It's Worth Telling

Calling all storytellers, singers, and writers.  The great opportunity awaits.  A wealth of material is ready to be voiced through story, song, and pen. 

Some artists will choose to project softly; other inspired ones will tell stories of heroes of renown. 
Eager fingers take up pens, pencils, or rest on keys - ready to script a truthful tale (no need for tall ones) of adventure.
Guitar strings, ivory keys, taut bows, and didgeridoos await - ready to serve as tools of expression.

What wealth is there to be found?

1 I lift you high in praise, my God, O my King!
    and I’ll bless your name into eternity.
2 I’ll bless you every day,
    and keep it up from now to eternity.
3 God is magnificent; he can never be praised enough.
    There are no boundaries to his greatness.
4 Generation after generation stands in awe of your work;
    each one tells stories of your mighty acts.
5 Your beauty and splendor have everyone talking;
    I compose songs on your wonders.
6 Your marvelous doings are headline news;
    I could write a book full of the details of your greatness.
7 The fame of your goodness spreads across the country;
    your righteousness is on everyone’s lips.
8 God is all mercy and grace—
    not quick to anger, is rich in love.
9 God is good to one and all;
    everything he does is suffused with grace.
10Creation and creatures applaud you, God;
    your holy people bless you.

Psalm 145:1-10 (The Message)

Tell your story of God's grace. 

Compose your song of exultation.

Pen the brief reflection that captures volumes.

Write the volume that inspires a life to change.

Preach boldly of the love of God. 

Sing and lead others to do so with all their hearts.

Tell the old, old story and lift up a new song. 

In your generation - speak, sing, and write so that the next will hear, sing, and read.

"God is magnificent; he can never be praised enough."

The Other Side

Two weekends ago, my sons and I drove to Blockbuster (Yes, Anchorage still has an actual Blockbuster store!) to rent that evening's entertainment.  We made our way down the aisles until we noticed a movie produced by Disney in 1982.  "Night Crossing" portrays the events of a dangerous journey of the Strelzyk and Wetzel families.  In 1979, those families boarded a self-designed and constructed hot air balloon to escape East Germany.  Their floating ship to freedom carried them into the safety, security, and more fairly governed land of West Germany.  They left everything behind in their East German homes - trusting that what lay ahead was worth the sacrifice.  They left because they knew that where they were was unhealthy and limiting them from becoming the individuals and families they could be. 

Their story reminds of me of a doctrine I hold near and dear to my heart.  The doctrine of conversion.  Hear Jesus on the matter.

“Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” John 3:3

“Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’"
John 3:5-7

“The time has come. The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”
Mark 1:15

“Come, follow me, and I will send you out to fish for people.”
Mark 1:17

The promise of the better things that Jesus offers surpasses the appeal of old lives, former interests, and present pursuits. 

Most in East Germany settled for their everyday conditions.  Others dug tunnels, jumped fences, and boarded balloons.  They escaped into freedom. 

Through Christ, the Father offers freedom.  In order to claim it, one must long to leave the known and go in faith into the unknown.

The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you." - Genesis 12:1
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." - Matthew 11:28

Sometimes the grass actually is greener on the other side.

Life To The Full

At this time of year which of the following two words comes to your mind first?

Beautiful! -- The trees display a collage of colors so brilliant, demanding our attention.  The clean “termination dust” blankets the range signaling the approach of the ever-familiar winter. 

Awful!  -- The leaves cover the yard and I have to spend my time raking.  The snow on the mountains reminds me that I need to change my tires, get ready to shovel and shovel some more, and brace myself for the cold.

How is your perspective?    Do you greet each day with “Beautiful” or “Awful”? 

Christ came and lived and died for us so that we may have life to the full.  To have life to the full we must not only be full of life (filled with Christ), in addition we must seek to enjoy life.  That means that we look at all of life with a different view.  You and I will find the joy in life when we see the glory in serving God with our all at all times.

One day a group of tired, frustrated, confused, yet seeking, men and women sat down for a few minutes of rest in the middle of their frantic days of collection, commerce, and competition and listened to these words:

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled.

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

Matthew 5:6-8 (NIV)

Reflect on those, the words of Jesus, as you live today and awake tomorrow.   In living out those words you will be filled and discover life to the full.

A Lesson From Gourds

As is our tradition, my wife, three kids, and I drove to Palmer, AK to visit the annual Alaska State Fair.  We ride hang glider swings, and the Ferris wheel.  We eat kettle corn, cheese curds, and other various less-than-healthy food.  We go to the long-running Lumberjack Show, any magic show available, and listen to musical artists.  We pet goats, watch chicks hatch, laugh at truly fat hogs (so fat they cannot walk), and look llamas in the eyes.  

We also view the giant produce.

This year we saw a record-setting squash grown by Dave Iles of North Pole.  616.5 pounds!  Across the way from the giant squash sat the 594.5 pound pumpkin.  Both were truly impressive.

People often ask, “How can these grow this large?”  I am not a farmer or even a gardener.  My thumbs remain their original color with no hint of green.  However, I know enough about God’s creation to know that for vegetables to grow, they need nutrient-filled soil, plenty of water, ample sunlight, and a good supply of TLC.

Followers of Christ desire growth.  We wish not to add 600 lbs. to our frames.  We desire growth in knowledge and wisdom in our pursuit of living our Ordinary Lives for Christ.  What do we need?

Nutrient-filled Soil = a healthy church community where God is worshiped, Christ is Lord, the Bible is taught, and people love one another in word and through action.

Plenty of Water = a life nurtured by reading God’s word, sincere prayer, God-centered worship, and service to one’s community.

Ample Sunlight = a focus on the Light of the world, a focus on the leadership of the Spirit, and a commitment to letting your “little light” shine - no longer under a bushel. 

TLC = the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit (see 2 Corinthians 13).

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.
2 Peter 3:18

Keep growing!