We pray that you have a great thanksgiving holiday.
The weather in Florida is different from Arizona, in that it is much moister here. But there are very many similarities between the two places also. It is relatively warm year round, the winter is the nice time to be outside, the seasons are not so obvious due to the lack of changing colors, etc. The biggest difference for us so far has been humidity and the storms. We get a lot more storms in Orlando than we did in Phoenix and a lot more rain in general.
When we told people we were moving here, the word ‘hurricane’ came into the discussion usually. Over the years Orlando has not been hit by a lot of hurricanes. We are 45 minutes from the east coast and a little further from the west coast of the state. But of course right before we moved here Orlando was hit by a number of hurricanes. So it was fresh on the minds of everyone.
This is probably a bit premature but I can say that this year’s hurricane season has been very mild for us to this point. One tropical storm came our way and when it went over our area, it brought less rain than we get with many normal summer showers. It did hit up north pretty hard, but really didn’t do anything in Orlando. We are pretty thankful for that. We’ve had our hands full, getting moved in and settled, making adjustments. It is nice we didn’t have any natural disasters on our plate too.
Ingrid and I have been reading Max Lucado’s book, Cure for the Common Life together. We are not quite half way through yet, so I’ll have to let you know how it turns out when we are done. But so far, it is pretty good.
The book is about finding your ‘sweet spot’ in life. The premise is not really anything new but some of the application and tools are. The idea is this, God created you with a purpose in mind and tailored you to be the most fulfilled when living out that purpose. That isn’t an earth shattering idea to me. But what Lucado brings to the table are suggestions on how to figure out enough about yourself to see what that purpose may be. The book contains a large section in the back with tools to do this as well. Lucado also gives examples to show how this can work out.
I think it is important to note, that Lucado presents the primary motivation for living in your sweet spot is because that is where you will bring glory to God. It is not a book about finding what makes you happy with no consideration outside yourself. It is about finding out how God made you so that you can bring honor to Him. Living this way will make us happy, I believe, but that happiness is comes from living for God, not the other way around. (I think that this is an important distinction) And I do believe that living for God may lead to doing things that are hard and my be extremely difficult. Lucado has pointed out early on tha greed will kill your sweet spot. This is not a book that says following God means having whatever you might want in quantity.
Two things really stand out to me at this point in the book. The first is that this book is for people who live in countries like America. I don’t think talking to people about finding their ‘sweet spot’ career would go over real well in a place like Darfur or North Korea. Their more concerned with getting enough food to stay alive or avoiding being killed by their own government. But in industrialized nations, I think it has some real value. That is not to say it is not true for everyone, but for the truly poor it would need to be framed in different terms.
The second thing is that this is the first Lucado book I’ve ever read. The guy is quite popular and I’m no literary critic, but I have to say, it is difficult to read at times. Maybe I notice this more because Ingrid and I take turns reading out loud, but quite frequently we have to read sentences 2 or 3 times before we figure out what they are trying to say. The sentence structure is often just really awkward. Maybe this is good though. It makes us pause and work out just what he is trying to say.
This is the first time I (Ingrid) have written on our ministry page regarding an update. JR usually does a wonderful job, but I thought I would help out and quit making him do all the work. Well, we have visited four different churches so far here in the Orlando area. Everyone has been nice and it is a difficult decsion to make. We are praying that God will guide us to the right church where our children can grow and we can serve Him. Three of the churches we visited were church plants and being new, people recognized us as newbies right away and welcomed us. We definitely felt welcomed. Today the pastor preached about deepening your relationship with Jesus. It was very good and convicting as since we have moved here I feel like I have focused inward instead of on the Lord. The pastor definitely has a heart to see people growing in their relationship with Jesus. He was very warm and friendly. It will be a difficlut decision to make but it is also interesting going to different churches and experiencing different types of worship. I have enjoyed going to different churchs for awhile and the kids seem to have adapted well each Sunday.
This is a time of year that we are (hopefully) reminded of what our lives are about. The point of everything, our purpose. Unfortunately in the commercialism that can get lost, but we pray that this is not the case with you. Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever. That is our created purpose.
But due to our own willful rebellion against God, mankind became slaves to sin. It was impossible for us to glorify or enjoy God. Our sin created an uncrossable gulf between us and God. Of course over the centuries, man created many ways to attempt to bridge the gap. Hard work, various philosophies, it still goes on today and it is all fruitless. We are incapable of correcting our sin problem in ourselves.
Thankfully God loved us so much that even though we rebelled against him, he still made a plan that would allow for our sin problem to be solved, though it would come at great sacrafice. Jesus Christ, very God, rather than insisting upon his rights as God, in the greatest act of humility ever, became a human being. This is Christmas. That Christ was obedient to the Father to the point of becoming a man.
Of course this is only the start of the story. It cannot be told without remembering that this obedience continued through his life and down the road that lead to the cross. Jesus Christ allowed himself to be crucified, and died on the cross, to pay the debt for our sins that we could not pay.
You may be receiving gifts this Christmas but of course the greatest gift any human can ever get is at once the most valuable and completely free. It is received by simply praying and acknowledging our own sinfulness, accepting Christs sacrifice upon our behalf, and asking Christ to come into our life and be our Lord.
Only when this has been done, can we begin to live out our chief end, our purpose in life.
It is our prayer that if you know Christ as your savior, that this would be a blessed Christmas. A time to reflect on your relationship with the most holy God. If you have never put Christ on the throne of your life, we pray that you would not hesitate to enter into the greatest relationship a human can know and embark upon the life you were designed to live. If you have more questions you can email me. Another place to learn more is the site Who is Jesus?
CAMPUS CRUSADE MOBILIZES TO HELP VICTIMS OF KATRINA
Campus Crusade for Christ, one of the worldâ€™s largest interdenominational Christian organizations, mobilizes to help Gulf Coast victims of Hurricane Katrina.
ORLANDO, FL, September 2, 2005 â€“ Campus Crusade for Christ International is mobilizing for the largest and longest relief and recovery effort in its history in response to the devastation and human suffering left in Hurricane Katrinaâ€™s wake.
â€œOur hearts go out to those who have lost family and friends, and whose lives have been devastated by this event,â€ says Mark Gauthier, National Director of the U.S. Campus Ministry of Campus Crusade. â€œThis is a time to be in prayer for those families, that God would comfort them and meet them in their hour of need. And, this is also a time that we as a ministry can demonstrate the compassion of Christ toward those who are hurting.â€
Several ministry divisions of Campus Crusade are working to coordinate immediate relief efforts while planning long-term recovery projects. Global Aid Network (GAiN) usually organizes international relief efforts. Now they are working on their home turf. GAiN is already shipping 10,000 personal care kits to the disaster zone. Similar to kits used in military deployments, each kit contains 3 bottles or water, 3 high-energy food bars, and special waterless wipes or so called bath-in-a-bag for 2 days of bathing.
The U.S. Campus Ministry of Campus Crusade is preparing to send hundreds and even thousands of college students to the disaster zones and evacuation centers to help provide the manpower for both immediate relief and longer recovery efforts.
One evacuation center already houses more than 900 refugees. Campus Crusade will provide mature students who can listen to refugees who have lost everything. â€œThey just need someone to put their arms around them and love them,â€ said one evacuation center worker. In a few days, more than 200 children housed in the camp will need people to play with them, teach them and give them hope.
â€œIn the face of so much suffering, Iâ€™m thrilled by the generous, co-operative spirit of so many who want to help,â€ says Jim Topmiller, National Director of Development for the U.S. Campus Ministry. â€œStudents are getting ready to go. Weâ€™re partnering with churches, denominations and Christian relief agencies. Corporate partners and thousands of individual donors are all asking, â€˜How can we help?â€™â€ Campus Crusade has set up a website where people can give at give2.cci.org/featured/hurricankatrina.
Founded in 1951, Campus Crusade for Christ International has 60 ministry divisions or projects working with all levels of society. As one of the largest interdenominational organizations in the world, Campus Crusade has 27,000 full-time staff serving in 190 countries. Campus Crusade for Christ is a charter member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability.
See Crusade’s Newsroom for more information.
After many years we are changing our isp. I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned our msn address here on our web site, and we will send out messages to those in our address book. But just in case they get missed and someone comes here: please use our peckfamily.us email addresses if you want to get in touch with us. email@example.com will no longer work
Both of those will work great and come to the same in-box, so use either. Of course you can always use firstname.lastname@example.org to send us your prayer requests.
This is the web site of J.R. and Ingrid Peck. It is where we have information about our family, our ministry and our interests. The site is brand new and we are working on getting things up and running. Please stop by once in a while to see what is going on.