Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Do You Love?

The question is as relevant now as it was when this song was first written.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Weekend Wanderings

It's cold and flu season here in the sunny South, and this year I got bit. I've spent one week laid up and one week trying to recover. It seems that colds tend to hang on to me for a while. Oh well. Life goes on. It seems the NFL has a bit of a scandal brewing over the amount of air in certain footballs. If you're a fan, it will be interesting to see how that shakes out. So much for small talk. On the important stuff.

Here are the links.

I think many of us grew up with free range parents.
I didn't know this was a thing. Apparently, Steven Anderson did.
Good article on addiction.
I didn't know this was an issue.
Evidently, this is not a thing.

The greatest false idol of modern Christianity.
Are you one of the twenty six percent?
Climbing a volcano.
The worst thing ever?

Hannah Brencher on staying.
Good post for churches.
Risky love.
Good article by Daniel Emery Price.
What about the past?

Undeserved grace.
Two steps forward, one step back.
Open your door.
Pressure and weight.

That's it for now. Have a blessed week!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

World Vision Wednesday

If you are a runner, cyclist, swimmer, or otherwise interested in fitness, you can help people in developing countries have clean water. Check out Team World Vision for details.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Weekend Wanderings

Things have been a little crazy around here the last couple of weekends. Time to take a breather and share some of the good stuff out there in the blogosphere.

Keith Giles tells us to get busy living.
Most church fights don't go this far.
Tim Suttle on peace.
It seems these are cool again.
I'm not so sure about this.

Chaplain Mike's New Year's resolutions.
Midnight musings.
The story isn't over.

Rebekah Bell on nostalgia.
Lillian Daniel on Christmas pageants.
The unfinished church.
Kierkegaard quotes.
Erik Guzman on New Year's resolutions.

What matters.

That's all for this time. I hope you have a wonderful and blessed 2015!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Goodbye 2014, Hello 2015

If there is one word that best sums up the past year here in the sunny South, it would be the word interesting. There have been a lot of changes and adjustments through the year, especially in the second half. I started 2014 by choosing grace as my word for the year, and there have been multiple moments when I have had to lean on God's grace.

The first five months of the year were relatively normal. Then, things got weird. June 5 was my last day at the middle school where I have been working the past eight and a half years. I didn't actually go in to work that day though, because my father-in-law fell and broke his hip that morning. That was the beginning of the adjustments. I was without work and my father-in-law was taking a different road in his journey. As it has turned out, being out of work has allowed me the time to help him out and to take care of his financial affairs as well as helping him with doctor visits and life in an assisted living facility.

We made it through the summer, and in the middle of September we flew out to California for our daughter, Jennie's, wedding. We had a wonderful time with her and with our new in-laws. I also had the honor of being the officiant at the wedding! That was an amazing thing, and I only choked up three times! We came back home, and within a few weeks our son told us that he and his wife were moving from Charlotte to Seattle so he could work with his cousin who has his own architectural design business. The idea of both of our children being on the opposite side of the country has taken some getting used to, but we know that it's a great opportunity and we are happy for them.

We were able to get together with both of our children at the beginning of December, when we celebrated Christmas and a couple of birthdays. On the 19th, Josh and Alicia set out with all their worldly possessions in a Honda Fit. They drove across the country and arrived in Seattle two days before Christmas. Jan and I celebrated Christmas with her father, and then with some close friends. So Christmas was a bit different, but it was good.

Last night we said goodbye to one year and hello to another. While there are things I could wish had happened differently, I am grateful for God's hand in everything. As we enter into this new year, I still don't have a job, and I'm not totally sure how to proceed. The path is shrouded in fog, and we really don't have a clue what will happen in the future. What we do know is that our Father loves us, and that his heart is good toward us. He knows what is to come, and how we are going to best represent his kingdom.

My word for this year is trust. My prayer is, "Lord, I believe! Help my unbelief!"

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

World Vision Wednesday

This is the season when we celebrate the coming to earth of the One who gave up the riches of heaven for us. Many of his people in Iraq have been driven from their homes and face a winter without many of the necessities for survival. If you are able to help, go here to find out what to do.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Lessons Learned in a Lifetime

Yesterday marked the end of my 59th journey around the sun. It was a good day, capping off with a pizza dinner with Jan, my sister, who shares the same birthday, and her family. I spent some time thinking about some of the things I've learned over the past almost six decades. These are not in any particular order, and I will probably think of others later, but here they are.

1. There is a God, and it's not you. One of the hardest lessons I've had to learn over the years is that there is a whole lot that I can not control. Thankfully, I trust that my Father in heaven loves me and is in control, even when I can't understand what is happening.

2. Love those around you, especially your family. They will be gone far too quickly.

3. Enjoy your children while they are growing up. Spend time with them and treasure each moment. The time will quickly come when they will be grown and not around as much. You will  miss them.

4. Enjoy your grown children as fellow adults and friends. They may ask you for advice, they may not. Let them be who they are, and enjoy them.

5. Never, ever sit on a glass fishbowl. Trust me. You don't want to do this. It's not fun.

6. Hold most things loosely. Money, possessions, friends, ideas. As life changes, and changes you, so many things you think are important turn out to not be. Don't make it worse by grasping too tightly.

7. Be teachable. Too many folks go through their lives never exploring, never learning new things. Don't stop learning.

8. You are not always right. I am convinced that when we stand before God and wait for him to tell us how right some of our pet dogmas were, that he'll shake his head, chuckle, and tell us that we all had it wrong.

9. Love. Love your family. Love your friends, Love your neighbors. Love your enemies.

10. Love even when they don't accept your love. Loving is your calling. What they do is between them and God, and is not your responsibility. Love them anyway. Love as Jesus loved you. In case you forget, he gave his life for you.

11. Forgive and seek reconciliation. When Jesus told us to forgive and seek reconciliation over and over again, he probably meant that it was something important to do.

12. Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church. In other words, give yourself up for her. Period.

13. Don't be a lone ranger. We can't go it alone. It is scary, living in community with other folks. It will get messy. It is also the way to love and be loved, and to disciple one another as we learn to follow Jesus together. I'm not advocating a "be in church every time the doors are open" mentality, but rather doing life together with fellow followers of Jesus, sharing each others' lives, stories, joys, and sorrows.

14. Enjoy the world around you. Creation is not an evil place that we hope to escape some day. It is something that God said was good, and that will be restored one day. The people around you are not your enemies. They are folks in need of the gospel, just like we all are.

15. God's grace is truly amazing. God's grace is far wider and deeper than any of us can hope to imagine. I don't know how all that shakes out theologically (see lesson 8, above), but I do know that we can trust a loving God and his grace.

16. Live free. If you belong to Jesus, God has freed you from sin and guilt, and you can live as a free son rather than a slave. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. As a wise man once said, "Love God, and do as you please."

Some of these lessons have been harder to learn than others, but they have all been valuable. What has God taught you over your life?