Thursday, November 19, 2009

Photo Diary from Caribou

Last Saturday we went on a walk over to Caribou.  I have always wanted to do a photo diary entry so here is my attempt!

what occupies your weekends?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Today is the day...

I was really challenged by an article I read today, sent by Rev. Thomas Gold is his November prayer letter. (Thomas is a dear friend of ours. He is the pastor who married us and a wise man from whom we often seek counsel. Thomas used to head up the College and Career ministry at Friendship Church in Minnesota, where Nate attended.)

The article challenges readers to stop delaying and act now, today. Life on earth is fleeting and we only get one chance to live through it, before eternity in heaven. So what is holding us back from truly living out the gospel on earth, while we still have the opportunity? Why aren't we loving our neighbor, selflessly loving our spouse, honoring our parents, and telling the world about Jesus? Our life here on earth is perhaps only a blip on the radar, in comparison to our eternal life...but it's still an important blip and one we shouldn't waste. Wow...that's convicting.

Obviously, its our sin that so entangles us and holds us back from truly living Christ-like lives. But that may look different for everyone. For me, I think I tend to be held back from action by insecurities, fear of rejection, and the "tyrany of the urgent"... getting caught up in tasks that appear to be urgent at the time, but in the grand scheme of things really aren't as important as I make them out to be. This article was a good reminder that I need to surrender my time, money, actions and life more fully.

My mind goes to Hebrews are the first 6 verses, with emphasis added (by me) on verse 6. This is a reminder of how we should live and the confidence we have in the Lord.

"Keep on loving each other as brothers. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it. Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.

Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,
'Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you.'
So we say with confidence,
'The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.
What can man do to me?
' "

Monday, November 9, 2009

Spending Less...Impacting More

As the holidays are approaching, this time of year typically means being bombarded with advertising campaigns and the pressure to spend, spend, spend. And to a certain extent, I'll bet that 2009 will not be too much different than years past. However, I have been pleasantly surprised that a different message has broken through the clutter of communication - the message to spend less this Christmas.

In the last few days, I have come across a few different pieces of communication that are striving to get out a different message this Christmas, one that encourages Americans in particular to go against the norm and spend less this year. A video and compaign that I was especially impressed with and convicted by is the Advent Conspiracy (see the video!). Our church, Parkview Community, is promoting and participating in this campaign. Today, I read a great blog entry by our Executive Pastor on a related his thoughts here.

Reading and watching and hearing this new message has been encouraging to me, but it is also raising a lot of questions in my mind. It leads me to go back to the fundamental question of whether or not we should give gifts are Christmas. Is giving gifts to loved one a good way of showing love to them? If so, when are we going overboard? How much is too much? Coming from a family who loves giving gifts and being a person who really loves to give and receive gifts, it would be hard for me to cut this out of the holiday as a way of celebrating. This year, I hope I will be an especially wise steward of our finances...spending some money on gifts for family and friends, being creative in how I spend those funds and giving a lot of time/energy/money away to those who need it more than we do.

What do you think about giving gifts at Christmas? Share your thoughts!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Leap of Faith

Bethany and I watch a show called ‘The Amazing Race.’  If you have never seen the show, the premise is that teams of 2 race around the world accomplishing tasks that relate to the places they visit.  Most of the show is not getting lost and not killing one another in the process. 

On the last episode there was a situation that really got me thinking.  A couple was approaching the finish.  All they had to do was go down a waterslide (pictured above) and run across a beach to finish this leg of the race.  The first few minutes of this video show her completely paralyzed by her fear of heights and water. The video is in the full post.

When we first watched the video, it was pretty astonishing.  It isn’t often that you see someone at in their worst moments like that.  To see her stare her fear in the face and blink is interesting to watch.

But I think there are so many times when our decisions are shaped by fear.  Often it isn’t the large moments like this video depicts but smaller choices and smaller moments.  Do you think is a primary motivator in our culture?