Thursday, November 26, 2009


From the Book of Common Prayer:

A General Thanksgiving

Accept, O Lord, our thanks and praise for all that you have done for us. We thank you for the splendor of the whole creation, for the beauty of this world, for the wonder of life, and for the mystery of love.

We thank you for the blessing of family and friends, and for the loving care which surrounds us on every side.

We thank you for setting us at tasks which demand our best efforts, and for leading us to accomplishments which satisfy and delight us.

We thank you also for those disappointments and failures that lead us to acknowledge our dependence on you alone.

Above all, we thank you for your Son Jesus Christ; for the truth of his Word and the example of his life; for his steadfast obedience, by which he overcame temptation; for his dying, through which he overcame death; and for his rising to life again, in which we are raised to the life of your kingdom. Grant us the gift of your Spirit, that we may know him and make him known; and through him, at all times and in all places, may give thanks to you in all things. Amen.

For the Saints and the Faithful Departed:

We give thanks to you, O Lord our God, for all your servants and witnesses of time past: for Abraham, the father of believers, and Sarah his wife; for Moses, the lawgiver, and Aaron, the priest; for Miriam and Joshua, Deborah and Gideon, and Samuel with Hannah his mother; for Isaiah and all the prophets; for Mary, the mother of our Lord; for Peter and Paul and all the apostles; for Mary and Martha, and Mary Magdalene; for Stephen, the first martyr, and all the martyrs and saints in every age and in every land. In your mercy, O Lord our God, give us, as you gave to them, the hope of salvation and the promise of eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, the first-born of many from the dead. Amen.

For Samantha Rose Campbell

Heavenly Father, you sent; your own Son into this world. We thank you for the life of this child, Samantha, entrusted to our care. Help us to remember that we are all your children, and so to love and nurture her, that she may attain to that full stature intended for her in your eternal kingdom; for the sake of your dear Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

O God our Help in Ages Past

O God, our help in ages past,  
our hope for years to come,  
our shelter from the stormy blast,  
and our eternal home.

Under the shadow of thy throne,  
still may we dwell secure;  
sufficient is thine arm alone,  
and our defense is sure.

Before the hills in order stood,  
or earth received her frame,  
from everlasting, thou art God,  
to endless years the same.

A thousand ages, in thy sight,  
are like an evening gone;  
short as the watch that ends the night,  
before the rising sun.

Time, like an ever rolling stream,  
bears all who breathe away;  
they fly forgotten, as a dream  
dies at the opening day.

O God, our help in ages past,  
our hope for years to come;  
be thou our guide while life shall last,  
and our eternal home.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Take a moment

turn up your speakers and sit still for the next 11 minutes
enjoy something beautiful today

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Of Peace and Paper Airplanes

that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, ~1 Thess. 4:11

Easily one of the greatest days ever. Today we all started the day by bundling into the car for the first Christmas pageant rehearsal. It was lovely and sweet. It is going to be quite a year for the Holly Hills Christmas Production Company, I assure you! After that home for lunch and naps. Everyone got naps. This was excellent!
After naps we watched a movie together (Tinkerbelle 2) and had a great deal of fun answering Cadences endless questions about the characters the events and what was going to happen. Soon after this we had a lovely dinner of lasagna (thank you so much MomPom!) and laughed a great deal over dinner. Cadence ate so well. Dinner is not her favorite meal, but she must like lasagna and I think she is coming up on a growth spurt as her diet has markedly grown this past week.
Finn was, as always, all smiles and giggles. And cuddles. Lots and lots of cuddles. We spread a blanket out on the ground and made paper airplanes and threw them back and forth (this mystified Cadence) and laughed when they crashed into things (and often people). Pugsley tried earnestly to sleep through a small barrage of paper airplanes that could not seem to fall anywhere else but onto him.
Before heading up to bed a family cuddle session on the blanket that at times more resembled a "battle royal" wrestling match and tickle torture ring occurred. Everyone went to bed happy. Finn dropped off quickly and Cadence wanted to be read the Little Bear treasury in it's entirety. This is one of my soft spots as a parent, if they want to read more they will probably be up all night. Please do not tell them about this as they haven't figured it out just yet! After a snuggle and a good night kiss I left Cadence to fall asleep, but she came out of her room to ask me if I would pray for her so that the monsters wouldn't scare her. So I did, and evidently God came through again and Cadence fell immediately to sleep.
It's fun to pray for Cadence. I don't really like the idea of telling kids that there are no monsters. I don't feel like I can confirm that, and what kid ever said "Oh, really? No monsters? Okay, I'm off to sleep then!" So it has been more fun for me to tell Cadence that there may be monsters but she doesn't need to be afraid of them because God can protect her and loves her too much to see her come to any harm at the hands of the monsters that may or may not reside in her room.
This may seem cruel, but I don't think so. I spend too much of my time fearing imaginary monsters. Possible scenarios of the future that may not even be likely to occur. I get all bent out of shape about the future and the present and all of the other silly things that are simply distractions. As I enjoyed my pipe on the back porch and watched the snowfall I realized...the monsters really are there, but what can they do to a sheep in the care of the good shepherd?

Big day tomorrow of fellowship, worship, teaching the word and more. This one was a very good day! Thank you for this one, Lord!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Blessings of The Body

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Matthew 28:19-20

April and I were blessed to get to join Fort Collins Bible Church for a service this morning and spend some time studying the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19-20) together. This genuine, sweet group of brothers and sisters in the Lord were so gentle and unassuming. We were blessed by their sincerity and deep love for one another as well as their great love for us (whom none but the pastor-teacher and his wonderful bride had ever met). It wasn't a good match to what church is "supposed to be" by our modern american standards. People seemed humble and kind, it was like being at home. I knew this feeling because I feel it each Sunday at our home church (Holly Hills Bible Church). The same gracious love was there. The same warm feeling and kind handshakes. The same moments of compassion and care.
The modern version (as I seem to see it in popular Christian culture) is to put all of the emphasis on the "GO" as if this were the command. It appeals to the worker bee in us, do do do it yourself. It reminds me of a t-shirt I once saw that read "Jesus is coming...LOOK BUSY!" Then, in our culture, I believe we have changed the word "disciple" to "convert." Converts are easy, they may take as little as a few moments. Disciples take years to make. We seem to find the bigger numbers of "converts" more attractive. Baptism is a magical ceremony that people will live and die for rather than a simple expression of the amazing truth of what God has graciously done in saving us...identifying us with His Son. I could go on, but it wouldn't edify.
Looking at the original language and culture I see these verses crying out to the intimate and full beauty that is to be found in the body of Christ. The word "go" here is actually a participle. This means that it is given the "-ing" ending and is not the main command of the sentence. The idea may be better put "as you are going..." because the going is assumed, what we do as we go is what is special.
Discipleship was a life on life, day by day, process of sharing good times and bad, hard times and easy, teaching, thoughts and service. The kind of discipleship Jesus practices was radical even in the day because he served those whom were His disciples (a practice that would have shocked people constantly!). The intimacy Jesus has given us is a deep and rich intimacy of love, devotion and service, not just sharing an hour or two a week, but being involved in each others lives day by day. It is messy, it is painful and it is beautiful. It doesn't look great on a pamphlet and it won't sell a million copies, but it is what Christ had in mind.
Baptism was a practice of identification. We are Baptized into the SINGULAR NAME of the triune God. We are being invited into the perfect community of the Godhead. We are welcomed into the real circle of unending, and perfect love. This is not a formula that we must follow when we baptize or else, it is a promise that each of the three persons of our triune God is invested and involved in our salvation. We have an intimate relationship with the God of the Universe be cause He has called us into this intimacy. That is our identification. Cool stuff!
Teaching is to be the method in which truth is communicated. Teaching is the process by which we in the Church get to behold the Lord together. The teaching isn't the cold, western classroom version that we may think of in modern times (most teaching wasn't done that way) the "teaching" here is connected to the main verb and command: discipleship! So the discipleship process includes teaching to observe.
Why observe and not obey? I have an idea about this. Obey is a law thing. You can only obey a rule or law you know and once you have obeyed it you are in the clear. Observance is a far deeper, more full life expression of something. Obedience stops when the laws stop, observance is carried out into every aspect of a person's life. The life of Christ in us is to be a full life expression. We aren't just to follow a few hollow rules and be smug, we are rest in Christ and let His life and love flow out of us at every moment.
"Commanded" is another hard one to bring into English. This sounds like the simple past tense, but that won't cut it. Actually, it is the tense of no time. Jesus had yet more commandments to give. The whole New Testament was yet to be written and Christ had more to say. So the Apostles would have understood that there could be more that Christ was going to teach them (and there turned out to be a great deal more - vis. Acts through Revelation).
"Lo" is an attention getter here, I would say, "Listen up" may be a nice modern idiom. In the Greek here we get a reiterative 1st person pronoun. In other words, Jesus is saying "I, MYSELF, ME PERSONALLY, will be with you." It is a promise of His continued ministry by indwelling every single believer. How often? Always! Never is Christ not with you. Christ never misses a beat on our lives. He sees every moment, and is right here with us. Intimate, complete, fully knowing and fully loving us. And this will last all the way back to His return, when He sets His feet on Terra Firma and begins His Reign here on Earth.

So, I would expand (or paraphrase) these verses as follows:

"As you are going, be investing deeply in each others lives, and in the lives of the unsaved, so as to point others the towards Me (Jesus), when people understand and put their faith in Me do this ritual of identification that you all understand as an outward commitment to something or someone, and do it in such a way that they will know that the whole power of the Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit): the perfect community of the Godhead is the basis for their salvation and intimacy with Me and with each other. As a part of your investments in each others' lives teach people to live out My life and commands every day. If they ask how they can do this, or if you ever wonder how you could do it, remember I, myself, the Son of God, am always with you...even to till I wrap up this whole Church age."

Then I realized, that these people were already at it. What a blessed day.