Monday, November 05, 2007

This week at Cedarbrook

I was talking to Byron Anderson over coffee about how the chancelor at Stout will often email about conversations he's had with people around about Stout. Byron said it was always interesting to "listen in" on his musings. I thought I could do a bit of the same to put some faces on all that goes on around Cedarbrook...

Speaking of Byron, did you see the "Building 127" table that he and Judy Abel had out on Sunday? Byron came up with a unique way to communicate to us all the status of paying off the church land. Using a LEGO platform, we will put a "brick" on the platform for every $100 invested until the platform is covered. How many bricks is that? 1370 (representing $137,000). The table will be up for the two months for you to check out.

I enjoyed the pizza served at the Welcome Team's luncheon on Sunday. I so appreciate how Diane Sinz, Sarah Anderson and Diane Kistner work with about 25 others to welcome people on Sunday, inform them of where everything is and help them find the best possible seat! A great service starts with a great welcome!

Betsy Wolbert invited a number of people over to her house on Thursday to discuss how we can decorate on Sunday's to supplement each sermon. Patti Irwin, Sandy Buckner, Larry Froseth and Kelly Pember were there to help brainstorm as I layed out my upcoming sermon series. (I also got a couple kitchen remodeling tips on my way out the door!)

It's been great to have Andre Oldberg back singing with the band now and then when he and Krista drive back from Medford. Andre was back in town to do some turkey hunting with the Cormican's. But he also tells me that he and Krista are having some serious Cedarbrook withdrawals and like the excuse to come back for a CB style church service.

Christine Ruth was off preaching at her kid brother's church in St. Paul (Substance Church) on Sunday. Peter started the church two years ago from scratch on the University of Minnesota - St. Paul campus and they are already drawing 800 people! From what I heard, Christine had a great time with the very young and lively crowd but a little weary after three services of preaching!

I dropped in on Christine's "Crossway Bible Class" a couple Tuesday's ago at the Cedarbrook Center. She has quite the crowd of eager Bible students engaged in discussion...too many to mention (40). I loved seeing her passion for the Old Testament and the way everyone was so quick to comment or ask questions.

Last night Lisa and I enjoyed mentoring a group of parents at the Parenting Club and now tonight I'm off to visit my old small group that I started and turned over to Swen and Nancy Erickson. Sounds like it is still a lively group. One of the members was just telling me that the group has started to serve people in North Menomonie who they hear have pressing needs (bringing meals, etc.). That was great to hear!

Well, that's just a bit of the life that I'm seeing around here this week...

Here's a video for you ...a spoof on the IBM/Apple ads...remy

Undignified Love

The parable of the Lost Sons (Prodigal Son) is a challenge to anyone looking to learn about a "safe" way to love. Forget about boundaries, God's love for us is the "risk it all" kind that takes no thought for Himself.

What struck me about this story - something I had never seen before - was that the father in the story ran to his son, not just because he missed him so much but because he wanted to protect him from the abuse of the villagers. The villagers would undoubtedly have taken up the offense for the father and would be quick to meet the boy at the city gate to discourage him from returning. It's amazing, isn't it, how unkind and vengeful religious people can be. Maybe you've been on the receiving end of this kind of hatred.

But the father beat his way through the crowd and made it to his son before they did, saving him from the humiliation and the shame. The father didn't care what people thought of him. He wasn't looking to preserve his reputation. His only concern was the welfare of the son. What a picture of God's protective love for us. And isn't that what we see in Jesus bearing the shame of our sin on the cross? No mere mortal could have ever conceived of a god like this!
It's worth some time to consider how we might be like that village crowd with the "sinners" in our midst. And it's worth some time to see how we might be more like the father by embracing them, welcoming them back into the faith community and even giving them the "seat of honor" at our banquets.

(By the way, the audio file won't be uploaded until the end of this week but the text file is ready to go.)