Saturday, November 18, 2017

Popping In

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

Just a note, really, because it's been way too long since I posted here!

My Sweet Babboo had some rather major surgery on Wednesday to remove a cyst.  Turned out to NOT be the type of cyst they had believed; it was somehow related to they lymphatic system and appeared to be attached to the pericardium (sac around the heart). But it was completely benign and now it is gone.

But he had a huge incision wrapping around his right shoulder blade to his ribs and, after he spent a couple of nights in the hospital being monitored,  yours truly now has nursing duty...keeping a soak-it-up pad over the drain site and cleaning the glued-up incision a couple of times a day.

Something of a challenge for someone who's been known to get woozy at the sight of blood.  But so far so good.  I have noticed that his persistent cough seems to have disappeared...which was what started the whole journey.  So that's a praise!

 I will share one  note...the instructions for his first day post op were to walk 5 laps around the hall on the floor.  (19 laps is one mile).  I spent most of the afternoon with him; we did a fair bit of walking,on top of what he'd done before I got there.  When
I left to go to choir practice about 5:30 PM, he had walked 90 laps.  He asked them what the record was, and they told him they thought it was 105. You know he had to beat it.  He ended up with 120 before the evening was over.

And that, my friends, is why his FCF moniker is 'Walkin' Stick'... :-)

'Walkin' Stick' in full gear for Buckskin testing September 2014


Thinking about the coming Advent season and a new little devo for the month.  Hopefully I can pull that off. ;-)

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Life and Stuff

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

The most recent sunset picture, taken from the front sidewalk, since the sunset has now moved too far south to be seen clearly from the porch.

Despite my best efforts, I'm not getting to the 'new post' page nearly as often as I'd like.  So a little bit of catching up...

This was the first real week of moving stuff from our current church building, where we've been since 2003, to the new building ...a 50-year-old retired high school.  We cleaned out the attic storage, some closets, the high bay construction area...anything that isn't going to be actively needed for ministry in the next three months.   We have to be out of the building...which has been sold to a church who has been setting up and tearing down in a local high school every week and is READY to have a building...on Feb 1.  But our new sanctuary won't be ready until May.  So we'll add an extra service and have four every Sunday in the theater...which is only about 17 years old and in great shape but only seats 750.

The decision has just been made to move the offices on December 15, so we can have a decent Christmas rest and then spend January basically cleaning out the rest of the building.  I've no idea what that last service is going to look like.  It's going to be bittersweet but we outgrew that building, like, three times and just kept making extension campuses to hold the overflow.

So I'll be packing up my office pretty soon...bringing home my personal stuff and generally getting the rest ready to haul.

Because that first bit of December is kind of up in the air for us.

My Sweet Babboo has had some off and on health issues for a very long time.  For the last year, it's been more on than off and he finally got sent to a specialist who did a CT scan and found a bronciogenic (the spell check doesn't recognize that and I'm too lazy to google it again; the spelling's close) cyst between his windpipe and the upper lobe of his right lung.  It's a birth defect.  He's had it his whole life...which could be the explanation for a lot of things.  The cyst itself is not a dangerous thing, but they can grow/turn into other stuff so the medical protocol is to remove them.  But it's too deep for laparoscopic surgery so...full on cut-through-back-muscles surgery that the dr says will have him in the hospital for threeish days and out of work for likely a month, although he can work from home as he feels up to it.  That will be just before Thanksgiving.  I'll likely be working from home as well, just to be around if needed for the first couple of weeks or so.  So I'm not sure how much packing I dare leave until after the surgery. Or how much Christmas shopping.  Or any other thing that requires time and attention.

Needless to say, our plans to travel to Indiana for Christmas have changed, although the kids might still make the trip to spend the holiday with their grandparents.   So anyway you look at it, this is going to be a ...unique...holiday season.

Gonna be tough to get everything in the Annual Christmas Epistle, I think...

'Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD's great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness...the LORD is good to those whose hope is in him...'  -- Lamentations 3:21-23, 25a  NIV84

Saturday, October 7, 2017

The Christian Message

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

I stumbled across a linked up post on social media in the last week or so that has had my stomach churning.  I haven't been able to focus on writing a blog post because I wanted so much to answer the accusations made, but I didn't trust myself to do so coherently.  I still may not make a good pass at it, but I've waited about as long as I can wait.  I don't like to go too long without some kind of post and since this is the thing that has had me stewing, sigh, I'm gonna have to address it.

It would be tedious to track it down again;  but the gist of the post was that Evangelic Christianity is not authentic Christianity but is, in fact, toxic, and should be destroyed.  But what I could not understand is that the author was not rejecting the idea of following Jesus but just the message of sinful mankind requiring a savior.  I don't have a clue what the author thought of the Bible; I can't for the life of me imagine how anyone could make a consistent Biblical argument against what is basically the meta-narrative of the entire collection of 66 books.

But, Barna tells us that a shockingly small percentage of folks actually claim to believe the Bible is, in the words of the Statement of Faith that we repeated over and over again in Friends and Girls Only clubs, 'the inspired and only infallible and authoritative written word of God'.

This is where I get totally flummoxed.  I can understand someone not agreeing with the doctrines of Christianity...that is, after all, the freedom of choice.  But what I don't get is someone who wants to be a Christ-follower while rejecting the very documentation that provides the foundation for the faith. That simply does not make sense. If one rejects the authority of the Bible...what is left upon which to base one's faith? 

Not much.  Without the Bible, there really is no Christianity.  So to reject the Bible, but yet claim to be Christian...doesn't make sense.

The Christian Message...that Adam and Eve chose disobedience and passed that inclination down to all their offspring, rendering human kind unable to enter the presence of God (an aside...can you take darkness into light?  What happens to the darkness when the light comes on?  Likewise a person cannot come into the presence of God with unrepented, unatoned sin..because sin cannot coexist with the holiness of God.)  Because God loves the humans that He created, He himself became a human, to live the sinless life that we could not live and pay the wages sin demands so that people could receive His righteousness in place of sin and so be able to live in His presence.  He works in those who do so to transform their thoughts, desires and behaviors so they conform to Him.  In the end, the eternal spirit of each person will dwell with God if they have allowed him to remove their sin and follow Him as Lord ...or ...elsewhere...if they did not.

Of course, there's lots of details I've left out for the sake of brevity, and I'm not going into the weeds of one one denomination or another believes regarding those details, but in a nutshell...that's the Evangelic Christian message.  I won't deny that there are many folks who have taken the message and twisted it and used it to advance their own agendas, or that those folks haven't managed to all but obliterate the purity of the Gospel at times.  But the message of the Gospel...that God loves people and desires to walk in relationship with them...is one of love and hope.

The idea of destroying a message of hope and love...that, to me, sounds toxic.

Sigh.  I don't feel like I've really expressed what I wanted to express. But maybe it's a start.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Stay The Course...Around the Bend

A slightly overexposed IG pic of the She Tent at the 2017 Seeking His Embrace conference.  
The paper flowers were all handmade by volunteers and were A.May.Zing.

The answer to my last post's questioning was repeated...in Friday morning prayer, in the Session Messages, in the sermon by our guest speaker on Sunday following the conference and again in our Pastor's sermon this past Sunday:

Don't let the discouragement that you are experiencing distract you from the purpose God has for you.


I don't think it could have been more plain to me if someone had called me out of the congregation for a prophetic word.

And, I really and truly am on the edge of New Stuff.  Not that I need to walk away from anything now, but that I need to buckle down and  be ready because I'm about to be stretched.

Item one...the Life Group semester has found me teaching a half a dozen or so folks who want to be able to get into the Bible for themselves.  We just had our second class last night and they amazed me...they had all done the homework!  And they were finding applications for themselves!  After just one week!  I was blinking back tears, which kinda surprised me,  as I watched the lightbulbs flash on.

I didn't do that.  I just opened the door.  They walked through and the Holy Spirit made it real.

I had forgotten what it was like to watch that happen.

Item two...we're about to kick off a new ministry in the evenings, twice a month during life group semesters, for women.  A chance walk through the fellowship hall during the life group sign up in the spring landed me in the position at the end of the summer to be invited to join the team to make that evening study happen.

And I'm going to have to go out on a limb and build relationships.  If you've been around here long, you know I've backed away over and over again from that relationship thing. But this is where I am and that is what is needed and...I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.  I've got to push past that gut level retreat into that new place of service.

And I saw a floorplan of the office space in the high school that we're renovating.  One whole classroom 'pod' (yeah, the high school dates from that era...lol) is being dedicated to staff offices.  I really figured I'd be in a large classroom with 3 - 5 other folks, but I saw my name on an actual office with a door.  I won't have to pack my office decor...pictures and stuff...up.  I'm going to on be on the hall with the IT crew instead of the Finance ladies, which is going to be a little different.

It made it feel...almost scary close...the move is coming.  Instead of being out there on the horizon...it's actually closer than the horizon now.    Conversations are starting to not be 'when we get to Butler' but about events that are going to happen after the move.  Deep breaths.

Change is coming. And I'm not going to let the enemy throw discouragement and frustration at me.  Not at this point.

But I still need a new phone.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

When Change is Coming

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

Sunrise from the suspension bridge at Turkey Run Aug 17,2015


It may just be that the cold front went through and the air is cool and clear instead of hot and muggy.

Or it may be that I'm tired of letting things pile up in the corners...allegorical corners and real corners...and it's time to shift focus and deal with it.

Or it may be that I've run into a virtual brick wall one too many times and now I've stepped back and begun to wonder if I'm moving in the right direction.

Or it may be that I've run the course and done all I can do and it's time to put down the tools and move on to a new challenge.

Or it could be that the Enemy is having a heyday throwing discouragement at me and I'm letting my perspective be skewed by subconscious cynicism.

Or it could be that the Spirit is just beginning the whisper saying it's time to step out of something old into something new.

Or it could be something I recently told a friend...change happens about every five years and it may be there is a five year cycle that's coming to a close.

Or it could just be that it's time to give up the flip phone.

I honestly don't know.   I just know that there's a restless angstyness that I haven't felt in a while.

This weekend is our Women's conference.  It's a bit abbreviated this year, as we are in a huge building program (yes, change IS coming...).  I don't have any major responsibilities; I'm hoping to just soak and listen and see if there is more to this unrest than just sticky keys on my old phone.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Ok. It's a rant.

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi
And a rant, well, tends to ramble.

It's been brewing since something jumped out at me from my Facebook newsfeed a few days back:

True Christians will denounce the sin of racism!

Now, to be honest, I don't remember who posted it, other than I recollect being surprised at it because this wasn't posted by someone who normally discusses how a Christian life is properly lived out before God.

And, you know, what I have been hearing, for the past year or so, mostly from the non-active-Christian portion of my newsfeed either  by posted links, memes or statuses, is that Christians have no business denouncing sin.   < sarcasm> Because, you know, Christians are just hypocritical bigots who follow a bunch of man-made, white-priveledge, homophobic, archaic rules that benefit them and nobody else.< /sarcasm>

So I was somewhat surprised that now, all of a sudden, Christians are expected to denounce sin.

Or at least the politically correct sin to denounce.  That one is okay.  Denounce away.

Of course racism is a sin.  Christianity, above all religions, is, at its core, racially and ethnically inclusive.
For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus,...there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Gal. 3: 26, 28)

But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.  For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. (James 2:9 -10)

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit -- just as you were called to one hope when you were called -- one Lord, one faith, one baptism;  one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.  (Eph. 4:3-6)

Hatred is a sin. Wait.  I didn't say that right.  Hating people is a sin...there are some things that are properly hated. There are things God hates.

The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft;  hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies and the like.  I warn you, as I did before,  that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.  (Gal. 5:19-21)

So, are we not to denounce the other things that God hates?  The other sins that we commit?  Those things in that Galatians list that will keep people from inheriting the kingdom of God?

No?  Just racism?  Doesn't that sound just a little bit, oh, I don't know...inconsistent?

Has anyone noticed that meanings of the words have been twisted around and turned upside down and inside out and now nobody knows what they mean?

I thought 'Hate' meant that you actively wish something destroyed, undone, obliterated...but apparently it now means that you disagree with someone.

I thought 'Love' meant that you hope and work for another's long-term good, even if they don't always agree with you.  But apparently now that means you will support and accept anything that the other person wants to do, so long as it makes them happy at that moment.  And, of course, if you don't...or if you disagree with them...then it's 'hate'.

Whose idea was it to mess with the meanings of words???

Some folks seem to have forgotten that freedom of speech does not include an obligation for anyone to listen.  Just because someone is spouting ugliness doesn't mean you have to get in there and throw it back at them.  Sometimes the best way to get such attention-demanding obnoxiousness to go away is simply to yawn and turn your back and refuse to be the audience.  Sharing an outrageous post with an indignant comment really only gives it more exposure.  I mean, look at the last whatever you shared on FB...what is more prominent, the thing you shared or your comment about it?  See what I mean?

One of my favorite reads is CS Lewis's Space Trilogy...and the final book, That Hideous Strength is nearly prophetic.  Especially in the bit about how the press was manipulated.  The same organization was behind the news in both the liberal and the conservative press in order to jerk the chains of both.

News bites from either side of OUR political spectrum seem to be following that pattern now; one prints only what the other omits and neither presents an accurate picture of what actually happened.

Anything can be edited to say, well, anything.  Both political camps are crackerjack editors.

How does one be a true light in such craziness?  When even folks who claim to follow Christ can't stomach to hear what He said?

These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars.  I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive but you are dead.  Wake up!  Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God.  Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent.(Rev. 3:1b - 3a)

We best denounce racism by working for the kingdom alongside our brothers and sisters of all races and skin tones, and there are those who have been doing that for years.  One body, one Spirit, one Lord.

I don't know if that will appease the person who put up that post or not.  But it really doesn't matter either way.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Toe in the classroom water again...

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

It's been 3 years since I last taught a class.

In that time, I've completed level one and level two of the Elijah House School of Prayer Ministry, attended the DIVE worship school and a DIVE songwriter's conference and completed an online Master's degree.

None of which I could've done had I been teaching three classes of teen girls every week.

But I get the 'contact us' forms that folks fill out with questions, comments and requests, and we recently got the latest in a series of requests for an evening beginning Bible study; this one requested a ladies' study.

I did a little checking; the women's ministry suggested I talk to our Life Group (small group ministry) pastor.

I asked him to keep me in mind when we get to the new building...whenever that happens in the next year...as I know we're going to be launching a good number of study/education type classes once we have the space (and we WILL have space...we're renovating a recently retired high school.  We will have LOTS of classroom space).  I figured it'd be at least six months to a year before that came to pass; lots of time to construct a syllabus and build a curriculum.

But he got excited that I was interested in doing that and...gulp...the 6 - session class begins next Thursday night at church.  I've got, I think, 7 ladies (it was offered co-ed, but so far only ladies have signed up), which is good for the 'let's build the curriculum' class.

It's offered as a 'Bible Study for Beginners' and I'm going to teach three simple strategies/ methods for personal Bible study.  My goal is to give them a strategy and tools to be able to read and study the Bible for themselves...and get them inspired/excited about doing so.

That's basically what I did at various points of teaching my teen classes over the years; it shouldn't be such a stretch to share that info with adults.

So, ya wanna tell me why I have butterflies about it?  :-)