Saturday, June 19, 2010

Caninical Compassion

My wife and oldest daughter left today on a missions trip to El Salvador. They are going to love people and share the gospel in the little city of La Libertad. Its a win-win deal. The people of La Libertad win by hearing the gospel, and my wife, daughter and tripmates going win as they will grow in Christlikeness as they directly obey Jesus' words to make disciples of all nations.

But it doesn't feel like a win right now for my youngest daughter who already misses her mother like crazy. Tonight she came over and put her head on my shoulder, then my lap, tears flowing freely. I put my arm around her gave her a squeeze and said something that was intended to be soothing. It didn't work.

Next thing we both knew, our Chocolate Lab, Gideon, got up and snuggled up close to her, nuzzling her leg to somehow get closer. In distinct Labrador dialect he communicated "I sense your sadness and I just want to be close to you." Drawn by his compassion, my daughter slid down from the couch and he nestled his chin right on her leg. We couldn't resist getting a picture. This wasn't the first time Gideon sensed sadness or pain or sorrow from one of our family members and I marveled at yet another example of our dog's inate sense of compassion.

I've been resisting for a long time blogging about my wonder dog Gideon but today I just can't stand it any longer. Now that I've set a precedent, I'm sure more is to come in future blogs. In the meantime, I got thinking how much I talk about wanting to be more like Christ, maybe I should start by just trying to be more like my dog.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Marrriage Rhythm

A very cool thing happened Sunday that I just had to blog about. As I was wrapping up the sermon from Mark 10:15, I asked if anyone would like to surrender their life to Christ. Numerous hands went up, two of which were a couple.

I thought to myself, “how cool is this, a man and his wife both surrendering their life to Christ in the same service, what a transformation that home is going to experience.” I couldn’t tell who went first, but it was definitely a decision they made together, husband and wife, to follow Jesus; isn’t that awesome! Later I thought about the only account I know of in the Bible where a couple both came to Christ, Priscilla and Aquila in Acts 18, and the incredible things that God did through that couple as they both surrendered their lives to Christ and served him as a couple.

Then as I was greeting people at the end, another couple came up to me and told me they had both raised their hands way in the back, but here’s the kicker: both of them had their heads bowed and neither one knew at the time that the other was raising their hand! The Holy Spirit was working in each of their hearts independently of each other; they responded in obedience to God, and to their surprise both of them came to Christ in the same moment!

I got thinking about that later. I believe the Holy Spirit is working in each of our lives as individuals but also (for those who are married,) as couples and I wonder how many times couples expect that, recognize that and cooperate with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of unity and He is seeking to unify us with the Father, the Son and with each other. If you are married, I invite you to ask God what is He doing in your marriage as a couple? What's your next step as a couple?

May we be open to everything the Holy Spirit wants to do in our own lives, in our marriages, in our families, in our church and in our world. When the Holy Spirit prompts us, may we respond in obedience. And may those who are married move in the rhythm of the Spirit in such a way that we experience increasing levels of unity as a couple.