Sunday, July 15, 2018

Humid Weekend

Friday evening: Toni and I are home after taking a walk around Lake Como. There were two plays going on in the park, one Shakespeare and one musical. We didn't see much, but it was nice to hear a little. There's something about being around public events that both of us like.


Saturday: I wrote that last night. Now it's early afternoon. I'm finishing up a small project outside. It's warm out there. Toni and I will go take a dip in a lake later on, and tonight we're planning to go to a Minneapolis Pops Orchestra concert at the Lake Harriet Bandshell. My sister Karen and her husband may join us.


Now it's Sunday evening, not long before I need to head to bed. Toni's outside finishing a project I started -- a small hedge died and I finally cut the stumps out of the ground today. The spot where the hedge was, on the north side of the house, right next to the back door -- that spot will be a good place for the outdoor love seat that we've had since we lived on Mooers Avenue in Cokato. It was Toni's idea to use the space for that purpose, at least for now. She's putting landscaping fabric down -- for now we'll put a piece of plywood on it and then put the love seat on that. Maybe someday we'll do a more permanent fix, though it might take awhile.

It'll be an early morning tomorrow. We'll be home, working and etc., until we head northeast for cabin time. I pray that we'll follow the Lord's leading in everything we do.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

A Saturday

It's dark outside. I've been up, aside from three, yes three, naps, since sometime before 6 AM. In fact, I was out doing one of my slow runs by 5:45, running from home to Central Park here in Roseville, around Bennett Lake, and home again -- almost 6 miles. I probably wouldn't have been up that early if it hadn't been for some feelings I was trying to deal with. But it was a great time to be out. I love the early morning just as it's getting light.

Now it's after 10 PM. I'll be headed to bed before too long. It's been a full day, mostly around the house, doing this and that, including continuing a little work with the landscaping around the egress window. Toni and I went biking for awhile this morning, and tonight, for supper, we found a place for not too expensive Mexican style food. I also planted some more flowers on the west side of the house. Toni finally put the little computer on her bike that she got as a gift from one of our kids. She likes to know how far she's gone.

Right now I'm working on a few financial details, and also keeping an eye on what dear ones are saying and "liking" on social media. The mini explosion of likes and comments on pictures posted about one of the places I lived when I was in Brazil continues, and now I've had a little interest in a proposition I posted about gender and biology. I'm hoping to hear more.

I've listened, today, to two sermons too. Tomorrow we'll hear another at Roseville Covenant Church. Looking forward to that. Plus celebrating our son Dan's birthday. Then it'll be back to work early Monday morning.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Sharing Rio Pardinho -- and Jesus

Toni went down (to Northfield) to see her parents this morning so the house was empty when I got home, except, of course, for old Charlie the Dog. I saw my mom and dad last night after my PM shift. It's the second, and last, work day of this week. I was off work from Saturday through July 4 (Wednesday). I am glad to be back to the regular routine... even though the "regular routine" doesn't leave as much time as I would like for things like this -- writing.

The most interesting, and to me, exciting, thing that's happened in the last day or so is that suddenly one of my facebook posts -- an "album" of photos that were taken of people and places in Rio Pardinho Brazil -- one that I posted 4½ years ago -- was suddenly discovered by quite a few more people who have personal connections with that little locale. If you'd like to have a look at the photos, click here.
As always my hope and prayer is that the Lord Jesus would be known through everything I write, everything I share, and everything I do. As you, or others, look at these photos, I hope the love of Jesus for people everywhere will shine through -- not just for those who are well known, or those who are nearby.

Where is "Rio Pardinho"? It's located on the Pardinho River (hence its name) in the southernmost state of Brazil, Rio Grande do Sul. When I lived there most of the inhabitants were descendants of German immigrants, families that came to the area beginning in 1852. I lived there for about seven months in 1983 and 1984. It was a great experience. Toni and I have been back there to visit twice, once when our daughter Naomi was a baby, and then again when our kids were teenagers. I would love to go again.

So how can Jesus Christ be lifted up when people see these pictures on facebook? A few people who've seen, and liked :) them are folks who I knew when I lived there, and I hope they will remember my witness to Jesus when I was there. Others, I hope, will take a look at what else I post on facebook, or maybe even find their way to this blog. I don't intentionally "use" social media as a witnessing (or evangelistic) platform, but I do hope and pray that everything I share there will, directly or indirectly, shine with the love of the One who loves us more than anyone else ever could.

Time to go out and finish the last bit of mowing. Toni did most of the back yard yesterday, so here's a lot less to do than usual.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Where Peace is Found

Toni and I are at the Durphee Lake Cabin. Tim and Naomi and their little Jonas are here. David and Grandma Jo are too. I tried to write some yesterday, but pursuing solitary activities in this little cabin, with everyone around, isn't too sensible. It's easier now in the very early morning.

I started my first morning here with a (slow) 40+ minute run. I'm glad I did since the rest of the day has been pretty sedentary. It rained a lot, and that was quite pleasant. I'm sure I'll get some sort of a physical workout in today too. I might end up driving to town for that, or maybe I'll get myself to do more than just run again here.

Dick, Toni's dad, isn't here. We're hoping he can come up for the days later this month. He's continuing his rehab from a health issue that developed at the end of April.

A couple weeks ago, at a "Little Free Library," I picked up a Charles Dickens' book -- Hard Times. I've been reading it bit by bit ever since, and a little more yesterday and today. So far it's a sad, sad story with so many tragic characters and situations. I can't imagine how it can end well.

Yesterday morning the Lord led me to worship at a church in Hayward. When I got there I saw some family friends sitting near the front, so I went in and sat with them. There was some good praise time and then a message on a fairly well known section of the new testament. I'll say more about that below.

After the message we were invited to share communion together. I received the Lord's supper from the family friend I had been sitting with, and then enjoyed talking with him afterward. It was an unexpectedly good time, and an example of how the Lord continually blesses me in ways I don't plan in advance.

The message at the church service was nothing new, but good for me to hear. I've been thinking about it ever since. During the service I tweeted out one line that the pastor emphasized and had us repeat aloud... and a bit of the scripture his message was based on.
Peace is not found in a formula, it's found in a person. " every situation ...present your requests to God, and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will GUARD your *hearts* and your *minds* . Praise you, Jesus, for peace in all circumstances
Here are some personal reflections on the scripture and message I wrote this morning. May the peace of God, which transcends understanding, be in our hearts and minds today.

That's true when we think of peace as a personal feeling. In fact, that's what the verse before the one quoted above says: "'Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7). I have to be reminded of this all the time because I easily fall into worrying -- not, in my case, about money (which is what many worry about), because the Lord has provided so well and has taught me the "secret of being content." I worry more about what seems to be (1) bad choices that other people make and bad habits that other people have, (2) the long term consequences on their health and well being that those behavior patterns lead to, (3) and the well being of others that their negative example might cause, including the well being of future generations. I'll share more about that personally if you ask.

The Lord, however, tells me not to worry about anything. That would include the worry I mentioned above. He tells me that I should speak with Him about it and implies then that I should leave my worries there, in my prayers, trusting that He will deal with whatever I bring to His attention. As I remember the example of Jesus, whose followers were so often going the wrong way in their attitudes and actions, I recall how he needed to retreat and spend time alone with God the Father. Perhaps that's because he knew what it was like to be tempted to worry about them, worry that came out, in fact, as he sighed and said things like, "o you foolish people, how long do I need to put up with you." But Jesus seems to have refused the temptation to worry, and the twin temptation to try to control those who were (sometimes) following Him. I think I have had a taste of Jesus' struggle in prayer as I am continually led to "let go and let God."

But what about peace between people or nations? Is that peace also found "in Christ Jesus," as the verse quoted above says? The fuller context of the verse implies a "yes" answer. There seems to have been a conflict going on between two of the women in the Christian community that Paul is addressing in this letter. He pleads (notice that he doesn't command -- Paul exercises no male "headship" over the women) with these women to "be of the same mind," a phrase that is used elsewhere in the "letter to the Philippians" to specifically point to Jesus and Jesus' way of life. "Think like Jesus" we read in Philippians 2:5 and following, who was completely humble and didn't pursue any advantage or rights over others. I think the path to peace between people and nations is found in Jesus' example and presence. It doesn't come by saying "me first" or "US" first.

Is the self-sacrificing way of Jesus practical in the world of nations? No. But I think Christians often sacrifice Jesus' was for practical "common sense" political thinking and activity. Jesus' ways normally don't lead his followers to being "first." But, if the verses I quote above can be applied to "US" together just as they can be to each of us personally, that impractical way of humble service would be the way to peace among nations too.