almost feel guilty if a quiet restful day/afternoon is experienced. And it’s always justified by the last 45 days straight we just worked… we’ve earned it.
How long have we had this so wrong?
Has our striving become more important than living in grace, trust and rest?
“…In returning to me and resting in me you shall be saved; in quietness and in (trusting) confidence shall be your strength.” Isaiah 30:15 AMP
Tyranny of the Urgent. What are we busy about? Is it of eternal worth?
Do my relationships suffer because I’m focused on the to-do list?
Am I suffering because I’m focussing on the to-do list rather than the soul care required to live in trusting rest among the whirl-wind of life?
Jesus was about people. Relationships. People first, details second, planning later…Unorganized? Chaos? So what? People around him were loved, filled up with truth and he always took the time to listen. He always took time to rest, to live in dependence on his Father, to put that first in his life. Sought wisdom from God first. He trusted first.
But there is no glory for us in rest, is there? There’s nothing to prove, to show others, nothing to check-off the list and nothing that equals success. That’s the point.
Jesus plus nothing equals everything.
Jesus said “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.] Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls. For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good—not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne.” Matthew 11:28-30
Sign me up! Ooo Ooo I want some of that kind of rest!
I long for rest. My soul craves refreshment. I desire brokenness. To live in humility.
I want to live overflowing this new year…. not scrapping by on empty.
“…In returning to me and resting in me you shall be saved; in quietness and in (trusting) confidence shall be your strength.” Isaiah 30:15 AMP
When the Israelites were going up against the massive and powerful Egyptian army they were full of fear…
“Moses told the people, Fear not; stand still (firm, confident, undismayed) and see the salvation of the Lord which He will work for you today. For the Egyptians you have seen today you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace and remain at rest.” Exodus 14:13-14
I claim that promise for this year. A year of peace and rest. I will live firm, confident, undismayed and see the salvation of the Lord work for me as I rest in Him.
… For the _________ you have seen today you shall never see again…
Fill in the blank.
What in my life that flows from my heart do I never want to see again? How radically would my life change if among the chaos, frustration and challenges I lived out of Christ’s rest and peace. I long to make this a part of my new year.
“From of old, no one has heard
or perceived by the ear,
no eye has seen a God besides you,
who works and shows himself active for those who earnestly wait for Him.”
Isaiah 64:4 AMP
“My soul, wait only upon God and silently submit to him (posture of broken humility); for my hope and my expectation are from Him.
He only is my Rock and my Salvation; He is my Defense and my Fortress, I shall not be moved. With God rests my salvation and my glory; He is my Rock of unyielding strength and impenetrable hardness, and my refuge is in God!
Rely on… and
In Him at all times, you people;
Pour out your hearts before him. God is a refuge for us (a fortress and a high tower).”
He can surely take on my to-do list, my controlling spirit, my bitterness, my damaged relationships, my frustrations and my broken heart.
Rest in Him. Despite the chaos. Rest in Him. Despite the ___________. Rest in Him.
“And therefore the Lord (earnestly) waits (expecting, looking and longing) to be gracious to you; and therefore He lifts Himself up, that He may have mercy on you and show loving-kindness to you. For the Lord is a God of justice.
Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are all those who (earnestly) wait for Him, who
For His victory, His favor, His love, His peace, His joy, and His matchless, unbroken companionship!”
This is what I long for this new year, to live a life a life full of expectancy, looking and longing for more of Jesus.
For His Victory…
His matchless, unbroken companionship!
“I have told you these things, so that in Me, you may have perfect peace (rest) and confidence. In this world you will have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer (take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted!) For I have overcome the world. (I have deprived it of power and have conquered it for you.)
John 16:33 AMP
Why do I keep thinking I can “take on the world?” Perfect peace. Perfect Rest. Perfect confidence in Jesus, not in Anna. Because I fully expect this year to bring me frustration, trials, tribulation, distress… but I can remain undaunted because it holds no power over me, does not define me, does not control me. My situation will not conform me. Living in this perfect peace… perfect grace will transform me.
Tyranny of the Urgent. What will I busy about in this new year?
I want to be busy about living in rest and peace. Fully surrendered to Jesus in broken humility. Every day. Jesus has all ready conquered it for me… and if He’s living in me… I have that power to just rest and live in peace. Sheer freedom and victory! Boom. Can we get up and dance people?! Freedom, peace and full rest is at my finger tips among the upcoming year and all that the world will throw at me.
So in case you were wondering… my new year’s “resolution” is to be busy living in Jesus’ rest and peace this year.
“Return, O my soul, to your rest;
for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.”
Tanalian Bible Camp has been serving the youth in the rural villages of Southwest Alaska for 50 years. We give God the glory for the transformation that occurs each week of camp. He faithfully provides and uses so many people to impact the lives of our campers.
We are in the ministry of transformation…and transformation takes time. One seed at a time truth is planted, love is given, safety is provided, minds and hearts are challenged by the power of the Living God and His living Word. Eternal hope is given…and that hope does no disappoint. Ever. It’s an incredible thing to witness this hope take root and even more mind-blowing that God chooses to use me in this process.
Winter Camp is about to begin! Tomorrow, 24 high school students will fly in from five area villages and take part of a week of fun! Our theme is Identity. What do we think is our identity? What does the world say our identity is? Where does our true identity lie?
Watch and learn about the transformational power of Tanalian Bible Camp and how God will use it to change Alaska.