Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Not Just For Thursdays After All

Quick update from the weekend.

Friday night we had our church's monthly prayer power time. This used to be a 24 hour deal but over the summer had been reduced to 3. It was encouraging this week as we had three of the junior high youth show up to pray for the church and community. After prayer I met my roommate at a local theatre to watch The Illusionist. It was a good movie.

Saturday morning we got together with 14 students from the junior and senior groups and six leaders and went to Promised Land, a paintball course in Wisconsin, where we spent much of the day shooting at kids and adults from other youth groups. I once named a character in a shooter videogame Corpse. That's probably an appropriate paintball nickname for myself as well. There were two games that were over in less than 5 minutes but I was dead in both of them before 2. On the other hand I did survive our day's version of Little Round Top helping hold our teams position at the top in a king of the hill game under heavy fire for nearly 6 minutes. Also, unlike my last paintball outing, I'm pretty sure I killed at least two of the enemy and none of my own team. After paintball I joined some friends disc golfing down in Palatine by the reservoir. We had fun but only got to play about half the course before it got dark because we spent so long searching in the weeds for one of my errant discs. We never found it. After that it was over to the Newberry gang's for Guesstures, ice cream, conversation, and Scattergories, and then home around 1:30 where watched Ocean's 12 before straggling into bed.

Sunday morning had a good sermon from John Stephenson on a spiritual checkup based on the promise of the New Covenant in Hebrews 8. I know he was struggling to get that sermon together but God used it in several people's lives and in accordance with my own message to the youth last week to convict me of trying live out of my own righteousness and win His approval instead of trusting in His love and living for the joy He gives. I spent a long time in prayer with a friend afterward and felt God's healing. After church we had a youth leader's meeting. Then Dianne and I caught a quick game at the Mundelein disc golf course ("Small and poorly designed" according to the Pro Disc Golf Association website, well assessed) in a rain shower. It was fun. Later I met with a family in the church that is selling a product called Reliv. Reliv is a nutrition product that's really had some great results for them and other people. It sounds worth checking out.

Last night we had our men's group prayer night for my LIFE group. We had a good time. Mostly we hung out and talked before Steve led us in worship and we went into a prayer time. It was good.

Verses of the Last Week
"For cross to the coasts of Cyprus and see,
or send to Kedar and examine with care;
see if there has been such a thing.
Has a nation changed its gods,
even though they are no gods?
But my people have changed their glory
for that which does not profit.
Be appalled, O heavens, at this;
be shocked, be utterly desolate,
declares the LORD,
for my people have committed two evils:
they have forsaken me,
the fountain of living waters,
and hewed out cisterns for themselves,
broken cisterns that can hold no water." Jeremiah 2:10-13 (ESV)

"These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full." John 15:11 (ESV)

"I bless the LORD who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.
I have set the LORD always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
my flesh also dwells secure.
For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
or let your holy one see corruption.

You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore." Psalm 16:7-11 (ESV)

24 comments:

Jenn Hacker said...

I've been meaning to ask this for a long time, but what in the world is "Disc Golf"? Is it just a fancy name for Frisbee, or what?


(bopyczoa - that's fun to say!)

Everett said...

Disc golf is a golf type game played with discs. It's often called frisbee golf. In the impromptu version you go out with some friends to a college campus or park and choose the holes as you go, e.g. aim at the 3rd light post across the parking lot, from there aim at the left hand column on a building, etc. Some parks have disc golf courses laid out with par ratings and permanent holes. The holes usually consist of a metal pole with a basket set at about 3' high. You can play with frisbee-style discs or you can get specially designed discs to play with. I was playing with golf discs and not a frisbee.

Tooz said...

So was that your disc before you started playing, or did it become yours after you lost it and had to pay for it? Is it an expensive sport? I had a kid in sixth grade seven years ago who played disc golf. He really liked it. Love you.

Tooz said...

On a more important note, I believe I like the way your church has become your life. It's like the work during the day on Monday-Friday is secondary, and all the real stuff gets done at nights and on the weekends. That's a good way to live. Love you still.

Everett said...

It was my disc before we started playing. I got it back in August. It's not too expensive. We get the discs at a Walgreens in Libertyville where they average between $7 and $15. A lot cheaper than real golf. Of course you're more likely to break a golf club than to lose it in the rough.

Everett said...

I'm real happy with my church. I like my job too. It's also an important part of my life but less happens there that seems interesting to talk about.

Anonymous said...

Has blogging switched from being "not just for Thursdays" to just for Tuesdays?

annalu alulu said...

"convict me of trying live out of my own righteousness and win His approval instead of trusting in His love and living for the joy He gives"

The first few times I read this, I thought, "Which one is wrong?" I have read it several times, and thought about it a lot. I'm not there yet. I'd like to hear more about this. I think I'm on the same road, but a few exits behind.

Becca said...

"convict me of trying live out of my own righteousness and win His approval instead of trusting in His love and living for the joy He gives"

I think I understand this--I think it's an admonition against judging others as a way of proving how righteous one is, or by doing good to order to convince yourself that you have earned His love and approval. Instead, one should trust that he/she has Christ's love no matter what, and that by accepting Him, joy will come.

I take it as the promise of salvation at the moment of acceptance--that grace is given freely and of love when one asks, but is not earned through good deeds and intent alone.

I'm sure I'm probably wrong, but that's my take.

Becca said...

I should note--I replied without rereading for context. I thought Ann copied one of the verses, not what Everett has said he felt. No judgement was intended; I thought I was working with a verse.

Having reread to double check, and looking up Hebrews 8, I can't make sense of the KJV. What I could make says to me that Jesus intends to form a new contract with those who follow Him that would replace the previous obeisance the Jews gave to God. Under the new contract, any sins would be forgiven and forgotten for the unrighteous, and Jesus would give His love to those who might seem unworthy since they had not given their love to Him previously.

So I stand by the second part of my statement which corresponds with my belief--ask for grace and it is given. Do good deeds not because Jesus expects you to, but because you are filled with grace to share. Joy will come to you regardless since you have His love--no amount of work will bring it to you.

Jenn Hacker said...

Having read your post again and all these comments again, I just got figuratively whapped upside the head for my own actions. I've been a bit guilty of doing good deeds here lately not totally because I've been led to do them, but because I was seeking approval and a "pat on the back" for being so helpful, so sacrificing, blah blah blah. Thank you all for opening my eyes to what my true motivation should be, instead of a selfish desire to hear people say how wonderful I am. Thank you all for humbling me.

Everett said...

I was feeling convicted of trying to live in such a way as to establish my own righteousness based in my good deeds and thereby earn favor and acceptance with the Lord. I was trying to make myself acceptable when what God was saying was that I was already made acceptable in Christ. He offers grace and joy to His people but instead of pursuing the joy I was trying to work for what He had already done. I don't know if that makes it any more clear.

annalu alulu said...

all except for the "pursuing the joy" part. seems like a fine line.

Jenn Hacker said...

So, instead of glorying in the wheel He created, you were spending time trying to reinvent it? Would that be an apt summation?

Everett said...

I think I'm mostly in agreement with Becky's second comment. The nature and differences of the covenants is probably more complex than is convenient for the comments section but one of the main points of the New Covenant promised in Jeremiah 31 and quoted in Hebrews 8 is that God is going to enable the people to obey. The law will be written on the heart and obedience is something granted not strived for. The grace of God's salvation is not something that is earned at all but is only received and appropriated in faith. He saved us in order to make us alive and joyful. In Screwtapes description, God wants to make lots of little replicas of himself living in the love and joy that the Trinity lives in eternally. My tendency is to want to find the base level of what's good enough for God and work for that. His desire is that I would seek the maximum level of life in Him and His promise is He'll bring me there. Another of Lewis' descriptions was that we're like children content to make mudpies in the slum because we can't understand the offer of a holiday at the sea.

Everett said...

Regarding the wheel analogy that's also a good one. It's like scrimping and saving to buy a used Geo Metro when your dad's offering you the keys to a new Lexus.

Jenn Hacker said...

Yes, but the Metro gets better gas mileage and replacement parts are much cheaper. LOL! Sorry, couldn't resist saying that!

Becca said...

not to mention that a Lexus is really a Toyota Camry in a prettier dress.

I thought of something I wanted to add, but I'm not sure how it fits into the conversation. I'll just add it anyway since this has been a very interesting discussion.

I feel that a certain amount of work is required in life to appreciate what we have been given and what we have earned.

For example, Daddy might be dangling the keys to a new Lexus, but how well will I appreciate that car if I'm not paying for it, didn't really earn it, but it was just given to me? Conversely, how much would I appreciate the Metro when I'm making car payments and picked it myself? When I know exactly how much it costs and how hard I had to work to obtain it, I'll appreciate the Metro over the Lexus.

That's not to say the Lexus isn't appreciated in its own way--I can take great comfort in the fact that my daddy loves me enough to give me a Lexus, but I don't know how hard he worked to buy it, what the payments are doing to his finances, what is really represents to him, and I'm likely to not notice his wincing when I peel out of the driveway or grind the gears.

To a certain extent, the good we do through charity or church or personal choice is necessary for perspective. I wrote on my blog about the Back to School project I did this year through work, and that's a very important project to me. I know how hard it is for working families to buy all the supplies since I felt it while growing up and I love the looks on the children's faces when we give them what they need. It makes me feel good, makes the kids feel good, and makes me pause to reflect on how blessed my life really is despite the current rut I'm stuck in.

Going back to the car analogy, suppose Dad gave me the Lexus to replace my Metro which is now falling apart despite my best efforts. That's a gift I fully understand thanks to the perspective I've had in obtaining my own car.

So in a roundabout way, I guess I'm trying to say that I see a blend. We should do good things because we want to share the joy and grace given to us, but also for the perspective of appreciating what we have and the cost associated with those gifts. But I don't see a need to devote oneself to those efforts to be more godly or to be a better person. We can have impact on others in our daily lives in some very diverse places and still have the same amount of acceptance through the love we feel.

Jenn Hacker said...

Although, one thing I gotta add here Beck, I sure did appreciate Priscilla (remember her?), but if Dad hasn't just handed her to me, I probably would have treated her a lot better. I miss that car! Diesels get great fuel economy.

Becca said...

I miss that car, too! Priscilla was a great car, despite her gender confusion.

I'm just speaking from the standpoint of not buying a car until I was 23, and not being able to get a good car until I was 28. I really enjoy my car since I've worked hard to get it; I don't understand those who lease and change every two years, and I'm not in favor of giving cars to 16 year olds as gifts for getting a license. Giving your kid a loaded gun might be safer.

annalu alulu said...

I came to an understanding in the kitchen. I got it. (Then came to see if what I understood was the same thing you guys wrote in response to my last question.) I understood that I need not earn God's approval. I've discovered that if I want to enjoy life, I can live the way God has shown me (not like, "or else," more like, "try it like this.")

In response to becca's comment, "I can take great comfort in the fact that my daddy loves me enough to give me a Lexus, but I don't know how hard he worked to buy it, what the payments are doing to his finances, what is really represents to him, and I'm likely to not notice his wincing when I peel out of the driveway or grind the gears." I know the answer to this one: the cross. It all comes back to the cross. That's what it cost God (the Daddy): Jesus' death on the cross.

Okay, so here's my kitchen conclusion. Because of Jesus' work on the cross, I am acceptable to God. However, because of Jesus' work on the cross, I am really thankful to God. I remember my life before Jesus. (I mean, before I knew Jesus.) I remember some of the mine fields he's directed me through since then. I remember some extremely joyful moments and jolts of new understandings and just being bathed in exuberance and feeling precious. I like those memories and those feelings. I have discovered that following God is very very pleasing to ME. I really like Him, and I know He knows what's best for me, and He's happy to see me happy, and He has shown me how to be happy. I really look forward to Heaven so much, because I know that I will be able to completely worship God with my whole heart there. I will really like not thinking, "Hey, that's mine." "What a hot butt." "Maybe if I shut the door I won't get caught." "AAaaaargg if you pee in your pants one more time I'll make you wear it all day." "You're fat." "I'm fat." "I don't understand." "Is there a God?" etc etc. I'll like being able to joyfully worship God with my whole heart, mind, body, strength, soul, etc. I really like living a worshipful life. (When I do.)

annalu alulu said...

Oh, and here's just something I felt I should add (as it was just added to my brain).

I'd like to be on God's team. Like, there's a supervisor at work who you're just hoping will invite you to work on a project under her because she's such an awesome leader and you'd love to be of service to her.

And this: REmember set construction? Remember feeling privelaged to miss class so you could go build sets (the week of the play)? Remember doing it because you wanted the play to be awesome? Remember doing it because you really liked the kind of work it was, even when your knuckles hurt from stretching muslin? Remember doing it because you loved the people you were with? Remember doing it, maybe most of all, because you loved Ms. Moore? That's the way I feel about being a Christian. I feel honored and special; I want to be a part of what God is doing in the world; I like the kinds of things God has asked me to do; I love Christians; I love God! See? Now I know why we had set construction on Sundays.

Jenn Hacker said...

Thank you, Ann! What a wonderful analogy! I see it more clearly now, too!

Becca said...

And here I thought we had set construction on Sundays because we had speech tournaments on Saturdays :)