Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Father's Day Fun

Ready to climb to the top of Arizona!
So, it’s getting hot in Vegas…  I’m still enjoying my early morning runs, but my late afternoon bike rides are just getting ridiculous!  So for my first Father’s Day, I wanted go somewhere to cool off and relax.  Now, Kira and I thought about taking some time just to chill out by the pool, but I guess that wasn’t crazy enough.  We decided to take the baby on his first camping trip to Flagstaff, AZ.  The weather was great, but I’m not sure it was the most relaxing thing we’ve ever done… :) I don’t know how many of you have ever stayed in a small 2 person tent with a baby… but it’s kind of crazy. You have to crawl over somebody every time you move, and we were tossing and turning all night searching for supplies and checking to see if the kid left another “Father’s Day present” in his diaper.  Fun times!  To top it off, the next day we decided to climb Mt. Humphreys, which is the tallest point in Arizona.  We reached the top, but by the time we got home we were ready for bed!  It was exhausting, but it was also perfect.  It was such a beautiful place, and we were so thankful to be there and spend a short weekend away with family…

In our Bible lesson this week, Jesus will encounter a family, and he will bring them together.  This family had dealt with illness, trial, and even death.  However, God was there.  I pray that we would all realize that God is with each one of us.  Whatever we face… we have love, grace, and community in Christ!



Whistling for his horse/dad to go faster...

He really did a great job sleeping... our neighbors were
much noisier than he was!  :)

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Heading to AZ

All set for a quick trip...
Last week, Kira and I attended our church’s Synod Assembly in Mesa, Arizona.  This gathering of churches meets once a year to discuss different policies and activities.  Basically, it’s one big meeting…  However, it was an exciting meeting for me.  Kira and I were both attending, and that meant the baby had to join us.  We had to prepare him for his first plane ride, hotel room, and encounter with the bishop… (Exciting stuff, right! J)  Anyway, I typically consider myself a light packer. (I can’t remember the last time I had to check any baggage.) However, this trip was different.  We packed tons of diapers, bottles, burp rags, and a bunch of other random stuff…  We were anxiously preparing for the worst!

However, when we arrived at the airport, things went much smoother than expected.  People guided us through the fastest lanes, and they made security a breeze.  I think it may actually be faster to travel with a baby!  We boarded the plane waiting for trouble, but it never arrived.  The whole trip went off without a hitch.  The baby did great, and we had the chance to network with a lot of wonderful people from across the synod.

This week we are once again looking at the story of Elijah.  At times, Elijah waited for God to show up in major events or crucial moments.  However, we are reminded in his story that God shows up in the small things.  I hope we can all take time to notice that God is here… in every moment of life.


Making sure to cast his first vote...

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Faith changes things...

Have you ever had a defining moment in your life?  On June 12th, 2010, Kira and I were married.  In many ways, this was a defining time.  Kira and I were beginning our lives together, and the wedding was supposed to represent all of that.  We had planned a beautiful outdoor ceremony.  Everything was perfect… except for the fact that it rained the whole time!  We told ourselves it was just drizzling, but compared to what we see in Las Vegas, it was all out pouring… 

A beautiful day in Minnesota!
I remember being so stressed out that day.  I really wanted everything to be perfect.  However, nobody knows the future.  Sometimes our plans work out.  Other times, we just smile and make the best of the situation.  In the end, is one way better than the other?  Today, I wouldn’t trade our rainy wedding day for the world.  I love it, but I don’t believe weddings define us, nor do our carefully laid out plans… it’s our faith that makes us who we are.  That summer Kira and I had no idea where we would wind up.  North Dakota?  California?  Las Vegas?  Would any church call us at all?!?  Who knows!  It’s crazy to stand at the brink of the unknown.   However, we are called to live by faith… not that we will get whatever we want.  Instead, we have faith that love is present in whatever crazy circumstances we face.  I’m grateful today to be able to spend so many of these moments with my wife!

This week, we are looking at the story of Elijah.  Elijah stood at the brink of some very difficult times.  Although nothing was certain, Elijah brought hope to the people.  Now, this did not happen the way Elijah expected… (It never does!) However, if we rely on Christ, I believe we will find hope for a new day. 



Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Running with Elijah

Kira and I have birthdays that are one week apart. (May 27th - June 2nd) That means we celebrate all week long with a lot of cake!  Over the years, we have also developed the wonderful – if slightly strange - tradition of trying to challenge ourselves on our birthdays.  We have hiked mountains in California, backpacked on desert trails, and descend into the narrow slot canyons of Zion National Park.  It’s a great time, but this year was a little different.  We still celebrated our birthdays, and we still ate a ton of cake.  However, we did not have time to find a new adventure.  Instead, we spent some time with the baby, and we caught up on our household chores.  It may not have been epic, but it was perfect in its own way.  Love showed up in so many unexpected places… I just had to let go of my expectations.

This week, we are starting a new sermon series on the Old Testament prophet named Elijah.  This guy has to be one of my favorite characters in the Bible. (He’s also one of the strangest!) He lived in the desert, where the ravens were often his only friends.  However, he would go out of his way to rescue widows and orphans.  He fought against evil and corruption, and he was a runner!  The Bible says could outpace a chariot over rough terrain!  Pretty impressive if you ask me!  Elijah was always searching for the next big adventure, and he did accomplish a lot in his life.  However, God had to tell Elijah not to become frustrated when his epic plans didn’t work out.  God would still be working… no matter what!

I think that’s something we all need to keep in mind.  Sure, it’s great to have adventures, but God is present in every moment of life.  I hope we can all see God’s miracle of love today, because in the end, that is all we need!