Posts Tagged ‘love

15
Oct
10

childish or childlike

I have been thinking some about what the difference is between being childish and being childlike. Jesus did tell his followers that we are to become like little children (Matthew 18:3), but I believe there are some misunderstandings among church-goers as to what it means to become like a child again.

Let me try to explain what I believe is the difference between having a childish faith and a childlike faith. The first is sad when you see that in an adult, the latter is what Jesus commended and something that brings life to the person and the people around this wonderful, childlike grown-up.

To be childish and to have a childish faith has to do with the self-centeredness that is typical of children. It’s all about them. Everything is interpreted through the grid of how it may or may not affect them. Children are excellent at remembering information, but terrible at interpreting it, because everything is filtered through a self-focused filter. A childish faith is one of give me this, give me that. It’s one of prayers that only center around what I deem to be important for me to have. A childish faith doesn’t grow, and it doesn’t attract other people to Christ. An adult that is caught in this childish, self-obsessed lifestyle doesn’t need to be encouraged to stay this way, and unfortunately I’ve seen that happen too many times, but, on the other hand, needs to be challenged to actually start growing up and start learning that the world doesn’t center around the individual. The childish believer needs to see that other people are important too, and that when you learn to rest in who you are in Christ, you also learn to give space for other people to learn and grow, and you don’t have to always be the center of everybody’s attention.

A childlike faith, and a childlike grown up, on the other hand, is something beautiful and life-giving. These people exhibit the beautiful characteristics of any healthy child: trust, love, passion, excitement, hope. These are the qualities that Jesus referred to when he told us to become like little children. A healthy child is at rest and filled with peace, even when things can be difficult, because the child knows instinctively that Daddy is in control and will take care of the child! That’s a picture of childlike faith. Though life may bring storms and problems, these people trust that Daddy is in control, that God knows best.

I am happy that I know some of these people with a childlike faith. Too many adults have lost their childlikeness, and either they’re just plain old childish, or cynicism has set in so any relationship with God is considered not worth while.

The childlike people bring hope, life, joy, and love to all of us. These people don’t attract the headlines in the media, but these are the people where the kingdom of God flow most naturally through. There is a sense of life and vitality that has the power to bring down even the most cynical and cold people.

Blessings, Torben

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

11
Apr
08

Mercy ministry

I am a discipleship trainer, and I thoroughly enjoy working with discipleship training and try to help people get to know God and themselves better and experience more of the freedom, life and joy that Christ has won for all his children. Mercy ministries, on the other hand, is not my strongest point. I am a big picture thinker, and sometimes I find myself thinking about mercy ministry. Sure you can help one person, but what about the other 100,000 with the same problems? (I don’t like admitting that I think like this from time to time, but I do)

I realize that Jesus had and has a different perspective than I do. He told us to love our neighbor, and throughout the Gospels we see how Jesus wasn’t afraid to “waste his time” with just one person instead of focusing more on the big crowds (obviously he also spoke to the big crowds, but he spent a lot of time with individuals throughout his ministry years). Jesus showed a heart of compassion to women, children, and sick and disabled people whom most other men didn’t give the time of the day. And throughout the Old Testament as well we see God calling his people over and over again to care for widows, orphans, children, foreigners, ets. All the outcasts of society have special priority for God. “For I desire mercy, not sacrifice” (Hosea 6:6) and “He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8) are just two of the Scriptures talking about God’s view of mercy.

I thoroughly respect all you people all over the world who work in mercy ministries, children ministry and work with old people. Often times people don’t recognize what you’re doing. Often times you don’t get much praise or press. You’re not the ones writing the bestsellers or getting the well-paid speaking arrangements. But you serve faithfully. You show God’s love. One person at a time. You hold the babies, put a band-aid on a kid’s knee, talk to the troubled teenager, comfort the woman who just had an abortion and sing a last song for a dying, old lady in a hospice. And your Father in heaven honors all of it and rejoices in you showing his mercy and compassion for all people! 

And you teach the rest of us to love the least of these. Statistics for orphans in Ukraine say that 70% of the guys who grow up in orphanages don’t find permanent work, and 60% of the orphan girls end up in prostitution, and 10% of all orphans commit suicide before they reach their 18th birthday. I hear statistics like that and get hugely discouraged. Friends of mine from YWAM Kyiv’s ministry, Key of Hope, hear the same statistics and decide to be God’s hands and feet for these orphans. Through hugs, talks, games, different practical help and the occasional opportunity to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ directly through words they love these kids and teenagers and show them compassion, mercy, joy, life, and provide a sense of hope that nobody else gives them. Through what Key of Hope, and countless other mercy ministry workers do every day the kingdom of God is advancing. One person, one changed life at a time.

Torben – who enjoys how we can learn from each other in the body of Christ!

28
Mar
08

Keith

Last Sunday Jeannette and I were playing Keith Green songs for pretty much 10 hours straight, and I have had his wonderful songs in my head and heart ever since. Whenever I feel drawn towards mediocrity, compromising my faith, giving up on God, myself and other people I put on Keith’s songs, and I’m drawn back to a life of passion, excitement, expectation and wonder. I have already written about him in this blog entry, but it seems appropriate to point to some of the youtubevideos with this influential young man.

I so wish that there were more like Keith. I never met him, and yet I miss him, and I’m looking forward to seeing him some day. Even though it was impossible to capture Keith’s energy and passion in a studio, I thought I would point to “I can’t wait to get to heaven” as the video I’ve chosen. I love this song about the wonderful eternity that awaits us who are God’s children. Unfortunately there are few songs being made today about life on the new earth with God, though I do also love Mercy Me’s “I can only imagine” As Keith put it: “God created this world in just six days, and now he has been working on heaven for 2000 years. So this is like living in a garbage can compared to what it’s gonna be like up there”  🙂                                      

Here are some more links to wonderful Keith songs: Asleep in the light,  Your love broke through  and an old live recording of Soften your heart. If you don’t know Keith Green’s story, I recommend searching for The Keith Green Story on youtube and watch the seven clips from a DVD about Keith and his life, but I also recommend the wonderful book about Keith’s life with the extremely fitting title “No Compromise” (I still haven’t made it through that book without tears in my eyes). Unfortunately the book is out of print right now, but you should pre-order it for yourself and have it to read during the long August evenings when it becomes available again 🙂                                                                                                                                

Torben – who survived his medical check up at the Clinic for Oil-Refining Industry of Ukraine. I now have my doctor’s word for that I’m healthy enough to get a visa to the United States!    

10
Feb
08

Happy Valentine’s

Sure….Valentine’s Day is a commercial holiday made by flower shop owners and Hallmark….but it is also one of the few days of the year where a lot of people gather the courage to actually express how they feel. I have made a commitment early on in my marriage that there will never pass a day where I don’t tell Jeannette that I love her and how precious she is to me. And so far I’ve kept it up 🙂 Here are a few love songs to get you in the right mood for Valentine’s. These are some of my favorites. I hope you’ll be inspired to tell the people you love that you love them! Not only on Valentine’s Day, but it might be a good place to start?

First an old favorite of mine – “Beautiful In My Eyes” (the song we danced to at our wedding 2,5 years ago!) by the little known Joshua Kadison who made it big in the early nineties with a song called Jessie:
Next we have the old classic that Rod Stewart made famous – “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You“:
and finally the country classic – “It’s Your Love”:
….and Torben has now concluded his most romantic blog entry in history:-) Have a lovely Valentine’s Day Thursday!
Torben
06
Jan
08

Wonderful songs

Top 10 songs – many of the songs are not new, but these are some of the songs that meant something to me in 2007 and continue to bless and challenge me. Click on the links to see some music videos. 

 

East To West – Casting Crowns

Cry Out To Jesus – Third Day

Renew Me – Avalon

The Real Me – Natalie Grant

Everything – Tim Hughes

When God Ran – Phillips, Craig and Dean

How Great Is Our God – Chris Tomlin

A Place Called Grace – Phillips, Craig and Dean

Holy Surrender – Aaron Keyes

Where Is The Love – Black Eyed Peas

 

06
Jan
08

Bible highlights

Top 12 Bible passages  – it was very hard to pick! God has been good and has revealed much of himself through his Word in 2007. 

Matthew 5: 3-12 – The Beatitudes – I could talk for hours about the impact these verses have had…! (Maybe some other time!) 

Psalm 23 – this wonderful and well-known Psalm has come alive these past seven months. Wonderful description of my journey with God “even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me!”

Romans 8:15 (really all of Romans, but I’ll pick one verse for this purpose) “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry ‘Abba, Father’”

1. John 3:16 “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers” Universal truth. We actually do know what love is, because Jesus demonstrated it for us!

John 8: 31-32 “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free!” I have loved this verse for years, but I see the simple truth of this verse more in more in my life and in other people’s. If you encounter and live in the truth in any area in your life, it really does set you free!

John 6: 28-29 “Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires? Jesus answered: “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent” Nothing more, nothing less!

John 7: 38 “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him” When I believe in Christ and abide in him, the life of Christ flows through my broken cup

Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” I’m dead, Christ is alive in me. He does his work through me, and he gets all the glory!

Ephesians 1:17 “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better” It’s all about God’s revelation. Without that all is just words and information without life.

2. Corinthians 12:9My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness” When I’m weak, I’m strong – kingdom of God logic!

Hebrews 10:14 “because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy” in Christ I AM PERFECT!! And nothing can or will change that!

Matthew 1:23 “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel – which means, “God with us” God is with us. God is here. God is alive, and because he drew near first, we can draw near to him who will then draw nearer to us.

 




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