Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Very often when I read scripture, I begin wondering. Yesterday I was talking with some new friends of mine, Larry and Carolyn Waggonner about one of those scriptures that cause me to do that. Larry told me I should blog about it, before he steals it! So Larry, here it is.

Luke 9:10-17. Jesus had just left the crowd to withdraw with his disciples but the crowds learned about it and followed him. Then verse 11 says this, "He welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God and healed those who needed healing."

Here's where my wondering begins...I wonder, "What did Jesus' welcome look like?"

I see him, in my minds eye, walking through the crowd. I imagine him shaking hands, "Hi, I'm Jesus, so glad you are here. I hope you stay for lunch." "Hi, I'm Jesus, what's your name? So nice to meet you, I hope you stay for lunch." "Hi, I'm Jesus, what's your little one's name? I hope you stay for lunch." Hi, I'm Jesus, how long have you been sick? I hope you stay for lunch." I imagine his disciples following him through the crowd and wonder... if they didn't over hear him inviting everyone to stay for lunch?

And then I love verse 12 and 13, his disciples say to him, "Send the crowd away so they can go find food and lodging." Then, you gotta love verse 13. Jesus says, "You give them something to eat." I don't know I just think this is so funny!

and I wonder...didn't Jesus know the whole time what he was getting ready to do in verses 14 through 17?

just wondering...

Friday, March 4, 2011

throw in the towel

I love when God reveals truth about Himself to me in common, everyday life. He did that recently with a little game my two-year old grandson, Logan and I play. Its almost routine for us, right after his bath.Its a game we've all played, "hide and seek". Our version goes something like this...we wrap him up in his bath towel and then we start asking, "Does anybody know where Logan is?" We call his name, "Logan! Logan!where are you?" I think, he thinks we really can't find him, I think in his two-year old mind, he actually believes he is hidden from me, so he'll stick out his little foot, just hoping to be found. I acknowledge the foot and grab hold of it," I see a foot! Is this Logan?" Then.. the big reveal,he throws back the towel,allowing full discovery of himself,"here he is!",he yells. That's when he his lavished with love! "Ahhhh! Logan!" and we cover him in kisses, all to his great delight and squealing! Put another way by one of my favorite authors, Henri Nouwen, "I am beginning to see how radically the character of my spiritual journey will change when I no longer think of God as hiding out and making it as difficult as possible for me to find Him, but, instead, as the one who is looking for me while I am doing the hiding. Wouldn't it be wonderful to make God smile by giving God the chance to find me and love me lavishly?"
Pull down your towel,and discover that you are worth looking for, that there is a real desire in God to simply be with you, that He already knows exactly where you are and He's ready to lavishly love you, it brings Him great joy!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The strangeness in a moment

Was looking back on a time when I was working for another organization, we had hired an outside consultant, an expert in his field. During his work for us he learned that I identified myself as a "Christian". In one of our meetings over dinner he had questions about that, really he had questions about God and questions about the human condition. He wondered, in particular what I thought about how awful the human race could really be, the terrible things people can do or be involved in. I remember saying to him, "it never amazes me how awful man can be, it amazes me more still that God treasures us and is always ready to restore us, that's what amazes me." Then there was a moment of strangeness as I observed tears welling in his eyes and one drop down his cheek. Turns out there are people all around us who still have not been touched by the grace of the gospel message of Jesus Christ and sometimes...they wear nice suits, have wonderful homes and success in business.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Lessons from Disney

One of the things I have the privilege of doing, is working with a team of people at our church who's responsibility it is to be intentional about our guest's experience. My family just returned from a weekend vacation at Disneyland and I came away with some great reminders about just how important our experiences are. First, I believe it is most important for the church to be intentional about that and get it right. Second,how easily it can slip away from us because I also would have thought, if anyone was going to get it right it would be Disney....but there was a gap in our expectation and our experience with Disney.
Don't get me wrong, we had a great time! Our family was together, the weather in Southern California was perfect! The Disney Grand Hotel is beautiful! And who doesn't love breakfast with Goofy!
Still... I was reminded how the church can be like my Disney experience. Our vision for people and the experience they have can slip away from us. Our team talks intentionally about creating "Wow!" experiences in the church because right or wrong? People are walking in to our churches with expectations. I was reminded that one small moment, colors the entire experience for good or bad. The Disney Grand Hotel is kinda cool because you have an entrance right from the hotel in to the park called California Adventure. My husband and I were up before the kids and grandson,so we took an early stroll around outside with a cup of coffee, it was really nice and we were enjoying ourselves in the sunshine, other folks were walking around as well and there was an excitement in the morning air, we were spending the day in Disneyland! We noticed an attendant at an entrance to the park as he checked some passes and let some folks enter. Even though our kids weren't up yet, we thought well, let's just take an early stroll in to the park. That's when the attendant became a security guard. We approached, held up our annual passes (which we think are pretty cool) and here's where the encounter goes wrong. "What's that?", he asks in a very curt tone. In a flash, I'm thinking, really? You work here and you don't know what this is? But I answer his question with a question anyway. "It's our annual pass?" Because really at this point it feels like we must be doing something "wrong", we aren't doing it on purpose, really we only realize we are "wrong" because he made us feel, very small, remember we're just on a stroll! Very abruptly,the attendant now turned guard informs us that the people he allowed in ahead of us had some special kind of pass, that the park is not open yet, and he made it very clear, we weren't so special! Same day an encounter of a different kind and...another lesson. Our kids want to have their caricature drawn by one of the Disney artists. She apologizes and explains the wait time, as she is in the middle of another drawing and the other artist is at lunch. Easy to understand, its about a 20 minute wait she explains, as she looks fondly at our two-year old grandson, she conveys that she understands this is a significant wait for the little guy, but then she says, "Is that okay? because I would really love to draw your family". Now we feel special again! So, I'm reminded that we are all responsible for the guest experience, that right or wrong people have expectations especially, when there is a brand promise attached and it takes the whole team to deliver.
People will have an experience in our church, lets decide together what that's going to look like.
"When they develop their pictures what do we want to show up in their photo albums? Cuz, we're responsible for what shows up there". Walt Disney

Monday, January 10, 2011

walls of my heart

I have so many things to do today....I need to go buy detergent BEFORE I can even begin to tackle the pile of laundry, on my only day off. But this is too important to keep in my own head all must blog.
In my quiet time with God this morning I'm reading some Henri Nouwen another of my most favorite authors,(guess I need to add some of his titles to my recommended reads)and was struck sweetly by his reflections. You see I love art! I love looking, gazing, being inspired by it and just beholding it. Paintings, sculptures,a beautiful chandelier, I love old things, old hardwood floors, old houses they too are like works of art to me. I love paintings of fields and vineyards,the masterpieces of a different kind of artist, farmers. I love knowing the title of a piece of art and learning something of the artist who created it. I dream of visiting Europe some day,so many famous works of art come from there, I imagine it must be such a beautiful place! In my home are walls of art, not priceless masterpieces but art I admire just the same. Pictures that I find comfort me.

The picture here is a wall in my home. My two-year old grandson loves to look at these pictures with me and I love that, I love, when in his two-year old voice, he points and says "this?" then as we look at the picture together we talk about what is in that picture, like this one of George Washington we talk about the horse and the snow and praying. Then he points to the next picture and says again, "this?" And, we talk about how the shepherd dog is calling its Master to help the lost lamb,and then he'll whisper, "this?" and we talk about the men seated next to the farm house. I love these moments no matter how times we repeat them. Its always a sweet quiet time, sometimes we are talking so softly together its just a whisper, as we talk about the paintings, first one then another.
Then as I said, I read Nouwen this morning, "The daily contemplation of the gospel and the attentive repetition of a prayer can both profoundly affect our inner life. Our inner life is like a holy space that needs to be kept in good order and well decorated. Prayer, in whatever form, is the way to make our inner room a place where we can welcome those who search for God. Whenever I meet people during the day, I receive them in my inner room, trusting that the pictures on my walls will guide our meeting. Over the years, many new pictures have appeared on my inner walls. Some show words, some gestures of blessing, forgiveness, reconcilitation, healing. Many show faces: the faces of Jesus and Mary, the faces of Therese of Lisieux. It is very important that our inner room has pictures on its walls, pictures that allow those who enter our lives to have something to look at that tells them where they are and where they are invited to go. Without prayer and contemplation, the walls of our inner room will remain barren, and few will be inspired."
Guess you can see how that probably struck me? I want to have that kind of life, the kind that gives people pictures, I think that's what Jesus did every time he spoke to someone, he drew a picture in their mind of what their heavenly Father is like and what life with Him can be like and...they were always invited and included. I think...the magic happens when the picture moves from our minds to our hearts. Love that!