>The Road Not There

>Robert Frost took the road less traveled, and it made all the difference. But what about when the choice is not between two roads, but moving forward where there is no path at all?


Posted by Robin Schmidt on June 11th, 2009

We are the “sandwich” generation. Sandwiched between the needs of our parents and our children. I am feeling it. If I am feeling anything. Sometimes the feelings are hard to identify. Sometimes the path is more so.

What is the line between free will and predestination? Doug tackled this tough question a few weeks back. We do have choices to make, and they will have consequences and we are not sovereign and we cannot control those consequences. Those ideas and realities and ramifications are complex enough, however, it is not that simple.

No, it is not as simple as my choices. I stand connected to others and we all have choices. And our choices impact each other.

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.”

If only I could find that yellow wood where there are two roads. I wish! I stand at the beginning of woods and there is no path at all. Alongside me are family members, also about to embark on travel through the woods. And though we will travel together as much as possible, we are not traveling as a group; there is no leader and no consensus.

I know others who have traveled these woods. Some seem as lost as I. Some are deep into the woods and have tales to share. But no two travelers adventures are near enough each other that a path begins to develop. No path. No road.

So here we go. I think I see a way that may prove passable. But no one will follow. In fact, I am waved off and confidently, recklessly, the journey is begun in a whole different direction.

But wait! I shout, I see some hazards ahead and we should prepare. This falls on deaf ears and on they plow with speed and haste and no thought to what lies ahead.

A creek appears and in we fall, we’re now wet and soaked right through. But we don’t stop, no on we go and picking up the pace. Next I see a place where the ground will fall away. Look there, I say, we should consider how best to traverse what is next.

Oh sure, is the answer, let us take care that we do not get wet again. But water was the last obstacle, not the next, and now we are preparing for what has passed. So when the ground begins its steep descent, we are not ready still, we could now meet a creek, but that has passed, so down we quickly fall.

I say, perhaps we could stop a bit and plan for what comes ahead. No time! Is the response. There is too much to do, all things in their own good time.

I pick myself up and stop and stare and wonder what are my options?

“I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:”
(No roads were there) in a wood, and I –
I took…

I took…

I took the hand of the One who made the woods,
and that has made all the difference.

(With apologies to Robert Frost, but sir, you left no map.)

Connector Churches

I read this today and thought that the nine traits listed in Ed’s book are really insightful.  What do you think?

http://blogs.lifeway.com/blog/edstetzer/

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Creating Deeper Community
Churches that are effective at attracting and developing young adults place a high value on moving people into a healthy small group system. Young adults are trying to connect and will make a lasting connection wherever they can find belonging.

Making a Difference through Service

Churches that are transforming young adults value leading people to serve through volunteerism. More than being pampered, young adults want to be part of something bigger than themselves and are looking to be part of an organization where they can make a difference through acts of service.

Experiencing Worship

Churches that are engaging young adults are providing worship environments that reflect their culture while also revering and revealing God. More than looking for a good performance, young adults desire to connect with a vertical experience of worship.

Leveraging Technology

Churches that are reaching young adults are willing to communicate in a language of technology familiar to young adults. Young adults sense that these churches are welcoming churches that value and understand them, engaging them where they are.

Building Cross-Generational Relationships

Churches that are linking young adults with older, mature adults are challenging young adults to move on to maturity through friendship, wisdom, and support. Young adults are drawn to churches that believe in them enough to challenge them.

Moving Toward Authenticity

Churches that are engaging young adults are reaching them not only by their excellence but by their honesty. Young adults are looking for and connecting to churches where they see leaders that are authentic, transparent, and on a learning journey.

Leading by Transparency

Churches that are influencing young adults highly value an incarnational approach to ministry and leadership. This incarnational approach doesn’t require revealing one’s personal sin list so much as it does require that those in leadership must be willing to express a personal sense of humanity and vulnerability.

Leading by Team

Increasingly churches reaching young adults seem to be taking a team approach to ministry. They see ministry not as a solo venture but as a team sport–and the broader participation it creates increases the impact of ministry.

Is your church reaching young adults? If so, are any of these traits proving to me more instrumental than the others in your context?

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Baseball, Redemption, and a Hospital Room

A week ago yesterday my bride received a phone call. It was one of those calls that you dread. Her dad, Dennis, was in the hospital due to a stroke. It was “minor” but for a man like Dennis and for a family like ours it is major. Dennis is an athlete (at times becoming a scratch golfer!).  Dennis is the life of the party.  Dennis is the picture of the entrepreneurial spirit.  Dennis is the kind of man that other men want to be.  This is seen in the respect that his four son-in-laws have for him and the tender love that he bestows on his four daughters.

Amy left Detroit early last Thursday morning and drove (I am sure more quickly than she cares to admit) directly to the hospital room in Evansville, IN where Dennis was beginning his recovery.

But wait, that’s not the whole backstory.

The beloved St. Louis Cardinals were about to finish their three game home-stand against the hated Chicago Cubs.  The Cards had won the first two games of the series and were in position to sweep and return to first place in the division. In business like fashion they dispatched the Cubs and welcomed to town their cross state rivals, the Royals for a weekend set.

Every single day there was baseball. Every single day there was time spent in a hospital room. Every single day there was a conversation over lunch or dinner that took place between Amy and Dennis about the Cards.

You see, baseball was the beginning of healing. It was normalcy brought into an abnormal situation.  It was the pastoral balm that allowed father and daughter to sit and talk and be. Baseball. Not doctors. Not a golden tongued preacher. Not a good book. Baseball. It was the context.  The rhythm of life that never stops.  It’s six on, one off created rhythm that touches us deep.

Some say the season is too long. Some say the games are too long. Some say it’s boring. Some say it’s day in and day out grind take away from it.

I could not disagree more. It is redemptive.  It is ongoing.  It is always with you. It provides passion, joy, pain, sorrow, elation. Most of all, it provides time.  Time for a father and daughter to be together.  Time for them to get lost together and forget that they are in a hospital room. Time for them to be transported to that place they both love.  That place where the buzz of the crowd, the warmth of the sun, and smell of the hot dog fill you.

Baseball.

Redemption.

A Hospital Room.

Beautiful.

Scot McKnight on Spiritual Eroticism

Scot McKnight: Spiritual Eroticism | Out of Ur | Conversations for Ministry Leaders.

Above is a link to an article by Scot McKnight.  As I read it I was struck by how pointed the article was. Do we love Jesus, no really, do we love Jesus with the kind of love that requires us to be in his presence? Or are we satisfied with the idea of loving Jesus?

>Two Scoops

>

I like children’s music and videos and stories. I learn a lot from them. Sometimes the most profound truth can be explained with two scoops and some breakfast cereal.

Posted by Robin Schmidt on February 26th, 2009

I heard a children’s sermon once that really stuck with me.

Hugh Auburn of Bay Presbyterian Church gathered the children one Sunday morning and invited one of them to help him. He had two large mixing bowls full of cereal, one for himself, the other for his helper.

He told her the object was to scoop her cereal into his bowl while he scooped his cereal into her bowl. He gave her a big spoon and then pulled out a serving spoon, which was larger, and they began.

Cereal flew and it was immediately obvious that his larger spoon was scooping faster than her spoon. In the way of children everywhere she stopped and declared that it wasn’t fair, his spoon was bigger. He was quite gracious and offered her his spoon, which she happily took.

He then pulled out an even larger spoon. They began again, cereal flying, laughing, same result. She stopped, I want that spoon. He gave her his larger spoon and pulled out an even larger one. She asked for that one before they even began scooping again. He obliged, but came up with an even larger spoon/scoop.

He then looked at us all and said, “You can’t out-scoop God.”

I can’t out-scoop God. What a great thought!

I’ve read Malachi 3:10, Luke 6:27-38, Matthew 6:25-34, Philippians 4:10-20, II Corinthians 8 and 9, James 2:14-16.

But you know what? I’ve never tried to out-scoop God. I’ve never jumped in throwing cereal as fast as I can only to see God showering it faster. Is God standing with his large scoop waiting? “C’mon Robin, try me. Let’s play out-scoop me!”

That idea has joined with another – “Do what is right without giving way to fear” 1 Peter 3:6…

and another from Psalm 50…God owns the cattle on a thousand hills.

The cattle on a thousand hills? Have you ever seen cattle on hills? I’ve seen eight deer on our Grace Chapel incline. But the idea of God owning the cattle on a thousand hills is a little fuzzy to me.

You know what I have seen? Dollars. I have seen dollars and I have seen checking accounts. I think we might get a better idea if we translated that verse – God owns the dollars in a thousand checking accounts.

God owns the dollars in my checking account.

I am starting to get excited. I am looking about for a large spoon. I think I am ready to begin playing Lord, get set, GO!