“The Waves and Wind Still Know His Name”

The ancients saw the wind and waves as chaos. They were uncontrollable, volatile, violent, destructive, awe-inspiring, forces of nature, and they were to be respected, but even when respected the wind and waves could wreak havoc on their lives. The truth is, the wind and the waves are still chaos today. Sure, we can use wind for energy, ride waves, and enjoy the way a nice breeze along water is peaceful, but when that wind turns violent or the waves crash into something, the chaos is still there.

This chaos has been apparent to me the past couple days as I have watched the wind and the waves crash into the lakeshore. We have been staying at Katie’s aunt and uncles house on Lake Michigan and the past two days have seen 8-10 foot waves, 20-30 mph winds and an awe-inspiring storm. The “fort” my kids and I have made has been washed away, and the shoreline is missing some sand. This has reminded me of a line to a song we have been singing in church together “the waves and the wind still know His name.” The writer of the song titled “It is Well” wrote this line after a time he had been crying out to God and sensed God say to him, “the waves and wind still know my name.” In other words, “in the chaos of your life, the thing that is uncontrollable, the moment of great despair, don’t forget that I am here. Don’t forget that when my name is spoken, peace comes to the chaos.”

This has left me asking some hard questions of myself. Do I trust the chaotic moments of my life to God? When I am in despair, when things seem uncontrollable, where do I find my hope? What would it look like if you and I began to find our hope in the one of whom we can sing the line “the waves and the wind still know my name.” What if rather than seeing the world as awful, being driven by fear, or lamenting the “chaos” in our lives, we began to find hope in the one whose name can calm the wind and the waves.

When the storm ends and calm comes again, we know that there will be other storms in the future. We can only control our response to the storm. We can learn to lean in on the one who speaks peace in chaos and we can learn to sing the other lines of the song because of that hope.

Through it all, through it all, My eyes are on You, It is well with me, Far be it from me to not believe, Even when my eyes can’t see…So let go my soul and trust in Him, The waves and wind still know His name…It is well with my soul.”

My prayer for you and I, is that we would learn to trust wholly in the one who brings peace. The One “the waves and wind still know His name.”

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More than Words: A Lesson From Grandma

Do you ever feel alone? Do you ever wonder if you are loved? Do you sometimes feel like a relationship with God is one-sided? Maybe it feels like you read the Bible, you pray, and you hear nothing. Maybe you don’t read the Bible, maybe you don’t pray, and maybe you still don’t hear from God.

What if the way that we approached the Scriptures had an impact on the relational aspect of God to us? What if the Scriptures come alive when we read them having approached them prayerfully? You see I know in my life that the Scriptures have most often been God speaking back to me when I have approached the Scriptures from a place of openness and intentionality.

The Bible is a collection of books written by many different authors over several hundred years. There is allegory, poetry, and several other literary devices seen throughout its pages. Every author was trying to paint a different picture with words. When we look at small parts of the whole it really is hard to follow. What if we began to read all of Scripture in light of Jesus? What if we approached all the various stories and read them through the lens of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection?

You see all the various stories are not written in some type of chronology, but are written as more of a mosaic with all the pieces coming together to tell one overarching story…the story of God’s relentless love towards people. Maybe the Scriptures become for us one of the ways that The Divine speaks into our lives, but maybe we need to prayerfully approach the Scriptures as a part of God’s grand narrative and not just a textbook. If we approach it in this way, I believe that my grandmother’s words may then become more and more alive for all of us.

Today is a great day to give Thank to everyone But God should come first WE should always be ready to give thanks  for what we have As I was having my  

devotions  I read Psalm’s 100    it spoke to me so I read it several times  I like  the quote It is God who made us, and we are His  I like to think I am . also  I liked 

For the Lord is good and his love endure  forever When I am lonesome and feel that no body cares   I go to my Bible  there I find that someone does love me 

I love reading the Bible and finding out how much God does care  if I just trust Him  I will be praying for your service in the morning while  I am getting ready to go to church I pray that you have a great service tomorrow God Loves you and so do I  Love  Grandma Ola

July, 30, 2017

 

My grandmother may be 94 years-old, but there is a wisdom that comes from her that is worth us all hearing. She knows the One that is redeeming, reconciling, and restoring all things. The One that does this work in us personally, in our relationships with one another, and the whole cosmos. The role of the church then becomes the people who embody God’s redemption seen in the love of Jesus. The church is to be the people that understand the Scriptures together and then live out the call of Jesus in those pages to be God’s people, a people of hope, faith, and love. It is the church that is to point out what my grandmother points out for us: we are his, and knows us and wants us to know Him. Do you know Him?

Wisdom from Grandma

Every week that I receive an email from my grandmother I am more and more impressed with her. She is a woman who did not grow up with a typewriter or computer and yet each week there is an email in my inbox. What is more impressive is the meaning behind the words.

Good morning Aaron , this is the day the Lord has made for us  lets us rejoice and be glad  I am praying he will bless you and encourage you . I am sure that your people needs to be encouraged  so giver them an encourage word this morning .Pleasant words are a honeycomb,sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.

Proverbs 16/24 God loves you and so do I   Keep trusting God  Love Grandma Ola

-August, 16, 2015

Do we wake each morning believing that “This is the Day the Lord has made?” The reality for most of us is we wake up, hurry to the shower, the coffee pot, the car, and maybe grab a banana or granola bar on the way out the door. If we are lucky maybe we have a bowl of cereal and it is not a mad dash to our car. This is usually the start to a day and the rushing does not slow down. We hurry from activity to activity. Maybe, your days don’t look as rushed as this, but mine often do. This then leads to a day when I can be short with people, I can be quick to be defensive, I can be slow to have compassion for others. I am sure for some of you reading this that is true, but for others it is not.

However, the mornings I get up a little early, spend time in prayer, the Scriptures, and reading, I notice that I am slower to feel rushed even if I am hurrying. I notice that I am kinder, slower to get angry, I have more patience, and I am quicker to offer a hand and a smile. What if we not only thought different internally, but what if it defined our outward presence by loving acts and kind words.

This proverb that Grandma Ola mentions here is something that all of us need to remember, if we use kind words in a world full of unkind words, then it truly is sweet to the soul. If we add a smile, if we add encouragement day-in and day-out, in the busyness of our lives then others and ourselves may see “this is the day the Lord has made.”

Hopefully, you and I can become a people who offer more and more encouraging words. A people who encourage one another and others to dream big dreams. Encouraging words have a way of inspiring, offering hope, and leading to God-sized ideas, dreams, and moments. We never know what a word of encouragement may do. We never know the impact our words can have. May we speak wisely and may we recognize the gift and opportunity every morning lays before us.

Words of Wisdom From Grandma

Almost every Sunday for the past few years, my now 94-year-old grandmother writes me an email with a prayer for me or a word of encouragement. The truth is, often her words of wisdom for me are words of wisdom for all of us. That being said, I want to share Grandma Ola’s wisdom with others. I will copy and paste the emails as I have received them and add a brief thought after her thoughts.

Father in Heaven, this morning is a brand new day ! Filled with bright new opportunities! Isn’t this exciting!

If you begin your day that way and if you end your day that way, chances are that in between your,re going to have a lots of positive emotions,  because the Holy  Spirit of God will come into your life, guide you and lead you and direct you The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. It is good for a man to bear the yoke while he is young   But it never to late to ask for his forgivness Today is note to late  Love you Grandma  Ola”

-April 3, 2016

Do we begin our days with Jesus? Do we end our days with Jesus? The truth is, you and I do not likely see each new day as an opportunity to know Jesus more. We probably don’t see each new day as an opportunity to sense the Holy Spirit’s presence in our life. But, what if we did?

What if you and I began to embrace the simple faith of my 94-year-old grandmother? What if we truly embraced God’s forgiveness in our lives, and we gave forgiveness the way he does? Can you imagine what the world might look like?

Do you and I realize that if we allowed God’s Spirit to direct our lives and we lived as a people of forgiveness, we would change the world? I don’t mean changining only our own family, but I literally mean to change the world!  If you and I would live as a people who recognize the depth of our forgiveness, we would be so much quicker to forgive others. We would be much more gracious. We would live with an infectious love for other people that the Spirit of God would be evident in our lives.

I don’t know about you, but I want to live every day with the belief that it is filled with new opportunities. I don’t know about you, but I want to live everyday being forgiven and forgiving others. I don’t know about you, but I want a life of purpose that is filled with excitement in knowing the One who offers me forgiveness, salvation, and hope. Maybe you and I should embrace the words of Grandma Ola…”it’s never too late.”

The Next Generation

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about the people who have invested in me. Who have been the people who have invested in you? Have there been people in your past who have seen something in you and invested in you so that you could be better? The kind of investing that takes time, energy, money, sacrifice, and many other things.

I have been fortunate to have had people who have invested in me like that. People who put aside their own agendas, their own preferences and did things the way that connected with someone much younger. It leads me to ask the question, “Am I investing in the next generation?” You should be asking the question, “Am I investing in the next generation?”

This question can seem like an easy one and we assume we are doing the right thing, but are we? Are you and I willing to put aside our personal preferences for the sake of connecting with the generation behind us? Are we willing to lose our self in loving others so that we don’t say, “What about me?” but we say “What about them?” It doesn’t matter if you are 88 or 18, there is still a generation younger than you to invest in. The challenge for you and I, and the challenge for the church is quite simple; if we don’t put aside our preferences for the sake of those younger than us, for the sake of those outside the church, then it is likely they will not be a part of our church and maybe any church.

The mission to go and make disciples is an important one, and frankly it is about self-sacrifice of the older, more mature to invest in the younger. One caveat in the church is that older doesn’t mean more mature spiritually and younger doesn’t mean right. This never means a letting go of the message of Jesus, but it does mean not being committed to any particular form. However, if we don’t always think in terms of the next generation we will be one generation from our church not existing. I don’t know about you, but I am willing to do whatever it takes to invest in the next generation and I am willing to let go of whatever preferences I need to let go of for the sake of those coming behind me. Are you?

Live Like John

Prophets from the Scriptures are people like you and I. Sure, there were moments that they lived in ways that were less than desirable. Elijah fleeing from a woman comes to mind! Overall, what we see in the lives of the prophets is a willingness to live in ways that invite others to something beyond themselves. The more I try to follow Jesus the more I am coming to believe that God didn’t just want the prophets to live in ways that call others to something beyond themselves, but that God wants you and I to do that as well!

John the Baptist is a fascinating character, he is the one that Jesus says “among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist…” Jesus says some other things, but what we see in John and other prophets before him is a call to another way of life. The prophets lived and talked in a way that even when people disagreed with them, they knew there was a connection to something more!

I cannot help but think how I used to hear a loud voice yelling in the wilderness when I think of John and his call to repentance. Maybe the loud voice wasn’t loud at all. Maybe it exuded such a passion that it was inexplicable. Maybe the call to repentance was a plea of hope for what could be. An invitation to join in the relationship with the Father the way the Father had always wanted.

What John was calling those hearers too is something that he could not quite understand, but he knew it was life-changing. It is God made flesh, who dwelt among us. It is the Spirit of that One dwelling in us, in such a way that it reshapes and remakes us in a way we have never been before.

Our repentance brings us to a place where we are humbled in such a way that we can finally be known and know fully the God of all. It is us coming raw, vulnerable, with our souls laid bare and recognizing no matter how together we are, we are all in need of something more. We may have great homes and sweet rides, but there is something in us that knows there must be more. We have tried to fill it with sex, drugs, alcohol, consumerism, self help, careers, family, exercise or anything else that we may call good or worthy, but there is something that beckons us to more. The more is the voice that calls in the wilderness and calls in the city streets, it is the voice that calls in the quiet space and in a packed concert, it is the one that joins together the universe and invites us into a relationship that changes the very essence of us to a place in which we are connected to the divine. The divine that we celebrate in the birth of Jesus.

This voice calls us to itself and then when we have heard the Voice we are called to share about the voice and what it beckons us to. It calls us to live in the ways of the prophets before us. To call others to another way, a deeper way, a way that is simple and deep, founded in relationships with one another and the creator. Relationships that are joyous and lighthearted and at the same time carry a depth that is profound.

What if you and I lived in the way of the prophets? What if our life and words echoed a connection to eternity? What if we “Lived in the Way of the Prophets?”

The Day After

Today some of you are feeling excited because the person you voted for won the election. Some today are feeling anxious because the person you voted for did not. Some today are feeling relief that the political ads may finally cease!

Hate is a strong word. It is thrown out at times when it is appropriate and when it is not. I hate the political season. People choose one or two issues that are most central to their understanding of life and too often demonize those who see the world differently than they do. Rarely, do I see legitimate conversation or debate.

Love is also a strong word. It is much different than hate. Love defines the life of Jesus. Love is seen in the Jesus creed, “Love God, Love others.” Loving others is the call for Christians. So if today, you do not call yourself a follower of Jesus you can respond however, you see fit. If you do call yourself a follower of Jesus that is not the case.

Today you and I should think of the other. The ‘other’ is the person who did not vote like you or I, the person who has a different skin color, the person who may be born from another place, the person who is oppressed, the person who sees sexuality different than you or I, the list goes on and on.

Jesus is clear in his life and teaching in what it looks like to be a child of God. He modeled humility, gentleness, his great teaching in The Sermon on the Mount lays out a call to peacemaking, mercy, and love. I could go on and on in what defines Jesus and what he calls the characteristics of God’s children.

What if those of us who call ourselves Jesus followers took seriously that call right now. If we don’t we are likely to ruin the witness that he calls us to carry out. In desiring to see God at work in the world, too many of us have done more harm in our witness than good. The call of Christians is reconciliation not division over politics. May we not forget that God wants to redeem all that is broken in the world and He wants to use all people in that effort.

Paul’s words may be of some use today:

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time. 7 And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am telling the truth, I am not lying—and a true and faithful teacher of the Gentiles. 8Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.”

Today, what I can say with certainty is whoever was elected president has deep flaws that are easily apparent. That being said, I will pray for president-elect Trump and I will pray for Hillary Clinton. What I know to be true is that regardless of who is president of the United States is, Jesus is Lord. Will you join me in striving to follow him? Will you seek to be a peacemaker over a mocker, will you join me in striving to pray for others who don’t see the world like you or I? Will you join with me in striving not to ruin our witness in the words that we use and the actions we take?