My friend, Pastor Marcus Borten (You’re right. His name keeps coming up. He’s one of our Elementary School Pastors here at Canyon Ridge Christian Church) put me on to a very interesting resource I wanted to pass along to you from a really good mission organization. This magazine is affordable and written with kids (and parents) in mind.
Check out their website: http://seelocalglobal.com/for-kids.html It might be a great thing to order and have for any road trips this summer (and through the rest of the year).
I grew up in Oklahoma. For almost 50 years, I watched the skies and the TV weather guys every spring and summer (and sometimes into the fall) to track the storms that usually started in the southwest and traveled up I-44 to the northeast of the state. Short of war, I can’t think of anything as brutally indiscriminate as a tornado. Meteorologists are getting better all the time at predicting when and where a tornado will set down – they have made incredible advances in technology for this at the National Severe Storms Laboratory (which is located in Norman, OK, just a few miles south of Moore, OK) - but nobody can be 100% certain about a tornado’s path and exact timing. You don’t control a tornado. Still, the technological advances have saved thousands of lives in my home state by providing early warning.
Monday, I watched in horror as The Weather Channel and other outlets streamed Oklahoma City television news crews reporting on what they were seeing, just minutes after the deadly tornado swept a path of destruction a mile wide through Moore, OK. This is the same Moore, OK that was devastated in 1999 when an F5 tornado ripped through with 300 MPH winds, causing $1 billion of destruction and taking the lives of 36 people.
My wife and I held our breath as the story unraveled. Third graders and their teachers trapped in a school building that had been demolished. Details were sketchy and mainly unverified. Hundreds of deaths were predicted. The death toll as of Tuesday was 36, but as the Recovery Crews continue to sift through the rubble, that number is likely to rise.
I was at a loss for words as I cried out to God for the families who had been ripped apart with death and loss of property. Block after block of homes were flattened. Lifetimes of memories went away in a matter of 40 minutes. Homes were scattered like match sticks across the landscape. Interstate 35 was closed and unnavigable in stretches. Emergency responders found it almost impossible to get through to offer help. Reporters were overcome with emotion. Anchormen and -women maintained professional composure and control, even though it was obvious they were trying to make sense of the senseless, and keep the panic from showing in their faces.
I could go on with a lot more, but I’ve already exceeded the normal blog allotment of a couple or three paragraphs. And you saw the same images I saw. I’d love to offer something profound and awesome, but I can’t wrap up the meaning of this whole thing in a couple more sentences. It would take a lot more than that, and more philosophical surety than I’ve got. Besides, there are lots of answers to this out there in cyber space and blogville. Some of them are even pretty good. What I feel moved do is to say that regardless of how you resolve the important question, “Why did this happen?”, there’s another question that may be equally as important.
Since none of us knows when some kind of horrible crisis, tornado or otherwise, will come roaring over the horizon and in 40 minutes or less turn our lives upside down, the question is, “How might I live so that when (not if) this happens, I will meet it with integrity?”
The answer has more to do with how we live before the crisis than what me might do when it arrives. We act out of our character. And crisis doesn’t produce character, it reveals it. (OK. That’s not an original thought… But it’s still true.) So if you want to be able to meet a crisis with integrity, you train yourself to live out of a growing integrity, daily. Then when the crisis comes, you act from within your authentic self, instead of having to try and manufacture character out of thin air. And growing into that kind of authenticity is a product of growing into the design and image of the One Who made us. You do that little by little, mostly. Minute by minute. Thought by thought, choice by choice.
I’ll land the meandering plane with this challenge: every time you see a report of the Moore, OK tornado on TV, in the newspaper, on the Internet, or hear about it on the radio or in conversation, you lift a prayer for God to grant grace, mercy and peace for every person who has been effected by it, AND let it be a reminder to consciously focus on the character development God wants to partner with you to accomplish. Minute by minute. Thought by thought, choice by choice.
Since I’m an old guy, I’m not sure “the Web” is still hip enough to use as a synonym for the Internet… I’m sure someone will let me know.
My friend, Pastor Marcus Borten, put me on to a couple of good resources I thought I’d share with you. The first is a sight that can help you make educated decisions about movies to say yes or no to for your family. You’ll find it at http://www.ok.com. It offers a quick general look at the age-appropriateness of current and recent movies, as well as a quick look at how good others thought they were. Each movie listed has a synopsis and review that can give you more detailed information. It’s a smart resource. Not perfect, but smart.
The other one is http://www.familyshare.com. It offers an almost-encyclopedic storehouse of ideas for families that come from a Christian perspective without promoting a particular brand or denomination of church. It’s still in its beta form, but looks like a really good resource with many practical tools.
Click them up and see what you think.
And while I’ve got you, do me a favor and invite a friend to follow me here at CRCCFamily411.
One of the two most important times of the day is Bed Time. But it can also be a whirlwind of threats and battles and conflict of wills.
My friend, Pastor Marcus Borton, sent me a link for a really practical blog that will give you some good handles to leverage at Bed Time. Here you go. Just click on the link:
Some people would consider having to go to lots of funerals a “work hazard.” In career ministry, it’s just part of the job. And, really, a hidden benefit, not a hazard. On a pretty routine basis, I get to assist, lead, or otherwise participate in funerals and memorial services.
Some are hard, yes. These are the ones where there is unresolved conflict and unfinished business in families and relationships. These are the ones where a life was taken needlessly, or ended way too early.
Others are less hard. In fact, they can actually be tremendously uplifting and encouraging. That’s the kind I got to attend this morning for my friend, Jason. The story of the last years of his life was the most uplifting one I’ve heard in years. In an “open mic” time, person after person stepped to the front of the room and shared memories of Jason’s life and his influence on them. Most it I was privy to, but not all. Time after time, in narrative after narrative, the same theme emerged. Jason had invested his life in people purely because he came to know the One Who gave Himself for Jason.
When Jason said yes to Jesus in 2010, his life began to transform into a story that ends, “…and he lived happily ever after.” What makes this powerful is that up to his surrender to the Master, there were almost no happy endings. And there was sure to be no “happily ever after.” But when he opened his heart to Jesus on His (Jesus’) terms, all that changed.
Listening to the many stories of Jason’s influence in people, and the many, many things he did to quietly help others, it might have been easy to think, “Well, there you go. With all that good stuff he did, there’s no way he didn’t get into heaven.” But you’d be wrong if you thought that. Jason didn’t get into heaven because of all the wonderful ways he enriched people and invested into others’ lives. He enriched people and invested into others’ lives because he was bound for heaven.
I have this feeling that if Jason had been physically present at his memorial this morning, he would have said, “I’m flattered that you all hold me in such high regard. But your focus here is all wrong here. It’s not about me. It’s about HIM! I owe my all to Him! Nothing else will make life work, other than losing your will in His and putting your hand in His as He guides you from adventure to adventure.”
In less than 3 years of life in Christ, Jason left more of a legacy than lots of people have left in 30.
It makes me slow the space ship down out of warp speed and contemplate my own legacy. I’m thinking that would make Jason smile.