Wednesday, March 25, 2015

read the Easter story

Last year, in an effort to read all of the Gospel accounts of the Easter story in the week leading up to Easter, I created this reading schedule, beginning on the Monday after Palm Sunday and ending on Easter Sunday. I hope it is helpful to immerse yourself in The Story. Easter Sunday Morning is that much more amazing after taking the time to read each day. May you see it with fresh eyes--the most important Story in the history of the world (and that is not an exaggeration).
Easter Week Readings
Accounts of Jesus' Passion Week
Monday - Matthew 26:1-56
Tuesday - Mark 14:1-52
Wednesday - Luke 22:1-53
Thursday - portions of John 12-18:11
Accounts of Jesus' Death and Burial
Good Friday - Matthew 26:57-27:66 and Mark 14:53-15:47
Saturday - Luke 22:54-23:56 and John 18:12-19:42
Accounts of Jesus' Resurrection and Appearances
Easter Sunday
Matthew 28:1-20
Mark 16
Luke 24:1-53
John 20:1-21:25

Monday, March 9, 2015

Beyond Me

In bed Wednesday night. You know how it is: a sign of relief, we've made it--I've been looking forward to this since I woke up this morning. Then, a text from a foster case worker: there's a little girl sitting in an office. No family came forward to take her. Mom is out of the picture right now. Will you take her?

A picture of her sitting alone began to haunt us. It would have been so much easier just to cozy-up in bed and respond: not this time. But serving is usually not easy or convenient (or conducive to sleep, apparently), and so we couldn't say no. We got up to make a bed and scrounge up some pajamas.

Call it a reason to retreat
I got some dreams that are bigger than me
I might be outmatched, outsized, the underdog in the fight of my life
Is it so crazy to believe

Her hair was in a big puff on top of her head. Beautiful dark brown eyes and she said the cutest little "yes." A brief chat with the case worker, and then I'll never forget the way "Z's" face crumpled as she said goodbye to the only vaguely familiar face she knew at that moment in her life. I picked her up, held her close, rocked back & forth and spoke reassuring words. Singing her to sleep, I tried to remember all of the songs I knew with the name "Jesus" throughout so that I could pray His Name of Peace over her.

You gave me the stars put them out of my reach
Called me to waters a little too deep
Oh, I've never been so aware of my need
You keep on making me see
It's way beyond me
Yeah, it's out of my league
It's way beyond me

We were in a position to know. And, once we knew, we were compelled to step forward and care. I'm not superwoman. The days are long, the laundry is endless, the house is just plain dirty and Saturday night the frustration had built to the point of screaming-in-my-head (a 2 hour standoff to swallow one bite of chili will do that to you). But I feel convicted that I am to love & serve the least & the lost--and right now this is how we can do it in our little corner of the world.

Anything that I got the strength to do
In over my head keeps me counting on You
I'm leaving the sweet spot, sure shot
Trading it all for the plans You got
Is it so crazy to believe

How thankful I am for a situation in my life where I so desperately need Jesus! Managing for 24 hours on my own with a 3 year old, 2.5 year old, and 15 month old. Trying to communicate to JD why we are caring for "Z" and why he must be kind to her and share his toys. Figuring out how to show love to a precious little girl, who doesn't care to be touched and has a hard time expressing what she needs.
 You take me to the place where I know I need You
Straight to the depths that I can't handle on my own
And Lord I know, I know I need You
So take me to Your great unknown    ~"Beyond Me" Toby Mac

"Do something hard." I hear Jesus saying this to me. 
And so we say "yes" on a random Wednesday night at 10 p.m.

(A note: "Z's" journey is exponentially more difficult and heart-breaking than my own.....I do not intend to diminish her story in any way.....more to come...)
I heard this song quite a few times on the radio this weekend
and it resonates with me. (Plus, it's a fun dance song.)

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Fall Facedown

In Bible Study Fellowship we are studying the life of Moses, and recently I was struck by Moses and Aaron's (and others') response of falling facedown before a Holy GOD. There is no better position to take.

Worship & Awe
"Fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed the burnt offering and the fat portions on the alter. And when all the people saw it, they shouted for joy and fell facedown." Leviticus 9:24

Grief & Repentence
"All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, 'If only we had died in Egypt! . . .' . . . Then Moses and Aaron fell facedown in front of the whole Israelite assembly gathered there." Numbers 14:5

Seeking Direction in Opposition
"They [Korah, Dathan, Abiram and 250 community leaders] came as a group to oppose Moses and Aaron . . . When Moses heard this he fell facedown. Then he said to Korah and all his followers . . ." Numbers 16:4

"Now there was no water for the community to drink, and the people gathered in opposition to Moses and Aaron. . . . Moses and Aaron went from the assembly to the entrance to the Tent of Meeting and fell facedown, and the glory of the LORD appeared to them." Numbers 20: 2, 6

"But Moses and Aaron fell facedown and cried out, 'O God, God of the spirits of all mankind, will you be angry with the entire assembly when only one man sins?'" Numbers 16:22

". . . and the LORD said to Moses, 'Get away from this assembly so I can put an end to them at once.' And they fell facedown." Numbers 16:44-45

Involuntary Surrender
"Then the LORD opened Balaam's eyes, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road with his sword drawn. So he bowed low and fell facedown." Numbers 22:31