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Subversion: God at Work

Photo by Chad Sparkes

By Tina Teng-Henson
Subversion:
Every now and then,
Jesus hijacks my heart
and captures it anew.

He’ll whisper something to me
in the early morning stillness,
as I’m in my backyard,
journaling.

Something specific.
Something profound.

It’ll stop me in my tracks
and give me pause.

I need that these days.
I need that every day.

He’ll beckon to me
in a child’s shy glance.
I’ll notice
her earnest seeking
after Him.
And it touches my heart!
It reminds me
in a rush of emotion:
THEY are
part of what,
part of whom,
I’ve been brought to Orchard Valley
to care for,
to guide.

And then
He’ll wake me up
early in the morning
to give me the download.
That week’s message.
Just like that.

That is so kind of you, Lord.
It makes me less anxious.
I realize
Words come
From you
To them.
I am just
the go-between.
And that is fine
with me.

Sometimes
You don’t let me sleep
I toss and turn
and You wake me up
at 4:45 in the morning,
when the house is quiet and still.
When my children are sleeping.
When no one is around,
but my spirit-led conscience.
You ensure that I have quiet time
and no distractions
So I can and must
write out a heartfelt apology,
a confession of sin.
Working out
with whoever I’ve offended,
what needs to get said.

Sometimes I’m wrong.
Sometimes they’re wrong.
It doesn’t really matter.
You’ve called us
to work together.

I suppose You think to yourself,
“The sun’s gone down in her anger,
or self-righteousness;
she needs help making things right.”
See, even then,
how good to me are you?!
I don’t even deserve your help
when I’ve up and done wrong
again
but there you are,
again
Helping me out.

How many times
have you sent someone
to my door
with baked bread
or children’s books
or cookies
or vegetables in a grocery sack.

Your way of reminding me
It’s about love, silly.
It’s always about love.
It’s about people, sweet girl.
People, process, patience.
Not outcomes, output, “success.”
And you fill me back up
through your love
channeled through them.
And you bring me right back,
to that buoyant, happy place
where You’re perfectly sovereign
Totally in control
of Everything
and Everyone
And I
can just be
little
old
me.

You like to change my mind
For me.
Dramatically.
I’ll be thinking one thing,
then I’ll open your book,
and you turn my thinking on its head.
Here’s a new possibility to consider.
Now do it.
That way.

Lord God, you are more GOOD to me than I deserve.
You’re so much KINDER to me than I expect!
You have INFINITE work-arounds
for all the devil’s scheming
and
for all my awful failings.

THANK YOU
for bringing
even these words
forth.
For me.
For us.
For them.

Tina Teng-Henson and her family live in Santa Clara, California. She is presently serving as an interim co-pastor at Orchard Valley Christian Church (orchardvalley.org). She enjoys volleyball, independent film, and being in nature.

Photo by Renaud Camus

By Young Lee Hertig

“Jesus rode into Jerusalem, announcing his kingship on a borrowed donkey.  He had no palace, much less a place to lay his head, and lacked a transportation.  This subversive king exorcised the temple, set limits on Caesar’s authority, publicly declared that a poor widow’s minimal offering was greater than all others, and redefined servanthood as beneficial for the needy rather than the benefactor.”[1]  Continue Reading »

By Emi Iwanaga

 

Photo by Andrea Rose

Our Father, dwelling in the heavenly realms,
may the glory of your name be the center on which our lives turn.
Manifest your kingdom realm, and cause your every purpose to be fulfilled
on earth, just as it is fulfilled in heaven.
Matthew 6:9,10 (TPT)

 

I will rejoice in this new Jerusalem and find great delight in my people.
You will no longer hear the sound of weeping or cries of distress.
Before they even call out to me, I will answer them;
before they’ve finished telling me what they need, I’ll have already heard.
The wolf and the lamb will graze side by side and the lion
will eat straw like the ox, and the serpent’s food will be dust.
There will be neither violence nor murder
on my entire holy mountain of Zion,” says Yahweh.
Isaiah 65: 19,24-25 (TPT)

 

SHALL WE?

My invitation, “shall we dance”?
Together you, Me, My Holy Spirit
Moving…forward, against, away

Follow My Lead
Keep your eyes on Me
Feeling My heart…passion, compassion, absolute

Take the next step
A move abrupt, daring or smooth
Staying with Me…synchronized, unfaltering, decisive

Listen to the music
Feel the rhythm
Losing yourself…in Me, in us, in our dance

Experience the dance
Together you, Me, My Holy Spirit
Moving…

Forward to heaven, bringing a portion to earth
Against unrighteousness, impurity
Away from crushing, restraining

So, sister, shall we dance?
His never-ending, ever-needed dance entitled,
Subversion
Let’s dance!!!

Emi Iwanaga served thirteen years as a missionary in Amazon Valley in Brazil, over 20+ years as a children’s ministry director, women’s ministry director, and pastor’s wife, and is currently a spiritual director.

Photo by Nenad Stojkovic

By Joy Wong

Growing up, one of my favorite Bible story characters was Esther. I remember dressing up as Esther one Halloween, wearing all white as she did when chosen to be the new queen. White was one of my favorite colors for that reason, and I admired how she was a person of beauty and purpose. Continue Reading »

Photo by David O’Hare

By Jerrica KF Ching

If there was ever a time that proved connection with other human beings to be crucial and vital to our mental health, we have been staring at it in the face for the past five months. For many of us, myself included, back in March when news of COVID-19 first came around, the idea that something invisible to the eye could cause statewide and later nationwide closures was unheard of. Continue Reading »

Photo by shiranai

By Melanie Mar Chow

“O be careful little eyes what you see, for the Father up above is looking down in love, so be careful little eyes what you see.”

As a child, Grandma reminded me of my parents when I lamented how she instead let me watch endless amounts of Saturday morning television. Continue Reading »

By April Yamasaki

During these days of staying at home, I’ve been experimenting with a new recipe for homemade pizza dough. With my first effort, my husband declared that it was the best pizza crust I’d ever made, better than any take-out pizza, maybe the best pizza he’d ever eaten. Continue Reading »

Photo by Michael Mueller

By Joy Wong

For the past few months since shelter-at-home orders have been in place, I’ve been viewing the time at home with the kids as an extended vacation; something to be endured, but only short-term. While my extroverted husband felt cooped up and struggled, I felt my extreme introversion helped quite a bit. I often didn’t mind being at home all day; sometimes, I even enjoyed it. Continue Reading »

Photo by Jeanne Menjoulet

By Ajung Sojwal

Somewhere in the canyons of my soul, where life’s circumstances get to have their say, I can feel that my notions of community are changing. For me, community has largely been about hospitality and creating a safe space for folks. About opening our home for friends, family and sometimes strangers to come together. Continue Reading »

Community: Unbound

Photo by Angela Ryo

By Angela Ryo

When I think of the word community, I am reminded of Jesus raising up Lazarus from the dead in the Gospel of John. Here’s the story from John 11:38-44:

38 Then Jesus, again greatly disturbed, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. 39 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, already there is a stench because he has been dead four days.” 40 Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” 41 So they took away the stone. And Jesus looked upward and said, “Father, I thank you for having heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me.” 43 When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”

Continue Reading »

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