New Beginnings Mercy House Fund-Raiser Today – 9-4

New Beginnings Mercy House Fund-Raiser

Today, October 29   –  9 AM – 4
PM

Fun for all, crafters, vendors, silent auction, raffle, flea market, food, fun activities for the kids…..Come on out and have a great fall afternoon to support a much needed ministry in our community!!!

Come and bring a friend!

AND, I’ve donated some of my photos in matte form, 8X10s and 5X7s.

Redeemer Fellowship Church 5305 Evergreen Drive

New Beginnings Mercy House is a crisis pregnancy agency. The agency exists because of the vision and dedication of the Founder and President, Brenda Pawlicki. Totally run by donations and the assistance of loyal volunteers,so far this year, Mercy House has provided much needed goods and services to over 2000 young women who are either pregnant and/or raising children, and grandparents who are raising their grandchildren. Fundraising is just one method that Mercy House uses to generate monies so that they may continue to support the Christian-based ministy.

New Beginnings Mercy House Fund-Raiser This Saturday

New Beginnings Mercy House Fund-Raiser

Saturday, October 29   –  9 AM – 4 PM
Fun for all, crafters, vendors, silent auction, raffle, flea market, food, fun activities for the kids…..Come on out and have a great fall afternoon to support a much needed ministry in our community!!!

Come and bring a friend!
AND, I’ve donated some of my photos in matte form, 8X10s and 5X7s.
Redeemer Fellowship Church 5305 Evergreen Drive
New Beginnings Mercy House is a crisis pregnancy agency. The agency exists because
of the vision and dedication of the Founder and President, Brenda Pawlicki.
Totally run by donations and the assistance of loyal volunteers,so far this
year, Mercy House has provided much needed goods and services to over 2000 young
women who are either pregnant and/or raising children, and grandparents who are
raising their grandchildren. Fundraising is just one method that Mercy House
uses to generate monies so that they may continue to support the Christian-based
ministy.

Inner Peace Is Not Circumstantial (Solitude Is a Deepening of the Present)

 

Anderson Gardens
Rockford, Illinois

“Solitude is not found so much by looking outside the boundaries of your dwelling as by staying within them. Solitude is not something you must hope for in the future. Rather, it is a deepening of the present; and unless you look for it in the present, you will never find it.”
– Thomas Merton, The Sign of Jonas, 262

Many years ago a friend of mine whose inner being was tormented and in turmoil decided to go alone to a cabin in the north woods and spend time with God. He went to a very isolated area in Canada. The setting was pristine and beautiful. He lasted a couple of days before he came home. He had brought all his inner agitation plus his physical brain with him and couldn’t handle it.

A change of geographical location will not heal the troubled heart. The idea that “If I could only be elsewhere, then I’d be better” is a delusion. This is good news. If our inner well-being was a condition of our outer physical space then we would remain forever in bondage unless we travel.

One’s inner well-being is not a function of one’s physical environment or one’s life circumstances. In solitude, where you are right now, God can “deepen the present.” Jean-Pierre de Caussade, in his classic book The Sacrament of the Present Moment, writes: “Divine action cleanses the universe, pervading and flowing over all creatures. Wherever they are it pursues them. It precedes them, accompanies them, follows them. We have only to allow ourselves to be borne along on its tide.” (3)

The apostle Paul wrote: “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” (Phil. 4:11-12) Inner peace is not circumstantial.
(The marketing strategies of our world tell us otherwise.)

The reason is: God is now with you. If you are a Jesus-follower, Christ, the hope of glory, is within you. And Christ-in-you is not now in a panic room. He is not agitated. He is not freaking out. His peace is not circumstantial.

In John 14:27 Jesus instructs his disciples: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” How do we access the peace of Christ? Jesus says: “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit;
apart from me you can do nothing.”

As we abide in Christ we gain his peace. This world’s quasi-pseudo “peace” is conditional on external circumstances. The peace that calms the agitated seas of our hearts is conditional on connectedness to Christ. That is fully available now. In the
present moment. “It’s just You and me here now; only You and me here now.”

Presently.

In His presence.

You won’t need to look for it anywhere else.

On Hearing God

Flowers, in Rockford,
Illinois

Is it possible to hear God speak to us?
How can we discern whether what we are hearing is really God, or not? My 3-step suggestion is:

  1. 1. Spend much time alone in the presence of God.
  2. 2. Saturate yourself with the Scriptures. (Meditatively read them and study
    them.)
  3. 3. Hang around people who do #s 1 and 2.

An excellent book to read on this is Dallas Willard’s Hearing God: Developing a Conversational Relationship with God.

See J.P. Moreland’s blog entry On Hearing From God: Two Perspectives. Moreland’s two suggestions are:

  1. “First, one can learn to discern God’s voice like one learns anyone
    else’s voice—through practice, trial and error; and in the case of God, with
    Scripture as one’s guide and as one’s primary way of familiarizing oneself not
    only with correct propositional boundaries, but also with the tone and texture
    of God’s speech.”
  2. “Second, I think we should take heart from the fact that, often, God speaks to us and we are unaware that it is happening because God will at
    times speak to us in our thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations in a way that
    “sounds” like our own.”

See J.P.’s entire post for examples. He concludes: “We should take great comfort in the fact that, if we make ourselves available to Him, God will speak to and through us in many ways of which we are not aware.”

Billy Graham on Growing Old

Ruth & Billy
Graham

Billy Graham is one of my heroes. He is 92, and has dictated a new book, Nearing Home: Life, Faith, and Finishing Well. The Washington Post has a review. Here are some of the salient points.

  • It’s hard being old and approaching death. Graham writes: “All my life I was
    taught how to die as a Christian, but no one ever taught me how I ought to live
    in the years before I die. I wish they had because I am an old man now and
    believe me, it’s not easy.”
  • Stay involved.
  • Spend wisely.
  • Prepare a will and medical directives.
  • Focus on the needs of others. Don’t get self-absorbed in your own problems.
  • Despire their limitations, one’s senior years can be rewarding. Remember how
    God uses elderly people in the Bible.
  • Get involved in church or other ministries.
  • Help others who are ill or grieving.
  • Build a mature faith through reading the Bible and other books.
  • Never stop praying. Prayer is “the sweetest work of the soul.”
  • And, of course, “come to Jesus before it is too late.” (If Graham said
    anything less than this he would not be heroic.)

Graham also reflects on his marriage to his wife Ruth. He writes: “Not a day passes that I don’t imagine her walking through my study door or us sitting together on our porch as we did so often, holding hands as the sun set over the mountaintops… Before
long Ruth and I will be reunited in heaven. More than ever, I look forward to
that day!”

I’m “only” 62, but am thinking about matters of life and death and family as I’m in Rockford, Illinois (where I grew up) for my niece Joanna’s wedding at 3:30 this afternoon. Linda and I went to my parents’ graves today, and went to Linda’s mother and sister’s graces on Friday. I walked and driven past all the homes I lived in as a child and teen. I ate Swedish pancakes with Linda, Dan and Allie this morning, and thought – for a moment – of the many times my mom and dad treated me to these delicacies in this restaurant (the Stockholm Inn).

Keep things in perspective. Perspectival living requires: 1) remembering; and 2) acquiring the Big Picture.

Chris Overstreet from Bethel Redding at Redeemer – Oct. 21-22-23

Chris Overstreet from Bethel
Redding
in California will be at Redeemer Oct. 21-22-23.

Friday, Oct.
21, 7 PM – Worship + Chris

Saturday night, Oct. 22, 7 PM – Worship + Chris

Sunday morning, Oct. 23, 10:30 AM – Chris preaches at our morning worship service

Sunday evening, Oct. 23, 7 PM – Worship + Chris

Chris has become a good friend. I love what he brings to the table in his teaching and preaching, and his closeness to God.

Real “Church” Is Not a Personal Need-Meeting Machine

Real “Church” Is Not a Personal Need-Meeting Machine

I’m reading Making  Peace, a book on resolving conflict, by Jim Van Yperen. (Thank you Don Follis for this recommendation.) There’s a lot of good, sound, biblical wisdom in this text. Here’s something that just captured me.

Some churches focus on meeting the individual needs of people as their worldview, as their way of life. Everything gets oriented towards this. This, says Van Yperen, is a mistake, and will make solving conflict more difficult. He writes:

“In many churches, the remedy for conflict often makes it worse, deepening the problem by failing to address the fundamental issue: We are trusting our ways more than God’s. All individualism leads to consumerism. When self is center, the world exists to meet one’s personal needs. “Hey, I’m entitled to this!” A culture of consumerism will always value individual needs above community life. “You’re important to me so long as you serve my needs.” When a church focuses on meeting the needs of individuals, Jesus and the Bible become a personal, need-meeting machine. The church becomes a collection of individuals who are fundamentally at competition with one another—competing to have their needs met. Here, the Gospel becomes a commodity distributed by supply and demand. Since no church can meet all the needs, ultimately one set of needs must be placed against the other. When this happens, staff and members will compete to make a case for how and why their
needs are greater than others…. [T]he church becomes divided into interest groups or coalitions formed by age and individual preference.” (30)

Real “church” is not some objectively existing institution that is “out there” and
“apart from you” that is for the purpose of “meeting your needs.” In the real
thing you are the church, and real “church” is a people movement that
exists for the purpose of proclaiming the Gospel in its intersection with the
world. Real church is essentially outward-and-other-centered. As that happens
the real, deep needs of our hearts are satisfied.

NOTE: The solution to church conflict is not to begin more special interest groups in the attempt to “meet everybody’s needs.” If the conflict ionvolves “worship wars” the answer is not to start different worship servies with different styles of worship. These
“solutions” come out of a root misunderstanding of “church”; they are grounded
in a false worldview. “The church becomes a shopping center where we pick and
choose what is good for us. We are not a community being formed by God’s Word
and Spirit. We are individuals shaping ourselves. This strips the Gospel of its
power—leaving people in their selfish individualism rather than inviting them
into a transforming community of faith.” (31)

See Van Yperen on this – it’s very good.

Quantum Mechanics & The Cat In the Hat

When I was teaching and speaking in India I  saw a furniture store with the name “Decent Furniture.” I  thought – what a cool name! Just give me some “decent” furniture and I’ll be satisfied.

Philip Ball’s “New  Pursuit of Schrödinger’s Cat” is a decent article on quantum
theory. Which means, I can understand parts of it. We musn’t let our inability
to understand quantum theory get us down.

I once heard a story about physicist Robert Oppenheimer, who was lecturing on quantum theory during its inception. He was asked by an interviewer, “I hear there’s only three people (Oppeneheimer and Einstein being two of them) who understand quantum mechanics.” Oppenheimer replied, “Who’s the third?”

Ball’s first sentence is:  “Quantum mechanics is more than a hundred years old, but we still don’t understand it.” He then goes on to tell us, as best he can, in decent language, the current state of understanding regarding quantum theory. But his main point is, for all physicists, there is much, much mystery here.

Richard Feynman has said, famously, “I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics.” I can understand that.

Physicist David Mermin took a longer quote of Feynman’s and set it to verse:

We have always had a great
deal of difficulty
understanding the world view
that quantum mechanics
represents.
At least I do,
because I’m an old enough man
that I haven’t
got to the point
that this stuff is obvious to me.
Okay, I still get
nervous with it…
You know how it always is,
every new idea,
it takes a
generation or two
until it becomes obvious
that there’s no real
problem.
I cannot define the real problem,
therefore I suspect there’s no
real problem,
but I’m not sure
there’s no real problem.

Why do I
now want to pick up

and read

The
Cat In the Hat
?