Seriously…what are the chances?

I took a few pictures of pictures when we were in Texas this summer of me when I was little. I was showing them to Beckham today and came to this one of me in our sand box (that’s me on the right):

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But then it weirded me out cause I remembered I took this picture of Boo a month ago, also in her sand box:

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Beckham thought I was wearing Berkley’s clothes even!

Well, I guess now we know where she gets that stinkin’ smile from…

 

 

We got moves…

Sadie Piper learned a new dance move called “The Train” that she taught us. When I came home one day, Brian had taught this move to Berkley (along with the jump SP taught us). All I could think when I saw this was “Wow, that must have taken FOREVER to teach her this!” I love her hands, they are so straight, she’s super serious about this!

 

I Taught Sadie Piper Psalm One and She Ruined My Day

“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; 2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. 3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. 4 The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.  Psalm 1:1–4

Sadie Piper made a very interesting point about ministry to me today and she has no idea she did. Here’s how it happened.

When Beckham graduated from Children’s Church they gave him an ESV Children’s Bible. It’s the actual text of Scripture rather than an abridged version with only stories. Problem is he reads at a 12th grade Arkansas level, which of course is a 1st Grade Kansas level so there are not many words in it he has a grasp on.

He likes to bring it to the Worship service at Redeemer and flip through it, but he has really wanted us to read it to him during the service. I told him we’ll read it later and then for awhile in a disappointing father way I did not read it to him. Mostly just forgetting about it, but also with some dumb idea that he wouldn’t be able to track with what I read.

So this week at breakfast I began to read and explain Psalm 1 to Becks and Sadie Piper. It’s only day two and I can’t guarantee day three will happen so don’t be too impressed. Anyway, the plan was to read them a chapter a day. Day one we finished two verses and I only kinda think they understood.

Best I remember, the first two verses by the end of talking were reduced to… the man who wants to be happy should not listen to the bad advice of people we don’t love God. But they should love God’s Word and they should think about God’s Word as much as they can.

This morning was day two and we read verses 3 & 4. I’ve learned already that they learn better from my asking questions about the text than just my talking.

So our verses read like this, “He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.”

I told them God is comparing one thing to another to teach us something. Like I might say Beckham is as fast as a lion. Do I think Beckham is a lion? No. I’m just trying to tell you I think Beckham is really fast.

The following is lacking rabbit trails and completely unrelated comments that make the whole experience funnier. 

So I asked Beckham and Sadie Piper

– What do trees need to grow? Water

– So what happens if I plant a tree in the desert? It won’t grow cause there is no water (don’t get caught up in the details)

– Do you know what a stream of water is? lakes, ponds, creeks, “really really really long lakes”

– So if a tree needs water and you plant it next to a lake what do you think will happen? It grow big big big, Becks even rose in his chair to show me how big they grow.

So God is telling us that the person who loves God’s Word and who thinks about God’s Word all the time will grow up strong like a tree planted next to water.

– What would happen if you went outside and tried to push our tree over? It wouldn’t move because it’s too big.

– Y’all know what chaff is? No.

– Me neither, but I know it’s kinda like those leaves (we are looking out back window at leaves we’ve failed to rake up at this point, they may even be from Fall 2011), dead pieces of plant that are not connected anywhere. What would happen if you pushed on them? We could pick them up.

– What happens if the wind blows a tree? Nothing. Why not? It’s big and strong.

– What happens if the wind blows those leaves? Crazy Talk, I lead them to see that the leaves will go wherever the wind blows because they are not strong.

So that was fun, but then Sadie Piper kinda ruined my day when she said this afterwards,

“Dad, we could fill up buckets of water and pour them on our tree so it will grow bigger.” (because our tree is not planted by a stream of water)

Hmm… My head is already thinking analogies and it occurs to me what she just said is a bit of what we actually are doing.

I think of how much time I spend in God’s Word (sometimes great, other times pathetic) I think about the way many of our youth at Heritage and Redeemer function in this analogy.

We talk about being in God’s word, being planted next to a stream of water like we see in Psalm 1 and while we aren’t necessarily in a desert (some of us at some times are) we are often planted in fields away from water.

So what do we do to minister to youth who are not delighting in God’s Word and who are not meditating on God’s Word (Psalm 1:2)?

In a sense we fill up a bucket of water, of God’s Word, and we pour it on them. We pour a bucket on them Sunday morning, we pour a bucket on them if they come to youth group, we pour a bucket on them in Chapel and a bucket in Bible Class.

I know this well because I fill these bucket and I lug these buckets and I pour out these buckets (along with many others) and I see that it is good for some, they grow. But for other students, it’s like throwing water on hard soil where only some of the water ever soaks in. My prayers are often filled with a plea for God to soften the soil and cause growth. If you’ve actually read this far I ask that you would pray too for covenant children, particulary those in their teens.

So, all this lugging of water works ok, but I guess the real concern here is what happens when we are no longer there to pour buckets of Scripture on them a few days a week?

Maybe you see now why Sadie Piper ruined my day.

I want so badly to see our students like trees planted along side streams of water, rooted in the Word of God. Delighting and meditating on that which gives vision to what really matters in life. I desire this for our students and the lugging and pouring and lugging and pouring of water, while good, is not the end goal.

The bigger question is this: How do we help to dig up these trees where we find them and plant them next to the river?

I’d love to hear other people’s ideas on this, but here is where I’m at right now. 

1. We’ll need prayer, for illumination, for soft soil, for love of God’s Word.
2. We’ll need parents who read the Word with their children, who will encourage their children to spend time in the Bible with as much diligence as they encourage finishing homework and sports and cleaning their rooms.
3. We’ll need older believers and younger Christians and peers in their life pointing them ever back to Scripture for everything.
4. We as parents will need to be sure we are planted personally next to the river. After all, the normal way God works is a lot like an acorn falling from a tree. Be planted near the water that brings delight.
5. And we’ll need more buckets and more people lugging it to the trees who simply aren’t planted near streams of water.

 

Note: I admit there may be errors in this analogy, I don’t hold on to it like I do Scripture, but I find analogies help me understand and felt I ought to share it with you as well.

 

 

 

 

 

It doesn’t get any sweeter than this…

My dad’s favorite hymn was How Great Thou Art. Oh how I wish he could hear her belting this. But I know he’s in eternity singing it, not in a kitchen to a camera, but in heaven to an Almighty God.

The last verse is

When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation,
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart.
Then I shall bow, in humble adoration,
And then proclaim: “My God, how great Thou art!”

 

 

Devotional: The Watering Can

James 4:13-14

“Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.”

The main point of this verse in James is to not arrogantly proclaim what you will accomplish by your own strength, but rather to state that your plans are conditional upon God’s will. If God wills something it will happen. This is a great contrast from our thoughts that if we will something it will happen.

However, what God reveals in this text of Scripture goes beyond the main point teaching us something of the nature of our lives. He says we as men and women are a mist.

What a beautiful image of how short life is. If you’ve ever watered your yard in the summer you’ve seen the life span of a mist. Maybe you had a fancy nozzle that made the mist or perhaps you just mashed your thumb over the end of the hose making a spray. Either way the mist is that smallest of water that almost floats in the air it’s so tiny. That mist exist only a few seconds as it floats to the ground or because of the heat is evaporated entirely.

God says that’s you. You are the mist. Your life is that tiny piece of water that is going to quickly vanish.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this image over the past six months or so. The realization that my life is short and Laura’s life is short and everyone we know is also living a life that is quickly misting away.

As Laura and I were sitting in the backyard one afternoon this realization of the vapor like reality of life gave rise to another image or illustration that has been rolling around in my head. The image is of me being given one watering can and sprinkle spout that is already partially empty. Then before me is a giant yard filled with grass and flowers and bushes and trees and cement pathways and some of the plants are bright green while others are withering and others still are brown and near death.

So there I stand with one watering can and I’m trying to decide where to pour out my water to make a difference in the life of this yard which clearly represents the world. When it is gone, it is gone.

I can’t water everything, but I can pour this water out in one place and make a big difference or I can pour a little everywhere and make a little difference in many places. But where do I pour?

If I pour it on the path it’s an absolute waste, nothing is growing there anyway, if I pour it on myself it would be wasted as well. That may mean different things to different people. I do know that spending my time on entertainment is like a concrete path.

The other options are pretty legit.

The bright green portions do need to be watered or they will eventually wilt and die. Yet there is not immediate threat there.

The wilting portions are heading towards withering and death, but with water they may be soon be bright and green and healthy and growing and fruitful.

The brown and near death grass and plants are desperate, they need water, they need attention, but even my entire watering can may not bring them to a state of bright green.

I can’t decide if it’s depressing or encouraging, but I soon realize that even after making this first choice I’ll need to find others with watering cans and convince them of the value of pouring out their water in places where it is needed, people to pour along side me, people to pour in other needed areas and people to pour once my can has poured out it’s last drop.

I know it’s just a stupid analogy, but this is what each of us is facing.

This water is our life and we ought to consider that it is a gift of God and that He has given us time and knowledge of the Gospel and hearts to love and make a difference in the is world. At some point we have to realize that we can’t change everything everywhere, but praise God that you do have one can and you can make a difference somewhere. So pray and think and ponder where you will pour out the life you’ve been given.

For some you will pour on self and on paths of concrete making zero difference with the years you’ve been given. In fact too many of us will do that.

For others we’ll see that value in keeping the green…green. We’ll pour out where water is plentiful and yet still more needed to preserve that. Others of you will see people who are struggling and wilting and you will pour into their lives, giving time and money and prayer and all that you have to bring them to good health.

Others still will be broken when you see those on the edge of death or those who are desperate for water and you will pour out your life there bringing them to some degree of greenness.

I think the point is this. Do something, don’t stand there as your water evaporates trying to decide where you pour out your life or simply admiring the can holding the water or watching others pour out their cans. Focus somewhere knowing you can’t pour it out everywhere, but you can pour it out somewhere and that is the reason God gifted you the water to begin with. (Ephesians 2:10)

Pop Ice :30 (read: Pop Ice Thirty)

This summer, time has stood still at Pop Ice :30 at our neighbor’s house! (remember our super awesome neighbors who took our trash out to the street on trash day more times than we did this summer?!)

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They told the kids every time is Pop Ice :30, and they ran with it! They have worn the road out between our houses (luckily it’s directly across the street, but still…) eating Pop Ice and hanging with the Youngs!

Sometimes the time is “Pop Ice :45″…that means they got TWO Pop Ices that day!

While all of these visits are a treat, this one was super duper fun cause Jake had his fireman uniform (suit? what do you call it?) out and he let Becks try it on! (Mr Young even had an axe!!)

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Then Becks remembered he has one his size (thanks Sam!!) and ran across the street to get suited up.

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How cute are they?!

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Thanks Jake!

Monkey says…

Boo is super funny! We were watching the flag one day at pick up and Berkley told me it had stars on it. I was super impressed (we were too far away to see that) and asked her how she knew that. I’m still not sure how she knew that, but here she is telling me!

 

Goodbye Kindergarten, Hello First Grade!

Didn’t mean to leave Beckham’s first day of First Grade undocumented!

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This is his awesome possum teacher, Mrs Cox! She teaches and loves the way Beckham learns and feels loved, and we thank God for putting him in her class!Camera Roll-929

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First day of school for Becks

First grade is for reals learning now. No toys in the classroom?! We are adjusting well, but I still miss this:

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Journals. My favorite part of Mrs Preston’s kindergarten was journals! They did one every morning and she send them home at the end of every month! Made my day every time one came home! I would go through it with him and write on there what everything he drew was so I won’t forget later.

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Here are a few of our favorites from the year!

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This was pretty clever of him. Making the handle a rainbow!

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Those are Samson’s muscles!

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This one was super sweet. He put a lot of details in this picture!

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We had a super Spring Break last year. And what he draws is being bored in his bed cause his mom and mean and made him have rest time every day?? At least he’s smiling!

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Jesus entering Jerusalem

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This is him and Brian playing in the back yard.

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This may be my favorite. On the second to last swim lesson, SP (who struggled with trusting that her teacher wasn’t going to let her drown) actually willed herself to throw up she was so upset about it. And it made the journal pic. The orange is her tossed cookies!

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Goodbye, Kindergarten; Hello, 1st grade!