"I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands." - Psalm 143:5

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Braveheart


 

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The bravest person I know entered my life Thirty-five years ago. March 16 started out as a snowy day, a winter mix that almost kept us from meeting, but the snow stopped and the sun melted what was left and I was on my way to Valhalla (New York that is, not the enormous hall of heroes located in Asgard). Although I am sharing a story about a hero, it is not the Norse kind.

When I first saw this person it was in the middle of a crowd, one that was there to meet an unassuming Christian rock band schedule to sing at their church that weekend. As I got off the bus the band traveled in, this person seemed to stand out from all the rest. Although surrounded by many people, it appeared she was singled out for me to notice her. This moment hung in the crisp air inviting me with a warmth and urgency I never felt before. Today two strangers would meet and only one was aware of the story playing out before his eyes. My Father chooses this moment to speak promise deep inside of me and give me a taste of what forever looks like.

I could not imagine the deep work that was unfolding before me, it seemed too neat, too orchestrated but I have long accepted the fact that God has a far larger imagination than mine. Still, this revelation unnerved me and took my breath away… it left me without words and I’m sure God was chuckling at that particular miracle. I was seeing past, present and future collide and all of the pieces falling unnoticed by the people around me. It was a private showing of a scene, a frame by frame exposure of rescue plan played out in my Heavenly Father’s heart. It was a love story that only He could have written.

He was asking this person of interest to embark on a crazy adventure. This journey would be life changing for them as well, for He was introducing them to the challenge of loving me, every part of me. There would be no off-limits place, no secrets, everything would be exposed and bared for their eyes only. They would see the man as he is and have the privilege, if they dared, to see him as the Father saw him. This wonderful brave heart not only agreed but embraced the challenge, giving all to the journey Father God had laid out for them. In a small church parking lot, in a little hamlet in New York, I met the braveheart that would become my wife.

Three decades and a half ago I would come face-to-face with the person God would use to rescue my heart. The intricate weave of a story that mended the torn and ragged fabric of my life. This beauty would rescue the prince and help vanquish the beast within forever. Dramatic? Yes of course, everything the Father does is full of the power of who He is. His storytelling is full of drama because He’s full of life and He lavished life on me when He introduced me to Christine.

The courtship was an acceptance of a story far greater than who we were and the acknowledgement that this path was good and perfect for us. Here we saw the sacred and were invited into the Holy place, where two became one, never to be separated.

I love this woman…I always will.

"But at the beginning of creation God 'made them male and female.' 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.' So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate." Mark 10:6-9

Thursday, February 5, 2015

A Review...I Believe

 

 

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Believe, NIV: Living the Story of the Bible to Become Like Jesus and it's companion book, Think, Act, Be Like Jesus (both by Pastor and author Randy Frazee) are two new discipleship tools that some churches may want to use to help new followers of Jesus to deepen their walk.

Believe, NIV is divided into 30 chapter readings that address one of the following three questions: “What do I believe?”, “What should I do?” and “Who am I becoming?” and is read more like a story than a typical Bible. I would suggest using it along with a tradition translation so that context connections can be made. Still,this can help someone who has had no previous exposure to the Bible gain a solid understanding of what a walk with Jesus is all about. The book is divided into three ten-week sections that are divided as follows:

10 Key Beliefs of Christian Faith (What Do I Believe?)
10 Key Practices of a Follower of Jesus (What Should I Do?)
10 Key Virtues that Assist in Becoming More Like Jesus
(Who Am I Becoming?)

The Companion book, Think, Act, Be Like Jesus works hand-in-hand with the Believe, NIV . It includes the same key verse and key idea as Believe, NIV. But Think, Act, Be Like Jesus also includes a key question and key application for each subject.

For instance, the key question in the chapter “God” is “Who is God?”

The key application is “What difference does this make in the
way I live?”

I think using both of these resources together, reading one chapter in one and the corresponding chapter in the other, will effectively challenge and educate the reader. The goal is to engage the reader and encourage thought and prayer about these key elements...extremely important for all disciples of Christ, new or otherwise.

Good tools, good resource...you should check them out.

Jay Cookingham

I receive these book from Zondervan, a world-leading Bible publisher and provider of Christian communications. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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