Tim's blog

Holiday Mode In Ireland

Posted by Tim on 29 December 2008 - 3:26pm

As we are now only three days from 2009 we are nearing our tenth month in Dublin.  The lease on our house expires on 4th February and we are trusting that God will show us, as He always does, what He wants us to do.  We think it makes sense for us to remain in the same area for the time being, as Ballycullen Community Church prepares for a new pastor this summer.  Pray that we wil be sensitive to God's leading in terms of where we live.

Jeff & Caroline Hay will be arriving following the completion of Jeff's formal seminary education in England - this will be Jeff's first pastoral role and I know he would cherish your prayer support.  He was here during the 2 week basketball camp last July and his wonderful wife Caroline came on the middle weekend of camp as that was very near their first wedding anniversay.  Caroline is from the States while Jeff grew up in County Donegal, in the NW corner of Ireland.  Please pray that God will give Jeff great wisdom in Ballycullen . . .  see their picture below!

Jeff & Caroline Hay


First Christmas In Ireland

Posted by Tim on 19 December 2008 - 8:00am

We are in our sitting (living) room at the moment and as I am writing this Kathy & Sarah are decorating our first 'Irish' Christmas tree . . . it's a 5' artifical tree (our first time for a 'fake' tree) that Craig and Heather gave us (thank you C & H) before they moved to Cork.  Christmas songs are playing in the background and we are reflecting on Christmas in Ireland.

We have noticed lots of shoppers in the stores, though we are officially in recession.  As we are starting new traditions with new friends and less family we are grateful for all He has done in our lives the past nine months since moving to Dublin.  Yes, we are missing our three sons, daughters-in-law and grand kids, but we are thankful that Sarah is still with us, and for our teammates and our wonderful new Irish 'family'.  

As I was reading in the gospel of Mark today and reflecting upon future events (chapters 12 & 13) I was challenged to rethink our priorities.  So many give, much like the widow woman in Mark 12:43, that we can be here (we are grateful) but are we doing the best we can with our resources?  Will we regret how we have spent money this Christmas season?  Are we storing up treasures in heaven as the widow woman did - giving all she had?

In my 'iWorship' devotional Bible there is a quote that captured my thougths on our willingness to give. German Theologian H. Thielicke said: "Our pocketbooks have more to do with heaven and also with hell than our hymnbooks" His point was that how we spend money says more about us than what we say - it shows our true priorities.  Hummmmm. . .  here's a picture of the tree!

Christmas Tree & Tullagh




Traveling Meal

Posted by Tim on 14 December 2008 - 11:02am

Friday was one of those all day rainy and cold kind of days but it did not stop us from having 17 kids (ages 9 to 14) and 4 parents (drivers) for a traveling meal (progressive dinner).  In our community we have something called Jr. Tribes once or twice per month for kids in the community to come and enjoy.  We are building relationships with these great kids, and their parents.

On Friday we divided the kids into four groups to go in four cars driven by some of the parents of the kids.  I was able to get a lift from John, a head chef at a large local business - he serves 2,000 lunches per day!  He told me to 'never trust a skinny chef'!! It was a great time building kingdom relationships as we raced to three houses trying not to get any wetter than necessary.

As a change for the kids, we did our traveling meal backwards by starting with dessert.  We then moved on to a pizza main course and finishing up back at our house for starters.  Tullagh, our guide dog puppy (now 5 months old and weighing in at about 25 kilos or 50 pounds) was the life of the party!  Both the kids and parents loved him and he did really well with 24 new people in the house.

Tonight (Sunday) is our Community Christmas Carol outreach at the centre where our church (www.Ballycullencc.org) meets.  We are expecting about 100 people to come for a one hour music gathering, to include a 10 minute Christmas/gospel presentation.  Afterwards there will be refreshments featuring one of Ireland's Christmas favorites - mince pies!  these are small individual size 'pies' filled with mince meat - yummy!

Sarah and Stephanie (another gal on our team) are returning tonight from a weekend at a castle with other singles.  We hope they had a great time as they were with the new pastor and his wife (Jeff & Caroline) who will be coming here to Ballycullen in June, after Jeff finishes seminary.

Thanks for your faithfulness to us!


The Church during Recession

Posted by Tim on 5 December 2008 - 7:11am

The recession around the world is starting to take its toll here in Ireland.  The Irish Bible Institute, where Kathy and I take a class, and where Sarah is full time is feeling the financial pressure of normally reliable supporters starting to cut back giving. 

This brings thoughts to mind about what 'The Church' should look like in this crisis cultural chane.  How does our faith show up in times like these when friends and neighbors, perhaps, are losing their jobs?  When headlines like the one below appears . . . 

            "Brace for Another Bad Jobs Report

Expectations for Friday's employment report are brutal --"

. . . people become scared and begin to worry about the future.

How can we apply shoe leather to what God has, and is, teaching us about money, security, mortgages, our 401k's and other investments?  Crisis creates opportunities where once there was false secuity.  When God allows a clear view of what had previously been a deception, there is a better chance of a listening ear. 

Do we, of ourselves, actually 'own' anything; or are we assured of a long and happy life and retirement? Of cousre we are not, but sometimes we take much for granted . . . until things begin to unravel.  God reminds us in Matthew 6 . . .

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal;  for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also"

Let's all look for opportunities to share with those around us who may be in crisis where to find treasure that will never be lost. 

Join me in asking God to continue to use The Irish Bible Institute in this new financial landscape!

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