From the monthly archives: July 2016

We are pleased to present below all posts archived in 'July 2016'. If you still can't find what you are looking for, try using the search box.

Have Courage, Be Kind: ‘Cinderella’ as a Guide in Our Troubled Times


 


I feel a bit like Henny Penny. The sky may be falling. For real this time. I don't believe I'm alone in feeling depleted of hope. I'm battling but I'm sinking. These last months and especially these last few weeks my mind has run the gauntlet, slamming into shock, disbelief, anger, sadness, disillusionment and fear. My heart asks, have we have lost the ability to be kind?

As I've processed, one story continues to resurface: Cinderella. Yes, I'm serious. I love fairy tales and never tire of remakes and spin-offs. And Disney's most recent remake of this classic tale is fabulous. I realize some people would rather pluck out their eyelashes one by one than watch a “chick flick,” but everyone should watch Cinderella. It will be good for your soul.

We know the plot so well, it becomes a children’s story and nothing more. But place yourself in her glass slippers, figuratively. Loss. More loss. Cruelty. Injustice. Betrayal. Uncertainty. And although we know her story ends with a heavy dose of happily, her journey was far from easy. The beauty and encouragement come from how she chose to walk through so much heartbreak and injustice.

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Don't Quit: God Works Miracles Even when We're Too Weary to Ask for Them


 


Earlier this year, I was really struggling with negative thoughts and depression. Fighting off all those lies about who you are wears you down to the point you don't want to fight anymore. My heart was a hard little stone in my chest, and I was done with everything. Then a miracle happened.

My friend Shawnee competed in her first triathlon a few weeks ago — along with a billion other crazy people who somehow think a 1.2-mile swim (in Boulder Reservoir), a 56-mile bike ride and a 13.2-mile run sounds fun. In 90-degree weather. Really?

Anyway, I won't go into the absolute zoo of a time I had trying to get to the reservoir, though when I finally got to the road that leads to it, the road was closed. I had missed my friend's swim and now I couldn’t get up to the reservoir at all.

I may have said a bad word. I may have cried a little, too. Maybe.

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The Little Free Library That Could (Build Community)


 

Loving like Jesus in your neighborhood can take on many forms — from participating in Serve 6.8’s Serve Day to sharing a good book.



A few of my favorite things this summer:

• The beautiful gladiolus and roses blooming in my front yard
• A more relaxed schedule, frozen popsicles and reading out loud with the kids
• The Little Free Library in front of my house and the community it creates

This little library has been such a delight for both my family and my neighbors. At first I didn’t have any kind of sign up to indicate what it was. We had a lot of fun watching people walk by and then back up, peek inside and try to figure out what exactly it was. We noticed cars slowing to look at it as they drove by. Most of the adults were too polite to ask us about it, but the neighbor kids had no qualms: “What is that?” “Is that a house for your dog?” “Why is that house up on a pole?”

Now that we placed a plaque on the outside and an explanation card on the inside, we have the continued fun of watching all kinds of people engage with it.

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The Big Fundamental: On Tim Duncan and Spiritual Maturity


 


Last Monday, Tim Duncan, one of the all-time basketball greats, retired after 19 seasons in the NBA. He finished with five championships and host of other accolades. He’s probably the best power forward ever.

Much has already been made of his unselfishness and high character on and off the court. But when it came to actually playing the game, he was a man of fundamentals. He will be remembered for his classic bank shot. It’s a shot that many kids learn early in their basketball training but then leave behind for the beauty and glory of three-point swishes. For most players, the bank shot is what you accidentally do when your shot misfires, and at the last moment, you yell, “Bank!” — as if you meant to do it.

But Tim Duncan meant to. He made his living on bank shots. And for big men, there tends to be a monopoly on dunking the ball (think Shaq and Dwight Howard). Duncan made his enduring quality a shot that seventh-grade kids can master. But they never showed up on the highlight reels. Instead, the alley-oops and the 3-pointers are shown over and over and over. And we should enjoy those things — because those things are nearly impossible. Only a handful of people on the planet can make those crazy shots or dunks. And so those clips go viral, each click proclaiming our awe. But the bank shot won five championships, built a winning legacy and became one of the best of all time.

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And I Always Will: A Playlist for Volume 7 of Our Romans Series


 


Well, this is it. The last volume in Romans: An Anthology of Good News. This sermon series started in August of 2014 (!). It’s been nearly two years since Volume 1, and after 69 sermons and four playlists, there are only five weeks remaining in our Romans series. Welcome to Volume 7.

For our last spin around the turn table, we went with a line from Elvis Presley’s “Love Me Tender” for the title. “I love you / And I always will” is as good of caption as any for the last chapter-and-a-half of Romans. And although this last section of Paul’s letter to the church in Rome is a bit all over the place, one thing seems to stick out: the people. There’s affection. There are greetings. There are longings to be together but a subtle undertone that it might not happen in this life. Full of longing with just a dash of the bittersweet, it is a very people-centric passage.

For Paul, it had to be. Though Romans 15:14-16:27 doesn’t quite carry the same level of finality as Paul’s letters to Timothy, there is still a Truman-esque feel to it. “In case I don’t see ya . . .” This is why Paul mentions so many people who mean so much to him. The relationships bear eternal weight because the work (Romans 15:17-18) is eternally weighty.

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