We had a great time with family here for Christmas/New Year’s. There are lots of pictures here. I found myself think about a lot of things. As Cyndee came from a horror soaked "family," it was powerful to see her connecting with us and with her biological brother and his family. What a difference Jesus can make. Skype allows Nicole and Joy to see Elizabeth even though she’s in Kansas City. It was wonderful fun for the older folk. Elizabeth at just one wasn’t so impressed. Photo sites like Picasa and Dropshots are wonderful ways to keep up with people who are very far away. The trick is finding where the pictures are. It is a great joy when they are found and one can see how much girls have changed.
I preached on Isaiah 11 and focused on how the LORD works in stumps. We actually had a stump in front of the podium and dishes of woodchips around for people to write their stumpishness on and bring it to a manger if you need the unlikely help of a tender shoot or a tiny baby. Tiny babies are very precious and way more helpful than one would think when they can come out. The response was amazing as I asked people to get out of their seats and go act on stumpish things in their lives. We sang the super powerful song, "This is our God." You can hear Hillsong do it here. It was a very very emotional time for me as I reflected on my own stumpishness that caused so much hurt to my friend. I wonder if there will ever be a shoot there. A family came to talk with me after, who were in a rough spot in their lives. They wanted me to say everything would be OK. But that I can’t say. The life in the stump comes when there are responsive hearts and not always even then. The impact of sin is huge. But the tenderness of the LORD is awesome. So much to perplex.
This is the scene outside our home tonight. It’s a winter wonderland! seems the snow will never cease, though the weather guy says this is the end for a week at least. I’m ready, I think. I do love the snow as long as it doesn’t shut things down.
I also went to see Twilight, the movie sensation that’s super big with teenage girls. Bella, a 17 year old girl, falls in love with Edward, a 17 year old vampire. It’s pretty amazing.
I’m reading the third novel now. It’s really amazing to see her imagination and the basic morality of the story. Protecting innocent people, keeping instinctual cravings under control, forming friendships with people who are your natural enemies, maintaining sexual purity until marriage, honoring parents (if not always obeying them), are just some of the virtues there. The picture is me with Laurie Bloomquist, one of my students, You can pray for her. She heads off of Kenya in a few days to continue ministry there.
Next week I preach on Isaiah 40. What’s between comfort and hope? It’s proving to be a hard sermon to get nailed down. Especially I want to handle 40:31 well. Ideas?