Monday, April 30, 2007

to go to church, or not?

Yesterday, like every other Sunday, I went to church, and I was blessed. Yesterday I also didn't go to church, and it made me think...

We have been going to our 8am service. With 2 kids under 2 you ask? Sure, don't be impressed, it just works for us. After the service, we went right to Sunday School. We love our class. Community, friends, learning, sharing failures and victories, very cool. I taught, although more significantly, I learned. Becky and I are both so excited about how we are being challenged in our faith and family as we watch and listen to the other families do life. More on this later...

Right after class we went home, got ourselves together, and then drove almost an hour to a park where a fellow class member was having a fellowship of friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, etc. Koodoos to them for having that "Matthew" Party. Drew rode his tricycle for what seemed to be miles. The sun was hot.

Right after the picnic, we went back to church for a leadership meeting. After our meeting is when it happen...

Most of my fellow leaders went home and didn't go to church, including myself. One leader/friend, that I know had had a very long day (he ran a triathlon!) and therefore had a great excuse to go home and rest and enjoy his family, wife and 3 kids, went to church. It was strange, he and family went one way, the rest of us another. It got me thinking...dangerous, I know!

When I questioned him today about it, he said "we try to miss church only on rare occasions. not to pat myself on the back, but I find that many people will use the slightest excuse to miss church (ie., I ate some bad chili the night before). it's almost like the default mode is to skip church. if all the stars align, then we'll go. I feel out of the loop and out of touch with my friends when I miss." I agree. I told him, "I agree, but I also don’t want to fall into the 'every church meeting is sacred and you are not as spiritually mature if you aren’t there' mentality like was rampant in fundamentalism, but at the same time, being at church is fundamental." Among other things, he also said, "I think any time I start to feel like I have to go instead of want to go, I have to scrutinize my weekly schedule. " Wow, now that is practical application of a core value.

Should I have forced church last night? Maybe. Should I have rested in the afternoon so we could attend last night? Maybe. My kids were really messed up in terms of naps, eating, etc. I don't think there is a right answer, but surely my mental calisthenics are healthy. Hey, if I am not doing them physically, I might as well do them mentally!

So that is where I am at. No, my family doesn't need to be at church every time the doors are open. Yes, church is important and I need to make sure my family is there.

One thing is for sure, there is nothing like the body of Christ. Thanks for joining me in this journey.

Rob

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Why Blog?

Great question.  As David Miller recently said on the Mark and Miller Podcast, is this just "verbal vomiting"?   This is one I needed to answer before I took the plunge into blogdom...  I don't know why others do, but here is why I blog...

  • relationship- seems counter intuitive, true nonetheless.
  • dialogue-  2 way
  • influence-  God called us to make a difference
  • community- i appreciate the communal aspects to life
  • conformity-  really? sure, everyone else is doing it, why not.
  • put order in my mind- credit, dorothy
  • exercise-  my creativity, oh yeah, my fingers too
  • accountability-  if I say it here, I will be held to it 
  • supporters- regularly communicate with our support team
  • family-  regularly update my family that seem so far far away
  • personal amusement-  again, credit dorothy
  • document my thoughts-  for the world's amusement.  
  • record my journey- some day, drew and tessa will read this 
  • spiritual reflection

in other words...come join me in my "verbal vomit".

rob

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Our lives are forever changed...

2 days ago, it happened unexpectedly for the very first time ever.  Last night, it happen 3 times in a row.

Our lives, will never be the same.  We have to make some really big adjustments and think critically about how we will respond.

If you have been through this, you know what we face...

Curious?

Our Lives are Changed Forever Video

Rob

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

American Idol

I hate to admit it, but Becky and I watch it regularly via dvr.  We can't stand some of the fluff, so dvr is the only way to watch it. 

Did you see last night?  First of all, Doolittle (representing Christ by the way) certainly should win, but that is not what has got me all irritated today.  Did you hear the song Blake sang?  I am embarrassed to say that at first, I found myself enjoying the song.  But, then when Becky rewound it, and I listened to the words, I was horrified, angry, disappointed, ashamed, and maybe most of all, saddened.  I feel like the good of what "Idol Gives Back" was doing, was somewhat negated in my spirit.

He sang Lennon's, "Imagine".  I know I am showing my musical ignorance, but I have never listened to the words of that song.  How empty.  How dark.  How hopeless.  How humanity centered.  How lost.  So many people sang along, so many buy right into that "imagination".  Italics mine...

Imagine there's no Heaven (no thanks)
It's easy if you try (no, not really, no one can deny the reality)
No hell below us (well, wouldn't that be peachy)
Above us only sky (what does that mean?)
Imagine all the people (the world is lost)
Living for today (ah, just what we need!)

And it goes on, and on, and on...

Blake, I have rooted for you from the beginning, and I love you, but there is something else to imagine.  Not only to imagine, but to know.

Today, I am hurting for the hopeless.  Our world needs Jesus.

Rob

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Time for Yoga...

The guy in Oceans 11 was one thing, but this is just sick.  Just the other day, someone suggested I start yoga.  Not in the eastern spiritual sort of way, but in a good for your body sort of way. The guy in this pictures just isn't healthy!  That can't be good for the body.  I might consider it, but after seeing this, I am much less motivated!

Why is this on my mind today?  My back hurts.  I don't know what did it.  Maybe the sittups I did a week and half ago?  The reality is I hurt it because I am out of shape and probably over exerted myself in my new found quest for a healthy body.

I have struggled with my back for a week, not being able to sit for long periods of time.  Many times throughout the day, I just can't find relief in any position. 

I told Becky that doing the dishes and changing diapers, especially hurt.  She didn't go for it.

Today I am breaking down, submitting to the reality, and finally calling a chiro.  I have had bad experiences in the past with some real wackos, so we will see what happens!

Rob

Sunday, April 22, 2007

I love the Body of Christ...

This morning, as victories and struggles were shared in our Sunday School class, I was truly encouraged and challenged.  Nothing compares...

Thank you Jesus for community.

Rob

Saturday, April 21, 2007

I am an amalgamation

"You are what you eat." "What goes in, must come out." "Once you have made your bed, you have to sleep in it."

I have often been forced to realize, that this is true. Much of who we are is because of where we have been, what we have done, and what has been done to us. "Memories have a way of defining not only who you were, but who you are and who you will become." McManus

I think everything in the past affects us. Some good, some bad. Everything must be filtered. Counselors, and the Bible, would wisely tell us that we have power over these defining moments. Especially when the Holy Spirit resides within us! There are some memories that are best left in the past, only a split-second away. For these, I choose not to allow them to define me. You have heard it said, forgive and forget. Let's be real, the reality is, I can't really forget. But I can choose not to remember. Now that is life changing!

So what has defined you? Was it good stuff? Or was it ugly stuff? Or is it a pattern of indifference?

Me? Among many, but without a question one of the most defining moments in my life, was my mother's death when I was 7. I have often thought that those years were the years that I probably needed stability most in my life. Yet, it happen. The following years, even up to now, this 'experience' and my interaction with that reality, has defined me. Why would God take my mom? Why...

I could have decided to allow this memory to destroy my life. But, by the power of God , this memory/experience has made me who I am. I realize that life isn't about my life, it is about God being glorified. It is not about finding humanistic happiness. It is about extending God's kingdom. It is not about the pursuit of self-absorbed satisfaction. It is about learning to be soul satisfied in Christ (Psalm 63). God has blessed me with an extended family that none of us ever dreamed of. God was at work. Whether we realize it or not, God was/is totally in control, loving us and knowing what was/is best for us.

I want to make it clear, from my perspective, it was an 'ugly' thing. I wish it didn't happen. It still hurts when I think about it. It has caused a life of pain, not only for myself, but so many others. Here is the reality - The cool thing is that by grace God takes an 'ugly' thing and makes it beautiful. And for this I am deeply blessed. In faith, I can say, that I have truly found that God does work all things for the good for those that love him and are called according to his purpose. We throw this verse around out of context and often like a cheap bandaid, but it is real. My life says it's real.

What memories define you?

Friday, April 20, 2007

Growing Up...

I'm seeing my babies growing up before my very eyes and I'm not sure what I think about it.  Each new stage brings new joys that makes me love every moment.  But with each new stage comes new challenges I've never had to deal with before (such as discipline!) 

I love seeing Drew and Tessa becoming more and more independent.  Just yesterday Drew played by himself for an hour, just talking away with his big firetruck, his matchbox cars and his "guy".  Tessa's become happy to just sit or roll or crawl.  She loves to explore the world around her (which right now is pretty small.)

What I've been struck the most by is the little things that tell me Drew is growing up.  Especially the struggle between being a baby and being a "Big Boy".    Drew really wants to be a "Big Boy" these days and often that means I can encourage him to do big boy things.  At breakfast I tell him that big boys use spoons and babies use their fingers to eat cereal.  He'll announce "I'm a big boy!" and eat a spoonful of cereal and then the next minute I'll catch him saying "I'm a baby!" and take a fistful and shove it in his mouth.  He so wants to be both!

Last Friday we got rid of Drew's pacifier.  We had been talking for a few weeks that only babies use paci's and soon Drew was going to be a big boy and throw his paci away.  When he woke up on Friday he started talking about throwing them away.  So we took them to the trash can, clipped them with a pair of scissors and Drew threw them away.  For the next 4 days, naptime and bedtime became a sobbing ordeal "I want my paci's!"  On Monday he saw me go to throw something away in the trash and said "Mommy get my paci's."  It's enough to break my heart!  Was he ready?  How I wish I could give them back to him!  But what's done is done and there is no going back now.  I so want to make him happy, but I'm learning from experience that  sometimes I have to do things even I don't like, to do what's best for him.

He understands now that his paci's went bye-bye in the trash truck.  Don't be surprised if you hear Drew praying for Jesus to take care of his paci's.

Becky

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Wrestling...

I have lost 41 lbs.  You say victory?  Aw shucks, thanks.  But, I don't really feel that way.  Don't get me wrong.  My community has really encouraged me, and I love to hear the, "wow, you've lost weight" comments.  But, I have a long way to go.  Not that long ago, Becky and I made a decision to get ourselves healthy, and hey, the added benefit of looking better isn't bad either.  We have both lost a lot of weight, and we continue to work at it, more to go!

But, health isn't simply about weight loss.  I want to be "in shape".  Now that can mean a lot of things, but I am thoroughly convicted that I am not there.  Brushing my teeth takes my breath away!  Furthermore, I am convinced there are several obstacles that stand in my way.  I need to do both aerobic and strength training.  This is where the wrestling comes in.

I do what I don't want to do and I don't do what I do want to do.  Sound familiar?  I know that this is a human problem, but it really frustrates me.  Right now, it is affecting my working out.  Everyday I have been focused on trying to do it, but every day I have some excuse.  I got a phone call, I am tired from the kids or work, my back hurts, I have higher priority stuff to do, I need a break.

I just can't seem to break the cycle.  In the last 2 months, I have gone running (actually schlepping) once and I lifted weights 1.5 times.  In 2 months!  I have an accountability group, and apparently it isn't always about accountability, personal responsibility is where it is at.

I bought a jump rope.  Another useless purchase that makes me feel like I am going to work out but will only increase my guilt?  Hopefully not.  This morning I was demonstrating to a curious Drew, and I got in a fight with the rope.  Apparently I am not as coordinated as 5th grad girls on the playground.  The rope, thin plastic of some sort, caught me right in the back, leaving a 2 foot thin welt.  Ouch!

Do you think I will ever beat this?  I think Nike was right.  I need to just do it.

Rob

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Rant/Rave...

Rant...You know what really frustrates me? When a simple process takes way too much time and energy. Can I just say that everything doesn't always go as planned? I thought wiring funds was easy, but apparently, when international bank accounts are involved, the patriot act is activated, and everything goes haywire. A simple trip to the bank a week ago, that should have been a 15 minute visit, turned into a week long saga of international dialogue. Now, I am not sure who to blame, maybe it wasn't only the Patriot Act, but something sure fouled up the works. Ridiculous. Glad I can help our fields with these sorts of things, but can't I catch a break?

Rave...I love my wife. You know, Becky is just awesome. I know you all know that, but still, it needs to be said. Becky does all of our laundry! Just last night I was watching her (no, I wasn't sitting twiddling my thumbs) do the laundry and I couldn't help but be deeply grateful that she takes care of that. Woohoo!!!

Concept Credit... Wired magazine,

Rob

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

On my mind today...

There are several things on my mind today (remember, my mind isn't always sane)...

RMI...Today I am working on the 07/08 corporate budget. Pray for wisdom, insight and clarity of mind!

Netvibes... You might want to check this out. For a very long time, I have been a user of My Yahoo to view email, new feeds, track finance portfolios, sports scores, etc... Yes, there are many of these types of portals, MSN, Google, etc etc... Each of these are fairly inflexible, but over the years they have continue to improve in design and functionality. Well, I just came across netvibes, and it might change my life (note hyperbole). From Netvibes..."With netvibes, all your digital life fits in one page. Blogs, news, online videos, podcast, pictures, e-mail: pick your favorite service to create your netvibes page." For a web nerd, this is really cool! I can put a ton of content I look at every day (email, finance, blogs, news of every sort, sports, almost anything) on one page.

Keyboard shortcuts... So, I just came across a new keyboard shortcut that I will use incessantly and I thought I would share it...Windows Logo+E: Windows Explorer. More shortcuts.

Devotions... Today I continued to read McManus's "Uprising". Cool book. He says, "Without Courage we become conformists." How true this is. I don't want to be a conformist, and the way I dress, the car I drive, the house I live in, the stuff I drink, the sneakers I wear, the activities I choose prove it.

Rob

Monday, April 16, 2007

New Media Available, plus...

Hey everyone, we've posted 2 new videos and more pictures on our website, check them out! Will "Daddy" dunk Tessa in the pool? What hymn has Drew been singing?

Also, praise the Lord with us, our church officially joined our support team by financially supporting our ministry each month. While we praise God for this, we remain under supported at 86% of our need. We were down to 74%. We remain concerned about this immediate need for additional support. Please pray that we will be committed in the next few days to putting together a plan to raise the additional 14%, ($740 a month). Interested?

Rob

End of What Spear?

Good question...

I wish I could say I have the ability to get out a see alot of movies. The reality is, I do not. With Drew and Tessa, which I love dearly, and no family around to provide free babysitting, outings to the movie theater are few and far between.

Click here 4 Movie WebSite
Christianity Today Review Here

Don't get me started on the cost of the movies...

Anyway, all that to say, after church last night, Becky and I watched "End of the Spear" for the first time. You would think being involved in missions this would have been priority for us!? If you are like us, and haven't seen it, you have to. We thought it was great. Ok sure, a few negatives to get past, but great nonetheless.

The Bible clearly teaches that Jesus is Lord, above all other 'lords'. I want this. I strive for this. I seek forgiveness for it is often not the case.

What a great reminder to me of what it means to "consider my life worth nothing, if only I might finish the race..." Acts 20:24. Certainly a theme that is threaded throughout all of Scripture. My Lord comes first, before comfort, before money, and maybe hardest of all, before my family. I must be willing to "hate" my father and mother, Becky, Drew and Tessa. Luke 14:26 He is worthy. I just can't imagine the depth of their passionate committment. Yes, I have given up some for the sake of Christ, but will I give it all up if God asks me to? Good question.

As Eliott famously said, "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose."

Rob

Monday, April 9, 2007

Beginnings...

Becuase everyone has been asking (?), we have decided to start documenting our musings...
Rob and Becky