The Good News on Good Friday? God didn't leave us in our helpless, hopeless, chained up lives. He made a way for glory to be our inheritance. It involved the most shocking and horrific plan. Heaven's Darling - the One who created it all - gave it up to come and be mocked and beat and bullied and tortured. To be denied. To be killed.
But the Good News is that's not the end. Passover is tomorrow. A gorgeous reminder God's plan always included salvation - and Sunday is Easter. Oh my goodness. My heart is overflowing in gratitude.
If you need a couple of ways to celebrate can I suggest you check out Dr. Russell Moore's blog at https://www.russellmoore.com- I love his compassion and courage.
Or - buy Andrew Peterson's new album released today - Its called Resurrection Letters and I love it. The song whole thing is a call to my soul to live like I mean it.
Or - if you are on Twitter - BJ Thompson @bj116 is worth the follow. I like the guy. He makes me think.
My husband and I celebrate our 19th wedding anniversary today. And by celebrate I mean we sent our children to their grandparents and spent a couple of days eating our way around Portland. The dinners involved steak and lasagna. Fantastic lemon custard one night and a bananas foster cheese cake the second. Breakfast was spiced Huevos Rancheros and cheese grits with charred tomatoes. Yummmm. One of the ways we've managed to reach 19 and still like each other is a dogged commitment to celebrating everything with fantastic food.
I'm the lucky girl who knows how this handsome bearded man thinks. I know because I've spent that last 19 years eating across the booth from him. We met when I was 18 so I've been married to him longer than I didn't know him. I know the best ways to annoy him (don't give him space, talk bad about him before other people, interrupt him or others). I know the best ways to make him happy (catch his daughters doing something kind and tell him about it, appreciate something he's made, write something that changes the way one of us sees a hard situation). He's got me figured out too. If I'm cranky, feed me or put me in the bath with a book. Not complicated.
I asked him last night what advice he'd give to people on how to stay married 19 years. Here's his list:
Don't be crazy. (and by this I believe he means, calm down, fight fair, avoid the deal breakers, think).
Don’t be ridiculously self centered.
Give the other person space when they want it.
Don’t say one thing but mean something else and expect the other person to know what you are talking about.
Don’t berate your spouse in front of other people.
Work towards being a better person.
Invest your time in people that tend toward the positive.
Try and evaluate people in your life that are exceptional and watch what they do.
Figure out your stuff.
It's a good list. I think it works for parenting and friendships and any manner of relationship where longevity and care and quality are goals.
I enjoy the celebrate everything bit. I think people forget the joyful part of marriage and get stuck in the daily grind. If I have marriage advice its to try and figure out what makes your spouse smile and do more of that. Try to know your kids well enough to not push their buttons and to cheer on their joy. Try to honor your parents by avoiding what will break their hearts and invest in what brings honor. It works with friendships too.
Yesterday, my spouse took me to my happy place. Powell's books. We spent time in the children's books looking at the newest picture books, wandered through cookbooks and fiction and business. Picked out some books for family and friends. I have a new nephew to celebrate and a friend who I found out has never read Mere Christianity or The Hiding Place. This will be remedied soon.
This morning before heading home we spent the morning at The Portland Art Museum. My husband noticed the paint in this piece was incredibly thick. Parts looked almost as if the large globs had been glued in place. As we leaned in it became apparent the largest chunks were actually separating from the main painting due to time. There were cracks and crinkles.
Want to know something? The time gave it character. Depth. You could see the water ripple better because the painting had aged. The value increased with time.
The figure out your stuff thing is tough. It's what you do when it would be easier to leave. Or to shut down. We spent several years fighting about money and so we hauled our issues through Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace class. It helped. We've attended marriage retreats and parenting classes. Read books, took small group classes and one painful season headed off to a counselor. We used to fight when we put together Ikea furniture. Lots of practice and now we can assemble anything. We've got a plan. The figure out your stuff thing means identifying where the tension is coming from and figuring out a new normal.
Figure out your stuff means you don't get to quit. Trust me, I've let my husband down - and he can drive me crazy. But figuring out your stuff also means you get the privilege of loving someone after you know all their junk and after they know yours. It means hanging on to friendships when people make choices you don't like. It means investing in people with whom you disagree. It might be easier to love new people - flawless and fresh people. Of course, that's fake and if you hang out long enough the bugs show themselves. Real people take grace. But the years after forgiveness and growth and grace are the ones with treasures.
What have we been doing the last 19 years? Figuring out how to keep some promises. To honor and cherish. For better or worse.
Perhaps I've been hanging around too many small children dressed as Jesus era waifs. Or it may be because I live with someone who makes a fairly fantastic Roman Soldier. At any rate, when I saw the movie trailer for Paul - Apostle of Christ movie I cheered. I watched the trailer and figured this would be a fantastic way to celebrate Easter. Mark your calendar for the movie theatrical release date - March 23rd. If you'd like to be entered to win two free Fandango tickets to see the movie Paul simply enter a comment on the post below, or on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. I'll draw a random winner from the comments on Monday March 19th.
The movie tells the story of the last days of Paul the great Christian missionary and his friend Luke - who was determined to document the story of Jesus and the spread of the gospel. Paul and Luke face persecution in Nero's Rome but God's glorious plan will not be stopped.
I am impressed with the writer's commitment to tell the story of the Apostle Paul in keeping with the scripture - check out the movie trailer and interview with the author and I think you'll agree. #PaulMovieL3
Connection to Scripture
One entry per person regardless of number of comments.
Comment on the QuirkyFaith Facebook Post, this blog post, or the QuirkyFaith Instagram or QuirkyFaith Twitter for an entry to win.
Winner will be drawn Monday March 19th.
Winner will be provided an email link to two free Fandango tickets to the movie Paul, Apostle of Christ.
No purchase necessary to win.
Reviewer was provided with promotional giveaways, movie tickets in exchange for an honest review.
I could have no greater joy than to hear that my children are following the truth.
III John 1:4
My husband Duane and I have been greatly blessed. God has faithfully provided for every need and has blessed and prospered our efforts. Through the years, we have found Him to be a faithful friend and loving Heavenly Father. We can, however, swap survival stories with just about anyone. Our first apartment held only a beat up bedroom set and a used refrigerator and stove ($40 each) which we paid off at $10 a month. Salesmen came to our door and left because our furniture-less living room told them that we couldn’t afford whatever it was they were selling. We have experienced both physical and financial needs, but God has uplifted us through times of plenty and want. Currently we are watching us He provides for the needs of a brand new premature infant grandson who was born at 32 weeks and weighing 3 pounds
We praise His name for His tender watch care and the gift of His Son. While we appreciate material blessings, our greatest joy and blessing lies in the fact that all our children (daughters, sons-in-law and grandchildren) have chosen to serve God and all have accepted Christ as Savior. If you asked me why they all have committed their lives to Christ, my response is filtered through great gratitude for a Godly heritage. Anyone who comes to Christ does so through His saving power alone.
Let me tell you a little bit about the story behind our particular history. My father was raised in a loving home with no spiritual or godly training at all. He had a brilliant mind, but suffered with a severe curvature of the spine. He was the first of his family to graduate from high school but had to walk and/or hitchhike about 5 miles to attend
school. When he graduated, his desire was to become an attorney but he opted to go to Bible school because it was a more affordable option. His father agreed to the plan as long as my father “didn’t go and get religious”. It was actually at seminary that my dad was confronted with the truth of the Gospel story and where he accepted Christ as his Savior. With that decision, he made the choice to establish a Godly heritage where none had been before. He became a missionary and was a loving and committed husband and father.
What a Godly heritage!
Children are fortunate if they have a father who is honest and does what is right. Proverbs 20:7 GNB
My mother, on the other hand, was born into a Christian home but it was loveless and harsh. Her parents were hardworking German farmers who valued obedience and duty. My mother told us that no one in the family ever mentioned her birthday. Finally she determined as a child that she would walk down the stairs of the old farmhouse and remind everyone that it was her birthday and they could wish her a happy one if they wished. Even though she grew up with great negativity, she also chose to be a Christian and went to Philadelphia school of the Bible where she met my father. She determined to serve God and others with her whole heart. She faithfully served her husband, her children, and all who came her way and spoke of God’s great love.
We will not keep them from our children; we will tell the next generation about the Lord ‘s power and his great deeds and the wonderful things he has done.
(Psalms 78:4 GNB)
Duane’s parents also have powerful stories of God’s leading in their lives. They were each dramatically healed from cancer and left a legacy of faithfulness. They each showed us how to live—and die.
The Lord knows the days of the upright and blameless, and their heritage will abide forever.
(Psalm 37:18 AMP)
Men and women of the Bible and throughout history clearly demonstrate both the wisdom and reward of following and serving God and the folly and sorrow of rejecting Him. Christ has paid the price. Individuals each get to make the choice to accept or refuse to follow Him. Ultimately, every soul either enjoys a heritage of righteousness or it is up to them to create one. Without a doubt, there is nothing more important than pointing our children to the One who gives them life worth living.
And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. (Deuteronomy 6:5-7 NLT)
Wall of Faith: Colossians
Colossians is a letter from Paul to one of his church plants. When I read it this week I felt like he wrote it for the 200 plus cast and crew of Bow the Knee. If you didn't read last weeks blog about Bow the Knee you can catch up here: Why We Pour It All Out at Bow The Knee.
Tonight I'll head down to the church after work and join people from 24 different churches in my town to do our last dress rehearsal for this weekend's performances. At practice on Sunday, our head pastor led everyone in communion and gave us all a healthy reminder to do Bow the Knee well. Keep the drama on the stage was his advice. Good advice. Paul would agree. If you are in Bow the Knee - or if you ever partner with tons of faith people different than you to accomplish some feat for Jesus you may want to read along. Take Paul's word's to heart. Here is my survival plan for this week.
PRAY JOYFULLY WITH THANKSGIVING
I'm thankful for the 38 kids who have committed to late nights and boring waits and silent walks backstage. I'm grateful for their parents. I'm grateful my kids get to participate. I'm grateful my daughter took invitations to her friends at school. Grateful for the humility of those playing Jesus. Grateful for the choir and the tech crew. I'm praying for health and endurance and patience.
For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. Colossians 1:9-12
REMEMBER TO KEEP THE MAIN THING THE MAIN THING.
I'm reminding myself daily this is all about Jesus. Not who is working hardest. Not who gets credit. Well actually. It is about who worked hardest - that was Jesus. He is the one who left heaven's glory to rescue our sorry souls by enduring torture and death. And it is all about who gets credit - that would be Jesus.
For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. Colossians 1:16-18
PUT ON SOME LOVE
When I'm tired or hungry or have consumed entirely too much caffeine I can get cranky. You too? And when I get cranky, I can be short with people. You too? And I'm pretty good at giving myself a pass - because you see I'm tired and cranky. You too? I can also be pretty good about noticing when other people are short or rude or too emphatic in their directions to keep my kids quiet. No passes given to them. Do you do this? Sigh. Me too.
I am going to do my best this week to hold myself accountable to treating people well regardless of how I feel. And I'm going give away grace in massive quantities to other people. You too? Let's make this section of Colossians our anthem this week.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:12-17
Fellow Bow the Knee people - we are dearly loved. We are chosen for a high and mighty purpose. Tonight as we put on our crew shirts or hustle into costumes let's really clothe ourselves with compassion, with gentleness, with humility and patience. Let's say we're sorry. Let's forgive gracefully. Let's live in peace. Let's sing to God with gratitude in our hearts. Come to the house of the Lord.
A friend genuinely asked the question recently on social media, "Why did you have children?" While many answered right away with altruistic answers such as "to make the world a better place" or "I always wanted to be a mother", I reflected for a long time. Babies cause us to lose sleep, children throw tantrums, teens make expensive mistakes...why go through it all?
After much thought and reflection, an answer rang true: I had children simply for relationship sake. I want to know my kids and I want them to know me.
In August, I joyfully discovered I was pregnant. From the moment I found out, I wondered who this precious little one would be. Would this baby be a she or a he? Would his favorite color be green or would her's be orange? Would he love to sing, dance, draw, read, run or swim? Would she be bold and talkative or quiet and contemplative? I wanted to know what would make this child laugh and cry and wanted to help this child through each and every one of life's events. I wanted a relationship with this new tiny person.
This pregnancy, however, proved to be difficult and expensive. It came with physical, emotional and monetary costs:
I did not want to endure nausea during the first trimester, but I threw up four or five times a day because I loved the baby growing inside.
I did not want to pee my pants when I sneezed or coughed, but I endured humiliating encounters because I cherished the child and knew it was part of the cost of growing a baby.
I did not want to get weekly progesterone shots to avoid preterm labor, but I did it because I wanted to hold a healthy baby in my arms.
I did not want to be pumped full of magnesium, steroids, fluids and shots when I went into preterm labor at 28 weeks, but I would do anything to give my baby more time to develop.
I did not want to go on bed rest for 5 weeks, but I wanted to do everything possible to ensure my baby had every chance to grow.
I did not want to prick my finger four times a day and eat an ultra restricted diet due to gestational diabetes, but I wanted to spare my baby a lifetime of health complications.
I did not want to have an emergency C-section at 32 weeks gestation, but I wanted my baby to be delivered safely. I would endure the painful, long recovery for the safety of my child.
I did not want to spend a month in the NICU, getting little sleep, but I wanted to be where my baby was so we could bond and give him the very best start possible.
Why did I endure all of this? Why did I have children? I went through it for the same reason Jesus endured the cross-- if I didn't go through the discomfort, pain and humiliation, I wouldn't have a relationship with the tiny almost 4 pound miracle whom I adore.
"When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world." John 16:21
In the New Testament book of Timothy, the story of the original sin is recounted.
"For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet she will be saved through childbearing." (1 Timothy 2:12–15)
These verses about child birthing saving women always confused me until I thought about what is spilled and sacrificed during childbirth.
During childbirth a woman endures intense pain, blood is spilled and her water breaks.
Christ, on the cross, endured ultimate pain. His blood was spilled and Jesus--the Living Water--His body was broken.
Christ didn't want to be falsely accused.
Christ didn't want to be beaten.
Christ didn't want to be mocked.
Christ didn't want to be flogged.
Christ didn't want to be crucified.
Christ didn't want to die.
He prayed and begged his Heavenly Father to let the cup of pain and sacrifice to pass from him, but amazingly he chose God's will and not His own. He chose pain and suffering because he knew it would lead to forgiveness of sins and reconciliation between God and every person who calls on his name.
So Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many... Hebrews 9:28(a)
Why did Jesus do it? Same reason a woman endures a hard pregnancy-- He did it for LOVE.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
Long, long before Jesus came into the world it was proclaimed “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” which means, God with us." Matthew 1:23
Jesus came into the world through labor pains because he wanted to be with us.
"But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons." Galatians 4:4-5
Jesus came via contractions, water spilling and pushing because he wanted to engraft us into the family God. He wanted to make a place for us in his Father's heavenly mansion. He wanted to call you brother or sister. Just like I look forward to bringing my tiny premie home from the hospital, Jesus longs to bring you home one day too.
A child is born to us! A son is given to us! And he will be our ruler. He will be called, "Wonderful Counselor," "Mighty God," "Eternal Father," "Prince of Peace". Isaiah 9:6 Good News Translation
Jesus came into this world as a tiny baby because he wants a relationship with us. He wants to give us direction when we don't know what to do. He wants to advise and provide wisdom. He wants to be our source of strength when life is hard. He wants us to call him Father, Abba...Daddy. He wants to be our protector and provider. He wants to be our source of peace. No, he did not want to endure the pain of Good Friday, but he wanted the joy of Easter Sunday and the joy of a thriving relationship with you.
Photos by Arrowcreek Photography.
For the next two weeks our regular lives are on hold. Our family - and many of our fiends - are a part of a local production called Bow The Knee. This is a 200 person cast and choir musical which tells the story of Jesus' ministry, death and resurrection. It requires hours of practice, gallons of makeup, piles of money and a crazy amount of emotional effort to pull off. At the end of Bow The Knee we will all be exhausted, worn out, behind at work, disorganized and slightly broken. We'll probably all have colds. Some of the characters will have no voices, bruised bodies and exhaustion will be rampant. We'll likely have stepped on each others toes, apologies are frequently required. And yet grace abounds and many of us come back the next year.
I've heard some people say that the effort and expense of Bow The Knee would be better directed at other ministries. They argue that the money and time should be used to assist people in poverty or that the show isn't what the gospel is about. I understand this. I've stood in fields in Rwanda and wondered about the American church and her excess. Much of the time I'm one of the ones advocating for programs for clean water, new shoes, grants for foster kids and the like. I love non-profits and know there is nothing closer to the heart of God than protecting and aiding vulnerable people. And yet I keep participating and investing in Bow the Knee. Not to the exclusion of other forms of ministry. But because I believe there is a place for extravagant worship and for memorable stories.
Last night I was thinking about the story in Mark about an expensive display of worship and how Jesus responded. Mark 14 records the story. Jesus was hanging out with some of his guys and a local woman came in and sat at his feet and broke a bottle of costly perfume all over his feet. She washed his feet with her tears and dried his feet with her hair. This is a crazy story. Embarrassing levels of love. I'd be uncomfortable if I was there. And what a waste of money! Some of Jesus' followers clearly were concerned and asked why the perfume hadn't been sold to help the poor.
"Leave her alone," Jesus said, "Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me.....What she has done will be told anywhere the good news is preached all over the world. It will be told in memory of her."
Jesus honored this woman for pouring out her heart in worship - and he recognized that the story would be remembered and would point people to faith.
Last night a few friends were sharing stories of how we met, how they got started on the road to faith, how they found Jesus. I was amazed how frequently Bow the Knee came up. This big bold play is just a tool - but the songs and visual experience clearly can move people to make a decision. I know people whose lives changed because of Jesus. And they met Jesus because of Bow the Knee.
So I spent part of today inviting people to Bow the Knee. Some of the invites were awkward. I recognize the invitation may put some people off. But I'd rather ask everyone and be sure no one who wanted to come was left out. Even if I feel vulnerable. And I do feel vulnerable. I think the perfume lady did too. But she poured it out anyway.
If you'd like to come you can get tickets at www.BowtheKnee.com. If you'd like to help - send me an email and I'll pass on your info to the team. All hands on deck. We have the best story in all of history to share.
I love Jesus. I think my two daughters can change the world. I think you can too.
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