Do you have mad fighting skills?

•April 4, 2008 • 3 Comments

My confidence level is a little down today – only 19 that doesn’t seem like very many.

So how many five year olds could you fight?

I know that you’ve felt like it before. No? – try coaching t-ball or hosting a birthday party or having kids.

Fighting 5’s
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My Story – Your Story (Is it a good story?)

•March 28, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Last week as I flew to Iowa and back for my Grandmother’s funeral I listened to a few messages on my iPod. One that’s been sticking with me all week was by Donald Miller (guest speaker at Mars Hill – Grand Rapids MI) about our lives as story. He talked extensively about what makes a great story. As you live your life are you living a great story? Are lives affected and people changed for the better because of you? Are you living out God’s purpose for you (what you were created for) or are you just pursuing safety?

I heard about a former friend of mine (I haven’t seen him in years) who threw everything he once cared about (his family & faith) for the pursuit of pure selfishness. Because of his actions his kids, extended family, wife, friends, & all he commits to in the future have his selfishness as part of their story. God calls us to more & better – to live beyond ourselves with purpose in relationship with God. We are part of God’s story – How are you living out your part?

books

Here’s a post I found on a Donald Miller website that he wrote where he describes life and the choices you make to make your life a great story.

New Years Resolution (Dec 25, 2006)

In the new year, I’ve resolved to write a better story. By better story, I don’t mean the kind you write on paper, I mean the kind you write by walking and talking and breathing.

I’ve been studying a book by Robert McKee about the art of writing screenplay. The book, called Story, instructs on building good stories, creating fascinating characters, keeping audiences interested and so on. I used to think Hollywood stories were not like life because life is more boring. To some degree, of course, this is true, as stories are synthesized. But by applying the same principles an editor applies to a screenplay to our lives, our living and breathing stories become interesting.

So the question is, what principles make a story good? And can we apply these principles to our lives?

Here are some things to consider as we begin a new year, a new chapter in our stories.

1. Great stories include characters that want something. They have dreams and aspirations. Stories with characters that don’t want anything are nearly offensive. These characters have no appreciation for the gift of life, or worse, they refuse to take responsibility.

2. The dreams and aspirations of the leading protagonist are good for an entire community. They are inspirational dreams, or desires for justice, the character is kind and humble and wants for the good of all around him/her. The character does not think too much or too little of themselves.

3. The protagonist does not run from the forces that oppose him/her. A good story has its lead character facing their internal or external fears. They do not live out of their fears, they live out of their dreams.

4. The protagonist overcomes their fears in order to achieve their dreams. They “write” their story daily, because they know what their story is about. They take action.

5. Truly great stories include mystery and the power of providence. The goodness of God seems to reach in and help the character because God loves the protagonist. And the protagonist is good at receiving this love. We see this in the lives of Joseph, Moses, Joseph and Mary, Paul, Peter, Zacheus and so on…

Of course, there are many formulas for good stories, but this is a great one. In the past month, I sat down and wrote down my dreams, what I wanted, and I also wrote down my fears. I know now what I want, and what I have to overcome to get what I want. I know how to pray and I want to ask God to be with me on the journey. The story may not work out in the end. Many stories do not. But at least it won’t be boring….and by “it” I mean “life.” The one who burries his talents is scolded, afterall.

All the best to you as you seek to write a great story. All the best to you in the new year!

Don Miller

From what I understand, Donald Miller’s message is a distillation of his forthcoming book Story: Why Some Lives Make Sense and Others Don’t. Sounds like it will be another great book.

You can listen to his message by clicking the link below:

Donald Miller – “Story” (mp3, Mars Hill website)

War – Peace – Justice – Regret – Rememberance – Hope

•March 28, 2008 • Leave a Comment
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“The past is prophetic in that it asserts that wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows. One day we must come to see that peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal. We must pursue peaceful ends through peaceful means. How much longer must we play at deadly war games before we hear the plaintive numbered dead and maimed of past wars?”
– Martin Luther King Jr
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War

Should we also include the approximately 600,000 civilian executions, 100,000 murdered Kurds, 500,000 Iraq/Iran war casualties, and 400,000 children dying before age 5 of preventable malnutrition, all of which occurred during Saddam Hussein’s regime?

War – Death – Pain – Suffering – Hatred – Loss
What is the price of peace?

But, what about the 8 million Iraqis who voted in the last election. 8 million people who risked their lives because they believe in the right to be free. The right to self-determination. Women, who had not been given the right to vote, had the opportunity to have their voices heard. Young girls now have access to education … something that wasn’t allowed in the last regime. Young men sign up to become Iraqi Police, because they believe the right to freedom is worth protecting. All of these people have come from the shadows of a dark dictatorship and have taken the risk to very publicly demonstrate their desire to be a free people. What has prompted them to do this … the United States of America.

There are no easy answers. There is no simple solution. Should we just pull out and let the Iraqi’s figure out their own chaos? Should we keep our military presence over there and police the Iraqi’s to ensure their freedom.
What we do know is that we must pray that the killing would stop and some sense of peace be gained.

 

Thoughts and photos taken from Shaun Groves Blog

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A Tribute to my Grandma Miller

•March 26, 2008 • Leave a Comment

I had the honor of giving a tribute to the memory of my Grandmother Miller at her funeral last Friday. She died on Tuesday, March 18, 2008, at the age of 86 almost 87.

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Memories of Grandma Miller

Thoughts from the King’s (from my brothers Brian & Jason & my sister Diane) about the memories and the values that made Grandma who she was.

Grandpa’s home was always a bit of an extension of our home. I remember staying there quite often when mom and dad went to Ministers meetings (my Dad has pastured a church about as long as I can remember). It was always a place where we felt at home. I remember many times after church in the evening if we didn’t have any other plans we would often stop at grandpa and grandma’s house because we knew even if we didn’t have an invitation we were still welcome. I don’t think we ever caught grandma without some kind of snack. There always seemed to be ice-cream or popcorn or something she had recently baked that was put on the table to be consumed. Even for the great-grandkids there were coolies baked as a special treat.

At grandma’s house cleanliness wasn’t next to godliness, it was godliness. A dust bunny in grandma’s house never had a fighting chance for survival. It was from Grandma that we learned phrases like “Saturday cleaning,” “Fall cleaning,” and “Spring cleaning.” Grandma was the reason why grandpa’s shop and desk didn’t simply disappear in the piles of priceless bits and pieces, from the most recent auction or publication of Jack Van Impe, that he would one day read or use. Like her house, her small half acre garden in which she planted “just a few things” was also the object of her constant care. When grandma spoke of how her garden had become so weedy we knew that to weed it one would probably need to walk out into the garden and pull that weed.

And ironing – she ironed everything including the sheets and pillow cases. —– All of this was done with that funny little whistle – more like just air blowing threw her teeth.

Having come through the Great Depression grandma was not afraid of hard work. Whether it was her own house or our house picking strawberries, or doing corn or applesauce, grandma was always ready to tackle the job. She would take time to take a coffee break with friends and neighbors, but the instant coffee had to be boiling before it was hot enough. But then it was right back at it because there was always soooo much to do – from cleaning to making full course meals for every lunch – to quilting – to cleaning – to ironing – to cleaning – etc. This included going out in the woods and helping my brother gut his first deer. A few times in her life she did sleep in to the late hour of 6:00 am and then she talked about her late start to the day and how that set her back..

Pennsylvania Dutch was her native language so if there was something to say that required a little more emphasis is usually came out in Dutch. As kids when she scolded us is was “Sauk” or “Padda” or maybe both of them together. I’m not sure why she said “Padda.” – When she was disappointed she would say “Ach my.”

One of the things I remember of grandma was how much she appreciated her grandchildren. She babysat us many times when were growing up. Though as a child grandma was a power to be reckoned with and would let us know when we had stepped out of line. She told us when she disapproved – even offering to pay for my brother to get a haircut when it was too long. When he got he got it cut she said, “Well I guess I need to pay you now.”

During the winter time Grandpas loved to spin the car around – cut donuts – in the parking lot. Church had one of the best parking lots for this. So when they drove into the church parking lot and it had a good cover of snow Grandpa would look over at her with

that mischievous grin and say “Varoom, varoom!” and she would respond with emotion – “Now Mahlon, don’t you do it.” Or “Grandpa, don’t you dare!” But when she drove looking through the steering wheel was just how you did it.

At lunch time the news was important and of course the best news announcer / commentator was Paul Harvey. Grandpa wanted to listen to him loud on the radio and Grandma knew the importance of this and accommodated him shushing us grandkids if we talked at all during the broadcast. She said it was so grandpa could hear, but I think she liked Paul Harvey just as much.

Her faith which she took very seriously was lived out to the best of her ability. Her family and her church family were a part of her life. She was a the church with Grandpa anytime the doors were opened and it pertained to them. Saturday evening were reserved for studying her Sunday School lesson and I believed she prayed for her family that they would follow Christ.

As I grew older I could see how much grandma really appreciated each one of her grandchildren. She showed her appreciation of us she was there at most of our birthdays. She spent hours making a quilt for each of her grandchildren’s graduation and wedding. As she grew older and we would visit her and grandpa she would often tell us about a letter or picture she had received from one of the grandchildren living at a distance or a visit that she had received from one of the grandchildren living locally. She always talked very highly of her grandchildren. She couldn’t seem to understand why we wanted to move out of town or to another state or to the other side of the world, but when it came time for us to leave she promised to be praying for us.

She had a servant’s heart. Any chance she got she was helping her friends and family with something. In this way she was a very giving person. Her concern for others drove her. I want to carry on that legacy in my life.

Jesus says in John 14 that He was going to go and prepared a place for all who follow Him, and the Father had many rooms in that great house – heaven for those who loved Him. So if given half a chance I believe Grandma will help get those rooms ready to those of us who will see her there in heaven.

Grandma – you have finished the course – you have kept the faith and now there is a great reward for you with Jesus.

Grandma – if you can hear this – Thank you for the legacy you left us – we’ll miss you & we love you.

 

Amazing Resurrection Life

•March 24, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Easter – We celebrate the Resurrection – We celebrate the LIFE we have in Jesus –
We celebrate the LIFE we can have to live this life – We celebrate His amazing grace.

Chris Tomlin sings Amazing Grace at the 2007 Hillsong Conference.

 

Prayer for St. Patrick’s Day

•March 17, 2008 • Leave a Comment

CelticCross

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through the belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness
Of the Creator of Creation.

I arise today
Through the strength of Christ’s birth with his baptism,
Through the strength of his crucifixion with his burial,
Through the strength of his resurrection with his ascension,
Through the strength of his descent for the judgment of Doom.

I arise today
Through the strength of the love of Cherubim,
In obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels,
In hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In prayers of patriarchs,
In predictions of prophets,
In preaching of apostles,
In faith of confessors,
In innocence of holy virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven:
Light of sun,
Radiance of moon,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of wind,
Depth of sea,
Stability of earth,
Firmness of rock.

I arise today
Through God’s strength to pilot me:
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s way to lie before me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s host to save me
From snares of devils,
From temptations of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
Afar and anear,
Alone and in multitude.

I summon today all these powers between me and those evils,
Against every cruel merciless power that may oppose my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man’s body and soul.

Christ to shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that there may come to me abundance of reward.
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness,
Of the Creator of Creation.

The True Gospel

•March 3, 2008 • 1 Comment

This is John Piper on the true gospel vs. a false gospel – in this case, the prosperity gospel. Really great stuff.

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