Thursday, 30 April 2009

My first Thai song! (sort of)

I wrote the following song, for immediate translation (by my friend Nam), as the official 'Camp Song', on the theme of the camp, for our time up in the mountains last week. Though I wrote it in English, it has only ever been sung in Thai. It was so wonderful to hear the kids singing it in their beautiful voices, and a definite highlight for me was hearing kids outside practicing the song one night while I was cleaning my teeth. I pray that the truths in it might sink deep and God would use them to lead children to know Him.

You Are Special
คุณเป็นคนพิเศษ (นะ)

You are special because God made you and God loves you
คุณรู้ไหมว่าคุณเป็นคนพิเศษ เพราะว่าพระเจ้าสร้างคุณ และเพราะพระองค์รักคุณ
It doesn't matter what people say, or what people think
ไม่ต้องสนใจว่าใครจะพูดอย่างไร หรือว่าจะคิดอย่างไร
You are special to God

Verse 1:
You might ask me how I can be so sure
คุณอาจจะถาม แล้วฉันจะแน่ใจได้อย่างไร
I'll show you God's son Jesus, who died for us


Verse 2:
Even thought we don't deserve His love
We can be God's friends through Jesus' death on a cross

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Mae Jan, April 21-25: Kids Camps with Karen Tribe Children [In Words!]

After 10 hours of travelling, and 1,219 bends in the mountain road (so I’m told...before you ask, I didn't count them!), fellow missionary Julia Birkett and I, a Thai student worker, and a mixture of 4 Thai students and recent graduates, arrived in the Karen village of Mae Jan, which is right on the border with Burma.

For the next 3 days we ran a camp for 90 kids, all of whom are supported by the organisation Compassion, with the theme ‘You are Special’. With a mixture of games, crafts, drama, songs, testimonies, (and at one point a full scale waterfight!) we sought to communicate the message that the only opinion of us that matters is God’s.

It was amazing to be in the mountains in N. West Thailand. I loved sleeping on the floor under a mosquito net in a wooden hut and sitting on the porch in the evenings reading by candlelight. I loved hearing 90 kids singing about Jesus in Thai as well as their own tribal language, with the most beautiful voices I have ever heard. I loved eating rice for breakfast. I loved seeing the most majestic and beautiful scenery I have ever seen on the way home. I loved seeing students have their first taste of cross-cultural mission (even if it was in their own country!) And most of all I loved getting a glimpse of how God is working in people’s lives – ushering some into the first steps of following Jesus, and others into deeper, darker waters; yet with the promise to be the guide and light for all who keep walking with Him.

It was a brief, but incredibly encouraging experience. Praise God!

Mae Jan, April 21-25: Kids Camps with Karen Tribe Children [In Pictures!]

Friday, 3 April 2009


" 'Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Because of your false words and lying visions, I am against you, declares the Sovereign LORD. My hand will be against the prophets who see false visions and utter lying divinations. They will not belong to the council of my people or be listed in the records of the house of Israel, nor will they enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Sovereign LORD.

" 'Because they lead my people astray, saying, "Peace," when there is no peace, and because, when a flimsy wall is built, they cover it with whitewash, therefore tell those who cover it with whitewash that it is going to fall. Rain will come in torrents, and I will send hailstones hurtling down, and violent winds will burst forth. When the wall collapses, will people not ask you, "Where is the whitewash you covered it with?"

" 'Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: In my wrath I will unleash a violent wind, and in my anger hailstones and torrents of rain will fall with destructive fury. I will tear down the wall you have covered with whitewash and will level it to the ground so that its foundation will be laid bare. When it falls, you will be destroyed in it; and you will know that I am the LORD. So I will spend my wrath against the wall and against those who covered it with whitewash. I will say to you, "The wall is gone and so are those who whitewashed it, those prophets of Israel who prophesied to Jerusalem and saw visions of peace for her when there was no peace, declares the Sovereign LORD." '

Ezekiel 13:8-16

Written so long ago, but oh how relevant for today. How familiar are those comforting but ultimately false words: 'peace, peace', when there is no peace. Because when we reduce the gospel to a simple 'God loves you', that is in effect what we are saying. We're saying 'sin isn't a problem, you don't really need to change anything to be made right with God, his love covers everything and you're ok as you are. You just need to believe you have peace with God already and then you will have it'.

This belittles both God and people. It belittles God because it does not do justice to the true Holy love of God that demands justice but makes our rescue possible by punishing sin in Jesus on the cross. And it belittles people because it is false hope. It isn’t even good news; it just lures people into a trap. It is exactly like building that flimsy wall described in Ezekiel above, and whitewashing it over, hoping no-one will see the holes. But it will not stand. It may fool people for a while but on the day of the Lord it will NOT STAND.

Not to go into too many details, or go off on a rant (which isn't really my thing) I believe this false 'peace, peace' theology is ultimately the message of the book The Shack, and I am very concerned about this, especially because of the way it has been embraced by many people.
"...they lead my people astray, saying, "Peace," when there is no peace." Declaring peace when there is no peace is not good news. It is a death trap.

So if we're not to preach false peace, what are we to preach? What is the good news?

“We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:20-21

The good news is that although we are separated from God because of our sin, we can be reconciled to Him, because Jesus became sin instead of us, bearing the wrath we deserve and crediting God’s righteousness to us instead. It is with urgency that we must make this appeal to be reconciled to God, not simply announcing that everyone is already reconciled. If we announce such a message I believe we are just like those false prophets in Ezekiel 13.