Friday, August 21, 2009

Lessons from Riding the Roller Coaster

More than just keeping your arms and legs inside the car. . . we are called to lean forward and enjoy the ride.

Carol and I went to Kings Island on it's opening weekend. It was Memorial Day weekend 1972. It was probably the last time Carol rode a roller coaster with me, at least willingly. She doesn't like roller coasters but I do, or at least I used to.

It's been a long time since we've been to an amusement park let alone ride a roller coaster, but one of the things I remember them saying was "keep your arms and legs inside the car at all times." That's before they strapped you into your seats with saftey harnesses that make it nearly impossible for you to breath.

I used to think that was the way we should live life, surrended to the one who orders our steps with all of it's ups and downs, and twists and turns, but I'm afriad that is a bit fatalistic. I think instead we should learn to live life leaning forward, enjoying and anticpating whatever comes our way knowing that God can be trusted, after all the cross stands as a constant reminder that we have nothing to fear.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Last weekend I was overwhelmed with the faithfulness of God. It hit me while I was listening to an old album, yes an album. You know those big round plastic things that you play on BOTH sides. Any way the album was Mirror by Evie Tornquist. It’s funny isn’t it how music just like smells can take you back, almost instantly to a very specific place and time in your past. For me, listening to the album, took me back to Allegany, New York. That was the place of our very first ministry. We were only 23 and fresh out of college. Allegany was a really small town, so we used to go to Buffalo almost every week on our day off just to get our big town fix. One time on our “day off” we went to a Christian book store in Buffalo and bought this album. It was one of our favorites. We listened to it until we almost sick of it.

Listening to it again brought back tons of emotion, especially listening to one song. It was the song Jesus Was There All The Time. What overwhelmed me was to think how that same Jesus who was with us 34 years ago in that little town of Allegany New York, has been with us all the time and is still with us today, and will be with us in the future. It reminds me of the verse in Psalm 139 where the Psalmist says, 5 You hem me in—behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.

Though such knowledge is “too wonderful for me” to understand it does not change or alter the truth one bit. He is faithful and will forever be faithful, faithful to be present and at faithful to be at work both in and around me.


By Joann Albert and Ron Harris

A lifetime ago a young girl alone

Stood quietly thinking of fried she had known,

I know what she felt like, I know of the cause,

The girl I speak of is who I was.

Unable to face what life seemed to be,

There seemed to be nothing important to me,

Nothing to look for and nothing to find,

No one close to ease my mind.

But Jesus was there all the time,

Waiting to open the door.

Forgiveness has always been mine,

A new life and, oh, so much more.

From somewhere I felt what I couldn’t see,

His presence was slowly enveloping me,

Filling me, healing me, making me new,

I felt His message coming through.

That Jesus was there all the time,

Waiting to open the door.

Forgiveness has always been mine.

A new life and, oh, so much more.

And now I can sing with pride in my son,

I’m singing of things that were there all along.

I’m feeling the strength that was give to me,

For Jesus was there all the time.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Hey, Can You Do That?

Well, I sure hope so. At least we are giving it a try. Last week at journey I began team teaching with Andy Stanley. Yes you read it right, Andy Stanley. He's not actually there live, but he is there on video. I try to introduce the message with a few personal comments and then Andy comes up (actually we just turn on the video) and teaches for about 3o minutes. After that I try to wrap it up in with some sort of application.

The first week went pretty good so I am looking forward to doing it again this week. It's a series called "The Best Question Ever: Learning to Foolproof Your Life" It's based on the book and DVD teaching of Andy Stanley by the same name.

The first week we looked at "the Best Question Ever". It's not, "Is it moral?" "Is it legal?", or "Is it right?", but rather, "Is it wise?" Is it wise based on my past, my current circumstances and my future hopes and dreams? That seems to be what the apostle Paul was saying when he wrote to the Ephesians, "Be very careful, then, how you live not as unwise but as wise, as making the most of every opportunity because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.”

This week we are going look at Proverbs 1 and notice three kinds of fools, the simple (naive), the foolish and the mocker. Hopefully we'll discover what kind of fool we are and how we can move from either the seat of the naive, the foolish or the mocker, into the seat of wisdom.