Archive for September 2013

Inoculated

September 24, 2013

ThomasOn Sunday we talked about the three core activities of the Christ Life – worship, discipleship and witness. When I came home from vacation a few weeks ago, I said that I could envision spending the rest of my ministry focusing on those three things, and that if we could learn how to do those three things well, we would probably be coming pretty close to being the kind of church God calls us to be.

A phrase in this morning’s Old Testament reading got me thinking about worship, that activity which focuses us on the glory and reality of God.

As surely as the Lord lives.…” Words spoken by both Elisha and his servant Gehazi, but with entirely different meanings and intentions.

Naaman, the Syrian commander who was healed of his leprosy after following Elisha’s instructions to bathe seven times in the Jordan River, tried to offer Elisha a reward. Elisha refused: “As surely as the Lord lives, whom I serve, I will not accept a thing.”

After Naaman had traveled some distance, Gehazi said to himself, “My master was too easy on Naaman. As surely as the Lord lives, I will run after him and get something from him.” So he ran after Naaman and made up a story of a couple of prophets showing up at Elijah’s house. “My master asks, ‘Could you please give them a talent of silver and two sets of clothing?’ Of course, Naaman obliged. (more…)

Daily Grace

September 19, 2013

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADaily.

No days off, and yet every day a day of rest.

Come to me all you that are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me....” (Matthew 11:28-29)

This life with Christ, with the whole Trinity, is ongoing. This life with the triune God includes God giving to us nonstop. Giving his life, his love, his counsel, his blessings. Daily. Hourly. Secondly. Even when we don’t notice.

This past Sunday I told the story of mother-of-six Ann VosKamp who was challenged by a friend to start noticing. Because of past tragedies and present failings, Ann had struggled most of her life with depression. Now she was encouraged to start noticing the things she loved. Noticing the ways God was loving her. Noticing the blessings. (more…)

Daily

September 18, 2013

CommunityEvery day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to the number daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:46-47). 

Every day. Daily. I’ve been thinking quite a bit about the word “daily” lately. Many of you know about my interest in addiction and my concern for addicts. I’ve been doing some reading recently about the beginning of the AA movement, and I’ve been struck by the emphasis upon the ‘dailyness’ of recovery as it was talked about and lived in the early years of the movement, especially in Akron, Ohio, where one of the founders, Dr. Bob, lived.

In Akron, instead of AA meetings, “there were Christian fellowship meetings every day” for newcomers to recovery who had just been released from the hospital. Something resembling an actual AA meeting occurred only once a week. (more…)