Tag Archives: audio

Hope and Disappointment

Surely it was for my benefit
    that I suffered such anguish.
Isaiah 38:17a

Sunday was an emotional day for Wendy and me. I had the privilege of sharing the morning message among our local gathering of Jesus followers. The topic came from Paul’s letter to the believers in Corinth; One of the most well-known chapters in all of God’s Message. “The Love Chapter” is what it’s commonly called and I had been asked to speak to the phrase “Love hopes all things.”

As soon as I realized that I had been assigned that phrase, I knew in my heart that it was time for Wendy and me to share openly about a particularly difficult  stretch of our own journey. I have touched on it from time to time on my blog, but we’ve never really spoken about it openly and publicly.

For many years Wendy and I eagerly attempted to conceive and bring a baby into this world.  We started with high hopes, each of us endured surgeries, and we repeatedly travelled down the path of virtually every medical procedure and homeopathic suggestion available to us in our hope of having a child.

As hope waned for this desperate desire, Wendy and I experienced all of the stages of disappointment and grief. We felt doubt, anger, envy, despair and rage. We cried. We screamed. We fought. We wrestled with all of the hard questions. If God loves us, then why…? Why her? Why them? Why not us?

It has now been a handful of years since we surrendered our hopes of conceiving. To this day the grief still surprises us. It’s amazing how the sadness and tears well up unexpectedly in the oddest of moments. Nevertheless, Wendy and I recognized in the depths of the valley of infertility that we had come to a spiritual fork in the road. One path led in rapid descent into hopelessness, anger, brokenness and despair. It was an easy path to follow as are most paths of descent. The other path was a much longer road of ascent. It would still traverse hopelessness, anger, and despair, but the long slog eventually climbed toward trust in a larger narrative God was writing into our stories.

In my message this past Sunday I tried hard not to make it about our infertility as much as speaking to the myriad of hopes and disappointments each of us experience along this journey. In today’s chapter King Hezekiah’s hopes were for a long life and a prosperous reign. Those hopes are dashed with a terminal diagnosis, yet Hezzy comes to the same spiritual fork in the road that Wendy and I faced. He chooses the faith slog, and comes to recognize that there was purpose in his pain. There was benefit in the anguish.

Wendy and I can relate to that. Just was we are sometimes surprised by the grief that appears in unexpected moments, so are we often surprised by joy in the midst of our grief. It has taken years, but we can honestly say we experience a deep sense of thankfulness for having to traverse that valley. Our faith journey through infertility has led us further up, and further in. We have experienced facets of life and love that we didn’t know existed with clarity we didn’t know was possible. From our current position on life’s road we now look back and affirm the lyric of Hezekiah’s song.

Anguish has it’s benefits.

Faith, hope, and love have led us through disappointments, but they have not disappointed us.

Here are the audio and video of the message (used with permission of Third Church, who holds all rights) in case you’re interested.

chapter a day banner 2015

 

Scattered Seeds

the sower after millet detail 1

Stephen replied, “Brothers and fathers, listen to me. The God of glory appeared to our ancestor Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran, and said to him, ‘Leave your country and your relatives and go to the land that I will show you.'” Acts 7:2-3 (NSRV)

Last week I gave a message at our local group of Jesus followers entitled Scattered Seeds which came from a verse in tomorrow’s chapter. The message in one sentence was this: “We are saved to be scattered.” In the message, I talked about the fact that God’s modus operandi throughout history has been to save people and scatter them so that they might accomplish their roles in the Great Story.

I found it fascinating this morning to read through Stephen’s words to his Hebrews executioners, because he uses three of the very examples I used in the message last week: Abraham, Joseph, and Moses. I added a few examples in Noah, David, and threw in a more contemporary reference that was audience specific.

In wrapping up, I summarized with three key observations:

  1. A faith journey always begins with a single step. What are you waiting for?
  2. A faith journey always requires that you leave something behind. Let it go.
  3. In a faith journey you can’t always see where the road leads. Trust. Don’t be afraid. That’s why it’s called a “faith” journey. God’s message is a foot lamp to reveal the next step, not a headlight to see the road ahead.

I’ve embedded the message for any who are interested in listening.

The embedded audio file is presented with the gracious permission of Third Church in Pella, Iowa who holds the copyright. All rightsreserved. It is intended for personal listening only and may not  be used for any other reason without permission. 

Two-Way Communication

Hearing God's Voice Icon

Last month I was asked to deliver the final message in a series entitled Hearing God’s Voice. The theme of the morning is that prayer is two-way communication. In my message, I focused in on the idea that you can’t have tw0-way communication if you don’t first have a relationship.

Note: This audio file is posted with permission of Third Church, Pella, Iowa and intended only for personal listening. All rights are reserved by Third Church.

(Message) Hearing God’s Voice: Journaling

Hearing God's Voice IconThis past Sunday I delivered the morning message in the auditorium service at TRC. We are in a series called Hearing the Voice of God and journaling is one of the disciplines that is discussed in the process of tuning into God’s Spirit. In this message I share the story of my own experiences and lessons learned from the discipline of journaling. I have included the powerpoint file, as well. This message is posted hear with the permission of TRC and is intended for personal listening only.

2015 01 25 Hearing God’s Voice PowerPoint

Message: Renewal

The link below is for the .MP3 of a message I gave on January 4th in the auditorium of Third Church in Pella, IA. It is used with permission of Third Church for personal listening.

“Every Family Has Bad Memories”

“Every Family Has Bad Memories”

Last Sunday I gave the message in the auditorium of Third Church. It was part of a series on “Heroes of the Faith” from Hebrews 11, and I was asked to unpack the story of Isaac and his twin sons, Esau and Jacob.

Because of copyright laws, the audio of two video clips were deleted from the recording:

Before the message began we watched a scene from The Godfather III in which Michael Corleone’s son tells him he is dropping out of law school to study music. His son tells him that he will never be part of his father’s business, stating “I have bed memories.” His father replies, “Every family has bad memories.”

At the end of the message we watched another clip in which a Catholic Cardinal presses Michael to make his confession. At first reluctant, Michael eventually confesses his sins including the ordering of the death of his own brother, Fredo.

David: Medium Rare (The Wrap Up)

davidmediumrare

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of delivering the final message in a summer series of messages entitled David: Medium Rare about the life of King David. The series was intended to provide examples of how the ancient king of Israel (of David and Goliath fame) continued to honor and praise God even when things didn’t go his way.

In this message, I discuss the fact that David did not get his hearts desire to build the temple, as it was not God’s plan for his life. David’s response was one of humility and acceptance, and an example for all of us. If we are going to accomplish God’s desire, we have to choose into the gifts and callings God has given us and not pine after our own desires.

The message series was part of the Auditorium services at Third Church in Pella, Iowa. This recording is posted here by permission.

Message: “After God’s Heart”

davidmediumrareOn June 29th I gave the kick-off message for a ten week series in the Third Church auditorium. The series is called “David: Medium Rare” which is really about the fact that while God called David “a man after my own heart” he certainly was not perfect or “completely done.” In fact, his life was a bit bloody. Thus, “medium rare.”

Thanks to Third Church for permission to post and archive the message on my blog. Third Church holds all rights to this recording, and it is posted solely for personal listening.

David Week 1 PowerPoint

Other Messages:

 

High Fidelity

Label and sleeve from one of the first mass pr...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So you must remain faithful to what you have been taught from the beginning. 1 John 2:24a (NLT)

Over the past few years Wendy and I have invested in some quality audio equipment for listening to movies, music, calls that I must analyze for work, and etc. It’s nothing over-the-top, mind you, but it’s not cheap either. It’s good quality. In retro days of turntables and Long Play (LP) vinyl records we called it “high-fidelity” which then became simply known as “hi-fi.” Fidelity comes from the latin word, fidelis which means faithfulness. High-Fidelity meant a faithful reproduction of the original music, it was “true to sound.”

With the deterioration of my hearing over the past several years, I find that having high-fidelity audio makes a difference in my everyday listening I do for work and pleasure. I thought about this as I read the second chapter of John’s letter and his encouragement to remain faithful to what we’ve been taught from the beginning.

Faithful. Fidelis. High-fidelity. A faithful reproduction of the original.

The original that John points to is Jesus and His teaching:

  • Love God with everything you’ve got
  • Love others as you love yourself
  • Forgive those who’ve wronged you
  • Bless and show love to those you can’t stand
  • Treasure people not things
  • Take loving care of societal outcasts and those less fortunate
  • Give until it hurts (then give some more)
  • Do the right thing, not the religious thing
  • Concern yourself with eternal things, not temporary things

Jesus said that the world was full of people who are always hearing, but never listening and understanding. That’s a word picture I live every day as my ears hear what people say but somewhere between the ear drum and the brain it all gets muffled, garbled and largely unintelligible. Thanks to some hi-fidelity hearing aids and audio equipment, I can usually both hear and understand.

Perhaps that’s why as Jesus followers we are called to be a faithful reproduction of the original: So a blind and deaf world might see, hear, and understand – and follow along. I’m far from perfect and after 30+ years I still have so far to go, but more than ever I want to be a high-fidelity follower of Jesus and His Message. Please God, help to increasingly make me a faithful reproduction of the original.

“Companions for the Journey” Updated with Slides

Slide1

I had an alert reader ask for the slides to accompany the .mp3 of last Sunday’s message so they could see the visuals and texts to which I referred. Here are both files for any who want them!

Companions for the Journey 1 (Power Point)

Companions for the Journey (mp3 audio)