frameworks

•September 17, 2012 • 5 Comments

When someone asked me if I would review a book for them, I thought, “Why not?”  Little did I know that Frameworks would be such an interesting, quick-paced study.  Frameworks is one of the best resources that I’ve found to date. 

As someone who doesn’t always have a large chunk of time to devote to reading, I appreciate that Eric Larson wrote each chapter in a short, quick-reading, information-packed and straightforward style.  Also, the consistent way that he arranges each chapter helps to make Frameworks a great resource for comparing books of the New Testament (gospel vs. gospel, epistle vs. epistle, etc.).  In my capacity as one of several lay-leaders in my church, I could see Frameworks as a source around which to build a Bible Study or a preaching series, and as an extremely valuable tool to build my own head-knowledge of the New Testament.

My favorite part of this book is the everyday language that Eric Larson uses to provide context and history to each of the books of the New Testament.  As a person who has read a majority of the New Testament, it is very helpful to me to learn more of the history behind these books, as well as background about their authors.  In fact, they make me want to go back and read them again now that I have this information in my back pocket!

This book is a handy guide, an outstanding roadmap, and a barrel of possibilities. Eric’s joy in sharing what the New Testament has to offer, combined with his no-nonsense style make this a pleasure to read (and re-read!).

I very highly recommend this book!

Worth Repeating: On Religion and Politics

•September 14, 2012 • Comments Off on Worth Repeating: On Religion and Politics

We come to Communion not as Democrats, not as Republicans, or not even as Independents.  We come to Communion as followers of Jesus Christ.  Consider the very first followers of Jesus.  The twelve disciples demonstrated that political distinctions, however important they may be, diminish considerably when we are united in Christ.  Matthew was a tax collector in league with the Roman overlords of his day; whereas Simon the Zealot seemingly based his entire identity on Jewish nationalism and undying opposition to Rome.  If they could overcome their differences and enjoy Communion with Christ, how much more can we do the same today!

— David J. Pound (roughly paraphrased)

A friend (and fellow blogger), just posted this over at his blog, ericasp.com.  His comments continued on to say, “I believe that the more we Christians can embody this Communion in Christ, regardless of any ideological opposition, the more influence we can have in this world for good”.

I would submit that this is definately worth repeating.  Thank you for sharing your insights, Eric!

Closer to the Middle of Nowhere

•October 10, 2011 • Comments Off on Closer to the Middle of Nowhere

I love autumn.  It’s the one season that (convenience aside) makes me wish that I lived a little closer to the middle of nowhere.  Right now, we live on a .10 acre lot in a neighborhood, in a (small-ish) city.  There is never a time when there is no street noise, and even though our neighborhood is a fairly quiet one there is still more noise than there is closer to the middle of nowhere. 

 The longer I live “in town”, the more I notice that I miss the sights, the solitude and the smells of the middle of nowhere.  and I miss them regardless of the season (especially since each season is so very unique in the northern reaches of the great state of Ohio).  What specifically do I miss? 

  • “Night noises” (crickets, coyotes, frogs and the like) uninterrupted by the non-stop passing of cars on the nearby state road.
  • Creaky trees heavy laden with ice after a heavy-duty winter storm.
  • The wistles of trains, both on the track near our house and the one two miles away.
  • The decaying smell of leaves combined with mud, the dust of a bountiful soybean/corn harvest with a pinch of freshly-mowed grass (likely one of the last of the season).
  • The lonely hooting of a barn owl in the wee hours of the morning.
  • The crispness of a sub-zero winter morning with the smell of smoke the neighbors’ wood burning furnace wafting through the air.
  • The smell of mud and new grass in the spring.
  • Patchwork rainbows of clothes hanging out to dry.
  • The patchwork of foliage on the various species of trees, and the hundreds of shades of amber and brown fields, punctuated by the verdant green of the newly sprouted winter wheat.
  • The stark black-and-white-and-blue of sky, snow and trees during the winter.
  • The chamelion-like change from stark to yellow to a thousand shades of green that happens every spring.
  • The vees of geese making their way south.
  • The phenominal sunrises and sunsets that sometimes seem to last for hours.
  • The quiet and solitude.

To Joshua…

•August 9, 2011 • Comments Off on To Joshua…

My Dear Little Joshua –

I have to admit, I thought that parenting the second time around would be much easier than the first time through.  You had me going for the first week or so..,. always either eating or sleeping, but then the honeymoon came to an abrupt end.  It turns out that everything I thought I knew all became irrelavent with you.  You have proven at every turn that you are your own person, not at all a replica of your big brother. 

You’ve already taught me so much.  How to roll with the punches, how to trust my instincts and be confident in whichever choice I make when faced with a “What do I do?” situation, how to ask for and accept offers of help that I never in a million years would have otherwise.

As we travelled this first year together, you’ve shown a glimmer of the personality that I hope that you’ll keep.  That of a fun-loving, joyful, smiling individual.  In your first year, you’ve shown me that you are persisent.  You’ve also shown me that there is a great likelyhood that we’ll be making at least one or two trips to the ER/Urgent Care center in your lifetime because of your budding sense of adventure. 

You are one of the joys of my heart, and I love you more than mere words can say.  

Forever I am,

Yourl loving mom

Out of the Mouths of Babes

•June 22, 2011 • Comments Off on Out of the Mouths of Babes

As we were driving to grandma’s house this morning, I had the following exchange with my older boy:

“It’s a beautiful sunrise today, mommy”

“What makes it beautiful to you?”

{longish pause}

“I don’t know mom, it just is.”

Now, to add some context, this mornings sunrise was anything but spectacular.  The sky was so overcast that it merely got lighter outside without the benefit of a pink/orange/yellow/any-color sky.  That aside, sunrise happened at 5:53AM and my dear boy woke at 7:20.  He actually slept through the whole thing.

I’ve been digesting this conversation all morning long.  On one hand, he could be parroting something he hears me say if I see a pretty sunrise/sunset.  On the other hand, he reminds me that whether or not the sunrise is pleasing to our eyes, the prospect of having another day on this earth to work, play, plant trees and enjoy life is a beautiful thing.  It made me reconsider and ask, how do you see the sunrise?

Worth Repeating

•May 25, 2011 • Comments Off on Worth Repeating

“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself.”   ~Philippians 2:4

Response to Reflection

•May 9, 2011 • Comments Off on Response to Reflection

Each day in my inbox, I get a little devotional.  Sometimes they are great; sometimes, they are just okay.  Sometimes they get me thinking enough to want to add my own reflections to the mix.  The one that I received today (in its entirety below) is one of the third kind.  I totally get (and don’t disagree with) where the author was going with his thoughts, though I kind of read it a different way.  My response to his reflection comes more from the perspective of a leader. 

Excerpt from Joshua 3: 1-7

“When the soles of the feet of the priests who bear the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan flowing from above shall be cut off; they shall stand in a single heap.”

My mental image when I read this passage in isolation and as written above is one of the priests sitting on the banks of the Jordan with their feet resting in the water after having carried the ark for a very, VERY long time. 

What if the author was suggesting that sometimes, as leaders, we need to stop, strip off our socks, and sit with our feet soaking in the waters of the Jordan.  Or, speaking more symbolicly, maybe we need to stop, rest and soak our selves in the restorative presence of our Lord.  In His presence, word, and in fellowship with people who reflect Him in the same way that the moon reflects the sun.

Remember, these are just the thoughts of a 30-something mom.  I have no claim to any formal theological training nor to having received any communiqués directly from the Creator; so take the above for what it’s worth.  What follows is the “real thing” from someone who has the training and knowledge that I absolutely do not.

Reflection by Anthony B. Robinson
There’s an interesting thing about this story of Israel crossing the Jordan here in the Book of Joshua. God says, “You’ve got to get your feet wet.”

This is, of course, their second time to pass through the waters on their Exodus journey. The first time, entering into the wilderness, was at the Red Sea. This one exiting the wilderness, at the Jordan, is the second. And there’s a difference between the two.

At the Red Sea the people had only to wait until dry land appeared, and they could cross over. They didn’t have to do a blessed thing but wait for God to act. Here, on the other side of the wilderness, it’s different. The people have to put their feet in the water before God will act, before God will “cut off” the waters of the Jordan, so that the people are able to pass over to the new land and life.

At the Red Sea, God made the first move. God held back the waters. God does that sometimes. God takes the initiative, makes the first move, surprises us. But other times it’s different. Here at the Jordan, for instance, God asked the people to make the first move. They had to get their feet wet before God would hold back the waters.

Sometimes when we are waiting on God, I wonder if God is waiting on us? I wonder if God is waiting for us to get our feet wet? Possibly the key to a breakthrough is wet feet?   Maybe today you need to get your feet wet?

 
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