4/22/14

Summer in California

The summer of 1984 was spent in California.

It was a very significant summer for many reasons.

I was 20 years old, and turned 21 while in California that summer.

I went to California to go on a Summer Project for Campus Crusade for Christ, a Christian group I was involved in at the University of Idaho.  Their International Headquarters at that time were located in Arrowhead Springs, California.  That is where I lived.

I also used this summer as an internship for college.  I worked in the Mass Media department, and worked in San Bernardino, California.  I helped write publicity fliers, and then ended up doing some Customer Service.  In fact, I ended up training the staff person who came to work in that position at the end of the summer.

There were 16 of us living at Arrowhead Springs that summer.  And we were from all over the United States.  My roommates were from Texas, Iowa and Virginia.  Chris, my roommate from Iowa, married one of the other guys on the project, and they are still happily married and living in Iowa. 

Laura, my roommate from Texas, still lives in Texas, and married the friend of one of the other guys on the project.  Sharon was from Virginia, and, as far as I know, she still lives in Virginia.  I have lost tough with Sharon over the years.

I still keep in touch with Laura and Chris through Facebook and Christmas cards. 

We had many adventures that summer.  We visited Disneyland, went to a Dodgers Baseball game and an Angels baseball game.  We spent some time at Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, and a beach in San Diego.  We traveled to Arrowhead Lake.

But another thing that was big in the Los Angeles area in the summer of 1984 was the Summer Olympics.  Because some of the countries boycotted the Olympics that summer, there were tickets available to attend some of the events.  I attended a basketball game in the Forum, and saw Michael Jordan and Patrick Ewing play.  (They were the only two names I recognized at the time).  But just being in Los Angeles during that time was a spectacle in itself.

A very significant thing happened that summer.  I was able to pray and meditate about Paul, and about how I felt about him.  Throughout the summer, I came to the conclusion that, if he asked, that he was the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.  Personally, I needed that time of searching that question while away from Paul and all of life's distractions to really listen to God's voice and hear what He was telling me regarding our relationship.

And it sure paid off, because my decision to marry Paul was the best decision I made in my life.

I learned a lot about myself that summer, and spent time with some incredible people.

But that summer in California will most be remembered as the summer I decided to say "I Do" to Paul, and commit myself to him for the rest of my life.

Now, Paul had already made this decision.  He told my best friend at the time, Carolyn, in April of 1984 that he was going to ask me to marry him, and he wanted her help.  This was the evening of the annual U of I talent show, and I was one of the contestants.  It was when I was up on stage that he told Carolyn of his plans.  And I was so proud of Carolyn, because keeping secrets was not easy for her.  But she kept the secret all the way until December of 1984 when Paul asked me to marry him.

The one thing I learned through all of this is, when it comes to making that decision to marry someone, make sure you are making the right decision.  If there is any apprehension, please wait.  Think it over.  You have time.  You never have to jump into marriage.  Make sure you are listening, and that you are at peace with your decision.

I am often in awe that God shared Paul with me.  I am thankful each and every day. 

I know I made the right decision to marry Paul.

It is one decision I have never regretted.

4/21/14

NYC

I have really been missing New York City.



But not for the reasons most people want to return.

I miss New York City because of the different ways we helped people.

I miss the Manhattan Citadel Salvation Army in Harlem.  Each time I see Lt. Steve's Facebook or Twitter post about something happening there, I long to return. 

When I see Captain Antonio tweet a Bible verse, I remember he and his beautiful family, and singing with him and Brother Oliver on the street, sharing Hope with the passers by.



Last month when there was the gas explosion in Harlem, the Manhattan Citadel was one of the places that stepped up and helped those people, providing them with food and shelter and comfort.  Oh, how I longed to be there, working alongside them during that time.


When I see posts on Facebook and Twitter about City Harvest, I remember our time in the pouring rain, gathering thousands of pounds of fresh produce to help feed the people in New York City.



I remember the afternoon spent at the NYC Common Pantry, filling bags full of food for those in need, to help them make it through another week.

And I remember sitting with people clicking through the food choices on the Ipad, and being able to communicate with the Hispanic population, since the choices were displayed both in English and Spanish.

I miss sitting in the park across from the Jackie Robinson Projects to watch the children play during Kid's Club, and I got to visit with one of the mothers for an hour or so, and I heard the story of her life growing up in Harlem.

Times Square was electrifying.  Broadway was unbelievable.  Madison Avenue was another world.  Central Park was beautiful.

But the places in NYC that touched my heart the most were the times we were reaching out, and helping others, talking with other, listening to others, and hearing their stories.  Sharing our faith with others.

If I could, I would spend my whole summer, sleeping on the floor of a Salvation Army building and spending my time serving others.

This would be my ultimate summer vacation.






4/20/14

Sleeping

Sleeping is a welcome thing in our house.

I am fortunate that I sleep well at night.

Maybe it rubs off from the other inhabitants I am surrounded by here.



 
It is nice to live in such a relaxed environment. 
 
We have all got a "Peaceful, easy feelin'".
 
 
 

4/19/14

Sin

Sin is not the most popular topic in the world.

But I thought it was an appropriate topic to talk about today.

The day between Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday.

This is the day between "My God, My God, Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me" and "He is Risen".

Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection is all about sin.

Sin is what keeps us from having a right relationship with God, the Creator of all things.

Before Jesus died, animals were sacrificed for people's sins, and this helped restore the relationship with God.

Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice.  He was the final sacrifice.  He was perfect, without sin, and Jesus took on all the sins of the world, so that we might have that right relationship with God once again.

Yesterday, I wrote about Tony Campolo.  Another message I have heard him share two different times, is about what was going on when Jesus was being crucified on the cross.  He died for our sins.  But those sins were not just the sins that had already happened.  They were the sins that were going to happen. 

Campolo explained it much better than I am about to, but what happens every time we sin....every time we take our choice over what God wants us to do....Jesus feels that on the cross.  He feels the pain of our sin...and did while He was hanging on the cross. 

That message has stayed with me since the first time I heard it, almost 20 years ago.

I never thought of it that way before, that Jesus died on the cross for my sins, but He experienced those sins, even though they were in the future.....but that is my future, not God's.

Tomorrow we celebrate what Jesus did for us by dying on the cross.

Today, I meditate on the fact that my sins were a part of the burden that Jesus was experiencing when He was hanging on the cross.

4/18/14

Tony Campolo

Tony Campolo is one of my favorite Christian authors and speakers.

I have had the pleasure of hearing him speak two different times.  One was sometime around 1996 or so when he was at a conference in Boise, Idaho.

The second time was last November when Paul and I traveled to Denver and attended the "Simply Jesus" gathering.

Campolo started the "Red Letter Christians", a movement that focuses on living our lives the way Jesus says in the red letters of the Bible.

One of the famous sermons that Tony Campolo is well known for is called "It's Friday but Sunday's Coming."  If you want to listen to the whole sermon, you can listen to it here.

This message is Tony’s trademark. He endeavors to show how surrendering to Christ enables individuals to have their personal, spiritual and psychological needs met. It goes on to point out that being yielded to Christ is to be part of a movement to change the world into the world that ought to be. This sermon picks up on the personal and social dimensions of the gospel.

This sermon is quite timely for today.  Here is a part of it toward the end.

Remember, “It’s only Friday… but Sunday is coming!”
“It’s Friday… Jesus was nailed dead on a cross.
 
                                                                        But it’s only Friday; Sunday is coming!
 
It’s Friday… Mary’s crying her eyes out ‘cause her Jesus is dead.
 
                                                                        But it’s only Friday; Sunday is coming!
 
It’s Friday… The disciples are running around like sheep without a shepherd.
 
                                                                        But it’s only Friday; Sunday is coming!
 
It’s Friday… Pilate’s strutting around washing his hands ‘cause he thinks he’s got all the power and victory.
                                                                        But it’s only Friday; Sunday is coming!
 
It’s Friday… People are saying “as things have been so they shall be – you can’t change anything in this world.”        
                                                                        But it’s only Friday; Sunday is coming!
 
It’s Friday… Satan’s doing a jig saying, “I control the whole world.”
 
                                                                        But it’s only Friday; Sunday is coming!
 
It’s Friday… The temple veil ripped from top to bottom -the earth shook- the rocks split and tombs opened. The centurion screamed in fear, “Truly, He is the Son of God!” 
                                                                        But it’s only Friday; Sunday is coming!
 
It’s Sunday- “The angel, like dazzling lightening, rolled the stone away exclaiming, “He is not here! He is risen!    
               
It’s Sunday! It’s Sunday! It is Sunday!”                - Dr. Anthony Campolo

4/17/14

Faithful

I did not want to go to church tonight.

It had been a long day, lots going on emotionally and physically at work, and I was tired.

Mom graciously made us dinner tonight. 

Tonight is Maundy Thursday.  If you wonder what Maundy is, it is a name for the ceremony of washing feet that Jesus did to His disciples in the Upper Room, the night of the Last Supper.

Sometimes going to church when you feel tired and exhausted is often the best time to be in church.

I think I understood things a little better tonight.

As I listened to the story of Jesus' last days on this earth, and meditated on their meaning, I was touched. 

I was touched thinking about those who are faithful.  Of Bob, sitting two pews behind me.  Bob had recently been diagnosed with lung cancer, and there he was, flushed from his treatment, dealing with a nagging cough, but he was there at our Maundy Thursday service.

Lee, who finds it hard to stand, but is in our choir, singing the soprano part that she has sang for over 50 years.

I think we are blessed by being faithful.  Blessed sometimes in ways we don't realize.  Tonight I was blessed by being in the presence of those attending the service.

Tonight I was blessed by listening the verses in the book of Luke sharing the story of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, of Peter betraying Jesus, and his last moments with His disciples in the Upper Room, and they all boldly declared that they would never betray Him. 

I'm glad we have people in our church who are faithful.

They remind me of a song Steve Green used to sing, called "Find Us Faithful".  Here are the lyrics:

We're pilgrims on the journey
Of the narrow road
And those who've gone before us line the way
Cheering on the faithful, encouraging the weary
Their lives a stirring testament to God's sustaining grace

Surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses
Let us run the race not only for the prize
But as those who've gone before us
Let us leave to those behind us
The heritage of faithfulness passed on through godly lives

CHORUS:
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful
May the fire of our devotion light their way
May the footprints that we leave
Lead them to believe
And the lives we live inspire them to obey

Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful

After all our hopes and dreams have come and gone
And our children sift through all we've left behind
May the clues that they discover and the memories they uncover
Become the light that leads them to the road we each must find

REPEAT CHORUS

Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful

4/16/14

Bad at Math

I have always told people I am bad at Math.

I'm not sure that was ever really the case.  I think in school I was impatient with Math.  I think I didn't want to take the time to be precise enough to make sure my work was done correctly.

Interestingly enough, I have been in a variety of Math conversations recently.

I was asked to find out some information on my Algebra I teacher from junior high, so I have been getting emails back from people saying what a wonderful math teacher she was, and how much they learned.

Unfortunately, that was not my experience.  And believe me, it had nothing to do with her ability as a teacher.  It was definitely my inability as a student.

You know what I remember most about Algebra I class?  (And this may be part of the problem of me not "getting" Algebra.)  My most vivid memory is of one of my male classmates having maggots in his lip to warm them up, then making a race track on the back of a spiral notebook, and putting the maggots on the "race track" and racing the maggots.  Then I think flicking the maggots at other students was also happening as well.

You are probably think, my gosh, what kind of red neck, hick junior high did you attend?

Granted, this probably only happened once or twice, but it is what I remember from class.

Tonight I was in a conversation with a Math teacher, and we started talking about "getting" Math, how you do eventually come to understand what is going on, if you keep doing the process.

In church on Sunday, I was talking to a student who is a freshman in college, and she had taken Pre-Calculus last year during her senior year.  She said she struggled with the class a bit, and didn't quite "get it" while in the class.  But now, in college, she is taking a Calculus class, and she said it is almost just like her class from last year, and she now "gets it", and is doing quite well in the class.

I think I didn't want to take the time to "get it".  I was too impatient.  Reading and writing, it came easy to me.  Math didn't.  I was slow at learning my times tables.  I was not careful carrying numbers, so I would make mistakes. 

The last Math class I ever took was Algebra II/Geometry II my senior year in high school.  I don't think I needed to take this class to graduate, but was told it would probably be good to take it to get ready for college.  Actually, I always enjoyed taking Geometry better than Algebra.  And I think I did okay in this class.  But I never had to take another Math class after my senior year in high school.  The course of study I took at the University of Idaho required you to take 9 credits of Math or Science.  You could take 9 credits of Science, and that fulfilled my requirement.  So I took 4 credits of Biology, 3 credits of Geology, and 2 credits of Mushroom Identification.  No Math.  (Yes, I got a degree in college by taking a class that taught me how to identify mushrooms!!)

I think Math got a bad rap in my life.  If I would have been a bit more methodical, paid a bit more attention, and practiced more, Math probably would have been fine.

But it wasn't, and I blame it all on the maggots!!!