Building Before the Rain

>> Tuesday, February 15, 2011

"When it rains, it pours." Okay. I'll buy that.

"When it pours, it floods." Yup. I've been there. In fact, I'm there today; can't believe how fast life is moving all of a sudden.

"When it floods, build an ark." Oh, absolutely. But I just gotta ask: Isn't it a lot easier to build a solid ark of refuge before the rain starts falling in the first place?

Seriously. Can you picture it? A desperate man, fearful of the rising waters, feeling his feet sinking in the muck below him, trying desperately to construct something that will float him away to safety. His only hope is to cry for help and grasp the hand that reaches down to pull him up from the waters and onto a place of safety.

Praise God for the hand of grace! Absolutely! But isn't it better to build a life according to God's instructions while the sun is still shining, when we're thinking clearly, when we can make decisions carefully and deliberately? If we're safe and secure with our Creator while everything is bright and clear, then all we have to do is hold on tightly with love and faith when the floods come our way. No fear. No danger. "When sorrows like sea billows roll... it is well with my soul!"

"The Lord rules over the floodwaters. The LORD reigns as king forever. The Lord gives his people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace." (Psalm 29:10–11 NLT)

"I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it. It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built." (Luke 6:47–48 NLT)



>> Monday, November 15, 2010

Yesterday morning, I awoke early to prepare for Sunday's service. It's part of my routine. I sneak downstairs while the house is still quiet, curl up with a copy of my message, spend some time praying, and then go over what I've prepared to share at church. It's become a pretty sweet and sacred experience every week.

As I sat there yesterday morning, I looked out the window in time to see the very first rays of dawn creeping over the horizon. Dark black gave way to gray, and then suddenly there was a burst of intense reddish-orange beyond the silhouette of the trees. In just a few minutes, the whole sky began to brighten as ribbons of yellow-gold licked across the horizon. It was like the edge of the world had caught fire.

I sat there in the stillness of the new day holding my breath, amazed at how quickly the sunrise broke forth. And my thoughts were instantly drawn to the words of Jeremiah:

"The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, 'The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!'" (Lamentations 3:22-24 NLT)

Just think: Every night as we sleep the Lord is still awake, loving us, pouring out compassion upon us, preparing fresh mercies to greet us in the morning. And just as we can count on the sun to break forth with each new day, we can depend upon God's relentless faithfulness. He's always there... waiting, loving, guiding.


Surprised by the Divine

>> Saturday, July 24, 2010

It's been an exhausting week. Well, exhilerating, but exhausting. We're in the midst of our annual Youth Drama Camp, and I'm putting in a lot of time toward the production in additon to full-time hours at church. And there are other special projects that are adding to my daily "to do" lists -- preparing for our Discover Hope class this week, getting some things together for Beth's graduation party next week, wanting to accomplish some projects before heading off to Indiana and then some vacation time with the family at the beginning of August. So I'm having a blast, but I'm also tuckered out.

So it's been an awesome joy to have God surprise me in unexpected ways throughout the week. I've had a chance to watch him "show off" in many of the projects I'm working on; he just has this incredible way of accomplishing things far beyond our mortal ability.

A phone call from a very precious friend sent me soaring earlier this week; God reminded me how incredibly blessed I am with the people in my life. And just when I was feeling all blessed, I reconnected with a couple of other friends that I haven't talked to in a while... kind of like "icing on the cake."

This morning, I led our newcomer's class at Hope, which is always a kick. I love connecting with new people and hearing about their journeys! And my heart was totally stoked as a few of them shared how welcome and blessed they've felt at Hope. When one person talked about how obvious the Spirit's presence is in our midst, I felt this big ethereal smile spread across my soul, as if God was beaming his smile in me and reminding me of how awesome it is to trust him and rest in him.

A little later, a couple of us chatted about a really radical idea for a church facility -- and I mean really radical! It would be the kind of place where Jesus would love to hang out and where I imagine the community would be drawn to hang out as well. And, well, you know what happens when people hang out where Jesus is... :) Whether or not something like that ever becomes reality, it was fun just to imagine for a while.

And that's really just the start. Over and over again throughout this past week, I've turned around and been surprised by little blessings from the Divine -- including the simple joy of drifting off for a really long, deep nap this afternoon. It's amazing how something as simple as sleep can be such a satisfying blessing.


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