Sunday, April 23, 2017

Sunday Supplication - Good News to All People

O Lord, help us to answer the call of our Savior Jesus Christ. Help us to seriously and readily seek your will for our lives. Help us, by our words and actions, to proclaim the Good News of Jesus to all people. Help us, and all people in the world, to recognize the salvation he brings.

Thank you for the forgiveness and renewal you have given to us through Christ Jesus.  Help us to extend forgiveness to each other. And help us grow into a redemptive and healing community. Help us to have a saving and healing impact on the world around us.

O God, life in this world is more than we can face on our own. Help us to navigate our way through the many challenges and conflicts. Help us to live with integrity and care toward others in authentic Christian fellowship. Help our Valley community to be an instrument of your grace, your truth, and your peace. Make us a blessing to the world around us.

Through Christ, we pray. Amen.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Friday Favorites - Tawakal

I recently had a meal at Tawakal restaurant in Burnsville to get a taste of what Somali food is like. I really enjoyed the beef kay kay. Check it out, enjoy the food, and maybe even meet some of your Somali neighbors.

Tawakal Restaurant serves Burnsville with East African Fare
from the Burnsville Patch 

Large portions and tasty food are two of the features of Tawakal Restaurant in Burnsville that make the two owners proud.

Yussuf and Ifrah Shafie are the brother and sister owners of Tawakal Restaurant, located near Heart of the City at 12609 Nicollet Avenue. Ifrah came up with the name for the restaurant, which means "depending on" or "assurance," Yussuf explained in an email to Patch.

Although they serve mostly Somali food at the restaurant, they serve Ethiopian and Kenyan food as well.


Thursday, April 20, 2017

Thursday Thinking - Eastertide

Published on Apr 11, 2017
"Death and Resurrection," portraying the night before and the morning of the resurrection of Jesus, marks the beginning of the season of Eastertide. The scriptures are drawn from Matthew 27-28, John 19, and 1 Corinthians 15. It was filmed by FULLER studio at Paymaster Landing in Imperial County, California. For FULLER studio: Lauralee Farrer, director; Ron Allchin, producer; Nate Harrison, director of photography;

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Wednesday Words - Prairie Spring

Evening and the flat land,
Rich and sombre and always silent;
The miles of fresh-plowed soil,
Heavy and black, full of strength and harshness;
The growing wheat, the growing weeds,
The toiling horses, the tired men;
The long empty roads,
Sullen fires of sunset, fading,
The eternal, unresponsive sky.
Against all this, Youth,
Flaming like the wild roses,
Singing like the larks over the plowed fields,
Flashing like a star out of the twilight;
Youth with its insupportable sweetness,
Its fierce necessity,
Its sharp desire,
Singing and singing,
Out of the lips of silence,
Out of the earthy dusk.

"Prairie Spring" by Willa Cather from Stories, Poems, and Other Writings. © Library of America, 1992.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Tuesday Tome - Leap Over a Wall

Having just finished reading Eugene Peterson's Answering God during our morning coffee times, Cheri and I will now be turning to another of Peterson's books, Leap Over a Wall. We're looking forward to more goodness from one of our favorite pastoral authors.

Publisher's Description...
Leap Over a Wall is Eugene H. Peterson’s vibrant, insightful, and heartfelt exploration of one of the Bible’s most controversial figures: King David. Peterson beautifully elucidates the Old Testament’s rich depictions of David's failures and victories, recapturing their excitement and immediacy to reveal David himself as a crucially human example of how we relate to God. Leap Over a Wall is a unique opportunity to reconnect with David, a man simultaneously admirable, soulful, and dark, and one of the most complex and vital characters of the greatest story ever written.

Publisher's Weekly says...
Toward the end of this book, Peterson, author of the immensely popular translation of the New Testament, The Message, observes that "the Christian life isn't a romantic idyll." Rather, he says, the Christian life is fraught with pain, spattered with grief and paradox and, in the end, lit by hope. Out of a deep awareness of these truths, Peterson engages in an examination of the life of David to illuminate the ways in which the divine is often hidden in the ordinary. Exploring a number of scriptural passages about the life of David, Peterson shows the ways in which David's life, though fraught with struggles and shortcomings, was one filled with exuberance and animated by God's deliberate power. The author brings the Old Testament world revealingly close to our own century, and he makes vivid the notion that God's purposes are worked out in the ordinariness of specific human lives.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Sunday Supplication - His Glorious Resurrection

O God, you gave your only-begotten Son to the death of the cross for our redemption. And by his glorious resurrection you delivered us from the power of our enemy. We pray that you would help us die to sin so that we might live eternally with him in the joy of his resurrection. By your mighty resurrection power, deliver us from evil.

We confess our sins and weaknesses, Lord. We repent of the ways we have disobeyed and turned from you. Forgive us and help us to turn away from wrong.  Transform us and give us the faith to press toward life, healing, restoration, holiness, and good deeds. 

You are so gracious to us, and we ask you to make us able and quick to be gracious toward others.

God of Salvation, we believe that Jesus, your son, is the way, the truth, and the life. Help us to know him and to follow him closely that we might walk in your truth and grace.

It’s in his name we pray. Amen.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Thursday Thinking - Saying the Right Thing

Thank you to Becky Watczak for sharing this very helpful article with great insights for determining how to say the right thing to the right person during difficult and stressful situations. The key principle is to "Comfort in," and to "dump out." Very much worth your time.  CLICK HERE TO READ (5 minutes)

How Not to Say the Wrong Thing 
April 07, 2013 | Susan Silk and Barry Goldman | Los Angeles Times
It works in all kinds of crises -- medical, legal, even existential.
It's the 'Ring Theory' of kvetching. The first rule is comfort in, dump out.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Wednesday Words - Bicycle Spring

Windy, sunny, and Sunday,
the afternoon of your father's promise,
you will learn to ride your bike:

your father breathing hard
pushes, runs at your side,
one hand on the handlebars,
the other firm on the seat,

launching you like a glider
to soar long seconds
before wobbling to crash
in the soft green field

until you know how to ride
suddenly except for the brakes
and your father suddenly
is a speck waving way behind.

as you pedal toward strange sights
in blocks where he
has forbidden you to walk.

"Bicycle Spring" by Kevin FitzPatrick, from Down on the Corner
© Midwest Villages and Voices.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Tuesday Tome - Vance Havner: Peace Like a River

Yesterday, a friend gave me this little, out-of-print book of folksy meditations by Vance Havner. I will enjoy reading it. Havner's style is a strong dose of old gospel preacher with a good measure of winsome humorist thrown in. Thanks, Jerry!

Publisher's description...
This third collection of meditations, after the pattern of By the Still Waters and Rest Awhile, makes no claim to be profound. Surely in these days we must all be “fed up” with efforts at profundity. A miserable generation, buried under the ruins of its Tower of Babel needs simple truth like sick bodies need old-fashioned air and rest and sunshine. Like David in the cave of Adullam, men long for a drink of water from the well at Bethlehem. This little volume seeks to offer a cooling drink to parched souls in a dry land where no water is. It is offered in the name of Him who invited all to drink of Living Waters never to thirst again. “As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.” There is good news from heaven: it is a day of good tidings from above and we would not hold our peace