Mission Over the Pacific


Prodigal:  I am having a great time!

Me:  Me too!

Prodigal:  Let’s share a story.


This is from the book The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller


One of the most dramatic examples of this principle can be found in Laura Hillenbrand’s bestselling biography of World War II hero Louis Zamperini.  On a mission over the Pacific in 1943, Zamperini’s plane crashed into the ocean, killing most on board.  After forty-seven days afloat in shark-infested waters, Louie and one other survivor were captured and endured two and a half years of imprisonment, which consisted of almost constant beatings, humiliation, and torture.

Returning after the war, he suffered from severe post traumatic stress disorder and became an alcoholic.  His wife, Cynthia, lost hope for their marriage.  Louie spent most of his time dreaming and planning about returning to Japan to murder “the Bird,” a Japanese sergeant who had repeatedly assaulted and tormented him in the camps.  One night he dreamt that the Bird was looming over him.  He reached out to defend himself.  A scream woke him up and there he was, straddling Cynthia’s chest, his hands locked around the throat of his pregnant wife.  Not long afterward, Cynthia announced to him that she was filing for divorce.  he was distressed, but even the threat of losing his wife and child could not stop his drinking or his self-destructive behavior.  He was too tormented by his past and his bitterness to change, even to save his family.

Then one day in the fall of 1949, Cyntha Zamperini was told by an acquaintance that there was a young evangelist, Billy Graham, preaching downtown at a special series of tent meetings.  She attended and “came home alight.”  She went immediately to Louie and told him she didn’t want a divorce, that she had experienced a spiritual awakening, and that she wanted him to accompany her to hear the preaching.  After days of resisting, he finally gave in.  That night, the young preacher’s sermon homed in on the concept of human sin.  Louie was indignant.  I am a good man, he said to himself.  But almost as soon as he had the thought, “he felt the lie in it.”  Several nights later he returned and “walked the aisle,” repented, and received Christ as Savior.

Zamperini was immediately delivered of his alcoholism.  But more crucially, he felt God’s love flood his life and realized that he was able to forgive all those who had imprisoned and tortured him.  The shame and sense of powerlessness that had stoked his hate and misery had vanished.  His relationship with Cynthia “was renewed and deepened.  They were blissful together.”  In October 1950, Louie was able to return to Japan and speak through an interpreter at the prison where many of his former camp guards were now imprisoned.  He spoke about the power of Christ’s grace to bring forgiveness, and to the prisoners’ shock, he embraced each of them with a loving smile.



Isaiah 55:4

Behold, I made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander for the peoples.


Jennifer Van Allen



Upside Down


Me:  Are you going to buy something Prodigal?

Prodigal:  I would but if it cost a dollar to go ’round the world, I couldn’t get out of sight.

Me:  I know these fair prices are outrageous.  I will treat you though.

Prodigal:  You are so kind to me.


This come from the book  The Secret of Happiness by Billy Graham


From childhood to maturity we are always prone to do what we should not do and to refrain from doing what we ought to do.  That is our nature.

That is why the disciples to the world were misfits.  To an upside-down man, a right-side-up man seems upside down.  To the nonbeliever, the true Christian is an oddity and an abnormality.  A Christian’s goodness is  a rebuke to his wickedness; his being right side up is a reflection upon the worlding’s inverted position.  So the conflict is a natural one. Persecution is inevitable.

When Christ’s disciples began preaching that Jesus was the Christ, the people cried in consternation, “These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also”(Acts 17:6).  Herein lies the fundamental reason for Christian persecution.  Christ’s righteousness is so revolutionary and so contradictory to a man’s manner of living that it invokes the enmity of the world.


Don’t stop telling people about Jesus.  I know they don’t understand but you never know who you are sowing the seed with.


Isaiah 55:8-9

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.



Jennifer Van Allen



Go Yet


Me:  Watcha doing?

Prodigal:  I am watching these street performers.  I wonder how hard this job is?  Do you think I could be a street performer?

Me:  You’d have an easier time chatchin’ wind in a fishin’ net  I believe.

Prodigal:  Well I guess I will just stick with the writing for now.

Me:  I think that is a good plan.


Today I wanted to share a prayer.  This is from Daily Guideposts and was written by Charlene Ann Baumbich

Dear Lord, spare Your children from wounding one another when they are already split open with grief from losing someone they love.  Keep us from too quickly spouting Bible verses as a form of comfort, rather than simply opening our arms to hold a friend while he or she cries.  “They are in heaven now”  feels of little consequence–even though it may be the truth–when the giant void of their empty favorite chair fills a room.

God, help us grieve simply with our friends.  Embrace them through us and allow us to be Your arms and strong presence.  Give us words to pray for them and courage to do it aloud, when Your spirit leads.  But spare us from handling our clichés and Scriptures when what is truly required is our genuine heart.


My heart is saddened with your grief and it is ok for you to be sad too.


Luke 6:19

And all the crowd sought to touch him, for power came from him and healed them all.


Jennifer Van Allen



Let’s Label


Me:  Did you enjoy the game Prodigal?

Prodigal:  It was just a little bit better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.

Me:  Well maybe next round will be better for you.

Prodigal:  I can only hope.

Me:  I was just reading about some other games that are not so fun.

This is from the book Simple Faith by Charles Swindoll


Some Christians play a lot of indoor games.  Among their favorites is one we might call “Lets Label.”  Here are some ground rules for starting.  Find someone who is different.  He or she may look different or sound different or think different.  It works real well if the person holds to different opinions and/or reacts in a different way than the “acceptable manner,”  which differs from your religious group.  This game is especially effective if someone has a mark on his or her past record that your group considers worth discussing, even if it is over and done with, fully forgiven, and none of your business (which is true over 95 percent of the time).


When we play this game then nobody wins.  Not you and not the other person.  Instead God wonders why is children are playing games and not just loving one another.


Micah 7:18

Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance?  He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love.


Jennifer Van Allen



All Nations


Me:  What a nice day to sit outside and enjoy each other’s company!

Prodigal:  I agree, why don’t you share a story.

Me:  That sound perfect to me!


This comes from the book The God Who Hung on the Cross by Dois Rosser Jr. and Ellen Vaughn


During Liberia’s civil war, Reverend Claudius Deah, found himself in a role he’d never imagined.  As the rapacious rebel soldiers sought out fugitives, they’d kill anyone they found on the streets.  Rev. Deah began hiding people in his home…and before he knew it, some 375 people were crammed into his four bedroom house, including a number of wounded, elderly, and small children.

The rebel troops were drawing closer and closer to his neighborhood, and Rev. Deah knew he had to lead these people in an escape across the border into Guinea.  One night, as gunfire erupted on streets near his home, he and his enormous flock slipped out his back door, one by one, into the darkness, away from the town and into the jungle.

As this modern-day Moses led his people through village after village in the journey to the border, more and more fleeing people joined their exodus.  As the huge group approached the border, they ran into armed rebels.  The soldiers were perhaps sympathetic; they didn’t kill them on the spot, but told Rev. Deah that he and everyone in his group would be killed for sure if they continued their journey.

Rev. Deah would not be stopped.  “The battle is the Lord’s, he told the soldiers.  “He has gone before us.  We must press on.”

At this, to his astonishment, the weary soldiers laid down their rifles.  They had enough of killing.  “We will come with you,”  they said.

And by the time Rev. Deah reached Guinea, his group of refugees had grown to about 17,000 people.  Together, safely, they crossed the border, leaving Liberia behind.


Matthew 28:19-20

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:  and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.  Amen


Jennifer Van Allen



Right Hand of Power


Me:  Are you stuck Prodigal?

Prodigal:  Yep, I was trying to be careful but I got stuck anyway!

Me:  Let me give you a hand and I also will share.


This is from the book Joy in Christ’s Presence by Charles Spurgeon


In the remembrance of all these redemptions the Lord seems to say to us, “What I have done before, I will do again.  I have redeemed you, and I will still redeem you.  I have brought you from under the hand of the oppressor;  I have delivered you from the tongue of the slanderer;  I have borne you up under the load of poverty and sustained you under the pains of sickness;  and I am able still to do the same.  Why, then, do you fear?  Why should you be afraid, since already I have again and again redeemed you?  Take heart, and be confident, for even to old age and to death itself I will continue to be your strong Redeemer.”


It can be difficult to remember the Lord as a redeemer.  Most of the people are focusing on what tickles their ears and not on God’s truth.  Even so, remember that it is better to be hot or cold then luke warm.


1 Timothy 6:12

Fight the good fight of the faith.  Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.


Jennifer Van Allen



Confession of Faith

Me:  Howdy Prodigal!

Prodigal:  I am happy with this day.

Me:  Good, let me share a prayer.


This is from the book Great Women of the Christian Faith by Edith Deen

This was written by Mme Chiang

I used to pray that God would do this or that.  Now I pray that God will make His will known to me…When one prays he goes to a source of strength greater than his own.  I wait to feel His leading, and His guidance and balance…I am quite often bewildered because my mind is only finite.  I question and doubt my own judgements.  Then I seek guidance, and when I am sure,  I go ahead, leaving the results with Him.

I do not think it is possible to make this understandable to one who has not tried it.  What I do want to make clear is that whether we get guidance or not, it’s there. It’s like tuning in on the radio.  There’s music in the air, whether we tune in or not.  By learning to tune in, one can understand.  How is it done?  By practicing the presence of God–by daily communion with Him.


Matthew 10:40

He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.


Jennifer Van Allen




Daily Littles


Me:  What are you and Mr. Bill doing?

Prodigal:  We are just wrestling it out, to see who is stronger.

Me:  Well, it looks like you won!  I am happy for you.



This is from the book You Can Change by Tim Chester


The battle for holiness is made up of what Horatius Bonar calls “daily littles.”  It’s not given to many of us to make life-and-death choices for our Savior.  Not many will be called on to recant or be martyred.  For us the battle is made up of thousands of little moments–choices between self and service.  We fall, not when we face death, but when we face a traffic jam.  It’s too easy to imagine ourselves as strong Christians who would stand firm in the face of persecution, while every day we let sinful desires control us.  We imagine ourselves winning the great battles when all the time we’re losing the “daily littles.”  But the “daily littles” are the stuff of the battle.  Bonar says, “The Christian life is a great thing, one of the greatest things on earth.  Made up of daily littles, it is yet in itself not a little thing, but in so far as it is truly lived….is noble throughout–a part of that great whole, in which and by which is to be made known to the principalities and powers in heavenly places the manifold wisdom of God (Ephesians 3:10).


I noticed your battle with “daily littles”. I am proud of you and respect you so much for the wins.


Matthew 6:6

But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret.  And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.



Jennifer Van Allen







Prodigal:  I am having a great time!

Me:  I can tell you are getting a lot of attention.  Let me encourage parents out there today.


This is from the book Parenting From Surviving to Thriving by Charles Swindoll


If you haven’t heard this in a while, let me thank you on their behalf.

Thank you for the many sacrifices you make.  Thank you for doing what is right even when things don’t work out well.  Thank you for saying what may be difficult for your children to accept and for being the truth teller when you’d rather be a pal.  Thank you for loving them when you feel so unloved.  Thank you for fulfilling your role with such devotion and faithfulness, even when you’ve run out of hope, energy, and ideas.  Thank you for the great service you do for all of us in the body, not just your children.




Matthew 5: 3

Blessed are the poor in spirit , for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.


Jennifer Van Allen