Tuesday, January 29, 2008


We are enjoying a 3 week sermon series entitled, "Stand". Two weeks ago the point was Stand: Together (based on Philippians 1:27ff---perhaps my favorite passage in the Bible). Last Sunday found us digging into Romans 14-15 on the topic of Stand: Down (when believers should step back). I wrestled hard with the text throughout the week, finally felt some clarity in the text and then really enjoyed teaching it. This week we'll finish up with Stand: Up. Matthew 5:38-41 is Jesus' famous teaching on turning the other cheek. Is this a passage designed to teach Christians to roll over or is there a message of strength included?

Monday, January 21, 2008

Looking Up

I've had a growing interest lately in knowing more about the night sky. I checked out some books from the Library--but didn't really pick any that helped me. But then my brother in law happened to have this great book, The Stars by H.A. Rey (Curious George author), and wasn't using it. It's been great reading it and learning about when/where to look for constellations and stars.

Wouldn't you know, Saturday was our clearest and most beautiful night. It was also our most frigid night so far this winter. I'd been wanting to go outside and gaze for a few nights leading up to Saturday but the sky was totally cloudy.

I bundled up a bit and spent just 5-10 minutes craning my next so as to spot some of the goodies I'd been learning about.

From eighth grade I remember Orion and I've always know about the Little & Big Dipper. What I didn't know is that the Little Dipper contains a star called the "Pole Star". It rarely moves in the night sky and gives you the indication that you are facing north. I also enjoyed learning that the Big Dipper is part of a larger constellation called the "Great Bear".

It's just something fun to do.
Oh and by the way, I spotted "Cassiopeia" for the first time on Saturday. After finding it, the dog and I were both cold so we called it a good night. Next chance I get, I'll be looking to find the "Herdsman".

Thanks to Mrs. Ray (my eighth grade teacher) , Bruce Bain (a great friend from England), and Joe Dongell (a professor from Asbury Seminary) for all enjoying the stars and encouraging me to look up.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Oh the Questions!

It's time again for a little input from Sarah. Hope you enjoy. . .

The other day Peter went to Holly to do a short Graveside Service. This man had been in the Military, so he was buried at the National Cemetery there. The kids have been crazy lately (I foolishly thought this would end after Christmas) and I decided this would be a great opportunity to get out of the house for a bit. We often take advantage of extra miles that Peter has to drive for work to spend time with him. I took my Bible study with me, hoping that the kids would fall asleep and I could sit in the car while he did the service. Perfect! They both woke up the minute we drove into the Cemetery. Why is it that so many of my great ideas so rarely get carried out!?

From where our car was, we could see the Veterans standing straight with their guns in the air. I should’ve been prepared for the barrage of questions that come from any three year old:

“Mommy, why do those men have guns? Are they going to shoot my Daddy?”
“No, Son. They are soldiers. They protect us from the Bad Guys”

Bad guys are a hot commodity in our house. William loves to talk about them, play games with ‘bad guys’, pretend he is the bad guy . . . (When I tried to teach him to call out the name “Jesus!” if he was ever scared of a bad guy, he replied that he’d just get out his sword and kill them himself.). So I thought this would be a good analogy for his little mind. Until a man walked out of the pavilion with his long black coat: “There’s the Bad Guy, Mommy! They’re going to shoot him!”

Next, I got this question: “Mommy, why do some people die? Am I going to die?” Now, this is very tricky. Do I give him a sense of false hope?-- “You won’t die for a very long time”. Or do I give him the harsh truth?—“Yes. You’ll die”. Or do I give him the huge theological discourse?—“William, we never know when our last breath will come. Then again, Jesus may come at the blink of the eye to separate the sheep from the goats. . .” Instead I simply told him, “You probably won’t die until you’re a grandpa.” I’m pretty sure this is going to backfire on me.

I quickly tried to change the subject. It wasn’t that hard to do as the Veterans commenced their 21-gun salute at this point. Again, the questions about shooting came and I realized it was getting very hot in the car. At this point I was wondering why in the world I thought this was going to be a nice, relaxing afternoon.

As the soldiers turned to march away, another man (a member of the VFW) with gold medals in his hat marched along with them. William, with reverence in his voice said, “Mommy! The King! The Soldiers are protecting their King!” Oh to have the awe and imagination of a three year old again!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Get up...

Back in the days when I had hair, grew it long over my eyes, and doused it in "sun in" so that it would be blond, a lot was going on my teenage life. Skateboarding ruled most of it but there was other stuff too. Art, Pursuit of Identity and Music. Although at that point in my life I rejected playing an instrument (crazy!) I did listen to a bunch of it. Some good, some not so good.
-Red Hot Chili Peppers
-Skater Master Tate
-Young MC
-Public Enemy
-DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince
-and more...

Public Enemy had a song with the lyrics, "Get up a get get get down. 9-1-1's a joke in my town..." Pretty much it bashed on police and rescue services in the inner city. (I don't know how valid the picture is that they painted as I was living up in rural Wyoming.)

My thought in all this...what if the song said, "Get up a get get get down. Jesus Follower's a joke in my town..."? Am I (are we) truly living the story of redemption in my town? Does it really shake the foundations of my (our) priorities, agenda, passions?

When I was into skating, it was pretty much all I was into. Sometimes it was to the point of being completely lop-sided. I still laugh at the fact that my friend, Jim, and I used to take our skateboards with us up into the Big Horn Mountains when our families would head up for an afternoon. I mean seriously, did we think we were going to find a natural half-pipe up there or something? We did not know that we could appreciate skateboarding and other things too.

What I loved about being completely immersed in skating was the fact that it consumed me--and I loved it. I dressed the part, bought the right stuff, grew my hair accordingly, defended it (my only actual fight was over being called a poser). On and on it went. My room was plastered with torn pages out of skate magazines. I drew skaters on my church bulletins. I talked to girls about skating--over which I'm sure they swooned!

I've been evaluating; Does following Jesus consume me? Do I defend my position on Jesus? Do I get excited when I talk to others about Jesus--wanting them to also experience what He offers?

Jesus & Peter had a great dialogue in the Scriptures. At the end of John Jesus asks Peter about Peter's love for him. After some back & forth chat and Peter saying "Yes, I love you" he looks over and sees, presumably, John and asks a great question. "What about him?" Jesus' response is, "What does it matter what happens to him. You follow me."

We are part of such an amazing story. Consider the God of the Universe. Consider His divine story being written. Now, consider Him inviting you to be a principle player. Or consider Him wanting you to be even a supporting actor. Consider Him wanting you to be an extra on the set. How cool...God wants you his movie!

But somehow I (we) lose sight of the importance of God's story and how important we, as his creation, are to the story.

Here's an obscure music lyric...
"Skate, skate, skate. As fast as you can. Skate, skate, skate. All across the land..." (Skate Master Tate)

With passion and purpose and with knowledge that the same power of God who raised Christ from the dead is available to me, I will participate in the story of God. Doing so as fast as I can and all across the land.