Sunday, June 26, 2016

First Love, Love First

First Lutheran Church, Taylors Falls, this morning
Today Toni, Naomi and I went up to visit the church we served in Taylors Falls from 1992-2005. I so much enjoyed seeing and talking with many friends and former neighbors, people who had invited me (and us) into their lives in a relatively intimate way for many years.

I am so thankful to have had the chance today to go back up there, and for the invitation that was extended to us and to other "former pastors" (we were the only pastor's family able to make it). There was no special event (other than a mid-summer outdoor potluck), no introduction of "the Thorsons" as anyone special, and, thank God, I wasn't asked to take any leadership role. The only time I was up front was when I walked up during the last song to snap this picture on my old phone.

I want to write more about this day and some of the thoughts and feelings surrounding it, but right now my heart is just filled with love for the people in the picture above, and for many others who were not there today. My feelings for the dear ones in that community are matched by those I have in my heart for those in Ladysmith, Glen Flora and Cokato. The love that God pours into our hearts surpasses understanding, and overcomes doctrinal squabbles, and leaps us over any uncomfortable past hurts that any of us may have suffered (or inflicted upon one another). We're all incomplete, we all fail, and none of us has a full picture of God's truth. So we stand, together, in the love of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

The current president of the TF church, Don Hansen, had been on a mission trip with the youth recently. The youth and their leaders shared some things that they remembered from the week, and then Don spoke of the temporary tattoo that he had on his arm with the theme of the Youth Works camp on it. That theme was "First Love," but Don said, that when he looked at it on his arm, it said "Love First." I like that. When in doubt, just love. A good lesson for all.

There are a lot more things to say about the morning and about what is going on in my head and heart, but at the moment it's time to take care of some other things.

God's peace to you all.

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Saturday, June 25, 2016

Everything Depends on Jesus

Everything and everyone depends on Jesus every day.
I tweeted that line at about 7 last Saturday morning. Those few words came to me as a very quick summary of some things I've been studying and praying over for quite awhile.

Now, right away I should say the first thing that comes to mind about those words is that I need Jesus, personally, every day. I need His mercy and forgiveness and grace -- mercy and forgiveness and grace that come to me in spite of my often judgmental "holier than thou" "better than others" ("better than you"?!) attitude. I need Jesus' mercy because every day I complain (usually just to myself, in my heart) about circumstances and situations that God has brought into my life.

Yes, I, and everyone else, needs Jesus' loving mercy. Jesus is God, and there is no God apart from Jesus. He is the only one who can give us the forgiveness and grace that we need. If it were not for Jesus, none of us could ever live honestly free from guilt and shame. With Jesus' grace we can live with great joy, with joy that comes from knowing that our sin has been taken from us once and for all.

But that's not what was on my mind when I wrote the eight words at the top of this post.

It's not just me and other people who need Jesus. It's not just because we need his grace and mercy and forgiveness. It's because the entire universe depends on Jesus, because He is God.

In Matthew Henry's classic Commentary on the Whole Bible, in a section where the author is reflecting on Colossians 1:17, we read this about all things that exist:
He not only created them all at first, but it is by the word of his power that they are still upheld, Hebrews 1:3. The whole creation is kept together by the power of the Son of God, and made to consist in its proper frame. It is preserved from disbanding and running into confusion.
Everything depends on Jesus Christ--whether they know it or not--even if they don't have a brain. "Rocks and trees... skies and seas," "the morning light, the lily white," "the rustling grass" and birds raising "their carols," all of these rely on Jesus every day. If he were to turn away, nothing would exist at all.

Sometimes Christians think of God the Father ("This Is My Father's World") as being "creator," but it's clear from the Bible that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are involved in creating and keeping everything going. The Triune God, Father, Son, Spirit, together, do that creative work and the ongoing work of "sustaining" everything. Every molecule, every quark, every chemical compound, all the laws of physics and biology... everything depends on Jesus (and Holy Spirit) just as much as on "God the Father." It's true. If Jesus were to turn his back for a moment, all things would be gone.*

The universe depends upon Jesus -- because Jesus is God.

That's what I meant when I tweeted the line last week.

----------------------------------------
Blogposts from early June 2016 - "Scientific Theology,"
"The Whole World," and "Big Ideas, Big Words."

*The Christian Frame of Mind provoked three blogposts early this month, and that was just after studying the the introduction! Since then I've read the rest, and have found the ideas put forth in it to be really important and, as far as I can discern so far, pretty much true.

The first main point the author makes after the introduction has to do with the "contingent" nature of the universe. The universe (or "universes," if, as some suspect, there is more than one) does not have an independent existence. "Contingent" is a fancy word that means something depends on something or someone else.

The book's author, a Christian theologian and scientific scholar by the name of Thomas F. Torrance, says that a truly Christian understanding of the universe would include an emphasis, not only on the creation of the everything "in the beginning" by God (Father, Son, Spirit) but also the work the Triune God continues to do at every moment so that the universe continues to exist. Christians sometimes have the (wrong) idea that the world or universe has it's own independent existence, apart from God. The truth is, as T. F. Torrance explains, that through Jesus we come to know that He is absolutely essential to the world's continued existence! By Him everything is "unceasingly sustained in their order and being."

Jesus is way more than a savior. Everything depends upon Him.

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Saturday, June 11, 2016

A Day for Whatever

I don't work on Saturdays! It's part of the beauty of being a "part time operator" for Metro Transit. I especially enjoy days when I can do "whatever," days when there are no plans. Here's what's gone on so far:

I got up at 5:30 and was out the door on my bike an hour later. I biked to Rosedale, then bused and biked to Lake Como where the "Roots Marathon Runners" have been training on Saturday mornings. I didn't start jogging until 7:30, about the time the Roots group was finishing up, but I did manage to jog the 1.6+ mile lake loop 3 times, with a stop for water and stretching on each lap. Then I biked and bused home -- getting home by about 9:30.

I could have biked each way. It's only a little more than 8 miles round trip from where we live down to Lake Como. But I do like to use my bus pass, and, usually, when I'm on the bus, I can have interesting conversations, either with my co-worker drivers or with "customers." Today I talked with an East Metro driver on the 65 and, after my jog, I met a customer waiting for a 61 on Larpenteur.

The 61 was late so the "whatever" it seems God planned was my little talk with the customer, a woman who, I think, lives at the Roseville Senior House. As we chatted, and as I helped her find out when the bus was due, since it was about 10 minutes late, she mentioned that her brother had retired from driving at the beginning of this year. He had worked out of the Heywood Garage, the same as me, and had driven express routes like the ones I'll be driving starting on Monday.

As she was talking, I realized I had probably met her brother. I asked her how her brother was doing in retirement, she said he was keeping busy talking with people about the "beautiful new world" that is coming... then she gave me a tract. Turns out that is a Jehovah's Witness, and so is her brother.

One reason I love riding the bus, besides the way I don't add to pollution when i ride it, is that it's a great way to meet people of all kinds. I've met hundreds if not thousands of people driving, and dozens while riding. (Many ethnic and religious groups ride, including hundreds of Muslims.) The person I met today wasn't visibly different than anyone else, but when she pulled out her tract she readily admitted she was a "Jehovah's Witness." Since I know JWs have a particular understanding of Jesus, and consider themselves to be the only ones who are saved, I told her that I know Jesus! And I shared a bit about God's love. I didn't say a lot, but since she said she was JW, I did mention that I know that Jesus is God, an idea which is rejected by the JW organization.

That brings me back to what I've planned to spend some time doing this weekend: Continuing study related to "The Trinity." Toni went up north to her parents' cabin and she brought the dog with her, so I've got time. But I do find it helpful to journal like this, so I end up getting delayed and distracted from that work. On the other hand, the most relaxing times for me are those when I don't have a particular agenda or plan in mind, so I truly appreciate having this time to do "whatever."

"Whatever" for me also included a talking with with one of the young men that's staying with us here at 1490 Lydia. His brother is renting one of the small basement rooms and "C" is there too. He came up shortly after noon and wanted to borrow my phone to call for pizza delivery and we ended up talking a bit. I was thankful that my lack of plans today allowed that to happen.

That's enough for now.

What are you doing today? How is the Lord blessing your time? Let me know if you can!

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Thursday, June 9, 2016

Just Adrenaline?

I got home from my first shift a little more than an hour ago. Today, as has happened 3 times now, I volunteered to drive routes that were completely new to me. The dispatchers gave me, and others, the option to do it or not, but I like adventure, so, after a bit of consideration, I said yes. All went reasonably well, and when I got back I felt very positive. I had been yawning when I got into work today, but now I'm energized. It's been a good day so far.*

In yesterday's My Utmost for His Highest devotional, Oswald Chambers wrote about putting "everything in your life upon God, going out to sea on the great swelling of His purpose." He warned us about spiritual sluggishness, and called us to examine points in our lives where we have started to "lose interest spiritually."

If we see we lack energy in some areas of our lives, O.C. says there may be some moment or "point" in our spiritual walk where we "did not do something" we knew we should do. He also says that when we obey, we learn more about the ways of our Lord, and when we refuse we end up losing insight and discernment.

O.C. writes this in harmony with what Jesus teaches in John 13 where Jesus, led by the Holy Spirit, does something he did not need to do: He washed his disciples' feet--and then says "I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you." There is joy in this going above and beyond what others expect! Once we've experienced it we want more.

There is a danger, however, in getting to addicted to the positive feelings we get when we serve, or when we leap out to do new things. We can, out of zeal, do things we're not called to do.

O.C. writes:
The counterfeit of obedience is a state of mind in which you create your own opportunities to sacrifice yourself, and your zeal and enthusiasm are mistaken for discernment. It is easier to sacrifice yourself than to fulfill your spiritual destiny, which is stated in Romans 12:1-2. It is much better to fulfill the purpose of God in your life by discerning His will than it is to perform great acts of self-sacrifice. “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice…” (1 Samuel 15:22).
Today, as I leapt out to do a good deed, I think it went okay, but because there were some things that could have gone better** I'm pausing to consider if, in the future, instead of just doing what someone (like the dispatchers) give me the option to do, just because I like adventure, it might be better to pause a bit and check: Is it just adrenaline that's pushing me out? That's not a good reason to leap.

This is a small example. There are much more serious decisions we can make just because we think we "should" or because we think it would be fun. It's best when we pause and ask the Lord: Is this truly what you desire in my life, now.

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* Yesterday, June 8, marked one year since I began training with Metro Transit.

** It went okay this morning on this completely new route, but I can see how it might have been otherwise. I rushed out without carefully examining the route details, so I didn't know about where a park and ride was, and didn't know about a construction detour. Thank God for passengers who let me know which way to go!

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Monday, June 6, 2016

Big Ideas, Big Words

I've managed to read a little more of The Christian Frame of Mind, moving on from W. Jim Neidhardt's introduction, but there's a point from the intro that was eye-opening for me, and I wanted to take a moment to share it before its newness fades.

As I've been re-entering the world of theologically deep study, I recognize that many of my Christian friends, and even I myself at times, have had some prejudice against any Christian teaching or "doctrines" that can't be taken directly from the words of the Bible. We have preferred to open our Bibles and prayerfully read the words that are there on the page, relying on a prayer-filled "common-sense," or "Holy Spirit led" insights to bring us to common and practical applications of what God is saying to us, either as individuals or as groups.

Most of the men and women I have studied and prayed with over the past 30 years or so would only rarely use words like "incarnation," or "trinity" or even "theology," preferring instead to just use words that are there in our English translations of the Bible -- and those words simply aren't there, except, perhaps, in the footnotes. And now as I speak things like of "Incarnational Trinitarian Theology," I'm sure I will sound, to some, like I'm slipping away from Biblical teachings and moving, instead, to some sort of un-Biblical sophistication. Or maybe I'm just wanting to show off. Or maybe I'm just a nerd.

There's a prejudice, out there in the land of Christian spirituality--a prejudice against the hard "theological" work that I'm doing these days--and I can almost hear the silent objections to what I'm thinking and writing about even now.

That's where what I read in the introduction to The Christian Frame of Mind comes in. W. James Neidhardt, following T. F. Torrance and others, say, and I agree, that you can't get God's truth simply by reading a few sentences or paragraphs in the Bible. You need to have some pretty big ideas already firmly fixed in your mind. I think those ideas actually come when we're born again by the grace of God, and by what Jesus has done for us, but that's another story.

Here's an example from the book's introduction:
"... God's grace may be thought of as an invisible conceptual reality defined as 'God giving himself to humankind, so that they can know him an love him, so entering into a relationship with him which... is totally undeserved...' God's grace is not "visible" in the Old and New Testaments accounts of God's activity toward humankind -- at least not in the sense that it is continuously acknowledged. Rather, the concept of grace brings 'invisible' meaning to these accounts." (page xxiii in The Christian Frame of Mind)

The word "grace," of course, is there in the Bibles we read. But the fact is that neither the word, nor the idea of "undeserved favor" is there in every verse. Proper Christian Bible study, though, will hold that "invisible" idea in mind as we read all the Bible's books and chapters and verses. Christians do mostly understand that there's danger in taking things "out of context," that is, without a big picture view of what the Bible is all about. Some Christians, however, don't understand this, and they get into trouble. An extreme version of this was seen when Donald Trump says that his favorite Bible verse is "an eye for an eye."

Some big ideas, however, that we can see in the whole story of the Bible can't simply be summarized by one or two words that we can actually find in a word found in Bible itself. I already mentioned two of them. "Incarnation" is one. "Incarnation" is a summary of what happened when God came into human flesh, being born of a woman, but the word "incarnate" is not there. "Trinity" is another. You can find the words "Father," "Son," and "Holy Spirit" in the Bible, but not the word "Trinity." The big idea is there, and you can't understand Jesus without the idea, but you can't find the word in the Bible.

That's what Neidhardt and Torrance mean by saying some things are "invisible."

Does that mean we should avoid those ideas or those words? I don't think so. If we do, we'll miss the Bible's big story, and forget what the Bible is all about.

Now, most of the men and women I've studied and prayed with over the years actually do have big ideas like "incarnation" and "trinity" in their heads, but they (and often we) haven't wanted to use those words, at least not too much. For some reason, we like the idea of being simple-minded and unsophisticated. But, as I've already said, the danger is that we can take verses, and even chapters and books of the Bible "out of context," that is, without a big picture view of what the Bible is really about. (It's late and I'm rambling here.)

As I've been studying, I'm learning the importance of how important big ideas are. Perhaps these are examples of what Jesus meant when he said, "I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear." Perhaps ideas like "incarnation" and "trinity" and even "theology" are a part of what Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would bring to us. Here's a fuller quote from Jesus speaking in the Gospel of John chapter 16:
12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you..." 
I've spent a lot more time thinking and writing about this tonight than I planned. I need to be up and out of bed in an hour and a half, on my way to work. Fortunately I've got really light duty in the mornings these days. I'll hope to say more about that later.

Peace to you in Jesus' name.

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Sunday, June 5, 2016

The Important, and the Ordinary

"If we have God’s assurance behind us, the most amazing strength becomes ours, and we learn to sing, glorifying Him even in the ordinary days and ways of life." (June 4 utmost.org)

The assurance O.C. mentions comes from the Lord who says: "I will never leave you nor forsake you," and we respond: "The Lord is my helper; I will not fear..." (Hebrews 13:5-6)

Yesterday's My Utmost for His Highest devotion speaks to me because I am one of those who has heard God's assurance and I have believed His Word, but I still am somehow wanting more. Not more wealth or material security, but more "significance," or,perhaps better said, a more consistent and constant feeling that what I am doing with my time (when I spend it well) is good and important. I'm continuing deep study of God's ways and other things but then I find I need to buckle down and take care of the little things, like what I did yesterday, going through things we have stored in the garage.

I confess that I "fear" that I'm not going to be able to show a lot of good through what I do. I believe that the study I'm doing is significant and needed in today's world, but the process of bringing these truths into the light is so time consuming. If there is any fear in me of "what people can do to me," (as the Hebrews passage continues) it's the fear that, in the end, the work that I and others are doing in theology will be set aside and the Christian world will just go on speaking and believing things that just aren't true.

But when I'm reminded, once again, of God's promise to never leave or forsake me, I don't need to be afraid that my work will be lost or unfinished. If the God we know in Jesus will always be with me, there will be reward, and significance, in some way, whether I see it or know it myself right now. And He has me in His care. I will say, in faith, that I will not be afraid, and I will press on with both the important and the ordinary things of life.
Have you heard God's assurance that He will always be with you? And will you respond, with your own heart, and your own words, "The Lord is my helper; I will not fear"? Take some time to do that as you reflect on the ways in which you're tempted to be afraid. Do that now.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

The Whole World

"...Human relationship are an integral part of what persons really are. You as a person are not a cut-off, isolated, individual, like the Newtonian particle, separated from other autonomous particles. Rather, you as a person are interrelated with others, your parents, your friends, even people with whom you disagree. Those interrelationships constitute the very stuff of personal being."

That's a quote from the introduction of The Christian Frame of Mind. The basic idea of the book, and a conviction that has been a part of my thinking for a very long time, is that there's no reason for science and faith to stand in opposition to one another. The God that we learn about in Jesus Christ is also the God who created everything that exists.

In the introduction quoted above, W. Jim Neidhardt speaks of Christian scientists who search for "deeper way[s] of interpreting nature," deeper ways that could only be understood through a faith-filled belief that God's creation is related to God, not just something that came into being by itself. The scientific breakthroughs of believers like Michael Faraday and James Clerk Maxwell eventually led to Albert Einstein's theories, theories that bring a sense of harmony and interrelationship between seemingly separate things, such as, for example, space and time.

The idea, as I understand it, is that if there is One God who created everything, all "seemingly separate things" should be related in some way. It follows then, that there should be no battle between Christian teaching and science. There is no field of study that is stands on its own. If one looks deeply enough, there will be connections between them. Even studies in areas as different as physics and psychology and theology will, at some level, be connected because there is One Creator.

All things are related to one another--so are all creatures, and all people (as in the quote that opened this blogpost). There's a deep connection under us all, a connection that can be understood by us, though never completely. In some way, that deep connection is "of God." It's "divine." God does, truly, have "the whole world in His Hands."

There will always be more to learn about this. But that learning is truly good. All studies are to be honored if we're going to honor our Lord.

It's good to study and expand our understandings. What are you curious about? How will you learn? You never need to be afraid of learning more. The creator of everything, God, is good. And He is Love. We know this, only, because of Jesus.

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This photo is from page xv of the introduction of The Christian Frame of Mind.
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Thursday, June 2, 2016

Scientific Theology

"Theology and science should be seen as 'allies in a common front where each faces the same insidious enemy, namely, man himself assuming the role of Creator . . .' "
(Torrance, Theological Science, xiii)
" from Wikipedia article Thomas_F._Torrance#Theology_and_science).
Last night I went over to the University of Northwestern Library and checked out The Christian Frame of Mind: Reason, Order and Openness in Theology and Natural Science, a book that's listed as recommended reading for a Grace Communion Seminary course on the "scientific theology" of T.F. Torrance. I'm not enrolled in the course but I'm feeling a sense of call to learn more about the teachings of this man who is continually mentioned as a "master theologian" by those who teach Incarnational Trinitarian Theology, a way of thinking about God that does not imagine "God the Father" as ever being separate from "God the Son" and "God the Holy Spirit."*

In the introduction to The Christian Frame of Mind, Dr. W. Jim Neidhardt writes about the connection between T. F. Torrance's theological method and the thought of Albert Einstein! I can't wait to learn more.

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* Some Christian theologians, unfortunately, teach that God the Father punished God the Son for the sins of the world -- a teaching that does not honor the eternal loving relationship within God's self, a relationship that created and sustains everything that exists. I'm learning how absolutely essential that relationship is. And if we don't understand it we won't appreciate the true nature of God's love.

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Saturday, May 21, 2016

Inviting Friends

Good evening friends! It's the end of another good day. It's the weekend of my niece Marissa's college graduation, so some of the family were at Bethel University for that event and then had lunch at the house that Marissa has been leasing with 7 friends. She'll be moving soon to northeast Minneapolis, also with friends. I really appreciated the messages given at the graduation ceremony, one by a student and another by an alumna, both of whom passed through painful circumstances to become strong, positive, women.

My niece is in a stage of life when friends are at center stage. Not to say that friends aren't important always, but in the years before marriage there seems to be more time and energy for building relationships with non-family members. Marriage is a great thing, but it does tend to shrink the field of friendship, and then when children come into the picture the world gets focused and small. And when families move from one town or city to another, as most do these days, friends, sadly, get left behind. We try to keep up sometimes but the importance and intensity of those young adult friendships probably won't be maintained.

EVEN SO, I believe friends are worth keeping even when it's not easy, or possible, to keep them fresh all the time. One thing I enjoyed in the past, when I was serving a local church, was having "visits" from friends that I had known from other times of my life. Fortunately, I'm still in a public job, so it's still possible for friends to visit me at work. and because I believe this job is a part of my current call from God, I'd love to share it with those who have seen me in my other roles. AND, if your job invites visitors, I'd love to come visit you at work! Or we'll make another time!

Friendships are precious, like all relationships. We're made to be like God, and God is all about relationships. As Joseph Tkach says:
By becoming friends of God, we also become friends of each other. Since we will each live with God eternally, we will also live with one another eternally, in a relationship characterized by love. We are reconciled not only with God, but also with each other. (Click here for the article that's quoted from.)
In the end, there will be no separation, so let's get used to keeping those friendships now.

So, if you're willing, come ride with me! I love my job and I'd love to share why. (The other day someone I knew in Cokato happened to be riding! That was fun!) You can ride with me any day, Monday - Friday through June 17 (except Memorial Day) on my really interesting current routes in Minneapolis. 

How can you find me? Well, if you have an hour to spare, come to Northeast Minneapolis and look for me on one of the southbound route 10 buses on Central Avenue at 19th, just after 3:05 PM. (There will be more than one, so if the first 10 that comes by isn't mine, just wave it by and I'll probably be driving the next one.) You can ride with me to downtown and stay on the bus until I get you back to the same corner (19th & Central) about an hour later. Or stay on that northbound bus and I'll get you back to your car after I'm done with my whole PM set of routes at about 7:00. 

 All my routes now are local or limited stop, much more interesting than the express ones that I'll start June 20. They're more interesting now because of the diverse crowd I get to serve right now.

Time to stop writing and publish this.

God's peace to you all.

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Saturday, May 14, 2016

Extraordinary and Ordinary Days

I started writing this blog post back in April, about 3 weeks ago. I'm not sure why it is that I've been writing less these days. It certainly isn't because I'm not thinking of things to write about!

The big event in our lives since I wrote what follows here was Dan & Shatera's wedding last Saturday (May 7). What a sweet and Holy Spirit filled time! The newlyweds have been on their honeymoon this week. I think they return today.

All three of our kids have married such wonderful people. Dan's Shatera is a delightful, strong and beautiful addition to the family. When I get a chance I'll post a picture of us all.

Toni and I were more or less in charge of the rehearsal dinner last Friday evening. (Toni more, I less -- way less. Toni's a champ when it comes to family events.) My brother Peter's family, Toni's friend Jody, our daughter Naomi and her husband Tim and who knows who all else helped Toni make the dinner at "St. Paul Fellowship" to be an extraordinarily lovely time. For me personally a highlight has been getting to know Shatera's family, and the many others who have blessed her life up until now. I, and we, are so thankful to the Lord for ALL He has done!

What follows here was written last month. You'll see that what prompted it was an invitation from my cousin who suggested that I take and post photos of "ordinary days."

--- Written Tuesday evening, April 19 ---
last week's guys "MOVE" group with
Jesse B. & his guitar

I have a few minutes to write at the moment. None of the guys who usually come on Tuesdays could make it tonight so I've had a little time to relax. We're postponing the second part Jesse's Bible study until next week.

Life is good and full. Toni's been able to be in Cokato with Jon & Breanna and their three girls (1½ year old Lydia and month old twins Amara & Karis). She's arranged her schedule to be free on Mondays. My parents got to meet the twins last weekend. Thanks to Jon & Breanna for making the trek with the girls to our Roseville home!

Last week my cousin Sandi challenged me to post some photos of "everyday life" on facebook. The guys group picture was from Tuesday. Monday's was of my running shoes, I've committed to starting to train for the Twin Cities Marathon... don't know I'll actually do it. I'm doing my best to stay in shape as I get close to my 60th birthday -- NEXT MONTH!

tried getting my uniform badge
in the pic but failed   :-p
My pic for Wednesday was of my morning bus. Yes, I'm still enjoying this "new" occupation. I've been on the job since July 15 of last year (after several weeks of training), and so far, amazing to me, I have had no accidents or negative marks on my record. I'll get a one year safe driving award if I make it another 11 weeks, but when I think of everything that could happen at so many moments during the rush hours I drive, I know it's very much a "one day at a time" prospect. Come ride with me and I'll show you what I mean!

The good thing about the job is that I do have some time for other things. I'm working about 8 hours a day, but that includes the double commute, so it really isn't a bad life. I'm so thankful.
at the new Bridging warehouse
My Thursday "ordinary life" picture was taken from the top of an industrial style storage rack at Bridging in Roseville. I've been volunteering in their warehouse for a few hours every other Thursday. I had wanted to keep active in some sort of social service work when we moved to the Twin Cities and the Lord opened the door to help out there. I've kept at it pretty regularly beginning in early January.

On the day I took this picture I was helping get the donated furniture ready for Bridging "clients" to choose from. The warehouse crew handles donations from individuals and businesses, and we load and deliver furniture and other household items. Other volunteers sort through piles of donated items, others work in the wood or electrical shops, and many others help about 13,000 families "shop" for free every year at the Bridging warehouses in Bloomington and Roseville.

Beyond the bit of physical warehouse work I designed a flyer that social service agencies and others can use to help their clients get to the Roseville Bridging. Suburbs aren't easy to navigate for those without cars, and those who benefit from what Bridging often don't have reliable vehicles -- many are just coming out of being homeless! [Since I wrote this in April I've been asked to make a similar flyer for the Bloomington location. I hope to get to that project before too long.]

By time time Friday rolls around I'm ready for a break. Here's the what got posted last week (April 15):

Ordinary Day photo #5 - Toni took this on our evening walk around Como Lake. I always look forward to getting off work on Fridays so Toni and I can do something in the city together. This is our second Friday in a row enjoying take-out and a walk at Como until dark. <3 br="">
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So that's all I got written, more or less, on April 19. Now it's Saturday, almost a month later. I've been relishing a day without any real plans. I wanted to finish this blog post and now I'll go on to other things.

spring at 1490 Lydia Ave W in Roseville
the home we rent from Pastor Paul Anderson
I don't know how much blogging I'll do in the future. Back when I was serving as a pastor in Cokato I knew that at least some of the folks from my churches there were reading what I was writing, but now I don't have a captive audience like that. I do share, quite a bit, on "social media" (facebook and twitter). I'm continuing theological and biblical work when I have time and energy -- I've started explorations of Trinitarian Theology on this blog that I'll probably continue at some point, but the best way to keep track of what's up with me and the family is to personally connect, or to check out the social media

It's my hope and prayer that all I've written and shared here has been a way to give thanks and praise to the Lord who sustains and strengthens every day.

God bless you all.

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Saturday, April 9, 2016

Live Like Jesus

During his earthly life Jesus loved and gave without needing to see lasting return on his investment.

I want to live like that--not only in the wider world, but also in my closest relationships.

Praying for grace to live humbly and gratefully every day.


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Tuesday, April 5, 2016

MOVE tonight

Tonight I'm hoping to meet, once again, with some of the young adult guys who have, at one time or another, come here to 1490 Lydia on Tuesday evenings for a group that I've called "MOVE." I've texted them but haven't heard back yet, which isn't unusual.

Most of the guys have participated in the Communitas Young Adult ministry that Paul Anderson and Nate Johnstone lead. (See "Communitas Minnesota.")

My hope is that we'll encourage each other to hear what God is saying to each of us, in the circumstances of our lives, and then to step out (i.e. "MOVE") in obedience to what God is saying. 

Oftentimes we pay too much attention to the voices of others, including parents and spouses, other family members, bosses, wise adults and well meaning friends, who are probably, with the best of intentions, trying to get us to make positive changes in our lives. In the guys "MOVE" group my hope is that we'll learn to pay less attention to those voices. We do this, in part, by honestly saying to the Lord, "Help me to hear and obey you, and you only." 

The key verse for this is what Jesus says in Mark 1:15 - ""The time (KAIROS) has come. The kingdom of God has come near. REPENT (change your mind and allow God to take control) and BELIEVE (take steps of faith, move toward putting what you hear God saying to you into action) the good news!" The GOOD NEWS is the fact that God never holds your past against you. Every moment, every day is a new opportunity to be changed. 


Please pray for me, for Nathan and Nathan, for Greg and Aaron, and for others who God has continued to put into my life -- now, in the past, and in the days and weeks to come. There is always a new day coming! We know that because of Jesus.

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