Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Road trip for the Grisham men

This morning Adam and I went to Shelby Forrest. During all of my years in the mid-south, this was only my second time to visit "the park", as Adam put it. "The park" is spread out across 13,000 acres. Some park, huh! Our first stop was the mighty Mississippi River, where we spent twenty minutes skipping rocks. I wish I had pictures to post, but I forgot my camera. Next time...

We did a lot of driving, stopping every now and then to eat goldfish crackers and drink juice. All in all it was a great outing. Our entire trip lasted a little over three hours. We'll be going back very soon. This time we'll be bringing Mom with us.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Everyday Salvation

This morning I've been reading Grace-Based Parenting, by Tim Kimmel. Mandy stumbled onto this book about a month ago, and is about half-way through, so I decided to start it this morning. It's spurred a lot of thoughts in me, and I decided that one of them might be worth blogging about. One of the chapters is on secure love. The premise of the chapter is that we need to love our children as God loves His children.

The author tells the story of being at a hotel for breakfast one morning when he spotted a mom with an infant and a four-year old boy. The boy was excited because there was an "all you can eat" buffet. When the waitress came to take their order, the mom said that she and her husband, who was on the way down from his room, would take the buffet, but the little boy was going to have cornflakes. You can imagine that the little boy was less than thrilled by this declaration. When the dad came down, and saw his son crying, he convinced the mom that since they were on vacation, they should let him have the buffet. She reluctantly agreed.

The little boy took a little of everything, including things that he normally wouldn't have tried...but this was vacation, and this was a buffet! When he sat back down, his mother scolded him for getting so much food, or more importantly, so much unhealthy food. The author points out that at this moment the little boy's countenance fell and his joy left him.

So what does this story have to do with the title of this post, "Everyday Salvation?" As I was reading this story, I thought back to the passage that Jason taught from a couple of weeks ago. Matthew 13 is the parable of the sower. You can read it here if you'd like.

We've all been like this mom, whether it was with a child, a spouse, or a friend. We've allowed, as Jesus puts it, "the worries of this life" to choke out the word. I don't believe that Jesus was referring just to the first time we hear the gospel, or even the first time we accept the gospel and put our trust in Christ. I believe that salvation comes everyday. In other words, the seeding of the gospel into our lives takes place everyday. The question is, "What is our soil like?"

On days when I am impatient, unloving, bitter, frustrated, unpleasant (the list can go on and on) - is it because my heart (my soil) has not been in a place to receive from God?

If so, then how do I prevent that from happening tomorrow?

First, I need to be aware that God longs to have a daily, intimate relationship with me. He didn't create me, save me, and then put things on auto-pilot. His desire is to commune with me daily. His desire is to plant the seeds of the gospel into me on a daily basis. Let's remind ourselves of that truth.

Second, I need to confess my sins. I need to be in a place where I can receive everything that God has for me.

Third, I need to have faith that God can change me, that He can change my heart. I need to believe that the gospel can make me into a different person - a more loving person, a more patient person, a person with self-control (for the rest of this list, read this passage).

Here’s the good news in all of this. When the gospel finds good soil, it produces a crop, up to 100 times what was sown.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A Year of Eating Locally

I just read this article from Salon. It's an interview with Barbara Kingsolver, author of The Poisonwood Bible. She and her family spent a year living on a farm in Virginia. More specifically, they spent a year living off of the farm. Her newest book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life is one of the results of that experience.

Here's a great quote: "If we can't, as artists, improve on real life, we should put down our pencils and go bake bread."

Here's another one:
When told that the book was funny, she replied, "Hooray, that's my goal: to write pages a reader will want to keep turning. I'm a storyteller, not a minister."

Whoa. Settle down Barbara.

One final quote. This one's really good, and it's the primary reason I wanted to post this...

Food is the one consumer choice we have to make every day. We can use that buying power in a transaction that burns excessive fossil fuels, erodes topsoil, supports multinationals that pay their workers just a few bucks a day -- or the same money could strengthen neighborhood food economies, keep green spaces alive around our towns, and compensate farmers for applying humane values. Every purchase weighs in on one side or the other. It just isn't possible to opt out. Otherwise, if you're going to eat food, you belong to some kind of food chain. The goal of this book is to reveal that truth.

Read the entire article here.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Patience of Faith

One of my favorite books is My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers. This is yesterday's reading. If you're looking for a daily devotional, and have never read this, I encourage you to check it out. You can find it online here.

Patience is more than endurance. A saint's life is in the hands of God like a bow and arrow in the hands of an archer. God is aiming at something the saint cannot see, and He stretches and strains, and every now and again the saint says - "I cannot stand any more." God does not heed, He goes on stretching till His purpose is in sight, then He lets fly. Trust yourself in God's hands. For what have you need of patience just now? Maintain your relationship to Jesus Christ by the patience of faith. "Though He slay me, yet will I wait for Him."

Faith is not a pathetic sentiment, but robust vigorous confidence built on the fact that God is holy love. You cannot see Him just now, you cannot understand what He is doing, but you know Him. Shipwreck occurs where there is not that mental poise which comes from being established on the eternal truth that God is holy love. Faith is the heroic effort of your life, you fling yourself in reckless confidence on God.

God has ventured all in Jesus Christ to save us, now He wants us to venture our all in abandoned confidence in Him. There are spots where that faith has not worked in us as yet, places untouched by the life of God. There were none of those spots in Jesus Christ's life, and there are to be none in ours. "This is life eternal, that they might know Thee." The real meaning of eternal life is a life that can face anything it has to face without wavering. If we take this view, life becomes one great romance, a glorious opportunity for seeing marvellous things all the time. God is disciplining us to get us into this central place of power.

As I was reading this I thought about a comment I heard from Tim Keller. He said that many times we feel that God has no right to stretch us like this. He believes this is due to a warped view of grace. If we feel that in some small we are accepted by God (that we are saved) by our good works, then there is a limit on how much God can ask of us, how much God can stretch us. However, if our acceptance comes totally and completely through God's grace, then there is no limit on what He asks of us.

This is no doubt a little scary, but it can also be freeing, especially when we begin to understand that God's working in our lives, even when it is so difficult, is the best thing for us.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Substantially United

By Julian of Norwich

God showed me something small, no bigger than a hazelnut, lying in the palm of my hand, as it seemed to me, and it was as round as a ball. I looked at it with the eye of my understanding and thought: What can this be? I was amazed that it could last, for I thought that because of its littleness it would suddenly have fallen into nothing. And I was answered in my understanding: It lasts and always will, because God loves it: and thus everything has being through the love of God.

In this little thing I saw three properties. The first is that God made it, the second is that God loves it, the third is that God preserves it. But what did I see in it? It is that God is the Creator and the protector and the lover. For until I am substantially united to God, I can never have perfect rest or true happiness, until, that is, I am so attached to God that there can be no created thing between my God and me.

Source: Revelations of Divine Love

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Photos from Q

I forgot to bring our camera to Q last week. Turns out that was ok. My pictures wouldn't have turned out near as well as these.