Saturday, July 30, 2011

Weekend Wanderings

Last week Jan and I were in Los Angeles visiting our daughter, Jennie. We went to a party on a roof overlooking Hollywood, hiked in a canyon, saw some blue whales and dolphins, went to a Mexican market in downtown LA, and attended a street festival. I even learned to drive in LA traffic. We had a wonderful time, and it was hard to leave. But, leave we did, coming back to the 95-100 degree temperatures here in the sunny South.

Here are the best of the links I've seen this week:

Non violence (HT: Arthur Sido).
Alan Knox has a poem.

This was the Grand Prize Winner in the Philips sponsored constrained cinema competition "Tell It Your Way". The entrants were restricted to six lines of dialogue, "What is that?," "It's a unicorn," "Never seen on up close before," "Beautiful," "Get away, get away," "I'm sorry." (HT: Josh)

We're not the only ones who have a hard time believing God answers prayer.
Thoughts on women in society from Emily Timbol.

Wayward Son on fitting the need.
Good post from Alan Knox.

Chaplain Mike's view of Scripture.

I hope you have a restful weekend.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Source of Life

Jan and I spent a week in the Los Angeles area, visiting our daughter Jennie. One day, we went hiking in Eaton Canyon, just outside Pasadena. We hiked on a trail that ran for a mile and a half to some falls at one end of the canyon. It was our first time in one of the many canyons that dot the Los Angeles area. We were struck by the stark beauty of the canyon.

Another thing I noticed was the creek that ran through the bottom of the canyon near the beginning of the hike. The creek started at the falls and was a decent size. By the time it reached the bottom of the canyon it was not much more than a trickle. When I first saw it I thought of the verse in Isaiah 35 where the prophet speaks of streams in the desert.

As we went along the trail I noticed that there were green trees growing along the creek bed. These trees were a far cry from the dry vegetation in the rest of the canyon.
As I looked at the trees and noticed that the green continued only for about 40 feet or so on either side of the creek, I thought of the description of Jesus as the Water of Life. As the trees were green and thriving along the banks of the creek, so we thrive by staying in close contact with Jesus. If we let ourselves get caught up in all the stuff of our lives and let that close relationship fade, we tend to dry out and wither, just as the plants further from the creek dried out.

There may be times when it seems as if we are dry, and there is no Water to quench our thirst. Just as in the dry canyon bottom, there is water. The Source of our life is there. We may need a period where we must sink our roots deeper, or we may need to adapt and live with what seems like a small amount of water for a while. Regardless, the only way we can be satisfied and have the living water flowing out of us is by staying as close to the Source as we can.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Weekend Wanderings

After a couple days of near record temps. (heat index over 100), it's cooled down quite a bit here in the sunny South. We've had a good amount of rain here, and my fire pit became a water feature for a couple of days. Fortunately, it's too warm to use it anyway. We've had some good news here in the Shope household the last two weeks. Josh has landed a job at an architectural firm. It is the kind of work that he has been hoping for as well. Jennie started working at a company that does documentary films. She's one week through a two week trial, and I'm positive she'll show the folks there that they should have hired her long ago.

Anyway, on to the links:

Arthur Sido reviews A Meal With Jesus.
Alan Knox asks a good question.

Andrew Jones on a hot topic.
Ronnie McBrayer says to go to Jesus.
Jared Wilson on love.

Matthew Paul Turner on what he believes and what he knows.
Scot McKnight has a series on the Church. Part 1.

Where are we putting our greatest effort and energy?
What a godly man looks like (HT: Scot McKnight).
Donald Miller says that all great spirituality is subversive.

Jan and I are flying out to California to spend a week with Jennie. Weekend Wanderings will also take the week off. Enjoy your Sunday, and the rest of your week.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sad Cafe

This is a repost from last year.

A few years ago the Eagles sang a song titled "The Sad Cafe". Here are some of the lyrics:

It seemed like a holy place,

protected by amazing grace.

We would sing right out loud

the things we could not say.

We thought we could change the world,

with words like love and freedom.

Part of the lonely crowd inside the Sad Cafe.

I think this is a good picture of what the church should be. A holy place, protected by God's amazing grace. A place where people are free to share their needs and struggles without fear of condemnation. A place where the people go out to change the world with the love of Christ and the freedom that is found in Him. A place where the lonely can come and find community.What would this world be if the church was really the place it should be?

Monday, July 4, 2011

It's Time Once Again... celebrate. It's time to remember an event from the past. No, I'm not talking about the thing that happened 235 years ago. This event is in the more recent past. Thirty one years ago, as a matter of fact.

Yes, that's right. It's time once again to celebrate the day that Jan and I said, "I do." Tomorrow, July 5 is our thirty-first anniversary. It's hard to believe it's been that long, but on the other hand, it seems as if we have been married forever. I have a hard time imagining what it was like to be single. In fact, I can't imagine life without Jan.

Over the years we have grown as individuals, and as a couple. God has brought us through so many different experiences, some that were joyous and some that tried our faith. We've raised two children and experienced much that goes along with that. We've seen three of our four parents age and pass from this earth. We've had tough financial times when we wondered where the money was going to come from, and we've had times when we could pass on some extra to those in need. We've lived in the Washington, D.C. area, Cincinnati, and Rock Hill, SC. We've worked in the same schools, and we've spent time in different jobs. Through it all, we have seen the Father take care of us and provide for us in ways we never could have imagined.

Our faith journey has taken its share of twists and turns. We've spent time in different types of churches, and are currently part of a fellowship that meets in a house. Our understanding of and relationship with God has changed and grown over our life together. As our relationship with God has deepened, our love for each other has deepened as well. I am learning more and more how to love Jan as Jesus loved the church, although I still have a long way to go. Again, the faithfulness of Abba has been an amazing thing.

The last thirty one years have been a wonderful part of my journey. I'm extremely thankful to God for the precious gift he gave me in Jan. I'm looking forward to what the next thirty one + years will bring.

Jan, I love you so much more than yesterday, and so much less than tomorrow.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Weekend Wanderings

Another week has come and gone here in the sunny South. It's getting warmer as we enter the July 4 weekend. I always enjoy this time of year, with picnics, festivals, and fireworks. The main reason this is an enjoyable time is the annual celebration of my marriage to Jan. This Tuesday marks thirty one years of marriage (I know, neither of us look old enough to be married for thirty one years). It's true. The amazing thing is the fact that she has put up with me this long.

Here is the good stuff:

Check this out. Josh's girlfriend is performing at the Vans Warped Tour in Charlotte.
Are you a voyeur?

It's hip to be a babushka (HT: Scot McKnight).
A mother's helper (HT: Alan Knox).

Arthur Sido is just wondering.
Alan Knox started a chain blog on divisiveness in the church. The initial post is here.

Enjoy your 4th!

Moving On

It's been a while since I've written here. Life has been happening the past few months. I have decided to start fresh, so I'm mo...