Friday, September 29, 2006

Gridblog: Living Forgiven

Hmmm...well, without having read anyone else's thoughts on this one, here I go. What a great topic!? What a great big ole' can of worms we've opened here!? Let's see if I can keep it short 'cause really I'm supposed to be on the goes nothing.

Living forgiven. Because I am forgiven. Reflecting the forgiver. Extending forgiveness to those God has forgiven and longs to forgive. Experiencing freedom.

I could probably stop there and have summed up what I need to say. It's in the details that I think we get bogged down though. What does it mean to live forgiven? I think that it's in the freedom found there that we are able to live lives that are full and abundant as Christ promised. I think it's there that we realize who it is that we are created to be and find a richness to our own selves that we never would have imagined. It's like looking into a mirror that is finally clean and pure and seeing the reflection that we were intended to see all along. We shall see ourselves as Christ sees us. The things is, as I'm learning, that our living forgiven is not just an inward thing. There's outward ramifications to this whole thing. That's where extending grace and forgiveness come in. How can I not forget those who sin against me if I am fully realizing the full extent of what has been offered me by my Great forgiver? How can I not become more like Him in that area too? An how do I not share what He's done with those around me? How can I not live a life of hospitality and authenticity with that kind of freedom? How can I not?

I love reading the book of Romans on this one as Paul talks about the free gift given, about the grace extended and about the new life of freedom gained. It's because of forgiveness, because of this freedom, that I can be united with Christ. In Romans 6:5-6, Paul says, "For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, tht our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin."

It is by His death and resurrection that forgiveness finds its place in our lives. Let's be honest, the cross was not an easy place for Christ to head to but he surrendered and gave us something so beyond imagination. I think of all the petty things I have trouble forgiving people for, and want to hold on to and realize that somehow, in my reflection of Christ, I need to surrender that to Him matter how hard it seems. I guess what I'm realizing that forgiveness is about transformation - mine and the world's- because God wants to restore us all. I'm realizing the forgiveness, while free, has significant implications for how I live my life.

If I really live with thoughts of the cross in my mind would I live my life the same way? I think not. Time to be a little more deliberate and live like the forgiven child of the King that I am!

Journeying Onward

Okay, so here's a little bit of excitment in my world - Journey's official public launch is October 1st! I can't wait to see what God is going to do. We're anticipating big things. I don't really know how that will be seen - whether it will be the number of people there, seeing new faces who have never been to a fellowship of believers before, even just one, come, finding an increased passion fill our number - but I anticipate it none the less.

One of my roles at Journey comes in the form of the servant evangelism director. I'm still figuring out what that title means but I do know that its finding me more and more at the place where my passion and the needs of our community are meeting. I'm learning more and more about what it means to be a follower of Christ through this whole development process and, again, am excited about how God will continue to teach me, mold me, grow me and use me for His kingdom as I am willing and open to His movement. It's an exciting thing.

One of the things I've decided to do as a part of this role is to start a NEW BLOG specifically dedicated to Journey Church as a resource for all things "servant evangelism" related. What I'm hoping though is that it will go even beyond the community of Journey and that it can spur on good discussion throughout the kingdom about this aspect of our faith...'cause we're all on a Journey To The World. So I would appreciate people checking it out, sharing their ideas and growing with me - how's that for a straight up plug!? I wonder how that would fit into a Marketing 101 class. Just remember that the blog, like me, is a work in progress. Anyway, here's hoping that y'all will join in on the discussion!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Foccacia bread

I found a great recipe for the stuff that's super good and super easy. I substituted regular old olive oil instead of the garlic stuff they called for and it was still yummy!

What's entertaining?

So I've been thinking about this for a while as I look for things to do and look for things that are fun. What's entertaining? If a group of twenty-some things are planning to get together, what do they do?

I enjoy a good cup of coffee and a visit. Movies are good on occasion - when there's something playing and you really don't feel like being chatty-sociable but like to be with other people, out and about. I've got a couple of friends that enjoy playing games which has been fun. Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit and Tribond have been some of our recent adventures. Going out for dinner once and a while is fun. A good wander in Chapters is always fun too.

How about when I'm on my own? The TV is on for company quite often (my list of "friends" is in a previous post). I'll read. Perhaps I'll blog or see what other distractions the internet can provide. Occasionally I'll cook, play with photography or something else artistic.

Typically though, its about being entertained. About something keeping me preoccupied. About some form of technology.

I've been struggling with this lately and I'm curious what it's all about. When I was growing up on the farm, it seemed easy to find something to do to entertain ourselves. I say seemed because it was a different time and a different place but it did. There's no hay bales to climb on in the city - at least none that I know of. Bike rides are different and can you see the stars in the city? Do they even exist? Why did it seem easier to come up with things to do, particularity things that didn't cost money and were just plain inventive?

What is there to do for fun?

When did I lose the ability to think of my own fun?

Here's what I mean. A friend of mine came in to the city for the evening on Saturday. We had no idea what to do. None of the old stand by options held any appeal. There were no good movies playing at the theatre. We didn't want to go to the mall since there's far too much risk to spend money there. We ended up having a nice dinner and conversation, renting a movie and going back to my place. While that was good (I especially love the conversation part!), I wonder what it is that keeps us from knowing what to do in the company of others? When did we forget about good and fun? How is our community so falsely shaped that the "mundane" of life isn't worth doing together? What is there to do in this city anyway?

I know there's probably people with young kids that actually wish they had the time to be asking this question! Truthfully, I bet they face it too. Let's just say that someone offered to take those kids for an afternoon, what would they do? Go to a movie? Go the mall? I wouldn't be surprised if grocery shopping or paying bills ended up on the list.

Seriously, I'm wondering where there's creativity in the whole thing and when mine disappeared!

I joke that I don't get out much. That's not necessarily it but I do want to get out well if that makes any sense. I want to enjoy life with the people around me and I've got this sneaking suspicion that life is more than the movies played or the displays in the mall. Yes, it's a part of it and I'll admit I love both BUT I'm convinced there's more. I just need to figure it out. I want to be able to use my mind in different ways than what its used at work. I think that's freeing too (Trivial Pursuit can be fun, folks, as long as you avoid the American history...unless of course you're American). Being creative together. Fun!

But how!?

Perhaps someone can share some ideas that will inspire something new. Perhaps we should even do a gridblog on this sometime! Anyway...

Speaking of entertainment, know what day it is? Tuesday. Chris Tomlin CD release day. And guess what!? I can't go pick it up until tomorrow. After all that!? Arg.

Know what else? I finally entered the world of the ipod. Yes, I know, congratulations are in order. I picked up my ipod nano yesterday and spent the evening playing with music and podcasts so that it was ready to rock 'n roll (yes, the pun was intended).

See what I's all about technology.

Friday, September 22, 2006

From the mouth of Nelson Mandela

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, now our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, "Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?" Actually, who are you not to be. You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so the other people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to manifest the glory of God that is within us...and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

I'm a believer!!

Sing the song with me (for those of you too young, think Shrek)...Yes, I saw their face, and I'm a believer...we may not have Pronger, Peca may have jumped ship but I believe! Yes, I know it's only the preseason. Yes, I know that the points don't really count...heck, they don't even exist. Yes, I know that teams are still testing players out and shuffling rosters. But I also know that last night, my Edmonton Oilers took the first go at the battle of Alberta, sitting most of their starting line while Calgary heroes like Iggy and Kipper did see action. That's right, our second string beat the Calgary flames. Take that calgary fans! See you again on Saturday...

For next Friday

GRIDBLOG: Next Friday September 29, 2006: “Living Forgiven”

So that's what's up next week. I don't think there's anything for this week so I guess I'll just have to find something fun, or maybe even inspirational (yikes!), on my own. Wait for it....

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Blogger Templates?

So I normally just rant and ramble, not really expecting a response but this time I need a little help. I've noticed some of my blogging counterparts have figured out how to change templates to more fun and exciting ones than our blogger given options. "How do you do it?" I ask! Even better, how do you do it without losing all your links, etc? Where do you find all of your fun fonts and backgrounds? Can I use my own pictures to create boarders, headers and backgrounds?

Will someone please share some wisdom with me?

The problem with pre-purchasing!

So yesterday, I went and pre-purchased Chris Tomlin's new CD that releases next Tuesday, Sept. 26. It's great! I got it for a great price and all I have to do is walk in on Tuesday and pick it up. The problem is that I have to be patient...and I'm not. I don't know if I can wait until Tuesday....Oh sweet Tuesday, please come...

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Tie Domi retires from NHL What more do I need to say? I shouldn't pick on all those poor leaf fans, however, if there's leaf fans around, they probably deserve to be made fun of. Oh, I love the NHL!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Meet My Friends

I know it might sound weird but being a single woman who spends a lot of time alone when I'm at home, I've found that I like to have the TV on as company. It's like having friends visiting that I don't have to pay attention to (sidebar: if I have friends over, I LOVE to pay attention to them). Even though I don't always pay attention, there are shows that I enjoy watching. Seeing that this week seems to be fall premiere week, I'd let you know who some of my favorite TV "friends" are:

Tues: NCIS, House
Wed: Criminal Minds, CSI: New York
Thurs: CSI, OC, Grey's Anatomy
Fri: Numbers
Sun: Cold Case, Without a Trace

Of Course the favorite of them all doesn't start until January...Keifer Sutherland and the cast of 24 will be back!

Want to find out the fall schedule for yourself? I went to Fall Schedule 2006 for a pretty descent list.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

One Big Happy Family!?

Today we, Journey, had our first "dry run" with our equipment. The start was a little rocky - the equipment got held up at customs crossing the boarder - but we're ready to go for tomorrow morning...we think. It was an interesting day and I'm convinced that we were all living with a wide range of emotions today - excitment and anticipation, increduality that we're finally at this stage of the game, overwhelmed as the bigness of the task ahead - the physical set up alone not to mention the growth of the kingdom, and a whole lot of wondering. I've got to confess that I feel inadequate to the task but, as I said today, it reminds me to pray more because the God that I know IS adequate, in fact, He is more than sufficient! Yes, yes He is.

All of this has got me thinking about the church. I know, this is not new at all but as I watch the dynamics of our fledging group and hear stories from churches across the continent, I can't help but wonder about the struggles and victories that our church family will face.

It's a little scary to me. Being involved in ministry, especially in leadership, is, well, scary...and yet somehow I'm not willing to give up on it all. I can't. To be honest, sometimes I wish I could. I wish I could be someone who goes on Sunday, participates in the activities and goes to small group and then goes home but I don't think I can. I believe that it's my responsibility to be involved at a deeper level. Perhaps I see the scary side of it all so that I can be a support and encouragement to those who lead ahead of me and an example to those who lead beside me...if that makes any sense.

This thing we call church can be scary. It's probably the only place where your whole person is involved, particularily in leadership...which I think leaves a lot of room for some of the best wins and highest amount of satisfaction but also the greatest amount of pain. I've seen how mean people can be and I pray that somehow our body of believers will be different. Oh, I know that's probably wishful thinking seeing as how whenever you get a group of people together, you're going to get the best and the worst of what's there, like family, but a girl can hope, right?

Really, what is the church? I'm learning that it's so much bigger than programs, buildings, the songs we sing, the clothes we wear and pretty much anything that could be considered a political hotbutton. I wonder what it would be like if we had God lead our church. Not that that's not our intention but I mean, if he really lead our church, God came down in the flesh. What would that look like? Would he use powerpoint to project the scripture? Would he worry about which kids' toys were available? Would he care if the chairs were in rows or straight? Would he even use chairs? Sometimes I wish I could look from a totally outside perspective and see what we look like...what sort of image of the kingdom do we portray? I'm not saying that what we (the church in general...I'm not necessarily analyzing anyone specific here) do is wrong, necessarily, I'm just trying to think this all through. Bear with me.

So here's some things I know for sure that church is:

Church is people: fallen, broken, disfunctional, weird people. Let's face it. At some point we just need to realize that we don' have it together. Might as well get used to it. Quite frankly, this is just practice for when we're all "stuck" together in heaven...for eternity. I don't care what church you go to, what your social status is, where your kids go to school, or what sports team you cheer for (really!), if we can't get along here what's it going to look like in heaven. Perfect? Well, we might as well get started!

Church is on a mission. We're here to participate with God in his mission to reclaim his kids' for the kingdom. If what we're doing accomplishes that then let's keep going. If not, let's rethink it. Sounds simple, right!? Let's get on it!

Church is about love...'cause God is love. We show love to Him, to each other and to the world around us.

Church is about worship. That's the loving God part. How we do that IS NOT limited. Every day in every way. In everything you do, do it to the glory of God.

Church is about a journey. No one's perfect. We're all growing and learning in different ways and in different areas. I think it's exciting that we get to do it together. Seriously, put this into the context of family - obviously easier if you have a good one - and see what that looks like. Take a grandma with her grandkids. She doesn't think they're stupid 'cause they don't know stuff yet. No, in fact, she delights in the process of their learning...and she learns new things too. Big sister, in between fighting, helps out little brother, even though she's not done learning yet either. It's about a process and we're always moving...always.

Church is about doing life together. It's NOT just a Sunday morning activity...or a building. Seriously, look at the church in Acts. They ate togther, sang together, worked together, shared what they had...they did life together...and because of that they got to know each other, care for each other, trust each other and love each other more. No one hurts alone. No one celebrates alone. No one does life alone.

Maybe as I keep going, I'll think of more things to add to the list of what church is...or maybe this is enough. I don't know. I'm still figuring this out too. What I do hope is that as our little church launches and grows, that we will continue to seek God and His kingdom first.

*Okay Tim, it might be time for you to call for a Gridblog...look what happens when I'm left on my own!!

Sort of like watching a train wreck

You know it's not going to be pretty, you don't really want to see the end result and yet you can't really look away! That's sort of how I felt watching the Eskies play the Ticats earlier today...granted I only watched the first half but it was enough to get the picture! Skipped the second half to go watch Over the Hedge but I digress. Back to the CFL. I enjoyed Moss when he played for Edmonton and I have to admit, he was in fine form tonight...finally as far as the Ticats are concerned!

I am an Edmonton fan win or lose BUT I will suggest that it's time for the Eskies to buck up, tighten up the chin straps, pull up their socks and play like the Grey Cup Champions they are before they miss the playoffs altogether...time to play some football!

Current Read

The Hobbit, (the genious) J.R.R.Tolkien

...I included the genious part. I don't think that's the way it would be written in a proper bibliography but just this once, I'll move away from convention for the sake of making a point!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

He Ain't The Leaving Kind

They tried their best to drag him out
Of a courthouse down in montgomery
Now they want to kick him out of school
And take him off our money
They can take those words off of paper and stone
But he aint gone, no

He ain't the leavin' kind
He'd never walk away
Even from those who dont believe
And wanna leave him behind
He ain't the leavin' kind

She stayed mad at him for a lot of years
For taking her husband
Started losing her faith and thinking that
Her life meant nothin
But when she looks at those kids
She raised all by herself
She knows she had some help
Yeah she knows

He ain't the leavin' kind
He'd never walk away
Even from those who don't believe
And wanna leave him behind
He ain't the leavin' kind

No matter what you do
No matter where you go he's
Always right there
With you

Even from those who don't believe
And wanna leave him behind
He ain't the leavin' kind
By Rascal Flatts (Me and My Gang, 2006)
It seems like this has been exactly the message I've needed to hear lately - He will never leave, He's all I need, no matter what season of life I'm in, whether trudging through or flying high, He's all I need.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

What the heck are the Islanders thinking?!

So it's one thing to fire your GM after one month. It's another thing to make your backup goalie the GM. It's completely unprecedented and potentially ridiculous to sign anyone to a15 year contract in the NHL but that's exactly what's happened.

Check out the full TSN article here TSN: DiPietro signed for 15

Good news

Here's some good news to report: My dad came through surgery with flying colors. Today he was sitting up in bed and "setting up his office" so he could get some work long as the nurse doesn't find his cell phone. He's got a long way to go but he's in good hands. It's so good to know that God has him in his care!

By the way, he is one of those people that inspires me too...and in so many ways, I'm just like him. I saw that again hanging out with him in the hospital. I am my father's daughter!

Gridblog #2: Inspired

Wouldn't it be something if I had to tell you that this is a belated gridblog post because I wasn't inspired to write about who inspires me!? Fortunately, that's not the case. Just a bad case of no-internet-access-itis.

So who does inspire me?

My Grandma. I wish everyone could meet her - of course the selfish part of me wants to keep her as my hidden secret! She's raised 5 boys; 5 high energy, accident prone, farm boys. She's been instrumental in the lives of all of her grandkids. She's survived a huge heart attack and, in some ways, come out stronger. She's a cook, a seamstress, a painter (which by the way, she started after she retired), along with a number of other things! Most of all it's her faith and outlook on life that inspire me. I want to be like Grandma! That said, I have a fantastic family and, in their own way, each one inspires me at different times and in different ways.

I've been thinking a lot about living life as a servant as I live out my faith. About how life as a follower of Jesus includes service. Mother Teresa has always inspired me but lately her life has been even more inspirational to me. I can't even imagine living through sacrifice for others the way that she did. Because Jesus did. Because He is our example.

With that in mind, it would be completely unrealistic to say that the life and person of Jesus are anything less than inspiring! To love like Jesus loves, serve like he serves, live like he lives, accept as he accepts, believe as he believes, obey as he obeys, sacrifice as he sacrificed (in a manner of speaking)...while I aspire to that, I know that I have a long, long way to go!

Moses, David, Esther (love that there's some inspiring women in the Bible!), Mary the mother of Jesus, Paul, Timothy, Noah...the story of our world, of real people, as recorded in the Word of God gives me a "road map" for how to live and breathe.

Some of my students at the college inspire me. Each are so unique and have different barriers to overcome and dreams to reach for. Their love for life, service and each other is inspiring to me. Being a little bit removed from that point in life, it's easy to forget what it's like to feel like the whole world is infront of you - yes, I know I'm not that old - but they remind me and inspire me to look through their eyes and see what they see.

Little kids - like Madalyn, Sidney and Aiden - inspire me too. Jesus talked about living like a child, about having faith like a little child. Watching them, I see what he means. Oh to be that innocent and excited!

This might sound silly, but people who really believe in me inspire me. In my relationships with people around me, I believe that people will reach the expectations that you set for them. Set the bar high and they'll reach for it. Set it low and they might reach it but the odds are pretty good that they haven't reached their potential. I'm like that. I'm a high achiever. I'm thankful for those around me who believe in me, who see my potential and encourage me to reach it...they make me believe that I do have potential and to see it lived out in my life. They inspire me to find more in myself than I thought was there because they believe that it is. For those people, I am thankful!

To steal from John, movies inspire me too. I love the stories, the characters and the lives portrayed. There's something about a good movie, in my books, that will engage, teach and transform. For me, it's never just brain candy or a time to check out - although sometimes it's a nice escape into someone else's world - it's a time to learn and see another side of life that I may not have found on my own. Each movie, in it's own way, says something about life and about how the writer, even the culture at large, views life. To have an opportunity to dialogue after with others that have seen it only make it better! I feel the same way about books - fiction, non-fiction, classic or contemporary. It doesn't really matter but each page is an opportunity.

I know I could keep going. Walk through church history a little and you'll find some amazing heroes of faith. The women's suffrage movement is full of people that took a risk for what was right and fair and good. There are scientists, writers, inventors, composers, musicians and entrepreneurs who inspire me by not only their creativity but their willingness to risk. Leaders of some of our contemporary churches, in North America and beyond, grow my picture of leadership and of Kingdom work. Refugees and those in some of the poorer countries of our world inspire me for their perseverance and fortitude...I feel so small in the grand scheme of things but by the example of those around me am inspired to become a little bit more each day.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Stamps 25 Eskies 36

How sweet it is! The losing streak is over for my Eskies and there's some sweet icing on this cake; they beat the Stamps to do it! Ah the taste of victory. After sitting through their loss at the Classic last weekend and dealing with all the Stamps fans in the days to follow, today's victory is sweet. Plus, it means that we can't count them out of the playoffs just yet.

Read the TSN write up!

Only the beginning!

Katie introduced me to Arrested Development last night. We watched the first 3 episodes of the first season...there's 3 seasons! Seriously laugh out loud funny! Fairly random...okay, completely random but I can't wait to watch the rest of them. You know what the best part is? That Katie's introduced them to me and we can watch them together. I know this will sound totally cheesy but it's so nice to have a good friend like Katie's not just everyone that I can sit in comfortable silence with, watching something like this and feeling comfortable to laugh right out loud while drinking yummy tea. That's my idea of a good night!

Thanks Katie!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Gridblog topic

Remember the gridblog? Here's this week's topic...

What inspires you?

With explaination please... can't wait to find out on Friday.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

So if it's not called a herd, what is it!?

This conversation from the long weekend really does deserve a post all of it's own. A few of us were sitting around playing Trivial Pursuit on Saturday and one of the questions spurred an interesting conversation, one that, oddly enough, I had been a part of before. On this day, however, we took it to a whole new level.

Here's the question...if you have a group of certain animals and it itsn't called a herd, what's it called? If you want to sound really educated, ask what the collective noun would be for specific animal types and see what people say.

Remember, this isn't Trivial Pursuit but a random conversation starter inspired by the game.

Here's some of my personal favorites:

A group of Rhinos...a crash. Ironically, they are one of the fastest moving animals in relation to their size but can only see about 3 feet ahead of them because their eyesight is so bad. What would a group of rhinos running really fast do...they'd crash! Smart, huh!?

okay, here's more:

A group of buzzards...a committee. Anyone thinking of one too many committee meetings?

A group of cats...a clutter. No kidding!!!

A group of intrusion. Tee hee.

A group of parrots is company...oops...a company.

Anyway, we chatted through a whole bunch of them and then my friend, Kim, asked "hey, what would a group of donkeys be?"

We all thought about it and decided that it should probably be herd, like horses or zebras. We checked the internet but couldn't find anything there either. So much for technology.

Kim decided she had an answer though....

"How 'bout a whole lotta ass!?"

Love you, Kim! Thanks.

That 'bout sums up my weekend :)

Current Reads

How To Find Your Mission in Life, Richard Nelson Bolles (The 'what color is your parachute' guy...that book's on the list too)

Strengths Quest": Discover and Develop Your Strengths in Academics, career and beyond, Don Clifton, Chip Anderson and Laurie Schreiner

This one picks up where I left off with the Marcus Buckingham one earlier in the summer. Now that I'm on this train, it might be tough to get me off! I love this personality stuff and this specific strengths stuff has been incredibly helpful to me, both personally and professionally!

Some Like It Hot

I have a confession. I am one of those people that thrives off of a 30 degree day...a whole labor day weekend is nearly perfect! Love it! I love the labor day weekend anyway but to have weather that great is seriously somewhere near heaven!!!

I think I have grown to love the labor day weekend a lot more since working at the college. For one thing, we are always done registration on the Friday of the weekend and so for the first time since last labor day, the pressure is off, even if it is only momentarily. What's done is done and they're here....They're here! I love my students and they've all come home. So there it is, my kids are home, the new ones have arrived and no one is pestering me for guestimates ('cause that's all they are!) about numbers for the fall! So point number one is that there is no stress. Point two is that my kids are back.

Then there's the fact that its typically still warm - this year even hot - and it's three whole days for me to enjoy doing exactly what I want to be doing. I travel throughout July and miss the July long weekend, I'm too flustered to really enjoy the August one if I'm not on the road for that tone too but then there's September and it's mine! Whoa hoo...summer and freedom, the way it was meant to be. Are we noticing that I thrive in the summertime yet?! Ah sweet glorious summer...I should live on the beach forever!!

So let's summerize (get it...oh the cheese) my hot labor day weekend for you...

Wander the mall with Lisa on Friday. Fun conversation. Didn't spend money but really could have! If I had a million dollars...sing the song...there you go, that's more fun already, isn't it!?

Sister showed up for the weekend. Spent Saturday with her and a bunch of friends, including a great friend from Edmonton (yes, they are great up there too!) who is practically my cousin, making cards, drinking coffee and just generally enjoying each other's company. Then a few of us BBQ'd and played Trivial pursuit in the evening. We keep playing these crazy thinker games that most people wouldn't get into but really do seem to enjoy ourselves. I think part of the trick is making up our own rules...and in trivial pursuit, hints always help...well, most of the time they help (starts with L, ends with can you not get El Salvador out of that!?).

Sunday we went to Oak Park in the morning and I got to play the grand piano. What a morning! Steve preached a fantastic sermon. I'm going to miss learning from him and with him every Sunday morning when I go to Journey! Anyway, then we went to Sikome lake afterwards. Growing up, a typical Sunday afternoon would often include taking the boat and going to the lake. While we didn't have the boat, it was just so great to be back on the beach. I really am a summer girl!!! So we enjoyed the sun, the fun and, again, good friends. Isn't that what summer is all about!? Oh how I have missed those days...but there they were. To top it all off, I actually slept a full 7.5 hours that night (that's a big deal in my world, okay!?).

Monday the fun kept going with the labor day classic football game. Now, even though the Eskies lost, I had a great time and, to Tara's relief, I didn't get us beat much as I did want to get a little bit of chatter going with the loudmouth behind me. Thank goodness for self control!
A jam packed weekend and yet I came back to work on Tuesday feeling far better than I have in a long time!

Photos to come later...I can't seem to make blogger's picture poster thinger work...arg! Maybe tomorrow....

Friday, September 01, 2006

Gridblog #1 The Bible Story and it's Authority

So Tim has started this gridblog thing (I'm feeling all technological savvy being included, by the way) in which a few of us folks with blogs will take a different topic and post our thoughts. This week, he picked the authority of the Bible. I guess since it was his idea, he can pick whatever topic he wants but, wow, he sure didn't start with an easy one!

After one of my busiest weeks of the year, I'm not sure I have much brain power left and of course I'm writing late Friday night 'cause this is all the time I've got. I'm not complaining though, because I realized that the beauty of this is that several people have already posted on the topic already so all I have to do is read theirs and add my two cents worth...and believe me, it's worth it! A whole two cents. Keep reading now. I dare you!

Tim started it off with a bang saying: "The bible is often confusing, often seems outdated, and often offers seemingly insurmountable challenge; but the idea it offers - of a God son sent to earth for me, of an answer for the darkness of my heart, of a grace for my unfaithfulness, and of a community to walk the journey with - these are things I am willing to pursue, even though sometimes I can only sense just a whisperÂ….even though the vision often seems so faint."

So true!

John talked about how the Bible exists to point to Jesus. All my Bible college study says he's right. The Old Testament explains creation, the fall (the purpose of his coming) and is prophecy of his arrival while the New Testament describes his life, ministry and eternal rule. The thing is, as Angie alluded in her post, I wonder if we always take it that way. Of course, maybe that's an issue for a whole different topic. Stay focused, Stace, we're talking about the authority of Scripture for life...or perhaps we're right on topic. Oh boy. This could be harder than I thought. So much to say and so little time!

Scripture. It's a book - words on paper - written by a bunch of guys, some of them pretty uneducated, about things that don't really seem to come all that naturally or make all that much sense. Some of it is just down right absurd.

Feeding five thousand people with one lunchbag?
Loving my enemies? I find it hard to love my family sometimes...and they're pretty special.
Everlasting life?
Creating the world in 7 days, no 6 and one of rest, just by speaking?
A God I can't see?
A flood, 40 days of rain and a big boat that saved it all?
A small man killing a giant?
Battles galore?
Wait a say there was a baby born in a manger?
And he became a man who was - or claimed to be - the son of God?
He died on a cross?
He rose from the dead?!
For me!?
He loves me?

Are you for real?

Why should I believe it?
You tell me it applies to my life? You've got to be kidding me?!
You say it changes my life? Really?!

Here's the thing. I believe that it's authoritative because it's so much more than words on paper. I believe, by faith that defies logic and reason, that Scripture and all it contains, is true.

Sure it was written by a bunch of seemingly random, undeducated guys but you know what? I'm pretty amazed at how similar their stories are. As eyewitnesses to the things they recorded, they have authority. Today we have eye witnesses testify at court cases, in insurance claims, and any other issue where truth is in question. We believe the testimony of eyewitnesses. ..even with the risk of them making mistakes. By their very proximity to the action, their testimony is validated. Yes, eyewitnesses can make mistakes but I happen to have a belief (and maybe this is the faith part) that these were specially chosen and inspired witnesses.

There's more (and I love this part!). As a fan of the classics - Shakspeare, Homer, Dumas - I recognize that it's pretty impressive that their words have carried over the past couple hundred years virtually the same but get this: there is no piece of literature in the world that is as old, has been translated into as many languages and has remained as true to the original as Scripture. We're talking thousands of years worth of people taking those words to heart. Before the printing press was created ittraveledd by word of mouth. Are you seeing how amazing that is!? Did you ever play that telephone game as a kid? You know, one person starts at the end of a line with a message and you see how close to the original it is once it's been whispered through the whole line of people? Same sort of thing but on a much bigger scale!! And this time the message stays the same.

There's all sorts of scientific, scholarly answers as to why I should believe the Bible but I don't think they answer why I do. While this may sound weak or ridiculous, it's because I need to believe it. Because nothing else makes as much sense. Because when it comes down to it, that hole that people talk about is real and can only be filled with Jesus and the Bible tells me about him so....okay, you get the point. I've seen it lived out in people's lives. I know it's made a difference in my life...just not as often as I would like. So yes, it should be authoritative, it should make a difference, but what's the reality?

I want, more than anything, to be a living reflection of the words there. To take it to heart, not just 'to head' and to live it out. Several other contributors have mentioned ourfascinationn with the word itself, so much so that we forget the Truth it points to. We are at risk of getting so caught up in semantics and rules that we forget the heart of the text - Truth, Jesus, the Kingdom.

Okay, maybe I do need to go to bed now 'cause I think I'm just rambling, so let me leave you with this: If we agree that the Bible is true, the question becomes not if it is authoritative but how we read it, live it and convey it so that the REAL story of Jesus is what the people around us see when we reflect it. That is matter who, what, where, when or why!