Sunday, June 25, 2017

Sunday Supplication - Strengthen Our Hearts

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.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Thursday Thinking - Vacation Tips

https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-to-get-the-most-out-of-every-vacation

How to Get the Most Out of Every Vacation
by Catherine Jessen • The Muse

When it comes to taking time off of work , what’s worse than saving up all of your precious vacation days just to take a trip that’s, well, awful? Probably nothing.

Although it’s almost impossible to avoid pre-trip stress, that doesn’t mean the entire thing has to go to waste. In the infographic below, experts weigh in on what makes for the best vacations and what you can do to prolong that post-vacation happiness.

KEEP READING

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Wednesday Words - Fishing

To go fishing is the chance to wash one’s soul with pure air,
with the rush of the brook,
or with the shimmer of the sun
on the blue water.

It brings meekness and inspiration
from the decency of nature,
charity toward tackle-makers,
patience toward fish,
a mockery of profits and egos,
a quieting of hate,
and a rejoicing that you do not
have to decide a darned thing
until next week.

And it is a discipline in the equality of  men –
For all men are equal before fish.

“Fishing” by President Herbert Hoover.

COME FISHING WITH ME ON SATURDAY - CLICK HERE

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Tuesday Tome - Tekiela Field Guides

These field guides by Stan Tekiela have been super helpful and fun for me in recent years. They are simple and focused on the Minnesota region, so it's easier to find what I'm looking for. The latest addition to my set is the Minnesota tree guide. Now that I live in Burnsville among hundreds of trees, I'm trying to get a better idea of just what kind of trees they are. I use all three of these guides every week. There are two or three other Minnesota guides by Tekiela that I have yet to add to my collection. For now, birds, trees, and flowers are MORE than enough to keep me busy.

WILDFLOWERS OF MINNESOTA
by Stan Tekiela

You've seen Minnesota's beautiful wildflowers. Now learn to identify them. This is your field guide to 200 of Minnesota's wildflowers. Full-page photographs and an easy-to-read format present the information that's critical to accurate identification. And the species are organized by color, so when you see a purple flower, simply turn to the purple section of the book. Wildflower identification has never been easier!


BIRDS OF MINNESOTA
by Stan Tekiela

Make bird watching in Minnesota even more enjoyable! With this field guide, bird identification is simple and informative. There's no need to look through dozens of photos of birds that don't live in Minnesota. This book features 111 species of Minnesota birds, organized by color for ease of use. Do you see a yellow bird and don't know what it is? Go to the yellow section to find out. Fact-filled information, a compare feature, range maps and detailed photographs help to ensure that you positively identify the birds that you see.


TREES OF MINNESOTA
by Stan Tekiela

Trees are all around, but how much do you know about them? With this handy field guide, you can make tree identification simple, informative and productive. Learn about 93 Minnesota trees, organized in the book by leaf type and attachment. Fact-filled information contains the information you want to know, while full-page photos provide the visual detail needed for accurate identification. Trees are fascinating and wonderful, and this is the perfect introduction to them.


Naturalist, wildlife photographer and writer Stan Tekiela is the originator of the popular state-specific field guides such as Mammals of Minnesota Field Guide. For over two decades, Stan has authored more than 100 field guides, nature appreciation books and wildlife audio CDs for nearly every state in the nation, presenting many species of birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians, trees, wildflowers and cacti. Holding a Bachelor of Science degree in Natural History from the University of Minnesota and as an active professional naturalist for more than 20 years, Stan studies and photographs wildlife throughout the United States and has received various national and regional awards for his books and photographs.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Sunday Supplication - Eyes to See

O God, you are a faithful provider and you give order and purpose to our lives. We ask you to help us put aside all the things that are hurtful. Help us to seek the things that are true and uplifting and healing and beautiful.

Father, we thank you for the forgiveness of sins, and help us, in gratitude to you, to forgive those who sin against us. We recognize that our hearts are so prone to pride and unforgiveness. It is hard for us to confess our sins, even to you. Help us to see clearly how we so often offend you. And help each of us to have the humility to recognize our need for the forgiveness you give.

O God, give us eyes to see the good things you have prepared in advance for us to do. Give us hearts that delight in your will, feet that walk in your ways, and spirits that longs to honor you in all we do. Help us to wake up and get honest about any disobedience, apathy, or distractions that are keeping us from faithfulness to you.

Through Christ, we pray. Amen.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

BLOG BREAK

I will be taking a break from Altered Faces while on vacation.
The blog will return Sunday, June 18.


Sunday, May 28, 2017

Sunday Supplication - The Light and Presence

O God, on this Pentecost Sunday, we thank you for the light and presence of your Holy Spirit. We ask that by the power and grace of your Holy Spirit you would lead us, teach us, and transform us so that we might delight in your Word, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your name.

We confess our sin and ask you to forgive us.  And beyond forgiveness, we ask that you would change us and strengthen us that we might overcome temptation and escape the sins that entangle and diminish us. We also ask for the grace and generosity to forgive others, even as you have forgiven us.

Help us, O God, to love you with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. And help us to love our neighbors  as ourselves. Help us to follow Christ's selfless example, watching for the needs of others, and doing what we can to meet those needs. Help us to use every good gift you have given us to bless and encourage others.

Through Christ, we pray. Amen.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Friday Favorites - Fishing

Where do you fish in Dakota County? Let me know.
I'd appreciate your suggestions.
I'm hoping to get out on Lake Marion in the next week or two.




Thursday, May 25, 2017

Thursday Thinking - Rejoicing through Messianic Woes


To follow Christ is to share in his mission and the woes that come with living out and bringing the Kingdom into the here and now. Thanks to Richard Beck for posting this...

SUFFERING TO GIVE BIRTH TO A NEW WORLD
by Richard Beck  |  Experimental Theology Blog, May 23, 2017

Last summer our bible class at church was working through the book of Colossians.| In one of the classes I was teaching we came to this puzzling text:
Colossians 1.24
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church.
What does Paul mean when he says that he is "filling up what is lacking" in Christ's afflictions? We tend to assume that Jesus' sacrifice on the cross was sufficient, lacking in nothing.

So what's Paul talking about?

CLICK HERE TO KEEP READING (5 MINUTES)

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Wednesday Words - The Peace of Wild Things


When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

"The Peace of Wild Things" by Wendell Berry, from The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry, © Copyright 1998.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Tuesday Tome - Leap Over a Wall

Cheri and I are enjoying Eugene Peterson's, Leap Over a Wall during our morning coffee time. What follows is an excerpt from a section about friendship based on the covenant friendship shared by David and Jonathan. Good insights for life!

“Each of us has contact with hundreds of people who never look beyond our surface appearance. We have dealings with hundreds of people who the moment they set their eyes on us begin calculating what use we can be to them, what they can get out of us. We meet hundreds of people who take one look at us, make a snap judgment, and then slot us into a category so that they won’t have to deal with us as persons. They treat us as something less than we are; and if we’re in constant association with them, we become less. And then someone enters our life who isn’t looking for someone to use, is leisurely enough to find out what’s really going on in us, is secure enough not to exploit our weaknesses or attack our strengths, recognizes our inner life and understands the difficulty of living out our inner convictions, confirms what’s deepest within us. A friend.”

LEAP OVER A WALL
by Eugene Peterson

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.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Monday Music - Sam Amidon

Two Fridays ago, my wife and I enjoyed a terrific concert by the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. One of the features of the concert was the music of Sam Amidon. Raised in Vermont by folk-musician parents, Amidon sings and plays fiddle, banjo, and guitar. On several pieces he was accompanied by Pekka Kuusisto who added some beautiful texture and ambient sounds with an electric fiddle and a variety of effects pedals. There was also a string orchestration for one of the Amidon songs. All in all it was a creative blending of classical and folk music. Here is a video of Sam Amidon performing "Your Lone Journey" by Doc Watson's wife Rosa Lee Watson.

https://youtu.be/ZvhrZibqG-Q
CLICK HERE OR ON THE IMAGE TO LISTEN

God’s given us years of happiness here
Now we must part
And as the angels come and call for you
The pangs of grief tug at my heart

   Oh my darling my darling
   My heart breaks as you take
   Your lone journey

Oh the days will be empty the nights so long
Without you my love
And as God calls for you I’m left alone
But we will meet in heaven above

Fond memories I’ll keep of the happy days
That on earth we trod
And when I come we will walk hand in hand
As one in heaven in the family of God

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Sunday Supplication - To Walk in His Ways

Almighty God, we give you thanks for the everlasting life we find in you. Help us to recognize your son Jesus Christ to be the way, the truth, and the life. Make us able to follow his steps and to walk in his ways to the glory of your name.

Lead us away from temptation. Free us from selfishness and pride. Give us the honesty and humility to recognize our need for your grace and mercy. Forgive us our sins and make us ready to forgive others.

You are faithful to your promises, O God. Help us to remember your promises and cling to the hope we have in you. Surround us with Christian friends who can encourage us and push us toward righteousness. Help each of us to be a source of encouragement and prompting for one another.

Through Christ, we pray. Amen.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Friday Favorites - Two Plant Sales in Burnsville


 Tomorrow there will be two nice plant sales in Burnsville. Maybe I'll see you there.

SWEET SIOUX GARDEN CLUB
Plant sale by Sweet Sioux Garden Club, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Faith Covenant Church parking lot, 12921 Nicollet Ave., Burnsville. Features perennials from members’ gardens, perennials from South Cedar Greenhouse and combo kits from Wagner Greenhouse. Proceeds provide scholarships to horticulture students through the National Garden Clubs of MN. 

BURNSVILLE NATIVE PLANT SALE
The City hosts a Native Plant Market each spring as a way to encourage people to grow native plants in their yards. In addition to beautifying the community, native plants provide food for pollinators, help improve water quality, and require less care than traditional garden plants.

Native Plant Market
  • Native wildflowers, ferns, and grasses will be available for sale from multiple vendors. 
  • This is a farmers market style event and each vendor operates their own market stall and is paid separately. 
  • Attendees should arrive early for the best selection!  The event is held rain or shine. 
  • Only CASH and CHECKS are accepted for payment. 

What:       Native Plant Market
When: Saturday, May 20, 2017
9 a.m. to 12 p.m.               
Where: Parking lot across from City Hall
(100 Civic Center Parkway)
Who: Open to all (including non-residents)

Market area will be closed to the public prior to 9 a.m. start time. 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Thursday Thinking - Spiritual Formation Practices

http://www.missioalliance.org/4-essential-formation/
Four Essential Practices for Spiritual Formation
by Derek Vreeland • Mission Alliance Blog - May10, 2017

The Christian faith is the way of Jesus, the way of life and love, lived out by those who faithfully follow him. We do not just believe certain things about Jesus, but we practice certain things in the way of Jesus, which is why the Apostle Paul instructs the church in Philippi to do more than learn, receive, and listen. Paul writes, “What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:9 ESV).

As years have become decades in my journey of following Jesus, I have identified four practices, four essential practices, that have guided me in the way of life, this life following Jesus. These four practices open up the door to all the other practices of the faith. Practice these things and watch the way of life open to you.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE COMPLETE ARTICLE (5 minutes)

The four essential practices the author explains are:
     1. Awareness
     2. Learning
     3. Reflecting
     4. Action

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Wednesday Words - Gardener's Blessing


May God grant thee
Enough sun to warm the earth,
Enough rain to make things grow,
A good strong back,
A wide brimmed hat,
And a good sharp goose-neck hoe,
Strength for a day of toil
And some quiet evening hours,
With a sip of tea
And a gentle breeze,
And may all your weeds be wildflowers.

“Gardener’s Blessing” by Ralph Emerson Purkhiser, 

© Copyright 2004 from GreenPrints Magazine: Summer 2004, Issue 58.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Tuesday Tome - Surprise the World

The guest speaker at our Valley Men's Lodge breakfast last Saturday mentioned this book. It's a gem and gives practical advice on positive ways Christians can engage with the people around them.

https://smile.amazon.com/Surprise-World-Habits-Highly-Missional/dp/1631465163/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1485789490&sr=1-1&keywords=surprise+the+world
Surprise the World
by Michael Frost

Christianity is a surprising religion. It has changed the world in remarkable ways throughout history simply through Christians living out their faith. More recently, we’ve become afraid of a habituated Christianity, thinking that routines will rob our faith of its vitality. The net effect is that we’ve replaced the habits that surprise the world with habits that mimic the world―and both we and the world suffer for it.

Integrating the five habits in the BELLS model―Bless others, Eat together, Listen to the Spirit, Learn Christ, and understand yourself as Sent by God into others’ lives―will help you spread the gospel organically, graciously, and surprisingly.

Michael Frost, a world-renowned expert on evangelism and discipleship, makes evangelism a lifestyle that is fulfilling, exciting, effective, and easy to live out!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Sunday Supplication - Following Wherever He Leads

O God, we thank you for your Son Jesus, our good shepherd. Help us to hear his voice, and know him as he calls us by name, and to follow him wherever he leads.

Lead us away from temptation. Free us from selfishness and pride. Give us the honesty and humility to recognize our need for your grace and mercy. Forgive us our sins and make us ready to forgive others.

O God, help us to press on and to strain forward that we might know you more and more. Help us to take hold of the maturity and purpose you have in mind for us.

Through Christ, we pray. Amen.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Friday Favorites - Open Door Pantry

The Open Door Pantry is one of my favorite local charitable organizations. They do great work and they are making a huge difference in the lives of many people in our area. Our church supports their programs and we host their mobile pantry for a few hours a couple of times each week.

It doesn't look like much when you see the Open Door bus on our parking lot with a few people around it, but it is! Over the last year, just on their days at our church, Open Door has served over 3,800 people and distributed over 75,000 pounds of food. Thank you, Open Door!

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT OPEN DOOR

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Thursday Thinking - Phones and Relationships

Came across this insightful article in The New York Times by Leslie Alderman. Good things to think about and some helpful suggestions for how to get back on track.
THE PHONES WE LOVE TOO MUCH
by Leslie Alderman | The New York Times, May 2, 2017

We have an intimate relationship with our phones. We sleep with them, eat with them and carry them in our pockets. We check them, on average, 47 times a day — 82 times if you’re between 18 and 24 years old, according to recent data.

And we love them for good reason: They tell the weather, the time of day and the steps we’ve taken. They find us dates (and sex), entertain us with music and connect us to friends and family. They answer our questions and quell feelings of loneliness and anxiety.

But phone love can go too far — so far that it can interfere with human love — old fashioned face-to-face intimacy with that living and breathing being you call your partner, spouse, lover or significant other.

READ THE COMPLETE ARTICLE (5 Minutes)

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Wednesday Words - Up Hill

Does the road wind up-hill all the way?
   Yes, to the very end.
Will the day’s journey take the whole long day?
   From morn to night, my friend.

But is there for the night a resting-place?
   A roof for when the slow dark hours begin.
May not the darkness hide it from my face?
   You cannot miss that inn.

Shall I meet other wayfarers at night?
   Those who have gone before.
Then must I knock, or call when just in sight?
   They will not keep you standing at that door.

Shall I find comfort, travel-sore and weak?
   Of labour you shall find the sum.
Will there be beds for me and all who seek?
   Yea, beds for all who come.

"Up Hill" by Christina Rossetti

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Tuesday Tome - For the High School Graduate

https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/0801013976/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
This is a practical, helpful, and readable gift for the Christian high school graduate in your life. I'm giving it to some of the kids from my church.

Make College Count: A Faithful Guide to Life & Learning
by Derek Melleby

Publisher's description...
There's more to college than classes, credits, and a nonstop social life. It's more than getting a degree to improve one's job prospects. College is a time where students develop into the adults they will be for the rest of their lives, a time to explore the big questions about life and human destiny, a time when they form their character and faith.

The perfect gift for high school graduation, Make College Count helps students make the most of their time in college. It encourages young people to ask important questions of themselves, such a Why are you going to college? What kind of person do you want to be? How do you want your life to influence others? With whom will you surround yourself? What do you believe? and more.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Sunday Supplication - Faith to Recognize You

O God, open the eyes of our heart. Give us the faith to recognize you and to join you in your redeeming and healing work in our world.

O God, we humbly recognize our need for forgiveness and restoration. In our weakness and selfishness, we often fail each other, fail ourselves, and fail you.  Thank you for the hope and power we have through Christ.  Raise us and transform us by the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead.

Forgive us our sins, and make us ready and able and quick to forgive others, even as you forgive us.

Help us, O God, to delight in your will, and to walk in your ways, to the glory of your name. Open our eyes to your presence and work in our lives. Give us the faith to see the possibilities and purposes you have for us at our work, in our homes, with our families, and with our neighbors, and in our church.

Through Christ, we pray. Amen.

Friday, May 05, 2017

Friday Favorites - What a Beautiful Day!

"My informal, unscientific poll finds 93.7 percent of all Minnesotans approve of sunny days with highs in the 60s and 70s. It’s amazing how popular the weatherman is on days like this. People who haven’t spoken to me in six months suddenly sing my praises. With all the 'feedback' we get for lousy weather days, I’ll take it."  –– MPR meteorologist Paul Huttner

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Thursday Thinking - Churches Partnering with Secular Community Groups

This article from Christianity Today's Pivot Blog has a number of really good things to think about...


8 Reasons Churches Should Partner with Secular Community Groups
by by Karl Vaters / Christianity Today Pivot Blog / March 2017
 
How can we reach our communities if they have no idea we love them? 
And how will they know we love them if we don’t work alongside them?
 
Our church used to partner exclusively with other Christian ministries. For everything from missions to community service. Before that, we would only partner with ministries in our denomination.

Today, while we still only partner with Christian groups for missions (can’t call it missions otherwise) up to half the groups we partner with for local community service are not Christian-based.

No, we haven’t gone soft on our faithfulness to the gospel. And we have standards for those we will and will not partner with. But in the last few years we’ve decided to step outside our previously normal routine and work with people and groups who don’t identify as faith-based. Most, maybe all of them, have Christians in key leadership positions. But that’s not why we work with them.

Here are 8 reasons why it’s important for us to work with secular community groups.
 

1. It Increases Our Sphere of Influence
2. It Can Impact Their Perception of Christians – And Jesus
3. It Bursts Our Church-World Bubble
4. It Shakes Up Our Comfort Zone
5. They'll Help Us Reach People We Can't Reach
6. It's Less Self-Serving
7. It Stretches Our Faith
8. It’s Humbling

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Wednesday Words - Sabbath Poem

Whatever is foreseen in joy
Must be lived out from day to day.
Vision held open in the dark
By our ten thousand days of work.
Harvest will fill the barn; for that
The hand must ache, the face must sweat.

And yet no leaf or grain is filled
By work of ours; the field is tilled
And left to grace. That we may reap,
Great work is done while we're asleep.

When we work well, a Sabbath mood
Rests on our day, and finds it good.

"1979, no. X (Sabbath Poems)" by Wendell Berry, from A Timbered Choir. © Counterpoint, 1998.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Tuesday Tome - A Timbered Choir

My wife and I love the stories and poems of Wendell Berry. Many is the time we have read aloud a favorite passage to each other. If you're interested in checking out his poetry, A Timbered Choir might be a good place to start. Tomorrow, I'll post a poem from this book.

From Library Journal--
Winner of the T.S. Eliot Award, Berry spends Sunday mornings in walking meditation in the forests and fields around his Port Royal, KY, farm. During these walks he writes, and he has brought many of these poems together in the present volume. Berry has long been an articulate and passionate defender of the environment, and his "Sabbath poems," spanning 20 years, bring the reader close to the earth, the fields and flowers, richness of the soil, and diversity of the seasons: "Too late for frost, too early for flies,/ the air carries only birdsong, the long/ breath of wind in leaves." The poet has a marvelous ear for interior rhyme: "Horse and cow,/ plow and hoe, grass to graze/ and hay to mow have brought me/ here, and taught me where I am." These poems are not uniformly pastoral; Berry reflects, too, on war, technology, and the economy in these pages, but always with a heartfelt devotion first and foremost for the earth. A contemplative treasure; highly recommended. --Judy Clarence, California State University Library.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Sunday Supplication - He Has Redeemed Us

Almighty and everlasting God, we give you thanks for the hope and reconciliation you have given us through Christ. Help us to live in the resurrection power of your Spirit. Make our lives a witness to the faith we profess.

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.

Thank you, O God, for sending your son into the world to save us. We worship Christ Jesus because he is worthy, for he has redeemed, by his blood, people from every tribe, tongue, kindred, and nation.

It’s in his saving name we pray. Amen

Friday, April 28, 2017

Friday Favorites - Detectorists

A new discovery suggested to me by a friend who lives in the UK. From BBC Television, Detectorists is a gentle, slow-paced, and quirky comedy from MacKenzie Crook. It's available on Amazon Prime.


Thursday, April 27, 2017

Thursday Thinking - Designing Sacred Space

Wow! This was really interesting. So many things to think about. Art, beauty, faith, witness, spirituality, human being, religion, mystery, form and function...

https://www.ted.com/talks/siamak_hariri_how_do_you_build_a_sacred_space?utm_source=newsletter_weekly_2017-04-22&utm_campaign=newsletter_weekly&utm_medium=email&utm_content=talk_of_the_week_image#t-1591
CLICK HERE OR ON IMAGE (12 Minutes)

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Wednesday Words - Today

If ever there were a spring day so perfect,
so uplifted by a warm intermittent breeze

that it made you want to throw
open all the windows in the house

and unlatch the door to the canary's cage,
indeed, rip the little door from its jamb,

a day when the cool brick paths
and the garden bursting with peonies

seemed so etched in sunlight
that you felt like taking

a hammer to the glass paperweight
on the living room end table,

releasing the inhabitants
from their snow-covered cottage

so they could walk out,
holding hands and squinting

into this larger dome of blue and white,
well, today is just that kind of day.

"Today" by Billy Collins from Aimless Love: New and Selected Poems, © Copyright 2013 by Billy Collins.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Tuesday Tome - Leap Over a Wall

Cheri and I started Eugene Peterson's, Leap Over a Wall last week. It's proving to be a very good follow-up to our most recent book, also by Peterson, Answering God. Reading books aloud with your spouse is fun. Give it a try!

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 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.