It’s the night before Thanksgiving. We have a big and fancy turkey dinner planned for tomorrow, so tonight we kept it easy and casual with a meal at my aunt and uncles’ house. We were doing what families do best at the holidays: hanging out and enjoying each other’s company. The evening had no agenda except to just be together. I was having a great time being surrounded by special moments with special people. Here are a few of those moments: our twelve-year-old having a great conversation with her grandma, our seven-year-old learning how to play Pac Man from her great uncle, and our nine-year-old showing off his latest Lego creation, a snowy tree. Both Brent and I are acutely aware of the invaluable blessing we have received from our family heritage. I was so grateful on an evening like this to be able to enjoy some of that blessing.
Last weekend, Emma and Blake performed in a showcase about the Middle Ages by Central Oregon History Performers. This is Emma’s third year in the group. She’s becoming an old pro at this and every year she takes on more responsibility. Blake, on the other hand, was an unplanned, mid-season addition. They needed someone younger and smaller to be a knight’s page and he fit the bill perfectly. He was more than willing to take on the part. Of course, everyone did a great job. There was singing, acting, dancing, and a whole lot of fun!
This week’s song is definitely a different style than other songs that have been posted before. No one will ever accuse me of being stuck in a rut, though. These guys are as sweet as can be. And the message of the song is true and beautiful. Enjoy!
Over the last few months, Emma and Blake have had a weekly rehearsal for Central Oregon History Performers. While they’re rehearsing, Lauren and I usually have a scheduled playdate with some of our friends. But last week, our friends were sick and had to cancel the playdate. So we turned our disappointment into something fun: a mommy-daughter date! Of course, there was a little schoolwork involved, but not too much. We enjoyed our time at the Redmond library, then Starbucks, and then SuperWalmart. Extended one-on-one time can sometimes be hard to come by, so I was glad to be able to take advantage of this unplanned opportunity with Lauren. She always has plenty (and I mean PLENTY) of ideas and opinions to share, so we never ran out of things to talk about. And any day that involves books, hot chocolate with whipped cream, and shopping is a good day. Especially when you get to enjoy them with someone that you love so very much.
It’s time for my monthly accountability for Bible reading and daily devotions. In my devotional book, The Message: Solo, I’ve progressed through some passages of the Bible all the way to 1 Samuel. This morning’s reading was from 1 Samuel 17. It’s part of the very famous story of David and Goliath. I was reading the section where David is preparing to go to battle against the giant. In his preparation, he tries on some traditional and heavy armor and realizes that what works for King Saul in battle isn’t going to work for him. So he says “Thanks, but no thanks on the armor, King Saul.” (That was my paraphrase! Definitely not a direct quote.)
As I was reading this passage, my thoughts went immediately to our church. God is calling us to go into the battle and fight for Him. But I think God is asking us to do things differently than some people might be used to doing it. Sometimes the standard-issue armor just doesn’t fit. Sometimes it’s a hindrance, as it was for David, rather than a help. The reality of Biblical battles is this: God’s people never won a battle because of their armor or weapons or strategy. If they won a battle, it was only because they were following God. Following God is the #1 priority. All the rest is just details.
I believe that one of the greatest blessings in our lives right now is the relationship we have with the previous generation of church leaders. We are so grateful that they are not like King Saul from 1 Samuel. They don’t expect us to look and sound exactly like them. They do have high expectations of us. But those expectations are about love, prayer, discipleship, holiness, wisdom, and family life. Those expectations are not about making sure our church looks and sounds just like their’s did.
I love some traditions just as much as anyone else. If you put me in a 100 voice choir, singing hymns, accompanied by a gifted pianist playing on a beautiful grand piano, in a building that is decorated with stained glass windows, with the congregation sitting on pews, I would be having a great time! But that is not what God wants for us as Mission Church right now. It may not be what He wants for us ever! And that’s okay.
So we will continue to follow God’s call into the battlefield. And we will continue to use the tools that God places in our hands. It might look a little bit different that what some people are used to seeing, but it’s still the same team. And most important of all, it’s still the same hope: the hope of Jesus.