Saturday, August 11, 2007

Now I See Clearly?

I remember one Apex "dreaming session" somewhere around the year 2000. We dreamed of the day we would have 1000 people in house churches and 1000 people in a gathering. I've often wondered when we would ever see that dream become reality. Somewhere around 300 people (now including me and my family) moved away from Vegas in the meantime. That sure didn't help!

Yet today it hit me. This week I've gotten two more e-mails from people who have been drawn toward the simple church journey from some location around North America. I've gotten hundreds (maybe a thousand?) of such e-mails over the past seven or eight years. All of them asking what we have learned about this journey that we might share with them. It seems God decided to draw people onto that journey from all over the place without first telling any of us what He was doing.

Maybe that dream session wasn't about us creating a thing with 1000 people (the good American, success-driven way of thinking), but it was about God showing us what He was already doing, and what He would allow us to play a small part in. Who knows.


Our big yard has a little bit of a weed problem. Actually, it's more like a plague.

The last owners were kind enough to not water the lawn at all this spring, and the Midwest is experiencing an intense drought. So, the grass nearly died (we caught it just in time), but the weeds flourished. And I mean tons of weeds. Weed after weed after weed.

We've had it sprayed twice, and many of the weeds are slowly dying. But I decided this week, against the advice of many veteran lawn owners, to take matters into my own hands.

For the past four mornings, I've been out in the lawn at 6:30AM (it's been brutally hot & humid here) with a weed-removing tool, plucking the big ones one at a time. People laugh at me, but I've actually made it look a lot better by this diligence. Maybe I'm enjoying the manual labor after so many months of studying. Mostly, I'm enjoying seeing a slight improvement in the appearance of the lawn.

I've been amazed, though, at the way the weeds multiplied so quickly. I've filled two huge garbage containers with the ones I've pulled, and I probably haven't gotten half of them yet. And they all have grown within the last couple of months. Amazing really.

I've made many spiritual analogies while I've done this. Something bad can multiply really fast and almost choke out something good. When it does, you can try with your own effort to extract it (the something bad), but unless a power on high sprays the magic potion on the problem, it's really quite humorous to try to fix it oneself. And yet diligent effort does pay some dividends.

One last thought: the problem will not be fully alleviated until we aerate and re-seed the entire lawn this fall . . .

and then wait for a harsh, cold, winter . . .

and then the new life of spring to follow. Really, I have no choice but to wait on the new seasons to come.

So many analogies come to mind.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Life and Mission

Where are you to begin? Begin where you are. Make that one corner, room, house, office, as like heaven as you can. Begin? Begin with the paper on the walls, make that beautiful; with the air, keep it fresh; with the very drains, make them sweet. Abolish whatsoever makes a lie -- in conversation, in social intercourse, in correspondence, in domestic life.

This done, you have arranged for a heaven, but you have not got it. Heaven lies within: in kindness, in humbleness, in unselfishness, in faith, in love, in service. To get these in, get Christ in. Teach all in the house about Christ -- what He did, what He said, and how He lived. Teach it not as a doctrine, but as a discovery, as your own discovery. Live your own discovery.

Then pass out into the city. Do all to it that you have done at home.

--from Celtic Daily Prayer, Finan Daily Readings

Sunday, August 05, 2007

I'm a Real Man Now, and Other Updates

Bought me a weed eater. Not just a weed eater. It's gotta four cycle engine so you don't have to mix the oil and gas. It's got an attachment that turns it into a leaf blower. The engine's got more power than my first car. It's choice. Except I spent most of the morning re-spooling the string. Had me a weed eater twenty years ago when I mowed lawns during high school. This is my first since.

On a more serious note, we're back from our getaway to Michigan. I'm going to spend this week getting the house in order, going through piles of stuff that used to be in boxes and giving it a permanent home: going through the garage, the basement, the files in the office, working on de-jungling the yard, etc.

Tori goes back to school on August 15, and on that date I plan to begin preparing for the practice of law, one way or another.

We're also thinking about starting to open up the house on Sundays in a few weeks. Open to anyone to come by. We're thinking of prayer/devotional time around 11AM, then a pot luck meal around 1PM, and opening it up for anybody who wants to come for one or both (or neither). We'll see if that is develops into anything, unless we feel led to do it another way in the meantime.

I'm missing Vegas friends, but also feeling a real sense of contentment about living here. Once we returned from a week in Michigan, followed by a day at my parents' house, the house here in Fishers really feels like home.

Rebekah and I had a great four days away at a house on Lake Michigan, without the kids. It was big-time relaxing. "We did nothing, and it was everything we dreamed it could be."