Saturday, July 5, 2008

Change? Me?

Almost time to go home. Having these days with family has been great. A lovely time of renewing relationships and sharing. Songs and prayers blend seamlessly with fun and relaxation. Unforgettable.

Tonight on our way home we'll see "The Singing Revolution" a film showing how freedom came to the Baltic countries after years of Soviet domination. It's at the Lagoon Theater near Hennepin and Lake in "uptown" Minneapolis for a week or so.

I had the opportunity to visit the southernmost of the Baltics in May. Lithuania is pressed up against repressive Belarus and the Kaliningrad region of Russia. Until the early 1990s it was behind the "iron curtain." It's better there now, but the people know what it is like to suffer and live in fear.

While there I spent some extraordinary days with my daughter Naomi. She had just finished a semester studying at LCC International University, one of the positive agents of change in the former Soviet bloc. During her time at LCC she was part of a group Bible study. The topic: Matthew 5-7, Jesus' "Sermon on the Mount."

Click here and you'll go to the part of Naomi's blog where she quotes her Bible study leader who said: "I hope this study of Matthew changes your life... it's well and good to read the Bible for knowledge, but that's not enough..." I'd encourage you to read that blog entry, and other parts of her amazing experience in that far "corner" of the world.

Travel, like reading and studying the scriptures is intended to bring change to our lives. It's not just tourism or recreation. God continues to change me and I hope you'll allow him to do the same.

Naomi writes: What is the Sermon on the Mount all about anyway? It's about the Kingdom of God, and bringing it to earth. The Kingdom of God is full of "the least of these," the untouchables, the forgotten, the poor and the meek, the mourning and the persecuted...

As you read through Matthew's gospel, pray and ask God to make an impact on you through his Word. As Christ was not a mere tourist in this world, God calls us through this Sermon to truly notice those around us, especially the least of these, and to notice how it is we live in relationship with them, near and far. Even in small places like Dassel, Cokato, and Lithuania.

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