Have you gotten anyone wet?

Hahaha! Perfect!!!

See, there's this thing called biology...

Recently I was watching some hilarious baptismal videos, children mostly, possessing an exuberance and enthusiasm for both Jesus and the water. Cannonballs into a pool that left the pastor and the front row drenched. A little guy in a river so proud of his ability to swim, he alarms everyone by taking off underwater and doing several somersaults. It all had me rolling on the floor.

Our pastor did not know I had just seen all of those videos, so I was quite delighted when he spoke of living water and asked, “Have you gotten anyone wet this week?”

He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.-John 7:38

Oh, a big amen to that! Have you enthusiastically and exuberantly splashed the living water of your faith all over the front row? Have you done a cannonball? Do you…

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“Gentlemen, start…your…engines!”

garden lastRace fans, let’s play name association.  I say Memorial Day weekend, and you say—

Okay, if you’re not well versed in racing (which, in truth, I’m not either, it’s just that I grew up in Indianapolis), I’ll give you this clue…

indy car
credit:http://sploid.gizmodo.com

Now, the individuals who purposefully strap themselves into these death traps to hurdle themselves around the Indy 500’s “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” two and a half mile oval at 220mph are, well,…there are several adjectives that come to mind.  At least they wear helmets, (which is more than I can get my middle schoolers to do when they ride their bikes.)  This year, there was an impressively colossal two-car wreck around lap 55, with the second car doing an airborne 360 (open cockpit, mind you) into the inside railing and safety net.  By design, the car shatters to absorb the impact. 

And the rider gets up and walks away.

The next day, I’m working peacefully in my yard and Continue reading ““Gentlemen, start…your…engines!””

The Shack Out Back

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280Heeding the call to stop concentrating exclusively on their own interests and start looking after God’s, the tide begins to change beneficially for the returning Hebrew exiles.  But there must have been a discouraging note for some of the old-timers who remembered the good ole’ days of their beloved Solomon’s Temple, now summarily destroyed.  As always, God realized this bent in our human psyche:

“Does anyone remember this house— this Temple— in its former splendor? How, in comparison, does it look to you now? It must seem like nothing at all!  

But now the LORD says: Be strong, Zerubbabel. Be strong, Jeshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people still left in the land. And now get to work, for I am with you, says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.  My Spirit remains among you, just as I promised when you came out of Egypt. So do not be afraid.”

All this began to happen when the people obeyed God in the very tangible way of laying the foundation to the new temple.   Here’s what I glean from it:

  1. God still speaks to me, and tells me to be strong.
  2. I am not the only one “left in the land”, and I am not alone in this struggle. Granted, I may have to work to see who else is under the rock and rubble with me, but I am most certainly not alone.
  3. I have a directive—get to work.
  4. I can do this because God is with me, and He is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, a formidable ally indeed.
  5. I have the power of God’s Spirit.
  6. God is the same God—He’s brought me “out of Egypt” before, and He’ll do it again. His character and calling do not change.  (Yessss!)

In this life, things tend to crumble, and not merely bank accounts.  Relationships and families, dreams and plans, health and vitality,…and churches.  There’s just no sense sitting around pining over the dust of Solomon’s Temple when God’s calling me to build something new.  Stop comparing.  Stop waiting.  And above all, stop whining.

jackhammerAnd get to work.

Haggai 2:3-5  Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

“Combining” us together (excuse me, couldn’t help it…)

This is a combine:

harvest-1523791_1920

This is a header:

combine-harvester-1611203_1920

Actually, that’s only one kind of header; different headers are needed for different jobs.  It’s a far cry from the old back-breaking scythe of past centuries.  Not that modern farming is a walk in the park, since I’m talking about the folks that put in 14-16 hour days to put bread on our tables. 

My friend (who farms) told me recently of a little 2-year-old boy whose mom (another farming family) picked up a toy combine at a garage sale.  Obviously, it was used, and was missing the header, but the boy was so young, mom didn’t think this would be a problem.  Kids that age have great imaginations anyway, right?

Until she gave it to her son, and he remarked, “Where’s the header?  How do you expect me to get any work done without the header?!?”

In my defense, I’m from the ‘burbs, and my milk and bread came from the grocery store.  So evidently, a combine is not as effective (like, at all?) without its header.  Missing pieces in farming equipment mean no more bread on my table, and imaginary bread doesn’t fill the stomach very well.

All this brings to my mind what the Apostle Paul talks about when he compares the Body of Christ to an actual human body.  It’s that crucial idea that we need each other to be fully productive.  If the hand says to the foot “I don’t need you”, then the hand probably isn’t going anywhere!  Finally, Paul makes this simple but essential conclusion:

“All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.”

That word, together, is highlighted in my brain.  Even if I’m just a little screw that helps hold the header in place, when I take my part away, (perhaps due to offense, neglect of my health, complacency, whatever), the harvest is at risk.  Of course, this also applies to those around me, the one in the next pew whose part seems dirty and squeaky and maybe even a little rusty.  I need—no, I am accountable, to allow the Lord of the Harvest to put my piece in place with all the other pieces.

So we can get some actual work done, without just pretending.  Even a two-year-old could tell the difference.

1 Corinthians 12:27  Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

No strings attached

wood 2I know of a professor who years ago had a colleague saying that he “tried Christianity for a while” but that it didn’t give him what he wanted, so he went off in search of an alternative.  Buddha or something. 

I’m learning to never be intimidated by people with lots of letters behind their names. They are really smart, no contest that, but Continue reading “No strings attached”

Preserving more than berries

garden lastMy first attempts at gardening several years ago were pretty funny.  The bunnies, as much as I love them, kept helping themselves to my tender tomato plants.  I’d come out to check my little lovelies, and DRAT!  There went another one!  So I started to concoct various creative boundaries and kept replanting.  I even tried that trick of putting a garden hose around the area so the furry thumpers would think there was a snake lurking about.

It was less than effective, except to amuse Bob, who christened the area my DMZ. 

My friend, Louise, has a garden.  I mean, a real garden.  My garden is more of an adult re-living her childhood of playing in the dirt.  Louise and her husband—they actually know what they’re doing.

When they moved in a few years ago, there was no Continue reading “Preserving more than berries”

Let’s call on “Pain & Distress” this time

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280

I wear a ring I bought back in high school (1970’s, just to be clear) that bears the ichthus (fish) symbol of the first century Christians.  One time, someone pointed out my ring and asked if I were a Pisces. 

Sigh.

Obviously, I’m not an astrological kind of person.  As a citizen of Jesus’ kingdom, I certainly don’t believe that being born under any kind of sign or pronouncement necessitates my destiny. 

So I like really like this little piece about a Continue reading “Let’s call on “Pain & Distress” this time”

When 1 Samuel 16:7 Rescues a Disappointing Life

Ever tempted to feel mediocre, tucked firmly away in obscurity? Think again…

Brandon J. Adams

crossingI’m not where I hoped to be.

That’s a common phrase amongst us, but there are seasons that echo it louder than others.

It used to be that when I looked around and saw others living larger lives than mine, I’d console myself with the knowledge that they were older than I. You’re young. Just give it a few more years, I’d say. Then I’ll be there.

Didn’t happen.

Well, I overstate. Getting a bachelor’s degree and being almost out of debt from it is an elephantine blessing. I could certainly be in worse health. I’m not desperately miserable at work. The list goes on. I’ve known for a while that there will always be someone better off, and that chasing that is chasing after the wind.

But the battle rose to a new pitch recently when I took another look around at the powerful men surrounding me and realized with a start…they’re all…

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