Sunday, October 18, 2009

...in increasing measure...

My time at Corralitos church was an amazing time of connection in community. I shared a bit about Jacob's Story and it was great for me to start putting together the message that God is giving us. But for me the impact came in just dialogue - not monologue. After I shared a bit, God had laid it on my heart to open it up for the people to ask me questions and also share a bit of their story.

It was so amazing to just be with people that care and love us and have been following the story - investing their prayers, their thoughts, their lives in us. It still blows me away and causes me to stumble a bit as I grasp this kind of community love.

Toward the end of the service Jake and Debbie slipped in the back of the auditorium. I saw them and mentioned it...people turned around and gave him a standing ovation. Pretty incredible - pretty surprising for us. Overwhelmed by the love we are so thankful.

Jake had a hard night and is right now sleeping - was pretty tired all afternoon. I think the highlight was sharing lunch at Corralitos Market with Rachel, Michael, Tanner and Noah. His head has really been hurting him tonight. Fortunately we have no appointments scheduled for tomorrow. Pray that we get in touch with the surgeon for Jacob's thumb.

One of the messages that God keeps bringing up to me through this time is that we should be more concerned about being different in our circumstances rather than concerned that our circumstances be different. Most often we cannot control our circumstances other than choices we make. I may be able to work toward change (such as finding a job) yet there is so much I cannot change. I can however work toward being different in the circumstances that I find myself in. Check out what Peter says...

Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.

For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.
1 Peter 1:2-8

Following Christ - really following him - surrendering to him and allowing him to change us should move us in increasing measure toward love. We should continue to make choices and allow the Spirit of God to change us so that we are increasing in goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, kindness, and ultimately love. Everything leads us to love. If I am a Christ-follower I do not have a choice - I will be transformed - that is going to come with just being in the presence of God. Am I less angry than I was yesterday? Less bitter? Less jealous and more merciful? Am I described by others as being trustworthy, patient, kind? Not perfect but possessing these qualities in increasing measure? Does joy make its home in me?

Honestly this hits me square between the eyes - I have a long way to go - but that is what transformation is about - not having arrived but moving in the right direction - moving toward being different - responding different in my circumstances. I may fall short again and again but following Christ means picking up my cross daily - seeking forgiveness - accepting grace - and moving toward love.

May tomorrow - another Monday - be one of moving forward within our circumstances to reflect the character of God. It all moves toward love. John reminded us that God is love (1 John) and Paul reminded us what love really looks like (1 Cor 13). Let us not point a finger at others that need to possess these in increasing measure - let us look into the mirror examining our own heart and asking God to change us first. At least that is my prayer right now for myself. That is what my family needs - not to focus on wishing our circumstances were different but showing up in each moment with the heart of Christ. I just went back and read the verse again and am reminded that God already gave me all that I need for life and godliness - so the choice truly is mine.

Please also pray that Jacob realizes this in just a small way tomorrow as we work on his therapy and on his schoolwork and on life tomorrow.

May grace and peace be yours in abundance,

Tom (JK Daddy)

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful message. Your entry was my church today as our youngest's cold kept me from "big church" today. Thank you for your insights and updates on Jacob's journey. We are still reading the blog and praying faithfully. We are with you all the way Kirkendalls.

Keep on, keepin' on.
The Christensens

Lois Stinogel said...

I agree with the Christensens. You may not have a church body to be a pastor to but I for one am learning and re-learning truths that are so essential to living. Life happens but we have the choice of how to respond. And, oh the world watches us! thanks for continuing your writings and thanks to Robby, too.

Lois Stinogel