Tuesday, August 6, 2013

A 2-church Sunday morning and river views

We're late for one service Sunday and early for another.

At 9:10 a.am, we're at an established church, Kallispell Christian Center. We shake 6 people's hands coming in the door, a friendly welcome. The aisle seats are full, so we crawl over someone's knees to reach a middle seat in the last row.

They sing the song that's been ringing through my head for the past weeks. "When morning breaks and the new day's dawning ... bless The Lord, oh my soul..." I've heard that from Singapore to Indonesia to Seattle to Montana. Maybe it's the new "As the Deer" chorus for this generation? Love it, just like everyone else.

Zentangle 5
I pull out my sketchpad as the sermon starts. Even as a young child, I would keep my hands busy with a pen to be able to focus on the sermon. My mind settles, and God speaks to me through Kevin's words.

Kevin Geer, a former leader of Children's Ministry in our region, is the team leader at KCC. His new series is rooted in the Golden Rule, love others like we want to be loved (Matthew 7:12).  Kevin's transparent and humorous delivery keeps even the most staid pew-sitters chuckling and nodding along. It's an appropriate message for our upcoming family reunion. "Treat others like we want to be treated."

The second church is a branch campus model, Fresh Life Church. We arrive early at the live campus at The Liberty in downtown Kallispell. People mill about, going in and out of the theatre. A few of us old-timers slip into the foyer between children and young families. No one says hi as we head up the stairs to the balcony. We sit there by ourselves for the first 15 minutes, music pounding from the stage. Then a small herd of about 20 others spread out around us.

The sermon series is called Microphone: it's always on. Today's talk is based on Psalm 128. "The walls of a home are the microphone others see and hear. Each of us has a platform," says Pastor Levi Lusko, and marriage and the family are the center stage. He quotes scripture and speaks of the practical implications of finding a spouse and living out the good news in the greater community. "Love Jesus like crazy and live His life out desperately."

His language is colloquial. "We're all in the process of losing our good looks. ... Sorry to tell you this, but we're getting uglier right now," he says, speaking of the attrition of beauty. "Good looks" are a bad reason for choosing a partner. "Both partners occupy servant roles (Ephesians 5:12). Obey God no matter what the other person does... Christ didn't wait for us to become lovable. He died to make us lovable."

Swan River on a Sunday afternoon
He's a good speaker with high energy, and conservative in his theology. He uses pictures to describe his ideas. Murmurs of agreement drift up from the full main floor. We get three friendly nods and handshakes as we leave.

The cool thing about Church is that God makes Hi,self known in many ways. We drive to Bigfork in the afternoon. They're hosting an annual arts and crafts show. Between the morning services, the stunning scenery, and human creativity, God overwhelms us with Presence.

We spend the afternoon NOT working, driving through beautiful countryside and enjoying Bigfork. Their arts and crafts festival is excellent. We're not buying anything though; our house is being down-sized not upgraded. The pictures were snapped along the way.

Swan River shoreline: froth from the dam
We get bad news Sunday night. My youngest brother Will (50) spills off his mountain bike and breaks his finger, wrist, collarbone, and 4 ribs. He also punctures a lung. (Two of our boys had collapsed lungs. Not a happy recovery; usually the docs scrape the chest wall so the lung sticks to it and stays open in future.)

Not only will he not be at the family reunion this week, but Will has to stay in hospital while they reassemble him. We'll miss him! Luckily he's in Canada not the US: he won't use up his retirement funds on medical bills.

Shallow waters churn over the riverbed
My folks have set off from our place. They'll be our first arrivals tonight, after picking up Kirsten on a detour through Seattle. K flies home from MT on Monday. She has so much stuff that they can't bring any of the things we left behind. We'll rehome them in Seattle, with all the rest of our stuff.

I amazed by the water that flow swiftly over the Montana riverbeds. Ice-cold from glacier runoff, drop after drop speeds by, bounded only by riverbanks.

Human life is similar: we may be individuals, but our lives combine in history. If we live well, we contribute to the river of humanity. But when we're gone, few people remember our names or accomplishments. Only God keeps track. Pleasing him rather than trying to impress others seems a worthy way to live!

Read more:
*Thus says the Lord, "How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me?" Exodus 10:3 NLT

*All the nations you have made shall come and bow down before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name. Psalm 86:9 NLT

*That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty. God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad. Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 NLT

*All who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted. Luke 18:14 NLT

*Paul wrote: We may proclaim the good news in lands beyond you. 2 Corinthians 10:16 NLT

Moravian Prayer: Father we need you. We need you with us, beside us, and in front of us. We thank you for your guidance, your wisdom, and your direction. Help us in faith to always follow your lead.

Good and gracious Lord, we are in awe of your majesty! Your power combined with your compassion and forgiveness makes us want to proclaim your good news. Help us share your wonders with others. Amen.

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