Monday, August 4, 2014

Embracing Obscurity- Chapter 5

(A few friends and I are reading this book together. Each week we are reading one chapter. On Fridays, I am posting my comments, then giving them the opportunity to add their thoughts as well. If you would like to join us or simply find out more about the book, you can read about it here.)

Chapter 5: Embracing True Success

- I know my view of success has been wrong in this aspect: I know that integrity is more important than the visible things the world considers "success," but I know I tend to think that if I have integrity, that other "success" will come.  I am thankful for the reminder of what God considers success.

- The section about craving for material things (starting on page 77) had some good soul-searching material in it.  I find it hard to apply the principles without swinging to another extreme- do I never have a tv? must I buy the absolute cheapest cell phone? should we get rid of one of our computers and just share?  I agree with what this section discussed, it just is difficult for me to apply it.  I'd appreciate feedback on how you sort through this.
- Being in Moldova where I can more readily see the poor, this phrase stuck out: "How many of us ignore the poor daily and instead wall ourselves into our relative castles, nestled in sanitized suburban neighborhoods?" (Page 82)  It made me consider how I can be more attentive and how I can better help those around me.

- "Job's 'success' was loving the things of the Father, rather than trying to replace Him with the things of the world." (Page 82)

- In the section entitled "Wrestling with Success" I appreciated these thoughts: "The struggle to define what integrity, goodness, and fearing God demand in any given situation is part of the great tension and triumph of the Christian life. . . Without detailed, personalized instructions, the best thing we can do is wrestle with our consciences, with God's Word, and with the Holy Spirit in these matters." (Page 86)  It is encouraging to know that others come across situations in which it is difficult to discern what decisions to make and in which they must struggle to determine what to do.  May I not desire the easy way out, but embrace that struggle that comes with difficult situations.

- I loved the following paragraph: "You want to be successful? If you live comfortably, share what you have.  If you have a spouse, serve him or her sacrificially.  If your home is filled with the clamor and clutter of children, savor the monumental challenge of raising them.  If others follow you, point them to Christ.  If you are given accolades, receive them humbly.  Love and serve the people around you.  Walk well through the inevitable sufferings of life.  Live your life worth of the gospel of Christ.  This is true success." (Page 89)

I've had my say, what say you?

Discussion on Chapter 4
Discussion on Chapter 6

Friday, August 1, 2014

Hughes News #54

"Tie your shoes and pray for the Hughes"

Dear Friends,
A month ago today we moved to Soroca.  We are comfortably settled into our apartment other than the occasional problem that accompanies any home.  Our mailing address is the following:
HUGHES Jacob and Viola
st. Viilor, nr. 19, ap. 39

Using the order we have listed will give letters the best chance to make it to our mailbox.
Much of our time the last couple of weeks has been spent working with our coworkers on their home.  That should continue throughout August as our projects include the septic system, the Styrofoam insulation on the outside of the house and the rooms on the first floor.  As you think of us, we ask that you would pray for wisdom.  First, David and Stephanie need the Lord’s direction as they make decisions about the house.  Second, we inexperienced construction workers need wisdom as we undertake new tasks and learn new skills.
Ministry to this point has consisted of our two families meeting together on Sundays and a pair of Bible studies.  A couple of weeks ago I began joining David for a Bible study he is leading with a neighbor “N” and her adult daughter “S.”  I will be leading the other Bible study with a lady “G” but we have struggled to find a consistent day when we can visit her.  The work on the house is important for ministry because we have already had two people express interest in joining us on Sundays.  Since we are planning to begin the church plant in the Grosses home, further progress on the house will give sufficient space for others to come.
In His service,
Jacob and Viola Hughes
For Prayer:
1. Progress to be made on the first floor of the Grosses home
2. Jacob as he begins preaching in Russian every Sunday
3. Grace to balance physical labor on house and ministry
For Praise:
1. Areas at Grosses house that are beginning to look like rooms
2. Furniture purchased and settling in completed
3. Bible studies with N, S, and G

If you are looking for a printable version of this update, here is your link.