Sunday, March 16, 2014

Ups and Downs

A few weeks ago, as I was backstage at church waiting to go worship, one of the youth groups walked into the green room and sat down. Shortly after they came in they began one of their regular discussions together, this time it was: "Ups, Downs, where did you see God?"

They went around the room each sharing a high point over the past week, a low point, and where they saw God. This simple routine sparked something in me that burned so brightly I just couldn't ignore it; what an awesome, short, focused, opportunity for reflection. You may be sitting there unsure why this was so impactful to me, but stop and think about the opportunities that this can bring; Spiritually, relationally, individually and communal.
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:4-9 ESV)
Our God is a God of memorial; in our own journey, in our families journey, and in the journeys of the past and those yet to come. He encourages us to reflect and remember. It reminds me of the "Ebenezer" stone we have on our fireplace mantle with the Scripture written on it from 1 Samuel 7:
"Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen and called its name Ebenezer; for he said, “Till now the LORD has helped us.” (1 Samuel 7:12 ESV)
God can show His face during incredible moments of peace, healing, power, guidance, and love (and countless other ways). Yet every day we are presented with opportunities to see Him and experience Him more. He does not hide, but He doesn't shout for attention either (even though it is impossible to truly ignore). We just need to look.

This little routine is not a childhood reflection. This is not a focus for the youth. This is a call to reflect and remember for all of us ...

So me? This weekend?

Ups: Clearly the taste of Spring! The weather, the garden, the sun ... it sparks so many emotions, and I am quite excited for the change of seasons!

Downs: Work was difficult this week. Saturday and Sunday both included some needed time on projects, and while I have a job that balances my work and home life well usually, sometimes, like this weekend, it calls for some extra attention. It was acceptable, but clearly not fun.

Where I saw God: Planting seeds! I could probably reflect for hours on this action, not only metaphorically, but physically as well. The amazing Hand of God that is seen in Creation speaks so loudly to me the more I reflect on it. Chaos and chance have no place here, and I see it more clearly each day. How awesome is our God.

So how about you? I encourage you to start this in your home, if you don't already. This has brought some amazing conversation with my wife, my children, and with God and I ...

Praising the Ups,

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Grow by Shrinking

For me, I often draw to John [the Baptist's] words when pondering my relationship with Christ:
"He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30 ESV)
Or as some other translations read ... 
"He must become greater; I must become less.” (John 3:30 NIV) 
I reflected back on this verse as I was reading Paul's words in his letter to the Romans about Abraham's faith, and how it was "counted to him as righteousness". First, let's see the passage (emphasis added):
No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” (Romans 4:20-22 ESV)
Not only do we see his faith shown by being fully convinced that God was able to do what He had promised, we also see how Abraham's faith increased; by him decreasing, and giving glory to God.

Do you want to increase your faith? Give glory God!


"Humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less.” - CS Lewis

Friday, March 14, 2014

What I see ...

For those of you that occasionally read my ramblings, as frequent or as infrequent as they are at times, you may notice that I usually try to pin a picture of my own on the post with the focus of what I'm trying to communicate. Pictures, like music, speak to me on a very intimate level. Sometimes in fact, many times actually, I sit down to write and before even diving into His Word I just look ... look at pictures.


I see God everywhere ...

Some think I'm crazy, some claim I just hear voices in my head and I'm a lunatic, some roll their eyes, some just don't understand ... (and that's quite expected)

I may not reflect Him well at times.
I may not represent Him well at times.
Yet He is everything to me, and He is in everything to me.

I see God everywhere ...
My marriage, my family, my occupation, my hobbies, what I choose to watch, read, and listen to, the decisions I make, the actions I take, education, politics, travel, words like joy, love, peace, patience, everything ... even pain, heartache, brokenness ... I see God there too ... healing ... working ...

So even when I'm laying on the picnic table in my backyard in 50 degrees like this afternoon, soaking in the sun. I look over and see my 2 year old rolling her own snowball for the first time to make her very first snowman herself ... I see God.

I see her joy, creativity, and patience ... and He is all of those things and more.

You know this passage right?
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8 ESV)
You hear it at weddings (mostly it seems) and often spoke of when we are told how to love each other. You do realize God is Love don't you?

That is how He loves you ...

Feel Loved ...
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