Newtown

December 31, 2012 at 2:25 am • Posted in UncategorizedNo comments yet

The tragedy in Newtown is beyond expression or comprehension. Unfortunately, it has in many ways become another lighting rod for division, fear, blame and hatred. It’s a sad way to honor those who were lost, especially those precious children. I will never forget the day that it happened as long as I live. So many thoughts went through my mind as I wrestled with the devastation that we all struggle with. As I discussed it with Micah and Abby, I could not help but to think of those parents who were not able to talk to their children that night. I know that I hugged my kids a bit tighter that night and hope that the one good thing that will come from this tragedy in my own life is that I will love and appreciate my children more than before it happened. As I pray for those most impacted by this tragedy, I must trust that God will take this tragedy and make good of it, as he is the one who redeems all things.


Pruning

December 14, 2012 at 2:25 am • Posted in UncategorizedNo comments yet

Seasons are important, not just for our climate, but for our lives as well. There are weather seasons, seasons in the church, and seasons of life. As we reflect on our spiritual lives the gospel of John contains a lot of helpful imagery on the seasons we face as we journey with Jesus Christ. The imagery of the vine is most helpful as we think about the seasons of our faith journey. I am not a gardener, nor do I pretend to understand things related to gardening. That said, looking at the vine, there are five seasons that stick out to me; growth, fruit bearing, dormancy, death, and pruning. We have an apple tree in our backyard. When we bought our house, I encouraged my wife to try and get fruit out of it. She worked very hard to take care of it and now for the last four years we have enjoyed apples. This past year was the biggest crop of all. While the conditions the tree has endured have fluctuated, there is one thing that my wife has done that has caused the increase in fruit, pruning the tree. Each year she trims dead branches along with those that are too dense or heavy with fruit to be productive. That’s what pruning is all about. Its about removing those things that are dead or causing death as well as those things that are an over abundance.

Right now I am experiencing a season of pruning. That’s not to say that pruning is not without pain or grief. Pruning is easy for the pruner, but not necessarily the one being pruned. Its not hard for God to lead us in this season just as its not difficult for Jessica to cut down branches. Yet, I bet the apple tree probably does not enjoy the pruning. I know that while God is doing amazing things in this season, its not easy nor is it comfortable. Pruning is a necessary gift. It leads to greater growth and life. Most importantly its result is fruit in abundance.

The best book on pruning that I have ever read is Cloud’s book called Necessary Endings. It is a great, must-read book for anyone who is facing a season of pruning, but also for those who want to be thoughtful, reflective Christ-followers who want to embrace every season that God brings about in their lives.

 


Advent

December 14, 2012 at 2:24 am • Posted in UncategorizedNo comments yet

I love the season of advent for a wide variety of reasons. It’s the start of the church year, it’s a very spiritual time and its all about preparing for Christmas. I love all things about Christmas: the shopping, baking, cooking, music, the shows, parties, presents, decorations, the Christmas cards, but maybe not the wrapping. It’s a wonderful season on every level. I certainly enjoy my children and the time we have with our family as well. Its great to watch them get excited and to also create and sustain some fun traditions. As I get older, I especially enjoy the perspective that the history and tradition of the church provides on advent. This year I am thinking a lot about three words associated with advent; waiting, anticipation and expectation. Waiting is all about building our patience and trust that is a part of our relationship with Jesus. Anticipating is about the excitement and passion we are able to have as Christ followers. Expectation is relying on the promises of God and knowing that whatever God has is going to be amazing. I hope to really embrace this season of advent, not only as it unfolds, but beyond.