Ripples

I am part of a 21-member team who are serving in Medford, Massachusetts, this week as “friends of the Redemption Hill Church.”  This the second year in a row we have made the journey to Boston.

Like ripples across water, God works in mysterious and often surprising ways! Jon Chasteen, co-pastor of Redemption Hill Church in Medford, Massachusetts, told us a story of God’s favor that came in direct result of God blessing our group’s efforts of cleaning Medford parks last year.

This spring Redemption Hill Church wanted to sponsor  a Medford-area Easter Egg Hunt. This would be an event that would not only increase their presence in the community but help the church get to know many of the families. Jon and Tanner (another pastor of Redemption Hill) were scheduled to plead their case and get approval for the Egg Hunt before the Medford City Council.

They showed up on the appropriate scheduled day.  Down at the front of the room was a man named Mike Nester. Mike Nester is Director of the Medford Parks and Recreation Department.

Mike got to know Jon and Tanner because of an impression made from a mission project last summer. That’s when four neighborhood parks had been overwhelmingly cleaned, painted, repaired, and spiffed up by a group from Durham, NC, who pitched in at the invitation of Redemption Hill Church.

Fast forward. It was now time for Jon and Tanner to ask permission from the powers-that-be to use one of the larger Medford parks for the Egg Hunt.

The Council debated the event’s merits back and forth. Remember, this is an area of the country known for priding itself on its acceptance of all religious beliefs. The Medford city government supporting a decidely Christian event might not be received well.

That’s when Mike Nester spoke up and in so many words said, “I want you to know this is the same group of people who cleaned up EIGHT parks last summer for us and did a bang-up job. I say let them have their event.”

It was approved. Redemption Hill had their Easter Egg Hunt and made personal contact with many more families in the community, thanks to the ripple effect of God’s blessing.

You never know how what you’re doing for the Lord today will affect God’s blessings tomorrow, next month, next year! Thank You, Father, for giving us this glimpse of how You’re moving. . . we are humbled and in awe of You, Lord.

 

Lookin’ up,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boston Bound

Twenty-two of my church family (including myself) are traveling to Boston, Mass. tomorrow for a week of serving the people of Medford, a bedroom community of Boston.

Boston is home to Tufts University, founded by the Universalist Unitarian Church. This is a place where the word “tolerance” is championed. It’s also where Mayor Thomas M. Menino made a threat, then withdrew his threat to ban Chick-fil-A from Boston over Dan Cathy’s anti-gay marriage stance —

We go. To bless the people of this great city.

Just last Sunday, my ladies’ Sunday School class studied this passage in scripture. How contemporary and timeless God’s Word is!

 

12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. (I Peter 4: 12-14)

 

Merino’s backlash was a slap at conservative Christianity and the principles contained within God’s Word. It will be interesting to see if God puts any divine opportunities in our path in light of this controversy.

  • Lord, May all that is said and done glorify You! May You be the guardian of all our ways and may it be pleasing in Your sight.

 

  • Lord, be in our eyes—may we see with Your eyes the people of Medford. Don’t let us hurry past, but help us to notice those things we might have missed–

 

  • Lord, be in our ears—may we hear the voices clamoring for love or attention. Don’t let us turn away from loneliness or pain–

 

  • Lord, be in our hands—may we serve enthusiastically in whatever capacity You deem fit. Don’t let us get too hung up on only what we think is important–

 

  • Lord, be in our feet—may our feet be shod with the gospel of peace in a city that needs You. Don’t let us walk away without leaving seeds of Your message in each place we visit –

 

  • Lord, be in our hearts—may be pray over and be burdened about the people of Boston. Break our hearts over what breaks Yours, Lord–

 

  • Holy Spirit, we ask You to fill us supernaturally to do Your bidding. And we will be quick to return all glory to You, Lord, for You alone are worthy of all praise—

 

  • In Jesus’ sweet and all-sufficient name I pray, Amen.

 

Lookin’ up,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Writer’s Wednesday: Take It Easy On The “Ing’s”

First, (POSSIBLE) answers to last week’s exercise of Lesson #2, Backload your sentences:

1) To me the bit about the child was most important: DUE TO A 9-1-1 CALL, FIREMEN QUICKLY ARRIVED AT 223 TALLEY TRACE TO RESCUE A CHILD STUCK IN A RAIN CULVERT.

2) The lawyer’s reaction needed to be positioned at the end: AFTER THE PROSECUTION DISCREDITED THE STAR WITNESS, THE DUMBFOUNDED DEFENSE LAWYER WAS UNABLE TO FINISH HIS CLOSING ARGUMENT.

**Brownie points to all who tried!**

Today, here’s a short story illustrating Lesson #3, Take it easy on the “ing’s.”

 A reporter was summoned by the editor of the newspaper where he worked. “There’s a problem with your story,” he told the reporter, “but I haven’t quite figured out yet.”

He studied it a bit more, red pencil in hand. Finally, he relaxed and began circling words. “Oh, that’s what it is. You have too many ‘ing’s.’”

“What?”

The editor read aloud the first sentence. “Compromising very little, the county commissioners abandoned all hope of agreeing on the school redistricting issue Monday night.”

Three words were circled: “Compromising,” “agreeing,” and “redistricting.”

He further explained. “The first two are the present participle verb tense. When you use several participles in a row, you weaken the structure of the sentence and its impact. Rewrite this sentence and eliminate most, if not all of the ‘ing’s’.”

The reporter scratched his head. “The word ‘redistricting’ is a gerund, a verb form used in place of a noun. Do you want me to get rid of it too?”

“If you can come up with a better noun to substitute, then do it.”

The reporter rewrote the sentence in the margin. The county commissioners compromised little Monday night and abandoned all hope for agreement on the school redistricting issue.”

The reporter shrugged. “I couldn’t come up with a better noun for ‘redistricting.’”

“One ‘ing’ in a sentence is better than three any day,” said the editor. “I’ll take it.”

This suggestion (and I would not call it a writing rule but a preference) is a particular bugaboo of mine. I love introductory participial phrases (those inserted at the beginning of a sentence) and have to cull as many as I can when I edit. It’s hard to kill your darlings, but sometimes you must. . .

SO. . . Lesson #3: Watch out for those worrisome ‘ing’s.” Rewrite to eliminate as many of these words as you can. Your writing will be stronger because of it!

Next week, Lesson #4:  The Long and Short of It.

Happy writing!

Lookin’ up,