Thursday, June 23, 2016

Thursday Thinking - Brené Brown on Blame

CLICK HERE to view a fun animation of an excerpt from a Brené Brown talk on the subject of blame. For a link for the actual talk this was taken from, CLICK HERE. Dr. Brené Brown tackles the myth that vulnerability is a weakness. Instead, she argues, it is the clearest path to courage and meaningful connection, and has the power to transform the way we engage and educate.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Wednesday Words - The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

"The Summer Day" by Mary Oliver, from New and Selected Poems: Volume 1,
© Copyright 1992 by Mary Oliver.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Tuesday Tome - Renovation of the Heart
Once again, I'm rereading this helpful book by Dallas Willard with two different guys from church. Renovation of the Heart is a treasure of wisdom about the human condition, the hope of the gospel, grace empowered transformation, and guidance toward spiritual formation. Willard was a master teacher and faithful Jesus apprentice. I'm thankful that he invested the time and effort to write and communicate his profound and practical insights. He's been one of the most influential Christian teachers of my life.

Renovation of the Heart
by Dallas Willard

From the publisher's description...
Only by God’s grace can we be transformed internally. Renovation of the Heart lays a biblical foundation for understanding what best-selling author Dallas Willard calls the “transformation of the spirit”―a divine process that “brings every element in our being, working from inside out, into harmony with the will of God.”

This fresh approach to spiritual growth explains the biblical reasons why Christians need to undergo change in six aspects of life: thought, feeling, will, body, social context, and soul. Willard also outlines a general pattern of transformation in each area, not as a sterile formula but as a practical process that you can follow without the guilt or perfectionism so many Christians wrestle with.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Sunday Supplication - Loving You and Others

O God, you have called us to love you with heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Help us to remember, as Jesus said, that everything you’ve commanded us to do is summed up in loving you and loving others. Give us the grace and hearts we need to be people who are truly able to love.

You know our weaknesses and you understand our limitations. Thank you for the forgiveness, hope, and redemption you give.  In the same way, help us to forgive, to encourage, and to bless others. You are gracious and merciful to us, and we ask you to make us gracious and merciful to others.

Thank you, O God, that we can come to you with our requests and needs. Thank you that you can be found, that your door is open, and that you are generous. Grant us sensitivity toward the needs of others around us. Help us to be available, approachable, and generous.

Through Christ, we pray. Amen.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Friday Favorites - Horseshoe Lake

Enjoying a couple beautiful days here fishing with friends.
Thanks to Terry Madsen, Nick Madsen, and Jeff Collins for a terrific time!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Thursday Thinking - Reasons to Walk

From Health Essentials - Cleveland Clinic...

People who walk regularly swear by the health and psychological benefits of their daily jaunt. Here are five reasons why they’re right.

1. Walking reduces stress, cheers you up and increases self-esteem

2. You can lose weight by walking just 30 minutes a day

3. Regular walking lowers blood pressure, improves sleep 

and energizes you

4. Walks can be easier and more fun with a pedometer and a pal

5. People experience a major dip in snack cravings during 

and after a 15-minute walk


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Wednesday Words - Holding Out Both Hands

I like to watch an old man cutting a sandwich in half,
maybe an ordinary cold roast beef on whole wheat bread,
no pickles or onion, keeping his shaky hands steady
by placing his forearms firm on the edge of the table
and using both hands, the left to hold the sandwich in place,
and the right to cut it surely, corner to corner,
observing his progress through glasses that moments before
he wiped with his napkin, and then to see him lift half
onto the extra plate that he had asked the server to bring,
and then to wait, offering the plate to his wife
while she slowly unrolls her napkin and places her spoon,
her knife and her fork in their proper places,
then smoothes the starched white napkin over her knees
and meets his eyes and holds out both old hands to him.

"Splitting an Order" by Ted Kooser, from Splitting an Order (Copper Canyon Press) © Copyright 2014 by Ted Kooser, and from Valentines, © University of Nebraska Press, 2008.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Tuesday Tome - Matthew for Everyone

I enjoying a slow and thorough reading through the Gospel of Matthew with Tom Wright's Matthew for Everyone.

Here is an excerpt from today's reading commenting on Matthew 6:25-34...

Jesus had a strong, lively sense of the goodness of his Father, the creator of the world. His whole spirituality is many a mile from those teachers who insisted that the present world was a place of shadows, gloom and vanity, and the true philosophy consisted in escaping it and concentrating on things of the mind. His teaching grew out of his own experience. When he told his followers not to worry about tomorrow, we must assume he led them by example. He wasn't always looking ahead anxiously, making the present moment count only because of what might come next. No: he seems to have had the skill of living totally in the present, giving attention totally to the present task, celebrating the goodness of God here and now. If that's not a recipe for happiness, I don't know what is.

Matthew for Everyoneby N. T. Wright

Publisher's Description...
Tom Wright's eye-opening comments on the Gospel of Matthew and what it might mean for us are combined, passage-by-passage, with his fresh translation of the Bible text. Making use of his true scholar's understanding, yet writing in an approachable and anecdotal style, Wright captures the urgency and excitement of Matthew's Gospel in a way few writers have.

Tom Wright has undertaken a tremendous task: to provide guides to all the books of the New Testament, and to include in them his own translation of the entire text. Each short passage is followed by a highly readable discussion with background information, useful explanations and suggestions, and thoughts as to how the text can be relevant to our lives today. A glossary is included at the back of the book. The series is suitable for group study, personal study, or daily devotions.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Sunday Supplication - Every Good Thing

O God, we acknowledge that every good thing comes from you. Fill us with good thoughts and a love for the things that are right and good. Lead us and strengthen us to do those good things you have in mind for us to do.

O God, each of us has our own struggle to be obedient to you. Help us all to remember that everyone around us has similar struggles. When others sin against us, make us as charitable toward them as you are to us. Help us all to find our way back to you. When any one of us is sinned against, give us understanding and forgiving hearts. Make us willing to forgive because you have forgiven us.

When we become downcast, Father God, strengthen our hearts to hope in you. Give us faith to trust in you and to praise you all our days. Protect us from discouragement, and encourage us by your word, your people, your promises, and all that is beautiful and true.

Through Christ, we pray. Amen.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Friday Favorites - Minnesota Birds

Here is a fun page the Department of Natural Resources has posted to help you identify some common Minnesota Birds and learn their songs. You will enjoy sharing this page with some of the kids in your life. Go to the site and click on any bird in the picture to hear the song.