Time to hit the beach

  
So, this was the scene with my youngest daughter yesterday. She said, “I’m looking at the waves. The rocks are the ocean.” 

She is soooo my kid. Love it. 

I’m going to the beach now- be back in a bit. 

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One Voice

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I was recently reading an article about the Church in Korea. In 1907, there was a great revival among the Korean people after years of war in the region. I can imagine that the Korean people must have struggled with the loss of their homeland and feared for their futures.

During this revival, a new type of prayer emerged. It was coined “one voice” and was a communal approach to private prayer. It was the voice of the many praying at once on their own accord, together.

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We started this “one voice” approach to prayer with our weekend service volunteers and staff before our worship services. After reviewing the service plan, expressing gratitude (a regular practice for our teams), and questions, we gather in the middle of the floor, arm-in-arm and we lift our voices to the Lord together.

We have been doing this before each service, every weekend for over a year now and it serves to accomplish several things.

  1. Unity- Coming together in a tight-knit group may intimidate some, but the closeness (as close as a group of 20 or more can get) serves to unify us as a team and prepares our hearts to seek His will in the service, not our own.
  2. Rest- We live in a break-neck speed culture. It’s not often that we can stop and be still and focus our thoughts upon the Lord, especially as a group. This moment, though brief, serves to be a moment of pause, of thanks, of hope and of faith.
  3. Preparedness- Praying as one voice gives us an opportunity to make ready our hearts to serve, to worship and to love.
  4. Inspiration- Our one-voice prayer time culminates in one of our pastors thanking the Lord, praying a blessing over the service and encouraging the servants of God. I have never experienced one of these times of prayer when the team members were not inspired, refreshed and ready to serve more effectively when we concluded.

 

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But it’s special!

It’s admirable to hold something in high regard, no matter how ridiculous it may seem. That’s how we might possibly view God’s perspective of us.

My kids fight over a spoon and a fork. They collectively hold one spoon and one fork in our everyday family hodge-podge of flatware in such high esteem that they can’t fathom another of them using it, spending time with it or even being near it. 

I’d like to think that’s how the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit are about us. They love using us, spending time with us and being near. They don’t fight over us, but I’m pretty sure they compare notes.

The funny thing is. The spoon and the fork that my kids pine over are worthless dollar-store, cheap-os, just a step above throw away plastic ware. Our set of IKEA silverware is not at all expensive, but compared to the “special” spoon and fork they may as well be made of gold.

Because if sin, we are like that worthless  spoon and fork. There is nothing good in us, but through Jesus we have been made pure, pristine and golden. We still have the tarnished spots, we still have the appearance of worthlessness, but we are held in high esteem. The Lord regards those who have believed in the saving power of His son as blameless, beautiful and perfect. 

Kind of like how my kids view their favorite flatware.

  

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Post-Christmas Laundry-stravaganza!

  
Well, Callum is excited about it anyway. Our room rarely looks like this because my awesome wife is the conductor of the laundry train that is constantly rolling. But, with the holidays, family visiting from out of town and running from one location to another, this happened. 

We are working our way through it.

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Broken Back

So, I got a wild hair yesterday to continue with one of those projects that seem as though they will never end. During my sabbatical in July, I remodeled our master bedroom and bathroom and replaced the carpet in our room with a wood laminate. 

We love the look of it, especially the pro hypo-allergenic nature of losing our massive dust catching carpets. So, Liz suggested we continue the laminate down the hallway and into the living space.

Yesterday was hallway day and it started like this.

  

I figured it would take me about 4 hours to complete- start to finish. I forgot about adding the “amateur” time tax as I normally do, which would have realistically doubled my original estimate. So 8 hours it was. 

By the evening hours, my exhausted wife stood viewing my progress, bouncing our 4-month old on her right hip after policing all 4 kiddos in our little house and managing to keep the laundry train chuggin’ all day long; she had a look on her face that was split into thirds. 

One third said, “great job honey! Keep going!” The second third said, “what would happen if you stopped right here?” And the third third third said, “FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS SACRED! Just quit and blame the failure on your lack of physical stamina!”

Oh man, I was hurting too… My back, my knees, my head, my wrists, my ego. But I persevered, looking longingly at the couch and my dinner sitting on the kitchen table, long since having gone cold. I knew that victory was just around the hallway corner.

 So here it is in all its unfinished glory!! I lift my arm victorious (mainly because I can’t feel my legs) and cry, “almost done! All I’ll need is another hour or so…!”

  

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Psycho clown

The whole family was at my parent’s house last night. I mean the whole family… My grandma, my sisters and their husbands, all the grandkid/cousins, etc. It was a controlled chaos with 9 children 8 & under.

We were celebrating my niece’s 1st birthday and my mom pulled out some candles. My mom has a bag of collected birthday cake candles and toppers that have been used over the years for countless birthday celebrations. She likes to sift through and nostalgically reminisce as she looks at each piece, but there is one in particular she enjoys. 

It’s my 1st birthday topper. And I hate it. Always have, always will. It is the stuff of pre-pubescent horror. And so my sweet little mom finds me in the bathroom helping my youngest daughter go potty and she says, “I’ve got something for you,” with her hands behind her back. Then with a psycho-esque downward stabbing flail of her arm, she says, “thissssss!” And shoves that freakin creepy birthday topper clown in my face. I hate it.

  

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NashVegas!

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Went to Nashville a few weeks ago for a conference. One of the highlights was getting to go to the Grand Ole Opry at the Ryman Theater.

IT. WAS. AWESOME.

I and my friend Ian watched the Gatlin Brothers, Mo Pitney, Diamond Rio, Charlie Daniels & more… but that wasn’t the most amazing part.

Realizing that this theater was host to the greatest of the greats- Elvis, Patsy, Waylon, Cash & virtually every significant country music icon of the 20th Century and that they all stood on the stage that I was just feet from, was not the most amazing part.

Learning about the history of the Ryman theater was incredible. It was built by Captain Tom Ryman in the late 1890’s as a result of hearing the message of Rev. Sam Jones. Ryman was a powerful and respected businessman in Nashville who had made his money with a fleet of riverboats, hauling freight and people to and fro. But it was the bars on his boats that created the social fallout that Jones decried.

As legend states, Ryman went to listen to Jones and was overcome by the message. Ryman gave his life to the Lord and vowed to clean up his act. He also vowed to build Jones a church building to host the tens of thousands of congregants. Over a few years, the Union Tabernacle was built and when Ryman passed away, Jones, who presided over the funeral, called to rename the Tabernacle the Ryman Auditorium to the total agreement of the audience. They Ryman auditorium was host to many great messages and musical acts given by men and women of God, for the glory and praise of God, but that history was not the most amazing part.

As the evening’s concert went on, the musicians all let us know in turn that there would be a prayer vigil for Joey Feek, a country music star, young mother and wife to country music singer Rory Feek. She was losing her battle with ovarian cancer. So the concert concluded and Charlie Daniels invited us to stay. Ian and I went closer to the stage and were overwhelmed by the spirit of the Lord in this holy place and the prayers and songs lifted to God on behalf of the Feeks. I was floored. I was awed and inspired. I was humbled and blessed by these amazingly talented people interceding for others.

THAT WAS THE MOST AMAZING PART.

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