Thursday, August 25, 2005

Where'd the Summer Go?

Tomorrow is the beginning of school in town. Jake has already begun "school" at his preschool. He's in the four year old class and will learn how to write and other cool stuff this year. He's very excited to begin this new school year. He was getting bored during the summer saying, "Well, all we do is play, mom...not much else."

School...I used to get sad at this time of year when I taught. The locusts singing brought about the reality that soon the school bells would ring and I'd be back in the classroom with about 120 different kids, some that were familiar and many that were new. Every once in a while I get nostalgic for that time. But then I really enjoy what I'm doing now, especially working with college students.

So, as this new school year begins I hope that everyone is safe and learns much. Get ready, here comes the fall.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Model of the Church

You scored as Sacrament model. Your model of the church is Sacrament. The church is the effective sign of the revelation that is the person of Jesus Christ. Christians are transformed by Christ and then become a beacon of Christ wherever they go. This model has a remarkable capacity for integrating other models of the church.

What is your model of the church? [Dulles]
created with

Playing Jesus is a Challenge

As I posted a few weeks ago, our church joined with several others for Vacation Bible School and did an event called Marketplace at our local park. The scene is the marketplace in Jerusalem during the last days of Jesus' life. This event was so carefully scripted that on the last day during the closing Jesus was to appear in the midst of the participants. Jesus was played by my friend Kevin, a fellow pastor of a downtown church.

The scene occurred similar to the way the appearance of Jesus in the Upper Room is described. While everyone was singing a prayer...Jesus "appeared" in our midst. I watched Jake as he came and stood among us. Jake's eyes were wide and his mouth fell open. "Jesus is alive, Mommy." I heard him whisper. After the service was over, Jake had many questions, "How did Jesus come back to life? Where is he now? How does he live in our heart if he's alive? Are we going to see him again?"

I talked to Kevin a few days ago and told him what Jake had said. Kevin shared another awesome moment at VBS when Jesus appeared. He said as he was walking off two little girls came running up to him. One had to be about 8 or 10 and the other was around 5 or 6.

The younger of the girls came right up to him with an urgent question, "Jesus...has your mother seen you? She's awfully worried about you. Have you seen her?"

"No," Kevin said, "but if you do would you give her a message? Tell her I'm ok and I'll see her soon."

As quickly as the girls had appeared they ran off to tell Mary that Jesus was alive.

The faith of a child is an amazing thing. Children are so honest, so eager to learn more about things they don't understand. They ask and ask to gain a better understanding. And, they truly care about people and their feelings. That must be one of the reasons that Jesus told us to have the faith of a child. Faith enough to ask if we're going to see Jesus again and faith enough to be concerned about Jesus' family and their welfare. Faith so great it opens the eyes of adults to better see Jesus in our midst.

Mary Pete Monkey Bear Stinky Bottom

This weekend has been especially sad as one of my best friends (on the right in the picture) has gone to Atlanta to begin seminary at Candler. I'm excited for her as she begins a new chapter in her life of ministry, but it is also sad as we miss her. She was our drummer for our contemporary service Common Grounds.

My son calls her Mary Pete Monkey Bear Stinky Bottom. A name of affection for anyone. I don't think it's totally sunk in to him that she has left. And that she probably won't return until probably Christmas time.

We've known this time would come, but it seems that time has flown since she announced that she was leaving. I think it won't truly seem real until we begin Common Grounds again this Thursday. Things will be different without her around.

I wish you well, Mary...but miss you lots!

Stages of the Christian

I just read Dan Kimball's post Reality Church about the different stages of people in the church. I have begun to wonder if that's what happens when churches begin to decline. Our church has begun the first steps in New Church Development. It's a process by which certain factors are evaluated to see where the church needs to grow. Perhaps we need to also look at how to involve and excite people without burning them out.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Passing of the Smokey

Jake, our four year old, has been reluctant to sleep in his own room for a while. He says there are monsters living in his closet, which I assure him is impossible as there is no room for monsters due to the toys and clothes packed into the closet.

His nights in our bedroom continued for quite some time and frankly was kind of a comfort especially over the last week as I was cherishing even more the time I got to spend with him. However, it became clear that Jake really has no intention of going back to sleeping in his room. We tried many things and nothing seemed to work.

That is until the other night. Jake saw a teddy bear that Jim got me quite a while ago. He special ordered it with my college alma mater and name on it. Jake wanted to sleep with it, but I was reluctant...first of all it's rather dusty from being displayed on top of our TV in the bedroom and also because I didn't want anything to happen to it. I began to look for something that would provide him some comfort and saw my old teddy bear from when I was about Jake's age...Smokey.

Smokey was the second bear (the second Smokey bear) that I had from the time I can remember. He protected me...went into surgery with me when I was 10...and was just there for me. I grabbed Smokey and told Jake about him. I told him that Smokey was filled with hugs and he loved to give hugs to children. I told Jake that Smokey kept me safe through scary nights and was always there for me. He grabbed a hold of Smokey and wouldn't let him go.

I told Jake that we would get him a night light to help the darkness of his room. And between Smokey and the nightlight, Jake spent the entire night in his room with no fighting, no crying and little fear.

Maybe each of us just needs a little Smokey. Something to hold tight to...something to give us listen to our scare away the keep us safe in the darkness until the light of day comes.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

The Love of Friends

Throughout these past few rough days, we have received an abundant outpouring of love and care...from emails to posts to phone calls and prayers. All have made us truly feel the presence, love and power of God in our lives. The love and support that all of you have offered to us in our time of loss is overwhelming. And our family thanks you from the bottom of our hearts.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Our Smallest Angel

Yesterday had to be one of the worst days of my life. Not even a month ago, we found out we were was a joyous time filled with hope, dreams and excitement as we awaited our new little arrival. Our hopes began to wane a little last Friday as I began to show early warning signs of losing our baby. At first I thought that maybe with aerobics and VBS and all the other stuff going on last week that I had just overdone it. However, yesterday at the doctor our worst fears were realized. The baby hadn't grown from like 5 weeks and their heart had stopped (or had never started) beating. We were crushed. How do we tell Jake? How do we get through this time.

I don't know how we are to be blessed by this. I did have this repeated thought in my head, "You will help others who experience this type of loss." All the same I kept thinking, "That's nice God, but why do we have to experience this pain?" At the same time there was also this reassurance that there is hope beyond this that new life can occur. But it doesn't help to reduce the bouts of pain and sorrow I feel from time to time.

I look at Jake so differently and feel so blessed to have been blessed with him in our lives. I really realize how lucky we were with him that none of this stuff happened then.

From the time I can remember I have collected angels. Maybe it's because they're beautiful beings that are close to God...I don't know. The picture at the top is one of my favorites which now has a bit of a new meaning to me. My little angel has gone on to be with the angels. And, I believe there is hope beyond the sadness. But for now I'm just holding close to my guys giving thanks to God for allowing me the gift of their presence in my life.