During service yesterday, I was moved during one of the musical pieces. This isn’t the first time (as blogged here) and it got me thinking about all the tears shed in that sanctuary. Tears of joy; tears of praise; tears of guilt; tears of repentance; tears of forgiveness; tears of relief; tears of compassion; tears of sadness; tears of loss; and tears of love. So many deep and heartfelt emotion in one room. Whether it be worship, communion, baptism, a wedding, a funeral, a talk or a sermon. I would hope that most sanctuaries that truly embrace the human element, receive those tears as liquid bricks that make up the place.
However, I know that there are some worship rooms that are just religious museums. I know, because I have been in them. I’m not saying that you need to cry every time you worship, attend a wedding, go to a funeral, or sing songs of praise. What I AM saying is that the sanctuary should be alive with honest, human emotion of the heart given over to Christ — not just lukewarm liturgical motions. That is Christ claiming his right place in our heart.
Make sure you are attending a sanctuary — not just a religious museum.
Last night we had Family Movie Night. The movie on tap was Letters To God. It is a tear jerker movie with a very good message. I thought the story was kinda choppy but you cannot downplay the message of how any one of us can positively impact those of us around us — no matter what happens to us. Because in the end, it is not about us — it is about God’s plan and His glory.
So this morning, I went to my men’s Accountability meeting and came home to find this in an envelope from my 10 year old son.
Thank you for that movie we watched last night. I think that boy was a really cool boy. I pray that you can help the Doctors find a cure to heal all the sick people. Please make the Doctors heal my Opa, he is very sick. He does not deserve this and my mom does not deserve this either. My mom needs to at least have a parent with her. I want the best for her. Tell my Oma in heaven that mom misses her so much, she really really does. I want the best for my family, I really do. Thank you for Jesus who died such a painful death for me.
ps: I love you
ps: I also prayed this out loud
Here is my son with his Opa before the Alzheimer’s really had a grip on him. My wife cherishes this picture for so many reasons.
I look forward to our time in heaven with Jesus where every moment will be like this picture — healthy, happy, joyous, with loved ones, and in God’s presence.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I’d planned to speak to you tonight to report on the state of the Union, but the events of earlier today have led me to change those plans. Today is a day for mourning and remembering. Nancy and I are pained to the core by the tragedy of the shuttle Challenger. We know we share this pain with all of the people of our country. This is truly a national loss.
Nineteen years ago, almost to the day, we lost three astronauts in a terrible accident on the ground. But we’ve never lost an astronaut in flight. We’ve never had a tragedy like this.
And perhaps we’ve forgotten the courage it took for the crew of the shuttle. But they, the Challenger Seven, were aware of the dangers, but overcame them and did their jobs brilliantly. We mourn seven heroes: Michael Smith, Dick Scobee, Judith Resnik, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Gregory Jarvis, and Christa McAuliffe.
We mourn their loss as a nation together.
For the families of the seven, we cannot bear, as you do, the full impact of this tragedy. But we feel the loss, and we’re thinking about you so very much. Your loved ones were daring and brave, and they had that special grace, that special spirit that says, “Give me a challenge, and I’ll meet it with joy.” They had a hunger to explore the universe and discover its truths. They wished to serve, and they did. They served all of us.
We’ve grown used to wonders in this century. It’s hard to dazzle us. But for twenty-five years the United States space program has been doing just that. We’ve grown used to the idea of space, and, perhaps we forget that we’ve only just begun. We’re still pioneers. They, the members of the Challenger crew, were pioneers.
And I want to say something to the schoolchildren of America who were watching the live coverage of the shuttle’s take-off. I know it’s hard to understand, but sometimes painful things like this happen. It’s all part of the process of exploration and discovery. It’s all part of taking a chance and expanding man’s horizons. The future doesn’t belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave. The Challenger crew was pulling us into the future, and we’ll continue to follow them.
I’ve always had great faith in and respect for our space program. And what happened today does nothing to diminish it. We don’t hide our space program. We don’t keep secrets and cover things up. We do it all up front and in public. That’s the way freedom is, and we wouldn’t change it for a minute.
We’ll continue our quest in space. There will be more shuttle flights and more shuttle crews and, yes, more volunteers, more civilians, more teachers in space. Nothing ends here; our hopes and our journeys continue.
I want to add that I wish I could talk to every man and woman who works for NASA, or who worked on this mission and tell them: “Your dedication and professionalism have moved and impressed us for decades. And we know of your anguish. We share it.”
There’s a coincidence today. On this day three hundred and ninety years ago, the great explorer Sir Francis Drake died aboard ship off the coast of Panama. In his lifetime the great frontiers were the oceans, and a historian later said, “He lived by the sea, died on it, and was buried in it.” Well, today, we can say of the Challenger crew: Their dedication was, like Drake’s, complete.
The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and “slipped the surly bonds of earth” to “touch the face of God.”
Ilove Christian radio! 88.5 FM WJIE is my first radio love. Recently, I have also been listening to K-LOVE at work. (Both radio stations can be streamed from their respective web pages.) Today while listening to K-LOVE I stumbled across one of their interesting news story links about “How to Spot a Healthy Church”. It was written by a pastor/cartoonist from Louisiana who also has a blog. And while perusing his blog I came across one of his postings that I thought summed up a true relationship with Jesus…..which is so crucial not only for salvation, but for true living the way He intended.
Two things need to be said about knowing the Lord.
1) It involves a dual relationship. The individual comes to a personal acquaintance with Jesus Christ and in the process the Lord Jesus comes to know that person and enters his/her life. From that moment on, the two are intertwined in a spiritual way that defies most attempts to categorize it.
2) It results in a different way of life characterized by fair-thinking and honest-dealing, by compassion toward others and a love for God.
Anything less may be religious, it may be impressive to the world, and it might even be said to be miracle-working. But it will not stand up at Judgment.
To sum it up, Jesus wants your heart, not your actions.
I think I am going to enjoy reading through some of Pastor Joe’s blog archive.
I am in a severe growth phase with my walk with Jesus my Savior. He has set me afire for Him and I #1 – want others to know of His love and #2 – want to serve Him by serving others.
Where I am struggling is my past life in growing up in the church. I have quite a church heritage. I was baptized by my Grandfather who was a pastor, my great-grandparents were missionaries to China, I attended parochial schools and universities, and am fairly well versed in doctrine. And I have had many moments in my journey where I felt God’s touch in my life. He has always been there for me, but I was not always on fire for Him. There were parts of my life that He was not a part of or parts of my life that I did not surrender to Him. I was a “Christian” and might have been saved but I was not the disciple He had called me to be.
So in an effort to dig into this and better understand it, I have drawn up some “visual aids”. I am very visual and also use analogies extensively. The series of white board drawings are a way for me to describe my journey. It is my hope to actually make this a little 30 second video mimicing the UPS white board guy.
As I stated before, I grew up in the church and God has always been a part of my life. This picture depicts that relationship and the slice God had.
Attending church, youth group, confirmation, summer camps and retreats, God grew in my life.
There were times were God was a huge part of my life. However, as you can see, there were still slices of my life pie that did not include Him in them. I had not completely surrendered.
Once I became set on fire for Christ, you can see my heart changed. Jesus became my core.
And I grew as a disciple.
And now, no matter how you slice my life, there is a piece of God in it — family, friends, work, service, church, neighbors, commuting, Lowes, airport, Wal-Mart.
While some might just say this is symantics, I believe this is a huge mind-shift…..even more so, heart-shift. I call it the difference between knowing ABOUT Jesus, and knowing Jesus and walking with Him every day. Don’t just give Him a slice…..give Him your core.
Now there is also a whole tangeant to this discussion about how I still fail and sin every day and am far from perfect. All the more reason to need a Savior I say. But we will save that discussion for another time.
In my life, I have seen many times where God alone provides for his faithful. He has done so for me — sometimes miraculously, other times mundanely — and he has done so for many of those who touch my life.
Today with snow still on the ground and temps not above freezing, I took the opportunity to partake in one of my favorite winter snow pasttimes — pulling the kids on the 4 wheeler. I’d rather not have snow on the ground for more than a day or two, otherwise I’d live in Minnesota. But if it is going to be on the ground, I might as well make something of it. So pulling the kids around is it.
We spent about 45 minutes in sub-zero (Celcius) temps. I circumnavigated the front yard over and over as the kids held on to the rope and slid around on their saucers, letting go on the whip turns and careening across the white lawn.
On one tour of the back property, I spotted 5 deer on the farm behind us. They jumped the fence and ended up about 20 yards ahead of us. Noticing that the kids had fallen and dropped the rope, I used the opportunity of no tow load to take off full speed after the deer. They took off across the field towards the sod farm behind us and soon I was about 10 yards behind them. They accelerated and it got to the point where my 4 wheeler could not make any ground on them. I did get a good look at them as they made their way to safety and they were beautifully prancing away. I looked down at my speedo and it said 34 miles an hour. They were quite speedy deer.
I returned to the kids, loaded them up on the rope and headed back to the front yard for more sledding fun.
I don’t know if I have posted it here before or not but let me just say…..
I LOVE the Louisville International Airport!!!!! (Also know as Standiford Field or SDF)
This was my late afternoon yesterday.
4:11pm – wheels down on the runway
4:21pm – grabbing checked bag that had way too many hotel soaps, shampoos and lotions to fit into the 3-1-1 ziploc bags
4:26pm – pay and exit parking garage
4:58pm – arrive onto the property and take the farm entrance because the driveway is snow covered and hasn’t been redneck snow plowed yet
5:34pm – finish redneck snow plowing the driveway and clean up for a nice home cooked dinner
I had a quick business trip this week — first to Memphis for a day and then Chicago. I leave this afternoon which is a good thing because it’s -5F here. Brrrr!!
Unfortunately, I had to learn that the hard way this morning. Not wanting to burden my expense report with another $42 room service breakfast, I headed to a 24 hr breakfast place that was within walking distance of my nice hotel on Michigan Ave. I remembered seeing it the previous night on the way back from dinner which was about 8 or 9 blocks away. I didn’t think not knowing exactly how far was a big deal because I knew the route; I just didn’t know how far but that it couldn’t be farther then 8 or 9 blocks.
So I had my nice black pea coat on and entered the circular glass revolving door. Upon exit, the freezing cold took my breath away…..and didn’t give it back. It was so cold that it was hard to breathe. I picked up my pace and began power walking to my breakfast destination. The crosswalk lights were cooperating making my time out in the cold more bearable because I was constantly making progress. Although I was regretting not having a cap or beanie.
1 block, 2 blocks, turn left and cross the street. Man this is cold. And now the wind is blowing down this concrete canyon taking all known warmth from any exposed piece of flesh. 3 blocks, look both ways, jay walk, 4 blocks, jay walk again. Man, I can’t feel my ears now. 5 blocks and my head is beginning to hurt as the wind freezes the snot from my rebelling nose. I think I see it up ahead on the left. I begin jogging. I reach the relief of the vestibule winded and frozen after a 6 1/2 block thermal gauntlet. Damn! I just figured out that I have to reverse all that after breakfast. Well, at least I’ll have time to thaw out and have a full belly.
Blueberry pancakes and an orange juice were on tap along with wonderful service from Mary. My devotions for breakfast were in 2 Timothy chapters 1 and 2. Soon enough it was time to brave the Chicago frozen tundra again so I heavily tipped Mary and busted out into the cold. The walk back was equally as brutal but at least this time I had the wind to my back. And on my elevator ride up to my room, I noticed the little LCD advertisement display telling me that it was 6:55am and -5F. Hmmmm…..I must have missed that on my ride down. It sure would have been nice to know. Not that I’d do anything different.