Great Floods

I lived near the Mississippi growing up and still remember the flood of ’93.  Today I took a bike ride to photograph some of the Rock River flood of ’08.  I know it isn’t quite as mind boggling as housing falling into the river (Wisconsin Dells) or entire towns underwater to their roofs (Mississippi flood of ’93), but I found the overabundance of water pretty amazing.  Especially since I now live just a few blocks from the river.

I wonder how Noah and his contemporaries felt as the water rose?  As we consider the destruction that has already occurred and consider the destruction that is still to come, we should consider God’s continual covenant relationship with us.  Over and over again God has been with us as we endured pain, suffering, loss and destruction.  Some people might need to curse and scream at God.  Fine. That can be healthy, look at Job who remains faithful to God despite all of his losses.  When we are rebuilding, however, we must also be thankful to God for the chance to start again.

Baptism is deeply connecting to creation and flood.  By the water washing over us we have symbolism of the water destroying our sins.  As we rise up out of the water we rise up to re-creation.  A new life begins.  Out of destruction can come new life and new opportunities.  We must stay hopeful for this in 2008.

Title Image: A young girl ponders the flood waters in Janesville.  Photo by Scott Carnes, Copyright 2008, All rights reserved.

Door-to-door 4 God

Nope, we’re not Jehovah’s Witnesses or anything, but last Sunday I sent my youth door-to-door.  We didn’t hand out anything, by the way, either.  We collected stuff.  We played a well-known youth game called “Bigger and Better.”  Each group got a paperclip and then went door-to-door.  At the first house they would say, “We’re from Cargill United Methodist Church and we are playing a game called bigger and better.  If we give you this paperclip would you help us with something “Bigger and Better?”

It was  lot of fun.  This kids came back with tons of stuff including: chairs, 2 microwaves, a bench, 2 car seats, hats, toys, a clock, lots of non-perishable food and over $30.00 in cash.  Not bad for a walk around the neighborhood.  We’re going to take the stuff we collected to Echo, the Salvation Army and the Hospital thrift shop.  We are also going to take the money we collected on our mission trip to St. Louis so that we can purchase classroom supplies for the Kingdom House (a social services outreach of the United Methodist Church for low income families which provides low-cost childcare and preschool).

What would happen if we all went door-to-door 4 God?  In this case we proclaimed the name of our church, acted out our faith, and challenged others to help us.  It doesn’t have to be difficult, but it is often uncomfortable to walk up to people in this day-and-age regarding faith issues.  If North American Christianity is to survive, though, we must learn to step out of our comfort zone and take part in world-changing and attitude-changing behavior.

Take a moment to think about how you might share your faith today. Might you invite a friend to church?  Could you challenge someone to do acts of kindness for others?  What would the church look like if we all began acting out our faith and unashamedly proclaimed our love of God?

Evangelism does not have to be “in-your-face,” but it is also not “just” doing Good Works.  Evangelism is different things at different times, but I believe that it can include: Sharing our faith story with individuals or groups, Helping others in the name of Christ, showing love in our daily lives with no expectation of reward or recognition.