Monday, March 21, 2011

Colossians 3 is stalking us! (Part 3)

And finally, the passage(s) from Colossians 3 that originally began to burrow their way (back) into my (Aaron's) consciousness a few weeks ago as I hauled a couple of dripping trash bags out to the dumpster after closing down the coffeehouse one night:

"And WHATEVER you do, whether in word or deed, do it ALL in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him...Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as WORKING FOR THE LORD, NOT FOR MEN, since you know that you WILL receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. IT IS THE LORD CHRIST YOU ARE SERVING." -Colossians 3:17, 23-24 (NIV)

On the surface, this might seem like a pretty easy passage to break down. We're called to work at whatever God has given us for his glory, not our own. And that is a profound way to redeem the otherwise seemingly mundane! Of course there are tasks and challenges every day that I might not bother with for anyone else, save for the powerful motivating factor of "doing it for God."

But even more than that, I've found that it's an incomparable blessing to quietly attack some thankless chore, and to work hard at it...and when it's finished, to silently breathe a prayer that says "for you, Jesus," and get on with my day. How sweet it is to serve!

Not only that, but as my Papa Els says, "God will get even with you. We believe in that!" :)

Colossians 3 is stalking us! (Part 2)

The following is the second in an a series of passages from Colossians 3 that have spoken powerfully to us in recent weeks:

"Therefore, as God's chosen people, HOLY and DEARLY LOVED, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. BEAR WITH EACH OTHER and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. FORGIVE as the Lord forgave YOU. And over all these virtues put on LOVE, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ dwell in you richly, since as members of one body you were called to PEACE. And BE YE THANKFUL." -Colossians 3:12-15 (NIV-ish)

Wow. So much to like here. So much to love. So much to be humbled by!

First of all, our house church here in PoznaƄ has been studying the Lord's Prayer recently, beginning with (of course) the phrase , "Our Father." How amazing it is, then, to be the dearly loved children of the all-powerful Creator God!!

And how telling it is that our Father calls us to bear with each other in times of stress, misunderstanding, and disagreement. He even calls us to a seemingly impossible standard - to forgive each other as he has forgiven us! In other words...there is nothing that anyone on earth can do to us to make them unworthy of forgiveness. And we must also remember that God -in his love and infinite forgiveness- sought us out in our place of sin and brokenness, and called us to himself. So we are called to love each other (and the world)!

And finally: Paul reminds us that as Christians the peace of Christ can and ought to have full sway in our hearts and minds...not just as individuals, but as members of one body, the Body of Christ. As members of that body, he points out, we are inherently called to peace - not just with the world, but (first and foremost) with each other!

And finally the last bit, which I cribbed verbatim from Mr. Martin's King James Version (because I like the weight and phrasing so much - it sounds like a playful, mock-serious scolding from a loving uncle): "And BE YE THANKFUL." Paul stresses that God's love for us, his forgiveness for our sins, and his calling on our lives (individually and collectively) are not limitations; they are gifts from a loving Father who loves us so much and wants the very best for our lives.

Thanks be to God!

Now Colossians 3 is stalking us! :) (Part 1)

You probably know the drill by now (and so do we): when God has a specific message for us as a couple, he often repeatedly confirms it to us in the course of our devotions, individual readings, sermons, etc.

Over the last few weeks, one passage that we keep coming back to (and keeps coming back to us) is Colossians 3, which I (Aaron) first memorized all the way back in 5th grade at Mingo Valley Christian School. We had to memorize the whole chapter back then (in the KJV, no less), but there have been a few specific verses that have spoken to us recently. To wit:

1.) "Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. FOR YOU DIED, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, WHO IS YOUR LIFE, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory." -Colossians 3:2-4 (NIV)

For whatever reason, the freeing finality of these verses has never hit me so hard before. Surrendering our will and desires to God's seems a whole lot easier when viewed from the perspective of one who understands that a life lived for him demands nothing -absolutely NOTHING- less. Maybe what I love the most is Paul's easy, almost-taking-it-for-granted assertion, "Look, we're already dead. We DIED. And CHRIST is our only hope for life! Where he goes, we go. What he does, we do. What he values, we value. The end."


...and More Photos!

Hey all!

You can check out our most recent attempts at cultural self-education and edification below. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Photos, Photos, Photos!!

Hey all!

I know, I know...long time, no post. Hoping to right that wrong in the near future. In the meantime, there are new photo albums of our life in (wintry) Poland now up on Aaron's Facebook page: