Over the years, the valley had grown wider. All the storms (big and small) compounded and made it tough to traverse so . . . we built a bridge.
I had a great Spring Break! Miranda, Kasen, Kesleigh, and I spent the week in Livingston with our good friends (we consider them family) the Godbolds. We also got to spend time with the Bowles, Leitschuhs, and Dale Googer’s. It was incredible! We spent the week as bridge builders.
We built a bridge over a little creek on the property, but there were also other bridges built. Since the time we moved away from Tomball, we have felt separated from our friends, but bridges were built. I watched my children meet new friends and learn new things – bridges were built.
Bridges were built with discussions around the fire. They were built as we reminisced. They were built as we shared stories and laughed. More bridges were built as we sang old songs and even as we reflected in the silence.
Livingston – this place – the people it represents – the memories – all of it reminds me of who I am and challenges me to remember who I want to become. This is a bridge. Livingston is a bridge between my past and my future. I’m grateful for this bridge – for this place – for my friends – for my God.
Last Friday, it snowed here in Lake Jackson and even more in Pearland. We were up in Pearland (my in-laws house) preparing for our family pics at Penneys and so Kasen and I built a snowman. It was his first experience with snow. He was having tons of fun, but couldn’t enjoy it too much ’cause he was also so cold. (The snow was real wet.) One minute he’d be telling me he wanted to help build the snowman and then the next he was ready to go back inside – we’d head toward the door and then he’d want to go back and build the snowman again – just couldn’t make up his mind. He was torn between two worlds. The cold, fun, and passion of building the snowman on one hand and the warmth, safety, and security of the house on the other. I’m glad to say, that in the end he chose to stick it out and finish the snowman. If this is an indication of his life, he’ll be the guy taking all the risks – living life to the fullest. I pray he’ll grow up to be that kind of man – One who won’t be afraid to take a risk and dream big when it comes to expanding the Kingdom of God – an arrow in my quiver, (Ps 127:4-5) one which breaks through on enemy territory taking ground for God.
“What if church planters quit planting churches and instead planted church “practices?” Like a doctor’s practice, I believe the church shouldn’t be about building some institution, but about practicing the faith that has been given to them. It should be about “being” the church – not about building the church. The analogy breaks down in the sense that at a doctor’s practice, the only one “practicing” is the doctor. The church should be a place where everyone is “practicing” – maybe more like the imagery of the doctor’s “clinic” on Patch Adams. Everyone was a patient (in need of something), but everyone was also a “doctor” who helped others – sometimes he helped by listening, or by picking up trash, or whatever, but he contributed to the health of someone else and that made him a “doctor” by Patch’s definition.
I think these are important ideas for church planters. If a planter begins his ministry working to build/grow a church, then things are going to get really confusing – think about it – everyone has a different idea about what a church should be. And everyone has a different need that they want to see met by the institutional church. Instead, if the planter works to “be” the church and works to equip others to “practice” their faith, then won’t that church naturally become whatever it’s supposed to be? If each member is doing the ministry that God has called him to, then when they are assembled, it wouldn’t be about building the institution, but simply about celebrating the things God has been doing throughout the week.
This was just a random thought I had in the car today. I thought it was worth sharing.
We went to see the movie the other day and I thought it was great! I don’t think the High School guys who went with us enjoyed it too much, but it followed the Biblical account pretty well. Mary and Joseph were portrayed as a couple who didn’t know each other very well, and he was definitely older than she by quite a bit. This is very likely considering the customs of the Jewish people in those days. Her visit with Elizabeth and the shame that went along with her pregnancy was also shown well. The town of Nazareth was also shown pretty accurately. The houses were made of stone which would have been true for them and Joseph is shown in one scene cutting rocks. We have typically thought of him as a carpenter but the actual greek word “tekton” means “a worker who builds.” In those days since building were made of stones – that more than likely would have referred to a stone mason. The scene where Joseph asks for Mary’s hand in marriage was good too – he spoke of going back home to prepare a place for her as would have been their custom. I just discovered one thing wrong in the movie last night in my hermeneutics class. Mary and Joseph probably would not have been traveling to Bethlehem alone ’cause Nazareth was a “branch” city of David. This meant that there were probably lots of folks from Nazareth who had to go to Bethlehem for the census – not to mention Joseph’s family – parents, brothers, sisters, etc.
I really enjoyed the shepherds and the kings too. The shepherds fields really looked like the fields that I was able to see in Israel – not fields like we think of here in the US – but much more rocky. I also was intersted in how the shepherds were shown as old men. I had always thought of them as young boys, because it was the lowliest of jobs and because of the way I imagined David growing out of it. Anyway, those young boys certainly grew up – I had just never really thought of it quite like that. As far as the kings go, more than likely they weren’t there that night, but the whole idea of the three stars/planets aligning together during that time is accurate according to astronomers today. The scriptural account (Matthew 2:11) says that the wise men came to a house so it probably was later. It could have been as much as 2 years later ’cause Herod wanted the children 2 yrs and under killed. The way the kings described their gifts – Gold for a king, Frankincense for a priest, and Myrhh for sacrifice was pretty cool too.
I don’t know about you – but I’ve grown up knowing Jesus as a carpenter. I’ve even seen the bumper sticker – “My Boss is a Jewish Carpenter!”
Today I read that the word translated “carpenter” in the new testament is actually “tekton” which means a “craftsman who builds.” Most scholars agree that Jesus was more likely a stonemason who helped construct the buildings in the nearby town of Sepphoris. (only 2 miles from Nazareth) Israel’s buildings are made of stones, so Jesus’ father probably had taught him how to shape and cut stones. Archaeology has shown that Sepphoris was also constructed during the time that Jesus would have been in Nazareth, so it’s logical to think that He probably spent quite a bit of time working there.
Anyway – all this is to say – Jesus probably cut stones not wood!