Life 103

Saturday, October 27, 2007

getting acquainted

The other night while out with friends, we found a very interesting sale table. There were books, calendars, and practical joke items piled high. We spent quite a while learning what our personalities were according to our astrological signs. We read each other conversation starter questions form a deck of cards. And, funniest of all, P & J sang us songs from the Dysfunctional Family Christmas Songs book (friends and family be forewarned, they bought it.)

I bought a book called, 4000 questions for getting to know anyone and everyone, by Barbara Ann Kipfer. I’m excited. We have check in questions for our Listening Life small groups for the next 76 years!

I’ll ask you all this one: What gives you a feeling of abundance in life?

Thursday, October 18, 2007


This is what my neighbor's barn looked like last spring and for as long as I can remember. Long before I was born it was built by the Nelson brothers, one of whom was my grandfather...

This is what it looks like as of 2:30 yesterday afternoon when it was hit by a twister. Yes, a twister. Here in Oregon. Another neighbor who works at home and lost some trees too said last he saw it, it was headed north. Our landscape has changed immeasurably, forever. It's a sad day...

Monday, October 15, 2007

God loves you

A while back I spoke at a retreat for the spiritual caregivers from Friendsview Retirement Community. I taught on leading a Listening Life, using some of the material I’d already prepared for the small group ministry at our church by the same name but in this presentation, I happened to mention that I think we cannot know the height, depth, and breadth of God’s love without opening ourselves in relationship to each other. Nor can we share it well with others when we’re not in close relationship with God ourselves. Our spiritual relationship with God, I said, is for the sake of others.

I used the example of a friend who I believe leads a listening life most of the time. One day, I stopped by the church office to drop something off. As I was leaving, I was about to cross the street when my friend came running out of the building calling me. He must have seen me walk past his office window. As he caught up with me on the sidewalk, he said, I just had a strong impression that God wanted me to tell you he loves you.

I said, I know he does but thanks, and as I headed back to work I wondered about the exchange. I was in a really healthy place at the time, do doubts about God, not feeling distant or abandoned, no burning questions or unanswered prayers, no need for reassurance that I could detect, so I asked God about it as I drove away. I think I said in my head something like, what’s up with that?, and the response – the thing that came clearly and powerfully to mind – was this: sometimes when you love someone, you just tell them.

I never told my friend the rest of that conversation. Life happened between then and now and I could never remember it at the right time. So, Gregg, thanks for leading a listening life and thanks all the more for following God's nudges to speak.

And, to anyone else who might ever wonder…You are a precious child, beloved by God, a beautiful person in his eyes.

couples retreat

This weekend Steve and I went to couples conference at Twin Rocks Friends Camp. Here are some of the pictures I took in our togehter time. Steve has his own new camera and hopefully he'll post some of those some day too...

We had an good time under the excellent tutelage of Steve & Diane Fawver whose openness and honesty is always refreshing. I am fortunate to be able to call them both my friends and blessed beyond measure to be in ministry with them. The weekend provided a good balance of teaching time and together time.

Of course, any time we’re in a room with Friends from elsewhere, someone feels compelled to find out how everyone is connected. Of those not from Newberg: One couple’s daughter goes to South Salem Friends and loves Steve’s parents, the former pastors there. Steve’s sister and her husband attended this couple’s Portland church, Lynnwood Friends, a while just as City’s Edge was starting so they knew her too. Another couple’s daughter lives in Katzabue, Alaska where Steve’s grandparents were missionaries for 1 year in the 1920’s. Their daughter is married to a boy we watched grow into a fine young man at Newberg Friends. Another couple lives in Yacolt, Washington. They’re new to Cherry Grove Friends Church but already know my brother, Rob, as “the torch guy.” There’s no doubt in my mind he was talking about my brother. There were other connections but they're too hard to explain in this limited space...

So it’s a small world, this Friends Universe. It’s full of amazing people with hearts of gold that are seeking hard after God. We have our dysfunctions and can be a little tiring at times but, for the most part, we are a sincere bunch who want to do God proud, care for the people around us as best we know how, and help each other draw near to the heart of God. I’m happy to be part of the family.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

fun times

John Waller...Leeland...AND...Casting Crowns...Memorial Coliseum...Friday night...with my men and some of the AMAZING families and volunteers I've worked with over the last 4 years...thanks to LMG for 20 free tickets!