AdventPhotos2016 – Promise

10 12 2016

Quick; what were you doing in 1971? I was listening my way through Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory in Mrs. Dunlop’s Kindergarten class reading circle. Now, think of everything that has happened in-between then and now. Yeah, I know. I can’t remember it all either. 41 years is a pretty long time; almost 15,000 new days. So many days. So many details of life. So many changes.
Paul is part of the Life Link Community Church family. Every Sunday he’ll be sitting in the back row, on the left side of the sanctuary, quietly present week after week. Paul’s life came to a crisis moment back in 1971, and he made a promise. He promised to stay sober and for 15,000 morning he has woken up to a day where he has had to decide whether or not to keep that promise. There have been days with sickness, days with no money, days when someone he trusted violated that trust, days when unreasonable demands and expectations were heaped onto his shoulders, days when someone he loved died, days when he knew fear, days of celebration, days when it would have been easier to not keep that promise. No one makes him keep that promise – he chooses to keep his promise, every day. Making the promise wasn’t the hardest part. It undoubtedly felt huge in the moment, but the hard part has been in keeping the promise on all the days that followed. Those times when no else is there; no one is looking; one would ever even know if the promise were broken. No one but Paul. And he chooses to keep his promise.

On Thursday evenings, if you stop in to Life Link you’ll find Paul there again, but not in his usual spot in the sanctuary. On Thursdays he leads a recovery group, and he’ll be downstairs in the kitchen with a pot of coffee, waiting for others to trickle in and join him around the table where he will challenge them to make a promise. But more importantly, he will encourage them to keep their promise, sitting there with them, a gracious and gentle testimony to the powerful beauty of a promise kept.

Advent marks the beginning of a new year on the church calendar. A time when we evaluate, take stock, recognize what can and should change, and make promises about what will be true in our lives going forward. No one will make us keep those promises, but there is One who has chosen to come and sit with us; not only in the sanctuary moments of life, but in the basement moments as well. He made and keeps the promise of His Presence with us, every day.
 From Him, we can be empowered and equipped to live a life of promise; if we chose it.  


AdventPhotos2016 – Commit

6 12 2016

Well, I did it again. I bought another book. I’m too embarrassed to even count the number of books in my ‘to-read’ stack(s) – to say nothing of the ones in-progress. In an attempt to control the rate of expansion of my library  I have a rule for myself; I will not buy another book without getting rid of one.  But I’ll be reading one of my books and the writer will reference another book that gives more detail or depth on the topic at hand, and it would be fantastic to have that additional material, so I buy the next book and I fudge on my rule. I’ll remove one of my digital books from one of my devices, because I still really need all of my printed books. I like my rule, in theory. I like the way it would control the sheer volume of bound matter in my tiny house. I like the way it would save me money. But when it comes right down to it, I don’t like it enough to follow through with my rule. Despite my internal dialog, and digital dodging, I won’t commit to that particular discipline in my life; my actions demonstrate an attitude of “I might” rather than “I will.”

As I walk through this Advent season, I find fresh encouragement in God’s commitment to relationship with humankind being met through the gift of His Son. He said He would send a Messiah, and He did. And as I look with anticipation toward the continued fulfillment of His promises in my life I am so very grateful to know that He is not an “I might” God.