Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Lessons from the weekend 4-21-12

I just returned from four days away with my family and friends.  I spent two days with my mother and the other two days at my camper beside the river for it was opening of fishing season.  I love this weekend in April not simply for the good memories of fishing with my father on opening day, but for the celebration of new life, which is so abundant this time of year.  As I reflect on the weekend I find some lessons I learned from it.

From the front of my camper on Saturday I had the pleasure of watching a father fishing with his daughter.  It reminded me greatly of the times I went with my dad.  Reflecting on this I discover, my heavenly Father wants to go fishing with me even more so than my earthly father did.  There are many lessons to be learned when sitting beside a stream fishing, but that dissertation is for another time.  But knowing the Father wants to fish with me and teach me is some thing I want to make time for, HE provides the bait and tackle; I need to give HIM the time.

Secondly, in church the sermon was on feeding the five thousand in Luke 9 and John 6.  The preacher wondered (paraphrased) if the disciples, who were simply living their lives, had any idea that two thousand years later the church would look like it does today?  What struck me was of does anyone ever know what one action will yield in the future?  I am guilty of looking simply at the impact my life makes in my lifetime, but GOD sees way beyond my short span of time on earth.  The actions I take now, the way I live my life now will have impact beyond the here and now.  On Saturday evening my entire family gathered at a benefit dinner to assist sending a teenager from my mother’s church to Haiti on a short-term mission trip.  As we sat at the table all 12 of us, with our mother at the end it was impressive to see 4 generations gathered in support.  I only pray the younger children will be as impacted as much as I was with this. 

Lastly, as many know I just bought a new Android phone.  This weekend I was able to download two very cool applications, the first was three versions of the Bible and the second was a “Google Sky Map.”  As I was in awe with both (and tickled like a kid) I realized on my phone were the words of THE ONE who named the stars I was able to now look at and identify.

I think, if I were to summarize this post I would have to say, take time with those you love and who love you for you never know what seemingly insignificant occasion (fishing with your children or gathering for a meal) will spur something much larger in the future, which you may never see.  Take time to look in awe at the stars and be with the one who calls them by name.  As spring flows into summer I hope to spend time fishing and looking at the stars; honoring both my earthly parents and my Heavenly Father.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Breaking fallow ground

I don’t even really know how to start this post.  I have been challenged this weekend by what I can only call a consistent message.  Have you ever had those times when you perceive almost everything you hear as a consistent message including the secular?  As many know and will attest to I struggle with writing; songwriting and literary.  When something stirs me, I write; when not stirred I go about life as normal.  But I struggle with consistency and discipline when it comes to this craft. 

I attended a Christian writer’s group on Saturday.  A wonderful time of meeting with others who have a penchant toward writing.  The lesson for the day was on character development, which started with a review of personality types.  Oh was I conflicted when trying to “nail down” what my personality type was.  The teacher spoke about what comes naturally to you as being the litmus test for your personality.  I shared a piece of my writing, which was well received as evidenced by comments from others.  Move to Sunday service.  At one point in the sermon the pastor told a story of a man who went to buy property.  The realtor told him the house on the property needed work, but it would make a good home.  To which the man seeking to buy the property said he was not interested in the house, but the site (my interpretation…the land.)  The pastor then went on to relate how God does not want the house, but the site, which I interpreted as God does not want what I have built, but me.  Move to Sunday afternoon, I happened to turn on a movie just in time to hear the father tell the daughter “you’re the one who’s the writer, you need to write.”  I shut the TV down and booted up my computer!

I have never been a risk taker, not given to riding roller coasters, not an “adrenaline junky” by any stretch of the imagination, however the dreams I dream of my future involve stretching beyond my comfort zone and engaging in activities I consider “risky.”  No, I’m not going sky diving, not quitting my day job, not going off the deep end somewhere; I find those activities a bit ignorant for me.  My definition of risky involves accepting who I am, who God made me to be; not whom others or I think I should be. 

Being able to admit I am a creative writer is very hard for me to do.  I am discovering however it is hard to do what you are called to do when you don’t admit it.  When you are called to do a task, you need to commit to it, practice it, work at it, be disciplined; I am not naturally inclined that way.  But as evidenced by the greater number of posts to this blog I am starting to work at it more.  My dream for the future would be to sit on the porch of my home overlooking the ocean (Lubec in the summer, some where in the Caribbean in the winter) with a laptop or guitar and beverage of choice engaging in creative writing activities.  The older I get, the stronger this dream calls.

I called this post “breaking up fallow ground” because just as a farmer takes a plow to the earth in the spring, so God has once again taken HIS plow to my field, disrupting my dormancy, preparing the ground to receive seed and produce fruit for HIS kingdom.  One other thought in this vein.  Any profitable farmer will tell you it is important to let a field lay dormant for a period of time and also rotate the crops.  I recognize the field that God is currently plowing is having a different seed sown into it and the fruit will be better and stronger.

I leave you with a similar challenge, are you who you were made to be or are you trying to be some one else?  Some one you feel is better than who you are?  As for the house and the site, God is not interested in the house I have built HE just wants the property.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Thoughts about Easter 2012

I had a wonderful Easter holiday weekend this year.  On Friday night I attended a Tennebrae service and then on Sunday attended an Easter breakfast and service with my best friend.  As I talked with my friend about Easter and Easter celebrations a couple of random thoughts flitted through my mind.  Well, the flitting birds will come and nest here for now.
First thought, a bit more spiritual than the second is, Easter is a remembrance of three gardens.  I heard at Easter service about how the power of sin began in a garden (Eden) and ended in a garden (the resurrection.) But as I pondered this thought further I saw a third garden come into play, the garden of Gethsemane. I began to think of the three gardens like this – Eden/Tragedy; Gethsemane/Turmoil; and Garden Tomb/Triumph.  I also like how when you juxtapose these three you see Eden ends at sunset, Gethsemane takes place in the dark, and the Garden Tomb begins at Sunrise.  I know there is much more to be gained from the study of the gardens, but for today I’ll leave this as is.
My second thought about Easter is un-deniably strange, I’m just warning you.  Why is it on the two most significant Christian holidays (Christmas and Easter) during which time we celebrate the birth, death and resurrection of the “King of the Jews” do we eat PORK???  I began to wonder this as I was filling my Easter Breakfast plate with sausage and bacon.  I returned to the question as I was eating bacon wrapped asparagus for lunch, and once again in the evening talking with my mother about her Easter Ham dinner.  I know some families (here and abroad) eat Lamb, which makes a bit more sense to me.  The Passover Seder often has chicken or lamb as its main course, so why is ham the choice of many Americans?  See, I told you this was strange.  But this contradiction spurred one other thought.  U.S. History tells me, Benjamin Franklin proposed the Turkey to be the American national bird (not the Bald Eagle.)  I find it interesting that we eat the bird at Thanksgiving, which could have been our National Bird and symbol. 
Maybe I should call this post “Antithesis” since both subjects point out contrasting differences.  I will probably be returning to the garden topic in the future.  As for the food topic, well….I’ll probably stick with family tradition eating Turkey at Thanksgiving and celebrate my Christian freedom from the Jewish law indulging in all forms of pork at Christmas and Easter.  Hope you had a wonderful Easter and always remember, Jesus is the reason for the season – He is risen indeed!