Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Friendships: Do you have them? How did you get them?

In my earlier post about friendships, I postulated that putting someone in your debt was one way of initiating a friendship. Abigail from our small group, said that she thinks the most important component of lasting friendships is commitment. Read her post here.

Here's my response to her post. What do you think? Do you have meaningful frienships? How did you get them? Please enter the conversation.

You’re right on. Commitment is a two-way street though. It is something that has to be mutually agreed upon. No one is married to someone who does not want to be married.

I have been a part of groups of friends like this. Strangely it mirrors marriage more than one might think. There often has to be a “ceremony” at the beginning where the commitments are made and agreed upon. What are we going to commit to each other. There are hard times, struggles, highs and lows. The commitment has to be constantly renewed.

So what does this look like pragmatically? If there is a person that I would like to be friends with (not just say hello friends), then I have to ask for that persons friendship. If the offer is accepted, the commitment is made and the adventure begins. At what point should this offer be made? Difficult question. There should probably be a time of acquaintance. But then a decision is made, will this person be my friend or will we wane towards nothing. In relationship, there is no such thing as static. It should happen sooner than later though.

Monday, September 28, 2009

An Emotional Epic From Start To Finish

Yesterday we watched the Minnesota Vikings home opener. Ben is really into sports right now. Collecting cards. Playing football outside. Sporting his new Brett Favre t-shirt. He is also a pretty intense seven-year-old.

The game was a back and forth battle. About half way through the forth quarter, it looked like the Vikings were going to lose. I asked Ben, "Who do you think is going to win?" He started to cry. We talked about this and I said that he needed to not get so worked up about this. Caleb from the other side of the room parroted me and said, "Yeah, Ben. It's just a game."

But when Brett Favre threw a forty-some yard touchdown pass to win the game with two seconds left and my little boy, with tears streaming down his face ran and jumped in my arms, I could hardly stop myself from crying.


In the book we're reading right now for read aloud, the author talks about how in the Balangao culture friendships develop through service to each other. For instance, the Balangao people will often ask a friend to do something for them in order to put that person in their debt. This indebtedness develops relationships.

Our small group has been talking about going deeper into each other's lives. Yesterday Amanda wasn't able to go to church. I had to get the kids pulled together. Easy. Except Molly's hair. I did my best, which wasn't very good. On the way to church, I thought to myself, maybe if I see one of our friends from small group, I could ask for their help. Then all the thoughts of "Don't be a bother;" "It's no big deal;" "Don't make this all about yourself, Andy." As I was parking the car, I saw the D's coming in. I knew that God wanted me to risk it. Of course, T was completely gracious and even seemed excited to help. It gave us a connecting point and a chance to talk about life.

What do you think? Are the Balangao people on to something? Do you struggle with asking for help? Do you think that if you did, it would give people permission to ask you for help when they needed it?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Star Wars in Concert

One of the greatest sagas of all time. Some of the best movie music ever. A full symphony orchestra. One of the largest touring screens. STAR WARS in Concert!

Unfortunately it is not coming to Minneapolis. Maybe they'll extend the tour and the boys and I could check this out. Watch the video below to whet your appetite.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A few Molly favorites

A good reason to pray

"Answer me, O Lord, answer me, that this people may know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.”

1 Kings 18:37

Monday, September 21, 2009

Officially Minnesotans

We have lived in Minnesota for almost four years. As you can see from the picture above, I think it's official. The kids are Minnesotans.

Promised picture of Samuel

From September
Here's the promised picture of Samuel from a few weeks ago. We got to see him last night and the whole family seems to be doing great.

A Weekend of Celebration

From September

So much to celebrate! God has gifted me with 33 years of life. Saturday we celebrated Benjamin's seventh birthday. Tomorrow we will celebrate Matthew's forth. To celebrate all of these, yesterday we had a party of family and friends at our house. We were blessed by approximately 20 adults and 28 kids, mostly friends from church and our small group.

The kids played tug of war, we went to the park to play, ate chili, cake, pie, sat by a fire and generally enjoyed a wonderful evening. We were so thankful to God for the people we were celebrating and the the people with whom we celebrated. You can see the photos here.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Read Alouds--And the Word Came With Power

As a part of Ben and Caleb's home school curriculum this year, there are a number of read aloud books. The first one that we've tackled is "And the Word Came With Power" by Joanne Shetler. It is the story of how a young missionary woman goes with Wycliffe Bible Translators to the Philippines. So far it is a great story of how God provides for her many needs and works in the hearts of the Balangao people. The book is a well written, interesting account of the joys and difficulties of entering into another culture. You can read a little bit of the story at Wycliffe's site here.

Read Alouds--Caleb's Story

We finished our latest Patricia MacLachlan book, "Caleb's Story" a few weeks ago. It was another good one. In this chapter of the tale, the little brother Caleb takes over the journal writing and narrating. It is a story of forgiveness and redemption. It's a good father/son story as well.

The boys all love these stories. This was especially fun for our Caleb too. I believe there is one more left in this series. I think we need to hold off on that one though for a while. I'm glad though that we are off to a different world for our next read aloud.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Welcome Sam Dave

Samuel David Nagel was born this morning to Brad and Sarah. Here are the stats.

21 inches
9lbs 6oz
red hair like james
cute as a button

Big boy! Congratulations to Brad, Sarah and James. Amanda promises pictures after her visit this afternoon.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

All Ben Wants For Christmas

From September

Using Dave's floss trick, last night I got Ben's snaggle-tooth out. He did not want me to pull it. It was a good exercise in trust though. It was literally hanging there. He put it under his pillow and the Tooth Fair did pay him a visit. According to Amanda, the going rate for a tooth these days is a whopping $2.00. You want to talk about hyper-inflation!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Snaggle Tooth

One down. One to go.
From September

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A Wonderful Minnesota Day

From August
It's fair time again in Minnesota. On Monday, I took the day off and we all went out to the "Great Minnesota Get-together." It was a great day. The high was 72 degrees, the sun was out, the food was great and the company was even better. Copying Abraham, here is my list of things that I enjoyed.
  1. Riding the bus for free.
  2. Getting there early. We were there by about 8:45 AM. We beat the crowds and the temp was great.
  3. X Zone--Skateboarders from age 9 to professionals as well as BMX bikers put on a great show.
  4. The SkyGlide--This is a ski lift that goes out towards machinery hill. Great views and a lengthy ride. Our first year of doing this. We will be back.
  5. Car displays--I loved walking around to all of the different auto displays. Amanda, Shube and the kids took breaks while I meandered from display to display.
  6. The GIANT slide--I love doing this with the boys.
  7. The food.
Amanda said this morning that she wanted to go back. We can't wait until next year.
From August

Hymn of the Week--How Great Thou Art

My deepest memory of this hymn is how every summer at our church's summer camp, Donna Pollard would sing it at the Wednesday night service. The sun would be setting over the lake. Most of the people that I loved the most were around a circle of picnic tables. I was tired and dirty from one of the best weeks of the summer. It was not hard to wonder at how great God was. I love this hymn. It has taken us a while to get to it.

Hymn of the Week

How Great Thou Art
Words by Carl Gustaf Boberg
Music--Swedish Folk Song

O Lord my God, When I in awesome wonder,
Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made;
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!