Sunday, September 2, 2012

Praise God!

Another good sermon today. I guess it's become my habit to write about the sermon quite often. Anyway, today's sermon was the last in a series Brad did on "Praying the Psalms." Today was the last Psalm in the book, Psalm 150.

At one point Brad said that many current theologians say that American religion has become moralistic, therapeutic and deistic. It's about what's right or wrong, it's about how it can help me feel better, and it's about the fact that there is a God out there. Hmm. That made me think of some of the stuff John Suk wrote about in his book, Not Sure, which I blogged about today in my other blog.

But mostly today's sermon was about PRAISE. He said Psalm 150 is unequivocal when it tells us to PRAISE GOD. It does not ask us how we feel about it, or talk about why we should do it, or how it benefits us. It just says, do it! Praise him because he is God, not me, and praise God for that!

It was a joyful service with communion, which is always a blessing, good singing, and some participation by children, which is always heartwarming. Brad had asked people to memorize a Psalm for this series and to let him know if we did it. Two little girls, sisters, learned Psalm 23 and recited it today. You can't get much more touching than that.

Psalm 150 
Praise the Lord.
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power;
praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre,
praise him with timbrel and dancing,
praise him with the strings and pipe,
praise him with the clash of cymbals,
praise him with resounding cymbals.
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

As High As....

Today Brad's sermon was on Psalm 103. He's doing a series on the Psalms. When he talked about verses 11 and 12 it reminded me of a sweet memory with Zach.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his love for those who fear him; 
as far as the east is from the west,
    so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

 When Zach was little, we had a little routine where one of us would say, "I love you as big as.." or " high as..." and the other would respond. It'd go something like this:
Z:  I love you as big as the ocean.M:  I love you as high as a mountain.Z:  I love you as high as the moon.M:  I love you as high as the sun.Z: I love you as big as the universe.
M: I love you as big as the galaxy.
Z:  I love you as big as INFINITY!!
How sweet is that? And it was a good association. Even in the psalm, the writer talks about "As a father [and we could substitute mother] has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;

Besides reminding me of the gratitude I feel for my children, and my children's love, it also reminded me of the gratitude I feel for having such a loving father and mother, who demonstrated that compassion and grace that the Lord has for us.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Birds in the backyard

I love it that from our couch we can see the fountain and the hummingbird feeder. I can never catch the birds on camera but little ones, maybe finches, often wash and splash in the fountain, and the hummingbirds like both the feeder and the red flowers on the plant beside the fountain. So pretty.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Sing a New Song

We're visiting Delaney, Luke & Des (and Cori has joined us) for the Memorial Day weekend. I love how Delaney sings and hums as she's doing things. Just now she was sitting by me putting on her shoes, humming away. Yesterday in the car she and I were singing songs she knew and every once in a while she'd ask for one like, "Sing the Frog Song." I'd say, "I don't know that one, you sing it." And she'd sing something very softly. I couldn't hear what she was singing most times but I'd catch something like the word "ribbit" when she sang about frogs. She was just making them up as she went.

Here's a video of her singing while she picks up her blocks. In this case I heard some words but often she was just singing syllables. Very melodious. And I'm not at all biased.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Is That Me?

Today Brad continued his series on prayer and preached about Ephesians 3:14-21:
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your heartsthrough faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge —that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
      Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
When he gave the benediction, he used these verses. Last week he preached about Ephesians 1:15-23:
For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every namethat is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. 
And when he prayed after the sermon, he used those verses and our church's name as in: "I have not stopped giving thanks for San Jose Christian Reformed Church, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give San Jose Christian Reformed Church the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better..."

Today, too, Brad referred to I Corinthians 13, and said the Jesus personified the love described here:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
As in: "Jesus is patient, Jesus is kind..." 

It reminded me of when my dad once said that we should try to personify that love, too, and be able to put our name in the place of the word "love." As in, "Mavis is patient, Mavis is kind. She does not envy, does not boast, is not proud. Mavis does not dishonor others, is not self seeking, she is not easily angered, she keeps no record of wrongs..."

Brad spoke of us being a reflection of Jesus' love. It gave me the image in my mind of these verses being like a mirror, and me wondering, "Is that me?"

Friday, May 11, 2012

"The Far Side," but in Poetry

My sister, sister-in-law and I went to the Faith & Writing Festival at Calvin College. I've been to several and they're always great. This year I happened to hear several poets read or talk about poetry and one was Aaron Belz. When he read his poem "Worms" (below), I thought his poetry was like "The Far Side" cartoon -- but in poetic form.

He kind of takes words or phrases or sayings and flips them every which way. Some of his poems are super short. When he read those, there'd be a silence as people waited: Was there more? Oh, he's done, okay, clap. He would read them very straight-faced, kind of deadpan, and hardly ever react. Just a tiny smile once in a while.

I ordered the book Lovely, Raspberry and am enjoying reading more of them.

I just realized that maybe this blog entry should've gone in my other blog, "Mavis Reads, And Writes to Tell About It." But I was thinking about the poetry, not the book so much, so I'll leave it here. Enjoy.
That's not very good.
Try doing that differently.
That's not very good either.
You're not very good at this.
Cyclists, as a rule, think bikers are cheating,
because they have engines. Pedestrians, in turn,
think cyclists are cheating; they use wheels.
People in wheelchairs think pedestrians
have a leg up, for obvious reasons,
but pedestrians think the same thing
about people in wheelchairs; they use wheels.
What makes people in wheelchairs unique
is that they also think cyclists and bikers
are cheating. Their disdain is uniform.
The wheelchairists' hypocrisy lies,
however, in their use of automobiles.
Everyone uses automobiles except worms.
Worms think they're better than everyone.
Worms think they're more authentic than everyone.
This is why people say worms are self-righteous.
To worms' credit, however, they aren't hypocritical,
except the ones that glide down the sidewalk
on hundreds of tiny legs, blithely ignoring
their wilted, sun-blackened comrades.
Those worms are called millipedes.
Those worms are really bad apples.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Couple Laughs to Share

This blog entry from "The Pioneer Woman" made me laugh out loud -- in the part below her link to "Ree Runs Into a Stairway," where she describes her adventure at QVC.

And today is Ride Your Bike to Work Day, did you know? I decided to ride mine. I'm working from home. Har har.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Further up and further in

Today during a prayer, Pastor Brad used the phrase "further up and further in." I love the image I get from that phrase, taken from the last book in The Chronicles of Narnia, The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis. The picture I see in my mind is of rolling hills of green grass, a British pastoral scene, with the children from the book running up the hills and calling out to each other, "Come, further up and further in!" Aslan is in front of them running on his padded feet, looking behind encouragingly now and then.

This is one image of heaven I've got. Another is from the song about the "far side banks of Jordan,"  with the chorus
I'll be waiting on the far side banks of Jordan
I'll be waiting drawing pictures in the sand
And when I see you coming I will rise up with a shout
And come running through the shallow waters reaching for your hand.
That one evokes my feelings about seeing those who have gone before me.

I know that these images of heaven are not actual, the chorus could even be called sentimental. But they please my heart.

Saturday, March 17, 2012


Ready for the big birthday bash! This week has been all about the fam-fam (family). I am at my parent's house celebrating my mother's 80th birthday. As they say in "The Incredibles," "I love our family!"

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Children of the Promise

Today we had a guest minister who preached on Romans 9. In verse 8 it says, " is not the children by physical descent who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring." I like the phrase "children of the promise." That'd be a good title for a book or a song. Besides liking the fact that this is about me - not a child by physical descent - it also made me think of the rainbow, a symbol of God's promise.