Mr. Standfast

"Nothing taken for granted; everything received with gratitude; everything passed on with grace." G. K. Chesterton

July 12, 2004

Let Me Tell You about My Weekend

First of all, on Saturday night, there was the 4th annual New England Christian Arts Festival. This was at our church, and it was very cool. All kinds of artists--painters, poets, dancers, musicians--gathered to display their work. It was inspiring to see the many ways people have to express their love of the Lord. One of the highlights was Stephanie Powell's In the Spirit Dance Ministry. For the first time I saw dance as a powerful expression of worship. I mean, I’ve known in theory that it could be, but this was the first time I’ve really recognized it. It was powerful. It was anointed (and that’s a word I don’t just toss around randomly). I’m telling you, "there was a sweet aroma in the sanctuary" on Saturday night.

Alright. Then there was Sunday morning. Juan Rojas, who is a pastor in the Basque region of Spain, gave the message at church. Our church is part of the International Association of Missions, (IAM, for short), which is planting churches in Spain, and Juan’s church is one of those. His message was so much in line with what I've been blogging about lately, I thought I'd share it with you. By the way, Juan speaks no English, so we heard this message through a translator. Juan told this story:

Once a daughter went to her father and said, "Dad, why is it that, as soon as I seem to get over one trial in my life, another one begins? How come God doesn’t make the path smooth?"

The father answered by taking her into the kitchen and doing a little demonstration. He put three pots of water on the stove, and started them boiling. Into one of these he dropped a carrot, into the second an egg, and into the third, a scoop of coffee grounds. "Take note," he said, "that each of these things, the carrot, the egg, and the coffee, is going to endure the same trial."

After twenty minutes or so, he pulled the carrot out of the water. "Look at this carrot," he said. "When it went into the water, it was hard. Like some people. But now that it's gone through the trial, it's so soft it falls apart in your hand.

"Next, take the egg. When it went into the water it was fragile. Like some people. The slightest pressure could break it. But now that it's come through the trial, it's become hardened.

"But the coffee! Take note of the coffee. Before it went into the water, it had a pleasing but faint aroma. But now that it's gone through the trial, the aroma fills the house and gives pleasure to everyone nearby."

Of course you see the message here. The Father does not take us over the hard times, but through them, and for a purpose. When we come out the other side, we give off the aroma of Christ. That's how even our hard times can work for good, and only God, of course, can make it so.

Finally, on Sunday evening, I went to another Vineyard church and heard Tri Robinson preach. He's the pastor of the Boise Vineyard. This was just a great time of fellowship between several area churches.

Oh, and one more thing: Phil Strout, who has played a significant role in my personal spiritual journey--he was the pastor whose preaching really rescued me when I was drowning--has written a book. It's called God's Relentless Pursuit. I bought it yesterday at church and even got it autographed!

And that's it. That's what I did on my weekend. How 'bout you?


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