Archive for August, 2008

25
Aug
08

Sit with God

I absolutely love this song “If I could just sit with you a while” written by Mercy Me, and covered by Todd Agnew in this video. It speaks of a hurting Christian kneeling before God and giving his life to him. What a beautiful line: “Lord, you are my life, so I don’t mind to die, just as long as I am hidden in you“. This simple song speaks volumes to me these days.

Here is a video of the song.

If I could just sit with you a while. If you could just hold me. Nothing could touch me, though I’m wounded, though I die. If I could just sit with you a while. I need you to hold me. Moment by moment ’till forever passes by.

When I cannot feel. When my wounds don’t heal. Lord I humbly kneel, hidden in you. Lord, You are my life, so I don’t mind to die, just as long as I am hidden in you.

If I could just sit with you a while. If you could just hold me. Nothing could touch me, though I’m wounded, though I die. If I could just sit with you a while. I need you to hold me. Moment by moment ’till forever passes by.

When I know I’ve sinned, and I could’ve been crying out: “my God” and hidden in you. Lord I need you now, more than I know how. So I humbly bow, hidden in you.

If I could just sit with you a while. If you could just hold me. Nothing could touch me, though I’m wounded, though I die. If I could just sit with you a while. I need you to hold me. Moment by moment ’till forever passes by

Torben

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25
Aug
08

About a savior complex and Prince Caspian

I heard another sermon yesterday that touched on brokenness. I wonder if God is trying to prepare for the nine weeks, starting mid-September, where I will have the huge privilege of spending time with God every day with new friends in an atmosphere of utmost transparency and brokenness? These weeks I’m looking forward to this internship with Grace Ministries International. I have been reading different books that challenge me in the right direction. I am reading Charles Solomon’s Handbook to Happiness, and despite not liking the title of the book, I am really enjoying its content. He explains very well what has happened to me since June 2007 in England where I started grasping some of who I am in Christ and what it looks like to allow Christ to live his life through me. I have seen some and experienced bits of the abundant life that Christ promised all believers. How thankful I am for that! I am not the same person any more. From God’s perspective I was always in Christ since I accepted him as my Savior many years ago. But for me it’s only these past years I’ve begun to see that Christ is much more than “just” my Savior. He is my life. He is the one who wants to live his resurrection life through me. And when I allow him to live his life through me, other people and myself get to experience great blessings, hope and life. 

After my wonderful month in England last year, it has been difficult for me to hold on to the new truths that I have learned. I’ve encountered many attacks from Satan which doesn’t surprise me, but still I have unfortunately allowed Satan and my flesh to get the better of me many times these last 14 months. I’ve been misunderstood by friends and other people I’ve talked to, and it has hurt me. I’ve been tempted to walk away from experiencing more life in Christ with the somewhat silly thought: “I don’t want to experience more of what Christ has for me, because that will mean that people I love will understand me even less than now“. That thought has attacked me many times. It sounds kind of humble as in: “I want to be able to relate to people, so unless they get what I testify about, it’s not really nice of me to grow more”. It may sound humble, but really it’s ridiculous. It’s a Savior Complex. It’s me saying that I am super important for other peoples’ life and growth with God. It’s me saying that unless I inspire and help them, they won’t grow. It’s me saying that I’m the most important discipleship trainer. 

I saw the film version of C. S. Lewis’ “Prince Caspian” the other day in the local dollar theater ($1.75 per ticket, how great is that?!) and a line in the movie really spoke to both Jeannette and me. Young Lucy had seen the lion Aslan (Jesus) in the woods a couple of times during the movie, but she can’t convince her brothers and her sister that she really did see him and that they should walk after him. Finally she meets Aslan in person, and she tries to explain why she didn’t come to see him, trying to use her siblings’ unwillingness to come as an excuse. Aslan turns to Lucy and says: “So if you knew I was there, why didn’t you come?“. That question became Jesus’ question to me. “If you know that I’m here, why don’t you come and meet with me?” And I felt he has been adding: “How is it your problem what other people choose to do or not do? Why are you so concerned about other people? I want relationship with you! I want you to experience more life! And don’t worry about the people you love….I will call them in my way. It’s my job, not yours!”

I am honored by the fact that Jesus is wanting to reveal himself more and more to me. I’m humbled by the fact that he cares so much about me that he continues to give me opportunities to learn more about who he is and who I am in him. I’m thankful for his patience with me. I’m often impatient with my slow growth and my defeats in my life. I’m frustrated that my flesh so often gets the better of me. I am thankful that all I hear from Christ is: “trust me, come and follow me”. Yesterday at church I had to, once again, re-dedicate my life to Jesus as my Shepherd. I really do just want to be a sheep lead by my great Shepherd. I want him to take me through the valley of shadow of death and brokenness. I want him to help me die more and more to myself, so I can allow him more and more to live his life through me. My flesh and my feelings protest. They know that growing with Christ involves pain. The pain of calling things by their right name. The pain of looking at (past) sin, pain and hurts. The pain of admitting that I don’t have it all together. The pain of accepting that I’m accepted and seen as perfect even when all my actions are not perfect. The pain of being broken, vulnerable and open without trying to cover up my issues, weaknesses and problems. 

But I want more life. I want it all. I am not satisfied with a mediocre Christian life where all I have to look forward to is a whole of bad conscience, boredom, and then the promise of heaven (even though, unfortunately, many Christians don’t even look forward to that….). I know there is more to life. I know that eternal life is to know Christ. Right here and right now. And I do pray with Paul: “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead” (Philippians 3:10-11).

Blessings, Torben – who has been very encouraged by comments from some of those who read this blog who have said that God has used this blog to speak into their lives! Hallelujah!

20
Aug
08

Three wonderful years

It’s been a full three years since Jeannette and I said “I DO!!” to each other on a very hot summer day in Garden City, Georgia! Three wonderful years with my precious wife. I won’t embarrass her too much, so I won’t write too much about her, but I want to mention how special she is to me. It’s a privilege and a joy to spend every day with her. We thought we knew each other really well three years, and to some extent we did, but today we know each other even better, because of the choices we’ve made. We have allowed each other to see and know both the good, the bad, and the really ugly. We are journeying together getting to know God and ourselves better. And what a fascinating journey it is. I’m amazed that Jeannette knows me so well, and knows my faults and weaknesses, and yet chooses to forgive and love me. It’s beyond me what I did to deserve my wonderful wife. God is good, and I see his goodness displayed every day in Jeannette’s love for me. 

Now we’ve moved our lives from Kiev, Ukraine, Eastern Europe to Marietta, Georgia, USA, and it’s quite a big change not just in terms of location, but in any other way as well. But two things I know for sure: God is good all the time, and Jeannette continues to love me in ways that go beyond my wildest dreams!

Happy anniversary to us – I’m looking forward to a new year with Jeannette!

Torben

12
Aug
08

A bagful of mixed emotions

This past Sunday Jeannette and I went to a local church here in Marietta, Georgia, and we both really enjoyed the Pastor’s sermon which was about brokenness. He challenged all of us to be honest about who we are and where we’re at, and it struck me how easy it is for me to be open, honest and broken when I have some good point to share, but not so easy and comfortable when my thoughts are confused and life is not so smooth.

And right now my emotions and thoughts seem to be all over the place. We’re delighted to see how God has done miracle after miracle in our lives these past months. I got my green card to work and live in the United States as long as I want without too many problems. God provided the finances (a lot!) we needed to pay for the green card and for the plane tickets to come here to the US in mid-July. Miracles have continued since we came here. Everything worked out with our car. We got the money, we needed for our wonderful Nissan Sentra through a couple that barely knows us. We also just found out that Jeannette will receive the necessary financial aid for her to be able to study psychology and sociology at Kennesaw State University. We have been blessed with a wonderful place to stay, and everything is in many ways just great.

But there are many other emotions these days. And I somehow feel that I need to share them too. We’ve been here in Marietta, Georgia just north of Atlanta for a bit more than a week now, and it’s been rather difficult so far. A lot of culture shock emotions. It’s quite different to arrive to a place where you barely know anybody and you’re on your own to find out where is where and what is what, than arriving at a Youth With A Mission base where you have a community to plug into and where people will tell you where the different important places are. A richer neighborhood like the one we live in is obviously quite a different story than a cheap apartment in Kiev, Ukraine. How do we fit in here? The stores are big and have a huge variety of products which in itself can be somewhat overwhelming. Choices are nice, but sometimes it’s hard to understand why all of it is necessary….These culture shock emotions are by no means unique to us, and we know that this season of shock will pass too, but I still felt like sharing them here.

I am caught in a lot of laziness and I don’t really want to do anything. I don’t enjoy watching TV much, but I’ve watched a lot since we arrived. Including a lot of very mind numbing stuff. I am tired. I am easily irritated. I know I want to seek God and I know that his peace is what I need. I know that he is the constant when all things are changing around us, and yet I find myself choosing to not spend time with him. I have 10-12 great books I would love to read, but I struggle to read more than a chapter before I lose all my focus. I find myself getting depressed about very little things such as my favorite football (maybe I should start writing soccer since I’m a Permanent Resident of the United States?) team losing a game or me not being able to find the nearest post office.

It’s interesting to watch myself these days. Many emotions and thoughts going in different directions. Many questions pop up as well: how will we do financially here where expenses are higher than in Kiev? How will we fit into a church? How will things go with finding new friends? What if this? What if that? Questions filled with worries. And as always worrying paralyzes me. I don’t want to worry about any of this. I want to give it all to God. I know he has brought us here to Marietta, and I know that he knows how to take good care of us. 

I am thankful that I have learned to give myself space these past few years. I have learned more about not condemning myself for being human. Human beings often experience culture shock, loneliness and worries when they move to a new place. I am a human being, and it’s okay for me to experience it. It’s also okay for me to be honest about it. Right now I’m struggling some. I wish, like many other before me in this situation, that I could fast forward a few months. But on the other hand I know that I’m called to live today. In the now. In the now even when the now is confusing and frustrating. 

I know that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. I know that he is good. I know that he is not mad at me or disappointed with me. I know he has great plans for us here in Marietta. And I know he sympathizes with my bagful of mixed emotions that I offer to him these days. 

I am so glad that it’s okay to be honest with myself, and with God. I don’t have to hide anything, sugar coat my emotions, fabricate some kind of mask or wear a leaf to cover my naked humanness. He sees me just the way I am today, and he loves and accepts me just the way I am today. 

Thus ends this somewhat confused blog entry.

Blessings, Torben

05
Aug
08

Scranton – the Electric City!

I already posted this on my Facebook account, but it wouldn’t be fair to not post it here as well. My dear wife and I have been dedicated The Office fans for a while now, so when we were driving from New York to Ohio recently, it only seemed appropriate to visit the wonderful city of Scranton, Pennsylvania en route! Here is what I wrote on Facebook: 🙂

According to my Mac dictionary a pilgrimage is: “a journey to a place associated with someone or something well known or respected”. An a pilgrimage was what we were on a few days ago when we finally made it to Scranton (the electric city!), Pennsylvania.

Rain was pouring down, but in no way was it possible to dampen our excitement. Going to the city of such fine folks as Michael, Dwight, Creed, Pam, Jim and even Stanley Hudson bring up feelings that are hard to put into words (“use words, Dwight, use words!”). 

We were searching all over Scranton to find places that we could associate with The Office, and as you can see on the wonderful pictures we saw many picturesque sites that brought up Office excitement and a little tear. 

It really is hard to find words for our experiences in Scranton. Maybe we should just let the pictures do the talking?

Torben and Jeannette – now we have done the pilgrimage, what else do we have left to accomplish?

Ain’t no party like a Scranton party……

– click here to see the pictures on my Facebook account




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