Monday, July 27, 2009

reflections on a weekend

We came home Friday from fifteen days in the redwoods camped five miles from the ocean near Santa Cruz, sheltered from the high heat of Amador County, where it chose to hover between 100-107 degrees while we were gone.

It was a special time complete with delicious days with kids and grandkids, good times with great friends, and quiet moments alone taking in the grandeur of our surroundings. The end result was a reluctant departure and a relective trip home.

Punctuating our warm welcome at home was the task of unloading our trailer, washing a ton of dirty clothes and preparing for a big weekend.

*Saturday I traveled to Stockton on personal business, caring for a difficult situation that is stretching our family.

*It was also a day to tie together the loose ends of a Sunday School lesson on Samuel, and a sermon from the 146th Psalm--both tasks I welcomed.

*Sunday we returned to our church fsmily and the familiar feel of a Lord's Day in Amador County.

*I taught and preached and felt inspired by the time I had away to get refurbished and refreshed. (I had good material...God's Word!)

*A highlight was a reunion with a former teenager from a church I pastored--now a pastor's wife with three beautiful teenage daughters. They worshipped with us and joined us for lunch with other friends.

*Sunday afternoon it was a failed attempt at a nap followed by an hour on the treadmill topped with toasted cheese sandwiches and some Home and Garden television.

*This morning it was ten hours at the office of primarily administrative work and "catch up" from the two weeks away.

I am back at the computer tonight with the distant sounds of a Giant ball game taking shape and the quiet hum of a fan blowing in my face. It was 107 degrees on the thermometer in downtown Jackson on my way home but by now it has cooled down, according to my I-Phone, to 97 degrees.

It was a good weekend--not quite like being tucked away in the redwoods basking in the cool breeze of the nearby ocean. But it is home--wherewe live and where we minister each week. And I like it here!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

what part of "nothing" don't we understand?

In John 15 Jesus tells His disciples, having talked about the relationship of branches to the vine, "Apart form me you can do nothing". I have been struck by the blatant simplicity of these words and painfully aware of my often daily disregard of them.

How much do I do in my own strength? I recently reviewed a day of my life and thought about each section of the day, each responsibility I had, each person with whom I spoke and each communciation I sent. Were these activities wrapped in prayer? Did they reflect the heart fo God? Did I act on a whim, or, did I react without prayerfully evaluating my motives? Applying such tests to the things I say and do in ministry--and in life, generally--should become a habit. If I want my actions to have some eternal significance, they need to be framed within the context of my intimate connection to Christ and my desire to manifest His fruit and character in my life in every situation.

I leave for two weeks of vacation tomorrow and I go with a heart determined to affirm my daily dependence upon God. I'll report back about how that is going on my return.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Life is so daily...

Someone has said it, so tritely, and, yet, so timely..."Life is so daily".

*Today I ate breakfast with two brothers who I love and respect and felt encouraged by them.

*Today I wrote a letter to a family member who is in a horrible place, telling them I loved them, and reminding them of God's mercy and grace.

*Today I spoke to someone whose ninety year old mother, afflicted with dementia, died. I reminded her of the frequent times I heard her mother say, "Would you bless me?" (And then we would pray together...)

*Today I prayed with a man who did not even remember who I was, but, who when I prayed became quiet, and when I left him, was signing a hymn to the Lord.

*Today I studied God's Word and finished a sermon for Sunday that challenged me tow alk more closely with god.

*Today I picked squash from our our church victory garden for some needy families.

*Today I shared with some children from a broken family who don't want to hurt either of their parents, and are struggling with allegiances.

I had my eyes checked and met someone whose marriage I performed several years ago and now, two children later, shared her lfie with me.

*Today I listened to a phone message from soneone asking me if there was anything more they could do for me, having voluntarily already done more than I could repay.

*Today I thanked God for today...and the daily opportunities there are to serve Him!