Thursday, May 29, 2008

Venite: Levavi, Oculos! Psalm 121

We lift our eyes to the hills, where shall our help come from?
Our help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.
You are our defense, our guardian Who never slumbers and never sleeps.
How could the One Who guards us sleep, or let our feet stumble?
You will guard us against all evil, guard us body and soul;
the sun will not strike us by day, nor the moon by night
You will Guard our going out and our coming home,
from this time forth, for evermore.
---
Thanks be to God-Creator, Redeemer, and Giver of Life.
May the Lord be with us, may the holy angels bring us peace,
and may the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be always with us.
Amen.

Gettin' Your Groove Back











Pictures: 1. Group picture of retreat participants. 2. & 3. Discussion sessions. 4. Dave Nixon. 5. Dave Nixon showing pictures of his family. 6. Session after breakfast on Sunday morning in Barclay's "Bear's Den" Student Center
We all need a chance from time to time to stop and 'get our grove back'!

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly.
Matthew 11:28-30 "The Message"

I love it when Jesus says in Matthew 11:29-30 (NIV): "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." My understanding of what it means to follow Christ is truly a demanding "give it all" challenge. Therefore, what grace it is to know that the yoke and burden of Christ is easy and light. Thank God!

I am also thankful for a great weekend away this past Memorial Day weekend for retreat offered by the Center for Spiritual Renewal at Barclay College. The Guided Retreat, "Gettin' Your Groove Back", was hosted by David Williams and the special guest facilitiator was David Nixon, http://sustainablefaith.com/guided-retreats. Dave Nixon is a runner so we ran together in the mornings and talked about running constantly. What a neat (and weird) guy! The whole idea of the retreat was so simple and fundamental - creating margins in your life. Specifically, margins in activity, diet, sabbath, and sleep were discussed. Very challenging, very fascintating, very refreshing, and very helpful!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Venite, Exultemus! Psalm 95

Come, let us raise a joyful song.
a shout of triumph to the rock of our salvation.
Let us come into Your presence with thanksgiving,
singing songs of triumph.
For You are a great God, a great king over all gods.
The depths of the earth are in Your hands; mountains belong to You.
The sea is Yours, for you made it;
and the dry land Your hands fashioned.
Let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the One who made us.
For You are our God, and we are the flock that You shepherd.
We will know Your power and presence this day,
if we will but listen for Your Voice.
Glory to be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Back In April...


Just some pictures from way back in April.
The first picture is 'breaking in' our church's new Moonwalk.
The second and third pictures are learning to make homemade tortillas from Zulema.
The fourth picture was the next day as I visited Ralph and Susie Corbet's (cowboy boots) home with the Macy's (boys with cowboy boots just like Ralph) and Zulema and her daughter.


Sunday, May 25, 2008

Too Many Daves

"Too Many Daves" by Dr. Seuss

Did I ever tell you that Mrs. McCave
Had twenty-three sons, and she named them all Dave?
Well, she did.
And that wasn't a smart thing to do.
You see, when she wants one, and calls out
"Yoo-Hoo! Come into the house, Dave!" she doesn't get one.
All twenty-three Daves of hers come on the run!

This makes things quite difficult at the McCaves'
As you can imagine, with so many Daves.
And often she wishes that, when they were born,
She had named one of them Bodkin Van Horn.
And one of them Hoos-Foos.
And one of them Snimm.
And one of them Hot-Shot.
And one Sunny Jim.
Another one Putt-Putt.
Another one Moon Face.
Another one Marvin O'Gravel Balloon Face.
And one of them Zanzibar Buck-Buck McFate...
But she didn't do it.
And now it's too late.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

3-4 Generations Away From Extinction

I was recently listening to "The Grand Weaver: How God Shapes Us Through the Events of Our Lives" by Ravi Zacharius as a book on CD while I was driving down the interstate. One particular section particularly grabbed my attention (and won't let go).

"The Big Picture: Every calling that honors God's purpose for life in general is a sacred call. We notice this in the prayer of John Howard, who prayed long before he responded to the specifics of that call. It is often in this waiting that we get lost and our vision becomes blurred. God calls us a "Kingdom of Priests" (1 Peter 2:9). This status in itself positions us for the sacred. Sadly, the church has historically been a key culprit in destroying this privelege for the masses. This blunder has resulted in great cost to the church in her role in history and in society. She erred by dividing callings into false hierachies and we are still dealing with the problems that resulted...

...[Luther] did not demand the abolition of the priesthood, but rather fought for the abolition of the laity. Because we are all priests before God. There is no such distinction as secular or sacred. In fact, the opposite of sacred is not secular. The opposite of sacred is profane. In short, no follower of Christ does secular work. We all have a sacred calling...

...What is the first call for each one of us? It is to understand God's primary description of who and what we are. All the other accolades that people want to thrust at us are secondary at best. The fact that someone writes, another speaks, still others invest or play sports is mearly the means to express the greater end.

Some time ago I attended a bible study session with some sports professionals. The speaker that morning challenged the players to leave a legacy they could be proud of. He began by asking them how many knew the name of their great-grandfather. A handful of hands went up. Then he asked how many of them knew where their great-grandfather was buried. Most of the hands stayed down. With each more specific question fewer hands went up. He then made his point: each one of us is just 3-4 generations away from extinction.

Silence gripped the room. How sobbering to think that just a few generations down the family tree, no one would know that I had ever existed."

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Not-So-Deep Service VS. Truly Deep Justice

Not-So-Deep Service
FOR others
Service is something we do for others.
Service is an event.
Service expects results immediately.
The goal of service is to help others.
Service focuses on what our own ministry can accomplish.
Service is serving food at the local homeless shelter.

Deep Justice
WITH others
Justice is something we do with others.
Justice is a lifestyle.
Justice hopes for results some time soon but recognizes that systemic change takes time.
The goal of justice is to remove obstacles so others can help themselves.
Justice focuses on how we can work with other ministries to accomplish even more.
Justice means asking why people are hungry and homeless in the first place--and then doing something about it.

-Youth Specialties, CORE '08 "Generation: Change" resources

Friday, May 16, 2008

2 Thess 3:5

"Now may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the patience of Christ."

2 Thess 3:5 NKJV

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Monday with the Clintons

Well, almost...

Yesterday I was at the Tillamook Cheese Factory less than an hour before President Clinton was to arrive to give a campaign speech in the parking lot, with the aroma of cows (money!) in the humid air. I kind of thought that was cool until...

The same afternoon at the Portland airport, the flow of traffic getting into the terminal all of the sudden came to a complete stop for more than five minutes for no apparent reason. Then came the dignitary entourage! Motorcyle cops sped ahead followed by a really special looking tinted windows (assuming bullet proof - but then again I've probably watched too many movies!) car with none other than Senator Hillary Clinton herself!

That reminds me of a funny story I heard about a year ago on the radio from a good friend of the Clinton's, Rush Limbaugh. For the transcript of the story, see this article: http://rawstory.com/news/2007/Bill_Clinton_tells_Rush_Limbaugh_Youre_0517.html

Monday with the Clinton's was interesting. But not quite as outstanding as the encounter Rush had. Maybe next time...

Book Review: Bright Valley of Love

I just finished a classic and heart-warming book by Edna Hong, “Bright Valley of Love: The True Story of a Handicapped Child Who Finds a Haven of Love in the Nightmare of Nazi Germany”. The book could be read by a young child and enjoyed just as much as I did, I imagine. After seeing the movie about the effects of Social Darwinism (Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed) last week, this book left me really thinking about my worldview. That must be a good book when it gets you thinking about worldview!

Gunther, the main character, is severely “deformed” of body and was dropped off as a child by his grandmother to Bethel, a Christian community of persons with special needs, to be cared for. “We are simply and solely the arms of Christ.” (25) “But the word ‘hopeless’ is not in the language of praise which is spoken in the Valley of Bethel. Because the people who live in that valley know a love that has no limit, the voice of thanksgiving is stronger in that valley than the voice of complaint.” (46)

“He’s a looney, too! They’re all looney here!” muttered the grandmother.
“Maybe so and maybe not,” answered the father. “Maybe they’re sane and we’re the looney ones.” (23)

Gunther began to learn that he too was created in the image of God.
“In a wave there flooded over the boy a dim and jumbled but wildly wonderful realization of the possibility of life—that he was not a piece of human garbage carried along on a gray and endless tide of time. He could be. Time was for being. Time was for becoming. Time was for becoming what he could be…” (38-39)

As Gunther’s friend Kurt died due to his illness, Gunther learned to express grief and emotion.
“Gunther,” said Brother Herman. “Cry your tears and do not be ashamed. Tears, too, are a gift of love. But think of how rich you are to have had such a friend. And think of how rich we all are that Jesus Christ came from the heavenly home to live among us as a friend.” (65)

“Who is my closest relative? Who is nearest and dearest to me? The one who suffers most!” (76)

“Tell me,” he asked, “what do you think is the best work, the truest calling?”
“To be a minister or a missionary,” several answered at once.
Pastor Wilm chuckled. “Many people think so, especially ministers and missionaries. But God has different ideas, and I suspect that sweeping streets and mopping floors is just as good and true.”
“A soldier,” said Wolfgang.
“A mother,” said Minna.
“No,” said Pastor Wilm. “You may name all the jobs under the sun, and I will still say No. I believe with Paul and Martin Luther that the true calling for us human beings is to glorify God, to glorify him in spirit, mind, and body. Whatever we do with our lives, our first and foremost talk is to glorify God.” (98)

“If I ever again talk about being good for nothing, give me a good swift kick in the butt,” said Klaus on the way back to Capernaum.
“Same goes for me,” said Gunther aloud, but the Gunther deep within sang a freedom song. Not only had his fear of the future vanished, but the icicle of hate had melted. His disgust and his hatred of his parents, his grandmother. His disgust and hatred of his crippled body. He was no longer afraid and sad to be Gunther. There, deep inside, it truly seemed as if he had been born all over again and was brand-new.” (100-101)

“Yes, indeed,” chimed in Sister Marie. “When you sing praises to God, Gunther, somehow you remind us that we are not carrying our sorrows and troubles all alone.” (109-110)

Monday, May 12, 2008

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Our God is Still Mighty to Save

Zephaniah 3:17 NIV

The LORD your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Oregon


Nathaniel Carlson and his fiancee Leann.

Eric (left) was my roommate my senior year at Barclay. He just graduated a couple days ago! Next to him is his girlfriend, Michelle. Jeremiah Williams is to my right. Now a student at Barclay, I led his Junior High small group when he was in 7th grade at Haviland Friends!

Josh Walworth (left) was my main running partner in college and still is a good friend. Eric (right).

Silver Falls near Silverton, OR.

Coming to Oregon is such a treat and now a tradition for me. Here are my highlights:
-This is my fourth consecutive May trip (sixth in four years).
-I love Tillamook (cows, Cheese factory, beef jerky, lots of green everything)!
-While the locals don't seem to like cold, rainy, windy, and cloudy 50 degree days like today, I like it because it "just seems" appropriate to me for the NW.
-It's always fun to be with such good friends like Josh & Marcy.
-This year we were able to go to Silver Falls (the largest state park in Oregon) and see several great waterfalls.
-Another special thing this year was to get to see the Barclay College choir (they put on a fabulous concert) on tour here in Oregon at Silverton Friends Church last night. They came to Tillamook today to visit the Cheese factory and also to visit Rockaway Beach and Twin Rocks Camp. It was fun to catch up with several Barclay friends.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed

Last night I saw "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed" with Ben Stein. Everybody should see this documentary movie! I was a bit skeptical going in but it was a fascinating look at what seems to be the shunning of Intelligent Design in many academic and scientific circles. The film is interesting, entertaining, and intensely thought provoking. The concept of Intelligent Design (acknowledging the possibility of a Supreme Designer to explain the complexity of life) is great because it maintains the humility of Job 38 but hints at the wisdom of Colossians 1:15-17. The most challenging concept is the underlying worldview that is the logical conclusion to Secular Darwinism.

http://www.expelledthemovie.com/

Monday, May 5, 2008

Just Be Still

"The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still."
Exodus 13:14 TNIV

The Extra Mile

"The Extra Mile: One Woman's Personal Journey to Ultrarunning Greatness"
by Pam Reed

"Late night talk-show host and comedian David Letterman, who's a runner himself, is one of the few media personalities who's given attention to ultrarunning. In 2003, when I was the overall winner of Badwater for the second year in a row, David invited me to be a guest on his show. I thought he struck the perfect note of appeciation for what ultrarunners accomplish as well as amusement at what it involves. He asked me what I had won, what the prize was. I told him it was a belt buckle. "A belt buckle?" Reaching for a pad of paper and a pen, David leaned toward me and asked conspiratorially, "How can I get in on this?" p.5

"Even though I've done it now more times than I can remember, when I start thinking about running 50 or 100 miles, it seems like a long way-and it is a long way. Then I start running. Almost always, within the first few hours, a moment comes when I feel like I've made a huge mistake: "Pam, what were you thinking?!" But I keep going. Then time starts playing some really amazing tricks. It goes slow and fast at the same time. Although I never ask how long I've been running-and I never look at my watch even though, for some perverse reason, I always wear it-I do think about how much time has passed and how much is left. This is where it gets weird. Sometimes, at the same time what it seems as if I've been running forever, it also seems like time is passing incredibly quickly. Then I think that I've got to make the best use of every possible moment.
Then all of a sudden, the race is over. As slowly as it seemed to be going, it also seems like it was over in a flash. Hours of pain and fatigue are compressed into a single snapshot in my memory." p77-78

[So true of life, too! Time plays amazing tricks!]

Friday, May 2, 2008

Retreat

Where is there a more beautiful place in all the world than Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado?


The first picture was taken while climbing the Illuvial Fan in RMNP with Jeff, Jesse, and Matt. The second was right outside the dining hall with Jana Mullen, the pastor's wife. Jeff took both of the pictures with his cell phone.

I was blessed to be able to participate in a Friends Pastors Retreat at the YMCA of the Rockies near Estes Park, CO this past week.