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Entries from May 2009

WATER INTO WINE and STONE WALLS INTO BRIDGES

Have you ever read the story of Jesus making wine at a wedding?  In the story, a gentleman approached and said how surprised he was because people normally served the best wine at the beginning of the party and saved the cheap stuff for later on.  But the wine Jesus made was so tasty that the gentleman exclaimed "but you have saved the best wine for last."  Although some may say wine was not alcoholic back then, I'd say the cheap wine was normally saved till the end because those drinking the wine would be less likely to notice later on.  If wine were not alcoholic then it would make no sense to warn against drunkenness or to proclaim, in the book of Proverbs, that "wine is a mocker and beer a brawler" but that's another argument for another time. 

Anyway, years ago, I would not come within 10 feet of an alcoholic drink and I was very religious and judgmental about anyone who did so, if even casually.  Prior to that, I was abusive with alcohol and it was all I could think about if I had any in the home.  Today, I consider myself a mature and responsible drinker.

I was at a co-worker's birthday party yesterday.  People at work know that I love the Lord and respect my walk with Him.  I've been mature and responsible with alcohol for awhile now but having a beer among fellow workers was not something I had done before.  I prayed "God, please help me get rid of any religiousness that will keep me from relaxing and, at the same time, help me not to put 'fitting in' over pleasing You."  I didn't know how to act without my "religious blankie" of abstinence and judgmentalness to cling to while in this situation among others.

When they first saw a beer in my hand, they reacted with shock and joyful surprise.  It sort of broke some kind of barrier there and it seemed that they felt closer to me and had an easier time relating to me on a casual and "real" level.  Or, maybe it was just me feeling the effects of another religious, stuffy brick falling off the wall between myself and others.  I didn't flirt with any women but I was friendly with everyone.  I didn't crack crude or nasty jokes although I laughed and talked with those there. 

Overall, I felt like it was a good night and another successful step towards letting go of religious obligation in favor of simply living for God among others in real relationship together.

-James Matthews


John 8:12

Can’t think of anything to share right now, supposed to be writing something spiritual this morning. You know we may have to rethink this whole blog schedule thing, it seems to be hindering our creative juices instead of unlocking them.

Thought I would just share this passage from the book of John:

Jesus once again addressed them: "I am the world's Light. No one who follows me stumbles around in the darkness. I provide plenty of light to live in."

 

Johnny Brooks


Everything Changes

“Everything changes, nothing remains without change.”

Hindu Prince Gautama Siddharta, or the Buddha made this quote. I might add he said it a long time ago, a really long time ago.

It is still true for today. Sitting here in Kenya accessing the internet, I am again reminded that everything changes.

Not long ago the internet was unheard of in Kenya. Then it arrived for the rich. Right now it is still expensive, but the cost keeps going down and down. Eventually everyone will be able to access the internet. Everything changes.

Information can change a people. Exposure to other cultures, ideas, and systems can change a people. Kenyans are changing.

Change is vital. I just hope and pray that in adopting Western ways of life, Africans do not lose their unique African ways. Ways that are well worth preserving.

Johnny Brooks


Grace

I know we have written about Grace before in the past, several times, yet I thought I would post something about each child once a week or so.

Grace was the second orphan to move in with us. She was rescued fromIMG_0211 another orphanage where she was abused. Most likely she was resigned to living a life as a maid. Thankfully we have been able to drive that idea from her head.

Now we have to deal with teenage girl dreams. You know the ones; “I want to be a dancer when I grow up.” “Acting is how I will make money when I move out.” “I will marry a rich guy and donate a lot of money to your projects.”

O.K. so that last one was my dream. I am actually thankful for these kinds of dreams. It means that there is some normalcy to their lives, some stability that gives rise to impossible dreams. I have no problem sending her to dance or acting classes. I think it is good to try the impossible.

I pray that Grace is free in the future to try her dream.

johnny's head new 

Johnny Brooks


Reach Out

So you want to email us? Write us a letter? Send a care package? Give some money? Stay current with what is going on? Buy me books from my Amazon wish list? Well this is your lucky day, because I am listing all the ways you can do this stuff:

Our email address is: back2kenya@yahoo.com We check it each and every day, barring any internet outages. This is also our Yahoo messenger ID. Kate is online every now and then with it. Currently we do not have an always on internet connection, so instant messaging is not always possible.

Our postal address here in Kenya is(This address is for letters or care packages. Please do not send any financial gifts through this address.):

Johnny Brooks                                                                                           P.O. Box 2974                                                                                       Nakuru 20100                                                                                            Kenya

If you would like to donate financially to our projects then use the following methods:

Paypal using our email address of back2kenya@yahoo.com

or make a check out to Kenya Fund and mail to:

Kenya Fund                                                                                                713 West First Street                                                                            Beaver Dam, KY 42320                                                                           U.S.A.

I have a Twitter account:

Both Kate and I have Facebook accounts:

Johnny Brooks's Profile | Create Your Badge
Johnny Brooks's Facebook Profile Kate Ellen Brooks's Profile | Create Your Badge
Kate Ellen Brooks's Facebook Profile

Kate uses Skype:

The user name is PureChristianity

We also send out an email newsletter about once a month or so. Let us know if you would like to get it.

I have an Amazon wish list that can be found here:

My Amazon.com Wish List

 

Of course one of the best ways to stay up to date with us is to keep on reading this blog.


DID ADAM AND EVE HAVE A BELLY BUTTON?

My kids and I were cruising around town and I decided to take the "Veggie Tales' Greatest Hits" CD along with us to listen to.  (Obviously, we were not going to do anything else with it.  I can't get them to eat vegetables most of the time, much less crunchy old CDs.)  Anyway, I let them each take turns picking songs.  Fortunately, there are about 18 songs on the CD because we have 6 kids.  (Plus I always took a turn picking a song too!  I like vegetables and I like CDs too, so it worked out well.  You just have to floss afterwards.  A little hard on the gums as well...)

"Your His Cheeseburger" was one of the favorites http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0XFNtXbkelM but the all time favorite and most often chosen was "Belly Button" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n5uujMb_hbo which is a song where a certain Gourd (which is actually a fruit) sings with his crew (who are impersonating NSYNC - who have been accused of being fruits as well - hey, don't get defensive.  I love NSYNC and I have two of their CDs.  Did I admit that in public?  I've come out of the closet about that, then...) Anyway, the Belly Button crew are singing to a girl about how the Gourd doesn't have a belly button. 

Pretty funny but it got me to thinking...hey!  Did Adam and Eve have belly buttons?

This has been a fun conversation piece and I've gotten many interesting responses.  As Johnny pointed out on my Facebook page, I don't think there's a painting out there of Adam and Eve that does not show them having belly buttons.

Please click the "comment" button below and share whether or not you think Adam and Eve had belly buttons and say why or why not.  This could be fun and yet, like belly buttons themselves, this topic can get pretty deep.  (Again, referencing comments on my Facebook page).  Is your belly button deep?  Mind is neither shallow or extremely deep.  1/4 inch or so.  You could share that as well if you'd like.  I'll start by sharing a set of opposing views I've encountered.  C'mon.  It's be fun!

YES THEY DID:  Adam and Eve must have had belly buttons because the Bible says that both male and female were created in God's image. 

NO THEY DIDN''T:  Adam and Eve were created and formed out of the dust.  They were not born and therefore didn't need an umbilical cord and so did not have belly buttons. 

OKAY.  your turn...

 

James Matthews


Bibles

New Testaments

Yep, that is a box of Bibles. They were donated by a missionary who was crashing at our place for a few days, while he did some conflict resolution in the area. He gave one to each of the kids in the house, and even wrote their names inside the Bible. Very sweet.

The kids were happy to receive their very own Bibles. In fact Emma slept with her New Testament, and woke up looking for it a few times. I read her a few passages out of Revelation this morning when I awoke. The girls did not have Bibles, and had been asking for one.

I believe the Bible to be an integral part of our community. It is where we find our inspiration and most of our knowledge about our God. It is always a good thing to read a Bible, especially with an open mind.

Thanks Wayne.

johnny's head new 

Johnny Brooks, In case you were wondering; I will distribute the rest of those Bibles to people in the community who have asked us for one.