Monday, June 23, 2008

a churchless summer?

This month, my local community of faith moved to a one-service-Sunday schedule. We're moving to a larger space, and it will be nice to have everyone together under one roof (a roof we will raise, I'm sure).

But it occured to me this week that I scheduled my summer when we still had a 6PM Sunday service... and now it looks like I will miss our community get together for nearly two whole months.

June 15 - attending Bar Mitzvah of a good friend's son
June 22 - visiting Mom (what would have been her 50th anniversary)
June 29 - my son and I visiting some friends in Virgina
July 6 - driving cross country with my two brothers (and son)
July 13 - back at Mom's for her 70th birthday
July 20 - camping trip
July 27 - vacation in Williamsburgh

I will be in a church at least on a few of these Sundays, but am a bit nervous that I will be missing my "home church" for such an extended period of time. You try to live your life so that you don't need to go to church to get fed... but what if I forget to eat?

Any ideas, tips or suggestions? Let me know. Thanks!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

injection v. incarnation

I am desperate.

And God said, “let there be light.”

Day after day, nothing changes. I have nothing. I am nothing.

Light. Energy. Renewal. Every day since that first day, the dawn of each new morning reminds me… that He is my Lord – and He gives me hope.

I take comfort in my TV. My car. My PC. My world. But I am still lost. Will I be lost forever? I am stranded in this darkness… Oh, how I need a fix cause I’m going down. It’s like I’m stuck… running from you all the time.

On the Second Day he created Land. And to be honest, some days on this planet earth are not easy. But for me, when I physically feel the ground below my feet I am reminded that God is supporting me with every step I take. So I can stand firm, and a little more sure-footed – grounded in his Love.

Do you remember me? I am here. I am ready for you now. Come to me now. Yes, come to me quickly. Oh, I need you now. I need you in the worst way possible. Oh yes, come to me Lord. Fill me!

Then He created the flowers. The seeds. And fruit. Sustaining me today with nourishment – and I give thanks. You give me the strength to share, Lord, and I share with love.

Oh God! I feel the joy! Your loving spirit runs through my veins – lifting me higher than I ever imagined. You are the Lord almighty! I raise my hands in joyful celebration – as I am engulfed by your presence. Oh, we could go on forever – forever. Send me Lord – I am your servant. You are my master! Send me, Lord! Together, we are Love!

On the fourth day, the Lord created the moon and the stars – giving me a small glimmer of what heaven will be like – in all its splendor and glory. It can be frustrating at times. I wish I had more answers. But today, I accept that my job is to be Your shining star here on earth – and to share Your light-giving message as best I can.

Ohhhh. I had almost forgotten the sweet smell of your presence. Why did I wait so long to return to you? I want to stay here… this time, let’s walk together… You have filled me up.

Then there were birds. Animals. Living creatures in every size, shape and color possible. Is there no end to Your imagination? How can I not help but sit in awe of You – I need only open my eyes to be reminded of Your Glory.

I can handle life now. Get through another week. I am teeming with confidence – what can possibly stand in my way.

Man and Female. He created me in his very image. Me. He said “I am special – I am important – I matter” And – it gets better here – he said be in relationship with one another. Love me. Love your family. Love your neighbors. Go – share my Love with all people – and let my Love comfort you with everlasting peace.

Bills. Rejection. Work. Was it always this hard? I find myself spiraling downward. No one feels the way I do. Why do I feel so alone? Why does no one care to help?

And on the seventh day He rested from all his work. And now, so shall I.

I am desperate.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

join us for a walk?

Nancy over at Sublime Transitions invited me to read the book "Grace Walk" by Steve McVey. Just ordered mine from Amazon, and will dive in next week. Nancy, I and others will be blogging, discussing as we go along. Maybe you want to join in the fun too?

highway observation

When a person is stranded on the side of the road with steam coming out of their car, Jesus would want us to stop... offer a hand... and if we know nothing about engines (like me) at least offer to make a phone call or provide a lift.

Yesterday I realized that it's very hard to pull over and help someone when you're driving in the fast lane.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

a new day, in chronological order

Let me take you through my day yesterday, in the exact order everything happened.

As the day started, I gathered the family around the kitchen table and the first thing we did was give thanks to God.

We then enjoyed a lovely meal together. And after eating, we sat leisurely around the table and discussed the prior days events… who me met, how we felt, the conversations we had. And we laughed. Oh, did we laugh.

Afterwards, I spent a few quiet moments with my wife and we discussed plans for a trip later this year… who we wanted to see, where we wanted to go. Then I took some time and played with the kids. (Yes, more laughs were had).

Needing some “me” time, I curled up in bed and read for a while (The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch) then took a long, restful nap. When I woke up, I took a shower and got dressed, then went downstairs for a snack.

I read scripture (Matthew 25), then talked to my wife and son for a while. After, I drove off to church where I sat before God and prayed.

By this time, nearly 2/3 of the day was already gone. So I drove to work where I toiled away until the day was over. Then came home and started a new day.

How the Lord prioritizes

Inspired by a beautifully written post on Today at the Mission, I dove into Genesis (again) today. But I didn’t get very far. Verse 5, in fact:

And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day
Think about it… evening comes before morning. God’s day (as many faithful Jews would know) starts at sundown. What does that mean? It means that our Lord has a much better understanding of priorities than I do.

In Ed’s world, you wake up and get ready for work. Work is the primary part of the day, and then you try to squeeze everything else in before falling asleep.

But when you see the world through God’s eyes (as in the example above) everything comes before work. Giving thanks, breaking bread, family love, laughter, rest, scripture, prayer, children. Then, and only then, comes work.

Monday, June 9, 2008

starting to respond

This past week, I've been back in Matthew, looking again at the three days between Palm Sunday and Holy Thursday. I finished this sequence today with The Sheep and the Goats (Matt 25: 31-46).

For those of you playing at home, you may remember that I posted on this scripture just a few short months ago. I'll admit that I'm reading the Bible from more of a distance these days... but I am reading.

Anyway, not to bore you with details, but I find myself responding more to the Spirit over the past few days. And that makes me feel good.

I apologize for not spending as much time reading about your stories, your trials and your successes in recent weeks... let's just say that's next on the list.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

an open prayer for peace

I was driving my youngest daughter Erin to her soccer game this morning when my wife called to share some sad news. The headline in this morning’s paper told of a 4-year old boy whose family was up from Pennsylvania visiting with people in our neighborhood. And on this hot Saturday afternoon, this young boy drowned in a pool.

Bad things happen to good people all the time, but what hit home was that it all happened in the home of a family we know, whose daughter plays on Erin’s team.

Before the game the girls held hands in a moment of silence, and we parents prayed on the sidelines. I heard later that the Pennsylvania family are Christ followers, and that they were comforted in this time of amazing tragedy by the promise of our Savior.

My heart goes out for this family, but I am sure it is equally hard on our friends who were hosting them this weekend. At church tonight, Erin and I spent some time with out pastor, and we prayed some more.

And once more, I come here to pray again. In the words of our Lord:

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

random thought...

My son left the house a few moments before me the other idea, but I drove by him as he walked to the bus stop. The bus was already there, so I stopped (as legally required to do).

Glancing into my rear view mirror, I could see my son walking toward the bus. I looked up, and there's the bus driver. Waiting. Waiting. Kids on the bus waiting. And back, there's my son, strolling along at his usual, in-no-hurry pace.

If it was me, I would have been running toward the bus. But not my son. And to be honest, I was overcome by two emotions at once. I was definitely annoyed. But what surprised me more, I was jealous. My son has no problem being him, even when that doesn't conform to someone else's standards, dress code, expectation, rules. He doesn't do things just to be different, but doesn't mind if he is--as long as he's true to himself.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

catching up

First, thank you for those who have kept me on your blog roll despite the lack of activity over here. Just to fill you in on what’s up:

Over the past two months, I’ve turned into a Christian.
- I attend church every week
- I read the Bible most days
- I take time to sit before God
- I joyfully give of my tithes and offerings

What I’ve somehow stopped becoming, however, is a Christ follower.
- I have not visited the seniors at the local assisted living facility
- I have not worked with the special needs kids
- I have not served in church ministry
- I have not reached out to people in need
- I have not spread the Gospel
- I have not unleashed dreams
- I have not built His kingdom

A few weeks ago, I stopped into Erin’s place and the first words I saw were “Faith without works is dead.” I felt convicted. So I left. But these gentle (and no so gentle) nudges over the past few weeks are taking effect, and I am determined to get back on that path. And follow.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

the wobble

As a pre-teen, my daughter competed as a gymnast. She worked hard several hours a day, training four or more days, every week, every month. She competed in qualifying meets, the CT State Championships and the Northeast Regional Finals.

This morning, I was thinking about one of those Regional competitions. The whole family drove eight hours to Waterville, Maine for the weekend. Meaghan’s first event was the balance beam.

On the first major turn in her routine, she wobbled. She didn’t fall. It was just a wobble. And she regained her balance in less than a second. But I remember turning to my wife saying “well, there goes regionals!”

Meaghan finished her routine beautifully, then went on to do extremely well in the uneven bars, the vault and floor exercise. But we knew from that first turn on the balance beam that she was not going to place in the all-around competition.

That one wobble – a mandatory ½ point deduction – would have meant nothing in the qualifying rounds. She had previously rebounded from such a start in States. But here, in the Regional Finals, the competition was too strong. And a single wobble costs more.

That story came to my mind this morning. If you remember, back in March, I felt that God was calling on me to walk with Him. The conversation went something like this:

Me: Heh God, pick me!
God: You ready?

Me: Yes Lord.
God: Good, I’ve got something important I need you to do.

Me: Great! What is it?
God: I must warn you, this next step will be harder and more challenging that anything I’ve asked you to do before.

Me: Hmmm, what is it Lord?
God: You ready?

Me: You said harder, right? Can you give me a sense of what that means?

Me: God, you still there?

In hindsight, I guess you could say I wobbled. Because when I looked up, God was gone. And I sat there for a while (okay, a few weeks) thinking that God was mad at me. That he had abandoned me. But I know now that’s not the case.

While I sat still, God simply kept moving. He wasn’t leaving me behind; He was out looking for someone who was ready to say “yes”. Because when God wants something done, it will get done.

So here it is, two months later. And if I want to re-engage my walk with Christ, I guess I need to start moving again. After all, it was just one wobble, and there's still a few more events to go.