Too good to keep to myself.

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This post is written by Ginger Rothhaas, a pastoral intern serving at our church. Ginger will graduate from Saint Paul School of Theology in May. I am grateful for Ginger and for the prompting of the Holy Spirit…

Our Senior Pastor, Adam Hamilton, mentioned the beds ministry in his sermon last weekend. He spoke of people who discovered there were kids in Kansas City without beds. They started our church’s beds ministry with a dream of no child sleeping on the floor. Adam was illustrating that this ministry was a vision of the Promised Land, a place where our congregation is contributing to Eden one bed at a time.

The beds ministry began with a vision from Kevin and Mary Jones. They were serving families through My Father’s House, our church’s furnishings ministry which supplies household goods and furniture to people in Kansas City impacted by fire, eviction, floods, and many other disasters. They noticed a tremendous demand for beds, beyond what they could keep up with. Instead of turning people away, Kevin wanted to contribute to the Promised Land and find a way to provide beds, especially new beds for children. He communicated the need to Rani Lange who then shared it with Leigh Marie Souan and me, and we said, “Together, we can figure this out.”

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At our kitchen tables, the three of us worked to create a plan and started making phone calls. Each night when we tucked our own kids into their beds, we prayed that every child in Kansas City could have a bed of their own. Psalm 4:8 became our mission, hoping that every child we served would be able to say: “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.”

As a church, we began providing kids with beds four years ago. This simple expression of love is making a deep impact on these kids. We see the joy on their face as they receive what might be their very first bed. Teachers share stories of kids performing and behaving better after a few nights in their new bed. Parents are grateful, knowing sleep will make a difference in all of their lives.

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The beds ministry now has a life of its own far beyond what the three of us dreamed at our kitchen tables. God may be calling you to start or get involved with something, too. Listen to that tugging at your heart to help someone. Talk with friends and brainstorm ways you can serve others. An idea gets stronger as it is shared. Over 1,200 kids are sleeping in beds tonight because Kevin and Mary shared their idea with others and a few determined moms, along with many volunteers, took action.

Go to the Serve page today and find a program that tugs at your heart. Serving will not only improve your “good soil”, it will help someone else’s soil improve as well. This is how we work together with God to create the Promised Land.

 Click here to learn more about the beds ministry. Click here to see a broader range of service opportunities on the Serve page mentioned above.

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We’re just one tent away from a full-blown circus.

When you love what you have, you have everything you need.:

Families are complicated.

My friend, Linda Francis, soon-to-be author, who inspires me to keep going, sent me an email a couple of weeks ago. It was a funny email, describing a family vacation that had all the makings of the Waltons or the Cleavers sitting around the table, loving each other with kindness and laughter, board games and picture perfect meals. Norman Rockwell in the 21st century.

At least that’s what her rose-colored glasses envisioned.

But, we all know how clear rose-colored glasses really are, and her hopeful tales of the pristine families of John and Olivia Walton and Ward and June Cleaver resembled more of an Archie and Edith Bunker or Bundy family circus.

I know of NO families like the Waltons or the Cleavers or the Huxtables.

Mine included.

Families are complicated.

How in the world did we all turn out so differently? I can remember so many conversations with Mom that revolved around this subject. We were all raised in the same house, with the same parents, going to the same church and schools, trained under the same rules with the same work ethic and political leanings and spiritual formations. Yet, as we grew up, we became individuals who think and act and lean our own way, to our own fancy.

But, ya know, the more I think about it, the more I realize that I remember a lot more episodes of All in the Family than I remember of The Waltons. Archie and Edith were much more interesting and entertaining, albeit dysfunctional.

  • Family tension around which political party is best
  • Being so embarrassed when your parent disciplines you in front of your friends
  • Sleep ’til nooners and up-before-dawners
  • The know-it-all that knows it all with the exception of not knowing when to shut up
  • Conversations at the table that make you want to crawl UNDER the table to finish your meal
  • Siblings who have no earthly idea how to raise their own kids
  • Complainers and whiners and doomsdayers
  • You’ve-got-to-be-kidding-me-with-all-that-super-fakeness smilers
  • Passive aggressives and martyrs and controllers and manipulators all trying to co-exist and take charge in their own way
  • Having to explain things over and over and over again
  • Children who are the pickiest eaters and waste all the food
  • The ones who have to share every last ailment and the details
  • Table belchers and public nose-blowers and tooth-pickers and don’t-shield-the-sneezes-ers
  • The ultra long pray-ers and the have-never-uttered-a-prayer-in-their-lifers
  • Couples who are clearly not getting along and allow the rest of the family to experience the “fun”
  • Texters and Facebookers at the table  – these days can be classified as adults or children –  who would rather stare at a screen than have an actual focused conversation

John Boy who?

Give me Archie and Edith any day – I am grateful for and love the family God gave to me. They are all I need.

LOL Humorous Minion Quotes 2015 (12:43:59 AM, Thursday 10, September 2015 PDT) – 10 pics:

Almonds look like roaches, don’t they?

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20 very random things for which I am grateful:

  1. Rainy days and Wednesdays.
  2. A teeny tiny eaglet, born this morning at 7:20, whom I have named “Betsy Ross.”

http://www.dceaglecam.org/
(just scroll down the page for the live camera)

  1. Pants that still zip and button.
  2. The fact that I do not have to eat raw fish and sleep in a bed of sticks.
  3. Diners. As in small eating establishments with a trash-talking waitress who calls everyone “Hun.”
  4. Beautiful carpentry happening in our new laundry room.
  5. Natia’s tail that wags so vigorously it makes her bottom dance.
  6. A chorus of mourning doves in the morning, and a choir of coyotes at night.
  7. A space heater.
  8. A bag of roasted salted almonds for afternoon grazing.  No hay cucarachas. (Translated: no roaches)
  9. UPS and FedEx packages.
  10. Considering the police chief our friend.
  11. Rain drops that plop – that means they are BIG.
  12. Good-smelling deodorant.
  13. Having “Showers of Blessing” stuck in my head all the day long.
  14. Knowing Linda experiences family like I do sometimes.
  15. Angel food cake batter.

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18. Memories of macramé plant holders that Angela and I used to make.
19. My Pillow. Still loving it, Geri.    Simply Fit, not so much.
20. Terrible Joke Tuesdays that continue to make me laugh on Wednesdays:

What is Forrest Gump’s password?            Answer: 1forrest1

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37 Extremely Funny Quotes.:

The past, the present, and the future walk into a bar…

…it was tense.

"She's strong but she's exhausted":

I am grateful for a tense back, with muscles so tight they feel as if they are going to break from the strain.

I am grateful for wobbly legs, legs that have not moved in many hours due to the task at hand.

I am grateful for sandpaper eyes, tired from the glare of the screen.

I am grateful for the repetitive and the difficult of rewind and pause, rewind and pause, rewind and pause.

I am grateful for Terrible Joke Tuesdays at 4:45 in the afternoon, so that I can laugh out loud with a tense back, wobbly legs, sandpaper eyes, and pause the repetitive rewind.

*****

I am busy. It’s a good busy, and it makes me better, but I am exhausted these days. Busy means work is good, and it means there is a lot to do – editing, formatting, transcribing, deadlines – and it means I have to prioritize and put my gratitude ahead of tasks. I haven’t done this for almost two weeks.

"Quiet the mind, and the soul will speak." - Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati:

I am not a woo-woo kind of person, but I saw the above quote and see the correlation. I have not taken the time to quiet my heart. I have checked off lists, I have done the errands. I have scheduled the calendars, and I have set my sights on work. And in the center of it all, my soul has gone missing. Not really, but it has been covered by busy.

And God waits.

He waits for me to slow down. He waits for me to recognize. He waits for me to reach out and remember, once again.

 

I have a need for realignment this week. I have need for rest. I am grateful that I have another opportunity to express just how grateful I really am. I am grateful to those who care and have taken the time to let me know.

So, as a goodnight to Terrible Joke Tuesday, one more bar funny:

A ham sandwich walks into a bar and orders a beer. The bartender says, “I’m sorry, we don’t serve food here.” 

You’re welcome.

It’s time to quiet my mind and listen. Just listen…

14 more of my FAVORITE THINGS I’ve come across on Facebook today! This is the morning batch of all the best memes that'll make you laugh and smile (for sure).:

 

I’ve come to a conclusion.

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Conclusion is a funny word. Say it. Several times even. See? It’s funny.

con·clu·sion
kənˈklo͞oZHən/
noun
1. the end or finish of an event or process.
2. a judgment or decision reached by reasoning.

*****

The first words I hear each morning and the last words I hear each night: “I love you.” And more often than not, I also hear, “I am the luckiest man to have such a beautiful wife.” And sometimes I hear, “You make me so happy.”

I’ve come to a conclusion. Life is too short to take moments like this for granted.

*****

Remember when we were all little and Saint Patrick’s Day happened and we HAD to wear green to school so we wouldn’t get pinched? It was SUCH A BIG DEAL.

We would make shamrocks and rainbows and talk about the pot of gold and write limericks and I was never quite sure of those leprechauns, but it was always silly fun to say “Top ‘o the mornin’ to ya!” and be called lassies and lads.

We got a little older – junior high and high school – and if you were “cool,” you kept your green to yourself and acted like it was no big deal, but if someone tried to pinch you, you SWORE you were wearing green underwear, or you would point to the tiny speck of green on the tag inside your shirt.

Now that I am finally an actual adult – I know, it took some time to get here – I find this holiday kind of like President’s Day or Arbor Day or National Coffee Day.

Evidently, there are some people in this building who are still living out their grade school years.

I walked into the building this morning and had to look twice. A grown man was walking in at the same time wearing white pants, a bright green shirt, and a green ascot cap. I’ve never seen so many women wearing green shoes, green tops, green pants, green jewelry. I had to look twice when I saw the plant watering man outside our office doors – he was donning a sparkly green bowler.

(Yes, I had to look up “types of hats.” I had no idea, other than the kind of hat a leprechaun wears and what old men driving convertibles wear.)

I would understand if all of these people were on their way to the 3rd largest Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in the USA in downtown Kansas City to ride on a float. But they came to WORK like this.

I’ve come to a conclusion. Life would be boring if it weren’t for unique people who still try to live out their grade school years on Saint Patrick’s Day.

*****

My boss has taught me a lot in the last few years. In this season of claiming my independence and finding out who Rhonda is, she taught me that it’s okay to do things the way I want to do them – I don’t have to look a certain way or be a certain way because everyone else is. If I don’t want to wear green underwear, so be it.

I like casual. I like jeans and sweats and hoodies, too. I don’t like dresses. I might like dresses if I felt good about my legs, but I don’t, so I don’t. I am not a jewelry fan, so I don’t wear much. I don’t think I have ever worn a scarf around my neck. I would probably like scarves, since I like to be warm and covered, but since I never have, I don’t. I am very capable of choosing my clothes – my favorite shopping experience is to see a mannequin and tell the associate at a store, “I want to look just like that,” or see an entire outfit in a catalog and wish I could buy it, head to toe. It’s just easy to pull on a pair of jeans and a hoodie and be COMFORTABLE.

My boss doesn’t like to travel much, so she doesn’t. She loves wine, so she drinks it. She likes one certain pair of sandals, so she has that pair in several colors. We like what we like what we like.

I’ve come to a conclusion. We are 52, and we are old enough and capable enough to do life our way.

*****

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A co-worker came to the office this morning having an Alexander day. A Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. My boss sat down in her office and lovingly told her to take the day off and go home. And then an hour or so later, called my co-worker to find out how she was doing. My boss even called a mutual friend to check on my co-worker, and I have no doubt that my boss will follow up all weekend, too.

Life is short and we never have enough time for gladdening the hearts of those who travel the way with us. O, be swift to love! Make haste to be kind.  – Henri Frederic Amiel

I’ve come to a conclusion. Today, I am surrounded by kind hearts and kooky people.

*****

Yesterday, I read my Love Does calendar. I read it every morning, but yesterday stands out. Okay, not THAT much standing out, since I can’t remember exactly what it said, word for word, but it was something about rocks and asphalt. It was more about how our lives are messed up with hurts and failures and mistakes and wrong turns and God still wants us. And He still uses us. Even when. Even if. Even so.

I still have trust issues. Sheesh, I am wearing a green shirt today. I have passive aggressive tendencies even now. I still find myself sitting in judgment more than I care to admit. I am selfish sometimes. I get very defensive and not very nice when it comes to my family. But, I am glad I belong. I am glad that I am a part of His plan. I am glad that He assures me I am worthy.

I’ve come to a conclusion. I am glad I am Yours.

*****

I’ve come to a conclusion. I am very grateful that I am loved, that my world is unique, that I can be comfortable and casual in my 52-year-old self, that kind hearts and kooky people surround me and make life interesting, and I am grateful to be chosen by YOU.

L-Loved
U-Unique
C – Casual, Comfortable
K- Kindhearted and Kooky
Y- Yours

I am grateful to be so LUCKY on this Saint Patrick’s Day.

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Because…it is good.

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I am sharing this morning’s devotion from church. I love how Chris shares what I feel. My Dad and I were talking on Sunday about the message and creation and the two very different creation stories in Genesis and how there is so much I do not understand and was it literally six days and how do we really KNOW the first day and the second day and who was around to write all that down and can’t creationists and scientists just get along and and and…and it frustrates me, because IT DOESN’T MATTER. At least not to me.

I just know that our world is pretty incredible, no matter what corner I stand in. Whether it’s at the edge of a mountain that is grandiose or standing by a babbling brook or even on a sidewalk in an urban downtown full of concrete with a sprig of grass or a weed poking through to reach the sun, our world is pretty incredible.  And I know the Creator. I know Him personally. He blesses me every hour of every day whether I acknowledge that or not. He loves me.  He loves ME. Even ME.

So I will savor the day. I will appreciate the daffodils and the robins and the eagles and the sunshine and the clouds. I will declare His glory and leave the apologetics and the reasoned arguing and the need to prove to someone else. I don’t have the time to waste to force God on others when I just need to do love.

Psalm 19:1-4

1 Heaven is declaring God’s glory;
the sky is proclaiming his handiwork.
2 One day gushes the news to the next,
and one night informs another what needs to be known.
3 Of course, there’s no speech, no words—
their voices can’t be heard—
4     but their sound extends throughout the world;
their words reach the ends of the earth.

Psalm 33:6-9, 12-15

6 The skies were made by the Lord’s word,
all their starry multitude by the breath of his mouth.
7 He gathered the ocean waters into a heap;
he put the deep seas into storerooms.
8 All the earth honors the Lord;
all the earth’s inhabitants stand in awe of him.
9 Because when he spoke, it happened!
When he commanded, there it was!

12 The nation whose God is the Lord,
the people whom God has chosen as his possession,
is truly happy!
13 The Lord looks down from heaven;
he sees every human being.
14 From his dwelling place God observes
all who live on earth.
15 God is the one who made all their hearts,
the one who knows everything they do.

I’ve come to the point in my faith life where I’m not as concerned with “proving” Christianity. After all, I don’t prove that the music I like relaxes me. I don’t have to prove that Chipotle is delicious and convenient (because everyone already knows this. Duh). I don’t have to prove that sleeping a full night leaves me feeling more balanced through the day.

Following Jesus has led me down a path of growth, friendships, wonders, and purpose. I don’t have to prove these things — I’ve lived them.

And yet I have Christian friends who love arguing for Jesus. There’s even a word for the logic behind this: Apologetics.

The dictionary calls this the “reasoned arguments or writings in justification of something, typically a theory or religious doctrine.” It’s when people try to prove God or the Christian faith.

And yet I’ve never left an apologetic conversation with a good taste in my mouth. I’m grateful for reason and logic—but every time someone logically tries to prove their faith it comes off as… forced. And they’re already preaching to the choir! It’s like a salesman proving to you how effective their cleaning spray works. Guaranteed to be the best, right? Except… it’s just cleaning spray. Why the forceful approach?

Maybe it’s the millennial in me. I’ve just been sold too many false truths. I’ve been the target of advertising my whole life. If your faith resembles a television advertisement more than a source of awe, I’m just going to be hesitant to trust you.

And so when I read a passage like today’s reading from the Psalms, it’s like a breath of fresh air. The author is relaxed. He’s not concerned with proving his argument. He’s savoring existence. He’s not concerned with doctrinal purity or worship styles. He’s just taking it in. His heart is celebrating the goodness of it all.

“Their voices can’t be heard—but their sound extends throughout the world.”

I’m convinced that the most convincing evangelists aren’t the ones with the best arguments, but the ones who can tap into the wonder of it all. The people who see the greatness of God all around us are usually the people who also make God visible to the rest of us. They embody “good news.” They make faith not just convincing—but desirable.

You don’t have to force God on others when you display Him with your life. 

So enjoy this day. Savor the sun and wind and seasons and breath and life. After all, it’s all proclaiming the glory of our Creator. You can too :). – Chris Abel

(Chris Abel is the Young Adults Pastor at Resurrection, and he describes himself as a “Pastor/Creative-type/Adventurer.” A former atheist turned passionate follower of Christ, he completed his seminary education in Washington, DC. Before coming to Resurrection, Chris was a campus pastor near St. Louis, MO.)

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The eagle has landed. Sorta.

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Our little Florida eaglet accidentally fell out of his nest yesterday. I just assume he is a boy, but I’m not sure why. He is known as E9, but I think that sounds very science experiment-y, so I call him Everett. Everett allowed temptation to get the best of him, and he thought he could do it alone. But he was wrong.

I remember accidentally falling out of the nest. I also remember feeling very overwhelmed and relying heavily on Psalm 46.

It has been entertaining, to say the least, watching this little bird, almost ready to cut the apron strings but not quite. He must feel all alone, down there on the ground, feeling dirt and grass and pavement for the first time. Smaller birds swoop down and taunt him, teasing him that he’s big but can’t figure out how to soar. Other species, known as humans, gawk and take pictures and point at the little guy, all alone, trying to figure out how to survive while attempting to get back home.

It’s a big world out there. And sometimes, we aren’t ready to face it. Sometimes, we THINK we are ready to face it, but really, all we want is to be back home, curled up in our “nest” with Mom and Dad hovering close by, keeping a watchful eye, feeding us when we are hungry, protecting us from the taunting and the teasing and the gawking, seen and unseen.Sheltering us from the storms and hiding us from the dark and scary predators.

Image result for e9 eagletHarriet and Everett

Image result for e9 eagletMom and Dad keeping watch

Image result for e9 eagletLunch time

Image result for e9 eagletEverett, testing the wings, still safe and secure

Image result for e9 eagletAfter the fall, Mom and Dad delivering a fish
and in protection mode

Image result for e9 eagleEverett, figuring out this flying thing, yesterday afternoon

Image result for e9 eagleThis afternoon…beautiful, and so young,
still trying to figure out how to make those wings go up,
back to the nest.

Everett is sitting on a branch of a dead tree this afternoon, so close to the nest, but waiting. Every once in a while, you can see feeble attempts of take-off, or maybe Everett is just practicing for his homecoming. Harriet and M-15, (or Bond, as I like to call Dad) are near. One is in the nest tree, watching with an eagle-eye, and we all assume the other is out getting dinner from the local eatery so that dinner will be “on the table” when Everett comes home.

Tonight, I am grateful for the technology that now allows us to experience this little eagle family in Florida and have an eagle-eye view into the intimacy of parents so caring and concerned for their little one who has decided to test the waters.

I am grateful for God’s creation, complete with eagles.

I am grateful that Everett wasn’t injured in the fall.

I am grateful for a computer to watch this wonder of nature in real time.

I am grateful for the reminder in watching, of how my parents loved me and cared for me and didn’t abandon me when I fell from the nest.

I am grateful for the heart-wrenching emotions that come with getting attached to this Florida family.

And I am grateful, I think, that my boss gave me a new eagle family to now watch, and this time, I’ll be able to see from the beginning, as there are two eggs in the nest, to be hatched in a week or two.

Florida Eagle Family – Everett/E9, Harriet, and M-15/Bond

Washington DC Eagle Family – Mr. President and First Lady and eaglets-to-be

Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary. – Isaiah 40:31

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