Thursday, October 25, 2012

Everyday Life - Meet


Read Luke 24:13-35

As humans we are created to be in relationships. We need other people and others need us. It is a part of our DNA, to live in and be a part of community. There are times that we see the amazing blessings that come out of this gift of relationships, and there are times when we struggle with others. It is in both of these times, the good and the bad, that we are blessed to see the face of God shining through others. Yes, God meets us as we meet and interact with others.

In the lesson from Luke that I have referred to above, We hear the story of a couple of disciples of Jesus who have experienced the torture and death of Christ. Now they are on their way home and as they are walking another man joins them. We hear that this man is the risen Jesus, but the travelers do not know that.

So they walk and Jesus talks and explains everything that has happened to him to fulfill the scriptures. Then, when they get to town, they invite him in for a meal. And it is there, in the breaking of bread, that their eyes are opened to Jesus in the midst of them.

I think that it is like that for us sometimes. We meet up with others in our lives, spend time talking with them, getting to know them, crying with them, and celebrating with them. But often we miss the face of God in them because we are so focused on something else. Then, when our guard is down, boom, our eyes are opened and we see God right there in front of us. We then also realize that God was always there.

So for your reflection today, think about some of the people you have met in your life. Think about the roads you have traveled with them. Then ask yourself, where do you see God in this relationship?

Let us pray: God of all grace, open our eyes so that we may see you in the faces, hands, and hearts of those around us. Inspire us with your grace and empower us to live the lives of love you have called us to live. Amen

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Three Funerals and a Wedding

So this week has taken a bit of a turn for us. There has been a wedding scheduled for a number of months that Jennifer is doing, but in the past few days we have had a number of deaths, so we have three funerals as well. Joy and sorrow seem to go hand in hand during these times.

It is also this week, today actually, that our oldest daughter turns eight. Another moment of joy in life.

We all know the realities of life, we know that there will be times of sorrow and loss, and that makes the moments of joy that we have all the sweeter. That is why I want to have a weekly post on here where I look at some of the joys in my life and the lives of those around me. I have a feeling that many of these posts will be about things that are embarrassing to me, but hey, as long as I can bring you some joy.

Since it is Sierra's birthday, I was thinking back to a time not long after she was born and we were new parents suffering from a bit of sleep deprivation. We thought we had it all planned out where I would take the shift until 1 or 2 in the morning, Jennifer would go to be early, and they she would take the later shift while I would sleep.

On paper, it looked great, both of us would be able to get at least 6 hours of sleep a night, what an amazing thing.

But again, that was on paper. What babies do and what is written on paper does not match up often.

There were nights it would work and we would get our sleep. There were other nights we would both wake  up when she cried, and  there were nights we would lie in bed, gently nudging the other, saying - no really, it's your turn.

Then there was the night that Sierra started to cry and Jennifer got up to take care of her. I was half asleep, and as she got up I bolted upright in bed and asked what was going on.

I then grabbed my pillow and held it like I was rocking a baby and rocked back and forth. And I really thought I was getting her to go back to sleep.

Yup, sleep deprivation, that is the excuse I a sticking with.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Joy of Children

Yesterday we had Sierra's birthday party. She turns eight on Tuesday, so yesterday we had a gaggle of girls and a couple of boys join us at the ice skating rink for skating, pizza, and cake. There were some that had never skated before and a few who were great out there.

And there was Scarlett. Scarlett is our little daredevil. As I was helping a couple of girls get there skates on I look around and asked where Scarlett was. Jennifer responded by saying she was out on the ice, and sure enough she had taken off on her own and was three-quarters of the way around the rink holding onto the side. She just wanted to go, and so she did.

I love watching her enthusiasm, her drive to get out and try new things. This was her second time ever on skates and she was making the most of it.

After the pizza, cake, and gifts, we went back down and skated some more. Again, Scarlett took off, but this time she didn't stay on the wall. As you can see in the picture about, she wanted to be free.

The day ended with a movie at church that Sierra and I watched. She was worn out, so she curled up on the pew, leaned over and whispered, "I love you Dad." What an amazing way to end the day.

There are many times in life when things seem to be filled with struggles and trials, and then there are times like yesterday when kids do these little things - skate on their own, smile and laugh, cuddle up and say that they love you - that all of the trials blow away. It is these moments that hold onto me and remind me of the many blessings I have been given.

May you be blessed with some joy today.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Everyday Life - Everyday God

Throughout my own life and my ministry, I have noticed that we often look for God in the dramatic, in the mountain top experiences, and we miss God in the everyday, the normal, the routine. Over the next five Thursdays I want to spend some time on this blog looking the variety of ways that God comes to us, especially in the normal and mundane, and how God brings joy and new life to those who least expect it. We will be using the Acts of the Apostles as our guide over this time, beginning with the start of the Church – the day of Pentecost - in Acts. There are four main aspects of what it means to be Church, and these aspects will guide our time together – Meet, Care, Eat, and Share.

These four aspects are part of our daily life today. Everyday we have the opportunity to meet, care, eat, and share with others. They are everyday activities, yet they are also vehicles for how God goes to work in our lives and in the lives of those around us.

Starting next week, every Thursday I will be posting a passage from Acts for you to read, a reflection on the reading, some questions for you to think about, and a prayer for all of us to pray together. My hope is that through this time together God will open our eyes to the miraculous ways he is coming to us each and every day of our lives.

Gracious God, as we enter into this time of reflection and devotion, open our ears, our eyes, and our hearts to your gracious word. May we be strengthened by your grace and empowered by your Good News. We pray this in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I'm Back

So I have taken a couple of months away from this blog as a little breather. In my last one I shared the good news that the pill I am on was working and all of the spots I had were gone.

After that I needed some time to just breathe. The nine months leading up to that point were very stress filled and I needed to take a little distance from all of this and regain some focus.

So I took a couple of months off of here and focused on all of the fall activities that have now started, the new lectionary we are using in worship, and spending more down time with my family. It has been a nice little break, and now I am ready to start up again.

First, on the health note, all is going well. The pill I am taking has very minimal side effects and the doctors are encouraged as to how things are going. I go in monthly for bone hardening shots and I will be having another PET Scan on November 8th, getting the results on the 12th. I am very hopeful at this point. I also know that there are a number of new drugs in trial stages, if needed down the road.

Second, I have been looking at some ways to adjust my devotional life. For a number of years I have been doing the same thing, picking a few passages to read and reflect on daily. Now I am using some guided readings from the YouVersion Bible App. Currently I am spending 90 days reading through the history books of the Old Testament. The reason I bring this up is that it is my goal to have one blog a week focusing on a devotional practice or a devotion itself. I am aiming for this to be on Thursdays.

Third, I was reminded, again, just how important humor is through all of this. So I want one of the blogs I do every week will be something humorous, either in my life, in the lives of people around me, or something I find in the world. I hope to have this on Tuesdays.

And fourth, I will continue to do updates on me, physically, spiritually, an d emotionally, but I want this blog to expand beyond that. But if any of you have questions or want to chat with me, please let a note on the blog or e-mail me. I would love to make this more interactive and even spend some time answers questions, faith or otherwise, that you might have.  Conversation, as you know, is important to me.

So, I am back. The break was nice, and I am ready to jump back in with both feet.

God Bless.