Saturday, April 30, 2016

Into the Foam:

Michael Weiss and I had our annual play date last Tuesday.  We went down to Huntington Beach and rode bikes along the ocean.  We talked, shared, and prayed.  When the waves beside the pier called our names.  We answered.  As we swam past the first line of breakers Michael asked if I wanted to head for the outer break.  Sure was my automatic response.  Swimming warmed us up in the brisk 62 degree water.  We hit a mild rip current and gladly rode it out past the third line of breakers.  At one point a volunteer lifeguard paddled over to check on us.  He concluded that, "You guys look pretty comfortable out here" and caught a wave for shore.
After about an hour of swimming we headed in.  As we entered the foamy froth of the second line of waves it occurred to me this was tiring work.  The mild rip was no longer our friend.  What had whisked us out was hampering our progress coming in.  We rode some waves, swam, rode, and swam.  It occurred to me I was getting tired.  It is at this point when swimmers get into trouble by panicking.  My brain took over and told the rest of me to relax.  Take a break.  Chill out!  So I relaxed and floated until I caught my breath.  Then I pressed on for shore.

Our swim was a parable of my life right now.  The man who adopted me and gave me his name is in Glendale on hospice.  I have sat by his bed and told him how much I love him, and how much I appreciate him.  Watching him on his journey is reminding me of just how much I am like him.  As I write this, Karen is sitting behind me in a green recliner, with her broken leg freshly wrapped by the team who did her surgery yesterday.  Plates, screws, a pin, and six weeks of good behavior should have her on the road to a full recovery.

Then there is NorthPoint.  The goal is to move into the sanctuary for the beginning of our Hope series on May 15th.  Life Groups are forming.  Screens, lights, projectors, and fog machines are coming.  Walls will be painted, curtains are being hung, door hangers need to be hung, and all the recent visitors need to be welcomed.  Sprinklers are being repaired, tents are coming down, and speakers are going up.  My dear son has truly taken the "bull by the horns" and gathered a fantastic team of faithful Christ followers.  It is pure joy watching them dream dreams and see visions of NorthPoint's future.

My challenge is that when I am at church I think about Karen.  When I'm with Karen I think about my dad.  When I'm with my dad I think about church.  It is like fighting the foamy rip in the second break of waves.  My brain feels totally random and racing.  My flesh wants to submit to the natural tendency of freaking out, melting down, getting angry, lashing out, or giving up.  The right answer is to let the Spirit of God take over, and tell the mind and body to chill out, relax, float, trust, and breathe.  God knows exactly what is going on.  Nothing in my life is a surprise to him.  My wife has graciously released me to spend nights in Glendale with my mom.  My mom has graciously encouraged me to take care of my wife.  My son has so stepped up and taken leadership at NorthPoint that I feel like a spectator.

God is graciously giving me everything I need.  He has it handled.  All I need do is check my ego at the door, and receive the love, grace, and support others are pouring out.  My earthly family is a true family, and NorthPoint is a true spiritual family.  When family is working well in partnership with God there is care, love, support, and grace enough to carry you through anything.

I want to thank all of you who have given love and grace to Karen, Chris, and I on this journey.  I want to invite anyone else who feels "caught in the foamy froth of the second break of waves" to relax.  Connect with the NorthPoint family in Sunday Celebration, the Hope groups that are forming, and one on one mentoring when your ready to go deeper.  There really is power, love, grace, and mercy in the community of God's family.  Sometimes God allows our plate to become so full we must realize our need for Him, and one another.  When the foamy surf of life roughs us up it is time to relax and rest in the arms of God, family, friends, and our church fellowship.  There really is strength and hope for the journey of life.  I pray you all come and join me in the safety of this place.

With much love, appreciation, and heartfelt welcome to you all,
Pastor Paul

1 comment:

  1. Amen. I am so glad none of us have to go this journey alone.