Monday, June 30, 2014

Sabbath Rest

Sometimes Sabbath comes in multiple days.
Not necessarily on Sunday only, 
but a time of rewind and reboot.

Time to hear stories.
Catch up.
Just the ordinary stories of
a family of faith.

Because sometimes it is
important to model
that the world 
really does not depend on us-
to make the waves move
and the sun set.

                                                                                                                                     Photo by Jessica Meier

Friday, June 27, 2014

Faith Milestone- Faith Chest- Telling Our Story

Before we were born- God began our story.
Baptism claims us a part of the family.
God wants everyone in His family.

We are called to know our story.
So we can tell our story.
 Because our story brings Him Glory.

The items placed in a Faith Chest 
become the pieces that help
us tell our story.
When a Baptism birthday is celebrated- 
the family can light the Baptism candle, 
show the pictures and tell the story.

The story and prayers of parents,
 grandparents and sponsors 
can be read to the child.
 Who was there?
What happened that day?
What are the prayers for this child?

As they get older- the child can tell the story.

An age- appropriate Baptism book can be read.

Water Come Down

Come Right In- You're Home

It might also be a great time to give another
Faith- tending book in honor of the Baptism birthday.
Some choices for younger children
can be found on this Pinterest board.

Families in faith- Books

Our Baptism story is a life long journey.
Our church began to honor this important 
Faith Milestone
with a postcard reminder mailed to each person 
before their special day.

I love hearing the story of one of the first recipients
 of a Faith Chest at our church.
Keihly can hardly wait for her Baptism birthday.
It is a time to unpack the loved treasures
 that help to tell her story-
about what God is doing in her life,
how the Holy Spirit is part of her daily walk.

Another family tells the story
 of a challenging day for their child.
In a moment to reset,
 the child stated-
"If it is OK,
 I think I need to be reminded 
of my Baptism right now-
I am going to get my Faith Chest-
 and tell the story."

These are the stories-
  that tell how to use the TOOLS-
the reminders, 
of God in our daily life living.

As the story unfolds-
memory-keeping items can be added for 
First Communion, Confirmation,
and Wedding.

For we have been encouraged:

1 Peter 3:15

15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. 
Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone
 who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.
 But do this with gentleness and respect,

So- in your story-
What is the Holy Spirit 
doing in your life right now?

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A World According to GOD

Currently reading this book-
 A World According to GOD-
 Practices for Putting Faith at the Center of Your Life.
by  Martha Ellen Stortz.

Thinking about how I live my life so often-
 according to me.
Dwelling on these thoughts
 from Ron Hansen's forward---

This imitation of Christ-
 that is the call of discipleship
upsets the status quo.

The world is made strange
 by seeing things as Christ did.

Imitation means faith practices that relinquish the old.
Practicing the steady and intentional acts
 of kindness, generosity, and beauty.
Paying attention to all the nuanced 
incarnations of God in the vagaries of our 
haphazard lives.

Perhaps these practices that bring us closer to God 
 begin to shape our world and how we respond to the crisis-
 big and small that moves unbidden into our daily life.  
This- keeping close to Jesus, allows His presence
to pattern our lives.
This relationship gives us the lens to
view the world from His perspective.

Stortz says:
In the time Jesus spent here on earth,
 He lived in a world according to God.
We can still see it, if we stop to look.
The disciplines of discipleship resurrect the view.
We begin to set aside our own desires,
 in this shaping and forming, and reforming.

It gives me the opportunity to reframe 
my world-
to set aside my will, heart, and mind.
And tiny piece by tiny piece,
each breath responds to the call-
Follow Me.

For in this quiet spot, 
I am reminded that this 
discipleship is not a matter of choosing, 
but of being chosen.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Faith Milestone- Building a Faith Chest

The wave in family life education is 
moving from a church-centered
to a home-centered base.

It is a partnership of church and family
 concerning the
We are talking more about
 Faith Milestones
 in Faith formation.

A faith milestone is a marker along life’s journey
 that says,
 “This is something important and God is here, too.”
 Marking a milestone is a biblically-based
 spiritual practice
 in both home and congregation, 
that help all generations recognize 
God’s presence
 in all of life.

We began to explore the possibility of 
our church adopting the practice
 of giving a faith chest
 to all who were baptized in our setting.
 All sorts of things are changing
 within the framework of 
faith life education- 
and a pendulum is swinging
 to assign a higher priority
 to Faith Life in the Home. 
 The CHURCH has been the
 primary place for this,
 but a new awareness is raising the HOME
 as the significant teaching ground. 
The goal of the church is to help and assist
 the parents to be the primary
 faith life educators of their children.

For each Baptism-
 an envelope of encouragement
 is made for the parents, 
each godparent ( or couple) 
and all of the grandparents,
(as couples and also for any step -grandparents)

In each envelope is placed a current Vibrant Faith catalog,
(now available online)
and the list of ideas of things to place in a Faith Chest.
Building a Faith Chest
For the sponsors there is a reprint of an article -
 "Godparenting for Dummies",
Godparenting for dummies --a practical guide
and downlaodable pdf

 and for the grandparents there is a list of the
Blessings of Grandparenting.
(to be shared in an upcoming blog post)

As a Baptism remembrance,
 a brief pamphlet is included 
for filling out and placing in the Faith Chest.
Baptism Keepsake

In the life of this newly baptized infant, 
child, or adult,
God is already writing the story of 
His grace interacting
 in the life of one of His loved ones.

Each Faith Chest is blessed
 to impact the owner and all the relationships
 that touch this life to bring Him Glory.

Maybe it is time to collect the items for your own
Faith Chest?

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Faith Milestone- What IS a Faith Chest?

A few years ago I came across an internet site
 that had wonderful support for families living with a 
"Families in Faith" priority.
They taught that we really need to make
 some intentional choices for making
 "God Intersections"
in our lives a time for remembering,
 documenting and celebrating.

They urged churches to give a gift of a
'Faith Chest" to everyone
 that is baptized in their church.
Vibrant Faith
 (formerly the Child in Our Hands program
 at Youth and Family Institute)
Originally, they suggested that a large wooden box
 be handmade for each child
 and then items added throughout their lifetime.
We were going to need to adapt that suggestion.

I began to do a bit of research and found
 that although we give high importance
 to the rite of baptism, 
we still did not do very well in the follow up
 to keep that as a highly significant event in our lives. 

So, in my own "archeological dig"
 for my family I began to seek this information
 for everyone in my own family.
 Some things had been so well "kept safe",
 it took me almost 6 months to find:
 baptism dates, confirmation dates,
 and verses for all five of us.
All the more reason to create-
 to keep these important items and documents.

The Faith Chest- 
as the designated place to keep faith life items,
 made it easy to put them in a safe place
 and yet be accessible. 
So my husband John and I have a Faith Chest, 
and so do each of our three daughters.
(and Now our grandson)
At the time we were looking for them-
 they were available in stores
 and looked like an actual treasure chest.
I found them at:

Home Goods
AC Moore

Today, it is a bit trickier to find ones
 in the Chest style model, 
and so I often end up using
 rectangular boxes with flip up lids.
What works best is either one with a removable lid
 or a flip up lid and a size that fits a 
full size piece of 8 X 11  1/2 piece of paper to lay flat. 
Decorative Suitcase
Sometimes it is possible to find them
 and purchase separately
 and I would suggest the larger one
 to follow a life-time of
They make a great gift to a child
 from a sponsor, godparent,
or grandparent.
Jumbo Scrapbook Storage Boxes
Large boxes used for scrapbooking storage
 are also a fine choice
 and a bit more economical
 if used in the parish setting.

So, that is the beginning
 of telling the Faith Chest Story.
Remembering our Baptism.
The beginning of God's story
 of redemption in our lives.

Part 2- Building a Faith Chest
Part 3- Baptism Birthdays and Resources

Friday, June 20, 2014

Faith Milestone- Baptism-2

A new little one changes everything within a family system.
 New relationships happen 
and parents begin a life-long journey of parenting.
A seasoned parent knows from the very beginning- 
it is the tension of holding close and setting free-
at the same time and forever.

In this very new and fragile bond-
we learn the heart stretches of LOVE.
But, as good as this IS-
God has an even richer desire for the children He loves.

We arrive in this world carrying the "original sin"
 of the Fall in the Garden of Eden.
But, God did not leave us in this state without a plan.
He redefines the meaning of FAMILY.

 For in a wider context,
 God moves aunts and uncles and cousins
into mentor roles.
Encouragers and prayer-partners.

Baptism at the same time affirms the earthly bonds,
 and extends a relationship
 with a larger community of believers.

Siblings can form a network
 to live out the faith in the day in and day out
 struggle of highs and lows.

We are baptized into the body of Christ.
 We are His hands in the world.
We join God's "family business".
We adopt family values that allow us to be used 
here on earth to extend the Father's work into the world.

Here-Four generations come together
 to place this child
in the arms of a Heavenly Father who will-
 always be Faithful.
When we fail on a daily basis to
serve, live and be the children of God
in response to our own Baptism, 
we are held close by the God who saves us.

Baptism alters what we understand as
Baptism bonds us to the Father in heaven,
 to the Brother who died and rose from the dead, 
and we are empowered
 by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

For even though we understand baptism as a sacrament,
 it is a daily sacrament.
We may begin each day, 
by "remembering our baptism."

It is the invitation offered daily to-
"Follow Me."
Freely given, never earned.
Always God initiated in the calling.
It becomes a circle journey of discipleship-
returning again and again to the invitation.

And so a family comes together
 to give thanks and praise
and celebrate.

A new child of God is welcomed by 
 a community of believers.
We are joined together as the families of this little one-
to walk together in the newness of life with
Griffin Joshua.
For this GIFT- we give thanks.

"Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised form the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life."
Romans 6:4

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Faith Milestone- Baptism- 1

Baptism Day-
 a Faith Milestone in our church tradition.
The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod
 believes in infant baptism.

Our Heavenly Father steps in and
meets us in our sinful human nature,
and covers us in GRACE-
 in a new relationship with HIM.

In the name of the Father,
 and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
With water and His word-
  divine intervention happens in the life of this little one.

Godparents- or sponsors, stand as witnesses to be
faith encouragers and part of the "Faith Life Team"
to be partners with the parents
 in the faith education of this little one.

Part of the main team's job is to PRAY
 for this new little Christian.

Parents have the primary responsibility
 for faith life education, 
and the teaching haven is the home.

From father to son to son-
following the footsteps of a
follower of Jesus.

Grandparents are also part of the
 back-up team
 for faith life education.
One of their great gifts to this child
 is to be examples of unconditional love- 
that reflects the heart of our Father.

The most important job any parent
 has is the transfer of 
faith to the next generation.
That is accomplished by the goodness of 
God's grace in blessing our efforts 
in teaching and training.

One of the greatest blessings to this young couple
 is the gift of two sets of grandparents-
living out a faithful witness.

Even a great-grandmother can be an encourager-
 to keep the Main thing the Main thing-
Teaching this child-
that Jesus loves him, died for Him,
and rose again.
Life here on earth is not in vain,
because of this relationship.
Our Joy is to bring Him Glory.

Four generations of hands- 
faithfully committed 
to impact eternity.
God has called this little one by name-
Griffin Joshua-
you are MINE. 
Undeserved grace covers you.
This unearned gift is a
Kingdom impact

But Jesus said,
"Let the little children come to me
and do not hinder them
for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.
Matt. 19:14