Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Did he get to heaven?

I had the privilege of teaching at Powerhouse tonight. First time this year I think. Powerhouse is our 7-8th grade youth gathering. (I really dislike the name by the way....but not enough to change it!) It is our most energetic group and unfortunately our most understaffed. Not a great situation - but kids keep coming, kids keep inviting, and I'm trying to patiently wait for the right person or two to be called to work with this age group....but that's not the point of this post. Sorry for the detour.

Tonight we were exploring the passage from Mark 2 where Jesus is teaching inside a home and there was a very large crowd. Four guys carry a paralyzed man to Jesus by climbing up on the roof, making a whole, and lowering him down. Then Jesus speaks the words to the man, "Son, your sins are forgiven." Later the man is physically healed and he gets up and leaves. There is no record of any conversation between the man and Jesus. No record of his reaction more than him getting up and leaving (although the passage in Luke says he was praising God as he left.)

I asked the kids tonight, sort of off the top of my head, "Do you think that man went to heaven? Why or why not?" It lead to a great tension filled discussion with great questions and comments:

"Doesn't he have to ask Jesus into his heart, or say out loud that he believes?"

"Doesn't that fact that he got up show that he believed (and thus believed in) Jesus?"

"If his sins are forgiven, isn't that the start of his journey/faith in Jesus?"

"Was it enough that his friends had faith in Jesus and that saved him?"

Great questions - I was so impressed with our kids and leaders as they really talked about and tried to flesh out what was going on in the story and what they think.

What an amazing evening it was for me.....thanks Jesus.
Oh, by the way, what do you think? Did he get to heaven?

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

PEAKS & valleys

Wow. This year has really started off as a roller coaster ride for me. I've had some very high PEAKS and some pretty deep valleys in the past couple of weeks. Here's a glimpse at the journey....

PEAK - Our prayer worship service to start the new year. We put together an opportunity for corporate, individual, and small group prayer into the worship service that was experiential, non-threatening, and inviting. One of the most intimate worship experiences I've had in awhile.

valley - calendar chaos. Between the family calendar and planning for youth events I feel WAY behind and as though I'm slogging through mud to start the year.

PEAK - SMYG this past Sunday morning was a great experience. Did a message on based on the stoning of Stephen. Lots of creative ideas came out of it - involving mirrors and rocks - and the kids/leaders seemed engaged. A good start to SMYG 2007.

valley - house chaos. I can't seem to get ahead on the house "chores" - just your mundane stuff like grocery shopping, laundry, keeping things picked up. And I let this bug me WAY more than I should.

PEAK - my run this past Saturday. I ran 40 minutes and felt great. Also felt very connected with God during that time - and landed on some good ideas for the SMYG lesson the next day.

valley - my daughter, Kate, heads back for college in 6 days. I don't show it enough (or tell her often enough) but I sure miss having her around. I can't imagine what it will be like when Kelsey leaves for college next fall - yikes!

PEAK - I have had some very encouraging comments from kids in our youth group over the past few weeks. Words are powerful tools.

As I process a little it is me striving for control that is frustrating me. That and just not buckling down and getting to work on things I need to persevere through. I guess I better start - and thank God for being present in the PEAKS and valleys of my life.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Clearing the Temple Update

What an interesting journey. I finally get it, that Jesus really wants me to start taking better care of my body (clearing the temple). A couple weeks later I find out that I have developed diabetes.
It has now been a little over 5 weeks since I've started running/biking and informally watching what I eat. In general I've been doing 30-45 minutes of exercise 3X/wk and cutting back on my portion size at meals. Here are some of my observations:
  • The first 5-8 minutes of exercising are the worst. It takes me a while to find a groove.

  • My weight has dropped about 10 pounds.

  • I have better energy in the afternoons.

  • My exercise time has become very prayerful. Especially in the "listening" phase of the conversations I have with God.

  • After about 25 minutes the only prayers I can say are very simple - "Holy Spirit fall on me"; "Dear Lord Jesus, Son of God, have mercy upon me, a sinner", etc.

  • I enjoy watching sermons while I exercise....and listening to Kelly Clarkson. *sigh*

  • My family is very supportive of me. My kids even created a homemade exercise journal - complete with inspirational quotes - for me to track my progress.

It has been an amazingly positive experience - not just physically but spiritually. Praise God for blessing this adventure in clearing my temple so that there is more room for Him.