Grace

Ever Thankful

In the U.S. we have arrived to the holiday for which we are all encouraged to come up with a list of things to be thankful for. What a great opportunity, one we should take more often.

But waking up in a foreign country, walled in if you will, there are no turkeys, no pilgrims, but still lots of native people.

So this makes my thankfulness more genuine!

With that in mind let me share what makes me ever thankful.

First, that the Creator of the universe would desire a relationship with me (and you) and that he would accomplish it by taking on the cross himself. That he would take a stubborn sinner and call him son. What grace.

Next, that this same God would give me Stacy, Iona, Ewen, and Adia. (Also Jones and June). This family brings me so much joy. We laugh, we argue, we wrestle, we journey, we get sick, we get tired, we eat too much sugar, we sing, we dance, we sleep, we binge Disney+, and we do everything else all of which is meant to awaken us to the tremendous gift we are to each other.

There are other things to be thankful for, good books, good wine, parents, in-laws, nieces and nephews, all the things. But these two big ones have me ever thankful.

Today I am praying that you too will meet Jesus and experience his grace. That you would find with each breath a new reason to be thankful and rejoice in life.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Discipleship

Taking Time

With a collection of busy schedules and kids to corral, coming together each week for our Grace Group (church small group) can be quite the feat. But last night we did it again. One family was sick, in my family one spouse was sick, otherwise four other couples assembled around kids playing on the floor to talk about the promise of a child born to save the world and what it meant for us to be living in the promise.

We started off by singing some Christmas hymns reminding each other of the grace of Christ in song then we talked traditions of surprise and eventually we opened the Word and saw Jesus.

As I sat there, asking a few questions to keep the conversation flowing around the distractions of our kids parading through the house, I reflected on how good and right this felt. A group of people once strangers now bound by the truth we cling to. There were some tears and long pauses as we recounted the difficulties of life and sighs of relief as we declared the gospel to each other and felt what it is like to be Christ’s beloved. This is what we were meant for and it feels like home.

Over the course of the conversation, at least twice, when answering a question on what we could do as a community of believers to help each other live in the light of the promise of Christ, someone mentioned taking the time to care for and speak truth to each other. This is not something you can do overnight, it is an investment and takes sacrifice from all of us to experience it. And it hit me, we were not implementing some fast-track church growth strategy by coming together, we are building patient community. We are experiencing the value of living slow with each other.

Living slow can take on a number of forms but it generally means being present, a lot. Studying Scripture together, drinking good wine together, watching the big games (and the little ones). Living slow is taking time away from other things to be with one another; often the things we selfishly want. It is not the way of our context but it is the way of our biblical reality and it is good.

We have a long way to go. There are many moons to add to our lives together, but Jesus will be in the center of it all. There will be others added to our crew, but it will be Jesus they come for. All along the way we will continue to take the time, because we know it is right, we know it is good.

I encourage you to take some time where you are. To find gospel friends that can remind you, laugh with you, cry with you and see Jesus with you. Live it all slow. Savor it. You might find that it feels like home.

 

 

Discipleship

Attachment

As we have been preparing for adoption, one thing continues to come up in the training material. Attachment with the child. Here are kids that have had little personal care or interaction with adults and as they transition into a new family, it takes time and effort to help them trust in you.

Studying this reality I have also been struck at how my own biological children have attached to Stacy and I been contemplating the implication for my own history and others around me. So much of our attachment as children shapes are ability to relate in adulthood. Fascinating stuff!

Enter the fine folks at Coram Deo in Omaha. In a recent Wednesday Conversation, the pastors discussed the issue and its ramifications for gospel community. It is a well worthwhile listen.

Listen here.