Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

The Valley

Posted: September 6, 2013 in Faith, Family, Grace, Life
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Recently I was reminded about a time when I was sitting with a lady in the hospital as she was struggling with the diagnosis that she was going to die soon, her disease was terminal.  As we talked she said, “There is one thing I know as I enter this last leg of my journey, I am not traveling alone.”

We hear that promise throughout scripture, especially in Psalm 23, and we are reminded that as we journey into what may seem as the darkest parts of our lives, even as we journey to death, we are not alone.  God has promised to light the way for us, and he sent his Son to show how death and darkness have no power over us.

This is the light of God, that his light is never extinguished, and our journeys will only bring us to a greater light, an eternal light, blessed with all the love that God can shower upon us.

Joy

Posted: June 23, 2013 in Faith, Family, Grace, Life
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Okay, I will admit it – there are times I get depressed. There are times I feel down and the happiness and joy of life seems to be missing. There are also times that I am passive about trying to feel better, just waiting for someone or something to come by and pick me up.

 

I read a quote from Joyce Meyer today – Stop giving others the job of making you happy.

 

Too often, I think, we are passive when it comes to joy and happiness. Too often we expect others to come to our rescue and make things better. When, instead, we need to take the step forward ourselves. We need to do something a little different, look at life from a  different perspective, and realize that they joy, the happiness, the blessings of life are there and have been there the entire time.

 

So now, when I get in a funk and feel a little down, I take a look at my girls (like in the picture above) and my wife and my friends and my life and see all of the blessings that I have been blessed with. I also physically move myself to another place to get a new perspective and I don’t rely on others to make me happy.

 

So today, what are you going to do to see the joy in life?

Dreams

Posted: June 12, 2013 in Faith, Family, Grace, Life
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As I have mentioned before, there are some nights when I am locking in battle with insomnia. I lie in bed, staring at the ceiling, thinking of everything that needs to get done and trying to figure out ways to get it done rather than falling asleep. These can be long nights and the mornings always come way too quickly.

 

Quite often, during these nights, my mind turns to dreams – dreams I have for the future – dreams of what I want to accomplish – dreams of what I want to see during my journey here. Some of these dreams are realistic, and others are just pipe dreams, but I dream them anyway.

 

Dreams are important. They help all of us to set goals and look beyond the immediate nature of today. It is good to have dreams, and to make time to try and find ways to achieve these dreams. But, as I have come to notice, sometimes we get so caught up in dreams for the future that we neglect the gifts we are given today. We are looking down the road and miss seeing what is happening right here and now. So the question is, how do we combine the life we live today with the dreams we have for tomorrow.

 

Back in college, my friends and I would talk about what we would do after we graduated. After graduation, we talked about where we would be in ten years. Now, some of my friends talk about what they will do when they are retired. But what about now? Are we trying to just make it up another rung on the ladder, or are we rejoicing in the blessing of today? There needs to be a happy medium somewhere.

 

For me, the key has come with the issue of time. We only have so much of it, and we need to take full advantage of what we have been given. Taking time to be with the people we love and to do the things we love to do. When we do that, the other dreams fall into place, for we see that all the other stuff – trips, cabins in the woods, etc – are made so much better when we live those dreams out with the people we love.

 

Humans were created to be in relationship with others. Those relationships take many different forms, but are all important. We need to make time to help these relationships grow in the healthiest ways possible, rejoice in the gift of them, and celebrate the dreams we have with others.

 

So what are your dreams for today?

canada lake

Ever get in a funk and just can’t seem to get out of it?

I’ve had days like that. Days when it seems like no matter what I do I just cannot get out of the bad mood I am in, and even the littlest things set me off.

I don’t like those days. I want to be able to change my mood.

I had been reading through some stuff and ran across a line from Tony Robbins: Emotion is created by motion.

Basically what he is saying is that if you want to change your mood, your emotional state, many times what you need to do is get active, to do something.

Michael Hyatt, a leadership expert, said if you don’t believe this then try this little example:

Slouch in your chair.
Round your shoulders.
Take shallow breaths.
Close your eyes.
Frown and then sigh.

If you do this there is a good chance you will start to feel down right away. What you do physically can effect how you feel emotionally.

And it is the same for feeling positive, for changing your mood for the better. Here are a few things I do to help get me out of my bad moods:

1- Get up and get out for a walk. Just leaving the space I am in and doing something different, even if it is just a walk around the sanctuary on a cold day, makes a huge difference in how I am feeling.

2 – Think back to a good thing that has happened during the week. No matter how bad or tough my week has been, there is always at least one thing that has been good and positive. I take some time to focus on that moment.

3 – TAPS prayers – TAPS stands for Thanks, Ask, Praise, and Supplication. I take a moment to pray through the TAPS prayers because it helps to move me away from focus on self only and lift up the good things and others that are in my life.

4 – Music – I crank up my i-pod with the most upbeat music I can find. Again it takes me out of that moment and brings me to a different place where things are better.

So if you need a change of mood, push yourself to do something a little different, a little more physical, so that you can make the move into a more positive area. May your eyes always be opened to the blessings of God in your life.

Today, our family bids farewell to an institution that’s been a part of our lives for almost 9 years. Today is Scarlett’s last day at the Angel Academy, a day care center/preschool that has taught and looked after our daughters for their whole lives. The Angel Academy is closing in a few weeks, since its host congregation is changing locations and will no longer have space for the day care. It’s going to be hard for us to say goodbye to the people and place that have cared for our children for so many years.

 

I remember the first time I took Sierra there, a 7-pound pipsqueak in the infant room. I was sure this tiny baby would cry the whole day. She didn’t. She was cared for well. I’ll remember chuckling as my children chastised me over the years for saying the words “stupid” and “butt,” because those were “bad words” at school. I’ll remember hearing “I’m Bringing Home a Baby Bumblebee,” and “Jesus Loves Me” sung over and over after school. We’ll always have the handprint crafts they brought home to us. I’ll remember how Scarlett, at 3-years-old, declared that her school friend Ayden was her boyfriend. Today we say goodbye and thank you to the Angel Academy, because they helped shape our children, and the things they learned and the memories we have, will last forever.

 

This is the time of year when we see a lot of things coming to an end, and a lot of new things beginning. Winter has finally come to an end, trees that were budding just a few weeks ago now have leaves, our spring flowers are giving way to the flowers of summer. And students are preparing to transition from one level to another. And some are graduating, in Commencement ceremonies. “Commencement” doesn’t mean, “The End,” but rather, “The Beginning.” Because when one facet of our lives draws to a close, a new part begins. Life is full of endings and new beginnings. Even when we’re done graduating, we all experience “commencements” in life – new jobs, new homes, having children and grandchildren, new opportunities, new relationships, and retirement. Scarlett is already looking forward to her new beginnings – the new schools she’ll attend, the new friends she’ll meet, the new adventures she’ll have. Saying goodbye and moving forward isn’t always easy, but as we make transitions, we remember that our God is a God of new life, who goes with us, blessing our journey and making all things new.

Pastor Jennifer

 

I number of years ago I heard this phrase, and it has stuck with me – EGO = Edging God Out.

There are many times in all of our lives when we think we know best – we think we have the one and only answer – we think we know the right direction to go. And quite often, this really is our ego getting in the way. As humans we often want to be right, because it avoids embarrassment and having to say we were wrong. And yes, I am as guilty as that as anyone.

I told this story in a sermon a number of years ago, but it illustrates the point well.

It was my first Sunday at my first call, and one of the teenage girls walked up to me and said, “We are going on a trip in the summer. Everything is planned, and you are coming with us.” What else could I say but, okay, what are we doing. The plan was to go to Glacier National Park, go whitewater rafting, and then head to an Indian Reservation to paint a church and teach VBS

It was a long drive, the kids got rowdy, and soon the teasing began. After first pit stop, the cars divided up by gender, the girls in two cars, boys in the other two. Well, we made it to Glacier and had a lot of fun rafting. When we finished on the water, we started to head to my friend’s church that we were staying at for the night. We stopped for gas, and I did something I shouldn’t have.

One of the ladies driving a van full of girls asked me – Do you want a map?

I turned to her, and in my most defiant voice said – I don’t need a map, I know where I am going.

Oops!

So we started out, and yes, I made a wrong turn. I even knew it was a wrong turn about five miles down the road, but did I admit it, NO! EGO

I kept going, hoping that there would be a turn somewhere I could take to get back on the right road. Plus, the boys in my car said – you can’t let the women see you were wrong.

We wound up in the middle a cow pasture.

So, I turned around and started down another road. Then, here comes the girls lead van. As it passes by I notice there is a note in window. It said – We are women, we have a map, follow us!

Ego – it gets in the way sometimes, and when it does, we get lost and need that guidance to get back on the right path. It is not always easy to ask for help, but we need to because we are not perfect, we do make mistakes, and we need others to support, care for, and guide us at times.

May all of us have the courage to ask for help when we need it, and may our ego’s take a backseat to God’s will for us.

 

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I don’t know which of the four worship services at Our Savior’s you tend to gravitate towards most often, but I usually find myself in a pew at the 11 a.m. service. For me it’s not a preference of style of music, or even the ability to sleep in on Sunday (which I secretly enjoy), but I appreciate the small group and the laid back nature of the service. There’s a beautiful way we share the creed that’s unlike what I’ve experienced before – it’s sung in an upbeat fashion that is unique yet sacred. It’s refreshing.

 

Yesterday we had an overwhelming experience at the 11 a.m. service. There were six children gathered at the font to receive the waters of baptism. I’ve seen and experienced countless baptisms over the years. But this was the first time I noticed how awesome it was to see the light. There were so many children up there it took three people to prepare the candles to share with them and their sponsors. It looked a bit like a miniature candlelight service. What a gift their presence was to us yesterday.

 

Eugene Peterson’s translation of Matthew 5:14 is beautiful. He writes, “You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world.” Yesterday was a good reminder for me to pay attention to the light. And to wonder, for myself, and to invite you to consider in your life, how am I carrying the Savior’s light in my heart? Even though I miss the mark sometimes, and maybe you do too, I trust that the Savior’s light is at work in the tapestries of our lives “bringing out the God-colors in the world.” I love that baptism is just the beginning.

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Here at Our Savior’s we love to share our stories of faith; stories about the ways God has entered into our lives and stories about the ways we can share our gifts and bless others.

This blog is one that will be filled with stories of the people of Our Savior’s. We will strive to put up weekly posts that talk about our faith, our joys and struggles, our blessings and our pains.

And we want you involved, too. This blog aspires to be interactive – a conversation where we can join together in an online community, walking the walk of faith with one another.

We look forward to traveling this journey with you.