Monday, April 28, 2008


"After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord." John 20:20
I had a rare privilege yesterday after church. I hung out with a group of 1-2 year olds. I tried to get these children to look at me, and not run away in fear when I talked to them....and then, I was amazed at how much one thing could change their mood....
None of the children were upset while I was there, I would actually describe their mood as "chill." They were content to play with the fire trucks, giant elmo, alligator xylophones....and pretty much did what they wanted to. But, as church let out, their parents started showing up at the door of the nursery. I enjoyed watching their faces as they looked at, and recognized their moms and dads....words could describe the joy in those children's eyes. It was remarkable. They were so happy and ran (well, sort of wobbled quickly) over to their parents, and their parents picked them up and returned the joy with a hug and kind words (in higher octaves...because we do that when we talk to babies). It was as if I was watching a sermon.
Can you imagine what it's going to be like? When we finally meet Jesus and God? I think it's going to be one of those moments when your face hurts from smiling so much...and your heart jumps in elation.
So, why can't we greet God with the same jubilation in our weekly worship and daily life? We get so bogged down and get used to going through the motions, and forget that we are privileged to be able to worship our God...especially those that are able to openly worship. This week, try to Glorify God and greet God with the same kind of joy a child greets his/her parent with after a long absence.

Monday, April 21, 2008

"As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him." Matthew 3:16

Yesterday was confirmation Sunday at our church. Fourteen young people joined the church through profession of faith, a few were baptized...I had the honor of taking part in their confirmation/baptism, and it reminded me of my own baptism.

I was not baptized as an infant because the church my family attended when I was born did not baptize infants...but that's ok with me, because it gave me the gift of remembering the day. I can tell you what I was wearing, who was there, who took the picture of me....most of the details. But by far the most meaningful part of the experience after church was out. My family went to the grocery store to get food for lunch, while we were checking out, I looked up at a clock on the I did this, a drop of water fell off my hair and onto my neck....It gave me chills- a reminder that God (and our faith) go with us everywhere. Too often we focus on these "big" days, and forget that these mountain top experiences are not the end of the journey, but rather the point at which we reach a peak that allows us to see farther than we had before, and see all that we've accomplished.

This week I invite you to remember that you've been baptized into a new life... you can't go back to the way things used to be, and this should cause you to be thankful.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Reason to Celebrate

"They were also to stand every morning to thank and praise the LORD. They were to do the same in the evening..." 1 Chronicles 23:30

We watched a video in church yesterday that was very was about baby that was not expected to make it through childbirth. The documentary of the boy's life was narrated by his father in short letters about what he did that day. The child was sick and in every picture and home video he had tubes in his nose. But the most impressive thing was the way that the parents handled the situation...Their son was not expected to live very they celebrated every day and took joy in the tedious tasks of caring for him. For the first few weeks of the child's life, they had a birthday party every day on the hour of his birth, with pictures from each party.
As I watched the video I felt guilty, not for being healthy and having a healthy family, but for taking every day for granted. We have been given an invaluable gift, and instead of accepting it joyfully, we tend to moan and groan about all the "things that make life hard." We get so caught up in thinking about all the stresses that we forget to enjoy life....more importantly, we forget to thank God and celebrate each day. When I was an intern with Project Transformation, we began every day with the children and youth we worked with by having Harambee - a Swahili word meaning "pulling together." During Harambee, we would sing silly songs, and just celebrate the fact that we were all there that day...those fifteen minutes were usually some of my favorite parts of the day. I miss that. I miss the kids. I miss the passion for life.
This week, I'm going to try to get out bed with an understanding that today does not bring more tasks, or stresses, but that each day brings sunshine, life, and is a gift that I should accept with a smile and a song. Feel free to join me.

Monday, April 7, 2008

You Can't Earn it

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. 1For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." -Ephesians 2:8-10

So, I spent about 13 hours at church yesterday. The morning was busy with the usual stuff, then the afternoon and evening was busy with men's softball practice and the biggest fund raiser of the year. At about nine o'clock last night, I finished cleaning up the kitchen and walked to my car...I sighed as I sat down and felt my tired feet begin to relax....cranked the engine...."click, click, click" (look of confusion on my face)...try it again...."click click click"....(confusion turns into irritation). So I went to get the keys to the church van and jumped the car...let it run for a while, then turned it off and tried to start it again...same result (repeat) Then I phoned a friend and he suggested driving the car for a while before I shut it I did, half an hour later, I shut the car down and tried to start it up...."click......" so I gave up, and sarcastically muttered to myself..."That's what I get for spending the whole day at church raising money for missions." The Bible nerd in me started thinking about how Martin Luther might be getting back at me for putting a scripture from James (he wasn't a fan of that book) on the slideshow we showed during the fund raiser...but on a serious note, it goes to show you that there isn't anything we can do to earn God's favor...because it's been given to charge, all we have to do is accept the gift of grace and try to lead the life of love we are called to.