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Showing posts from February, 2017

Psalm 119

A guest blog post from Ken Read:
Scripture for Reading: Psalm 119 (v.1-16,45,105,129-130) Theme: Loving the Law Song: “Trust and Obey” Summary: “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” So begins the famous poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning describing romantic love. Psalm 119 is a similar love poem, celebrating mystic romance with the Word of God. For 22 stanzas, each with eight verses, and each line within the stanza beginning with the same Hebrew letter, the worshiper “counts the ways” that he loves the Law. Perhaps each of the lines represents the eight different words for the Law that are employed throughout. In each stanza, these words come in a different order.
Nothing less than the longest psalm, the longest chapter in the Book of books, could convey the magnitude of devotion to the Law of God that the psalmist feels. Indeed, the Word of God has been refined seven times. (Psalm 12:6) It is the whole alphabet, it is all the synonyms, it is poetry, and it deserves the highest expre…

Enough to go around

WLC Day #32

I have been going through a wonderful read lately, Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes. Totally worthwhile! In it, the authors mention the difference between Eastern and Western views of wealth. The Western way of thinking of wealth is that there is enough to go around; everyone can be wealthy if they just try hard enough. Eastern views on wealth are that there is only so much money and in order for one person to grow wealthy, other people have to grow poor.

I do not claim to know much about economics but I have a feeling that the Eastern viewpoint is more accurate than our Western mind would care to admit. The more wealth I accumulate, the less wealth there is available to other people (insignificantly, but still, the principle is there). Thus, if the American Dream is to become rich and famous then the underlying goal is to make other people poor and insignificant. Ouch.

Katie and I would like to grow our wealth someday. Mostly because we want to become debt-free and …

Fairness

WLC Day #30

It's been a traumatic weekend at Parkside.

A teenager in our community decided to end his life a week ago in his own backyard. He decided that the pain of death was more welcome than the pain of depression. What had started out as a beautiful weekend day in February turned into a rainy, haunting, cold night.

I was called on to help take down the tree on Monday afternoon. A group of 5 men worked quickly without saying a word to one another as we hauled away limbs and branches from the enclosed backyard. And that is exactly what it was too--enclosed.


The moment I stepped past the chain link fence I felt the gravitas of the space come upon me. The naked trees closed in upon a tiny backyard, leaning over the fence line to make a small space feel smaller. The yard was still wrecked from the spiritual battle that had occurred just two short nights beforehand. The mixture of a budding tree with the pungent smell of chain oil and 2-cycle exhaust mingled together in the air, pr…

Common or Communion?

I can’t help but wonder if we have made a bigger deal out of communion then Jesus intended for it. 
I get the impression that communion is a sacred time for most people who attend Parkside. And that is wonderful. Nothing wrong with it. Unless…communion itself becomes the object of holiness and not the one it represents; or if the time spent reflecting is too holy to interrupt, yet our personal time with Jesus daily we allow our iPhones to disrupt. I fear that we place too high a level of importance on a little piece of bread and a little cup of juice. There is nothing magical about Sunday morning communion. When compared to the other 21 (or more) meals we have throughout the week, I believe it should be treated equally as significant. Every time we have community (communion) with other Christ-followers, we should thank God for the gift of Jesus and use that time to realign ourselves with His purpose for our lives.
Now, how do we teach children (and adults) that? I don’t know. Especiall…

Ego Strength

WLC Day #22

I recently listened to an audio book called "Triggers: Creating Behavior That Lasts--Becoming the Person You Want to Be" by Marshall Goldsmith. It is full of wonderful advice that is practical to every person at every level. He has an easy-going conversational tone that still challenges you to step up your game and truly become the person you want to be.

We all have an ideal us. The ideal us is probably 10 lbs lighter, with a better physique, makes better food choices, doesn't binge on Netflix, meditates regularly, exercises daily, and is super tuned in for every waking moment.

Then there is the real us. We give into temptation. We lack self control. We have limited will power.

Interestingly, there have been numerous studies that have shown that this is absolutely true. We do not have an unlimited reserve of will power. Will power is like a muscle--once we use it for so long, it grows tired and we start to give in to temptations more readily. This is a relati…

Accidents Happen

WLC Day #20

I just witnessed a car crash about as close as I would ever care to witness it.

I was sitting 2 cars deep at a stop light when a light-sized Saturn SUV came plowing into the back end of a Toyota RAV4 in front of me in the next lane.

There was a startling loud noise, an explosion of plastic and metal, and a horn that didn't shut off. The offending SUV was thrown sideways a bit into the median and the receiving SUV was pushed into the intersection with it's back tire bent in shapes that can't be described.

Both women seemed relatively unharmed (thank you safety mechanics and all the crash dummies who gave their lives to make that happen) and I stuck around to give a report to the police once they showed up.

I am amazed at how life can change in just the simplest activity at any given moment of any day. The RAV4 lady had left work early because she wasn't feeling well. The Saturn lady said she had just been in a big fight with her husband and was feeling out-o…

Bread of Life

WLC Day #17

Isaiah threw up.

It hasn't happened in the past year but it did happen the other day. When Isaiah doesn't eat enough dinner then he wakes up uncomfortably hungry. So hungry that he will cry and get worked up enough to vomit. It's almost predictable when it will happen, because the morning Isaiah throws up is right after the night Isaiah refuses to eat more than a couple bites of his dinner. But this time it was a bit different.

Katie made a delicious sweet potato/apple/sausage dish (Paleo friendly) and the kids loved it. We all gobbled it down and made satisfied lip-smacking sounds as we finished off the last couple bites. Katie was impressed. Usually the kids don't respond this enthusiastically about eating unfamiliar dishes. So Katie didn't think anything of it when she put them to bed that night. They ate their portions and seemed content with their dinner.

Later that night, when I got home from rehearsal, the first thing I did was grab a snack. I wa…

Scheduling

WLC Day #12

The dietary restrictions are no longer the big issue for me with this Whole Life Challenge. In fact, I feel like I am tasting things more fully and appreciating fruits as being far sweeter than I ever thought they were before. Now the big issue is finding the time to do the exercise, stretching, and reflecting. If I don't tell my schedule what I want to do and when I want to do it, it will tell me. 

That is the big challenge I am currently working on. How to plan and schedule my day in such a way that I am the one in control, instead of being at the mercy of the loudest demands on my time. I need to get better at portioning off time and spending my time well on specific activities during those time frames.

Any bright ideas out there that have drastically helped you?