The Kingdom of God

I just finished listening to Brian McClaren's message when he spoke at Mars Hill recently. He just makes sense. He hits the head on the nail.

He reminds us of what it means when Jesus invites us to join the Kingdom, not in the next life, but in this life. He reminds us that we are called to help those in distress and release the opressed . He reminds us that our perspective of scripture often shades our understanding of it, which often impacts our response to it.

If you have 40 minutes go here, listen and let me hear your thoughts.

May I notice those in distress. May I see those who are oppressed. May I respond to those in need. May I be more selfless, less egocentric, more Kingdom minded.
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So Sacrificial

I am so thankful for great friends. I am so grateful! I am so thankful for the Body of Christ.

I was trying to rush Chip to the airport in Columbus tonight and get back to church for youth group in a four hour time slot. Everything was going fine, we were engrossed in one last conversation and we suddenly heard a strange noise. This was followed by the brief sensation that we were dragging something, then the noise, then the sensation, and then one more repetition of it as we pulled to the side of the highway. As we were pulling over the power steering stopped, the car shut off and we drifted to a stop on the birm. As we got out radiator fluid poured from the front passenger side of the car, as if my Plymoth Breeze's water had broken. To summarize a very long ordeal, we went to work on the phones for the next two hours trying to figure out the solutions to get both of us home. 50 excruciating minutes on the phone with AAA. Countless answering machine messages pleading for a prompt response. Frustration. Frustration. Frustration.

In the end, the AAA guy came and took me the hour back to Findlay with him as we left Chip stranded on the corner of 229 and 23, waiting for 20-30 minutes for a stranger (my close friend Kevin) to pick him up. I kindly made a bubble letter sign, that read "KEVIN", for Chip to hold up to passing cars.

I got home. Kelly picked me up. I made it to youth group.
Chip got to the airport. Chip missed his flight. Chip got rescheduled to fly out at 6:45am tomorrow and problem number two began. Where would he go? Who could take him in the morning? What would he do tonight? In the end it all worked out, thanks to the Petersons and Hendricksons, but here is what struck me tonight... I have truly amazing friends.

The Peterson clan (Lucy included) picked up everything, and drove and hour & a half one-way to bring a complete stranger to the airport. The Hendricksons surrended a lot of sleep by commiting to leave at the buttcrack of dawn to take Chip to the airport. The Ballmers sprinted over to the church to cover me in my delay. The Caesarezes, Stetlers and others offered their time, energy and home to host Chip tonight and get him to the airport in the AM. So much sacrifice, and even more sacrifice was offered, which tastes just as sweet as the real thing. I feel so surrounded, supported and loved by my friends, my body of believers abroad. It is so cool to know that two of my closest friends, who didn't know each other, spent most of the evening together, and that tomorrow two others will share an early ride to the airport together. It is so awesome that those amazing people get the opportunity to know one another.

Thank you for your sacrifice. Thank you for the offer of sacrifice, whether it was today or some other day past. Whether it was small or large. Whether it was difficult or simple. Thank you.

May I be selfless in my life. May I learn to serve as you have been served me. May I love, as I have been loved. May I be selfless, as you have been selfless. Thank you Lord for selfless friends. May I grow to be one.
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Chip Chop

Chip is one of my closest friends and my roommate from California.

I called Chip on Friday night to tell him some good news. He didn't answer, so I called him 4 more times. Finally, he called me back. The next day he called me in the morning and left a message to see what I was doing this week. I called him back at 9pm (EST). He asked if he should come visit. I said "Heck yes you should!" He got on a plane 3 hours later, flew through the night through NYC, and onto Columbus and Benji and I picked him up after church today. Amazing!

One of my best buds came up with a great idea and we get to hang with him till Wednesday, and best of all him and Halle have already started bonding (she is over her sickness... I have it now). Some friends came over tonight (Cornwells, Hunsakers, Jess) to meet Chip, eat dessert and hang out.

I love times like this. Spur of the moment ideas, close friends, great conversations, late nights. Ahhhh, the college days.
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Sick Baby

My daughter has been sick for three days... barfing style. It is so sad. She doesn't have a fever. She doesn't have any other symptoms, but on Monday night she threw up at 4, 5:30 and 7, then she was fine all day. The next night she did it again at 4am, and then Kelly joined it twice. Then, yesterday she did it again right after her morning bottle, all over Kelly, the loveseat (one pillow in particular), the floor and herself. Disaster.

Result= The doctor tells us we shouldn't give her anything but water for 24 hours. I return home to one of the most conflicting sights I have ever beheld. My daughter, the non-cuddler refusing to not cuddle, void of all energy, deprived of all food. She laid on mine of Kelly's chest for most of the night, taking breaks only to look up at us every 25 minutes and whine 2-3 whimpers or weakness. I loved the cuddling, but I knew it wasn't my daughter. I knew it was my sick, starved and sad daughter seeking solace in her parents. Parenting is difficult at times like this.
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Living Life by Faith

The mini Ballmers were in Texas and Colorado for two weeks, Kelly was in Dayton, I was in Mississippi, the Cornwells and Hunsakers were busy. It was nice to be reunited tonight. We ate Dominoes, the guys took the three babies swimming in the pool (Halle absolutely loved it for the 1st time!!!) and then we sat down to chat.

The big topic tonight was finding the balance between living by faith vs. living by godly wisdom. i.e. If God opens and closes the womb, do we trust him to do his job and trust him to provide if we end up with 16 children? If God provides food and clothes for the sparrows and lilies, does that mean that we do not need to work and we will be provided for? Our questions weren't that simple or simply point, but you get the idea.

When 1 of our friends moved here they were CLEARLYwalking by faith . They were so free, so joyous, so infectious. As life went on he got married, had a baby and received a lot of "sound" advice and he can feel the departure and distance from that lifestyle of raw faith he once lived by, but he feels that it has possibly been traded in for godly wisdom. Can you live by both? We have a friend who says he lives by faith and trusts God to provide, but when he is present he sucks life, resources and energy from everyone around and gives little in return. His "life by faith" does not reflect life to others. It seems the Stetlers are living by faith, and God always provides for them, even when it seems he couldn't. I am trying to live like that... Live by faith and not by sight.
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