Saturday, August 25, 2007

i may not be a church-planter's wife but ...

I found this audio clip very helpful as a wife and a helper as a reminder to ask Mike what he needs.

our first weekend apart

It's 5 a.m. and I wake up snarking and coughing. Mike pulls me close.

"Do you really think you ought to go to the conference?"

I didn't even waste time trying to be strong to the point of rationalizing my going on an early morning 3 1/2 hour drive up to the north of the island and two days of reelingly fascinating talks and meetings while sniffing, sneezing, coughing, and blowing my nose. What would everybody think of Mike, "Hmph. What kind of husband is he?! Making his wife come up here when she's obviously too sick!"

"No. Will you be ok without me?"

"No. But I guess I'll have to be."

The day before Mike took care of me most of the day, making sure I was well hydrated, slicing apples spreading them with peanut butter, and keeping me company in the evening when he could have gone out with friends.

I think the past two days, however, I've watched too much television.

Why is it on cartoons and sitcoms that when there are two partners (one a man and one a woman) that the man is always an idiot. The woman never trusts him and always has to work behind the scenes so that everything turns out okay despite her partner's blunders?

So, today I'm catching up on some reading.

Have you read this marvelous book?

Speaking of ... I just made a wishlist.

I think you can tell a lot about a person by their books (or the books they want). When I was first getting to know Mike, he sent me a photo of his room. I zoomed in on his bookshelf and was quite pleased with what I found there. "Hmm, yes. I think we're compatible."

And why was I not surprised to find that my friend Laura was listed on LibraryThing as having a similar library to my own. (Those books listed are only the books I have with me right now ... I'll have heaps more when my shipment from the US arrives.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

it's wednesday and i'm glad i'm not medieval

A flowchart instructing medieval couples when it is not appropriate to have sexual intercourse:

Click on image to view.

h/t Angie


Because I have not yet received my shipment from the States (which includes my cookbooks), I've been enjoying Bron's cooking magazines that she left behind for me.

What are the best online recipe sites?

I'm specifically wondering if there is one out there about seasonal recipes in Australia.

Monday, August 20, 2007

unconditional commitment

A few days ago a friend asked me my opinion on a matter.

"What are your thoughts on unconditional commitment?"

I had never heard of the term. Sure, many of us are aware of the idea of unconditional election but what was unconditional commitment?

In order to gain time to form an opinion I asked him, "Um, in what context?" Pulling random scenarios out of the air, I added, "In a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship? engaged? married? God/man?"

"Um, I dunno ... in general, I guess."

ha ha ha. Well, no help there. I sat there for a bit, gathered my thoughts together, took a deep breath, and before I could start my friend chimed in:

"For instance, it is difficult for humans to engage in commitment to one another because unlike God we change. God, however, is unchanging and constant."

I replied:

"Indeed. And what a wonderful picture we have of God's unconditional commitment to his chosen people ... whether it was to the people of Israel despite their fickle disregard for their God or to New Testament believers like us who frequently regard self more highly than God. In the Old Testament, Hosea was called on to be a visual representation of God's commitment to his covenant despite his wife's unfaithfulness. In the New Testament, Paul makes the comparison between Christ/husbands and the church/wives.

"Before my father would consent to marry Mike and I, he asked us both to seriously consider: Is there anything that the other could do that would make me want to dissolve my marriage commitment? If either of us answered 'yes', the wedding would be called off.

"What if Mike should decide at some point that he didn't love me anymore? Would that annul me of any responsibility I had toward him? (Many secular vows today replace 'till death do us part' with 'till our love dissolves'. ) What if he somehow changed drastically ... even to the point of forsaking God?

"What we need to remember is that before we were united to Christ, we were enemies of God: in the position of the harlot before Hosea took her to be his wife.

Romans 5:6-8
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

1 John 4:10-11
In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

"God in his great love redeemed us when we were his enemies, calls us his own, and has given the world a picture of his great love through marriage. Christ gave himself up for us, sanctifies us, cleanses us through his Word, so that he might present us to God on the last day as pure. When a husband follows the command to be as Christ to the wife he has chosen for himself, his aim is his wife's godliness.

"Marriage is a three-way commitment between a man, a woman, and God. One is always faithful and shows unconditional commitment ... even when the man and woman do not. Our commitment to each other ought to be out of reverence for Christ and for the sake of the gospel and for the other's growth in godliness. When times are hard and your spouse seems unlovable or even unwilling to receive your love, for the sake of the GOSPEL love your spouse even as God loves you!"

Let us out of reverence for Christ always be quick to forgive and grow in godliness as we learn to commit to each other.

Friday, August 17, 2007

please join us through your support/prayer

Please pray as we sort out how to best honor God through our situation. Pray that God would direct us to share our need with the right people. Pray that we will not be too proud to ask people to join in our ministry through their finances and prayer. Pray that we will be content in our current state and not covet.

Donations can be made online here. Select "Mike Jolly" from the pull down menu on the AFES donation page. AFES manages the donations by receiving the funds and then redirecting it into our account.

Below is our most recent supporters' update:

Dear friends

It's not often that I feel the need to beg. Work this year has been a tremendously humbling experience, having to ask people for money in order to live and get by. So many people have been amazingly generous to me in providing the majority of my salary. But as the year hurtles towards its end I'm again asking for support. I'm approximately $5000 short of my target for the year.

As many of you may know I got married over the mid-semester break in Germany to the lovely Christine. I enjoyed the break from work and being able to get away from the worries and pressures of ministry. We arrived back from our honeymoon just in time for FOCUS' annual Mid Year Conference. This was an amazing time of spiritual renewal for both the students and us.

With married life now thrown into the mix I've realized just how little the MTS wage is. Christine and I look set to have real financial troubles over the next year and half, even with my full wage. Please keep Christine and I in your prayers as we work through this most difficult part of marriage. She is currently not able to work until her visa is approved (a massive process).

The semester began with a bang as we ran the worldview survey in week 3. The first couple of weeks were spent recovering from MYC and preparing the students for the survey. The worldview survey is, in my view, one of the best evangelistic tools out there. Students answer multiple choice questions before being analysed by a computer which tells them their worldview. This then leads to evangelistic conversations as the Christian explains the ins and outs of various worldviews. I spent 3 hours talking non-stop in just one day and had some awesome conversations. I don't say this to boast but to demonstrate just how effective a tool it really is.

I've also been excited by the prospect of running an evangelistic small group up at Jane Franklin Hall. This has flowed out of a small group that I started there in the middle of last semester (with help from others). It's been encouraging to see students in this group growing and being challenged in their faith.

I'll be preaching on Titus later in the semester. Please keep me in your prayers as it will be a struggle to get these talks completed in time. On top of all this Christine and I have recently moved to a new flat and continue to settle into sharing a home for the first time.

Although there are challenges ahead for the year we have every confidence in God and his ability to provide for us. Please feel free to check out my blog for updates on my progress (the link is below). You can also now donate to me online via my blog. May God Bless you especially through his son Jesus.

Mike and Christine Jolly

Monday, August 13, 2007

the quirky side of germany (my homeland)

The following articles are from the online site of the German magazine, Spiegel. From my own experience I was appalled/amused when a German woman explained to me that Lower Saxony locals took offense to being smiled at when walking by (as if you were laughing at them). !?! And apparently sitting in the dark with no lights on is considered "gemuetlich" (comfortable/cozy).

German Men: Hunky, Handsome, Wimpy and Weak
At first glance, the blond six-foot hunks populating Germany make the place seem like a heaven for women. Until you start dating. German men are much more difficult than you might think.

Scoring a German: Flirting with Fräuleins, Hunting for Herren
Interested in bagging a German? It's not quite as easy as you might hope. Flirting here is different and much more subtle. And it's taken very seriously.

The Dark Side: Optimists Are Idiots
Nobody can beat the Germans when it comes to pessimism. And forget about being happy -- here it's merely a sign of stupidity.

Draftophobia: Blown Away by the Fear of Air
A lot of Germans don't like drafts. Some even seem to have an irrational fear of moving air, believing it can cause pneumonia, flu, colds, clogged arteries and just about every malady imaginable.

You Have What?: Mysterious Illness in Germany
Germans get sick like everybody else. But some of the diseases they come down with are often only to be found in Germany. Combined with an aversion to medication, it's no wonder the German population is dropping.