Category Archives: Travel

When the Wall Came Down

Once, while in London, a sweet employee in a bookstore engaged me in conversation.  She asked me where I was from.  I told her “Oklahoma.”  She innocently replied, “Is that in Ohio?”   Caught off guard by her confusion, I sputtered briefly before explaining to her that indeed Ohio and Oklahoma were two different and independent states.  “Oh,” she said as she nodded in new understanding.  Later I got to thinking, it is true that our knowledge of US Geography is different, but there is something else that unites us: we are both children of the living God.

This year is the 65th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge, a defining battle in WWII, that cleared the way for victory for the Allied forces over Germany.  65 years later, my husband proudly serves along side many Germans.  We eat dinner frequently with our German friends.  Moreover, this year marks the 20-year anniversary of the Berlin wall coming down. The wall had been a rigorous and hostile barricade separating the East Germans from the West Germans.   There were actually families divided on either side of that wall.

But long before this, there was another wall that was destroyed almost 2000 years ago.  The words of Ephesians 2 are so timeless, powerful, and evident in humanity today. But for all of us, it is paramount to our faith that we understand what Christ did for us-Gentiles and sinners.  When He died on the cross, He once and for all, destroyed the “barrier” between the Israelite nation and us.  We should see ourselves in this scripture, and for sure we should see our fellow man.  We should understand that because of this, as God’s people, we are “being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.”

Who do you need to share this with this week? Is there a “dividing wall of hostility” between you and a loved one or a co-worker or a neighbor?  Remember what Christ did for you.

Ephesians 2:14-22
For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

Dead Giveaway: Yeap She’s American!

 “Dead Giveaways”

In Germany, you can often spot an American in an instant.  Here are a few “dead giveaways” that you are an American.   
1 You are standing at the check out counter waiting for someone to bag your groceries.
2 You are studying the chained grocery carts trying to find where to put your euro to release one of them.
3 You have your American dollars mixed in with your Euro dollars and your American coins mixed in with your Euro coins.
4 You don’t drive your bike. You ride it. And you don’t ride it everywhere. Mostly you take the car. 
5 You drive a Honda Odyssey Mini Van.
6 You drive a Honda Odyssey Mini Van with an OU Sooner sticker on the window. (My husband says I am an easy target.)
7    You leave a big tip.
8    You use your turn single to enter a roundabout, but fail to use them when exiting the roundabouts.
9   You have on average, 8 yellow bags of trash for pick-up on yellow bag day, and your German neighbors have only 2 or 3.  
10  You open your mouth and speak.

I didn’t even get into how we dress, drive, or shop. I love the humor in this. I have mostly enjoyed this clashing of cultures. It has taught me much and stretched me spiritually and mentally. But as I thought about this, I wondered am I a dead give away for a Christian?  What would that list look like?   Here are a few thoughts.  Servant, generous, thoughtful, shows interest in others, giving of your time, a picture of peace in chaos, friendly driver, not a gossip, mostly optimistic, Godly speech, a sense of Godly priorities, conviction and passion for God and His Word, repentant, humble, able to say “I’m sorry,”  trusting of God.  
Galations 5 outlines for us the “fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”  These are DEAD GIVEAWAYS for spotting a Christian. “Dead Giveaway Christians” are always pointing people to Christ whether they say it out loud or not. Their lifestyle and habits will preempt any words from their mouth. If this is true, then it only follows that our lifestyle and habits can also negate our words or affirm them. 

I was especially convicted in two areas during the series “The Vow,”  (  1 For true intimacy to happen between me and my husband, I must trust God to trust him (Paul) with secrets, hopes, fears, anger, joy, everything!  In the same way for us to have intimate friendships, we must trust God to enable us to trust others.  The second thing I was convicted of during this series, was “act like a Christian.”  These days, it is often the case that the word Christian conjures up so many negative thoughts, stereotypes, and preexisting secular images and ideas, and not all very appealing or complimentary.  But the truth is “Christian” is a very scriptural word first used at Antioch. (Acts 11:25-27) Personally, when I think of “Christian,” I think of “Christ like.”  Maybe it is time, we started showing the world the true definition of Christian. Are you and I a “dead giveaway?”