Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas



Merry Christmas, World.

Luke 2:9-20

And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”

 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
“ Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.


Monday, December 14, 2009

Highlights

Here are some posts that I loved writing, so I hope you will enjoy reading them!

About me and my life:
The Proposal
Honesty
Japan

About God and His Word:
Temperature
The Focus of Strength
A Broken Heart
Peace

Other Favorites:
The Influence of Hope
A Title (My first post!)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Fans

I just found the blog of the author of Love and Respect, and found this little snip-it that made me think. It makes more sense in the context of the whole post here, but even on its own it is impacting. Blue and pink are distictions used to communicate the differeneces between ways guys think and hear thigns (blue) and the way girls think and hear things (pink).

"A little light bulb moment from the above for me: When you're a fan of something - this is pink or blue, I believe - we want to know the whole story. How many of you guys want to hear or watch detail of the game, or the car-rebuilding show, or that "super weapons" technical show on Discovery? How many of you can spout off sports stats or the specs of a fighter jet or a golf course? Our women - wives or girlfiends or daughters - are our fans - or they should be. They want to know everything about us. They want to know the whole story, all the details. When we snub them, we come off like a celebrity sneering at a waiting fan - and they are crushed. If we crush them a few times, they won't be our fans for long...then we wonder why?" (From http://emersonandsarah.blogspot.com/2009/08/brilliant-observations-by-two-men.html)

What do you think?

Friday, December 11, 2009

It's That Time of Year Again...

I just had to revisit this post, because it is that time of year:

The Twelve Days of Finals

On the first day of finals, my professor gave to me one TI-83.

On the second day of finals, my professor gave to me two sharpened pencils and a TI-83.

On the third day of finals, my professor gave to me three (a day) cups of coffee, two sharpened pencils and a TI-83.

On the fourth day of finals, my professor gave to me four papers to rewrite, three (a day) cups of coffee, two sharpened pencils and a TI-83.

On the fifth day of finals, my professor gave to me five special journals, four papers to rewrite, three (a day) cups of coffee, two sharpened pencils and a TI-83.

On the sixth day of finals, my professor gave to me six hours of sleep, five special journals, four papers to rewrite, three (a day) cups of coffee, two sharpened pencils and a TI-83.

On the seventh day of finals, my professor gave to me seven (pages of) accounting transactions, six hours of sleep, five special journals, four papers to rewrite, three (a day) cups of coffee, two sharpened pencils and a TI-83.

On the eighth day of finals, my professor gave to me eight volunteering hours to schedule, seven (pages of) accounting transactions, six hours of sleep, five special journals, four papers to rewrite, three (a day) cups of coffee, two sharpened pencils and a TI-83.

On the ninth day of finals, my professor gave to me nine rows of math problems, eight volunteering hours to schedule, seven (pages of) accounting transactions, six hours of sleep, five special journals, four papers to rewrite, three (a day) cups of coffee, two sharpened pencils and a TI-83.

On the tenth day of finals, my professor gave to me ten nightmares of failing, nine rows of math problems, eight volunteering hours to schedule, seven (pages of) accounting transactions, six hours of sleep, five special journals, four papers to rewrite, three (a day) cups of coffee, two sharpened pencils and a TI-83.

On the eleventh day of finals, my professor gave to me eleven excel spreadsheets, ten nightmares of failing, nine rows of math problems, eight volunteering hours to schedule, seven (pages of) accounting transactions, six hours of sleep, five special journals, four papers to rewrite, three (a day) cups of coffee, two sharpened pencils and a TI-83.

On the twelfth day of finals, my professor gave to me 

twelve stressed out days!! 
eleven excel spreadsheets, 
ten nightmares of failing, 
nine rows of math problems, 
eight volunteering hours to schedule, 
seven (pages of) accounting transactions, 
six hours of sleep, 
five special journals, 
four papers to rewrite, 
three (a day) cups of coffee, 
two sharpened pencils 
and a TI-83.

When finals are over, I'll give to you--a much happier student Tori!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Japan

Japan was amazing.

I think what sums up the whole trip is this: Lives were touched and changed.

From the Sager family (the pastors of our sister church in Japan) to the members of the church,  the people we spoke to on the street to the team members themselves, the impact was evident. Friendships were made and deepened and stories exchanged, but most importantly, hope and encouragement were given. That makes it all worth it.

Each of the ministries we visited in Japan struggles with the daunting statistic that less than 1% of the population is Christian. They are the minority. Their beliefs are the ones that are strange, they are the ones that don't fit in. To have a team come all the way from America even to just pray with them is a huge reminder that what they are doing is noticed and is valuable.

In Japan, the hardest individual to change their beliefs and convert to Christianity is an older Japanese male. They are usually very invested into their Buddhist or Shinto ways, and the traditions of those faiths are deeply tied into their way of life and their identity. They worship shrines to their ancestors and consider this idol worship to be an essential part of honoring their family. Honor is one of the things Japanese value most, so when they are confronted with the idea that idol worship is actually dishonoring to God, they rarely convert. Yet during our trip, one Japanese man prayed the prayer that brought Christ into his life. Though I wasn't there when it happened, the fact is so remarkable and impacting!

Another powerful time was our trip to Mt. Fuji. We were able to pray on the fifth station, the highest place you can drive to, and it was so incredible. Mt. Fuji is worshiped in Japan, it is a spiritual high place, and it is so important to the people that some even call it the soul of Japan. We truly felt the presence of God and He was giving us words of encouragement and specific things to pray into for the nation while we were there. What truly made this experience amazing was this: a Japanese man who was in his early sixties and had been converted just 10 months earlier also prayed with us for his country. Words cannot describe the emotions I felt then... God will continue to move greatly in this nation!

I wish I could share even more of the stories! Maybe I'll write more in the future, but to end this, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for praying and supporting this trip. Everything went smoothly, only one person was sick (yet when he came back he said he wanted to move to Japan!), and God touched so many lives.

THANK YOU!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Dear Blog

Dear Blog,

I'm dreadfully busy, yet I feel like a bad owner for not posting for a week after taking such good care of you during November! I can't wait to use you to communicate some of the adventures from Japan, but my HW list is so long right now and my sunday-wednesday so packed that I probably will have to let you continue to fend for yourself this week.

Don't feel too bad though--I entirely intend to take better care of you...soon. I really felt proud of the first half of November especially, because I had this desire to write more since the semester started and I had finally gotten around to it!

So, take it easy and consider yourself on a little holiday while I'm working my tail off in this snowy land. If you get bored, go listen to Bethel Church's free sermons. They are tackling my opinion and bringing me closer to God! (http://www.ibethel.org/features/sermonoftheweek/)

With love,
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