Monday, March 31, 2014
Laura got her braces off Monday, and is free to eat forbidden foods. She had a health challenging underbite fixed and it took over 14 months and lots of pain and lots of rubber bands, and lots of sandwiches cut up into small bites. We are pleased its over....necessary but over.
Arizona State University recently was ranked as the largest University in the nation with 70,000 enrolled this year, 10,000 are foreign students thanks to an aggressive recruitment policy in the doctoral programs.
Christians on campus have the opportunity to revive a property directly across the street from historic Gammage Auditorium that will give the Christian ministries meeting space they have never enjoyed. It's high priced real estate, and was an historic home that served as a Lutheran congregation that dwindled.
The groups have formed a corporation to raise funds to purchase the property that is next store the the Quo Vadis bookstore which has had a thirty year presence on the campus.
We attended the 3pm worship of the international Bible Church in the chapel and heard the dream casting vision.
Sunday, March 30, 2014
In my long life of bible study, bible reading, bible doctrine, bible teaching, etc. it would be safe to say that one of my literary heroes is Paul the apostle. He began his adult life in a strict tradition of defending the faith he was raised in with skill and zeal. He was unaware that his path and God's timing would intersect in one of the greatest inner turnarounds in human history.
A persecutor of the church became a spokesman and advocate of the message of the church. He was called, changed, empowered, protected and fruitful beyond measure. We would not know what the implications of Jesus life, teaching, death, and resurrection without Paul's writings. They play a key role in how everyone developes their faith. He is inspiring and endlessly helpful in leading us in the proper way through warnings, admonisions, corrections, and encouragements. He is the lens through which I am seeing Easter 2014. He calls me back to the purity and simplicity of grace and peace.
Saturday, March 29, 2014
Laura's Dell runs on Vista OS which is about to be abandoned by Microsoft. My printer ink is no longer stocked by Costco as its five years old. Its like you are forced to upgrade or suffer consequenses.
I am still struggling with windows 8. Everythings moves and shifts but that does not help me find the files I need and multitask as easily as the older version. We have looked at Apple technology as our kids urging and are still pondering a switch.
Other than these minor issues, life is full of satisfaction and joy as we grasp the momentary beauty of our brief springtime in the desert. I am waiting for our backyard tree to burst into yellow blooms. Out rock project is progressing after some gravel spreading a raking this am after our trip to the gym for a Saturday workout.
Friday, March 28, 2014
Thursday, March 27, 2014
There was a period in the mid to late 80s when a number of popular ministries were being discredited by corruption and exposure of wrong use of money and people. It was pretty discouraging too try to keep the image of the church positive when so much was creating distrust and shame.
Feels a bit like it is happening again with some of the shenanigans going on in evangelical circles these days. It all seems a bit intensified with the connections we have to expose and uncover and quickly as we praise and build new things. The question always come up as to whether these are endemic to seriously bad thinking in the church or just occasional blips on the world of faith.
I continue to believe we are in the midst of a bit of a reformation, and the exposure of the false will help us to find a better way to live and share our faith in the world. I continue to resist the creation of Christian celebrity and am very glad I was not the type of material to get such a role.
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
As we were moving our pile of rocks from the street we lived through a dust storm, a unique phenomenon of Arizona summers during the monsoon, and occasionally in the spring.
Blowing dust covers everything, and driving becomes a deadly problem in certain areas, particularly between here and Tucson around the Casa Grande mountains, which funnel and intensify anything blowing in the area.
Had some discussion this morning on praying for changes in the government policies and directions which led to some tension and to a reflection on our current climate of class warfare and conservatism expressed through our Christian principles.
Yesterday I heard a second hand story of the ouster of a minister for trying to change too many things in a church and it sounded so familiar and reminded me that these are troubling times in the Kingdom.
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Dear Southern and Northern friends, most people in the desert have rocks in their yards to conserve water. It is true that many transplants out here insist on having and watering grass. I did in home one and two, and I enjoy barefooting it in a nice yard, but the rocks keep the yard nice even when you must where shoes to walk in it.
So we freshened the 20 year old rocks in our side yard as we did the front yard last year, with four tons of coral pink 3/4 inch gravel. It is hard work, and having three one the hauling team helped.
Monday, March 24, 2014
Laura is back at work headed toward the home stretch of another school year, March soon gone, April-May, and off for the all too brief summer.
I have several tons of rocks on my driveway to spiff up the back yard coral rock cover. Some back straining hours ahead this week.
We watched our Disney slides and videos last night on the big screen TV and shared happy memories. Somehow after the bone weary movement is over it all begins to look like more of a precious memory with your grand children that the physical marathon it felt like each day. Life is funny like that.
Sunday, March 23, 2014
Everyone is grooming their games for the Masters in a few weeks, and last years Champion Adam Scott seems to be peaking with his picture perfect swing and great mental attitude.
Me sharing about God's desire for folks to walk with him, delivers with joy, passion, and a great mental attitude.
Thankful for such a sweet few weeks of spring in the desert.
Saturday, March 22, 2014
When Hagar and Marie's children picked up the cake it said Happy 70th Birthday because they thought it was impossible for someone to order a 70th Anniversary cake. But, yes, it is the 70th Anniversary of these war time wedding celebrants.
They raised four kids, ran a successful lumber business and small farm, and have enjoyed a tremendous retirement here and back in Indiana. This while Hagar survived two saw and picker accident that took one hand and parts of another, but did not stop him from playing a lovely piano. He has also dealt with sight and hearing issues for years, which did not stop him from playing tennis and playing many other instrument.
We are all blessed to know and enjoy them and share the day with family.
Friday, March 21, 2014
I had my two year old computer Geeked this week. Very nice work. Got rid of all kinds of internet goo that was showing up on my screen and it is faster and cleaner and more responsive. Thanks guys and gals.
We are in the midst of our most delightful time of year temperature wise and the days are so pleasant.
Laura heads back into the fray to complete another year at Chandler Freedom Academy.
Thursday, March 20, 2014
Today we heard Nancy H share her spiritual lessons and blessings from surviving an accidental gunshot wound to the face seven years ago with a large caliber revolver. It included the long struggle of her husband to forgive himself and her long endurance of 24 major surgeries and setbacks to create a new face and save eyes, nose and sinus cavities. It was very powerful and heart challenging for all the ladies present. It was Christ and His love and power that got her through.
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
This is a huge issue in the evangelical church facing a culture that is very willing to accept and coexist with same sex affection.
I am torn about this, and by the way, Torn is the name of a very honest and well written book by a young Christian gay leader. Many would say you cannot be Christian and Gay. To me that is like saying believers are not obese, or adulterous, alcoholic, drug addicted or even dishonest. I guess I lean toward sexual orientation being something deeper than a simple rebellious choice. In recent decades many serious performers in Christian music have come out about their same sex attraction, and somehow we must be very prayerful and gracious in our listening and responding to this phenomenon.
Sunday, March 16, 2014
Clean as a whistle and fresh every morning, lots of hard work overnight after a Windy Wednesday convinced me.
The music everywhere, totally joyful.
Great horticulture, every flower, every tree, every garden shouts beauty.
Happy families enjoying each other, laughter and screams of delight.
Disney cast and characters living the long dreams of a most creative man and a great company.
Great food everywhere, not hugely inflated prices. We had some great meals.
The rides are really fun when you finally get through the line.
Two words, Tiki Birds.
Saturday, March 15, 2014
Major ride malfunctions on Day two when we got there early at least four major rides were canceled due to technical difficulties, seems like it was just too coincidental. I think the testing and opening of rides on time should be rigourously followed when you pay this much for a ticket, sheesh!
Fast Pass has become a double wait time when so many people want them that you have to wait an hour to save an hour, stupid.
Having a ride open but only to Disney staff for three days.....what!!!!
Advertising a wait time of 25 minutes that really took over 40, no fair.
Getting rid of Billy Hill and the Hillbillies.....boo!
Letting Starbucks transform my little Coffee market from a small to a big business....inevitable but sad.
Giving you a dinner reservation time and then having to wait 20 minutes to be seated....bad form.
Implementing a new system of taking everyones picture coming and going into the parks, hello Big Brother.
Taking a picture of a bus while almost getting run over by another.....my bad.
Friday, March 14, 2014
Thursday, March 13, 2014
Well, our four day vacation is over. Disney is always a bit of an endurance test for finding and accomplishing fun. We had a larger than usual frustration level with the closed and malfunctiong rides. And the crowds were overwhelming most times. Also the fast pass system, which was designed to help people wanting rides, is now a double line system and overwhelming crowds line up to get the fast past every morning for the newest and coolest, Car Land racer ride.
Other than that, all the joys of the happiest place on earth and still well done and very enjoyable, and watching so many grandparents with grand kids and happy families of all types. Our experience there is very special.
Sunday, March 9, 2014
Walt built a park from a vision to create the "happiest place on earth", for his children. Over the decades the Parks have preserved those original rides and amusements and improved as much as possible to handle the huge crowds that come to enjoy some time there. We have not been in three years, and so we plan to revisit with our older selves and grand children, the sights and sounds of a fantasy that over the years helped us to learn to dream that people can be kind and good, that good can defeat evil.
I am a part of that larger and more real dream as well. Headed to California this afternoon after worship.
Saturday, March 8, 2014
I just started reading a book with the title "Quiet" after a conversation with a Christian Therapist I met at a banquet. It is about introversion and its role in a society that functions mostly by valueing extroversion. All the testing questions tell me I am an introvert, and I always wonder if such a personality type is suited for some of the lifestyles expected in ministry.
Its true that in public speaking it takes a degree of confidence and overcoming of fear to share and teach, but none of that would work if I was not fueled by hours of contemplation, thought, study and solitude. That part of my life creates the most meaning and joy for me. Opening up about those things often creates conflict when people see things differently. Yet, finding the best way to live in a changing culture is so important that we cannot just go on as if the world of thought and even the foundations of truth were not a stake.
Anyhow, the book is highly recommended so here I go. Most introverts shy away from conflict, but in our present place in Christianity we are surrounded with so many huge decisions and differing opinions on how to move foreword that it takes a lot of wrestling with uncomfortable conflict to reach resolutions needed to grow.
Friday, March 7, 2014
Thursday, March 6, 2014
There is a line in a Gaither song about how to live that goes something like this. "I'll take the time, to see anothers point of view". This has been my quest for quite a long time, over a decade, and it has been quite eye opening and quiet fulfilling and somewhat transforming.
There is a story of a small legalistic denomination, the Worldwide Church of God, run for years by some typical megalomaniac leaders, who, from the top down, decided to repent of their twisted direction and seek a better path. They renamed themselves Grace Communion International. Now because of their past baggage I am pretty sure I would not want to join them, but the process of changing the foundations upon which they functioned, and the people who helped them rethink and reform their way of ministry is quite refreshing.
They have emphasized the original motivation that sent the Son of God to a world that would reject him, to a sinful world. God must have refused to see the dispicable things and kept His heart on the original imprint of His image upon them. This allowed Paul to tell the bigger story of the Kingdom that seems to be summed up in the phrase in II Cor. 5. "God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, not counting their sins against them". Now I realize that what follows this is an invitation to be reconciled, but I wonder if the kind of Christianity I experienced spent way to much time pointing out the ungodly ways of the unbeliever and failed to see how many folks outside the faith are just pretty decent people. They are not all ax murderers. They shop at Walmart, try to pay their bills and keep their cholesterol down, just like me.
Paul seemed to appeal to this kind of gentle appreciation for the culture around him in his sermon in Acts. He is not far from you, for in Him we live and breathe and have our being.
The Trinitarian Conversation led by Baxter Kruger, an old acquaintance, and Paul Young, author of The Shack, and others following the applications of the Torrence Brothers, Irish theologians, now deceased, are really on to something beautiful and balancing about how to relate to those who are not in the faith. I think grace is a way of life, not a commodity that I get that allows me to dispise the lost.
Like one of them teachs, to be a lost sheep implies that someone owns you, and is seeking you. Thats a gracious thought.
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
The grandchildren have been going to Disneyland with us every couple of years since Shannon was five. I have photos of all the visits, we watch them grow, and the sounds and music of a generation raised with the entertainment vision of Walt Disney will surround us for three days.
We will cross and recross the entrances to each Kingdom, sample the delights and the tedium of waiting in line for some of the experiences, and my camera will capture 2014 as I did 2004. Its magical! Although I have for the last few visits taken time outs to go back to the room to lay down for an hour, to rest my weary feet and back, I will still hit the place early and leave it late and love all the interplay between us and the park.
The transformation of the newer park across the way will mean we park hop a lot, and it will be interesting to see as my kids grow if they will spend less time in the places that we enjoy and more time wanting the latest thrill ride. I am pretty sure they will still not jump onto the Tower of Terror with glee. We will see.
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
My wired life of information service and access is changing. Last evening I entered security codes or passwords or moden names into a desk computer, two laptops,a Xoom tablet, a Kindle, and two smartphones so that I am finally wired inside my home. Thats seven tools dudes!
Previously my tablet provided access, and wifey had to ask for it to be turned on and off and it is the most expensive form of wireless connection I am told. Now all our online avenues will be using Dish Network and my new fabulous phablet will do the street duty for helping with directions and all the things smartphones do to help us run our lives smoothly.
Oddly, in order for this to happen, I needed a phone jack, which was difficult because we stopped using our phone lines almost three years ago and had covered them up. When I heard the hook up guy working, I asked why a dish satellite service needed a phone line he said it was just to let the company know we were ready to go, and to allow them to cut off service if we quite paying. I could in fact place the modem anywhere after it was installed. He also had to put a new phone outlet box outside the home, because ours was obselete. He said he had been working phone lines for over 20 years and the amazing thing is that we carry more computing power in our pockets than was used to put man on the moon in the late sixties.
I bought my first non branded cheap IBM XT 25 years ago with floppy disk for a brain and I have never looked back. Spell check alone was enough to revolutionize my life of writing.
Monday, March 3, 2014
A very happy 50th Anniversary Celebration showed me how wonderful a small family and lots of good church friends and neighbors can be.
An Awards ceremony that honors our seniors who voluteer faithfully showed me that life does not end when the paychecks end and there are wonderful people involved in helping others all over my community.
Seeing a picture of me celebrating reminded me that my belly bump is growing again. Too much food, too many deserts, too many celebrations and restaurant meetings, but Oh life is good.
Saturday, March 1, 2014
I have been suffering from some type of cold for most of the new year. Chest cold, throat cold, and this week, over a week of stuffy sinus, blocked breathing, and general misery. Part of life. Tired of it.
A memorial service for Dan R. this afternoon. Great man of simple faith, hard work, family love.
Still thinking about how our theology affects how we treat others. Saw stunning examples on the documentary Hellbound watching people with differing theologys explain the same set of facts differently. This speaks no ill of scripture or theology, but of the fact that we must listen and learn from all who seek the truth of revelation.