The Maxfields

The Maxfields

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Our Great God, by Fernando Ortega

Eternal God, unchanging,
  Mysterious and unknown.
Your boundless love unfailing,
  In grace and mercy shown.
Bright seraphim in endless flight
  Around your glorious throne.
They raise their voices day and night
  In praise to you alone.

Hallelujah! Glory be to our great God!
Hallelujah! Glory be to our great God!

Lord, we are weak and frail,
  Helpless in the storm.
Surround us with your angels,
  Hold us in your arms.
Our cold and ruthless enemy,
  His pleasure is our harm.
Rise up, O Lord, and he will flee
  Before our Sovereign God.

Hallelujah!  Glory be to our great God!
Hallelujah!  Glory be to our great God!

Let every creature in the sea
  And every flying bird;
Let every mountain, every field
  And valley of the earth;
Let all the moons and all the stars
  In all the universe
Sing praises to the Living God,
  Who rules them by His word.

Hallelujah! Glory be to our great God!
Hallelujah! Glory be to our great God!
Hallelujah! Glory be to our great God!
Hallelujah! Glory be to our great God!

Songwriters:  Johnny Mac Powell, Fernando Ortega
Copyright:  Dejamesolo Music, New Spring Publishing Inc., Word Music LLC

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

God's Chosen Fast

One of my favorite passages of Scripture right now is Isaiah 58 which is one of the focus chapters for Sacred Road's mission. I love the reminder that it gives to us that God's chosen fast for us is to help the oppressed and needy and to loose the bonds of wickedness. On those days when I'm feeling discouraged, this gives me the encouragement I need to bring my sight back on fulfilling the task that God has set before me.

“Is not this the fast that I choose:
    to loose the bonds of wickedness,
    to undo the straps of the yoke,
to let the oppressed[b] go free,
    and to break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry
    and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover him,
    and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,
    and your healing shall spring up speedily;
your righteousness shall go before you;
    the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
    you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Storm Up Ahead

People have asked us how we knew the Lord was calling us to go to Sacred Road -- most likely because it has been a short time period in which we've made this decision. 

I will try to blog on this over the next few weeks.  When we began praying for the Lord to show us whether we should really move, we asked God to hit us over the head with something HUGE.  This way we would know "for sure" if we should go. 

He didn't hit us over the head.  I love how God knows best and instead He began giving us something almost every day for 3 months.  I tried to write them down as they came.  It was incredible how much Scripture He put right in front of us.  Here is one example. 

This past fall I heard a sermon on Mark 4:35-5:20 right during the time as we were praying about moving to Sacred Road.  The sermon title was "Speaking Calm Into Chaos".  The sermon began with this line:  You are either in the middle of a storm or in between storms. 

I hung onto every word during that sermon.  My life had been sailing along on a beautiful wave.  The idea of moving to Sacred Road seemed like we were heading into a crazy, chaotic storm.  Who purposely turns their "boat" directly into a storm?  

My life has not endured many storms.  The biggest storms have probably been miscarriages, health issues for our parents and Emily's diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes when she was 4 years old.  Other than that, my life has had fairly calm waters.

But heading to Sacred Road feels like we are headed into a storm.  My safe, comfortable, secure, somewhat predictable life is about to be rocked. 

Here is some of what I heard that day in the sermon:  God speaks calm into the chaotic darkness.  Jesus shines His light into our chaotic, fallen world.  He can bring peace into the chaotic circumstances of our lives.  Jesus is leading me and yes, I may be headed into a storm, but Jesus is in the boat with me.  Faith believes that Jesus is in control of the storm.  There is power in Jesus' Word.  He has power over spiritual forces of evil. 

Bam.  That sermon hit me and I think we also sang the song, "Speak, O Lord" that same Sunday morning, which has this line:  Help us grasp the heights of your plans for us.  It was another confirmation in my heart that He had a job for me -- bigger and different than the path I was on.

This is just one example of how we felt God speaking to us -- and at just the right time.  I still have my fears about the storm up ahead, but Jesus is right there with me in the boat, bringing calm into the chaos.  Amen!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

I am like Bilbo. I am called into the unknown.

I feel like every person, every story writer, and every song writer knows that there's a girl out there who is moving to the Rez as a missionary. It's amazing how God speaks through people to specific people. It seems like every time I hear someone speak or hear a song there's something that ties to the constant thoughts in my mind about the little kiddos on the Rez. God is very clever and He is very good.

All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us. Little shout-out to one of my favorites, J.R.R. Tolkien. I love fairytales that have deeper meanings, that I can read over and over again. Where the pages are filled with stories of dragons and friendship. The Hobbit hits very close to my heart right now.

I am like Bilbo: I am a character in My Father's story like he is in Tolkien's.

The story is unfolding slowly, new to me as it is to the readers, the observers. I start out as a girl living in Bothell with three childhood dreams:
1. Be cured of Type 1 Diabetes.
2. Marry godly man and raise a family with lots of sweet children.
3. Live in Virginia, where the summers are hot and the leaves turn pretty.

I am comfortable with my life and it's going fine, just like it is for my old friend Bilbo. He is content with the Shire and has no plans of leaving. Until Gandalf calls him away from his home and into the unknown.

Like Bilbo, I have been called to a world completely unfamiliar. I have been called to the Rez. But as Gandalf is there to accompany Bilbo and guide him, My Father, in a much more glorious and amazing sense, has promised to never leave me nor forsake me in the journey. Bilbo has thirteen dwarves accompanying him on his journeys. I have an army of friends on this side of the mountains on their knees in my behalf. And my excitement is growing more and more with each day that passes.

I have decided what to do with the time given to me, Tolkien. I have followed my God and followed Him into a world of beautiful, snowy white unknown.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Example of Job

I've been thinking about suffering lately.  Partly because it is hard to think about Sacred Road without thinking about the suffering of those on the Reservation.  Partly because as we've thought about Sacred Road it was hard not to think about how little we have suffered.

I've been reading an essay by Joseph P Lehmann titled "Believing in Hope: A Meditation on Hope, Expectations, and the Nature of Faith."  You can go here to purchase the article.  It's worth the $1.49.

The author brings up an interesting question.  In our modern American church "we are taught to expect only good from the hand of God; we have been told that in the times of our deepest troubles, God will tenderly carry us as a father carries his child or a shepherd tends to his lambs.  But sooner or later in all too many lives, these expectations are shattered by experience.  We find ourselves, like Job, asked by God to accept trouble from His hand."

Those of us that are Reformed in our theology are used to talking about the sovereignty of God and that He is in control of our circumstances.  But practically and daily, we focus on the promises we have in Scripture regarding our eternal reward and make our faith dependent on our expectations and how we expect God to deal with us temporally, in the here and now.

We live prosperous lives, we are technologically advanced, we've sanitized our life to a large degree to not have to deal with sorrow, death and pain.  We think that if God loves us we will live a life free of sorrow, death and pain.

"And so when tragedy strikes, when disappointment camps at our door, we are woefully unprepared. . . . In such situations, faith can wither as quickly as the hope on which it was built."  What happens when God doesn't answer our prayer?   What happens when he leaves us in despair, in pain, in depression?  Do we walk away from God saying that He must not exist?  Do we doubt that He is a loving God?

The author asks "why does God so seldom choose to act in the ways we expect Him to?" His answer is "while He often does grant us the desires of our hearts, and in ways far greater than we could ever have imagined, he regularly does so in ways which destroy (or at least seriously jeopardize) our hope that He will ever act."  What do we do when God is silent?  Not absent, just silent?

We have pastors on TV that tell us that we just need to have more faith and God will make us healthy, wealthy and wise.  Isn't that what Job's three friends told him?  You've sinned, you haven't tried hard enough, you need to do more, otherwise why would God do this to you?

When we try to fit God into our little bottle and expect Him to act like a magic genie granting all our wishes, we can expect God to answer like he answered Job:  "Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me. . . . Will you even put me in the wrong?  Will you condemn me that you may be in the right?"  Job 38:2-3, 40:8.

We can only answer as Job did:  "I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.  Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know."  Job 42:2, 3b

Monday, February 3, 2014

Specific Prayer Requests

As I sit here with a stuffed nose, oversized sweatshirt, and a picture of that same little five-year-old boy that stole a piece of my heart, I am struck by the over-all encouraging response we have gotten about this crazy adventure. I cannot wait to get out to the Rez; I cannot wait to show the love of Christ to this little boy and his sister. Thank you for helping make this possible.

The comments regarding this change in our lives have been amazing. The kind, genuine responses really do mean a lot to us. Just the other evening, we were sitting around the dinner table (eating a meat/carrot/potato stew that allowed me to flash forward to our future country life). We were discussing the many people who have been such a blessing to us these past few months and who are continuing to show great generosity. Thank you. Please continue to come before the Lord in prayer, especially regarding the following.

Pray for peace for my family during this seemingly slow transition to Rez life. Pray for Rachel and my school situations for junior and freshman year. Pray for the Lord to strengthen us and give us the ability to do His work without tiring. But above all, pray for His will to be done in everything.

Pray for all of us as we continue to spread the word about God's call for our lives. Pray that we will be equipped with the right words to say and have gracious responses to those we talk to.

Thank the Lord for the daily encouragement we are receiving from both financial and prayer partners.

Pray for church each Sunday evening on the Rez. Pray that the attendance will be high and that the children will be focused and alert and joyful. Pray that their hearts will be softened and receptive to Christ's love. Pray that they will feel super duper loved and appreciated and want to come back next week. Pray that all of them will be safe and provided for at home.

Pray the two sisters I love will be bold enough to go to church together and enjoy themselves. They are quiet and cautious, but pray that they will remember the Sacred Road staff from Kids Club this summer and feel welcome.

Pray for the five and three-year-old. Pray for them. Their little hearts are hurting and only Christ can give them comfort. Thank the Lord that they have been able to spend some time with other staff families this week and enjoy a taste of what a loving, Christ-centered family looks like.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Behold, I stand at the door and knock.

This fundraising process is very interesting.  The word interesting used more in the sense of a car accident you can't look away from rather than a good book you can't put down.

The whole idea of having to ask people for money to financially support us is not an easy thing.  Particularly when I've been working all my life to establish myself in a career and move up the corporate ladder, so to speak.  To go from "See what I've been able to do" to "I can't do this, I need your help and please pray for me because God's doing His thing here" is quite the adjustment.  Nothing like walking out on a limb.

All the sales type activity I've done in the past is to get people to purchase a service in which they get something back - a tax return, expertise on a certain topic, etc.

Now I'm just selling this idea that in exchange for your money we'll try to change the world.  Well, not really the world, just a small little corner of it.  A small, little, inconsequential part of Washington State.  A part of the state that no one knows about and no one really cares about.  Where people live in obscurity, in a society that doesn't work, with no jobs, no family structure, literally (yes, literally) almost nothing. While the people of this small little corner of the world don't have much of anything, they do have one thing that matters.  One thing that we care about, but more importantly, one thing that the Creator and Redeemer of the Universe cares about.  A heart.  A heart that we pray, will open the door when that Redeemer knocks.

But hey, don't forget, you can get a tax deduction for your contribution!

For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.  I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe  yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.  Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.  Behold, I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.  Revelation 3:17-20

Hold Things Loosely

On Monday an email was sent to the employees at Darren's firm - announcing our decision to move to the Yakama reservation.  I knew this day was coming and I have cried about it before.  But the day really came and it was hard.

I've watched Darren pour himself into being a great CPA for the past 20 years.  Hours and hours of time he has spent diligently working and rising through the ranks.  And then he became a partner.  We had visions of him managing this CPA firm someday.  Wow. 

It is slowly slipping away.  I know it is right, but it is still hard.  Hard to see my husband say good-bye to a good job, a great company and a career that he has worked for his whole life.

I am once again reminded to hold things loosely.  To quote Corrie ten Boom, "I've learned that we must hold everything loosely, because when I grip it tightly, it hurts when the Father pries my fingers loose and takes it from me." 

Yes, this hurts a little.  But God is so good.  He is so patient with me too as I place one foot in front of the other and follow where He is leading us.