Sunday, July 26, 2009

New Hope's Luau

We had a great time at New Hope's Luau on Friday. At one point in the evening I counted people I had met for the first time, who have never been to New Hope's gatherings and there were over 20. That's awesome! Way to take the "bring your friends and family" seriously! It was great to have fun together and make some new friends.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Hope Miller

Grieving with some friends, celebrating with others...that's the stuff life is made of.

Today, New Hope is praying for Harold & Robyn Miller as they grieve Hope's passing. She was 33. It was unexpected. And it has jolted us. Tonight teens are gathered together remembering her - no doubt sharing great stories. Friends are taking meals and helping to plan her funeral celebration. It's all very surreal.

As I was driving this evening I was thinking of my friend, Hannah. She's 16 months old and she does NOT like to be left - especially when she is left by someone to whom she is very attached like her Momma. When Ang (the Momma) leaves her in the nursery at church, she cries loud cries with big, watery tears. Her world is coming to an end. She can't see beyond her immediate pain. She doesn't remember that in an hour she will be reunited with her beloved Momma. Her comprehension just isn't there yet.

So that made me think of us. We don't understand death. We don't like to be left. It causes the world as we know it to come to an end. We can't see beyond our pain. We struggle to remember that this life is NOT all there is and eventually we WILL all be reunited. Our comprehension just isn't there. The reality is there, though. Whether we can see it right now or not. We will be reunited. There will be a day when ALL is made right. And this life on earth will be a brief memory. With that reality of perfect reunion in the end and the reality of our pain flush against each other, we hope.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

New Hope's Retreat at Camp Frederick

It's not too late to sign up for the All New Hope Retreat. The retreat will take place from Saturday, August 1 to Sunday, August 2. It will be a great opportunity for all ages of New Hopers.

During that weekend, we'll have ONE COMBINED GATHERING on Sunday at 10.30am (no Saturday Gathering).

Here is a message from the camp's Director, Tom Breitlow regarding the camp:

A slice of heaven amidst your average town where the spirit of God is felt and lives are changed. Each summer hundreds of people walk the trails, partake in the activities and learn about who they are. Camp Frederick has always been a place for people of all kinds to come and be treated equally, a place where the weak are strengthened, the selfish are humbled, the lost find direction. A place so comfortable that kids are lining up to come back year after year. In many cases, some kids come from troubled homes and count down the days to when they can get back to Camp Frederick where they know they are cared for and treated with love and affection. It is a place where youth groups come to strengthen their friendships and grow in their spiritual journey. It is a place free of judgment where each and every child is given a chance to shine their light and be who they truly are.

Camp Frederick is a place where God's beauty and wonder can be physically seen, visible in its surroundings. In the trees as the wind rushes through the leaves, in the creeks as the water flows effortlessly by, and most importantly, God's beauty is visible in the spirit of the staff. Over the past ten years, one word has defined the spirituality, the atmosphere, the experience, and the way people are treated at Camp Frederick. Namaste is a South Asian word originating in India. In its simplest definition, it means I see God in you. This, however, is what the word is all about:

I honor the place in you in which God dwells
The place that is of love, of truth, of light, and of peace
When I am in that place in me, and you are in that place in you
We are one.

Namaste is used as a greeting in place of hello or goodbye as a constant reminder that we see God in each other. The Holy Spirit is one of the Holy Trinity as we understand God in our Lutheran tradition. Through our baptism we are given the Holy Spirit and recited during most Lutheran baptisms is this verse: Let your light so shine before others that they may see your good works and glorify your father in heaven. With the holy spirit, we are called to let the light of God shine through us. Camp Frederick is a place where kids are given the opportunity to see God in themselves, in others, and in their surroundings. When the staff looks at each other they see God's hands at work and they treat their campers with an undying love and respect because they see God in each child.

Namaste is more than a greeting, it is a way of life. It is a way of seeing our world, seeing the people we encounter each and every day. According to the Lutheran tradition, the Holy Spirit works through all of us, connects us all through God, unites us as one.

I see the God in you, Namaste.

Baptism 28 June 2009

Here are some photos of Erica Baun's baptism.

I love the baptisms at New Hope! We celebrate the difference God has made in our lives by making us NEW in him.

Erica's husband, Curt, was in the water with her.

Monday, July 6, 2009


This headline: Ethnic clashes kill 140, hurt 828 in China's west...

was immediately followed up with this headline: Transformers,' 'Ice Age 3' tie for No 1.

It struck me. At least the box office story didn't come first.

Please join me in praying for our brothers and sisters in China.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Back to normal...kind of

We got back from Canada yesterday. I have laundry to do, a fridge to clean out, clothes to put away, groceries to buy...I should be tackling the 'to do' list. It looms over me. I just can't seem to get out of my red chair. This is 'my chair.' It sits in my kitchen. It's been a good chair. I never thought of having a comfortable chair in the kitchen until this chair was displaced and I couldn't bring myself to part with it. This chair is home to me. It's where I sit to wake up in the morning. It's where I have my devotions. It's where I land when I arrive at home. It's where I pray. It's where I drink my coffee (hot & iced). It's where I fb. It's where I make lists. It's where I procrastinate. It's where I cry. It's where God often meets me. It's where I talk on the phone. It's where I read. I love my chair, just so you know:) Is that normal? Do most people have a 'place' they like to be? I guess it's probably pretty 'western' of me. If I lived in a place where comfortable chairs didn't exist, this would be a non-issue, right? Who knows? Random, I know...

At New Hope today we began to talk about the Lord's Prayer. I don't know about you, but for me it was a breath of fresh air. We talked about the first few lines.

"Our" says to me that God is not my pop machine. I don't just come to him and get MY needs met. "Our" includes all created things - the people I encountered at the rest stop yesterday - the beaver I watched all week at the lake. "Our"

"Father" - daddy. As comfortable and safe as my red chair. "Father"

"In the Heavens" - closer than my own breath, AWESOME, & in control. This Father is worthy of our dependance. "In the Heavens"

"Hallowed be Thy name" - help my to hallow You, to bring honor to your name. Help me to follow the way of Jesus. To love when it is hard/impossible to love. "Hallowed by Thy name"

What a privilege it is to dwell on these things.