one of the things we did in costa rica was watch birds. the place where we stayed was called villa de las aves, which means that we were staying in villas of the birds. and it is appropriately named. there are so many birds there, in so many varities and so many colors. thankfully i was able to borrow a pair of binoculars before we left and they helped tremendously in seeing some of them closely, but here are just some of the pics of birds we saw. we also saw many toucans, but i am saving those pics for another day.
in our church, we are continuing with a series called "letters from Jesus," in which we are looking at the seven letters in the beginning of revelation addressed to seven churches in asia. we are imagining what it would be like if we were to receive a hand-written letter from Jesus to our church. what would it say? how would we be encouraged? how would we be challenged? we've looked at three of the letters now. this week we looked at the letter to the church in pergamum. the letter to them includes some harsh criticism of some of their behavior, but it also says that Christ understands how difficult their situation is. and in case they feel like they are stuck in their sinfulness, Jesus says something amazing to them: i will give you a new name. the world gives us so many names, doesn't it? our parents, of course, give us our birth names. but the naming doesn't stop there. it continues right on through elementary school, high school, and into t