Sunday, November 25, 2007

Get back in line!

For many people, Thanksgiving represents the one time during the year that they are forced to think of things to be "thankful for" but for me the list is truly easy to compile and not so easy to narrow. In no particular order here are a few that top my list:

I am blessed in so many ways. My family is truly an amazing gift. My wife Angie, is incredible and has put up with me for almost ten years now. She finds joy in the things I tend to overlook, and helps my children to celebrate life. What an incredible, and enjoyable home she creates for us, and it isn't about the great food or cool decor, it is her that makes it home.

My son Brayden is truly a kind hearted, and compassionate soul. Sure, he is all boy complete with moments that he gets irritated with his twin sisters, but he is amazing in his consideration of others. I am convinced that the degree to which he possesses that compassion is an imprint of his Maker. He is destined for greatness. I can't wait to see the script of his life play out.

My twin girls Josie and Maddie are constant reminders of God's ability and choice at times to suspend the norm and do miracles. According to all the experts they (my girls) shouldn't be here, or at the very least shouldn't posses the perfect physical health that they enjoy. They are beautiful and very much "individuals". They are miracles.

My Savior Jesus Christ, for some reason allowed me to be born into a home with parents that loved and honored Jesus. I have been surrounded by great men and women that made pursuing Jesus with the totality of my life simply irresistible. Why wouldn't I pursue a relationship with the ONE that made these incredible people tick and live as they do? I want help as many people as possible to experience the revolutionary love of Jesus. I am so grateful to know Jesus personally.

My parents are some of the most generous people I have ever known. Always giving, yet never wealthy by the world's standards. For me being taught about Jesus would have never been enough, but in them I experienced the transformational, even transcendent life that this "God-man" Jesus provides. They were different and it was obvious. They had peace in the midst of chaos, stability in crisis, fairness when it wasn't earned by my brothers and I, and character in a world that bends frequently. My brothers both love and serve Jesus with passion as I do, though we are all in very different walks of life. I am convinved that much of this is directly related to the environment we experienced as children.

Ridge Church is a dream both in formation and realization and I am so thankful for her. Over Thankgiving break our family went horse back riding and the horse Josie and I were on was oddly pre-occupied with cleanliness. She avoided every mud puddle and...well, you can figure out what else she avoided! So while all the other horses marched in an orderly line. Our horse walked by herself in the field, and sometimes in the woods on paths that weren't really paths at all. She was a pioneer of sorts. Blazing the trail, as tree limbs slapped me in the face, and briars grabbed my pant legs. There is a lesson in that---Being the pioneer isn't always as glamorous as it seems!

I suppose it was fitting that I would be on the horse that wouldn't "walk in line" though since I am the same way. Conformity is not my greatest attribute. Something inside of me says, "yes, I can when someone tells me that I can't." I have been this way since I was little, and it is even more true of me as an adult. Here is a snap shot of my horse "out of line"...where she was the entire ride!

All this to say, that I am thankful for Ridge Church, not because we are simply different to be different or because we are walking "out of line" from rebellion, but instead because we have been willing as a group to challenge the process and do what was necessary to communicate to those we love, the truth about God in a way they can understand and relate to. Sometimes that requires "getting out of line" and thinking in new and fresh ways. I am grateful to be associated with a group of people that are willing to take this risk and join us in this adventure.

There is something extreme about really pursuing God that sometimes requires us to get out of line and blaze a new trail...briars and all! I leave you today with this quote:

"The question is not whether we will be extremist, but what kind of extremist we will be. Will we be extremist for hate or extremists for love?" -Martin Luther King Jr.

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