Saturday, March 29, 2008

A Little R & R

For those of you who read this thing (all three of you!), I'm out of town the week of March 30th - April 6th. No big deal, but didn't want you to wonder if I had quit. I'll post as I can.


Beam Me Up?

So Jesus finishes the day with the five thousand, and the disciples go ahead and leave without Him. The head across the lake to Capernaum, which is a fair distance. They are rowing hard, and don't forget, many of them are experienced fisherman. They are about 3 1/2 miles into the trip, working at it, in a storm. Then Jesus catches up to them, walking on the water. I don't know if this implies that they were making no speed at all in the boat, and Jesus caught them. Or it may be saying that He "transported" to the middle of the lake, and appeared to them.

Either way, they are freaked out, like anyone would be. Especially at this time in history, where lore and legend is a way of life. Jesus just tells them to stop being afraid, and the take Him in.

Then, immediately, they find themselves at the other shore. Again, not real clear. Could be they were almost there, and didn't catch it in the storm? Possible, but not likely. It seems to be more pointing to another issue of being "transported" from the middle of the lake to the other side. (It's 8 miles wide at it's widest point).

So, we have this story of Jesus walking on water, possibly transporting Himself through time and space, as well as possibly transporting a boat full of disciples. Why?

It is just to be cool? Is Jesus showboating? :)

I doubt it. He can do way cooler stuff than this to show off. There's a point to the story. It might be a reminder that when we feel out on our own, in rough waters, Jesus can show up when and how He wants to. It's no problem for Him. And He can pull us right out of it when and where He wants to. Equally no problem. So if we are in a storm, we really shouldn't be afraid (the only words He says in the story). We are okay, no matter how seasick we feel.

That's good news for me. Life is often stormy. But it doesn't have to be scary.

What do you guys think? Comment back and let me know.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

That's a Lot of Fillet O Fish Sandwiches!

This story is so cool! I love the stories like this one. In John 6:1-15, Jesus crosses the sea to another part of the country. But people follow him, probably by boat and on foot. I'm sure they gathered a crowd as they went, so that by the time Jesus sets up shop, a huge crowd of over 5000 people is there.

Note that the Passover is coming (vs. 4). Jesus intentionally does miracles with bread and care around the passover each year of His ministry, it seems. The details and planning are so cool on His part!

Then he sets Phillip up. He knows He's going to feed the people, but He wants Phillip in on the deal. Of course, Peter jumps in with his faith and goes half way. He always gives thanks before a miracle, pointing straight to God the Father. Then He feeds everyone as much as they wanted. This is in a culture where people struggle to find food, He feeds them until they are full.

So, of course, they want to make Him their king. They are going to do it by force, it seems. That is a desperate group of people! But He runs away and hides.

Okay, so if this was me, I would likely have done the miracle, pointed half of the credit towards myself, shifting just enough to God to look humble, and then graciously accepted their call to be King, assuming it was God's "will". I have so far to go to become like Christ! He is so focused on what He is here to do. He has laser intensity on glorifying the Father. My prayer for the day is that I can become so much better at that same thing.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

"Of" or "For"? I have no clue.

Jesus continues on His tough rant in John 5:31-47. He points to John's testimony as proof. All of the religious guys liked John, and trusted him. John said Jesus is the One. Why don't they believe him?

But more importantly, God Himself is testifying to Jesus' power through the miracles and signs Jesus does. Then Jesus goes a step farther. He claims that if God's love was in the men, they would recognize Jesus for who He really is. I find that interesting. It's not the wisdom of God, the knowledge of God, the education of God that opens eyes to the Truth. It's the love of God.

In reading this, I wondered if that meant that they didn't have a love from God ("the love of God") or they didn't have a love for God ("the love of God"). It could be taken both ways in the English language. So, I did some study. Usually when something is a little vague in our language, if you look at the original language (in this case, ancient Greek), it will clarify it's meaning. So, I looked it up.

Ironically, it's no more clear in the original writing than it is in ours. It could be the love for God, or the love from God was missing in them. My guess is, Jesus said it that way on purpose. It is both at the same time. It makes sense. If we are not pursuing God on His terms, on His ground, we definitely won't see Him. We won't receive His love if we want everything to be our way. That is what Jesus is going after with the religious guys. They had their systems and thoughts and understandings of God. The rules had replaced the ruler. Because of that, the God they followed was a small one they had made up. They were missing the Living One, and because of that, they didn't understand His Son either, even though He was right in front of them.

Before we get too hard on these guys, how many times do we just assume that God is a capitalist; that His greatest concern is how much money and stuff we have? How many times do we just assume that God belongs to a political party, typically the same one we belong to? How many times do we use God to justify what we want to do? ("I really feel like God wants me to go on a vacation I can't afford.") We allow our beliefs and systems to dictate who God can and can not be. The problem is, that isn't God. Often, when Jesus shows up, His way of doing things looks really weird to us because it doesn't fit within our system. Then we either have to change our system, or decide that it wasn't really Jesus. And the love of God dies a little within us. It doesn't take long before we are religious, and out of love.

But never miss the fact that Jesus confronts these guys so that they might change. He's not intimidated by them, He doesn't need their support, He's not even trying to save His own life. He cares about them. He wants better for them. He wants to save them from the mess they've made. He does the same for us. If we find ourselves cold towards God, feeling distant; it's because we've tried to fit God into our systems, instead of changing the systems to fit God. Turn around. Admit it to Him. He welcomes us home with open arms everytime.

Do You Hear What I Hear?

Today I was reminded of the power of words. I have one young lady who is a seventh grade student. She is a wonderful girl, and really tries hard to be someone who gives love and can receive love. But, like a lot of students her age, she's scared. Scared of failing. Scared of being unpopular. Scared of being ugly. Just scared.

Somehow, words and meanings have gotten crossed at youth group last night, leaving her in tears. The catch is, I don't think anyone else was aware that they had done such harm. I'm not sure that the others were intentionally saying things in order to cause pain. I believe it was just a mistake.

But for her, the pain is real. She heard what she heard, and it hurt.

No deep lesson here. Just for us to be aware of each other, and how we speak. Our meaning isn't always as clear to everyone else as it is to us. Love is important.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Like Father, Like Son

Things take a hard turn in John 5:16 -30. Jesus is not making a lot of friends at the top of the social ladder, that is for sure. We see Him upset the religious leaders before this for working on a Sabbath when He heals the man. (Even though it isn't work to do the very thing you are created to do; to bring life). So, in this passage, Jesus gets into it with these leaders.

He takes things a step farther, and calls God His Father. To us, it's no big deal. We are used to language like this. But to a Jew in that day, God was not someone to be spoken of lightly. The wouldn't even say the name of God. They would literally refer to Him as they spoke by saying the phrase "the name of God" in their conversation, instead of saying His name. There was reverent distance between them and their creator. This was the God that was only seen once a year in the innermost courts by one priest, who could die for being there. And Jesus, this irreligious teacher, said that God was His father, and He was God's son. That was too much.

But Jesus doesn't care. He came to tell truth, and no one can stop Him from doing just that. He is here to give life, to raise the dead, and He has the power and authority to do it. But He is concerned with far more than just physical death. He is here to raise everyone who is dead spiritually, where it counts. The forever part. Not just the temporary part.

What of me? Do I look for ways to speak truth that heals, no matter what? I know that sometimes I am too reserved, too soft. I need to remember that Christ came to bring life to the dead. Now, I am His voice on this planet. He has promised to pass His power, His authority on to me, to you. What are we doing with it today?

Monday, March 24, 2008

Last One In the Pool Is...

With chapter five, we jump forward in time to a later date. Jesus heads up to Jerusalem, into the heart of the nation. There is this pool which has a tradition of being a healing place, where angels show up and heal people who can help themselves. The tradition was that when the angel would show up, the water would begin to stir around in the pool. The first blind, lame, or disabled person in would be healed. It was religion at it's best. God would show up, and you had to jump in and do your part for the miracle to occur.

Jesus is walking by all of the people at the gate, and notices this one man. He asks how long the guy has been unable to walk, and finds out it's been 38 years! That is a long time to be an invalid. It's possible that he might have been older than this, and suffered some kind of injury that made him paralyzed. (In vs. 14, Jesus says "you are well again.") This man would have had every reason to give up hope. He can't get into the water on his own, and when he tries, someone else beats him in.

But notice that he is still there. This is a place where legend says that God heals. That is enough for him. He is there. Somehow, he is there. Hoping. And Jesus takes all of this in. With all of the other people who are there with physical issues, Jesus spots this guy who has been hoping for healing for almost four decades, and Jesus comes to him.

It's a simple discussion. "Do you want to get well?" The guy answers the wrong question. The man answers why he isn't well yet, why he hasn't made it to the pool. But that isn't what Jesus is asking. He asks if the man wants to be healed. Jesus ignores his answer, to a point, and goes on. "Pick up your mat and walk", He tells him. The man does.

But there's a problem. It's Saturday, the Holy Day for the Jews. You weren't supposed to work on the Sabbath. Only rest. Carrying a mat around definitely qualified as work for those immersed in religion. They believed that God met you halfway, and it was up to you to meet Him the other half. So, it became a battle of the fittest. A process of natural elimination. The weaker wouldn't make it, the stronger would. So the rules got tougher and tougher to make it to God, and only the strongest, most fit spiritually would make it. So, when God said to take a rest once a week so you don't burn out, they turned rest into a process of extreme work about what you could not do. It was religion at it's best. Like the pool earlier.

Jesus takes it head on. Unwaivering. "Pick up your mat..." He knew what would happen. He was asking for it. And he set the formerly paralyzed man up to. He wanted to get the man to separate from the religious mindset of meeting God halfway. It seemed to work. When the Pharisees' got on him, he didn't waiver.

I wonder where I am trying to meet God halfway? I know I do it with my role in ministry. I need to produce certain things to be successful. But God says "no, you don't." I do it in my relationships, trying to make sure I'm in control so God will be impressed with me. But this is just religion. Religion makes us disabled and lame. God doesn't meet us halfway. He comes for us when we least expect it. May we take time today to see where we are trying to "do our part" and simply quit and trust Him.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Are There Roaming Charges for That Healing?

Jesus takes off from Samaria, and heads back towards Galilee, his home turf. I find the comment John inserts about a prophet not being respected in his home town confusing. It implies that Jesus is about to get blown off by the people back home. I understand what he means. Jesus comes back, and He is always Joseph's little boy, the carpenter's kid. "Isn't it cute that He thinks He's a rabbi? He's done so well. Mary must be so proud." You can hear them all now.

But when Jesus shows up, He is well received by everyone. They seem excited that He is there. So why the previous comment? I don't know. Maybe some of you guys will have an idea. If so, please post it for all of us to think about.

So, He shows up, and seems to be well received. And then the ruler comes looking for a miracle. Jesus seems to scold him for his unbelief. Maybe they were all being a little opportunistic. Maybe they were hoping to latch onto the local kids coattails or something. I don't know.

But even though Jesus seems a little put off by the guy, He still heals His child. That's the part I love. It seems there are mixed motives and issues going on, but Jesus doesn't take some stand on "principle" to "teach them a lesson". I probably would have, but He doesn't.

He heals the child. Instantly. From a distance. And John sees enough in it to write about it in his story.

My gut tells me there is more here than I am seeing. Any ideas?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Hey Lady, You Forgot Your Jar!

I hit John 4 today. One of the coolest stories. I love this one. Here, Jesus leaves Judea, because the Pharisees are beginning to get Him on their radar. I don't think it's out of fear, I wonder if He was worried they would try to buddy up to Him, to pull Him into their system. They seemed to respect John, and He was replacing John. Either way, He leaves town.

On His way home, He swings through Samaria. He could have went around Samaria, and avoided the people all together. The most religious did. But He chose to go through the middle, and because of that finds Himself at the well in the middle of the day. The woman He meets is at the well at an off time. Women came in the morning or evening, but she came in the middle around noon. At first we don't know why, but it comes out later that she's been married and divorced several times, and is living with a guy who isn't her husband. She apparently was difficult to get along with. You can see in how she goes back and forth with Jesus that she is strong and opinionated. Not the norm for that time. She doesn't seem to care.

But how Jesus responds to her is the kicker. He loves her from the start. He breaks every social barrier possible with her, and doesn't care either. I think that's why He likes her. She isn't afraid to do what she sees as best. Unfortunately, it's all been wasted on the wrong pursuits up until the time of the story.

Notice that the disciples are already used to Jesus doing crazy stunts like this. They don't ask what He's doing. They just step back when they return. She runs off so excited that she leaves the water jar, the reason she was there, behind.

Jesus makes a statement about how these people are ready for change. The forgotten, the outcast, the less. They are bursting with a desire to change, He says. "The fields are white for harvest". It's proven when the woman tells everyone her story, and they believe Jesus without even meeting Him (vs. 39). Then even more believe in Him once they spend time with Him (vs. 41). It's beautiful. They are bursting with a desire for God.

I pray that today I might see those who everyone overlooks, and bring them to Jesus. Not to my belief systems, my church, or my theology. But to Jesus. He can carry the conversation from there.

The Purple Nurple Illusiion

This is too fun!

This image is not animated in any way. It's just a static image.
You can see more here.

Monday, March 17, 2008

When Your Cousin is Cooler than You

I wonder how often I get in the way? I know I do, but how often?

I'm reading John 3:22-36 this morning, and John begins to get edged out by Jesus in the popularity battle. John has been faithful, living in the desert, serving God as he was called to do. Crowds start to follow him. They believe he is the one who is called to be the Messiah. Young men leave home to be with him in the desert to learn from him and be his disciples. The religious leaders come to him to ask him about God. He has arrived. The kid from the small town with no formal education has made it. Did he ever wonder if he was the Messiah?

Then his cousin Jesus starts coming around. Jesus must have been well known to the religious leaders and many other people before He started baptizing and preaching. So, Jesus shows up on John's turf (vs. 23), and starts doing the same job John has been doing. John's disciples get ticked and tell him about it. It reminds me of when another youth ministry is doing something cool, or when God publicly begins to work at another youth group in our area. I hear of kids who have been coming to our cool thing leaving and going to that cool thing.

When it happens to me, I tend to get jealous. Petty. Hurt. I question the effectiveness of what I'm doing. I dismiss the other ministry in my head with stuff like, "They're selling out. They're not teaching the Bible. That's why kids are going." You know, all of the stuff I hear other youth leaders accuse me and our ministry of doing. I think there is no way God can work anywhere but where I am, because, after all, I am here. I am the seat of all of His blessings.

But what of John? What is his response? Not the same as mine, that's for sure. He sees things as they really are. He understands his role, and the role that Christ has to play. What strikes me is there doesn't seem to be any underlying tension. He doesn't seem jealous, or worried about it. It seems like He knew it was coming, and it's all part of the plan. How did He know though? I mean, yeah, God told him. But how did He hear it in the middle of all of the other voices telling him "You are the man, John!" I have trouble discerning through those kinds of distracting, deceiving voices.

John gives his cousin center stage. He does it humbly. Almost joyfully, it seems. My prayer for the day is that I might be re-shaped to be like that. A Kingdom builder, not settling for just my kingdom building. Big K, not a little k.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

I Want to thank Jesus...and my mom ... for this touchdown!

Nicodemus comes to Jesus and wants to know if Jesus is from God or not (click to read John 3:1-21) Jesus doesn't waste any time with the guy, and jumps straight to a discussion on being reborn. I've heard the story a bunch of times, but today several things hit me, some from my re-reading of John 3, some from using the NICNT commentary. Nicodemus is a Pharisee, who wasn't tied to the temple. So Jesus tearing the Temple apart wouldn't have bothered him. In fact, the Pharisee's may have enjoyed it, since it gave the Sadducee's a tough time. So he comes at night. I've always heard it was because he was ashamed to come during the day. Maybe. But it could have been to avoid the crowd's as well. Either way, Jesus doesn't get on him for it. He accepts him in and they talk, one on one.

Jesus tells Nicodemus he has to be born again, and Nicodemus balks. I always wondered how Nicodemus could be so dumb as to think Jesus was discussing physical birth. But think about a few things. As a ruling member of the Pharisees, Nicodemus was the ultimate example of the best religion had to offer. He is trying to learn, he is humbling approaching this rogue Rabbi, he keeps all of the rules all of the time. He is a great Jew among Jews. Jesus says you've got to start over. You've got to begin from the beginning. The life you are living isn't ever going to work for what you want to do. You have to begin at step one. Somehow in all of my 20th/21st century protestant jargon, I've missed that piece of being born again. Nicodemus has to let go of his system, which remember was at it's core, given by God to Moses, and start over. He has the religious stuff so messed up, the only hope is to try with a fresh start. A rebirth.

Surely an extremely well educated man like Nicodemus isn't going to think Jesus is speaking of being physically born again, right? Right. So what do we make of his reply. He is joining Jesus in His conversation, I think. I think he completely gets Jesus' point. How can someone who has done it one way their entire life just start over? It's not possible. You might as well ask him to be physically born again as to ask this.

What does Jesus reply? He says it's not about what our bodies do (Pharisee's rules and regulations). It's about the heart, the spirit. You have to have a new start in your spirit. Don't be surprised at this. It is possible, because it's up to the Holy Spirit to change you, not up to you to convince the Holy Spirit.

When Nicodemus still struggles with the idea of letting it all go, Jesus pushes the lesson. He offers Nicodemus what He wants, knowledge of deeper things. Remember, Nic has spent his whole life studying truth and God. The offer of a miracle worker to know more would be completely enticing. But Jesus says you have start over to get there.

Then Jesus starts into the famous football game passage of John 3:16 and following. There is some debate whether it's John's writing, or Jesus' speech. I never knew that. I just assumed it was John's stuff. But it seems plausible that it could be Jesus speaking about Himself here. He points the conversion to Himself as the answer. The answer to starting over. He is not religion. He is the hope for a new beginning.

I'm so glad. I so quickly run to be a Pharisee. I like it when my rules, my way of living, my understanding of the world gets a God stamp on it, and I can convert everyone to my life my, my way. It's so comfortable for me if everyone is like me. Jesus looks me in the eye, and says, "let's try this again. You've gotta start over."

Don't miss the fact that Nicodemus comes at night, and Jesus draws the comparison in verses 19-21 about leaving the dark and living in the light. He is the light, I am the dark. My way leads to bruised shins and pain. His way leads to light and life. Give me the light! Every time!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Jesus Goes Nuts

Jesus goes nuts. That's how the passage in John 2:13-25 ought to be titled. He does this cool miracle with the wine and the wedding and then He goes to the temple and breaks out a homemade whip. Unreal. But the smaller details are hitting me this time through. He goes up against the financial center of his day (as Brad discussed in his sermon this past Sunday. you can get the audio here.) He wrecks havoc, and the pharisees ask Him for a miracle. Is it sarcasm on their part? Obviously, word of the wedding has already spread. I think we too often forget how well known Jesus would have been before His "ministry years" even began. Maybe they weren't really surprised at His actions. Maybe they had seen it coming in the young student who "just didn't get it". Maybe He was a huge disappointment to the religious community, being such a bright and capable student who wanted to run off on such weird tangents.

So, they ask for a miracle sign. Jesus has them. He could turn one into a sheep, and they would all follow Him. But He doesn't. I wish He would have. Everything would be so much cleaner and easier. But God is seldom about the clean or easy. Look at His birth story in Matthew or Luke for proof on that. He rambles about tearing down and rebuilding the temple in three days. You'll notice that NO one understood that remark for the next three years. That's a slow processing lesson! Three years?!

But then He leaves and goes and heals the blind and cures the sick when the Pharisee's aren't around. He doesn't give them the control, He holds on to it. Is it because He's afraid of them? Is He power hungry? Why won't He dance when they say dance? You find the answer in verses 24, 25. Jesus doesn't entrust Himself to us totally, because He knows all people. He doesn't need us to testify for each other, or to put each other down. He knows what is inside of each of us. He did then. He does now.

So when God doesn't want to do things my way, when He doesn't want to dance when I yell "dance!", at least I know why. He knows me. I'll hurt myself and everyone else with that kind of power. He is not afraid to serve, give, sacrifice, or love. He just knows me. And He protects me. So, He tells me no for my own good. Far more often than I would like to see. But He does it anyway. He knows me.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Hey Jesus, Let's Get This Party Started!

John 2:1-11 is the story of Jesus turning the water into wine. There is so much here in this story, and most of it has been discussed a hundred times in different sermons. The whole story starts with a marriage, a joining to two families, two people. Just like Jesus coming for us to return us to His Father's family. It takes place on the third day. I'm pretty sure something else goes down on a third day later in Jesus' life. Jesus provides wine for the wedding. Wine is the symbol of celebration, joy, happiness. He creates the wine from water, a symbol throughout the Bible for life. So we have Jesus turning life into joy on the third day while two families are being joined. Yeah, the symbolism runs wide and deep. It's beautiful. And He doesn't engineer it, so to speak. It's not a finely tuned stage show, it's something He is invited to. Only God could make it all come together like that.

Some of the things I don't get are the interaction between Him and his mom. Why does she assume He can do something about there being no wine? What has he done before in private with her while he was growing up that makes her so completely confident that He can and will fix it? What does Jesus mean when He says that it's not yet His time? Time for what? It seems that He is saying it's not time for Him to reveal Himself. But if that is true, then why does He go ahead and do it? It seems like He is choosing between God and mom; and chooses mom. Was He wrong, was it it His time and He didn't know? How did Mary know better than He? Why does Mary completely blow Him off in verse 5, telling the servants to do what He says? She totally puts Him on the spot. It always seems like a strange miracle to introduce Himself with. It's no wonder that people accused Him of being a partier, a drunk. He made about 150 gallons of wine with His first miracle. That's a lot of money He provided. That's a lot of drinking.

One thing is clear. Jesus is not easy to wrap my head around. This miracle doesn't fit into my clean cut view of Jesus as a good 20th century Baptist who doesn't drink, smoke, chew or run with girls who do. I know that's not who He is, but it's so ingrained in me that I default to it. But this Jesus, getting pushed around by him mom, making enough wine to get several hundred people drunk, I don't know what to do with.

I'd love to hear any of your ideas.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Where are You staying?

I began reading the book of John again today. I've been skipping around a bit lately, and find that I need to come back and read a book from beginning to end sometimes. I haven't read John in a while, and felt like it would be a good place to land.

The challenge sometimes is to read the Bible like you're reading it for the first time. To try and listen to the word play and phrases, to watch for the pictures being painted. Have you read John chapter 1 lately? Wow! Reading through it this morning, I love how John slowly paints this picture of this amazing One who made everything, only to have everything He made completely miss the fact that He had come. He doesn't give away Jesus' name until verse 17, building tension and mystery around this amazing one who came to make a few people His children. It's such a cool telling of story.

Then there is John the Baptist. I mean, John the writer introduces Jesus, and then dumps Him right back out of the story, jumping over to John the Baptist. John the Baptist has to go so far out of his way to convince everyone that he isn't the Christ, but they don't seem to want to believe him when he points Jesus out as the one they are seeking. It's this beautiful retelling of the first part of chapter one.

Then he gets to Jesus, and a few people take John the Baptist at his word and begin to follow Jesus. But they are just the common people. The religious guys from verse 24 are nowhere to be seen. It's the common men who find Jesus and follow him. Andrew, Peter, and Phillip.

Reading this makes me want to fall in love with Jesus all over again. What an amazing One who would come, facing such rejection from the very people He created. He is rejected, even though He clearly will take in anyone who comes seeking Him. He is not a picky friend, that seems clear in this first chapter.

He does this same thing for me everyday. He creates me, holding me together, knitting my thoughts and dreams for me. Then I chase everything and everyone else around, ignoring the one who sustains me while I run. What a moron I can be! I want to be like Andrew, running after Jesus, asking where He is going so I can go and hang out with him (1:39). That's my prayer for the day, to chase Him and spend time with Him.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

What a Great Show

Last night we had two bands come in and play a show. Grey Holiday and Inhabited were here, and it was really a great show! If you were around, and didn't come, wow, did you miss out. I was so impressed with both bands.

Grey Holiday is a young band who is starting to make a push, and they are such a great bunch of guys. I loved their hearts, and their love of students. I will definitely look for a chance to have them back. Not only are they great musicians who clearly love Jesus, they spent so much time hanging with our kids, playing guitar hero, answering questions, and more. Plus, they were the first band we've had who travels with a heavily modified upright piano. Here they are in action:

We also ended up landing Inhabited to play. They are a group who has had national exposure, played some really big venues, and ended up playing for us in our little room for our 70 people. It was cool. They were the epitomy of professionalism. Yet, they were crystal clear about their faith, and showed so much love to everyone there as well. I so appreciated these guys. Sarah completely laid her heart, and the truth of Jesus, on the line for the kids. The girl can preach! Here they are:

But what hit me today was simply how fun it was. It was fun to have all of our students dancing, singing, laughing, and just being themselves. It was fun watching the bands use their gifts and skills to sing and play their guts out. It was fun watching Hogan use his gifts behind the sound board, Jim, Joann, Phyllis, and Kristy all hanging with kids and serving, and just watching family be family. Sometimes that is the most important thing.

I think last night that is what we needed most. I know it was what I needed. I just didn't realize it going in. I was so healed inside being a part of it all. I guess there is no deep lesson in it. Just a gift. But what a gift it is! I love our church family. It's amazing.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Lessons from a Virus

Ok, so I'm home sick today. I'm not sure the last time I took a sickday, but I had to today. No fun. At all. I can't even play with my girls, for fear of giving my nasty cold to them. I always feel like such a burden on my family when I'm sick. Blech!

But then I watch my family really pitch in and work together. The girl's try harder to be a help. Of course Jill always works incredibly hard, and is such a servant.

I watch my youth leaders step in and take over my roles for youth group. Annette is teaching, Ron and Cathy have the worship team under control. Everyone comes together. They are simply amazing as well!

And I realize yet another facet to the whole "in my weakness He is strong" verse from the Bible. Here I am, unable to help anyone, and forced to accept everyone's help, for at least a little while. And God completely covers all of the bases.

The real question is why am I surprised? Because I want to believe that He needs me. He can't get things done without me. But again I relearn that He can and does. My role is one of priviledge, not actual responsibility.

And I can rest easy. I just need to remind myself of this when I am functioning at a little higher capacity. Hopefully, it won't take a cold bug to remind me next time.