Friday, April 7, 2017

Thank you! 감사합니다!

Some years ago I was brought into this world, and ever since, I have been part of an ongoing effort to bring glory to my Lord, honor to my parents, respectful admiration to my family and "life" to the rest of my relationships.

It’s all about relationships.

These days, it’s all about growing a firm sense of character, fully understanding the teachings being offered and defining the necessary steps for the vocations which only I can fulfill. Yet, it's not about me. We are in this together.

Usually, I get wordy. This time, though, I will simply begin the process of putting together my words in a more specific format while being strategic, intentional, and dedicated to sharing on a regular basis. What “regular” means, I am attempting to define. 😉 My request is for you to make a promise to hold me accountable for sharing publicly, or directly, to you. 

Thank you to my parents, for your unending love, the fervent support, and the hard-working example you have set. Thank you to my sister, and your family for the joy I am able to experience whenever we are able to message, send pictures, hang out or do some kind of crazy activity.

To my family,  and so many other "adopted" families, your care and life-lessons have given me a firm foundation. With these values, I continue to grow with confidence, serve with conviction and live in ways that can seem fairly extreme at times. Your love is steadfast, my gratitude is profound. To my best friends and your families, I cherish your examples of faithfulness and commitment to our Lord. 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Disorientation & Identity Crisis. Answer #1: Jesus. Answer #2: Children Worshipping Relationally

This past week, Lutheran Hour speaker Rev. Gregory Selz gave an online homily and shared how we are to view ourselves, view others, but ultimately how we should view Jesus, the Christ.

At this time, early November, much of the world is responding with their words, actions, attitudes and in the case of businesses: marketing and point-of-purchase displays! The effort is mostly economically driven with a limited focus on offering the message of Jesus Christ as the the reason for holiday cheer, hope, peace, and a holiday full of happiness.

That's where you and I come in! We are the voices who are able to point toward the coming of Christmas. It's more than a month and a half away - let's do a couple things:

1. Sincerely consider who we are in this world. Who am I? Who are we?
    Really,..... "who do you think you are"?

2. Let the Conspiracy begin:

Amazingly, God continues to speak through His scriptures and the prompting of the Holy Spirit to effect people individually and globally. Just like He did with the 5 pastors who came together to start the awareness effort of "Advent Conspiracy". It's worth a read, watch, and reflection.

When we get caught up in the matters of the material world, life gets difficult to fully understand and embrace as a truly amazing adventure. It can be a bit disorienting. This journey of life has some strange and daunting paths, for sure. As Pastor Selz explains, "..they were disoriented, confused. They were lost." In another section, he alludes to walking through a dark wilderness and what a comfort it is to have the Light give us a focal point.

Without Christ as our Savior, we are lost on this adventure of life. May you overcome the temptations and desires to look the wrong way at the wrong moment. May you fully embrace the truth of Who God Thinks You Are.

"Who Do You Think You Are?" #83-09
Presented on The Lutheran Hour on November 1, 2015
By Rev. Gregory Seltz, Lutheran Hour Speaker
(Q&A Topic:What Kind of People are Saints?)
Copyright 2015 Lutheran Hour Ministries

Text: Isaiah 51:4-6

The Lord says....Give attention to me, my people, and give ear to me, my nation; for a law will go out from me, and I will set my justice for a light to the peoples. 5 My righteousness draws near, my salvation has gone out, and my arms will judge the peoples; the coastlands hope for me, and for my arm they wait. 6 Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look at the earth beneath; for the heavens vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment, and they who dwell in it will die in like manner; but my salvation will be forever, and my righteousness will never be dismayed.

Grace, and mercy, and peace to you, in Jesus' Name. Amen.

Have you ever noticed that people who are trying to balance themselves don't look down? If you look down, you fall. Just watch a talented surfer for example. They don't look down at their feet. Their eyes are straight ahead - focused above the water, focused on where they are going. Good surfers don't look at the ocean beneath them or at the board on which they are standing. They keep their eyes up, on their destination. Steering also begins with the eyes. Where your eyes go, there you lean and there your board goes. One of the greatest struggles in learning to surf is getting your eyes up on the horizon instead of on your board or on the ocean. If you look down, that's exactly where you will go.

In our reading for today, God demands to be seen for who He is. He challenges us to see who we are from His point of view. Now, some of you might ask Him, "Who do You think You are? Why should we listen to You, Lord? What right do You have to march in here and command our attention?" 

God sounds off; so that you and I can truly get the picture. He makes some bold assertions. He claims that those who listen to Him are His. He says that His Word is worth listening to, that righteousness goes out from Him, that salvation is near Him, that law goes out from Him, that His mighty arm will judge, that the coastlands wait for His arm and hope in His arm, that His salvation is forever, that His righteousness will never be dismayed. Just Who does this God think He is? 

Well, Isaiah gives us a glimpse. God is the Creator. He created the world from nothing and sustains the world from all the simple to the complex. He has the authority to speak to all of His creation because of it; and that includes you and that includes me!

Not only that. He has a stake in how all things turn out in this world and He, the Creator of the universe, says that He is going to hold all things accountable to Himself some day!

Knowing God, getting right with God, trusting in God, this is the most important thing in our lives and that's why Isaiah reminds us of God's challenge to: Lift your eyes to the heavens, and look at the earth beneath; for the heavens vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment, and they who dwell in it will die in like manner; but my salvation, says the Lord, will be forever, and my righteousness will never be dismayed.

But we all have a very difficult time focusing on things that matter, don't we? Come on, be honest. You don't think about the things of God much, the eternal things. You might be more interested in the game today, your investment tomorrow, or your career moving forward, temporal things. Eternal things, that day is for later, if it comes at all.

In that sense, you are just like the people to whom Isaiah is writing. They, even though they were blessed by God, they took their eyes off of Him; they looked down to their things rather than up to His things. They went their way, so God gave them a glimpse of their way by allowing the nation of Babylon to defeat them and literally take them into captivity from the land they loved. They were disoriented, confused. They were lost. 

They didn't know whether to look up anymore, to look out, they didn't even know what to look at to make sense of what was going on in their lives. Sinful human beings can get like that in a hurry, can't we?

Remember when I told you that surfers have to keep their eyes up while surfing? Eyes on the horizon or you are in the drink. But now, playing golf well is exactly the opposite, isn't it? One of the most important things to know about golfing is to keep your eyes down, to look at your ball. Don't look up. If you've ever played golf, you know how hard it is to resist the urge to look up and see where your ball is going. But, look up? You'll probably mishit the ball, hooking it into the woods, shanking it into the trees, or maybe just dribbling it a few yards in front of you. Looking up while swinging is the last thing anyone should do. 

Here's my problem. Even with the simple things in life, human beings, all of us, we can't seem to fix our gaze where it belongs. When surfing, we tend to look down; when golfing, we tend to look up. Exactly the opposite of what we're supposed to do. And when it comes to what really matters in life, our relationship with God, we are sinfully myopic to our concerns alone, blind to God, and eternally shortsighted. 

That's why God has to speak clearly today to you and to me about who He is, who we are, and what we need most in our lives!

To get to the heart of this section of Scripture we've got to turn that question around first. It's not "Who does God think He is?" No, the question that really gets us started today is, "Who do we think we are? What's our standing in the universe? Do we really understand fully the mysteries of space, the expanses of galaxies and stars light years away when we can't even fully understand ourselves and the worlds close by in which we live?" 

Who do we think we are? Our strength and wisdom often pales in comparison to the simple powers of the wind, the waves, the sun, the heat. We can be helpless before it all in an instant. 

Tsunamis, earthquakes, the stories go on and on. Humanity watches and responds. But we are helpless against such things. The earth quakes and the skies darken and we can only hope to predict when and where the disaster might strike. But we are really powerless against it all. 

And with our wisdom and study, we can't even seem to get along with each other better today. Our relationships break down with greater regularity. We tend to hurt those we love even more. And many of us are growing up feeling as if there is no one out there who really cares about us at all. 

And as wonderful as our science has been in recent years, it remains powerless to deal with the greatest problem in humanity, death itself. We tempt ourselves into thinking that we will conquer illness completely. We pat ourselves on the back when we hold some things at bay. But, with all of our gadgets, our drugs, our medicine, our money, we can't stop death. In fact, in the grand scheme of things, our lives come and go and we fade even from our own people's memory.

God's first challenge to us is who are you? In light of the heavens and the earth, who are you? In light of the forces in our world that affect us, who are you? In light of the death that is so inevitable for us all, who are you? Sobering words, penetrating realities, can you see it for yourself?

That's important to do; but here's another point that is even more important. Such clarity of your own life before the powers of the world, that's not the main point of our text today. God isn't merely showing His strength to make sure that you and I know how puny we are in His Presence. He isn't flexing His muscles to instill fear. He is calling us, all people, to faith not in ourselves but to faith in Him. He's trying to get us to look up when we need to look up, to look down when we need to look down by looking to Him for all things!

Isaiah, chapters 40 through 55, addresses even God's people as those who are lost without Him. In fact, at this moment they are lost because of their disobedience. They are in exile. They are no longer where the people of God are supposed to live, in Jerusalem. Their temple has been destroyed. They have been conquered. All because they took their eyes off the One Who loved them, redeemed them, restored them, and even made them a people. 

God is trying to get the Israelites, and yes, even you and me, to look to Him, to listen to Him and Him alone for salvation. Don't look up on your own. Don't look down on your own. Look to God, listen to Him. Listen to His strong word of love and grace. So where should we look to see God in all of His majesty?

Some might say, look up to the heavens. What do you see there; the sky, the stars, the sun, the moon? The heavens might be impressive. Space is vast. Up there expanse is unsearchable because of its enormity. Up there are stars that are thousands of light years away. Up there are planets and galaxies that are so far removed that we have to believe in their existence based on a theory. 

Look up and you will be impressed by the heavens. Look up and you will see what many have even been tempted to worship throughout history. Look up and you will see the enormity that might even hint at God Himself. 

But as you are looking, listen to what God says of the very heavens He has created. In spite of its majesty and impressive attributes, even the heavens will pass away. Even the amazing vastness of space is transitory. Even the sun and the moon and the stars will eventually be no more. 

Okay then, some of you might say, look down. See the earth, the place of life itself in the middle of the cosmos; the place where we live; the planet that sustains us. See this world and its beauty. Look down and see the creation that God has given to us. See the variety of plants and animals, the complexity and simplicity of all that exists and is. But even here, we see clearly, all is temporary and God's Word says that it too will pass away.

Some say okay, even better. Look around then. See all the people in their various lives and pursuits. Look around and see all that has been accomplished by humanity. Look around and see the success of all those around you. But God reminds us even there all this is not only temporary but under the eternal judgment of the Creator of the universe because of our own sinful hearts.

When it is all said and done, God wants us to look ultimately in none of those places. Why? Because while those places might bring awe and wonder, God wants us to know Him more fully, to trust Him, to believe in Him, and to reflect, not so much His power, but powerfully reflect His love.

Where are you going to look then today? Look to God Who became Man, in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Look to God Who not only promised you forgiveness, life, and salvation, but journeyed to a cross so that you might live with Him forever by faith.

Look to God's Word that doesn't prescribe some religious machinations for sinful people who can't do them anyway, but proclaims a salvation that God has indeed affected for all of us.
Way back in Isaiah, he told the people to look to a Suffering Servant Who was going to come and bear their burdens and affect their freedom. The New Testament writers of the Bible say that at a specific time in history this Servant Messiah appeared, lived a life of perfection, suffered a death of substitution for sinners, and made possible a reconciliation of powerless, sinful people to a holy, powerful God in heaven Who loves us. 

Isaiah doesn't just tell us this, Jesus Himself says it in Mark 13 where He says that the heaven and earth will pass away but His Word will never pass away; that Word is a message of forgiveness, life, and salvation to all who put their trust in Him. 

Look and listen to Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. In Him God is well pleased and with Him our lives can be redeemed and restored now and forever. In Him, that's who we are, not just who we think we are.

Your mind might be spinning a bit right now. You might be thinking, "Pastor, what makes you so sure that this message in Jesus is the one we all need." Let me just say this, with an open mind and heart take a closer and closer look at Jesus, give a closer ear to His Word and you will see for yourself. You don't need me to tell it to you (although I'll keep introducing you to this Jesus every Sunday on this program!)

The Bible says that He is the Light, He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, that He is the Door to Life, that He is the Good Shepherd of Life. If you get to know Him, you'll see that Who He says He is; He is for you!

I don't know about you, but when I'm out in the woods at night doing a little camping or hiking, things can get pretty scary, pretty fast. If you've ever been away from the city lights, I mean really out in the wilderness on a moonless night, you know what darkness can do. But you also know the allure of light just at that moment. When true, powerful, light shines through that darkness, what do you do? You fix your gaze on it, you walk to it, and if you are really in trouble, you run to it. That's what powerful, beaming light does in the middle of darkness.

Well, let me leave you with a challenge then that I think Isaiah would say to you if he were here. Look to the Light of Jesus Christ in the Word of God; fix your eyes on that, draw near to that, and you will see with your eyes, with your heart, with your mind, the powerful love of God that is here for you right now! That's His enduring salvation in the midst of a world that is passing away. So, look and listen to Him.

He calls you to read His Word, to hear His voice because He loves you. You might be feeling very insignificant in the midst of all that is around you right now, but you as a person matter to God. He sent the very suffering Servant Jesus Christ to make sure that you know that! 

Look and listen to Him.

He calls you to be part of His people. I know, I know, we're sinners. I hope that doesn't cloud your vision of Who God is for you and for us. In fact, it should clear things up for you too. He has a righteousness and a salvation for you, as a gift, one that you don't deserve or earn; just like the rest of us. 

Look and listen to Him because He sends His strong arm ultimately to save you and me. Isaiah probably couldn't even imagine that from heaven, to a manger, to a cross, to a grave, and then through a resurrection, finally to be at the right hand of the Father, that's the work of the Suffering Servant, God's mighty arm in Christ that would save all people. 

So, Who does God think He is? Well, He tells us straight today. He is the powerful Creator, the God who saves His people. What right does He have to claim people as His own? He sent His Son to die for them, for you, for me, for all. His righteousness and salvation are given to all the people of the earth as a gift. Those who believe in Jesus receive that salvation and righteousness which will never end. And that is what this One promises to all who put their trust in Him. 

The only question right now then is who are you? Are you one shaped by your hopes and dreams or are you one whose hopes and dreams are shaped by who He is for you? One lasts for a time, one lasts forever. Don't just look up, or look down, or look around. Look to Him for all things, for life and salvation with, it Him lasts forever and can never be taken away. Count on it. In Jesus. Amen.

Monday, November 2, 2015

All Saint's Day and Past Pastors

Their words have instructed, encouraged, and provided a guidance for me as well as numerous others. The men and women I mention below have served by loving, teaching, providing, and nurturing. My mother's parents and father's parents were always ready to offer an extra slice of pie, scoop of ice cream and most certainly a huge << HUG >>. I miss those hugs.

As you go about the week, stop to think about the saints who have gone before us yet have never really left us.  They are those men and women who have offered their backs and shoulders for us to see further, imagine more, dig deeper and know an awesome love. When this offering of sincere care is done with the best of intentions, it's the next best feeling to the unconditional love which God alone can offer.

In reflection of October and Pastor's Appreciation Month, I would also like to take a moment to share some sincere gratitude to a few names who have helped me to mature in faith, grow in spiritual awareness and have - without a doubt - prayed a LOT for me. Thank you so much to: Pastor Jim Wilbur, Pastor Bob Boerger, Pastor Arthur Reich, the many men from Concordia University of Wisconsin who shared their insights and understandings for my certification in Lutheran Education. As I moved into the world of vocation: Pastor Bob Behnke, Pastor/Principal Tim Bernard, the many pastors of the CrossRoads Circuit in the Michigan District, Pastor Carl Hanson, soon to be Pastor/Sensei Matthew Wasmund, Pastor/Sensei Shinri Emoto, Pastor/Sensei Miyazawa, Pastor Steve Oliver, Pastor James, Pastor Paul/White, Pastor Alex Wu, Pastor Joel Schiewe, Pastor JP Cima, Pastor Shaun Daugherty, Pastor John Mehl and Pastor Ted Engelbrecht. As I reflect more, I am sure different situations and names will also come to mind; please forgive me.

For now, I also heartily recognize the men, teachers, and women - also teachers who have taken the time to offer me their relationship. You, who have led with words and actions; offering comfort in my affliction and certainly challenging me when I have fallen into a "comfort zone".

Friday, July 24, 2015

Rediscovering my Voice.

    An iconic picture from my alma mater Concordia University of Wisconsin.

Attempting to get back into this space for the purpose of having a voice with the Wisehub Co-Learners has proven to be a wicked-adventure of late-night wandering a through notepads, passwords, VPNs, Internet-connections, and log-in accessibility.

It seems that even when I had all the info ready - there were still challenges to overcome and discoveries to be made. Alas, WiseHub 2.0, I hope to offer an example and a means to advance communication, Pitches, and add fuel to this exciting fire being collectively built!

We are in this boat together, and indeed are "fishers of men" (let us not forget women and most certainly: CHILDREN!)". We are ALL on this journey of significance!

James G. Rush, II
Twitter @jgrush2 (fyi: rarely used, but will try more!)
Skype: jgrush2

YouTube Channels
(Youtube went through a merger and I was going through the Master’s program where I met Theo. My first channel included a few of the different ideas I was sharing with family, friends, and parents of my students. Then, I primarily started using the second channel for posting my assignments and related videos.)

Channel #1: jgrushutwob
An Introduction Video for the Cohort Program…using Logos!

Channel #2: James Grant Rush

As part of my main idea and project, I was initially drawn to helping the FPMC, the Federation for Parks and Museums in Cozumel, Mexico. They expressed a desire to have a web presence since they were responsible for hosting an International Children’s Congress for the Environment.  We started a Facebook Page and I produced a video to help promote the congress/conference.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Blessed to be a Blessing

God blesses Abram (Abraham) to be a blessing to the nations. - Genesis 12:2
Giving thanks whenever we think of those relationships we have been given. - Philippians 1:1-11

Middle school students are very savvy, especially when determining truth in relationships.

Being more than aware. Being intentional about giving proper thanks to God and being intentional about sharing my blessings is a goal and desire. I have been gifted with quite a lot.  So much has been given to me in this life. When I say this, I definitely do not merely mean "gifts" due to the special occasions of birthdays and holidays. Conversely, this is certainly not limited to wealth in the sense of money and finances. I speak of gifts and wealth in the context of "riches". To me, those riches include: faith, forgiveness, education and wisdom, freedoms, and love. Then, when I take an extra moment to really reflect, I realize those all come with a very specific requirement: relationships.

God is amazing enough to have taught me the value of this wealth I have, by giving me specific relationships. And He has done that for you, too. Take a moment to consider the multitude of family, friends, teachers and other who have cared for you. Awe-inspiring, isn't it?!

My family gave me such a huge foundation and continues to be a solid support network. I must continue to be aware of the fact I have been blessed beyond what I deserve. My heart goes out to those who haven't had the ability to know the full joy of attending one or all of the following:
 - have a sit-down, "family" dinner;
 - experience a graduation party - their own or a family member's;
 - a wedding ceremony and reception with a party atmosphere, ambiance and taste of elegance;
 - have the means to simply enjoy a spur-of-the-moment barbecue.

In our world, today. No, not just in cities and neighborhoods elsewhere. In our cities, all throughout this world, there are people who desire to avoid the sound of gunshots and the screams of war, violence, and chaos. It's a real sadness to consider that people are supporting one another out of the necessity of survival.  My support came from a place of stability. My support continues to come during a time of peace and the pursuit of happiness. Let us consider, though, another man my age in another part of the world or maybe even this city. He is probably trying to take care of his family - which includes more than simply his generation. The man in his mid-30's will begin to take responsibility for others and himself. Typically this means offering some kind of help and assistance to those who raised him (parents and grandparents). Without a doubt, he now has the task of providing for himself and his own family (wife and kids). All of this takes place while he works diligently to make a name for himself so he can fully explore his dreams. It's a prayer and relief to know my God is big enough to take care of that man who is out there. God loves all of those children who are His, too. It is my prayer that the many men and women who are out there in our world today will know their role and fully see the blessings they have already been given. God has taken care of those people and families

Therefore, since God is taking care of His creation, I am left to wonder: What's my role?

What my family has given me is indeed a blessing and I need to be more like Abraham. I have had so many wonderful people in my life. What's more is that these opportunities have transcended my immediate family and I start to see how these kinds of relationships which have resulted from the unanticipated experiences which I have been called to witness. These support systems are formed because of relationships; the relationships that make are a deep, intricate, part of every culture. I consider the number of people I have been able to meet, spend time with, learn from, and in some cases help. I have been blessed to be a blessing, and so have you.

Get out there and do it.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Cloud-Spotting: Seeing the Exotic in the Everyday. Planning for the unplanned.

After watching this TED talk a few weeks ago, I knew I would eventually refer to the inspiring presentation. Gavin Pretor-Pinney describes why we can be joyful in the most simplest of ways, like an everyday activity such as looking at the clouds. He even turned this into a organization: the Cloud Appreciation Society!

My personal search for sincere bliss has been happening over the last couple years.  I was wondering and wandering into the emotional, intellectual, and physical pursuit of: joy. I mean, I know I can be happy. I know I can crack a joke or two. However, it seemed to be a common theme through my life that eventually others would point out to me, "Hey, you don't seem so joyful." Apparently my body language and my overall “look” was not  beaming with jovial expressions.

And all the time, I thought I looked like this....
Instead of a constant grin and a showing of “good spirits”, I could be found with a more focused and unemotional expression. I would have a face of contemplation, seriousness, and whatever other perceptions people saw as they attempted to peer into my world. I simply wish they would have asked, or offered support rather than make a quick judgement of my emotional. Yet, maybe they were right. Maybe I simply didn’t take the time to “live life with my head in the clouds.” I was not able to truly engage in dreaming and imagination. Although I preached this by my mouth, my ability to fully engage in life was not really experienced until I truly interacted with others and nature (Interim-Service of “Adoption Journeys), went back home for Christmas to be with my family and friends, and then went on an unbelievable service trip to Liberia. 

Butterfly at Huge Grace - our struggle, everyone's struggle
Adoption Journey's - everyone except Mrs. Tonn!

Family Christmas - Great times!
Liberian Flag on Armed Forces Day, one day after the Playground Dedication

As I look back, I definitely see the blessings. My life was touched and blessed, love for God and love for others became clear because "it's all about relationships.". My Creator provided people, paths, and answers to prayer. My family and friends were sometimes the “clouds” which allowed me to see life through a different lens. Sometimes those clouds were fluffy, clear-as-day clouds and other times they were a cool reprieve from the hot, tense stress of life. There were even times when the clouds came along as storm clouds. When this happened, it meant I had to wait. I needed to take cover, be safe with regard to decisions, and fully appreciate the power of that which was out of my control. Eventually though, all would pass and I was able to get out and truly enjoy the outside.

Just in case you miss it
Since I am often unable to draw a clear point with audiences, let me be straight forward with the point of this entry: You and I have a great opportunity to experience the extraordinary by taking the time, effort, and energy to see the mystery and majesty of life in the ordinary. I am willing to bet you will experience peace, patience, and probably even joy.

In simple english terms and phrases, we can - and should - “stop and smell the roses”. We need to live with our "head in the sky." Then, take it a step further and consider the intricacy of the rose, it’s stem, the photosynthesis, and the myriad of other factors it took for that flower to be in your path. Take a moment to contemplate the many different forms of the clouds and how they are given to us in abundance while providing a spectacle of scientific inquiry.

It is clear to me, there is a design and a purpose to the way living beings are woven into form and function.

This causes me to think. However, I must admit, a good percentage of my life has been spent in this extreme of being too intense about ideas, opportunities, and possibilities. “You think too much, JR.” Then, the opposite of this approach to life has been to simply live in the moment. “Man, you are crazy”. While I do enjoy having a “fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants” attitude, I need reconsider the times and places. I have to know the people and the situation at hand. Truly, I do appreciate the flexibility, spontaneity and excitement that comes along with a worldview and mentality of taking life as it comes. Also, I really don’t mind making choices as they need to be made, rather than being very detailed in my planning and thinking about the future. Is there a balance to be made?

Alas, back to my inner-dilemma and outer-response. As a school teacher, I can’t afford the luxury of simply “winging-it”. The time I have, the productive time has been limited and sometimes non-existent. Yet, when I am able to truly set some goals as well as a plan to achieve those objectives.

Are you just a bit curious about what my approach will entail? Well, let’s just say I don’t like “weather conversations”. On the other hand, I am sincerely anticipating the curiosity and responses from my students as I encourage them to discover the joy of cloud spotting. 

Enjoy the basic, everyday-ness of today. There are a LOT of people in this world who would be truly overwhelmed with joy if they could live a day in your life. Dream big, but remember to count your blessings for the answers to prayer, the dreams realized, and the life you have already experienced.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Purpose of Our Life

Thank you (Xie xie ni. Arigato gozaimus. Mh goi or Doh je and Cam on!) You are reading this because we are connected one way or another. With all of the technology available, it is amazing and wonderful. I give praise to God for the opportunity to know you - whether it is because of a chance encounter or a from a long-time relationship. I thank you for being a part of my journey.

Defining one's purpose can be extremely daunting or quite simple. Between a devotion this morning, an observation about this blog not being updated, my desire to refine my professional-personal appearance online, and a plethora of other reasons -  I must admit: I found myself lost. I find myself, and then lose focus time and time again. What's the purpose? What's my purpose? What's our purpose? Simply put though, our purpose can be found by looking at our relationships.

Clarity, vision, focus, these words have been in my life since around February when I was ill with pink-eye. At that time I was able to rest in Jesus. As the devotion shared: "Paul clearly states the purpose of our lives: we live for Jesus, who lived, died, and rose for us. Jesus is to be number one in our daily lives. Our lives are to be centered and focused on Him." (Portals of Prayer, July-Sept. 2013 - Concordia Publishing House, Thursday, July 18). My experience brought me closer to God, giving me a clearer understanding of how much I need to rely on Him. My purpose became better understood because of an experience. My experience led me back to: relationships - my relationships with those who helped me and my relationship with Jesus.

Relationships do two things, they define and reveal the purpose of our life. Backed by years of "relationship defining conversations" known as prayer...ultimately it is our individual relationship with God. As the Trinity, He displays the value of relationships and provides a way for us to grasp the immense care He has for each of us. I pray you find joy in the discovery of your purpose during your earthly journey.

A prayer: My Lord, help me to show gratitude in my daily life for all You have done for me. Amen (again, a Portals of Prayer offering)
2 Corinthians 5:15