Thursday, June 27, 2013

Sabbatical starts with a sick child, leaking roof, and water in the basement

This week we start a six-week sabbatical, and it kicked off with a bang. On the first day we were awakened at 3:00 am with a sick Scarlett. After getting her settled we went in the basement and found water due to the massive rains we have been getting. Then, after dropping Sierra off at summer school, I was led into the bedroom to see water marks on the ceiling. A tree limb fell and punched a fist sized hole through the roof.

Today, all things are a little better. Scarlett is her normal busy self, the water in the basement is gone, and the hole has been repaired.

So today, hopefully, the sabbatical really begins.

The sabbatical is a time for us to take a break from the busyness of the church life, refresh and renew our souls a little, do some studying, and do some traveling with the family.

Our first trip is to eastern Montana. We will be heading out to my first call, in Savage, MT, where they will be celebrating their 100th Anniversary. I am excited to go back to this church that helped to form me as a pastor and see the people. On our way we will be visiting some old friends, go to a rodeo (which the girls are almost as excited about as I am), and spend some time in the badlands (which I think is some of the most beautiful country around).

I have a couple of books I plan on reading during this time, and I am looking forward to being able to travel and not worry about getting back in time for some work event.

I will be updating our sabbatical journey over the next few weeks. Off we go...

Friday, June 7, 2013


One of the things I have tried to do over the years is slow down and look for those "God Moments" that pop up every once in a while. These are the times when you see God at work in wonderful ways - sometimes they are big moments, other times they are small little things. But they are always moments when God shows up and does something that is either unexpected or very much needed in our lives.

These God moments are a continual reminder that God has a deep interest in our lives. It is not like God is out there, just sitting in heaven, watching everything take place with amusement on his face, but rather he is active and present in our lives. God cares about us. He has a deep, loving, parental desire to be involved in what we do, and he wants to be involved with us. God moments are those times when we see the face of God appear - sometimes through others, sometimes just out of the blue.

But sometimes we miss these moments. I have written about this before - sometimes we are so busy with everything going on in life that we miss seeing God at work right in front of us. We get so consumed with the daily grind that we miss the loving touch and gift of grace that God gives to us.

So, we are called to slow down. To take time to look at the beauty of creation around us. To call an old friend. To share a gift of grace with another. When we do this, we are more apt to see what God is doing around us, to us, and through us.

So take some time today, slow down, and ask God - what are you doing today, and how can I be a part of it. I am sure you will be amazed at the answers you get.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Seeing God

I am a huge country music fan. I love the music, the lyrics, the style, etc. One of my favorite artists is George Strait. He has a new song out entitled "I Saw God Today." It is a great song about see the hand of God in both the big and the little things.

I was listening to this song as I was driving back from Minnesota earlier this week and I started to think about all the places I saw God in the previous week - the time Scarlett grabbed my hand without me asking for it, when Sierra was practicing her pitching, got a strike, and smiled like crazy, the person who chased some garbage down the street, the joy of watching the girls and Jennifer plant flowers in the front yard and the list goes on and on.

God is active in so many and different ways every day of our lives. Sometimes we miss seeing him because we are running, not paying attention, or just consumed by the busy-ness of our lives. But even when we don't see him, he is still there - doing what God does - loving, building up, caring for, blessing, etc.

So today - where have you seen God? What has he been doing in and around your life? Take a moment and celebrate the gifts of God by seeing where he is and what he is doing with you. May we all see God each and every day of our lives.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Joy Comes in the Morning


This week our season of swim lessons is coming to an end. Every year week take the summer off and then resume in the fall. Sierra was amazing as usual, she is a wonderful swimmer.

This was Scarlett's first year of swim lessons, and she progressed a lot. But Scarlett was also Scarlett, she love to play during lessons too. There are times when she would stand on the edge of the pool and dance. She was singing to herself, twirling around on the edge of the pool. There were numerous times I had to tell her to stop so that she wouldn't slip and fall in, and so that she would listen to her teacher.

But in those times when she was dancing, I saw a look of pure joy on her face. She was loving her time at the pool, meeting new friends, and dancing to some tune that was playing in her head. I loved watching it happen.

Joy is one of those things that we are short on in our lives. We see the negative, we see the problems, we see and hear things that tear all of us down. And joy is often lost in the rat race we call life.

Wouldn't it be great if we all had those tunes playing in our heads, and we could just stand up and dance, celebrating the joy of life?

In the book of psalms there is a line that says, "Joy comes in the morning." Quite often this line is used to help get us through the tough times in life. But you know what, the morning is here. The morning is now. We are given joy right now because of what Christ has done for us - and we are invited to celebrate God's many gifts with joy and celebration. Joy is here - but do we see it?

So today, may we all see the joy of life. May we celebrate and dance and sing, because we are so blessed and given so many opportunities in our lives. May we have our eyes opened to joy.