Randy's Ramblings

Thursday, July 31, 2003

Getting out of dodge...
We're taking a much needed vacation! Friday morning, August 1, we're loading up our new (to us) pop-up camper and heading for the U.P. (that's Michigan's Upper Peninsula for you non-Michiganders). We're spending four nights at Tahquamenon Falls and then visiting relatives in Engadine for a couple of days. We're looking forward to some down time - time to be together as a family!
See you soon!

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Who's Avril Singing To?
I was listening to the song "I'm With You" by Avril Lavigne yesterday and I couldn't help but ask the question: Who is she singing to? The first time I heard the song, and even when I saw the video, it sounded like another lonely song about a girl rejected by a boy. The more I listen to this song, the less I think it's about a boy and the more I think she's singing about God. I could be wrong, maybe it's just what I want to hear, you listen to it and decide for yourself. Here are the lyrics...

"I'm With You"
I'm standing on a bridge / I'm waitin in the dark / I thought that you'd be here by now
Theres nothing but the rain / No footsteps on the ground / I'm listening but there's no sound

Isn't anyone tryin to find me? / Won't somebody come take me home
It's a damn cold night / Trying to figure out this life
Won't you take me by the hand / take me somewhere new
I don't know who you are / but I... I'm with you

I'm looking for a place / searching for a face / is anybody here I know
Cause nothings going right / and everythigns a mess / and no one likes to be alone

Isn't anyone tryin to find me? / Won't somebody come take me home
It's a damn cold night / Trying to figure out this life
Won't you take me by the hand / take me somewhere new
I don't know who you are / but I... I'm with you

Oh why is everything so confusing / maybe I'm just out of my mind
yea yea yea

It's a damn cold night / Trying to figure out this life
Won't you take me by the hand / take me somewhere new
I don't know who you are / but I... I'm with you

Take me by the hand / take me somewhere new
I don't know who you are / but I... I'm with you
I'm with you

Monday, July 14, 2003

God is Bigger... (continued)
I've always (well, at least for a long time) believed that God is beyond time. By that I mean that God isn't limited to the constraints of time like we are nor is He moving through time and experiencing things in a chronological order like we are. In my mind I picture it like God is looking down on a timeline of sorts and sees everything that He wants to see at any given time. God can see and experience Jesus' birth and my daughter's birth at the same time, even though, in human terms, those events are separated by about 2000 years.

I had an interesting revelation today about time and how we understand God and how He works. I am reading "The Story We Find Ourselves In" by Brian McLaren and there is an interesting section talking about this subject.

We understand our world in a chronological order. I remember learning in my high school physics class that 'every action has an equal and opposite reaction.' We see just about everything through the lense of cause and effect. THIS happened in the past, therefore THAT will happen in the future. What if - and this is what made my brain hurt - it wasn't always the past pushing the present into the future, but rather the future pulling (or calling) the present out of the past. I am not sure that I completely understand this, but let me try to explain it this way:

Option 1: The past (cause) pushes the present (effect) towards the future (end result).

Option 2: The future (end result) draws the present out of the past and towards itself.

Suddenly, rather than blaming the past for our current situation, we can overcome the past and live in the present and participating in God's redemptive work. Okay, maybe that's a big jump, but that's where my head is right now... I guess that's the best I can do with it all...

Still thinking, still listening, still trying to figure it out as best I can!

I am Charlie Brown

Which Peanuts Character Are You Quiz

Saturday, July 12, 2003

How BIG is God?
God is bigger than my problems...
God is bigger than my love for my family...
God is bigger than the school bully...
God is bigger than my theology, doctrines and ideas...
God is bigger than my wildest dreams...
God is bigger than any denomination...
God is bigger than any addiction...
God is bigger than the skeletons in my closet...
God is bigger than my fears...
God is bigger than the Milky Way...
God is bigger than any box we try to put Him in...

God is bigger than the air I breathe
The world we'll leave
God will save the day
And all will say
My Glorious!
My Glorious - Martin Smith & Stuart Garrard

Thursday, July 10, 2003

:: RELEVANT magazine :: GOD.LIFE.PROGRESSIVE CULTURE. - The Elementary Principles
I believe that if our generation ever hopes to fulfill the Great Commission, which is to make disciples and not converts, then we better start with the elementary principles. We better get a firm grasp on the basics ourselves. Once we prove to know the basics by living them out in the context of real life with real people, then let’s start incarnating the basics into the lives of those around us.

My brain is working overtime...
I have so much stuff going through my head these past few weeks, I don't even know where to start. Honestly, I don't know why I'm writing right now - I have no idea what to say...
Isn't it amazing that the more we learn, the more we realize how little we know? If I learn much more, I'm going to realize that I'm a complete idiot! No, I've already realized that ;-)
I have been doing a good bit of reading lately and having a lot of conversations with family, friends, co-workers and other pastors and youth workers. One common thread that has seemed to come through is that God is infinitely bigger than any box we want to put Him in. It is almost like I keep having this conversation with God, each time I learn something new about who He is or how He works:
Me: "Wow, God, you're THAT big?"
God: "Nope, not even close - I'm way bigger than that."
It looks kind of stupid as I look at it on my computer screen, but I just sense that right now God wants me to understand how BIG He really is. 'Infinite' is probably the best word, but we can't really even understand that, can we?

Wednesday, July 02, 2003

So let's get out there already!
  Here's an interesting fact for you - in all of the New Testament, it never says 'they went to church.' This, of course, is because church is not a place - it is the people, the followers of Christ. I do believe that gathering together as fellow believers is important - and is encouraged in verses such as Hebrews 10:25, "Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching." Most Christians today, however, believe that meeting together, or 'going to church,' is what it's all about.
  The Bible never talks about going to church, but it sure says a lot about going out into the world - an area that most of us like to overlook. Jesus says over and over how we are to go into a sick and dying world and bring the good news to the poor, the sick, the widows and the prisoners. How much time have you spent with those types of people lately?
  I had the privelege of spending a week in Sioux Falls, South Dakota with about 80 teenagers - trying to bring the message of good news to the less fortunate there. It was an incredible experience, watching students move completely out of their comfort zones to not only work their fingers to the bone, but to interact with the people they were there to help. I watched students eat lunch with homeless men and laugh together with handicapped men and women. It was truly amazing.
  I don't tell you this to say that we're better than anyone else - quite the opposite. I wonder why we only do this once a year, and why we have to drive 15 hours on a church bus to do it! Why does this have to be a special event that comes around every summer for the few students who can afford the week away and the registration fee?
  I hope that our experience in Sioux Falls was a springboard for us to get involved in our local community. I hope it opened our eyes to the needs around us. I hope it helped us realize that "those people" aren't really that different from us - and that we CAN make a difference. God commands us to!
  I hope we don't just watch the video and look at pictures and fondly remember our trip to Sioux Falls. I hope we've changed.