Monday, November 23, 2009

Just wanted to pop in and share a photo from ths weekends shoot. We had a great study tonight - tough topic.

Monday, November 16, 2009

God's Invisible Qualities

Mondays with Marv #4
November 16, 2009

"For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse." Rom. 1:20

For this evening's study we read from the book of Romans. Chapter one, verses 18 through to chapter 2, verse 4. The message at Blackhawk on Sunday was a hot topic, and I have to commend Pastor Chris for his presentation of what is a controversial subject. I pray that everyone learned something. I know I did.

I believe Marv learned something, too. The last time we met he was up on his soapbox and it was great to see him so stirred and passionate. It meant he was feeling well. However, he has spent the last 10 days holding a little baby - his new grandson. Holding that little miracle, awestruck at the thought of creation - it really makes one consider our ineffable God. It makes one humble to consider how a being so tiny can be put together so intricately - it leaves little room for doubt that God is at work. That little baby, combined with Chris' message, seemed to give Marv a good dose of humble pie.

Tonight Marv removed himself from that small percentage of Christ followers, and put himself in the 99% category of a work in progress. Aren't we all? It's good to have simple stand firm in your beliefs, but even Christ followers can fall off the balance beam. Truly, the only being to ever be in the 1% category of a true Christ follower was Jesus himself. For no one, not one is holy and blameless in His sight. "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us." 1 John 1:8 Marv asked each of us to look inward to see our shortcomings. It's not easy to do.

Our journeys here on earth are ever evolving. A long time ago I remember someone saying, "learn something new everyday." I've taken that to heart, and look to learn something each day, even if it is the Spanish word for red, as Abby grills me in Spanish color names.(LOL)

Personally, I know that Marv and I have both come a long way on our journey. Both he and I tended to be quick to pass judgement. When I consider how I fall short of the glory of God, who am I to judge? It is certainly not my place, and that is a lesson I keep on learning. It is making a conscience notation to one's self to step away from that which is so tempting to do.
Romans 2:1-4 reads: "You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God's judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God's judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance?"

I have learned, as has Marv, that love and grace can nurture seeds for the Kingdom with much greater impact than judgement, which only serves to build walls. It's not always easy, and curbing a behavior you're not proud of requires constant prayer. Looking back over the years, I can see how both Marv and I have been transformed through studies of the Word. Not merely reading the Message, but taking it to heart and letting it mold how we think. God is the Potter, and we are the clay. May He "take me, mold me, use me, and fill me." Marv and I -we give our lives to the Potter's hand. Sometimes the wheel starts turning so fast that our sides begin to cave in. Going round and round our vision may become blurred, and our focus on Christ and the Story is not as clear as it should be. But with the steady hand of the Spirit, God is able to reshape us, and transform us into a vessel that is purposeful for His kingdom. When God is working "the clay" it never gets old and dry, it is renewed every day with water of the Spirit.

Imagine yourself as a vessel. It may be misshapen, cracked, or have a gaping hole. God can fix each flaw if He wanted to, but being the Wise One, God lets us make our own choices. His Word and His love can reshape our lives, heal our cracked bodies, and fill the gaping hole in our hearts. All we need to do is ask Jesus to be our savior, the Potter in our lives.

When I think about Marv's life - the paths he has been down...places in his journey he is not too proud of - I am in wonder of the transformed man that sits across from me at bible study. Marv is a living vessel that has been reshaped by God's hand. I can only pray that one day I will fully submit, and allow God to change the vessel that I am, for yes, I AM a work in progress.

It is because of people like Marv, Carol, and my husband, that I have grown in my walk. We are accountable not only to one another, but to God. Relationships transform the journeys we are on, and RELATIONSHIP is really what the Good News is all about.

"And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!" Romans 10:15

Saturday, November 14, 2009

2nd Photo Shoot with Marv

Today I needed to do a retake of Marv's daughter Cindy with him, as the photos from Tuesday did not turn out. Being that it is Saturday, the kids were able to go with. I really wanted a photo of each of them with Marv. Photos are so important to preserve memories.

Case in point, this week I attended a ladies gathering with the mother of a young lady who spent her entire summer babysitting our kids. This was about three years ago. The sitter had found a litter of baby mice, and actually fed them formula. For a couple of weeks these tiny mice went everywhere, including our home - which rather made me squeamish, but I knew the little pinkies would not escape and run off. They had to be hand fed every hour, and what a lesson for the kids on the work of caring for little creatures! When we were visiting Abby was asked if she remembers Brooke sitting for us and feeding the baby mice...and Abby said no.
This actually surprised me - I thought that was a pretty memorable summer. Yes, I did take photos, but have not brought myself to scrapping photos of up close baby mice - ewwww! However, if I had those photos scrapped and in an album where Abby could see them, I am certain she would remember. Abby always asked if we could get Brooke if we needed a sitter.
I want to make sure our kids will never forget Marv. He has been their adopted grandpa for too many years, and have watched them grow up. When Kyle was baptized of his own accord they were there to witness Kyle's new step of spiritual faith at age 5.

Abby doesn't give out hugs readily, and I will never forget the joy Marv felt when Abby gave him a hug one night after bible study, as they prepared to leave. Perhaps it was Marv's birthday... I cannot recall, but she hasn't done it since. She did, however, get pretty close to him for a photo today, and with a smile!

And although Jesse has been pretty quiet about Marv's illness, I know it must be very hard for him on the inside. Marv and Jesse used to meet three times a week. Mondays, at our small group study; Tuesday mornings - with a men's group, and on Friday's Marv used to meet Jesse at his workplace for either breakfast or lunch. I know the non-structured conversations are that which Jesse's is really missing right now, but there are some things that probably will not return to "the way it was". I am happy that we now have a pretty decent photo of Jes and Marv.

I took a few more pics today of Marv's new baby grandson as well...a few close ups of the little pudgies and piggies. I hope to share those soon since there are no faces. Since I did not ask, and therefore do not have permission, I won't be sharing photos of Marv's family ... but I cannot resist posting a few pics of little piggies and pudgies. Hopefully soon!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Mondays With Marv - Not This Week

If anyone is wondering where this week's Mondays with Marv post is, well, we did not meet on Monday, November 9. Marv woke up Sunday experiencing lots of back pain.
On Monday they up'd the pain patch and medicated him more for relief, and it took everything out of him. I don't like it when we cannot have study, but all we can do is gather at home and pray for him.

Today I am taking a family photo of Marv and his 5 children. Hospice is coming to have a 2 hr. meeting with them to discuss what is going to be happening as the end draws near. Please pray for Marv, Carol and his five children today. Thanks.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Poem Inspired

It's been a long time since God gave me a poem while in the shower. I've always thought mounting a voice recorder on the shower wall would be a good idea. I have to get out, quickly dry off, throw on my robe and rush to the kitchen table for some sort of handy scrap paper and writing utensil - even a crayon if that is all readily available.

The flow and thoughts come easily Tuesday morning, in the peacefulness of a shower, but quickly dissipate when bombarded by children's questions when I get out. Abby was eager to share her latest journal entry and drawing, but I had to ask her to wait until I was done scribbling the skeleton form of this poem on paper. Obviously I was inspired by our Monday evening bible study and Marv's thoughts. This poem is dedicated to Marv, and of course I have a vision for a little 6x6 picture book to go with it. I plan to create it by Christmas, but first, have some photos to obtain. Here is my poem - perhaps you have someone whom you can relate this poem to.


Oh man of simple faith
like a child so highly prized
by God who welcomes all His children
whose hearts have changed for Him. (Mthw 18:3)

Oh man of simple faith
says the bible need not defend;
each morn he wakes, puts on armor of God
to protect him while on earth. (Eph. 6:11)

Oh man of simple faith
sees no need for books of scholar;
he reads the Word as spiritual Truth,
and needs to know no more. (Rom 6:4)

Oh man of simple faith
is a man of written words;
he pens what God has revealed,
and shares it with the world. (Mthw 7:24; Rev. 21:5)

Oh man of simple faith
when death knocks at his door
holds steadfast to his claim,
and feels God’s love surround. (Ps 112:7)

Oh man of simple faith
when your task on earth is done
you will go to Zion, and God will say,
“well done my faithful son.” (Mthw 25:21)

This man of simple faith
leaves a legacy to his name,
and all who share his simple faith
will rise, and meet again. (1 Thess 4:17)

R. Shimniok 11-1-2009

Scripture ties in with each verse. Next Wednesday Marv's children are gathering to meet with Hospice to go over what they can expect the future to hold. Apparently, because Marv's family is blended, there has never been a photo taken of him with his children. How sad it would be for him to pass, and not have such a photo. Of course I volunteered to take the photo, and would like to use it for the "share it with the world" verse as Marv has been diligent about sharing the message of the gospel with his family members. I admit, I am a bit nervous about taking the photo. It will be an indoor shot in their basement apartment. Guess I better practice with ambient lighting this weekend! I will only get perhaps 3 shots at getting this right, as I have a small window to get in and get out before the meeting starts. Afterwards, Marv's children - all grown up like me - have jobs to return to. And my guess is the mood will be a bit down - not exactly up for photo taking.

If you all could keep me in prayer as I prepare to take this once in a lifetime shot I would appreciate it!

Monday, November 2, 2009

A Man of Simple Faith

Monday’s with Marv #3
November 2, 2009

Pumped! That is how I would describe Marv at this evening’s bible study. He was up on a soapbox and having his say. (LOL) I was writing down his quotes as fast as I could, because they are “so Marv”.

Our message on Sunday began a new series, and the topic happened to be about the origin of the bible, historical facts, a video clip of a contemporary cynic reporter wondering why the virgin birth was not mentioned in all four gospels, etc. Probability and reasoning were discussed, eyewitness accountability, basically – lots of prodding and poking into the bible, and the basis for Christian faith. Of course this teaching fits into the mission of our church “…to reach a community that is lost without Him.”

Marv doesn’t get the need for Sunday’s message. “Why does one need to prod and pick the bible a part?” Marv asked. He stated that, “the bible doesn’t need to be defended – just believe it.”

“I know that Jesus Christ has put this book in front of me to get me ready for what’s going to happen. I can’t say that I am not excited – maybe I will get to help build the next Jerusalem...but I don’t think there will be concrete in heaven.”

Don’t you just love his conviction? This is one of the reasons I love Marv so much. Carol started reading a book called “Heaven” by Randy Alcorn. She said it is amazing…I have dibs to read it, but likely I won’t get a chance until all my Christmas gift making is done. The author pulls scripture from the bible and expands upon it. If anyone has questions about what heaven will be like – “Heaven” is being highly recommended.

From what Carol has read so far, one of Marv’s favorite paragraphs in the book discusses these Words from 1 Thessalonians chapter 4, verses 13-18:
13Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. 14We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18Therefore encourage each other with these words.

Truly, I do wish I had had a tape recorder at our study this evening. I felt like we could just play it all back at Marv’s funeral and he would just be telling it to his family and friends like it is, like he is.

“Believe simply and don’t let anyone confuse you. The Spirit either convicts you to believe, or not.”

Personally, after spending an hour with Marv, all I can say is "thank God for simple faith." He is right. We don’t need to poke and prod and pick apart the bible. It needs to be read, and in context, I might add. I don’t have too many peeves, but taking one verse from the bible construing it for our own purpose and justification is one. We need to remember that the Bible was not written to us, but meant for us. Most of all, we need to remember it is a letter of love, from the heavenly Father to you and me. We don't need to have all the answers to receive God's grace, the ransom for our sins has already been paid for on the cross.

All who believe are “on their way”. Carol and Marv, Jesse and I – we’re going to hold fast to our simple faith. We know that we will all one day share in the heavenly Kingdom. Our simple faith is simply summarized in my very favorite of scripture, Hebrews 11:1 - “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”