Monthly Archives: August 2013

love does

I’ve been reading a book off and on for a while that gives me boosts of encouragement.  The book is called “Love Does” by Bob Goff.  It’s a simple book with simple stories about what “love does”.  I’d like to share my favorite story that I’ve read so far.

 The story begins with a high school student (Bob) who was bound and determined to drop out of school and move to Yosemite.  There was a Young Life leader (Randy) that he had gotten to know, so as a courtesy, swung by his house on a Sunday morning right before he left.  Bob gave Randy the rundown on what was he was doing and Randy went inside, grabbed his backpack and a sleeping bag, and came out and told Bob that he if he didn’t mind, he wanted to go with him.  Bob agreed and they left.  After some time, they came back and went to Randy’s house.

 This is the rest of the story as it reads in the book…

” We pulled down some familiar streets and into Randy’s driveway.  There was another car in the drive next to Randy’s that looked like his girlfriend’s.  She visited often.  We walked up to the front door and he opened it.  I walked in behind Randy uninvited, but somehow I still felt welcome.  On the floor, I noticed a stack of plates and some wrapping paper, a coffeemaker, some glasses.  On the couch there was a microwave half in a box.  I didn’t understand at first.  Had Randy just had a birthday?  Was it his girlfriend’s?  A microwave seemed like a weird way to celebrate someone’s arrival into the world.  I knew Randy wasn’t moving because there wouldn’t be wrapping paper.  Then, from around the corner, the other half of this couple bounded out and threw her arms around Randy.  “Welcome home, honey.” Then the nickel dropped.

I felt both sick and choked up in an instant.  I realized that these were wedding presents on the floor.  Randy and his girlfriend had just gotten married.  When I had knocked on Randy’s door on Sunday morning, Randy didn’t see just a high school kid who had disrupted the beginning of his marriage.  He saw a kid who was about to jump the tracks.  Instead of spending the early days of his marriage with his bride, he spent it with me, sneaking into the back of a tent.

Why? It was because Randy loved me.  He saw the need and he did something about it.  He didn’t just say he was for me or with me.  He was actually present with me”.

What I learned from Randy changed my view permanently about what it meant to have friendship with Jesus.  I learned that faith isn’t about knowing all of the right stuff or obeying a list of rules.  It’s something more, something more costly because it involves being present and making a sacrifice.  Perhaps that’s what Jesus is sometimes called Immanuel – “God with us”.  I think that’s what God had in mind, for Jesus to present, to just be with us.  It’s also what He has in mind for us when it comes to other people.

The world can make you think that love can be picked up at a garage sale or enveloped in a Hallmark card.  But the kind of love that God created and demonstrated is a costly one because it involves sacrifice and presence.  It’s a love that operates more like a sign language than being spoken outright.  What I learned from Randy about the brand of love Jesus offers is that it’s more about presence than undertaking a project.  It’s a brand of love that doesn’t just think about good things, or agree with them, or talk about them.  What I learned from Randy reinforced the simple truth that continues to weave itself into the tapestry of every great story: Love does.

 If “love does” things, then what are you doing to love?

How are you loving the people that God has placed in your life?  Your kids, spouse, in-laws, co-workers, neighbors, friends, enemies.

Are you being a mentor to younger people in the church?

Are you seeking out wisdom from those older than you?

Are you reconciling your differences with others that have led to bitterness?

What are you doing to love?

Jason Kinzel-Youth Pastor

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You’re Delightful!

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“…He rescued me because He delighted in me.”  Psalms18:19b

Our kids are in that wonderful stage of life where just about everything they do is cute.  Granted, like any kids, they are occasionally obnoxious, disobedient, and rude. Most of the time, though, they’re just plain delightful.

“Here is my servant whom I have chosen, the one I love, in whom I delight …” Matthew 12:18a

Evelyn, my 4 year old, is such a helper with “the little ones,” and my heart melts at the kindness she is capable of demonstrating.  Lately, she loves to run down the side walk waving to people as they leave our house.  She’s delightful.

Violet, my two year old, is very affectionate and often likes to begin her day by crawling into our bed for a good snuggle.  Josh and I love two year olds; they are quirky and endearing.  Right now her “thing” is introducing people to each other, usually in third person.  “Dis is Bye-wet, dis is Effee, dis is Sammy Dahsoo-ah.”  She’s delightful.

 “He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice at his birth…” Luke 1:14

 Samuel is only 4 months but his personality is already the embodiment of the word “Delightful.”  Like baby John in Luke 1, our squirmy Sam is a joy and delight, and we rejoice that he is a part of our family.  When his handsome, alert face relaxes into a smile he is irresistible.  He’s delightful.

Am I shamelessly bragging about my kids?   Absolutely!!  Am I biased?  Absolutely!  Did God wire me to be this way?  Absolutely!  God loves to see parents delight in their children because He delights in us.  Our kids are a gift from God, and when we enjoy them we bless the Giver of that gift.  When we ooze with joy and satisfaction at the endearing qualities of our kids, we are imitating a behavior authored by a Creator delighted in His creation.  God delights in us exponentially more than we could ever delight in our kids!

“…He will take great delight in you …(He) will rejoice over you with singing.”  Zephaniah 3:17

This past Sunday, Evy chose a particularly fancy dress to wear to church.  I helped her get dressed in her room and then she said that she wanted to go show Daddy and see what he said.  Before she could excitedly run from the room, I reminded her that Daddy was already at church practicing with the band and we could go find him when we arrived at church.   But when we passed through the sanctuary on our way to Evy’s classroom, we didn’t see Daddy on stage warming up as usual.  I told Evy that Daddy could see her after church but she was determined to get his approval beforehand.  So we waited for several minutes … and still no Daddy.  Finally, I figured that Daddy must’ve gone upstairs to practice with the band in the choir room, so as a last resort, we headed up the stairs.  As we were going up, the band began coming down, greeting us as they came, but Evy only had eyes for one person.  And he did NOT disappoint!  Before I could even finish explaining to Josh why we were urgently searching for him in the stair well, he interrupted with genuine delight and joy, “Wow!  Look at you, Evy!  You look beautiful!”  With contagious jubilation, she flung her arms around him and thanked him.  That was exactly what she’d been waiting for.

Because Josh is Evy’s loving, attentive father, he knew what she wanted before she could even finish asking.  Evy merely had to seek Josh out, knowing that once he saw her, he would delight in her.  When Josh realized that she’d been waiting for him, he was blessed and his delight increased.  And can’t we say all of this is first modeled for us by our perfect Heavenly Father?  God chose us as His own kids, He sings songs of delight about us because He loves us.

Think about how you feel when a child comes running toward you, smiling and squealing your name, greeting you with a hug.  Delight, right?!  Let’s greet our Heavenly Daddy this way today and start our day with a good, delightful snuggle!

snuggle

Crystal Nachtigall

 

Lasts Bring Firsts

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The countdown is well under way to an ending in our household.  Ashley moves out to college in less than two weeks.  Amazing, isn’t it?  Some of you remember all too well how it felt when your oldest child went to college.  The last nights at home faded and the start of a new chapter in the family life began.  For Cheryl and me, it’s all new.  It’s exciting and scary all at the same time.

As a dad, I have been looking for the good in this time of heart-wrenching change.  After all, this is one of my girls!  I don’t want her to leave home.  The silver lining, the good in all of this, occurred to me as I considered that this is not just an ending.  It’s a beginning.

It was that way when Cheryl and I were married twenty-two years ago.  Our singleness ended while our oneness began.  Five years later, a baby’s cry ended our parents-without-kids state and a family of three was born.  As we grew to be four, we learned how many times we would see one phase of life end and another begin.  From crawling to walking to kindergarten, each phase of life ended and a new began.

I grieve that fact that Ashley will not always be home.  Yet, I rejoice all the more that her life adventure is becoming her own and she is preparing to enter the world through the college portal.  I don’t want to see her go, but this is what we have been preparing for the last eighteen years.

As each season of life comes and goes, endings and beginnings are a constant part of living.  Some cause great sorrow and some great joy.  In the midst of it all, we can call to mind one constant.  There is something that does not change yet is new all the time.

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.’” (Lamentations 3:21-23)

Have you ever noticed that laments in the Bible generally come around to the good news about God?  No matter what circumstances the writer or speaker was facing, he or she recognized God’s goodness.  He could start with, “How long, O Lord?” and end with, “You are so faithful, my Lord.”

Endings can often cause grief.  Yet they are openings to something new and often something good.  These beginnings can bring us great joy.  In all of this, the Lord is faithful to show us mercy with the start of the new season.  As we come to a new season of school and work, play and worship, may we take heart with each change.  The Lord’s mercies are new today, even as of this morning!  Join me in waiting for Him to show His faithfulness in the changing seasons of life.

Pastor Mike Spinelli

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Death is not Dying

This week, Pastor Ed Willems found this encouraging video about a mother’s message before she died of cancer. We would encourage you to watch this video and take something from it to focus on this next week, month, or year. Below is the shortened version:

http://www.godvine.com/Mother-Dying-of-Cancer-Gives-a-Godly-Life-Changing-Final-Speech-3703.html

If you would like to hear her whole talk and learn more about her battle with cancer, you can go to her blog: http://deathisnotdying.com/

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