Daddy, I’m a villain, not for pretend but for real, and I wanna rip Disney World!Cai

At 3½ years, our elder son is not one for subtleties. “Colorful” and “Rejoicer” were two of the meanings that drew us to his name: Cai; While it fits him well, let’s just say, for this little man of superlatives, feelings are a double-edged sword. His waters run deep with a direct line to his words, a trait many claim he gets from his mama.

Meanwhile, over here in my 12th trimester – (pregnancy is a cumulative experience, right, depending how many other humans you already have in tow?) – I am too weary to feel much of anything, unless you count heartburn. I’ve been prodding the Lord often for his thoughts on my lack of missionary (read: any) zeal these days. You’d think if anything could provide a jumpstart,  Jayson’s trip across the world to see God do crazy things through Jesus Film tools would do it. Hmmm...

Nepal from the Plane

In Nepal, the idols that usurp the place of God are pretty straightforward. “Sure, I worship gods. There’s one over there. I made him from a bag of concrete.” Here in the states, it’s rare to meet someone so cognizant of their “functional saviors.” We westerners like to think of ourselves as free agents, independent and entitled choose our own adventure, follow our hearts and solve our own problems.

Just watch anything on Netflix ever. Culturally, we’re conditioned to trust ourselves: If the storyline is science-y, truth and trust are built around what we objectively sense or measure. If it’s a drama, the hero’s authority is what she feels in her gut. I caught it in several kids’ shows just this week. “Your blatant disregard for legitimate loving authority is fine – they are all laughably outdated and oppressively dysfunctional, and you know better.” Literally, “It’s ok that you didn’t follow instructions, Tommy, you followed your heart!” But that’s what I get for letting my kids watch television while I “do chores” horizontally on my couch, right? 

Last year, our favorite pop radio station became all Latin music, so in an effort to curb empanada cravings, we’ve defaulted to the local Christian station. Granted, this is “safer for little ears” most of the time, but I still wonder if this Me-and-My-Experience-and-Feelings idolatry isn’t eating our lunch within the church as well. I still have a soft spot for Toby Mac, but see if you can spot the Netflix theology in his song Feel It:

Well, you can’t see the wind, but it moves the leaves From the bottom to the top of the tallest trees You are everything I will ever need. Oh, I feel it in my heart I feel it in my soul That’s how I know...Toby Mac "Feel It"

Good thoughts, but how does he know that the Lord is real and trustworthy? External things he has observed with his own senses, and some internal feels? That sounds more like the movies of our childhood than it does the New Testament.  Is relying on our senses and feelings any better than worshiping concrete? After all, atheists and evangelicals agree, we are essentially complicated dust. 

Cai’s feelings passed enough to have a wonderful time at the Magic Kingdom that day, but now I might want to rip Disney World! 

Incidentally, Cai’s full name is “Micaiah,” meaning “who is like the Lord?” – an obvious rhetorical question that I come back to amid waves of feeling (or lack thereof), and pray my son does as well.

The year has come and nearly gone, as has the Cru17 staff conference, Jayson’s trip to Nepal, and almost 50 weeks of unglamorous investment in our church, neighborhood, and household. We praise God for the work he’s called us to, not because we always feel an intense excitement in doing it, or because we can conjure emotional experiences by showing people films and flashy tools. While the Jesus Film Project does still seem to be giving great lift to people meeting Jesus and churches being planted globally, we praise God because His scripture tells us His character is trustworthy, and His plan to build His kingdom through Christ is worth our obedience. 

As Jayson continues in his role with the Jesus Film’s Digital Team, we would love to keep being able to focus on that work full-time. We’re asking the Lord to provide a total of $9000 to cover the years’ shortfalls and upcoming birth expenses and put us in a much better spot going into 2018. Will you prayerfully consider a special gift? In any case, your partnership in prayer and encouragement mean the world to our family at the end of this year.

Regardless, and we love hearing from you (even when we’re slow to respond)! Email us some updates about your life, so we know how to pray for you in 2018

Onward and upward!

Fia (6)
Cai (3)
Xan (1)
Girlie, due 1/27/18