Monday, August 6, 2012

lets call it dash

there is a wonderful new addition to the lowrie household. no, i am not talking about a little soul...yet.

it so fun and exciting to see god provide something right before your very eyes. this whole process of provision has been an adventure that will forever mark my heart.

it was a big deal. when liz and i moved here there was so much shifting that took place. even the very week when we moved liz had to change job posts, we weren't able to move into the location we originally thought was available for us and so many little detailed changes took place which far too many really to get into at this time.

a huge reality was not having a vehicle to commute daily to the things that were going on around us. thankfully we moved into a situation where our team was very understanding and able to accommodate us in our transportation needs (GO TEAM 9TH HOUR!!!).

soon enough we found our groove and those little cultural shortcuts that made life much, much easier. the bus became my friend with my boys as we would take it every morning to dutch's first school. similarly, the train was liz's friend as she rode it over and over until she figured the belgian system. it really become fun for me as the boys' faces would light up at every train riding opportunity.

there is no cool way to spin it...i have a station wagon
when the school dutch was attending informed us that they would not be continuing the next year we had very little options. we, along with our team's kids, put dutch into another school that is not too far away but still required a good walk. dutch became good at a little pedal-less bike that he rode as i pushed tites in the stroller every morning to to school. this routine was working well in the months that were temperature friendly. however, once the winter began to settle in we had to take our transportation to another level...i got a bike and a little kid trailer to pull them. we tucked it with blankets and i packed them both in very tightly with coats and hats. me, i had quite a few rides where i was glad my boys couldn't hear my frustrations venting. it was a good time for me as i poured out my feelings on needing a vehicle. well, god heard...per usual.

we saved and saved every penny we could. we asked and asked everyone we knew to ask for help. i didn't want to borrow money for a car. i have taken that road before and i was not in a place financially to rely on the payment being there. call it lack of faith, call it extreme faith, call it whatever you want but i kind of took pride in the suffering.

the tape deck was essential for iPod usage
anyway, we finally came up with an amount that would get us something decent. maybe not brand spanking new, but decent to last us and get us from point a to point b. i had been giving guitar lessons to a young man in the youth group and this was raising some money. his father who is originally from iran, was always asking me about a car and telling me that i needed to get a bmw 520 series. that sounded nice, but not realistic.

one day after many, many, many emails to many individuals i found a car online that was a bmw and looked ok for our budget. we called and set an appointment up to go look at it. i knew nothing about bmw's much less the belgian system of buying cars (there are some things that are slightly different). i called my best belgian friend, jon vandeput, and the guy who always told me to get bmw's, ahmed. they both came with me to look at this car. it turned out to be a bust. on the way back home as i was taking ahmed home he turned to me and said, "zach, do you really want to buy a car?" i was taken back a little because i wasn't sure what he thought we WERE JUST DOING. i emphatically replied, YES!" we went to a garage in a little town close to waterloo called braine l'alleud (bren-lah-luh). we walked into this little lot area that was hidden off the main road and there were quite a few cars being sold there. i held in my deck of cards the trump card that was going to get me the deal i needed...a middle eastern man. ahmed, was gold i tell you, GOLD!

we walked into this place and everyone knew him by name and he was like their long time family member who didn't come around unless he needed something. as we walked around looking for a car in my price range of 2500 euros (about $3000) i found this gem. i asked ahmed about it and he said, "is this the one?" i said nervously, "i don't know." it was a lot of money that i had saved for a long time and i didn't want to throw it away. ahmed said let me take care of it. the dealer said it was 2000 euros but with passed inspection. i could over hear ahmed telling the guy to come down and make a better price. the guy came down to 1850 but without inspection. ahmed, again, i could tell, was looking the guy in the eye and very emphatically told him to "come on!" the guy said ok with inspection 1850.

YES!!! it happened, i got it! i was so pumped and came home to tell the family the good news. after a couple of weeks of back and forth (it didn't pass inspection the first time but ahmed told them to fix the problem and they did) i finally took the boys to the garage and drove home in our very own car.

on the way there i was asking the boys, because they too shared the excitement, "what shall we name our car?" dutch replied, "mcqueen" (after the character in the disney cars movie). i didn't think it was a good name. he then changed his mind and said, "no, lets call it dash!"


Thursday, August 2, 2012

take the nuggets but give me jesus

weapons of warfare are not typically reserved to a particular entity involved in the combat. you will not find knives given to the bad guys while the good guys are given guns and vice versa. this is what makes super heros so great and admired because they have this transcending element that enables them to not require instruments made by human hands in order to defeat their opponent (for all of us followers of the way say amen). we all love the defeat of the enemy and the triumph of good against the odds.

with this understood, you can be assured, if you are wanting to engage in combat, there is a strong chance that your enemy will likewise be using the same weapon that you are using to fight the battle against you. you really shouldn't be surprised by this. in fact, you're a fool to suspect otherwise.

this is why as a follower of christ and a believer in his sanctifying work on the cross, paul writes to the members of the ephesian church urging them to fight using a different weapon because the adversary is of another realm (ephesians 6:12-18).

there is warfare taking place and thus weapons are used to engage in this struggle. i am challenged daily to ask myself which weapons am i using to fight this war.

as a citizen of the greatest nation on the face of the earth i am proud to study the historical body of work that outlines how my nation has gained what it now possesses. much of what i have is because men fought, poured blood, gave family and property, in order to make freedom a reality for themselves and generations that followed. this cause is great and daily under-appreciated.

however great the cause is it still falls short of divine. it represents a great shadow, but fails to accomplish my souls greatest need. it fails to meet anyone's greatest need of redemption. the constitution, the bill of rights, or any other document will ALWAYS fall short. a culture war might be won by such a document. a battle to back a particular legal position might appropriately be able to utilize the principles in ink of our great founding fathers and their handiwork. using the language of "rights as an american" is NOT language used in the kingdom of god. in fact you might find the citizen of the kingdom of god standing opposite, as it is outlined in matthew 5.

you will not be able to fight a spiritual battle ever with the constitution of government. even if it is the government of the greatest nation on this earth.

1. imagine if every one of those individuals who went into chick-fil-a to get food to support mr cathy's right would have given even half of what they spent at chick-fil-a to their local church?

2. imagine if the church had the traffic problems chick-fil-a had with people wrapped around the building and officers there to direct the flow of traffic into the parking lot.

3. imagine if we could love righteousness as much as we love chick-fil-a sandwiches (or if you are me, those wonderful nuggets).

4. imagine if we could faithfully minister to the lost as boldly as we stand up for our "rights." regardless if they want jesus and his definition of marriage or not.

this isn't a john lennon song, this is watching my nation, from the outside in (living in belgium), mobilize for a cause they believe in. i am confused as to which cause they were even speech, or immorality?

i believe the cause was free speech because...
-no one, in their right mind, would wait that long for lunch. especially in a land that hails of the fastest food provided.
-no one has changed their perspective on gay marriage today that had the same perspective as they did august 1st when they went into chick-fil-a.
-no one is going to exclusively eat at chick-fil-a the rest of their life.

i love the u.s.a and the freedoms it provides to its citizens. mr. cathy's statement and position concerning marriage is one that i share. i believe in his right to say it and think it is absurd how the idea of tolerance is out of balance. i also EXPECT the lost people of the united states to approach christianity using the instrument of law and the constitution. therefore i expect in the arena of same sex marriage for them to present the case through the angle of civil rights. that is how immorality becomes justifiable to the lost...through the law (isn't that twisted?). but i do not wish to engage in a war with lost people using carnal weapons because what it accomplishes is the bolstering of more pride. please don't see this is as condemnation against the many who plea for a righteous government and intercede on behalf of our president, congressman, and those who work to keep jesus as the center of this nation in the political field.

if we are going to fight morality with the law we are ALL condemned. that is why jesus came...because we couldn't fight morality with righteousness. so lets put away this carnal, american, ideology of our "rights." an action to voice/proclaim your right to have rights and the opposite side of this particular battle of immorality both carry the same heart issue...pride and idolatry.

when i get back to the states i am going to have chick-fil-a nuggets and i will also enjoy a cup of coffee from starbucks, but not together, thats gross.