Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Yes ... it's been some time since I posted anything. It's not that I haven't been thinking (well ... perhaps to some extent) ... I just haven't had the extended time I need to post.
I am about halfway through a book I picked up recently ... "Youth Ministry 3.0" by Mark Ostreicher (head of Youth Specialities). It's really having me re-think how to do youth ministry to this current culture. I may reflect more at some point.
We are off to the National Youth Ministry Conference in Columbus, Ohio this weekend. Perhaps I'll find some hotel time to blog.
Until then ... grace and peace.
Friday, February 6, 2009
I know ... it's been awhile. I'll try posting something soon ... like reflections on this great story from Exodus 32 ... "I don't know what happened Moses ... the people brought me their gold ... I threw it in the fire ... and out popped this calf!" (Aaron's famous words of 32:24).
This week's memory verse ... Exodus 20:26 ... don't let anyone look up your skirt.
... grace and peace.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
I will get back to the spiritual growth/formation stuff at some point ... but today I am remembering my grandfather Carl O. Blasenhauer. My grandpa passed away on Wednesday of this past week (1/21), he was 91. He was preceded in death by my grandmother's in the summer of 2006. I am grateful that we got to spend time with him at Christmas (that is when this picture was taken). I spent a lot of time with him growing up ... in fact, I get my love of cars from him. He collected old cars ... like a 1956 Thunderbird that my parents now own, a 1912 Ford Model T, 1914 Ford Model A, 1964 Chevy Corvair ... and others. I also get my artistic (what I have) ability from him. I spent many hours in his garage making things from stuff he had around the shop. My grandfather was a plumber and owned his own company (it still bears his name although he sold the business years ago) ... so there was always stuff laying around to build ships and airplanes ... anything you could think of (within reason). At Christmas I took my boys and walked through the shop ... so many memories. Even though the place has long been silent to clanging pipes, saws and hammers on nails ... it sill has a life of its own. The cars are still there ... right where I remember them. And so is the old clothes dryer with the top rollers ... I got my fingers stuck in them one day while wondering what a certain button did on the thing ... I found out the hard way ... my grandpa came and hit the release button.
Christmas Eves were spent going to their Christmas Eve service at church followed by shredded beef sandwiches, mac and cheese and presents at their house. It's the same church the service will be held at on Monday ... and I will remember.
We would take trips with him in the Model T. I specifically remember my brother and I riding with him to Chattanooga, TN in the summer of 1977 ... I was going into junior high. We visited Rock City. I remember the waitress crying as she served us at the restaurant that night ... Elvis had died. We lost the transmission on the car driving up the mountain and had to rent a UHaul to drive it home. Along the way people would stop us and ask about the car ... and grandpa would tell us stories about his other trips. I laugh when I remember the afternoon he was hit in the head by a bird as hit flew over the car as we were driving :D
Both he and my grandmother loved to travel ... after retiring they bought an RV and spent a lot of time out west ... they especially loved the mountains.
I have just finished reading Job and in 14:5 these words are penned, "You have decided the length of our lives. You know how many months we will live, and we are not given a minute longer". [NLT]. We are reminded of that in times like these ... live is fragile and short (even at 92). Later in chapter 19, Job says this, “But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and he will stand upon the earth at last. And after my body has decayed, yet in my body I will see God! I will see him for myself. Yes, I will see him with my own eyes. I am overwhelmed at the thought!" [NLT] That is his joy now ... to see Him himself. I am overwhelmed at the thought.
I am thankful that my grandfather knew God personally ... that he knew Jesus as his Savior and that he joins his wife, my other grandfather ... and of course ... my daughter in the "great cloud of witnesses".
There is more I could share about him ... his laugh, his humor ... his impact on my life. Again, I am grateful for the close relationship I have had with all my grandparents (I still have my grandmother ... my dad's mom ... she's 93).
So I am remembering ... and am thankful ... and am sad at his loss ... and am glad that our boys knew their great grandfather ... and recalling Psalm 139:16 ... that every day of my life is recorded in His book ... every moment is laid out before they even pass.
Just some thoughts ... I'm sure they seem scattered ... never the less ...
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Friday, January 9, 2009
All right ... I know "some people" want to know my profound reactions/insights on the whole Billy Mays phenomena ... sorry to disappoint ... perhaps another time (that's for Donna ... she evidently is the only person who really reads my blog. Really? You don't have better things to do? :)
In Genesis 33 and following this morning ... what does grace look like?
Most of us are familiar with the whole story of Jacob and Esau ... Jacob (a.k.a. Isreal) steals his bothers birthright by dressing up as his brother and deceiving his aging Father (Isaac) who is obviously blind or blurred (even though it was traded to him by his brother for some stew ... really? Stew?). It was probably easy for Easu to do so seeing as the final choice of who Isaac would bless was up to Isaac ... regardless of what Easu had offered.
So Jacob flees to his Uncle Laban's home in the north and marries Laban's daughters ... a.k.a. his cousins (see previous blog). After 20 years he is told by God to head south ... home.
Along the way he is pursued by Laban and another obscure Bible story that will never make a flannel graph but would be an ideal commercial for Tampax takes place in Genesis 31:25-35.
... moving on ...
In returning home Jacob knows that he's going to have to deal with his brother Easu (a.k.a. "Edom"). In hoping to appease his brother's wrath he sends a parade of gifts that will meet up with his brother and his 400 men as they prepare to confront Jacob.
The night before the big encounter Jacob wrestles with God (Genesis 32 ... as a result Jews don't eat meat cut from near the hip ... didn't know that).
Now for the face-to-face ... Genesis 33.
As they see each other from afar (okay ... I know we can all envision two people on either side of a vast meadow running towards each other as soft but dramatic music plays in the background ... typically one is a girl and the other a guy ... but not in this scene ... "not that there's anything wrong with that" ... appropriate Seinfeld quote) Easu runs towards Jacob, embraces and kisses him affectionately (it's a cultural thing ... nuff said).
Easu now meets his sisters-in-law and all his nieces and nephews.
In verse 10 Jacob says these words, "... what a relief it is to see your friendly smile. It is like seeing the smile of God." [NLT]
I can remember growing up and hearing those dreaded words "wait til your Father gets home" (you too?). The hours of torture that would go by not knowing (but having a really good idea based on past history) what was going to go down ... expecting that you were going to get what you deserved for committing whatever it was you had done ... same here with Jacob.
I can only imagine the relief that was his at seeing Easu respond as he did.
... it was gracious (perhaps a prodigal son moment ... some similarities here).
... it was like seeing the smile of God :)
I would love to relate the implications of this in my life for the past 18 months ... but I'll refrain ... sorry.
How we long for the "smile of God" in the face of another ... or how others long for the "smile of God" from us (what's that line in Luke 11, "And forgive us our sins - just as we forgive those who have sinned against us" NLT).
My challenge ... be the smile of God today ... offer grace ... grant a pardon ... freely forgive ... even when it's not asked for or deserved (in your book) ... restore a relationship ... mend a wound ... when we do ... we look just like Him.
Maybe we'll think about that every time we post one of these " : ) " somewhere.
Until later ... grace and peace. :)
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Okay ... so for the second year I am attempting to read through the Bible in one year (btw ... yes ... I did manage to do so last year).
Obviously being January (the beginning of the year) I am in Genesis (as are some others of you attempting to do the same thing ... Donna!). Now, even last year when I was reading, I noticed these little obscure stories that you never saw on a flannel graph board growing up in Sunday School. Some of them are just plain funny ... like the story of Isaac and Rebekah.
In Genesis 26 Isaac pulls the same stunt his Dad (Abraham) did by declaring that his wife (Rebekah) is his sister (upon moving to a new land and not wanting to be killed so the men could have Rebekah ... ya following?) ... and he pulls it on the same guy that Abraham does in Genesis 20 (Abimelech ... which by the way sings really well as background chants to "in the jungle, the mighty jungle the lion sleeps tonight .. but surly I degress).
So what gives their relationship away? PDA! In Genesis 26:8, "But some time later, Abimelech, king of the Philistines, looked out a window and saw Isaac fondling Rebekah." [NLT]
Obviously this wasn't just a little make-out session ... it was enough to cause Abimelech to exclaim , "She is obviously your wife!" (v. 9).
Okay .. to me ... that's just funny. Maybe I'll turn that into a flannel graph story ... something on the dangers of PDA ... any other ideas?
On a serious note ... Genesis 29.
If you have read any of John Eldredge's stuff ("The Sacred Romance, Wild at Heart, Captivating, etc.) the story-line on this chapter will resonate. Jacob (Isaac's second board) is fleeing from Esau by heading north to his Uncle Laban's home. Upon arrival he falls in love with Rachel but is deceived on his honeymoon night (by his Uncle ... and now father-in-law ... who needs soaps? This stuff is much better) into sleeping with her older sister Leah (a little intoxication will lend to making the mistake ... after all, it was after an evening of celebration). Eventually he is given Rachel as his wife as well (Sisters? As wives? This guys is set-up for trouble).
Okay ... so the Lord sees that Leah is being unloved by Jacob (so the Bible says) and grants her a child (Reuben) ... while Rachel (the loved one) remains childless. Here is the line that will resonate ... in 29:32 " ... now my husband will love me." Has anything changes in thousands of years? How often do we still think that having a child will improve our marriages? Shw has another son ... Simeon ... and another ... Levi. After Levi's birth she laments these words,
Surely now my husband will feel affection for me, since I have given him three sons!" Obviously Jacob's feelings for her hadn't improved after the birth of sons on and two.
Something changes (or perhaps Leah changes) after the birth of son #4 ... Judah. After Judah's birth Leah says this, "Now I will praise the Lord!" The end of that verse (29:35) states that after this proclamation Leah "stopped having children." (for now ... she'd kick things back up later in Genesis and have two more boys and a girl).
SO what changed? Perhaps ... just perhaps ... Leah ceased seeking the affection of a husband that would never fully love her as she deserved (or thought she deserved) ... and instead turned her affections (attention) towards the Lord ... the ONLY One who could completely love her. She ceased to have children because she no longer needed them to get the attention of a husband ... she found favor with her God ... and it evidently was enough to satisfy her.
I have to run to lunch (in fact ... I'm late) ... or I'd write more.
Discuss among yourselves :)
Until later ... grace and peace.