Ryan & Jordan

with Pioneer Bible Translators

Tag: grace

There & Back Again: Day One

by Jordee

beginning

For any who may have noticed the recent lack of posts, we will now explain.

Ryan and I have been on the road, a trip we decided to take just before it began on Saturday, August 10th. Because it has been so eventful and because we have soaked in a lot of life and adventure and conversation and people, we’d like to take you through the trip (mostly) day by day.

As with all my prior experience with road trips, the morning of Day One went as we might’ve expected: waking up early, packing, making checklists, packing, coffee, packing, loading up the car, driving out of the neighborhood excitedly, remembering what we forgot, turning around at the stoplight, a joke about “if we ever leave,” and finally heading south toward the United States of America.

The border wait was the longest we’ve experienced and the traffic was a bit unexpectedly heavy, but we made it to our first stop in Yakima, Washington. There we enjoyed dinner with Ryan’s old friends and my new friends. We got back on the road and continued east toward Pasco, our final destination for the day. We arrived and enjoyed time with family whom I met for the first time, explaining we didn’t have much of a plan for the following two weeks.

Day One: taking things as they come and the sweet times with friends and family foreshadowed the rest of this trip as we would find out soon enough.

Stay tuned for Day Two and beyond.

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Have Mercy

by ryan

One day Jesus went up a hill with his disciples and taught them.  As it is written:

Μακάριοι οἱ πτωχοὶ τῷ πνεύματι,

ὅτι αὐτῶν ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν.

Or, in English:

The Spiritually Bankrupt are blessed,

because the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.

Spiritually what?

Let me tell you a story inspired by a story Jesus told (Luke, chapter 18).

One day two very different men happened to be praying side by side at an important spiritual place.  One man was a religious expert, an authority on the Scriptures.  The other was a business man who cheated people, embezzled funds and was a traitor against his people.

The Religious Man stands and prays, “God I thank you that I am not like other men: blackmailers, unjust people, people who have sex outside of marriage, or this bad business man next to me.  I fast twice a week and I offer ten percent of what I get to you.”

The Business Man didn’t even look up. “God, be merciful to me, a man who has wronged you.”

Then Jesus says, “I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

The Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who realize they could never be good enough to earn God’s forgiveness and favor–the Spiritually Bankrupt.

We are all Spiritually Bankrupt.  The thing is, only some people ask for mercy.

—-

We’d like to thank our friend Matthew for teaching what inspired this reflection .

The Author and His Story

by Jordee

Ryan and I study diversity in the world’s languages. Language is rich and complex, and lots of scholarly energy is poured into finding what some call “language universals” so we can make sense of it. One of these universals is something we might have guessed. Stories. We learn from stories. Stories are what make up our histories, what define us and what we use to identify ourselves, what we read to and tell our children, what our children tell us, what we pass on through generations.

Of course, the structure of stories differs greatly from language to language. “Once upon a time” and “happily ever after” aren’t language universals. The scholar Robert Longacre, however, has suggested several story elements that are shared among a lot of the world’s languages. One of these elements he calls the “inciting moment.” The predictable is disrupted, plans take a sudden twist, the story isn’t what we had previously thought. The inciting moment gets the story going.

Sometimes we are happy trudging along in a comfortable and safe episode of our story, and we’d rather not be disrupted. About two weeks ago, we were on a pleasant run in a sunny park, when our car was vandalized. An unwelcome inciting moment happened. Plans were changed, our routine was disrupted, and the story of the next several days was not how we would have written it.

But it helps us to look at our stories as a part of a much Bigger Story.

We can remember the bigger inciting moments–
when God spoke the earth into being and called it good,
when He took on human form as Jesus,
when the tomb was found empty,
and when by His grace, He rescued us and made us His children.

These are the inciting moments of the Bigger Story, and the Author is using us to form it into a narrative for His glory. Every moment of our lives is a part of His story, and Ryan and I remain His dearly loved children in every beginning, every conflict, every climax, every resolution.

So if you have just experienced a discouraging inciting moment, or if you are just trudging along, we invite you to remember Jesus, the Author, who endured the cross and ignored the shame because He focused on the joy that was set before him.