Monday, April 16, 2012

Sundry Business

Yes, this is a direct rip-off of the email I sent, but here it is anyway!

We are now officially more than halfway through the book, so it is time to start thinking about the future. I had a couple of ideas this morning but want you to come up with topics, studies etc. that you are interested in. My first idea, based on that wonderful prayer at the beginning of Chapter 6, was Tozer's book The Pursuit of God. Then, as I was turning around to put something away, my eye fell on a book that I have but haven't done yet by Kay Arthur, Lord, Give Me a Heart for You.  It is a study of 2 Corinthians in the usual Kay Arthur style. (From the title, I was assuming it was a Psalm or David study, but when I looked at the book more closely, I was wrong.) I know we talked about some other things before we chose our current study, but I am not remembering what they are right at this moment. If you remember or have suggestions, please let me know and we can start discussing them.

In David's January 22 sermon where he laid out the vision for the church, he mentioned that all the Bible study groups should have at least one service project during the year. The handout for that included a list of possibilities. I am sure that some of us know of other ones also. We should probably be looking at what it is that we can do as a group, so here is David's list:
Partner with the Salvation Army - volunteer time to ring the bell at Christmas
Volunteer time with Habitat for Humanity - give several days a year helping a deserving family with their new home
Volunteer time with Meals on Wheels - bless our home-bound citizens by delivering a hot meal
Organize a blood drive for the American Red Cross
Volunteer to work with a children's grief support group at Ele's Place
Help the ministry at Family Life Services Clinic & Pregnancy Center by helping meet their need for receptionists, mentors, organizers, event planners, data entry people, and prayer team members
Volunteer with Food Gatherers - help in their warehouse, hold a penny drive, make thank-you cards, or staff a shift at the community kitchen
Help at the Ronald McDonald House by cooking meals for the families, assisting with house maintenance, or assisting in special event planning
Get involved with Ozone House - help with needs around the house, be a "crisis line" volunteer
Help with the gardening at Wishing Tree Gardens and be a part of providing healthy fresh food to local people in need
Help others on their journey of grief by sharing from your own personal experience through The Kite Network, a "peer support organization"
Volunteer to help at one of the area's shelters for the homeless or victims of domestic violence (Delonis Shelter, Interfaith Hospitality Network, Ozone House, Prospect Place, SafeHouse, Staples Family Center0
If you have some other ideas, please email them to us or bring it up in Sunday School. I will also check with my daughter the social worker to see if she has any ideas.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Chapter 6

As I have been examining Chapter 6, it occurs to me as no surprise that far too much of my time is spent worrying/considering me. And I don't consider myself (after nearly 35 years of being married and nearly 33 years of being a parent) as someone who always thinks of myself first in everything. But I do think that maybe I think of the wrong entities first. Instead of myself, I tend to think of my family first, which may sound really unselfish and nice but is not thinking of the Lord of the universe, the God who gave His life for me, first. This needs to change!

On page 100, Francis Chan has a quote from a book by John Piper about heaven. As I read that quote the first time, I was very saddened by the fact that a lot of the time I think I feel that way. It is only in my better moments (of which there are very few) that I really feel that all that matters about being in heaven is being in the presence of God. I think I need to pray for more "better moments"!

Monday, March 26, 2012

So did anyone else have the epiphany I had yesterday during our sermon? In Sunday School we discussed how hard it is to know what being wholeheartedly sold out for God really looks like in our lives. After listening to Pastor David's sermon, I think the answer is much more simple than we make it. We need to love God like a child and share His love like a child. We were all children and therefore should be able to draw on the wonder and simplicity we had then. God does not need a fancy sort of plan or to do list, he just wants to feel the passion we felt towards life as a kid. Any thoughts?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Chasing Rabbits

If you have already started Chapter 5, you know that part way through the chapter, Chan tells us to quit reading and go read the gospels. So, in trying to be an obedient student and set a good example for the rest of the class, that is what I have been working on. I have only gotten to Matthew 11. Part of this is that I keep seeing things that I need to think about that have nothing to do with Chapter 5 but which leap out at me while I'm reading.

Here are a couple of the rabbits I have chased:
  1. Jesus and John the Baptist were relatives. John the Baptist recognized who Jesus was when they were both still embryos! Did he then have temporary amnesia while they were both growing up? Or did they hang out together at family parties discussing the future? And doesn't John the Baptist seem a bit surprised and like he doesn't even know who Jesus is? I don't get that part. But, of course, it is not important.
  2. The first healing in Matthew, that of the leper, appears to be someone who has no reason to know that Jesus has healed other people (and maybe he hasn't at this point). How is he so confident that Jesus can do it if He is willing?
  3. The second healing that is recorded in Matthew is just as interesting/amazing to me. A Roman centurion's servant is ill and he asks for Jesus's help, confident that Jesus can heal from a distance. Why does a Roman have that much faith? Why does he think this Jew can heal his servant? Is it because, as a Roman, he is used to the idea of gods walking around the earth? And, if that is the case, why does Jesus heal his servant? 
As you can see, I somehow waste some time when reading through the gospels. I am concerned about how long it will take me to get through all four. If I can't get through all of them and the rest of the chapter by Sunday, I will surely finish the chapter so that I am ready for discussion, I promise.

Anyone else been chasing rabbits?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Prayer of the Day

I read this prayer from Thomas Merton this morning:

God, we have no idea where we are going. We do not see the road ahead of us. We cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do we really know ourselves, and the fact that we think we are following your will does not mean that we are actually doing so. But we believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And we hope we have that desire in all that we are doing. We hope that we will never do anything apart from that desire. And we know that if we do this you will lead us by the right road, though we may know nothing about it. Therefore, we will trust you always though we may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. We will not fear, for you are ever with us, and you will never leave us to face our perils alone.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Chapter 4

For me, this has been a tough chapter! I have read it three times already, and, yes, I feel incredibly convicted. The problem here is that, as a married person, I'm not sure how much I can do to change my life! One of those tough ones for sure!

The chapter grabbed me right off the bat with the following quote:
"It is not scientific doubt, not atheism, not pantheism, not agnosticism, that in our day and in this land is likely to quench the light of the gospel. It is a proud, sensuous, selfish, luxurious, church-going, hollow-hearted prosperity.
                                      David Goetz, Death by Suburb, 2007

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Movie Illustration

I absolutely loved the illustration of the movie that is not about us -- it is about God. And then again, there was the point:

"To be brutally hones, it doesn't really matter what place you find yourself in right now. Your part is to bring Him glory..."

"The point of your life is to point to Him. Whatever you are doing, God wants to be glorified, because this whole thing is His. It is His movie, His world, His gift."

And this week, apparently, we will start the discussion with question 5 in the workbook! See you Sunday!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Worry and Stress

Again from the book:

When I am consumed by my problems -- stressed out about my life, my family, and my job -- I actually convey the belief that I think the circumstances are more important than God's command to always rejoice. In other words, that I have a "right" to disobey God because of the magnitude for my responsibilities.

Worry implies that we don't quite trust that God is big enough, powerful enough, or loving enough to take care of what's happening in our lives.

Stress says that the things we are involved in are important enough to merit our impatience, our lack of grace toward others, or our tight grip of control.

Basically these two behaviors communicate that it's okay to sin and not trust God because the stuff in my life is somehow exceptional. Both worry and stress reek of arrogance. They declare our tendency to forget that we've been forgiven, that our lives here and now are brief, that we are headed to a place where we won't be lonely, afraid, or hurt ever again, and that in the context of God's strength, our problems are small indeed.

Why are we so quick to forget God? Who do we think we are?
Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God
Francis Chan with Danae Yankoski, (c) 2008
David C. Cook, p.42

Guilty as charged here! Not sure I realized it was sin though.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

From the Book, Chapter Two, Post One

"Frederick Buechner writes, 'Intellectually we all know that we will die, but we do not really know it in the sense that the knowledge becomes a part of us. We do not really know it in the sense of living as though it were true. One the contrary, we tend to live as though our lives would go on forever.' "

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Prayer Request


Thank you for all of your prayers for the Nicaragua trip that starts Friday and goes through February 11. In addition, please pray for me to get over a cold I woke up with this morning. It is a small thing in the world of requests, but starting a mission trip off with a cold is not a good way to begin and makes it hard to be the leader I need to be. Thanks!


Monday, January 23, 2012

Chapter Two

This morning I read Chapter Two, "You Might Not Finish This Chapter," for the first time. Before I read it, I had this blog post planned based on how controversial sounding the first chapter's title had been and how interestingly controversial the second chapter's title sounded. I was going to ask you to mark the places where you might have chosen to stop reading, so we could discuss those on Sunday. That was, after all, what I thought that title alluded to.

Then I read the chapter. So much for that idea. (If you haven't read the chapter yet, you'll understand when you do.)

If you heard David's sermon yesterday, you probably heard that he would like every adult small group Bible study to have a local mission project. This morning I looked at the list in his handout and was not overwhelmingly hit by one screaming, "This one's for you!" Did anyone else? Or do you know of something else we could do? Frankly, my goal would be more than one per year, but I'm retired with grown kids so......

Saturday, January 21, 2012

In reading through Luke 18:9-14, it made me think of the premise of Chapter 1 of Crazy Love. It is the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector where the tax collector who has sinned more in the world's eyes truly understood the awesomeness of God's grace and mercy and humbled himself before God. I ponder how many times am I more like the self-righteous Pharisee who thanks God that is not a bad person or like the tax collector. Yet the tax collector's humbleness is a model for us in our approach to God. I don't deserve God's mercy or grace nor I am worthy of even being in his presence and glory. But even so, God loves me enough to allow me to come before and I pray I truly appreciate who God is when I do so.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Just a Reminder

On Sunday we will be discussing the workbook pages for Chapter 1. See you all then!

Friday, January 13, 2012

More Brief Thoughts from Chapter One

"We don't get to decide who God is."
Francis Chan with Danae Yankoski, Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God

How many times do we say to ourselves or hear others say, "I couldn't worship a God who...." or "The God I worship wouldn't..." And how many times do the ends of those statements describe more of our own worldview than the truth of God portrayed in the Bible?

"When we disagree, let's not assume it's His reasoning that needs correction."

Francis Chan with Danae Yankoski, Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A Thought from Chapter One

"We are programmed to focus on what we don't have, bombarded multiple times throughout the day with what we need to buy that will make us feel happier or sexier or more at peace. This satisfaction transfers over to our thinking about God. We forget that we already have everything we need in Him."
Francis Chan with Danae Yankoski, Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God

Yes, I left off the first and last couple of sentences. This was the part that screamed at me!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

I just thought I'd add a link to give you something to listen to while you are reading Revelation 4 this week!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Praise of the Day

I just thought I'd post Amy's praise here in case any of you have not heard about it: Her tests came back with the best news they could have!

And, yes, this is a very short post.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Starting This Blog

As I have been going through the first chapter of Crazy Love by Francis Chan and the accompanying workbook, I have realized we may want to communicate with each other during the week. So I am starting this blog. I will try to get prayer requests up each week and any other communication any of us are interested in having can be done by commenting on the week's post.

If anyone else in the group would like to be an official poster, let me know. I don' t feel like I need to be doing this all by myself. Really, I don't.