Thanksgiving: A Holiday and a Discipline of the Heart

>> Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Before the busyness of the holiday weekend sets in, I want to blog just a little about my journey with thankfulness. I've known for a long time, that being thankful changes me in powerful and deep ways. So, the other morning at 6:00 a.m. I started to journal about the things in my life for which I'm thankful. On that morning, in 90 minutes, I journaled 81 entires for which I am thankful. Here's a few of the things I give thanks for:

1. Jesus--his death, resurrection and the hope I receive from him

2. God's capturing my heart during college

3. The promise of heaven--especially with Ralph there now

4. Linda, my loving partner of 40 years

5. Opportunities that we have to serve together

6. Jeremy--my oldest son who was born on my 22nd birthday

7. Ben--who lives nearby and partners in many ways

8. Joel--who lives in Ames and brings so much friendship and humor into our family

9. Emily--my only daughter and my "old" running partner

20. Health. Unbelievable health.

26. The ability to think clearly most days

27. The health and love of 3 parents who are supportive and interested in our lives

37. Several thousand pictures that remind me of our past life

45. Our ten special and unique grandchildren who live within 2 hours of our home

49. Orchard's Leadership Team for their spiritual growth and continual surrender of our church to the Lordship of Christ.

55. Good books to keep learning

59. The way sunrises and sunsets touch my heart

67. Quiet times with God

77. The opportunity to swing our grandkids in the backyard and to wrestle with them in the family room

I'm sure you get the idea. Now I'm working to think of more than 81. In fact, my list is now at 91 and growing. Last night, Charlie, my oldest grandson who had heard of my list called me over with a smirk on his face. "Grandpa, how many things are on your "thankful" list?" Eighty-one I remembered. "Grandpa, we have 104 on our list. We're way ahead of you!"

So, I guess the question is: How many things are on your "thankful" list? Have you even started one yet?

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you'll invest some time being thankful.


The HeART Project--Sometimes God just works!

>> Monday, November 22, 2010

Sometimes God just works and surprises us! That was my experience at the HeART Project on Saturday night at Orchard Hill Church. The whole thing was amazing and perplexing which I know from the book of Acts is how God works.

Acts 2:12--Amazed and perplexed, people asked one another, "What does this mean?"

Acts 2:37--they were cut to the heart

Acts: 2:47--they were praising God!

I had all of those things going on with me! I was amazed and perplexed, I was cut to the heart and I was praising God!

The pictures above tell a little of the story. It was Megan Pattee who heard the whisper from God's Spirit to do this thing for the children of Haiti and she is pictured (behind the sign) with her family and support team. The other picture of the Youth Art Team were young people who invested weeks to learn and grow in art and gave their work for the cause. It was beautiful and creative. It told a story from life. Those who mentored and partnered with the Youth Art Team had amazing stories and even the front page of the courier last Thursday got in on telling the story.

I walked in and had a great conversation with our partners JeanJean and Kristie who lead the church ministry in Haiti with which we partner. Then I took a look at the art. It struck me that these artists had given so much of themselves and now they were giving even more by offering their work for sale with all proceeds to benefit Haitian children. Striking!

Then, I noticed the crowd of people who were attending. It was a beautiful mix of people from all walks of life, all ages and many from the church and many not from a church. People partnered for a cause; aligned with a passion. People who were working and loving kids they've never met. All of this: the art, the crowd, the Haiti partners, the muscians in a church Atrium and lobby.

Sometimes, I just stop in the midst of a happening like that night and say a prayer of praise that God doesn't check with me before he moves in surprising and stong ways. He just moves.

Sometimes, I try to picture the spiritual reality of what is going on in heaven and I think I see the God of the universe smiling as someone does good in the name of Jesus! And then I think of His prayer...thy kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven....I think He still does miracles just like in Acts 2. And sometimes I get to see those miracles.


Noticing The Unseen

>> Thursday, November 4, 2010

My favorite Bible verse this week is 2 Corinthians 4:18....

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

This week I've been looking for the unseen and the eternal. I thought I'd point to some of the unseen I've been noticing and celebrating. I have to slow down and look with different eyes to notice the unseen all around me.

It was easy to spot our new 12 pound, 10 ounce grandson born last Friday evening. His parents, Joel and Sally, named him Jackson Joel Bartlett. The nurses nicknamed him Bubba. What was unseeable with mere human eyes were the love, commitment and gratefulness of two parents and two grandparents who know clearly that he is a precious gift from God.

Last night anyone could see with their eyes a couple hundred junior high kids on the gym floor at CHAOS. What was unseen were the decisions and thoughts and prayers that were in their hearts as they were challenged to plan to live sexually pure so they'd have no regrets.

Last Sunday my human eyes watched the k-6 children in the loft. I could see that the eyes and attention of all the kids were riveted by Joshua as he obeyed God and the walls of Jericho were destroyed. What was unseen were the seeds of God's truth taking root in the hearts of some precious little ones and how those seeds will spout one day and from that group of children will come fully devoted followers of Jesus who will continue to build God's kingdom on earth.

I receive our church prayer list almost daily on my computer screen. I read it with human eyes. What is sometimes unseen are the answers to the thousands of prayers prayed by people who care enough to pray for those in need. What is unseen if how so often those who are prayed for feel the very presence of God.

So how about you? Are you noticing the unseen? Are you slowing down enough and quieting down enough to to notice the unseen? I hope you and I will both keep looking for the unseen.


  © Blogger template Webnolia by 2009

Back to TOP