Wednesday, July 20, 2011

That banana peel just talked to me!


I preached the first sermon at youth camp this week. In that time, I said God was always speaking, always putting his word out there. And it's true. I've been learning a lot about God this week through my kitchen scraps and I thought I'd share. It starts off with the kids' memory verse for the week:

"Blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in HIM."

This week, we’ve talked about how important it is to hide God’s Word – the book, the person, the spirit – in the clay of your heart and let it grow there into something way bigger than it started out being. Pat talked about how important it is to have the Word of God so we can resist the enemy, because we are in a real battle, here. We’ve talked about how we make ourselves too hard for the WORD to get in, how we have an enemy who tries to steal the seed, and how other people and things try block growth and kill the plant. That’s other people, a powerful demon, and even ourselves going against God’s Word taking root in our lives. Seems like a lot to battle, doesn’t it? Have you wondered what kind of heart you have? What kind of attack you’re most vulnerable to? Anyone feel like hiding and growing God’s Word is a little too much to ask of someone already dealing with life? Maybe you just feel like your life (or at least part of it) is too messed up to try and do something good with now. Does it sound like a great idea, but you’re just not sure you can really do it?

I have a great idea for you: Compost.

What is compost?

It’s the best kind of dirt. But it’s not just any dirt, or else, they’d just call it “dirt.” It’s made out of things that were alive, but now are broken, half-dead, not good to eat or useful for anything anymore. You know, the part of grass that gets too long. The ends of carrots no one wants to eat. The apple that got really gross. The sticks that fell out of the tree during last week’s storm. The leaves after the kids are all done playing in them in the fall. Even…poop. No good. Gross. Gone bad. Dead. Ugly. Whatever.

Who makes compost?

Well, first let’s see who doesn’t: the grossed-out person who would throw the nasty apple in the trash, the person who only wanted to use that coffee bean and then throw it out, the person who thought that the grass was too tall, or that the grape was a little too wrinkly. The knife doesn’t make the compost, either. And neither does the animal or the wind and lightning. They didn’t turn the broken branch into compost. You know what else can’t make compost? The dirt.

If you’re feeling like you can’t possibly make your heart right, well…you’re right. You probably can’t. But the farmer can. And we know who the farmer would be in this story, right? God. Our Father. The one who cares for us. Our Redeemer – the only One who can take all the bad things and make them into something good: compost!

So have you thought about it? Do you feel like maybe there are too many weeds in your life? Do you feel like the real you – the good one – is being crowded out? Are you feeling a little shallow? Like there should be more to your life, but you’re always just short of it? Have you been walked on over and over again like the path and just become too hard? Maybe you made yourself hard so you wouldn’t get squashed the next time. Maybe you’ve had some seeds stolen from you in life. Maybe you need some compost.

Can you see where I’m going? Maybe other people just see a bunch of mess. Maybe you just see a bunch of mess. Or you have a bunch of dead stuff lying around in your life. Bits and piece of broken things that are good for nothing anymore. Like stomped-on leaves or broken branches. Maybe there are parts of good things left over that you don’t know what to do with. Things you had to offer the world that just weren’t needed – that got cut off. Like the top of a carrot or a blade of grass. Maybe you’ve been neglected. No one (including you) has paid attention to certain things about you and you’ve sat in the refrigerator and gotten all moldy and soft and yucky. We all have junk lying around. And there’s nothing to do with it. We have broken relationships. Things about us that just aren’t right. Things in our life that aren’t ever going to grow again. Wasted. Needing to be thrown away. Maybe you feel like your whole life needs to be tossed out. Maybe you just wish you could start over and want to scrap it all.

Well, I’m here to tell you that there’s more than one way to throw dead, broken things out. You can just throw them in your trash, where they’ll stink and be nasty until someone else comes and gets them and then they’ll be nasty somewhere else and nothing good will come from them. You can litter them around so everyone can see your mess and your drama and it can make even the places around you look nasty. Or you can give your trash to God and let Him do something with it. It takes time. It takes a little skill. It takes some heat and letting Him do some digging around in there, but it produces something He can really work with to make some beautiful, tasty stuff.

And that’s not about trusting yourself. Nowhere in the Bible are we told to trust ourselves. But what is your memory verse for the week? Blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in HIM. We can trust God with our good, bad, and ugly. We can trust Him with the stuff we can’t do anything good with. He’s the only one we can trust with it. He’s the farmer who knows what he’s doing and he can make it into something different so no one can go digging up the nasty stuff anymore. That’s what “redeem” means: to give something its true value. He can redeem your life, and He does it by taking what’s useless to Him making into something very usable.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

two lines of reasoning

Me: "If we're lucky, we'll leave and go to camp tomorrow."
Israel: "I'm not lucky."
Me: "You're not?"
Israel: "No. Are you lucky?"
Me: "I don't know."
Israel: "Dad's not lucky. Eden's not lucky. I'm not lucky. You're not lucky."
Me: "Wow."
Israel: "So does that mean we're going to camp right now?"


Me: "Eden, you're a pretty cool kid."
Eden: "No."
Me. "Yes you are! You're a cool kid and I like you!"
Eden: "No. You do not like me at all because...that's my purple."

Yes, she knows what color purple is. No, we had not been talking about anything purple and there was nothing purple in the room. But here is a picture of my silly little girl and some of "her purple."