Continuing in our teaching series called CONTRASTS this past Sunday, the message was on 1 John 3:11-24. The whole talk can be summarized with these four statements:
Anger and hate make broken things more broken
Love brings the power of God to broken situations
God provides what we need to love when it's difficult to do so
Only God's love can fix the broken
To help get my message going, our phenomenal worship teams at New Life Lincoln Park performed Coldplay's "Fix You." We have a service at 10am and one at 5pm so it was awesome to hear each team's take on the song. Here they both are:
Papa served two terms in the Korean war. I remember when I was little finding a box at his house with various mementos from the Army. Money. A knife. Pictures. And I remember the awe that came over me. "Papa is a soldier!"
He never really wanted to talk about his time there. When I was little that didn't make sense to me, but it does now.
To this day Papa has the word "Army" tattooed on his arm. Its faded now but still legible.
Tragically, my soldier grandfather, who served two terms in the Korean war, now bed ridden in his Highland Indiana home while suffering from Alzheimer's, was told recently that he is ineligible for financial help from the Veteran's administration.
Apparently his tattoo isn't legible to various entities of our government.
Memorial Day to me is my grandfather.
Memorial Day to me is also my cousin. My uncles. Various friends.
I have deep thankfulness for these individuals who sacrifice and have sacrificed in a way that really can't be fathomed by those of us who haven't done it.
I pray that what they've given doesn't fade away like an old tattoo.
This pic is of Papa and Baylee, taken on Memorial Day six years ago.
Before starting to work on my own post for today I checked my email and found the below post from Michael Hyatt's blog. I normally don't just rehash other people's stuff on here but this was too good to not share. Highly recommend you reading this today:
Batter my heart, three-person'd God ; for you
As yet but knock ; breathe, shine, and seek to mend ;
That I may rise, and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend
Your force, to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurp'd town, to another due,
Labour to admit you, but O, to no end.
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captived, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved fain,
But am betroth'd unto your enemy ;
Divorce me, untie, or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.
This is one of my favorite poems, a sonnet by John Donne.
It is a dangerous prayer to ask God to batter your heart in such away that it becomes untangled from all other things but Him. But such a prayer must be offered, that we would be divorced from all other allegiances and found only with eyes for Him.
A dangerous prayer, a possibly difficult prayer, but a necessary one.
This past Sunday was Mother's Day. At church we had a special time during the service celebrating our moms, over 25 in total! Though we gave thank you gifts to all of them, special gifts went to specific moms from the group. The special gifts went to the newest mom (less than 2 week old), the mom who came the furthest to be with us (California), the mom with the most grand-kids (7), and the mom who had been in labor the longest (60 hours!!!!). Go ahead and let that last one set in for a minute: 60 hours in labor. It was summarized perfectly on Sunday by Rick when he said, "I wish we had a Purple Heart to give you."
For the actual message we continued in our CONTRASTS series going through 1 John. The scripture we went though was 1 John 2:18-27, which isn't the first text anyone would probably pick for mother's day as it is about antichrists. But it was the next part of the letter so I went with it.
The message was entitled, "Beware of the Creepers" and can be summarized by this image:
I'm at an US Army Chaplaincy Annual Sustainment Training right now where almost 200 chaplains are being equipped. It's been a really phenomenal experience being around these men and women.
At one point in the schedule this morning things got quiet, someone called for attention, and Commanding General Francis Wiercinski walked into the room. Though I've obviously never heard of him up till this point, it was pretty amazing to sit and ease drop as this level of leadership in our military shared with the chaplains.
As he spoke it was the only time in the last two days that the room was dead quiet. Partly I'd imagine this was because of his rank but in realty I'd say it was also because his words were really profound. Straight to the point, but empowering. Here are a few things that stuck out to me:
Watching this video would be one of the best investments of your time today:
This immediately became one of my favorite TED talks before it was even over.
The poem "B" at the beginning has me wanting to get back home to hug on Baylee and Jaxon. "10 things I know to be true," "10 things I should have learned by now," and everything she communicates around them has me putting aspects of my teaching and leadership back under a microscope. The imagery she crafts in "Hiroshima" make a word that I needed to hear today.
Yesterday was the unofficial Star Wars day: May the 4th be with you. I wasn't going to get home till late from a work trip, but Jeannette and I talked on the phone earlier in the day and decided it was time for the kids to experience the movies. Being my kids they've obviously heard of them and know who some of the characters are, but they hadn't seen them yet.
Both got incredibly excited when Jeannette explained what the day was and that we were going to watch the movies when I got home. Evidence of their excitement came in this text that I got from Jeannette during the day:
Not a national holiday. But it should be. At the very least this is a day for some of us to take pride in our geekyness and revel in the story we have been a part of since childhood.
Everyone has their favorite characters (Yoda & R2D2 here) and their favorite lines ("Do or do not - there is no try" and "Focus determines your reality"). We have our favorite funny moments ("Let the Wookie win", the storm trooper hitting his head), our favorite battles (blowing up the Death Star, Hoth, escaping the sarlac pit), and our favorite duels (Yoda vs Dooku, Obi Wan vs Anikan, Luke vs Darth). We'll argue whether Han or Greedo shot first, we'll defend the presence of Jar Jar (well, maybe), and we have no qualms about paying to see the movies (yet again) in 3D.
And I don't care what anyone says, there hasn't been a more shocking plot twist in cinema since "I am your father."
Today is our day you Jedi and you Sith. May the 4th be with you!
Some will roll their eyes when you say that to them. Just do the Jedi mind trick hand wave in front of their face and say, "This is the day you have been waiting for."
Because after all, such things work on the weak minded.
Speaking of favorites within the epic, this is my scene out of all six movies: