Monday, July 29, 2013

Little Free Library

I am out walking in a pretty Portland suburb when something unusual catches my eye. In someone's front yard a small wooden box is attached to a tree. It looks like a cute little house, with windows in front and a sign that reads 'Little Free Library.' 
Intrigued, I step over to investigate and discover that this is, indeed, a little free library...two shelves of books, for both adults and children, completely free to take. So I sit on the little bench for a while and browse, and pick out an engrossing novel, which I have already completed. What a wonderful concept! 
I visit the website and discover that Little Free Libraries can be found all over the world, each seeking to fulfill a two-fold mission: to promote literature and the love of reading by building free book exchanges worldwide and to build a sense of community as they share skills, creativity and wisdom across generations. 
And as I make my way back home, with my wonderful free find tucked under my arm, I cannot help but think about the ultimate Little Free Library..66 powerful books rolled into one, beginning with Genesis and ending with Revelation, and what a privilege we have to encourage children to 'borrow' from this library...the ultimate source of creativity and wisdom that reaches through all generations.

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Only Explanation

Samuel David Steven Nellist. This brand new baby boy who entered the world late on Saturday evening is one for whom I have prayed before I even knew he was to be born. A precious second grandchild for us, and a beautiful first son for Steven and Natalie.
But Sam's birth was a difficult one for his mom. She endured three days in the hospital, two nights of agonized waiting, numerous medical procedures, and several hours of intense labor before her son was finally delivered by emergency cesarean section.
But now, as she holds her precious newborn in her arms, and marvels at the tiny miracle he is, and as his eyes meet hers, and her heart bursts with inexpressible joy, and love, and pride, I can just hear her whisper, it was all worth it. Because Natalie's greatest pain produced her greatest joy.
And only this fact, only this, could possibly explain why Jesus would endure the agony of the cross. Because his greatest pain produced his greatest joy. And every time we bring a child to know him, can't you just hear him whisper, it was all worth it?

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Quiet Deck

Our Quiet Deck
It is a beautiful summer's morning. I sit on what we call 'our quiet deck', surrounded by trees and sunshine, birdsong and chipmunks. And I marvel at the skill of the hands that built this little hideaway and the ingenuity of the design that wrapped the deck around the tree. This whole house, in fact, bears the marks of a master carpenter, one who must have worked day and night to make this home what it is. And it makes me smile to think about that previous owner and how, although he was making these home improvements for himself and his family to enjoy, he was also preparing this home for us.
And somewhere, in a place no one has ever seen, a master carpenter works to prepare a home for us. This home will surpass all our earthly dreams and all ingenious architectural designs. It's a home where we will have nothing to maintain, nothing to mend and no mortgage to pay. And this is why we teach, and this is why we that every room in that house might be full.

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Author's Signature

I stood, waiting, with over 200 others, as Khaled Hosseini made his way into the studio. I had never attended an author talk or book signing before. It was moving to hear this famous novelist read from his latest book and fascinating to listen as he described the writing process. Khaled talked about how, as he picked up his pen, his characters sometimes veered off in a direction not quite intended for them. But even though that happened, Khaled, as the author, always knew how the story would end. And word by word, page by page, chapter by chapter, everything fitted together and the story- his creation, was written.
When it was time for the book signing, I stood in turn and the author smiled as I stepped up to greet him. He turned to the title page, the very beginning of the story, and with a quick flourish, penned his name.
If God is the author of our story, I imagine that he pens his name at the very beginning of our lives, and quietly watches as our pages turn. And even though we may sometimes veer off in a direction not quite intended for us, God, the author and creator, always knows the ending...
and the best part is, that it is a happy one.

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.
Hebrews 12:2