Friday, July 27, 2007

Love Provoked by Love Given

I've been reading Mark Buchanan's walk through 2 Peter 1:1-9 -oddly enough, that's our theme passage for this year at ABC and, coincidentally, at the heart of many recent conversations lately- and have been struck by his understanding of each of the virtues listed. Love, however, the last in Peter's list, is the one that has captured my attention.

He talks about love, agape love, not just being unconditional love, as we often define agape, but unprovoked love. I like that. We hear about unprovoked attacks, random acts of violence committed on some poor, unwitting victim who just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, but not often do we hear of unprovoked goodness let alone unprovoked love. That's the way I want to love: unprovoked.

He takes it a little further though. "I said that agape is unprovoked love. That's only half true. In God, it is unprovoked. But in us, it is provoked - by God. God sparks it, fels it, stokes it. 'This is love,' John says, 'not that we loved God, but that he loved us'...That love - God's agape for you - is the only thing that can provoke agape in us toward the least of these, the most of these, the worst of these" (Hidden in Plain Sight, pg. 190).

Then he tells a story:

"Tracy is one of the worship leaders at our church. One Sunday, as she sat at the piano, she talked about the difficult week she'd just been through. It was chaotic, she said, a mess of petty crises on top of a rash of minor accidents, all mixed up in a soupcon of crazy busyness. It had left her weary and cranky. She got up that Sunday to lead worship and felt spent, with nothing more to give.

She walked into the living room, and the window was covered with scrawl. Her eight-year-old daughter Brenna (I call her Lucy, because of her pitch-perfect resemblance to the character by that name in the movie adaptation of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe) had with a glass crayon scribbled something, top to bottom, side to side, across the picture window. At first, it seemed to Tracy one more thing to do, one more mess to clean. The she saw what Brenna had written: love, joy, peace, patience, kindnece, goodnece, faithfulnece, gentelnece and selfcantrol (Brenna's delightful spelling).

Tracy stopped, drank it in. Her heart flooded with light. It was exactly what she needed to be reminded about: the gift of the fruit of te Spirit that arises, not by our circumstances, but by Christ within us.

And then Tracy noticed one more thing Brenna had written, at the edge of the window: Love one another. Only Brenna, in her creative spelling, had written,




It's what Jesus has been trying to tell us all along. You were won that way. Now go and do likewise." (Hidden in Plain Sight, pg 191).

I want to live like that. I'm getting there but I still have a long way to go. All of the virtues Peter talks about mean nothing, I think, without this. "The greatest of these is love," Paul says, in a discussion of the gifts of the Spirit. He understood.

I need to choose, every day, every minute and every hour, to accept the gift of love that God has so graciously bestowed on me, unprovoked, and go and do likewise. To live a life of significance is not to be great at doing many (or even one!) things or to do all of the good things in the world if love is not the motivator. To live a life of significance is to be loving...because we are loved...because I am loved.

I've been thinking, again, about the life of Christ, the story He lived in. He did a lot of great things. He healed people, fed people, preached to the masses. He cleared out the temple. He cast demons out. He even raised people from the dead! All of these things were great but what made His life signficant was that He loved people. He died and rose again because He loved people. He gave up His rights, His well being, His place in the throne room of heaven, because he loved. All he did and all he was was motivated by love.

To think he loves me, he loves us, that much.

Go...and do likewise.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A New Fan Favorite

For a long time now I've sat on the sidelines when it comes to sharing quotes and laughs from "The Office." Recently, though, my friend, Sheyne, introduced me to the joys of Steve Carrell's office management and his crew of employees. I love the randomness and the "close-to-life-ness" of it all. I've now finished the first season and half of the second. I've got a little more to go before the next season starts! That's a whole lot to catch up on...

Current Read(s)

Hidden In Plain Sight, Mark Buchanan

Friday, July 20, 2007


50 degrees F. (10 C.)
- Floridians shiver uncontrollably
- Canadians plant their gardens

35 degrees F. (2 C.)
- Italian cars won't start
- Canadians drive with their windows down

32 degrees F. (0 C.)
- American water freezes
- Canadian's water gets thicker

0 degrees F. (-17 )
- New York City landlords finally turn on the heat
- Canadians have the last BBQ of the season

-60 degrees F. (-51C.)
- Mt. St. Helens freezes
- Canadian Brownies sell their cookies door to door

-100 degrees F. (- 73 C.)
- Santa Claus abandons the North pole
- Ottawa's Rideau Canal opens for skating

-173 degrees F. (-114 C.)
- Ethyl alcohol freezes
- Canadians get frustrated when they can't thaw the keg

-460 degrees F. (-273C.) Absolute zero
- All atomic motion stops
- Canadians start saying 'Cold, eh?'

-500 degrees F. (-295C.)
- Hell freezes over
- Leafs win the Stanley Cup

Smile if you're a leafs know you want to!!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Current Read(s)

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, J.K. Rowling

Praise Habit: Finding God in Sunsets and Sushi, David Crowder

Random Ramblings from Jam Packed June and July

Hold your breath no longer, dear blog world, I have returned. No longer must you wait for me to share my wit and wisdom with you.

Oh man, truthfully, I'm just amazed anyone reads this stuff! Everytime I leave for an extended period and people notice, I'm surprised. Then again, I'm just surprised at how long it's been since I've actually posted. I guess life is full of surprises.

I warned you there would be random ramblings.

Anyway, June and July have been jam packed. I'm thankful to finally have a day off to catch my breath and catch up on all the stuff that I've been missing!

Where to begin...hmmm...quick timeline.

June 20 - Recertified my lifeguarding. This could come in really handy - already has - plus I was reminded that I'm a bit of a fish. I love the water. Too bad God didn't give me gills...although I think I'd look a little funny...funnier.

June 21 - car breaks down in Ponoka. No, friends, it was not a freudian breakdown. I should not have been the one left behind in Ponoka. Thanks for the thought though. Very encouraging!

June 26 - Serve Day with Journey Church. We shut the doors of the church and hit the streets to serve with several other churches in the community. It was a really great day with our church family. I admit I wrestled with the programmed side of it. It seems a little, um, forced, i guess, when everything is scheduled and advertised and, well, programmed but then again, that's the way you build a habit, right? I got thinking about how I get myself into the habit of going to the gym (which I haven't done well for a long time). I schedule it in. I plan to go. I get someone else to come with me so that there's accountability...and eventually it's a habit. Same with this. And we had fun. Most of us were in Cranston but there were teams all over. Some pretty neat stories came out of it!

June 30-July 6 - Pine Lake Christian Camp Senior High Camp. I love camp and I love summer. Pine Lake is becoming a very dear place to me, full of many great memories. This is one of my best "work" weeks of the year - yes, it's part of my job! I am so thankful for the campers I get to spend time with...they're great! Plus, it's always fun to work with a team of my peers to run the thing. I could ramble forever just on how good camp was but I shouldn't so highlight...hmmm...highlight...can I say the food? It was. I really like Chantelle's buns. Other highlight, my cabin of girls. They're great....fantastic young women. Oh and music with the team was fun. And the accents. Oh the memories...Stop the rambling, Stace. Yikes.

July 7 - Journey hosts Cranston Community Stampede breakfast. Okay, this was great fun. I wasn't supposed to be able to be here for this and missed last year so I was super excited when it worked out that I could be there this year. It was awesome to see the field FULL of people enjoying themselves, the music and, yes, the pancakes and sausages that our people provided. Plus, the team did an incredible job. They fed 1300 people in only a few hours!!!! Awesome! I say "they" because I just wandered around visiting, laughing and taking pictures...but I was there and it was great. I love my church!!!

July 7-12 - DVM Teen Camp, Lumby BC. Another incredible week. Let me point out though that I was exhasted already when I got there! If you happen to see pictures of me doing anything stupid, keep that in mind. First off, it was hot. One day got up to 48 degrees!!! I love hot weather but I think I start to droop about there. Whoo! To keep cool we either went to Echo Lake to swim - one of the most beautiful sites in Canada, I swear!) - or played on the slip and slide. Seriously so much fun. Again, love the campers to death. There are a lot of good people in little ole' Lumby, BC. Girls' night out was pretty great too. I've never done that at a camp before. We split the girls and the guys right after supper and had seperate "events" with them. We didn't regroup until the next morning. It was such a good way to just hang out and get to know each other without distractions. Yes, sometimes boys are distracting. I had the opportunity to speak. Even though I rambled a wee bit (are you surprised!?) it was definitely a highlight of the week for me! I love it!!! I was surprised by how natural it felt. Probably because I love those people so much!!

July 13 - back for Friday of Journey Day Camp. Playing with kids. Acting out stories. Avalanche ranch. A day of swimming (lifeguarding for me) at Lake Sundance. What could be better!? Hats off to the team that worked all week to host the kids. They had so much fun and I could tell that they'd really absorbed stuff from the week. It was a real treat for me to be a part of it, even if just for the day!

So that's the basics of it all. Add in birthday parties, BBQ's, a mudfight at the river, a visit with my brother and heading back to the office to face the piles of stuff that had accumulated while I was away and you've basically got my last month. There's basically a picture diary in shutterfly if you can last through it (none of the piles of work though. That wasn't very fun!).

There were a couple of lessons that I picked up on while I was away...or at least things I was reminded of.

I was humbled to realize the impact that I have on the people around me. Arriving at both camps, I was met with what can only be described as celebration. People jumping up from what they were doing to come for a hug or jumping up and down excited to see me. Campers that I've developed relationships with over the years pulling me aside to confide significant things in me and ask for my advice. Incredibly humbling. Who am I? I am loved....and I love them.

I do love them. I was reminded again of just how much I love working with youth and young adults. At both camps I had the privilege of working alongside some of my students as we served youth. I was in my glory...I was at home and, some would say, at peace with myself. I LOVE the energy and excitement. I love the questions they ask. I remember what it's like to be there. Heck, sometimes I still am! Most of all, I love being able to share life with them, the good the bad and the ugly, and be a part of their lives, allowing them to become a part of mine. I love, too, that God is redeeming the crap in my past for these guys. The things I've lived and learned through is relevant to them too. Pretty incredible.

As you can imagine, I drove a lot. I like to think that when I'm driving the random thoughts I have - and conversations, let's just be honest - are actually quite profound and don't just sound that way because I'm bored. Here's one of my favorites. I've decided that how a person drives is actually quite indicitive of how they live life. I drive fast. I'm probably deserving of more speeding tickets than I've received, I admit. That said, I think I'm quite cautious - my driving instructor once confirmed that although it was a while ago. Only so risky. Set me in a direction and I can go for hours without stopping. Focused. Even though I'm focused on driving, I'm usually doing more than one thing at a time. I drive with a notebook in the passenger seat for my "deep" thoughts. I take tons of music and sermons with me. Always singing, always learning. I love to observe nature around me. I sometimes wish I could stop more often and take pictures but I'm usually "racing" myself to better my time from the last time I did it. Maybe that's a little curious to the rest of you, but that's what I do. I'm not really patient either. I grumble at other drivers when they impede my process. Don't they know there's a goal to reach, here!? Where did they learn how to drive? And how come their driving abilities don't meet my standards? I'm making myself sound like a real jerk here...especially when i say that most of this is how I live my life. Crap. It's true though. Try it. Next time you go on a longer trip, see how you drive and analyze it a bit. How well does it reflect who you are?

After all that, this is how I feel:

Aren't you glad I'm back. Betcha missed me!!!