Saturday, April 23, 2011


Blessed Easter to you, my friends!

I have spent much time over the past several days reflecting on the amazing sacrifice God made for me. I feel so unworthy of the gift. It is a gift freely given for you and for me. The gift of forgiveness and eternal life. It is almost unfathomable. 

I have a friend who repeatedly tells me that she "just doesn't get it". Oh how this pains me! She doesn't understand how one man could die for many and how his death could make a difference for everyone. Well, if Jesus was just a man, it certainly wouldn't make sense, but he is GOD. Fully man, fully God who came to earth to redeem our souls. It is truly mind boggling, I understand how the whole concept is confusing. God tells us himself  "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:9) We can't even come close to understanding the things that God understands, which is why He is God and we are not. My point here is that she doesn't have to "get it", she just has to believe it. Open your heart to the possibility! 

If you find  yourself confused ask God to help you understand. Psalm 119 contains several pleas for understanding: "Give me understanding, and I will keep your law and obey it with all my heart." (v34) "Your hands made me and formed me; give me understanding to learn your commands." (v73) "Your statutes are forever right; give me understanding that I may live." (v144) "May my cry come before you, O LORD; give me understanding according to your word." (v169). There are many verses throughout scripture about understanding. I will share just one more because it applies here:  "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding" (Proverbs 3:5). We weren't made to understand everything in this life on our own, but we are meant to turn to God when we need clarification. 

He wants you to know Him. He longs for you to come to Him. He sent his Son to die for YOU. If you were the only person living on this planet he would have endured the cross to save you. If you have been wondering what is missing in your life, maybe that something is Jesus. He has been pursuing you your whole life. If you have been running - stop. Turn around and run straight into His arms. I promise you will never regret it. 

In deep and humble love for my Savior I wish you a blessed Easter. 

He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed. Hallelujah!

Monday, April 18, 2011

2000 years ago

A few years ago, I had the wonderful experience of hearing Travis Cottrell perform this song live at a Living Proof event. Every inch of me stood up in goosebumps. It is such an amazing song and Travis has such an incredible talent. I created a powerpoint presentation to go along with the music. For the past two years I have been trying to figure out how to get the powerpoint presented just as I created it and publish it to the internet. Well, the word is that you can't. Or at least I can't seem to find the right software. SlideShare has converted my powerpoint into a slide show. It doesn't have quite the same impact without the cool transitions and the music track didn't transfer quite on target, but the message remains the same. Travis doesn't need my help to make this a powerful song.
The second to last slide is the only one that was a total failure in the transfer and you can't read it at all, but the line is "He died to save your life ... live for Him.

Enjoy! Happy Easter!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sharing Your Faith

Do you openly share your faith with others? Or do you quietly or boldly live your life in a way that shows your faith to those with whom you interact?

A friend of my daughter has been going to church with us the last few weeks. Having her with us has been a real eye opener for me. My children have attended church and Sunday school since they were born and they are familiar with every aspect of the church service and every nook and cranny in the church itself. To listen with ears that have not heard and eyes that have not seen brings to light a whole new worship experience. I wonder what our young friend thinks as she quietly takes it all in.

Our Sunday school staff has graciously accepted her into their fold. She is very good at asking questions, I just hope we are all providing clear answers. I worry that what makes perfect sense to us may not make any sense to her.  I hope and pray the Holy Spirit will tend to the seeds that are being planted and that her heart and mind fully open to the joyous wonder found in a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Holy Week begins today with Palm Sunday. At our church the pastors lead the children on a parade around the church while they wave palm fronds and sing "All Glory, Laud and Honor". I can see how this can be a rather strange church ritual to someone who has no idea what Palm Sunday even is. There was a lot of explaining to do on the way home. It will be interesting to see how she absorbs the lessons coming as the week progresses through Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter.

What really surprises me, but I suppose it shouldn't, is that someone living in the Bible belt can live thirteen years and never hear anything about Jesus. Folks, we are failing in our own communities to share the knowledge of our Savior. We can't look around us and assume that everyone knows what we do. It seems so stupid, but I have to tell you, this is a difficult area for me to practice obedience. I know many people feel the same way, but lives are at stake. What is a few minutes of discomfort or embarrassment in exchange for saving a life?

Scripture tells us that until the whole world hears, Jesus will not return. Place your fears aside, trust in the Holy Spirit to give you the words and be the voice crying out in the wilderness that is your own community. 

In His Peace -

Until the Whole World Hears

Monday, April 11, 2011

Siblings and Storms

This weekend brought some severe thunderstorms and tornado warnings across the state of Iowa. Saturday was a cool and cloudy day until about 4 o'clock in the afternoon and it heated up to the low 80's in a hurry. A cool front and a warm front slamming together created a wild night of stormy weather that sparked off right around our city.

We were having a quiet evening for the most part. Our middle child, Rachel, was at the mall selling cookies with her Girl Scout troop. The youngest, Cameron, was getting ready for bed. I was sitting in the kitchen hemming a pair of pants (shocking, but true!) and Emily was sitting with me working on her scrap books. We had seen the sky darken and had been periodically checking the weather. I was finally getting the chance to watch My Big Fat Greek Wedding  and was flipping to the weather during the commercials.

Suddenly Emily gets all wide-eyed and says "Was that the tornado siren?!?" We live a little over a mile out of town and it is difficult to hear them out here. I muted the TV and sure enough the sirens were going off. She grabs her stuff and hollers to her Dad and brother that we need to go to the basement. Then she sets her stuff down and says "What about Rachel? You have to go get Rachel!". At this point she is up and down like a cork bobbing on the sea. I can see that panic may be getting the best of her. "Uh, Em?", I respond, "You want me to go now while the tornado sirens are going off to get your sister at the mall?" (The mall which has a very well-built tornado shelter?). The cork sinks herself back into the chair for another millisecond. "NO! You need to stay here!!" To which we both cracked up laughing because she realized she was being slightly unreasonable and moderately hysterical.

I will admit I was none to pleased to have our family split up during severe weather, but no sense in stressing out about the things you have no control over. What did please me was realizing that no matter how much my children aim to annoy and pester each other, they do love each other. There was a brief lull between storms and Rachel was delivered safely home by her very brave troop leader. Rachel didn't much enjoy her time in the mall tornado shelter and was thankful to be home. After a family cuddle on the couch she promptly moved her bedding and her rabbits downstairs to sleep. Emily, refused to allow the four legged critters to sleep in her room, but did begrudgingly allow the sister to sleep there. All was well with our little world - all the bad stuff missed us and we were all safe and sound under one roof.

Not everyone in our community was so lucky. We didn't lose even a tree branch at our place, but the communities of Early and Mapleton, Iowa were hit hard by tornado activity. Even with all the damage in those towns, and others in the path of these dangerous storms, nary a soul was lost. Everything that was damaged is replaceable or repairable. It will be a long road for these small communities but folks are rallying around them to clean-up and rebuild. That is the beauty of small town living- neighbors still help neighbors, and it is a wonderful thing to see.

Storms can be frightening. Life is full of storms, not just storms brought on by weather, but by our choices, our finances, marriages, children, businesses, the economy and a myriad of other difficulties that blow through our lives for a day or for a season. Remember that God is in control, even if it feels like your life is totally out of control, hang in there. Trust in the One who created the heavens and the earth and you.

In His Peace -