why i love my minichurch*: reason 210

tonight we played apples to apples between dinner and pie.

The adjective: sexy.
The winning noun?


I do not think I have laughed that hard in months....

*minichurch - one of the many names our church has gone thru in an attempt to make small groups sound cool. but really, it's a small group. and ours is fun. we have swords.

daleth: freedom

I am laid low in the dust;
preserve my life according to Your word.
I recounted my ways and you answered me;
teach me Your decrees.
Let me understand the teaching of Your precepts;
then I will meditate on Your wonders.
My soul is weary with sorrow;
strengthen me according to Your word.
Keep me from deceitful ways;
be gracious to me through Your law.
I have chosen the way of truth;
I have set my heart on Your laws.
I hold fast to Your statutes, O LORD,
do not let me be put to shame.
I run in the path of Your commands,
for You have set my heart free.
- Psalm 119: 25-32

"I run in the path of Your commands, for You have set my heart free."

I've been thinking about this on and off for weeks now.

"Command" can sound like such a negative word to us - restrictive, a "you have to do this or else" sort of a thing. We don't associate it with freedom easily.

But I heard Alistair Begg say once that as we grow in our relationship with Jesus over time, and become more and more like Him, the "thou shalt nots" of the law become "thou shall nots." The transformative power of the Holy Spirit at work within us leads us to a place where we wouldn't even think of doing the things we are told not to do; we just shall not do them anymore, because it isn't who we are, and we simply wouldn't.

I like that. I am grateful for it. And I think, in truth, it really does set us free...

In those seasons when we feel, like the psalmist, that we are "laid low in the dust" (read: we've fallen flat on our faces for one reason or another and it feels like we can hardly breathe) or when we're "weary with sorrow" - there is still hope. Because we love and serve a God who will not let us be put to shame, a God who is aware of and at work in every circumstance of our lives, a God who is in the process of transforming us into the image of His Son. And whether it's our own sin or someone else's, or just the fallen nature of this world (or some combination thereof) that's landed us face down in the dirt or made us sad - because of Christ's death and resurrection, there really will be a day when we shall not do anything we should not.

Thank You, Jesus, for amazing grace and mercy.

the merits of oblivion

Courtesy of Sara, in the comments section of the previous post, I've learned something invaluable this week: awareness might just get you nowhere. (Like when you're hiking in North Dakota and you see a sign warning you about how dangerous bison are and you think, gee, wouldn't it be cool to see a bison up close? and then you do... or when you're part of a national campaign to warn people about velociraptors and then you find yourself taking a quiz to find out how likely you are to survive... and realize you probably wouldn't...)

Fortunately, the likelihood that anyone could get a velociraptor to hold still long enough to chain it to a bunk bed is fairly small.

I could survive for 41 seconds chained to a bunk bed with a velociraptor

You know, there's something to be said for being oblivious...

Velociraptor Awareness Day

As some of you may know, today is Velociraptor Awareness Day. Over 256,000 people are participating in this long-overdue campaign to safeguard the world against velociraptors. (I kid you not - "I saw it on Facebook, so it must be true!") Laugh if you will, but I'm telling you - those dinosaurs are dangerous. (Anyone who has seen Jurassic Park knows this.)

I repeat: Velociraptors are dangerous. They will eat you. So if you see one, run. Really fast. For any hope of escape, a routine exercise program is (of course) essential, but taking math classes can also help you with this. Randall Munroe at xkcd explains how:


(Any suspicions that Velociraptor Awareness Day has been fully funded by the people who write word problems for math tests are completely unfounded.)

For a semi-related bit of fun and also some serious theological discussion, please see also: Jon Birch, on The Velocirapture.

alleluia!!! - call and response

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever.

This is the day the Lord hath made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed.

So much of my life has been shaped by these calls and responses, in ways I am still learning to see. I believe these things to the depths of my soul: God is good, and His love endures forever. He created today, and I am to rejoice and be glad in it. Christ is risen, and that matters. In fact, it changes everything. Regardless of what goes on around me, regardless of what happens in this world, regardless of what we see - these things are true - and it makes all the difference.

I love Easter Sunday. The hope that it brings. The reassurance that "all will be well, and all will be well, and all manner of things shall be well." (- Julian of Norwich)

Why? I think Charles Wesley said it best:

Christ the Lord is Risen Today

Christ, the Lord, is risen today, Alleluia!
Sons of men and angels say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heavens, and earth, reply, Alleluia!

Love’s redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Lo! the Sun’s eclipse is over, Alleluia!
Lo! He sets in blood no more, Alleluia!

Vain the stone, the watch, the seal, Alleluia!
Christ hath burst the gates of hell, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids His rise, Alleluia!
Christ hath opened paradise, Alleluia!

Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once He died our souls to save, Alleluia!
Where thy victory, O grave? Alleluia!

Soar we now where Christ hath led, Alleluia!
Following our exalted Head, Alleluia!
Made like Him, like Him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!

Hail, the Lord of earth and Heaven, Alleluia!
Praise to Thee by both be given, Alleluia!
Thee we greet triumphant now, Alleluia!
Hail, the resurrection, thou, Alleluia!

King of glory, Soul of bliss, Alleluia!
Everlasting life is this, Alleluia!
Thee to know, Thy power to prove, Alleluia!
Thus to sing and thus to love, Alleluia!

Hymns of praise then let us sing, Alleluia!
Unto Christ, our heavenly King, Alleluia!
Who endured the cross and grave, Alleluia!
Sinners to redeem and save. Alleluia!

But the pains that He endured, Alleluia!
Our salvation have procured, Alleluia!
Now above the sky He’s King, Alleluia!
Where the angels ever sing. Alleluia!

Jesus Christ is risen today, Alleluia!
Our triumphant holy day, Alleluia!
Who did once upon the cross, Alleluia!
Suffer to redeem our loss. Alleluia!

- Charles Wesley, c. Public Domain

"Fought the fight, the battle won." Alleluia.

riding the wind

One early morning last week I was sitting in my favorite rocking chair, doing morning devotions and enjoying the quiet, when I was distracted by unexpected motion across the room. One helium-filled orange balloon was bobbing quietly by the couch, its string tucked under a pillow, anchoring it securely. The furnace had just kicked on, and the warm air currents coming from the vent on the floor met the cooler air currents from the ceiling fan, impacting the balloon.

I watched it for a bit, bobbing about here and there, in some seemingly random pattern, knowing that its motion was influenced by things I couldn't see - and it struck me, then, that in so many ways that balloon was a simple word picture that spoke to how I should live my life. It was anchored securely. It wasn't going anywhere it oughtn't to go (like up to the ceiling to encounter the fan, for instance). But it was free to be quietly itself, and to move as it was directed by the air currents around it.

Jesus said, "The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit." (John 3:8) We can't see the wind, but we can see its effects. Hear the leaves rustling in the trees. Watch the balloon sailing "haphazardly" (but not really) through the sky on a blustery day. The wind does come from somewhere and it is going somewhere, but all we can see are its effects.

I find this somewhat comforting, in seasons like this, when I feel like I'm not really sure where I'm coming from or where I'm going, yet I see the effects of God's Spirit at work within me. I will find out where I'm going when I get there. In the meantime, anchored tightly to Him, I can simply rest, and let the wind of His Spirit direct me moment by moment. All I need to do is ride the wind.

Which, when I'm not worrying so much about where I've been or where I'm going, is actually pretty fun. :)