Saturday, January 20, 2007

Not That Cold

Yesterday afernoon the temperature was dipped down to -25 (-13 F). That was about the coldest I've seen so far.

But then later in the evening, it started to lightly snow and had warmed up to about -15 (5 F).

So maybe this weekend it will be warm enough for some sledding or other outdoor fun.
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Sunday, January 14, 2007

Even when it's cold, Johanna likes to ride. She just doesn't like to hold on.
She's not quite saying, "look, no hands!" But if I know her, she's thinking it.
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Prodical Power

Here's a shot of the dramatic telling of the prodigal son story. I realized today from Luke 15 that Jesus told it in response to religious people who were always close to God, obeying his rules and or at least WORKING HARD at it. They objected to Jesus eating with unreligious and 'unclean' people. Why?

Just like the older brother in the story, they more about their own so called love for God, than about seeing other people transformed by God's love. It hit me today that the Pharasees and teacher's of God's words were jealous of the attention 'the sinners' were getting from Jesus, God Himself.

The older brother in the prodigal son story, far from rejoicing that the younger son was found, like being back from the dead, He is jealous that the attention of His father is heaping on a person considered undeservering or 'less'.

The real thing that the older brother doesn't get is that the love the Father lavishes on his found son, is the exact same love he has for the older son. The Father is rejoicing because he not has a perfect opportunity to demonstrate how much love he has for his sons.

But he and the Pharisees are robbed of receiving that love because they won't join the party that rejoices over the lost, the messy, the undeserving. They don't see that rejoicing over the lost person, coin, or sheep just proves the value of ALL sheep, coins, or above all lost sons and daughters of God!

Self-righteous people won't join the rejoicing heart of the Father, which is mercy, and sacrifice and celebration. And in doing so they miss out on His mercy and celebration for themselves. But joining in the rejoicing of God's heart, we again taste and remember his mercy on us, in our own story of faith.

And realizing God's grace in our life is like renewable wind from heaven, power for doing what needs to be done, no matter how hard it may seem. Where do you fit in the story? Read it here:;&version=31;
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The Unthinkable in Worship

Today at church, the new people were standing to introduce themselves, say where they're from, and whatever else. Though they don't seem to be any less embarrassed about doing this that Americans would be, they don't seem to mind doing it.

One new guy sat in the front row, wore a suit, and introduced him and his wife as believers.

Then the welcome song is sung to them and all the other first time visitors....

Another song or two later and the church leader says goodbye to everyone.

But not before the guy in the front row stands up, grabs the guitar, announces that he's a praise song teacher, and starts playing and singing. Now the unthinkable comes in when you imagine this scene in the church you attended last week. Can you imagine a visitor bum-rushing the show at your church? The response here? Everyone heartily joins in and sings loud and with feeling the chorus: "We sing your praises Jesus!" Under Jesus I guess we're all just part of the family, visitor or not. It was a funny but refreshing experience for me.

A footnote, we were visitors ourselves. We drove 90 minutes north at the invitation of our church in that city. Our pastor put together a drama, worship and testimony team and conducted half the service. The local pastor and worship leader preached and led songs for the other half. The last song...well, next to the last, was a joint effort by both song groups. Then came the guy who jumped up front for the unplanned finale.

I hope God enjoyed his children cooperating in worship as much as I did.