Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Name the Twos

Had to scold Daniel this morning.  Again.  I would not call this the terrible twos although he is definitely testing his boundaries.  Every time he crosses a line and disobeys us, we have the opportunity to demonstrate the Good News.  What a privilege!

Disobedience is usually followed by a warning and then a spank on the bum/2 minute time out if he repeats the offense.  But what a beautiful thing it is afterward to be able to sit and talk him through what just happened.  

Our neighbor has a support beam under their deck that is about a centimeter too short.  It swings free.  (thank the builders for that one)  It just got discovered (during the episode of the great burning bush) and is getting taken care of...but Daniel was pushing on it this morning.  Sarah told him to stop and not to do that again.  Well he did.  Spank.  Time Out. Tears. Dejection. 

When I spoke to him about what happened he told me that he wanted to push the beam.  I heard words of Truth for my own life come out of my mouth as I said, "Sometimes we have to obey even when we don't understand why."  How often has God led me down a path I didn't like, and I grumbled about it?  Or fought in the opposite direction like Jonah?  Too often.  

I asked Daniel once today (different infraction) if he knew why he got spanked.  
   "Is a con-se-kense," he whimpered. 
   "Yes, buddy, it's a consequence for not obeying."
   "Daniel need tell Mommy sorry."
   "That would be very nice to do."

He's two.  But it's not terrible, it's wonderful.  Lessons of sin and grace and consequence and unconditional forgiveness are happening every day all around him...and TO him!  He's already told me, "Jesus have ow-ee on hands and toes" and "Jesus died on cross so I can go Heaven"  and two nights ago he had a dream that Jesus was in his room and called him over and Daniel gave him a big hug.  :D   I don't know what God is doing in my little boy's life, but I'm grateful that He is. 

Take the time to see the Gospel at work in your everyday lives, whether it's your kids or your own. 

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Below and Above the Clouds

We played at Lifest up in Packer Country last night.  Osh Kosh, Wisconsin!  We flew in to Midway in Chicago and drove up for the festival.  Had a quick soundcheck...actually we never got to play anything at all, so it was more of a line-check where you just make sure that everything's working and you can hear each instrument in your ears.  So, come time for the actual performance, we really couldn't hear clearly.  This is not a slight on the monitor engineer at all, as he only gives us what we ask for...we just didn't have enough time to find out what we wanted.   So I heard a befuddled muddle of sound in my in-ear monitors and couldn't tell what key I was even playing in.  Which doesn't matter...unless you have to SING!  (Which is what I do if you didn't know.)  So yeah, I think I was singing a half step higher...or lower...than the actual key for most of the songs.  Beside sounding horrible, it was awesome!

We drove to a Giordano's back in Illinois and enjoyed deep dish pizza goodness then headed to the hotel.  Right as I was about to crawl into bed for 4.5 hours of precious sleep, I saw it.  My phone had a message.  

"Nathan Lampone (12:40 am): He's in Jesus' arms.  He made it to his birthday"

July 11th, my friend Tom Lampone turned 52 years old and 15 minutes later began a face to face conversation with Jesus.   I took off in the middle of a downpour this morning in Chicago and as we burst through the puffy summer clouds and saw a glorious sunrise and blue skies I thought of Tom and his transition to Life, angels escorting him to meet his Savior.  His God.   What a mind job.   

If you would, pray for his wife, Patty, his kids Nathan and Tia and all those who love him, we will miss him. 

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Mountains Are Just Wrinkles!

This may sound a little cheesy, but I just had two 'ah-ha' moments in about twenty seconds.  Thought I'd share. 

Maybe about 4 times a year I get up early when I don't have to.  Today's one of those days, I won't mention what time it was, but I will say it was before sunrise.  So I made some coffee, sat out on my back porch, which is my favorite place to sit, chased away the geese a few times because they eat Sarah's plants and their honking will wake up Daniel.  (Their "Retreat!" honk is even louder though) Anyhow, it's a good place for a time of relative quiet.  I read Oswald Chambers for June 10th, cause I was tired...but that was really good.  Then I read July 10th, cause that's what day it is, and that was even better.  Challenging.   Then I started reading some Mocha with Max.  It's a nice collection of snippets from all of Max Lucado's books and its pages are all wrinkled because someone fell asleep in the bathtub whilst reading.  It makes it look old...it's pretty cool actually. 

So finally the sun rises to my left (that means I'm facing South so you can stop trying to figure that out) and I can't help but notice that the page looks exactly like a topographical map of a mountain range.  

"Hm. Funny", I think to myself, "What are the chances?"
Then it hits me, "Mountains are just wrinkles!"  Something every Tectonic Geologist knew since the first day of class, I'm sure, but my mind was just kinda blown that the tectonic plates could have smashed together with such force, that the ground wrinkled up like wet paper! 

Then came "ah-ha" number two:  These "mountains" that we face in our lives, the little ones and the insurmountable ones: in the eyes of the One Who slammed those plates together with His word and formed the Himalayas; they're simply wrinkles!  If we could somehow get into our minds that He wants to helps us navigate (or carry us) through life's difficult mountainous terrain, it may not seem like mountains we need to traverse...but only wrinkles.

Monday, July 6, 2009

My Strong Friend Tom

One of my family's closest friends from Pittsburgh is the Lampone family.  Tom was in gymnastics as a kid & when he joined the football team in High School, he out-lifted everyone on the team, having never lifted a weight before in his life.  Legend has it that as a running back, he LOOKED for people to hit!  I worked for Tom and his construction company for two summers, so did my brother a few years later.   The practical feats of strength he performed on the job were jaw droppingly record breaking.  He's a man who loves life, his family and his God like few I've ever seen.  

Six years ago he was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and the doctors say that they have never seen anyone fight the disease like he has and by all counts, he should no longer be living.  But he's a fighter physically, emotionally and spiritually like none other.  

I visited him at home yesterday with my Parents, brother, wife and boys and his physical strength has all but failed him...but amidst the tears and laughter was The Hope (assurance and knowledge!) that we will see him again!  What a Hope we have in Christ!  Tom said he'd be waiting for us at the gate and Nick (my brother) and I told him that the next time we see him, we want is 70's afro back, with a full 80's beard!   It felt like the end of Lord of the Rings when Frodo leaves for distant shores, and his companions are sad because they will miss him...but they KNOW the reunion will come!  

We can tend to lump Heaven in with fairy tales.  But fairy tales are only a shadow of Heaven.  "This is not where it ends...it's just where it begins."   

Tom is holding on to his family for a little bit longer, and if God chooses not to heal him in this world, you can best believe he's gonna be stronger than any ox in the next...and if that's the case, he'll be talking face to face with Jesus very soon.  And I'm just a little jealous. 

Friday, July 3, 2009

From the Mind of Max

I was going to just direct people to Max Lucado's website to read today's Journal entry from his book Grace for the Moment II...but it only went to his homepage and by tomorrow, it would be a different entry...so I'm just going to copy it in here.  I love this guy.  The way he sees God's grace is good for my brain.  Here's what he said today:

A List of Our Sins
Friday, July 03, 2009 
“He canceled the record that contained the charges against us. He…destroyed it by nailing it to Christ’s cross.” 
Colossians 2:14 NLT

Come with me to the hill of Calvary…Watch as the soldiers shove the Carpenter to the ground and stretch his arms against the beams. One presses a knee against a forearm and a spike against a hand. Jesus turns his face toward the nail just as the soldier lifts the hammer to strike it.

The crowd at the cross concluded that the purpose of the pounding was to skewer the hands of Christ to a beam. But they were only half-right. We can’t fault them for missing the other half. They couldn’t see it…

Between his hand and the wood there was a list. A long list. A list of our mistakes: our lusts and lies, greedy moments and prodigal years. A list of our sins.

The list, however, cannot be read. The words can’t be deciphered. The mistakes are covered. The sins are hidden. Those at the top are hidden by his hand; those down the list are covered by his blood.