Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Weekend's Best

The highlight of the weekend, personally, for me, was Sunday morning 8:30 worship at Grace Lutheran Church of Hayward, WI. Here's a link to the message.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

One Morning

Typing on my kindle, standing next to one of the counters here in Metro Transit's Heywood garage drivers' room, occasionally talking with other drivers and instructors, thinking about all the writing projects I'd like to do and depolarizing conversations I'm wanting to be involved in. I'm here, instead of driving, because my second morning trip of the year, a short route 3 piece, is not running now that the U of M spring session is done.

One of more active union members a the garage is distributing newsletters. The "Janus" supreme court case is on the front page and I managed to hear, briefly, a rather embittered opinion about that from another driver who is opposed to the union's position on it. I wanted to hear the "why" from him but he wasn't interested in saying more.

I hope he's willing to share more later. How can we learn from one another if we don't do that? I don't know.

Continuing this now that I'm home. I had a great nap, talked with Toni on the phone--she's at work--and I'm hoping to get some exercise soon. The bicycle trailer that my family ordered for my birthday just arrived! Fun!

Dan called and talked with me about a house they're interested in buying. Adding that to the prayer list.

Okay, it's past 11:00 already. I need to get moving a bit unless I want to sit all day.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Keeping It Soft

Early this morning I was up, as usual, even though I didn't have to go to work. I'm in the habit, I guess, so when I woke up I stayed up, did a few chores in the kitchen, then went to work out the old bod.

I don't want it to get soft as I get older. Physically soft, that is. Having some hardened muscles will keep some of the aches and pains away. But I always want to be soft to the ways of the Lord.

Toward the end after the afternoon I had a chance to listen to Jonathan share a bit about the message he's going to preach tomorrow. When I say "a bit" I mean just a bit. Very little. He mentioned the Bible book of Hebrews, chapters 3 & 4. I've been thinking about it ever since.

There are verses there that warn us against rebellion and the "hardening" of the heart. I want to remain strong and "hard" physically, but spiritually I don't want to be hard against the ways of the Lord. In that way, at least, I want to stay soft.

In chapters 3 & 4 of Hebrews there's a reminder of what happened when the people of Israel had left Egypt and were on their way to the promised land. They had seen, they had experienced, they had been blessed and rescued by the Work of God: miracles, saving wonders, demonstrations of the Lord's power. They had been slaves. Now they were free. All because of the Lord's grace.

But then rumors began to circulate. It would be too difficult to receive what had been promised. There wouldn't be enough of what they needed to live on the way. There were too many strong enemies. The memories of the Lord's faithfulness wasn't enough. They doubted the character, the love and the strength, of the one who had saved them. They could no longer turn to God in faith. They had to make their own way.

It's good to keep remembering the ways of the Lord and the ways he has saved us, so that when we encounter challenges and doubts, we will keep trusting and following. I want my heart, my will, my decision making -- I want those aspects of my life to be pliable and shape-able. I want to keep bowing to the ways of God -- because he loves me, and us, more than we'll ever know.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Like a Shepherd

The Lord Jesus guides everything I do. That doesn't mean I always follow His leadership. I rebel against Him and the ways he works to refine my character, but even those times of rebellion are used by Him for goo. I repent and return to Him. I talk with Him and learn to follow Him more nearly. He corrects me in surprising ways, sometimes bringing Truth to me from unexpected directions, including from people I disagree with. I need to pause and pray and study every day so I can see my errors and repent.

The Lord Jesus' guidance is even over decisions I have to make that may seem unrelated to His purposes. Today I'll choose the routes and schedule I'll drive in the summer. I'll also have a conversation with a financial planner. Yes, in all those things I'm in a dialog with my Lord, seeking just what He desires. I am completely free to choose what I want to do, but since Jesus knows all things, including the future, it's always wise to not just go with whatever I think is best, but to listen for what Isaiah called that "still small voice" of God.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Planning and Trusting

We never really know what's going to happen next, do we? Toni's dad has been ill recently, though it seems as of right now that he's on the mend, but his illness is a reminder that we just don't know about the future.

Even so, it is good for us to make some plans. Right now, during these days, Toni and I are making some plans about our future, specifically, in connection with the possible porch that we're looking into putting on our house.

Ever since I left what I have called the "pastors union" our income has decreased. Back when we were at Crossroads Church we were receiving considerably less than what I was "making" as an ELCA pastor. And since moving to Metro Transit I'm making still less, though my income there has been gradually increasing... and with Toni's business income we're doing okay for now.

But we never know just what will happen next. The fact that Toni's dad's been ill has meant that Toni has had to forgo some of her income, cancelling appointments so she can be with her parents. That's a reminder of the uncertainty of our lives.

How can we plan then? Only by trusting the Lord who has brought us safe thus far.

We will plan, and we'll get some advice. Mostly, though, we will trust the faithfulness of God.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Life Is Full

It's another beautiful spring day. I'm waiting, at the moment, for our daughter-in-law to bring our grandson by. I'll "watch" him while his mom Shatera goes up to Ramsey where our son Dan works.  Tonight is a special evening for the youth group that Dan leads -- they're saying "goodbye" to the high school seniors and Shatera doesn't want to miss it.

The house is pretty quiet right now. I'd be outside except I want to jot a quick blog post before I'm occupied with Liam. Toni is singing... right now (5PM)... but not here. There's a big jazz and choir concert that our church choir is participating in. I got there for the 3 PM performance. Our daughter Naomi, her husband Tim, and our grandson Jonas biked to that. We got to spend a little time together afterward. Jonas is growing up... taking a few steps on his own now. It's fun! 

Toni and I are thankful that the Lord has allowed us to live close enough to both Dan & Naomi to care for their sons without needing to drive a long way. Tomorrow, when I'm back at work, Toni will drive tomorrow to Cokato where she'll watch over Jon and Breanna's three daughters. That's a normal Monday for her, except for when she's go other things going on, such as driving down to Northfield to spend time with her parents. I usually see my parents on Tuesday evening, after work.

During the concert today I saw, on stage, one of the men I had volunteered with in the warehouse at Bridging. I haven't volunteered there since the summer of 2016. With work, the house, the growing family, and parents to care about, some writing and communicating, trying to connect with friends, etc. life is full.

Now I hear Shatera at the door. Time to go.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Porch Possible

Today I got to playing with junk that I took out of the garage. I was trying to envision how a future porch might fit onto our house. There's a long story to tell about why we're considering this, but if we can handle the financial hit it'll be a nice addition.