Monthly Archives: May 2014

5. 31.14 Insight from Dave Pullin

Dave Pullin serves as the Director of Technical Production at The Church of the Resurrection. The Technical Production ministry handles all audio/visual/technical support for the church including worship services and events.

“The guards were so afraid that they shook and became like dead men.”

It’s hard to imagine what this scene must have been like. But the amount of fear the guards experienced must have been quite significant—it paralyzed them!

This reminds me of when I was in college. I worked as a rock-climbing guide for an outdoor adventure company. A significant part of that role was guiding people through activities that naturally trigger higher levels of fear, especially for people who have limited exposure to rock climbing or heights in general.

Through that experience, I found that fear is a very interesting thing. A little bit of fear is good, as it prevents us from being over-confident and cocky. A beginning climber needs to make certain that the hand and footholds are extra secure. But too much fear can be crippling, prevent us from functioning, and create very dangerous situations.

One day a group of four of us had finished a double-pitch climb (2 full rope lengths) in the Oklahoma Wichita Wildlife Refuge and it was time to descend. Now it’s one thing to keep climbing up and up and up, but the moment you look down from the top of a 400 ft. rock slab, that change in perspective has quite an impact. It did that day on one of our team members (call him Tom). Tom had been on many of our climbing trips, was a very skilled climber and was quite comfortable with heights. Yet this was his very first multi-pitch climb, and fear can creep in on anyone completely unannounced, as it did to Tom.

Once Tom was hooked into the rope and was 10-12 feet into his decent (just beyond my reach), he froze. Fear overwhelmed him, and due to the nature of the rock, there was very little anyone could do to assist. Two of our team were already at the bottom of the first part of our decent, clipped into an anchor on the side of the cliff, waiting for us to descend so they could continue down the remaining 200ft. I was at the very top and could not lower down to Tom, and the climbers below could not climb up. The situation was becoming sever. Something had to be done.

As I evaluated the situation and began assessing ways to assist Tom, I quickly realized that the only useable resource I had with me were my words. I could not treat this problem like a physical injury. I couldn’t take time to convene a committee meeting, even if the team below could actually hear me. I had to somehow use my words to try to alleviate Tom’s fear.

I think maybe that’s why the words, “Do not be afraid” continue to be a theme in these verses. In our moments of fear, doubt and struggle, what we may want is someone to “fix it,” someone to rescue us from our plight, someone to magically make the pain go away. Yet we are often met with words like “Do not be afraid,” or “Fear not,” or “I am with you,” or “Be still and know that I am God.”

We all know personal growth does not happen when someone constantly rescues us from our fears, because that means we did not have to face those fears. We did not have to search the depths of our soul for whatever courage we might be able to muster. We did not have to act even in the presence of our fear. Show me someone who has faced their fears, and I will show you a person who embodies strength.

Tom is one of those people. Frozen by fear on that cliff, he was fighting an internal battle, one only he could fight. I could not fix it for him. All I could do was encourage him, and be present with him. He told me later that logically he knew he was safe because the equipment was secure, but emotionally the fear was seizing his entire body, mind and spirit. When he was able to recognize that he had a choice and could act in spite of that fear, he was able to control his breathing and focus on the small steps he had to take to get down the cliff. In the end, he did not let his fear take control, and he was able to slowly descend the entire route without incident.

Fear can be crippling, no matter what form it takes. Yet here we have this repetitive phrase instructing us not to be afraid. Jesus’ words are not so much him telling us not to have fear, but to be able to recognize that fear does not have to control us. We can still operate in spite of our fear, and that, I feel, is the definition of courage.

I learned a great deal from Tom that day. He showed me that fear can control us only if we allow it to. Courage is not the same as being fearless. Courage means taking back the control our fears stole from us. In what way has your fear taken control in your life? Do you feel like Tom, paralyzed on the side of a cliff somewhere? If so, the good news is that God is present with you. God is encouraging you, “Do not be afraid; don’t let your fear take control. You are strong and powerful, you’ve totally got this!”

Return to the GPS Guide to read today’s scripture and reflection questions.

5.30.14 Insight from David Brown

David Brown is serving as a summer intern for Adult Discipleship at The Church of the Resurrection.

My story is one of self-inflicted pains. I grew up with such a pursuit of perceived perfection that I often punished myself when I inevitably fell short. I didn’t want an A; I wanted an A+. I didn’t want to be in the play; I wanted to be the star. I didn’t want to be just any member of my church; I wanted to be the best member. I rarely got the A, much less the A+. I did alright in plays, but there was always someone better. So I punished myself. I would ground myself for weeks on end. I would physically harm myself with intent to learn from it. Admittedly unhealthy, I reveled in the idea that I could be perfect through self-imposed punishment.

I was scared. I was scared of failure, of other people’s opinions. I was filled with fear that someone might think less of me. I failed to grasp one of the core concepts of Christianity and the sacrifice of Christ. It is not my job to be perfect. It can be my goal, but the world’s salvation is not resting squarely on my shoulders. That weight was carried already.

This passage affirms, and reaffirms that thought. We as human beings often act out of fear, whether avoiding a certain neighborhood or making heavily calculated investments of resources. We are a fearful collective creature, and especially fearful of the inevitability of death. We are unsure of what will happen, unsure of the next step. We are fearful that we will waste our life. It is that bondage that Christ lifted. It was from those very reins that he cut us loose, in His defeat of the devil.

He is our high priest. He replaced the Jewish hierarchy by being the perfect sacrifice. By living in and among us sinners, Jesus, through steadfast love and compassion, is the only high priest able to reconcile our shortcomings. I struggled with perfectionism and depression. I wallowed in self pity and self-inflicted anxiety. I still fight to stay afloat, some days more than others, but my chains of bondage are broken. Fear of failure no longer rests on my shoulders, for it is in Him that we live and move and have our being.

Return to the GPS Guide to read today’s scripture and reflection questions.

5.29.14 Insight from Shawn Simpson

Shawn Simpson serves as the Director of Technical Arts and Operations at The Church of the Resurrection’s West campus in Olathe, KS.

This weekend at Resurrection West, Pastor Tyler Jenkins delivered a heartfelt sermon where he shared the story of his daughter’s birth.  Baby Millie was actually born at 29 weeks and weighed 2 pounds and 14 ounces.  While Baby Millie was being cared for at the hospital, I’ve been counting my blessings to have three healthy boys.

My first son’s birth was a little scary.  While not as premature as Millie, Parker was born at 34 weeks, over a month before he was due.  It was a scary event for my wife and me.

My wife had been working far more hours than was advisable, especially at 7-8 months pregnant.  On May 3, 2003, we attended the most uncomfortable event that I, as a guy, could imagine…Childbirth 101.  We learned all about lady parts and baby parts and the labor process and breathing and being a guy (aka, useless observer) and all manner of other things that made me blush and cringe.  I was pretty mortified with the whole thing.

On May 17, 2003, we had our second class, where I assumed we would be hearing about stuff that would be really helpful and not make me nauseated.  On the day of the class, she was feeling sick and exhausted.  We were there for a very short time before the nurse doing the class sent us up to the L&D floor so they could check her out.

They told us that she was working too much and needed to take some time off.  She said she was saving her time off for her maternity leave.  The L&D nurse then says, “Amy, if you don’t take some time off now, you’re going to spend your whole maternity leave visiting your premature baby in the NICU.”  That hit home and we knew that we needed to lighten her work schedule.  They sent us home and gave her some medicine to help her relax a little.  She spent the rest of that day and evening in bed and woke up to have dinner, feeling better than I’d seen her in some time.  We watched some TV, ate spaghetti, and she went back to bed.

At 3am, my wife woke me saying that her water had broken.  Being the ever-supportive and loving husband, I asked if she’d just accidentally peed. I wouldn’t suggest doing that if you’re ever in this situation.  After my little goof-up, a great sense of fear came over me as the nurse’s words came echoing back: ”…Your premature baby…NICU…premature…NICU…”

We rushed to the hospital and were told that we were going to have our baby.  As they started the process of prepping my wife for the labor and delivery process, they discovered that the baby was sitting in the birth canal…with his little butt facing down instead of his head.  Things got very hectic then because we weren’t going to settle in for a slow delivery process.  He was in distress and they were doing an emergency C-section.  Medical staff surrounded my wife and I was REALLY just a useless observer at that point.  They wheeled her out and took me to a tiny room with the promise that they’d come get me soon.

It felt like a long time that I was in that little room.  While I was in there, alone, I prayed that God would be there for us.  I prayed that the doctors, all of whom were awakened in the middle of the night to come take care of my wife, would be alert and at their best.  I prayed that the nurse’s words the day before were just bloviating and that my son would be healthy.  Further, I prayed because I knew that none of this was in my hands and that I had to trust God to deliver my wife and son through the process.

I was ultimately taken back to my wife and I tried my best not to look at anything but her face as she lay there draped and covered from the neck down.  She was scared.  I was scared.  I did take comfort that the other faces I could see did NOT look scared.  It wasn’t until I heard them say that they were “on hold” until the NICU staff arrived that I really felt overwhelmed.

My son was born at 6:10am on May 18, 2003.  He was a healthy 6 pounds and 2 ounces.  God had stood with us and delivered a beautiful baby to our family, perhaps a few weeks early, but still healthy and happy.  He just celebrated his 11th birthday and has welcomed 2 brothers to our family with us since.  I will always remember sitting in that little room and asking God to be with him and his mommy.  Now my daily prayer is that God will stand with ME while I try my best to keep up with 3 energetic boys and be a good Dad.  Here’s a picture of Parker with his littlest brother, JT from just a few weeks ago.

Simpson boys #1 and #3

Simpson boys #1 and #3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’d like to hear Pastor Tyler’s sermon and story of baby Millie’s birth, you can find it at www.rezwest.org.

 

Return to the GPS Guide to read today’s scripture and reflection questions.

5.28.14 Insight from Rev. Steven Blair

Rev. Steven Blair is the Congregational Care Pastor of Live Forward and Live Well Emotional Wellness Ministry. www.cor.org/liveforward

“Renewed every day”

WEDNESDAY 5.28.14 2 Corinthians 4:7-12, 16-18

Modernity was a season of time in Western Civilization advanced by Philosophy and the Industrial Revolution. Key themes were The Rise of the Individual (and therefore Democracy), The Supremacy of Reason, and The Specialization of Knowledge.   While the 1500’s would include Renaissance Men (and Women) who could be an inventor, artist, and politician, Modernity would lead to people specializing in one field or another.   There is a biologist and an ethicist.   Furthermore, there is a public sphere and a private; reason and emotional.  It was a time of either/or thinking.

Our current western world is defined as Early Postmodernism.   Postmodernity is illustrated as a reaction to Modernity. It includes The Rise of Community, The Supremacy of Experience, and the Blurring of Lines between fields.   Now we have Bio-Ethics, and weisure (a mixture of work and leisure. It’s a real word, I swear.)   It is a time of both/and thinking. We are in a world of paradox … which actually isn’t anything new.

Today’s Scripture is truly beautiful. The Apostle Paul says we hold Jesus’ Gospel very gently as if it was held in breakable jars of clay AND, it has tremendous power. We are afflicted often, AND we are not crushed. We are persecuted, AND we are not forsaken. Death is at work in us, AND so is life. Our bodies are wasting away, AND our inner nature is being renewed day by day. It is even getting stronger.   Paul is describing a paradox. Both of these events are happening at the same time. Paul experienced it, the Church in Corinth experienced it, and I would imagine that most of us are currently experiencing it.

There is part of our brain that thinks in terms of either/or. We are tempted to think: Either evil exists and bad things happen OR God is alive and at work in this world. Either God gives grace based on God’s good Son, OR our good works play a role in salvation.     My coworker is either for me OR against me. What are the ways that your mind trends towards either/or thinking?

Now consider Paul.   What if today is both a time when you feel God being absent AND it is also the time when God is the nearest? What if this week is both a time when you feel spiritually dry, AND God was also renewing you day by day?

We don’t have a spiritual life compartmentalized into one corner of our life with a work life into another corner and a family life in another.   That is the thinking of modernity. Our spiritual life is also our bodily life. Our time alone is connected to our time together and vice versa.

Paul’s words open our eyes to see God’s activity in the midst of our need. Paul’s words also assert that Truth is found in the paradox. God is Loving AND Just. God is Loving AND evil still exists.   Truth is found in the Both/And.

May this Scripture both comfort AND challenge you, as it does me.

In Christ,
Steven Blair Pastor of the Live Forward Program for people with Habits and Hurts
www.cor.org/liveforward

Today’s Scripture in Full: 7 But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. 8 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies. 11 For while we live, we are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be made visible in our mortal flesh. 12 So death is at work in us, but life in you.

16 So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. 17 For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, 18 because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:7-12, 16-18

 

Return to the GPS Guide to read today’s scripture and reflection questions.

5.27.14 Insight from Brandon Gregory

Brandon Gregory is a volunteer for the worship and missions teams at Church of the Resurrection. He helps lead worship at the Vibe, West, and Downtown services, and is involved with the Malawi missions team at home.

Peter, James, and John had traveled with Jesus for three years, taking it on faith that he was the son of God. They had seen some amazing miracles and heard some equally amazing teaching. There was no doubt about it; Jesus was certainly much more than any teacher or prophet before him.

But all of their faith was about to be rocked, rattled, and rearranged. The man they had given their lives to follow would in a few short days be given over to the authorities and put to death in the most horrible way imaginable. All of their hopes of ushering in a new kingdom, all the dreams they had dreamed of escaping from Roman rule, everything they thought they had worked for would be tossed aside.

Jesus showed them a sign that was outright frightening to them. Jesus had to pick them up off of the ground and tell them not to be afraid. Seeing God as clearly as they had seen him would be a powerful experience—frightening, yes, but also reassuring: this was the undeniable truth they had been longing for. Jesus’ words in verse 9 confirm that this sign was not meant to convince the masses—it was for the people on that mountain with him. Jesus had chosen them not because their faith was weak, but because their faith was strong; and because their faith was strong, it would be up to them to struggle through a crisis of faith they could not have anticipated. God didn’t show this to them to gain their faith, because He already had it; God showed this to them to boost their faith and prepare them for the tough time ahead.

In my own life, I know Christians that have never gone through a period of doubt, and that’s an amazing claim. I also know many Christians that go through periods of very real doubt. Most of them make it through this period and their faith is stronger because of it. And, you know what? I envy both of them.

For me, doubt isn’t a far-off concept or a period that I will go through once and emerge victorious—doubt is something I struggle with daily. For me, choosing faith means dealing with the possibility that I could be wrong, and that’s a choice I have to make every day. There are days when it’s harder or easier, sure, but it’s always there, at least in the back of my mind, reminding me that, with faith, certainty will always be just beyond my grasp.

And then, as if that wasn’t enough, I also go through times when it’s a lot tougher to live out my faith. Sure, it’s easy when I’m really enjoying the church services, when my job is going great, when my family is happy, when my friends are well; but there are times when it would be extremely convenient to put my faith aside for a time, or when I see a real need that would require a financial commitment from me, or when everything seems to be crashing down and I have no control over what’s going on in my life.

Last fall, I was going through a period of greater doubt, wondering if God was really watching out for all of us, if He really cared about our day-to-day lives. With millions of people starving, or dying in wars, or being sold into slavery, my own needs seemed insignificant and petty. In the midst of all this, I was invited to help lead worship at a regional women’s conference.

At the conference, we decided to use one of the speaker’s sessions to practice our next worship set in the dorm common room. We were having a great time, singing and worshipping as well as laughing and talking. As we were practicing, I noticed one of the doors to a room was open. It was the door right next to where we were playing. I thought about shutting it, but then I saw a woman walk out of it. She went to the kitchen to get something, then disappeared back into the room. We finished our practice session and I didn’t think much of it until I bumped into the woman as I was leaving the dorm.

“Looks like you got your own private concert,” I said to her.

Her face lit up. “My daughter came down with a stomach bug today and couldn’t make the session tonight. We both love the worship music. You have no idea what a blessing it was to hear that tonight.”

We talked for a bit. Their group was from a church in a very small town. They had no worship band. Having a live band play worship music for them, something I take for granted, was a huge treat, and one that they had been very sad to miss out on.

So there I was, wondering if God took notice of our day-to-day concerns, and He had orchestrated a private worship concert for a sick girl who very much needed it. This was eerily similar to the answer I had been longing for. It sounds silly, but that small event struck a chord with me. It ended up bolstering my faith.

The next few months after that were very trying and tiring, as I found myself spending up to 60 hours a week in the office. But when I found my life draining and my faith tiresome, I could look back on a chance encounter with a sick girl at a women’s conference in Junction City, Kansas and remember that God was there for me as much as He was her.

The point of all that is that God usually gives us the tools we need for the trials to come, times of doubt included. It’s important to look for God in those chance encounters, but it’s just as important to remember the times we’ve seen God when the going gets tough. Sometimes, it’s those small signs that can keep us going through some of the hardest times in our lives. Just remember, you are not alone, and you are not forgotten.

Return to the GPS Guide to read today’s scripture and reflection questions.

5.26.14 Insight from Jeanna Repass

Jeanna Repass serves as the Kansas City Missions Program Director at The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection.

My daughter Ariel graduated from high school last weekend. One of the traditions my family celebrates when one of our children passes through this special moment is a “blanketing ceremony”. A blanketing ceremony is one where the parents and their graduating child go to the altar at church and wrap their child in a blanket that is embroidered with the child’s name, their baptismal date and a cross on it.

The Pastor blesses the child and reminds them of their baptism. The parents tell the child publicly that the child belongs to them even as they are preparing to leave home for the next stage of their journey. All of this happens as the parents are holding their graduate in their embrace and the blanket. For Ariel, she had the privilege of having her blanketing ceremony at the church where my Mother Johnice is the Pastor so it was particularly special and emotional.

One of the reasons I love today’s scripture is that the Transfiguration is a blanketing ceremony of Jesus. Jesus was preparing to leave the current phase of his ministry on earth in the presence of the disciples and go to a place where they would not be able to see him every day. His Father blanketed Him with new coverings/clothes and blessed him publicly. Matthew verse 2 “… and His clothes became dazzling white…” and verse 5 “This is my Son, the Beloved;with him I am well pleased; listen to him.”

I’m not comparing my daughter to Jesus and I don’t expect her to be perfect as she leaves our home and begins the next phase of her life. But I do love the connection we have in sending her out to the world that God modeled to us in blessing Jesus. I am well pleased with all of my children especially Ariel. I pray that she will be a light into the world that reflects Jesus to others at college, in her career and in the starting of her new family (eventually…not too soon!). It’s also important to remember that like Jesus others have gone on before us and today is a day for remembering the Transfiguration and memorializing our veterans and loved ones. God has blanketed all of us as His children and reminds us in Jesus that loving Him and loving one another pleases God well. Blessed Memorial Day to all. Amen.

Return to the GPS Guide to read today’s scripture and reflection questions.

5.24.14 Insight from Rev. Penny Ellwood

Rev. Penny Ellwood is the campus pastor at The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection Blue Springs.

I grew up on a farm in south-central Kansas in prairie country where the terrain is mostly flat. The beauty of this part of the country is the incredible panorama you get of the horizon and sky above. One of my favorite childhood memories is of running outside after a rainstorm, when the sun begins to shine under the clearing clouds, to try and find a rainbow in the sky.

I remember one time when the rainbow was so bright and close it appeared to end in the pasture not far from our house. My sister and I climbed the gate and ran down the cattle path as fast as we could to try to catch the end of it in the pasture before it disappeared. We could imagine dancing in the beams of colored light where it hit the ground. Needless to say, it disappeared before we could get there.

We’d been raised on Noah’s story of the ark and God’s promise in the rainbow. It was a reminder to us then, and to me still today, of God’s love for us. I’m grateful to my mother and my Sunday school teachers for sharing this message about a faithful God who keeps his promises. Now, as an adult, I find the story carries an even deeper meaning than it did as a child.

I see it now as a reminder that God will see me through whatever storm comes my way, that God will be with me no matter what I’m going through. I still go to the window after the rain, when the sun begins to shine through the clouds and the outdoors takes on that ethereal glow, and I search the sky for his sign. When I see it I give thanks to God for this reminder that he is always faithful and keeps his promises.

Return to the GPS Guide to read today’s scripture and reflection questions.

5.23.14 Insight from Darren Lippe

Darren Lippe helps facilitate Journey 101 “Loving God” classes, guides a 7th-grade Sunday school class, is a member of a small group & a men’s group, and serves on the Curriculum team.

Working in the energy industry, contracts are a routine part of my day. Ideally, we seek to make agreements that are mutually beneficial; if a party feels they got the short end of the deal, then they will be a pickle to work with during the term of the contract & the resulting grudge will likely hinder the next negotiations as well.

Obviously, not all contracts turn out to be equitable. Our friends in Troy probably thought they had a steal of a deal when they signed for that large wooden pony presented by the Greeks, Napoleon couldn’t wait to fax back the agreement selling great swaths of the Plains states to President Jefferson for $0.03/acre (Thus, the challenge for the Kansas Department of Tourism had already begun.), and the Canarsie Indian Chief may have strutted around wearing the trendy fabrics & beads he received from the Dutch in exchange for Manhattan Island. (Truth be told, he may have been prancing because he had sold land he didn’t even control.)

Since the Bible can be considered as a recounting of God’s interactions with His children, it shouldn’t be a surprise that it has a multitude of codicils, covenants, and contracts; like those made with Abraham, with David, & with Moses.

Today’s passage cites another agreement between God & His people: the Noahic Covenant. (Wow, impressive lingo – Editor. Thank you. When you read something like that from a layperson, it just means he spent a dollar buying a book of theology at a retired Pastor’s garage sale – DL.)

The covenant between God & Noah is considered a “Royal Grant” covenant, which is an agreement, for example, made by a king that rewards a loyal subject by granting him some office, a piece of land, or perhaps an exemption from taxes. The superior party in this agreement binds himself to the inferior party with no set conditions imposed on the lesser party. The benefits of this agreement could also be passed down to the heirs of the signatory party forever.

As we read the lingo of this Covenant between God & Noah, we quickly surmise it is a one-sided agreement. God is making a promise of life to Noah (& thereby us) without extracting any sort of promise or conditions from Noah. Even more amazingly, God is voluntarily omitting a means of enforcement from the agreement. (It would be like a bank volunteering to delete the foreclosure clause from a mortgage even in the event of non-payment.)

This is extraordinary. Who is advising God on His legal affairs? (We’ll omit the low-hanging fruit of any quips at the expense of our legal friends.) What could possibly motivate God to make such a lopsided contract?

The only conclusion one can reach is love.

Of course, this covenant between God & Noah is but a precursor to an even more mind-boggling agreement God makes a few thousand years later. As Paul writes in Romans 5:8, “Christ died for us, while we were still sinners.” Christ died on the cross to restore our relationship with God. He had no guarantee or even a promise that we would appreciate His suffering, that we would acknowledge His torment, or that we would even accept His sacrifice. Yet, as one theologian noted, “Jesus did not die on the cross to save humanity. He died on the cross to save you.” If you were the only person in all creation to benefit from this unbelievable sacrificial act of love, He would eagerly do it all over again.

Through Jesus’ death on the cross, God has generously written an eternal agreement with no fine print offering us the gift of salvation. The only question left for us is, “Where do we sign?”

Return to the GPS Guide to read today’s scripture and reflection questions.

 

5.22.14 Insight from Janelle Gregory

Janelle Gregory serves on the Resurrection staff as a Human Resources Specialist.

By the time our son came to live with us at the age of 10, he had already seen the inside of many courtrooms. Having spent half of his life in the foster system, to him courtrooms were where new moms and dads were assigned. Judges were the people who asked him odd questions and eventually decided that he couldn’t see his biological parents again. Hearings were painful reminders of the reality of the situation.

family ceremonySo when we adopted our son, I wanted so badly for him to realize that this trip to the courtroom was unlike all of the previous ones. So beyond the legal aspects, we made the decision to celebrate this unifying of our family in a covenant ceremony. The night of the adoption, we gathered in front of a small group of friends at the church. Together, my husband and I made these promises to our son:

We are so happy that you are our son
We promise to do our best to be good parents
We will keep you safe and protect you
We will be here to listen to you
We will be here to guide you when life is hard or confusing
We will cheer you on and celebrate your victories
We will learn from the love that God has for His children, and we will do our best to love you that same way.

We had this ceremony so that he would know that this was new. This was special. This was forever.

I imagine that as Christians reading the story of the flood, we’re meant to have a similar understanding through the message of the rainbow. The rainbow is a promise – a message. The rainbow says, “There may be times of danger and uncertainty, but I am with you.” It says, “I have not forgotten you, nor will I forsake you.” The rainbow is our opportunity to hear God whisper, “You have to know that our relationship is special – it’s different. You are forever my child.”

As an adoptive mom, one of my greatest desires is for my son to understand the fullness of our relationship and my love for him. If I have this deep yearning within my heart, I can only imagine how much greater this must be for the One who adopts us into an His eternal family. No matter the weather outside, we’re meant to claim the message of the rainbow as our own. To do anything less means that we’re not fully grasping what God so desperately wants to say to us – that we are, and will forever be, His.

Return to the GPS Guide to read today’s scripture and reflection questions.

5.21.14 Insight from Angela LaVallie

Angela LaVallie is the Worship Logistics Program Director at Resurrection. She oversees preparing the Sanctuary for worship, supports Vibe worship and volunteers in the Student Center, provides oversight for Holy Communion at the Leawood campus, and assists with worship logistics at conferences.

 

Just as our lives are not the same, our sacrifices to God are not all going to look the same. One area where I’ve felt lately I need focus on for better honoring God is my physical health.

Some people are naturally better at this, and living a healthy lifestyle is more of a joy for them than a sacrifice. But for someone who would rather sit on the couch watching tv show marathons on Netflix than run a mile, someone would choose Cheetos and brownies over vegetables every single time, and someone whose favorite food is bacon, healthy living is a little bit of a sacrifice.

In the GPS Guide prayer today, Romans 12:1 is referenced. In this verse, Paul says, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” In this verse, Paul isn’t explicitly preaching exercise and a healthy diet but warning the believers in Rome to refrain from practices that were destructive and harmful to their bodies and souls. For some people, giving up drugs or promiscuity would make their bodies a more holy temple. Since those aren’t areas where I am defiling my “temple,” a healthier diet and more exercise are the steps I need to take.

I recently came across a quote from Pastor Rick Warren that said, “God created it. Jesus died for it. The Spirit lives in it. I’d better take care of it.” Because living healthier is an area I feel challenged to improve in, I have printed this quote off and posted where I can see it and be motivated every day.

But that is just me. Some people might sacrifice an enjoyment of gossiping by instead finding good things to say. Others might give up time socializing with friends to read with a child in an inner-city school. And still others might put off purchasing an indulgence in order to financially support a worthy cause.  God may be calling you to sacrifice in other ways. I challenge you to take a look at where in your life you might please God with a sacrifice and to take a small step in making that sacrifice.

Return to the GPS Guide to read today’s scripture and reflection questions.OK