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May 11, 2007

Chapter-a-Day Lamentations 1

God has right on his side. I'm the one who did wrong. Lamentations 1:18a (TM)

It's always amazing to me how quickly I question, and often blame, God for the consequences of my own stupid choices. "Why would God do this?" I find myself asking, when the reality is that it was my own foolishness that led to my circumstances. I live in a fallen world in which sin, evil and their consequences affect me each day. Both my own sin, as well as the sins of others.

It's only when I accept responsibility for my wayward desires, my thoughtless words, my selfish choices and my foolish actions that the process of repentance, forgiveness, healing and maturity can begin in me. It's only when I accept the reality of others shortcomings that the process of understanding, forgiveness, grace and maturity can continue.

May 09, 2007

Chapter-a-Day Philippians 3

I'm not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don't get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I've got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I'm off and running, and I'm not turning back. Philippians 3:12-14 (TM)

Anyone who knows me is well aware that I don't have it all together. Life is messy and, like most people, I have a long list of mistakes to my credit. And yet, I believe the more transparent we are about our own failures and shortcomings - the more real our relationship with Christ becomes.

The greater my need, the more precious the grace.
The more precious the grace - the better the understanding of the cost.
The better the understanding of the cost - the deeper my gratitude to Christ.
The deeper my gratitude to Christ - the less important everything else becomes.

The road is long, but I'm pressin' on. You're welcome to join me.

May 08, 2007

Chapter-a-Day Philippians 2

Do everything readily and cheerfully—no bickering, no second-guessing allowed! Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God. Carry the light-giving Message into the night so I'll have good cause to be proud of you on the day that Christ returns. You'll be living proof that I didn't go to all this work for nothing. Philippians 2:14-16 (TM)

I was in a meeting the other night. A couple of people in the meeting are regular V.D.P.s (Very Draining People). Negative, vocal, and hyper-critical - you can almost feel a cloud of tension descend when one of these people walks into the room. They are no fun to be around, and alienate almost everyone near them. It's sad. It's sort of like the strange, repulsive odor that's been eminating from our kitchen the past few days - and we can't figure out where it's coming from.

I was struck by the verse today because I want to be a "breath of fresh air" when I walk in a room. Instead of a V.D.P. - I want to be a V.R.P. (Very Refreshing People). I want the air around me to be filled with love, hope, faith and encouragement.

As I spend much of my day with clients today - I'm trying to mindful of my S.O. (spirit odor).

May 07, 2007

VWs Survive Another Tulip Time

California_raisn_orange_sunglasses Well, the weather was nasty all around us, but Pella's Tulip Time squeaked by better than expected. Thursday's weather was the worst with rain and cold, but Friday and Saturday were both dry and Saturday actually saw nice temperatures. Wendy, Madison and I enjoyed being in the play, but we're glad it's done. We had a great crowds who seemed to appreciate the show. Wendy's Grandma VH and Aunt Tracy came Thursday. We had Mom & Dad VW down on Friday and then my brother, Tim, along with my sister Jody and her family on Saturday.

Madison not only performed in the play, but her school show choir performed on the grandstand Friday night. She was really happy that Grandpa and Grandma got to see her.

The highlight of Tulip Time this year came for me on Saturday night. The local theatre groups (USP, Theatre Central, and Pella Shakespeare) were asked to get in costumes and ride a float in the Saturday evening parade. Wendy and I donned our costumes from the Tulip Time play, but Taylor thought it would be funny to dress up like the California raisin. She looked hilarious and the crowds - especially the kids - loved her. She brought a lot of smiles and laughs to people along the parade route.

Another show over. We're ready for a break!

Chapter-a-Day Philippians 1

So how am I to respond? I've decided that I really don't care about their motives, whether mixed, bad, or indifferent. Every time one of them opens his mouth, Christ is proclaimed, so I just cheer them on! Philippians 1:18-21 (TM)

I will admit that most television and radio preachers turn my stomach. In most cases, their message gets lost on me amidst the cries for financial support and the hawking of the latest books and trinkets. It's easy for me to have a critical spirit in that regard. But, then I remember these words from Philippians and remind myself that God alone is their judge. I can always turn it off or change the channel. I've to take off my Junior Holy Spirit badge, slide my rear end off of God's judgment seat and go about doing what God's called me to do.

May 02, 2007

Chapter-a-Day Ephesians 6

Fathers, don't exasperate your children by coming down hard on them. Take them by the hand and lead them in the way of the Master. Ephesians 6:4 (TM)

I used to think this was easier - when the girls were young. It's easier to take them by the hand and lead when the first thing you hear when you come through the door is the sound of their footsteps running towards you. They were right there in your arms. You take them by the hand and go.

As teenagers the sound I often hear is that of their footsteps walking the opposite direction. They've got friends, school, activities, church, and work. They've got the keys to the truck. Not to mention there are hormones and menstrual cycles, and developing brains bubbling over with chemical changes.

Leading teenage girls is a bit like herding cats, but it doesn't mean the responsibility isn't there. It just means, in guy terms, that you have to make half-time adjustments in your game plan.

May 01, 2007

Wendy's Amazing "Girls"

Wendy_girls_wedding_prayer The picture on the right is probably my favorite picture from our wedding. It was time for the ceremony to begin and I was wondering where in the world Wendy could be. I frantically walked into a side room and this is the sight that greeted me - only by the time I walked in, Wendy's father had come in to stand behind her and join the prayer for his daughter.

Wendy has an amazing group of girlfriends. They have walked with one another through college, young adulthood, relationships, tragedies, weddings and babies. It's a blessing for me to know that Wendy has such wonderful female companions and confidants. They also have a tradition. Whenever one of them gets married, they have a shower, but unlike the wild bachelorette parties that usually gets associated with weddings these days, Wendy's friends get together for food, laughter, and to offer prayer and a "blessing" to the bride-to-be.Wendy_sarahs_shower_0407

Wendy was the next-to-last of the friends to get married. In two weeks, the last of the group will walk the aisle. So, sticking with tradition, the girls got together last weekend for their shower and blessing. Wendy and her friend, Jen, went to the USP costume shop and got dolled up in vintage dresses for the occasion. She looked stunning.

I've always said that life is a journey, and I believe in having good companions for the sojourn. I'm so glad that both Wendy and I have such wonderful people to walk with.