Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Geographical Focus: Byron Center (ref. Genesis 50)

The Byron Area Pastors who pray for our community on Tuesday mornings today focused on the Patriarchs' belief in God's promise and their desire to be buried in Canaan/The Promised Land. Even though, as in the case of Jacob & Joseph, God had provided their families with the very best land that Egypt had to offer. They, however, were still looking ahead. Pastor Randy pointed out that, of all the great acts of faith that could've been highlighted about Joseph in Hebrews 11, the thing that is highlighted was his desire to be buried in Canaan when the Israelites would eventually leave Egypt and return there.
As a group of pastors, while our work is to lead people to God's Promised Land, we feel called to do that work here, to focus our effort & prayer attention on this land, the area of Byron Center. This is where God has currently appointed us to serve. May God bring revival to us, this land, our churches, our neighbors and our community.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Living AND LAUGHING Sacrifices, etc. Gen. 22

Thursday, Jan.13, Genesis 22:6 (NIV84) Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac (laughter)...

AM Post #1. In this I see ahead to God putting the wooden cross on his son Jesus, connecting Jesus to the sacrifice of Isaac (whose name means "laughter"). Jesus also tells us to take up OUR cross daily. Through Jesus and whatever cross we bear, WE are connected to "laughter." I know I am to be a LIVING sacrifice (Rom 12:1-2), but didn't realize until now that I'm also to be a LAUGHING sacrifice! We will have the Last Laugh!

At lunchtime, our family called my dad and sang Happy Birthday to him. It was a quick opportunity to laugh along with my father and his grandchildren...

In the afternoon, I stopped in at MARHAR Snowboards in Grandville. Josh and Nate fixed the de-lamination on my son Ezra's broken board. Josh showed me their top-secret, hand built process featuring durable bamboo wood cores.

In the Big Blue, on the way to ski club, we read the One Book/One Body chapter of the day where I ask every rider to select a word or phrase from the text. Because of my earlier post and visit to MARHAR, I chose the word "wood."

PM Post #2. Living and Laughing Sacrifices, Pt.2
I tried snowboarding again last night at ski club and had a lot of fun. At the end of the night I threw my board across my shoulders and headed back to the Big Blue. I was laughing because of the fun I'd had and it made me think of my earlier post about being a living AND LAUGHING sacrifice. Suddenly I noticed my shadow. With my snowboard across my shoulders my shadow was in the shape of a cross. Whoa. Goose bumps. Thanks for "taking the wood upon you" Jesus. And thanks for reminding me to laugh.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Hiding...Gen. 3-4

Yesterday I "hid out" at the High School. "What?" my kid later said in disbelief. Yup. Camped out in a spare office with my mobile tools and my One Book/One Body sign. I'd indicated my interest in "going mobile" and Principal Joseph and the office staff accommodated me with their hospitality. Thanks. Working, praying and saying "hi" to old friends and new.

You see, I'm sick of hiding. My office is windowless and people-less so I'm looking for additional office venues during the One Book/One Body campaign. Let me know if your Byron Area Establishment has an extra desk and a chair. I'd love to come by for a mobile office day! We'll read the day's passage together and I'll pray for you at break time.

Yesterday in our reading I read about Cain who tried to hide his brother's murder from God (4:9). Yeah. Right. But notice how he became really concerned with the prospect of actually being hidden from God's presence (4:13-14) and being "found" by others who'd do him harm.

Ever since Adam & Eve's naked sin (3:9-10), our sinful nature compels us to hide our sinfulness from God and each other. Instinctively we now know we're dirty and we're ashamed. So we cower in the bushes. Yet what does God do? He calls us out! He, through sacrificial blood, gives us new garments to cover over our nakedness and calls us to stand in his presence. It's a humbling thing. But, if we're honest, we, like Cain, are deathly afraid of remaining hidden.

I want to be found. Before "going mobile" at the school, I had a brief breakfast stint at Family Restaurant with my mobile tools and One Book/One Body sign. Gordie Nickels found me there and, as we chatted, we found out that--back in the day--I taught his 5th grade class while I was a student art teacher at Challenger Elementary School in Kentwood. Hmm. I get the idea that there may be some pretty amazing things that lie hidden in us only because we never bother to find.

As I sat in the restaurant looking over at the Hills Bros. (you know, the coffee guys) I wondered at how many of them I may have known--or crossed paths with--in some other context and not even realized it. As John Poll says, so often we're "just scratchin' on the surface." I little scratchin' and it's amazing what we can "find" out about each other. Nothing like God's Word to help us go deeper.

I pray that as we do the One Book/One Body campaign together this year that you don't remain hidden. Come on out and play in the Word with the rest of us! Be found! Oh, it may be embarrassing at times, and we need to be careful not to harm each other, but God's got you covered! Post a verse on the Facebook page that is somehow significant to you. Let's get past the surface and get inspired and excited about what God's got going on with us.

Lord, today we read of a flood designed to cover the sinful planet. It points us to the Blood that covers over our sinful souls. And as the flood washed clean the earth for a New Day, may your Word "find" us and wash us clean for This New Day. Amen.