Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Oh Come Let Us Adore Him


The other day I was singing O Come All Ye Faithful during church and began to ask myself what does it mean for me to adore Christ?

Did it look different for the shepherds and the wise men to adore Christ when they traveled to see him in a manager then it does for me to adore him almost 2000 years later?

Webster defines adore three ways:

1. to worship or honor as a deity or as divine

2. to regard with loving admiration and devotion

3. to be very fond of

I think I really love the line "Oh come let us adore him" because each word has a specific meaning that is truthful!

Come: This invokes action. We are invited through the grace of God to join in the worship of Christ. This word also shows that living for Christ and worshiping him involves us being active rather then stagnant.

Let Us: Being a Christian is not about an individual being alone in their worship and study of Scripture. We are all a covenant family that is called to care for one another and worship him together. At the service on Christmas Eve, stop singing for a minute and listen to the rest of the congregation. Then imagine if it was just you in the congregation singing. There is so much beauty in all the voices gathered together bringing praise, honor, and glory to Christ.

Adore Him: I think I love this phrase because it calls for deep relational love. My husband has told me many times that he adores me, but the love my husband has for me is only a glimpse of the love that Christ has for us. It is because of this love that we can adore HIM! I think Webster's definition was right and adoring Christ encompasses all of those definitions. Adoring Christ doesn't just have to happen at church or during the Christmas season, but it can happen throughout all of life!

-Linds

Painting by a Dutch painter named Matthias Stomer

His Faithfulness is Good!


A few weeks ago my facebook status said "I wish I had built an ebenezer during all of my years of finals weeks to remind me that I made it through." One friend reminded me that I am that ebenezer because I am standing strong even after all of those horrible weeks of finals. I remember in college my friends and I would pray that Jesus would return that night so we wouldn't have to take our finals. I guess the Lord wanted us to learn something from our experiences and that is why Jesus hasn't returned yet! :) Well I am sure there are more reasons then just that.

Well I made it! God is faithful and I feel so blessed to be now standing on the other side of this fall's semester. Both Drew and I have grown so much this year during our counseling internship! I have learned and am continuing to learn so much about myself and my own story.

After our last day we took some time to stop and pray thanking God for helping us to make it through. We blogged about our anxieties before the semester started here, and it is awesome to look back and see his faithfulness.

To celebrate Drew and I will be spending a lot of time resting over Christmas break and celebrating another way the Lord has been faithful, by sending his Son Jesus as a baby to live and ultimately die to pay the penalty for our sins.

I am excited about the possibility of a white Christmas, baking Christmas cookies, playing games, reading books by our Christmas tree that is pictured above, seeing Christmas lights, and hanging out with friends!

"For to us a child is born to us a son is given and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."
Isaiah 9:6

-Linds

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Togetherness-ness!

So tonight Linds and I met with our small group of couples from our church, and it was awesome. I've been a part of a number of attempts to "make big church feel small" in the past, and with more or less consistency, it just hasn't worked. I am a big goofy guy. I am loud. I like to play and laugh hard. As such, I often feel the need to monitor or censor myself in public groups because, if I am not careful, I can often wind up being "that guy." "That guy" who always speaks up, always has the joke, always has an answer, always prays, always entertains, etc. I don't want to be that guy; it isn't fun and he doesn't have many friends, he's too different to really fit well. But tonight's group was different. We've been meeting with just a few couples for about a year now, and we've just started to expand with a few more joining us. I can't really put my finger on it, but it just works. I realized as we drove away tonight that I didn't have even one thought about questioning my actions with this group: I haven't left a group feeling that way in ages. I was comfortable, and that sometimes feels like a very rare thing. I may still be the tallest penguin in the group, but it's nice to have people to huddle with

-Drew

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Real Life Fiction


Ok, I'll admit it: I'm reading the Twilight series. I like to justify my actions by attributing them to a commitment to staying up to date with teenage interests, or simple investment in the rising contemporary culture, but while these thoughts are true, the fact of the matter is that once you get past all the "smoldering," the story is actually pretty fun. I started the first book as a distraction from all the heavy school reading I had to do, and now I'm on the third, Eclipse. I love reading because if you've resisted having your imagination dulled by the dullness of the remaining strands of modernity and the absurdness of the currently reigning postmodernity, then you can quietly leave your own world for a while and enter into the life of the story. When these stories work as escapes for me from the rigors of work or school it can often be hard for me to come back to real life once again. However, this has been becoming less and less the case with the books I read lately.
A few months ago, after a year or so of hearing people croon on and on about the movie Avatar and the overwhelming beauty of Pandora, Linds and I broke down and watched it. It was very entertaining, and the world the movie created was fun, but as I watched I was reminded of a quote from ol' Clive Staples Lewis that said something like "If we ever saw how glorious we really are as creations of God, we would be tempted to bow down and worship humanity" (can anyone help me with a reference here?). While it is good and right to get caught up in our imaginations in the colors of Pandora, the intensity in Forks, WA, the clarity and passion of Middle Earth, all those adventures from a long time ago in that galaxy far, far away, our enjoyment of each of these worlds should point us back with wondrous eyes to the people we are and glory of the creation around us.
It would certainly be more exciting if Linds were a vampire/werewolf, if we were being watched by the Volturi, and pursued who knows what else, but the excitements of that life and the intensity of that relationship have been helping me to open my eyes more to the adventures of my own life and the intricate passions I share with Lindsey. As Tolkien once said, "A good story is just the truth writ large," and as I read more stories I am finding myself delighting more and more in the truth of the story God has set ME in.
The woods over my back deck have no vampires in them, and I don't pop-corn into a mammoth wolf when I get mad, but even the bark of the trees is beautiful enough to spark entire worlds in the mind of the careful observer, and the passion I feel for my bride could inspire epic sagas that could even do naught but shadow the truth they strive to reflect.
I do love fiction, but fiction inspires an even deeper love for the True story that God has set me in - not to mention the characters that go with it!

"If you want people to hear the truth, tell them. If you want them to know the truth, tell them a story." - Eudora Welty

- Drew


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Zechariah


I've been spending a lot of time reading in Luke lately; I've been camped out in chapter one for a while now. This has not been out of any kind of intense super-study or anything like that, it's just that it's a pretty fascinating piece of Jesus' story. I have found myself fascinated with his aunt and uncle, Zechariah and Elizabeth, John the Baptists' parents.

I started in verse 57 today, with the birth and naming of of John. It is amazing to see how committed they both are at this point to trusting the angelic news that Zechariah originally doubted! Because Zechariah can't speak yet, the naming of the child falls on Elizabeth, and she stubbornly sticks to "John," just as Gabriel instructed. Finally bearing a child after so many years of barrenness must have been one of the most powerful signs of God's movement that either of them could have imagined. However, as their reactions demonstrate in the story that unfolds, their primary joy was in what these signs pointed to: the fact that God was coming! If their son was set aside to prepare the way, then the promised Messiah was on the verge of arrival! God's immediate faithfulness in their pregnancy, as mind blowing as it was, was but a sign of the imminent covenant fulfillment promised from the very beginning.

For Elizabeth, her first words to Mary when she visits in 1:39-56 are exclamations of joy at the one Mary carries, delighting in her own pregnancy in the way it reflects the glory of Mary's! For Zechariah, the moment that he regains his speech, he launches into a prophetic psalm about not who his son is (that takes a very minor role), but about who his son will be announcing! Incredible! What hope this sparked for them as they saw not only God's faithfulness in their own lives, but his faithfulness in all of his creation's life. All this is beautifully illustrated in the culmination of his psalm:

And you, child [John], will be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord [Jesus] to prepare his ways,
to give knowledge of Salvation to his people
in the forgiveness of their sins,
because of the tender mercy of our God,
whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.
- Luke 1:76-79

Like Zechariah and Elizabeth, as we delight in the gifts that God gives us, we should also delight in these blessings as signs of his eternal faithfulness in working his story of redemption in all of creation!


-Drew

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Quote

Some creative cookie decorating at our house!


Creativity is... seeing something that doesn't exist already. You need to find out how you can bring it into being and that way be a playmate with God.

-Michele Shea

I heard this quote tonight at the Christmas women's gathering at my church. It was a wonderful time of fellowship and a time to enjoy the arts. There was some art displayed, a sweet lady (who happens to be an artist) gave some thoughts on using our creativity for the glory of the Lord, and then we all had the privilege of listening to "Vocal Spectrum" an AMAZING acapella quartet! You should check them out!

I absolutely LOVE the quote at the top! What beautiful imagery of being a playmate with God. Creating something beautiful and bearing the image of the ULTIMATE CREATOR! It is only through his grace that we have the ability to use the gifts that he has blessed us with and work with him to bring beauty into the world around us! I love it! The speaker tonight encouraged us to use our creative gifts in whatever capacity that that might mean for us.

It causes me to dream of all the creative things that I love. Singing, setting a beautiful table and serving a meal to loved ones, scrap-booking, singing (I really love this one), creating centerpieces, taking old furniture and making it into something beautiful, keeping my house clean so that it is a warm place to relax, writing notes to friends, and so many more!

The next creative thing that I am looking forward to is decorating for Christmas at my house, and decorating for the Christmas Banquet for the Seminary this Friday! I am helping with centerpieces and designing the programs!

What do you love to do? How do you use your creativity to bring beauty to your space, your relationships, and the world around you?

P.S. Want to watch something really creative? Check this out!

-Lindsey