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Tab 1
Following the Drivel

Don't Know Where You're Going, Only Know Just Where You've Been...


Wedding in Chicago. Camp in Auburn. Mission trip to Puerto Rico.

Come home to make ready for another year of grad skool, and the beginning of all the ministries in the Fall, plus begin planning camp for next year, my in-law's 50th anniversary celebration, and (hopefully) a 30th year class reunion.

I'm wiped. We leave Tuesday.
Respond to the Idiot

Blog Crashes

I don't really know what happened to my blog. It vanished from the server I use, and took all of the beautiful comments from all of you with it.
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Best Dream Ever...

You know those dreams that seem so real, bit while they are going on, a little part of your brain tells you,“This is a dream. Enjoy this dream. Let yourself get lost in this dream, because you are really going to have fun!”? Yeah. Had one of those last night.

Candace and I are at a state fair/theme park/some venue of sorts with the Little Ones (who, although they are the only ones with us, are actually little, like when Aidan & Michaela were in 7th & 8th grade). Everyone lis heading into an arena to watch some “presentation”, and Candace goes in with Saryn (reminder: Little Saryn, as in, being carried by mom little Saryn), but Ror seems to have become separated from the others. I ask a security dude if he has seen my boy. He is too busy enjoying the fly-bys from these unmarked aircraft to say anything of value except, “Dude! Are you seeing this!” Explosions begin occurring directly in front of us. I press him for the whereabouts of my son, and he provides a vague answer; either my son is in a place of relative safety, or he has just moved to the place of doom in front of us. Then, a suspicious humvee-like vehicle pulls up, and tries to force its way through the crowd, going in the (potential) direction of my missing son. I try to talk to the driver, but immediately sense that this is not a good guy to whom I am speaking. In fact, something is now terribly, obviously wrong with this driver and his vehicle (It’s a dream... work with me on this!). I pick up a sledge hammer, which just so happens to be conveniently leaning against the security post building, and pond its head through the rear window of the humvee. The driver looks up at me through the rear view mirror, and draws a side arm from its holster and begins shooting at me. Stray shots kill the security guard, and I manage to evade being in the direct line of fire.

And then it happened...
I extend my hands in that certain-sort-of-way, and ping-ping-ping!!! I have the forearm and gloves of an Iron Man suit on, and the repulser rays are charged and engaged. BAM! I blow a hole though the humvee and incapacitate the driver. More aircraft fly overhead, explosions detonate around us, people are now screaming, fully aware that this is not a part of the day’s entertainment. “I need the rest of it, NOW!” I announce to no one in particular (implying that the rest of the suit needs to be attaching itself to me ASAP).

“Do you have any cash in your wallet?” What? This is not part of the dream! This is my wife talking to me, as she readies to leave the house to run a 10k. “uh, yeah... check my wallet,” I respond groggily. Try as can, I am unable to return to the dream.

I didn’t even get to fly.
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What a week. That says it all, and says nothing. So much to say, so many inadequate words to use.

  • I got to dance with a Brown-Eyed Girl.
  • I watched my beautiful Bride dance with her oldest. It conjured up memories of watching them dance together in our apartment in Elk Rapids when he was an infant, and she looked as young then as she does now. She led the dance back then. It was good to see him lead his mother, my Beloved, at his wedding. The look in his eyes was all that I needed to see. She taught you how to love a woman, son. I hope your Bride appreciates that.
  • I saw my son lose his breath and weep with joy at the entrance of his own Bride. She was beautiful, beautiful INDEED! I saw the same look in his eyes that is in my own, each time I see his mother. I taught you that, son. I hope your Bride appreciates that.... Wait. It was The Lord who taught us that, son. She will appreciate that. Always.
  • I experienced watching my youngest represent his brother and his family well... Very well, indeed!
  • I danced with my wife... twice. We need to do this more often. We need to do this like we believe that dancing is a celebration of this beautiful life that we have been gifted with. The praxis and the axiology need to be in alignment.
  • That was some amazing food at the reception! Really, really good.

Looking forward to pictures of the Bride and Groom. I'll share when I get any.
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One More for the Journey...

She taught you how to dance before you could even walk. She would take you up in her arms and hum a soft tune for only your ears and hers to hear, and cheek to cheek you would both sway to the beat of each other’s hearts. For nine whole months she carried you in her womb as you learned her rhythm; the gift from God to two kids scared out of their minds with the task before them. The warmth of the household…

I taught you to laugh. It was clearly in you from the beginning, just waiting for an opportunity to burst forth. When it did, it sounded like a symphony of joy played in two strings. I will never forget the sound of your infant laughter. I will never forget how you used to run to me when I came home, your little feet padding away on the hardwood floor, while you urged the walker forward, oblivious to whatever obstacle that might be between us. When I would take you up in my arms, there was still plenty of dance left in you. We danced, too, you and me. The warmth of the household…

We were both there for your first steps, your first word, your first meal where you fed yourself. We have watched you grow in wisdom and in stature, and have been a part of almost every aspect of your life. We fueled your interest in music as we kept the cd player on in almost constant loop. When your interests turned to sports, we provided the opportunities and shared in the experience. When you encountered frustration, and were tempted to quit, we rallied around you and encouraged you to push through, preserver, and overcome the obstacle; it would make you a better man. The warmth of the household…

When you boarded the plane for Chicago to begin the quest for finding the college of your choice, we sent you out with a mix of pride and trepidation. We were proud that you were forging out with big plans to a big city all on your own. Our trepidation was for the same reasons that people thought we were crazy in allowing you to go by yourself.

Many times I wondered if I was doing it right, this parenting thing. You, like every other child ever born, did not come with an instruction book. But like most, I did the best I could. My mistakes were often quite obvious, and some of them have consequences still. For every time I said too much, there is a time I said too little. That delicate balance between instructing and micromanaging.

Now you have reached the time where I feel your heart has decided that you don’t need me anymore. I know this is just another stage in the parenting thing; but it is possibly the most difficult stage I have faced yet. Letting go of you, and realizing that you aren't coming back anytime soon. It brings me to tears every time I think about it.
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Working it Out...

Over last summer, my daughter was home from the university she attends in Chicago. It was the end of her freshman year, and it was exciting to talk with her about her different experiences, what she was learning, and the new opportunities she was engaged in while away from home. One such new opportunity was to be on the school's rowing team. Candace and I were pleasantly surprised. Aside from trying out the rowing machine (or, ergometer) at the local gym a few times before she left home for her freshman year, Michaela had never been involved in this type of activity before.

One afternoon, I asked my daughter if we could go to the gym together. My thoughts were that she could join me on the weight machines to get stronger for rowing, and I could join her on the rowing machine to learn how to use the ergometer. As an added blessing, I would grow closer to Michaela in our relationship, as we shared an experience that had become such a joyful part of her life. When we arrived at the gym, I was disappointed that she decided to forego the weights to spend forty minutes "erg-ing." At the conclusion of my weight lifting session, I sat down next to Michaela on the available ergometer and said, "Let's row!" After leading me through the basics on how the machine works and how to use it, we began a slow-paced workout together. Our pace quickened, with Michaela leading the way. This is easy! I thought, as I watched the numbers on the digital display climb, showing my calculated distance so far, my calories burned, and my strokes per minute. Matching Michaela's pace, I thought I was doing pretty well…

"Wanna race?" I asked. This was not a wise suggestion on my part.

"Sure," she said, with a slight cock of her eyebrow which indicated her amusement with the suggestion, as well as a mix of incredulousness.

She didn't even wait for me to say GO! The explosion of speed and power next to me was truly amazing. I found myself immediately behind, completely outclassed, and absolutely over my head. After two minutes, she was over fifty meters ahead. At the 4-minute mark, I was well over 100 meters behind. Five minutes found me seeing stars, through which I stubbornly pressed on for one more minute. At that point, I knew I needed to stop before I passed out or threw up… or both. Michaela continued to row on for another ten minutes, with a wisp of a smile on her face.

"Not too bad for a novice, Dad", she said, with, "... and an old man" finishing off her victory trash talk.

I didn't expect to win in my race with Michaela, but I didn't expect to perform so poorly, either. After I had physically recovered from my loss, I asked her why I had not done even a little better in the race. The answer, it seems, had little to do with the amount of work I was able to perform, and more about my posture. How I position myself on the machine and how I move my body affects my breathing, and it affects the quality of my output. If my posture is not right, then I can exert more energy and more time, and not really get anywhere. With poor posture, I run the risk of being present in the gym, but only going through the motions of a workout.

After we worked together to improve my posture, I found that I was able to accomplish more, have greater stamina, and enjoy the "work" aspect of the workout much more. And that got me thinking about my spiritual workout...

"Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose." (Philippians 2:13-13)

I was pleasantly surprised to find that the word used to name the rowing machine--the ergometer-- was the same root word in verse twelve of "working out." Michaela had coached me to understand that having proper posture was the key to my physical workout. As I continued with my rowing under her watchful eye, I could feel myself tending to a posture that was more within my body's comfort zone, and away from the posture that produced the kinds of results one should look for in rowing. Keeping good posture, it would seem, is difficult work in its own right.

There is spiritual truth to this concept as well. Those of us in full-time ministry understand that the ministry itself can be a lot of work. Certainly, ministry contains many rewards and joyful opportunities! But there are those times when our posture is not what it ought to be. We find ourselves busy in ministry, and not postured correctly. Busyness, sometimes, is our comfort zone. Helping others becomes our spiritual workout, and we neglect our own conditioning.

Rowing is a team sport. So is ministry. Our own spiritual posture before God is as important as the physical posture one must have on an ergometer, and on the open water as well. When we neglect our own workout… when we ignore our own posture… we adversely affect our ability to pull together with the team God has given us. When ministry is about "us", it ceases to be about HIM, and our posture is all out of whack.

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as working for the Lord, not for men…" (Colossians 3:23). Yep. There's that word again. Don't forget to spend time present in the spiritual gym, and erg-out with all of your heart.
Respond to the Idiot

Naked Three Year Olds...

On one summer evening almost 19 years ago, Candace and I sat on the floor of our bathroom watching our then two and three year old daughter and son engage in their evening bath. Although the day had been filled with joyful play, both of them found reason to celebrate another opportunity to laugh and squeal and enjoy the beauty of God’s creation. Aidan took the lead by teaching his sister how to propel her body back and forth along the length of the bathtub as though it was a great waterside, all the while forcing waves of water to cascade over the top of the tub and to the floor. Michaela followed suit, eyes wide, with her giggles grunting out of her with all the beauty of a young Lady Godiva.
Other games followed, more water was splashed, more squeals of laughter commenced, and more life was lived out in front of the eyes of my children’s parents. Candace and I smiled and rejoiced at the beauty before us, and the blessing of seeing two beautiful, unique individuals who came through us enjoying life unabashedly the way it was intended to be enjoyed... with joy.
As the prune-like wrinkles formed more deeply upon the fingertips of my children, we knew it was time to drain the tub and move toward the next step of the nightly ritual... Pajamas. As I opened the drain to the tub, our little ones savored each last drop of water and of time, slipping and sliding, this way and that, capitalizing upon each sud as though it might be the last the world would ever know. Splish! Splash! Squeal!
When the last drop of usable water was squeezed out of bath time fun, I lived Aidan out of the tub and wrapped him in a towel before placing him next to me to dry. I reached in for Michaela and turned to place her next to her brother, but he was no longer there. In his place, there was only an empty towel. I put Michaela down and stepped out of the bathroom just in time to see a glimpse of my son’s naked backside streaking down the hallway and out the front door to the yard, whooping and yelling in joyful triumph. As I gave chase, Michaela once again followed her brother’s lead, heading out the door behind me squealing and giggling her delight. Candace came out to the lawn to see the frolicking spectacle continue to unfold; her babies celebrating their nakedness without shame, without judgement, and with joyful innocence.
After we corralled them back into the house and cleaned them up once again, we completed the pre-bedtime rituals of pajamas and teeth, with giggles and mirth interlaced with the nightly routine. Because they shared a bedroom, Candace and I were able to tuck them in at the same time. A beautiful experience for a family to have together...
Afterward, Candace and I sat in the living room to watch some mindless television. We shared a few words about how fun the earlier events were to witness, and then Candace said something that would impact my relationship with God and my interpretation of certain passages of Scripture to this day, and for the rest of my life, to be sure.
Stay tuned....
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The Dog Days of Winter

I do not know what secrets were shared between my oldest daughter and our mongrel chocolate lab on the morning Michaela packed up and headed back to college, but it is clear to those of us who remain in Seattle that an understanding, of sorts, has been reached.  
During the winter break, Breve has enjoyed having her girl home from afar... When Michaela was gone from the house, our faithful friend would sit by the front door, watching for her return.  At night, she would camp outside of Michaela's bedroom until the morning sun rose behind the gray clouds, and then she would venture into the carpeted forbidden zone to coax and call Michaela to rise and play.  The young puppy seemed to return, and with her came all her toys, which she would get out and place in front of my daughter's door.  The dog-universe seemed to be back in order.
As I said at the beginning, I do not know the words the two exchanged, but they certainly took root.  When Michaela went away last Fall, Breve slunk down into a mini-depression of sorts.  She moped this way and that, only coming alive when her dish was rattled or a chance squirrel or neighborhood cat wandered into the yard. The two of them fit each other like a hand in a well-worn glove; warm and comfortable. After this goodbye, it seems she is content with the knowledge her girl has gone away for a few more months to chase her dreams and take her classes before they reunite again in the Spring, and Michaela returns to tell her stories of adventure in the heartland.
In the mean time, it seems I am Breve’s surrogate buddy. Her gentle brown eyes sparkle as she runs off to her pile of toys to select a game we can both play together. Today, she begged a tagalong ride as I delivered my younger daughter to ballet class. Window down, ears flapping, nose a’sniffing, she appeared to be in olfactory heaven. Upon returning home, she wagged her way to the front door and back to her rug; mission accomplished.
I wish I could communicate with Breve on a deeper level, and have words and ideas to go with her gentle expressions. Maybe we’d talk about another brown-eyed girl, and how much we love her...
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The Earth is the Lord's (Pt. 2)

The Apostle Paul (about 1000 years after David) spoke to the Roman Christians about the general consequences of the theological Fall of mankind. “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.” ~Romans 1:21-25

In short, in our rejection of God, we embraced everything else but God. Even our good deeds can become all about us or the good feelings we have when we help others, instead of being rooted in and centered around God, His goodness, His love, and our response ability. And yes, I believe we all have a response-ability wired into us... an ability to embrace or reject, to glorify God or ourselves...
Respond to the Idiot

The Earth is the Lord's and Everything in It...

I want to start by stating that the following comments I am about to make are absolutely non-scientific. Although I may borrow from terminology from the realms of science, I am in no way attempting to make a scientific claim, advance a particular theory, propose a hypothesis, or prove the existence of any thing, force, or Superior Being. Further, and for the record, I readily admit that my opinions are biased, and are rooted within a belief system that influences my approach to such topics as science. To all my science-minded friends: I applaud the work that you do, I appreciate the work that you do, and I admire your commitment to the scientific method, particularly, that of letting the facts speak for themselves without approaching them from a position of bias. You have one leg up on me. I admire you for your objectivity.

No, I do not wish to make any scientific claims. I plan to speak upon a subject that falls mores under the category of the arts. Science has nothing intrinsically to do with the arts, aside from the fact that the arts cannot exist outside of the impact of science. We create within the arts, but we cannot make things manifest which do not already exist. Ideas, nuances, genres, and inspiration all come from outside us. We merely mimic, duplicate, adjust or re-discover that which was already known.

Recently, I have been directing my senior high students to approach life from the direction of David, King of Israel, who wrote the following psalm, listed as the twenty-fourth in the book that bears the title Psalms.
0    Of David. A psalm.
1    The earth is the LORD’S, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it;
2 for he founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the waters.
3    Who may ascend the hill of the LORD?
Who may stand in his holy place?
4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not lift up his soul to an idol
or swear by what is false.
5 He will receive blessing from the LORD
and vindication from God his Savior.
6 Such is the generation of those who seek him,
who seek your face, O God of Jacob.    Selah
7    Lift up your heads, O you gates;
be lifted up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
8 Who is this King of glory?
The LORD strong and mighty,
the LORD mighty in battle.
9 Lift up your heads, O you gates;
lift them up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
10 Who is he, this King of glory?
The LORD Almighty
he is the King of glory.    Selah

I’ve posted the entire psalm, so you all can keep me accountable to the text. I do not wish to take anything out of context. From this point on, I will only refer to verses 1 & 2, but you can look to the whole of what David wrote to see if my observations remain consistent.

That, quite possibly, was the longest disclaimer I have ever posted! :) On with my blog....

Tonight, I had the opportunity to cook dinner for the family. While I admit that there are times when form follows function, I generally look very forward to cooking for my family because it is an opportunity for me to co-create with the Creator of all things. It becomes an exercise in worship.... literally.

*For the sake of my brothers ands sisters out there that do not share my theological views/faith-based system of beliefs, I want you all to know that I am not taking this opportunity to wave a chicken in the air and chant incantations over the bar-b-cue.

Where was I...? Oh, yeah. The Earth is the Lord’s and everything in it. When I read everything, I take that word quite literally. For instance: The laptop upon which I am typing this blog may legally belong to the church at which I serve and am employed, but in a greater sense, it belongs to God Himself. Misusing my laptop is a sin against my employer on a lower level, and ultimately a sin against God, since He owns it all. And all this has what to do with food and cooking? Everything.

Every lip-smacking, tastebud tantalizing, olfactory arousing thing to do with God. Each ingredient belongs to God. Each and every thing in tonight’s dinner was supplied by God for my family’s sustenance and for His glory. When I make each recipe about me, I fall short of the mark of glorifying Him. When I get the attention for a particular recipe and do not acknowledge the One who first made all things (including my recipe itself), I enter the realm of egocentricity: It’s all about me and my accomplishments.

Taste is an olfactory sense for which I have limited scientific understanding. But, I grasp the idea that most things have a taste. In the culinary world, there are values placed upon freshness, region of origin, aging, the content of the soil’s nutrients, freshwater or saltwater, corn-fead, grass-fed, milk-fed, etc.... so many variables on the artist’s palate from which to choose, organize, and introduce together. And each one--each mouthwatering molecular miracle--each came by its flavor by design, and we artists do nothing more than discover the treasure from the Master Artist.

And then there is the variable of the cooking process! Fried, boiled, poached, steamed, grilled, sautéed, slow-roasted, over fire (charcoal, gas, propane, wood fire)... in cast iron, stainless, copper... on a cedar plank, or hanging in balance on a rotisserie... every seasoning, every seed bearing plant, every leaf, pod, flower, root.... each with its own fingerprint, essence and aroma, all brought together to make the food sing and dance on our tongues.

And even yet more wonder at it all! The tongue! “With it we praise our Lord and Father, and curse men who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be” (James 3:9-10). The tongue, with its abilities to taste and savor and distinguish and categorize and memorize the different sensations and stimuli it receives during the meal. Wonder, O wonder! Did the tongue evolve to taste, or did the tastes evolve to the tongue? To do so in tandem seems to insure the destruction of one at the satisfaction of the other! Could they have been made by design... to taste that way on purpose... to the Glory of God? His gift to us, that we turned back for worship upon ourselves?

What if? What if I approached every single situation and circumstance in my life with the same ferocity as I do my time of co-creating with The Creator when I enter the grocery store produce aisle or the open the fridge? What if...
  • I treated my wife like she belonged to God and was His special gift to me? Would that affect the way I loved her, took care of her, provided for her and held her?
  • I treated my bosses like they were put there by God to be over me... to teach me to strive for greater things, to work hard and honest, always striving to grow in my own character (completely independent of whether my bosses earned my respect or best work)?
  • I saw my children as a gift on loan, that the work and guidance I poured into them was not for my praise or feelings of worth or purpose, but because my desire was to honor God by being His hands and feet and heart, helping them to grow dependent upon no man for their worth (including themselves), but upon His value that was placed on them, knowing each hair on their heads, beautifully and wonderfully made?
  • My attitude of the Earth belonging to the Lord, and everything in it took over my very being, and I began to see things the way He sees them, and not the materialistic way my culture/politics/media wishes me to see things?

Then I would become a different man, indeed... Joyful always, praying continually, giving thanks in all circumstances... perhaps that is God’s will for my life, if it is rooted in Christ Jesus.

Respond to the Idiot
Tab 2
Audible Blathering...
This is what it sounds like when they let me preach.
  • Click the mp3 player to listen.
  • The text I am using is provided for your convenience. I often reference other places, so you might want to have an NIV (1984) version of the Bible available.
  • Feel free to send me a response/criticism/critique/insult via email.
  • To download the sermon for your mp3 player, go here.
Ready, Set, Transform!
July 6, 2014
Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
   17 Since you call on a Father who judges each man’s work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear. 18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. 21 Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.
   22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart. 23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. 24 For,
  “All men are like grass,
and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall,
25 but the word of the Lord stands forever.”
And this is the word that was preached to you.

1 Peter 1:13-25

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Ready, Set, Transform
A Bit Revealing
June 1, 2014

Philippians 6:1-4

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A Bit Revealing
On the Road
April 27, 2014

Luke 24

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On the Road
Rules for the Road
September 1, 2013

Ephesians 6:1-4

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Rules for the Road
Kids, Dads & The Father
June 2, 2013
Children are innocent and love justice, while most adults are wicked and prefer mercy.
G.K. Chesterton

6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— 3 “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”

4 Fathers,do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

Ephesians 6:1-4

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Kids, Dads & The Father
Plugged In, Powered Up
March 24, 2013
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
Jesus, The Gospel of John 15:5-8

4:1    As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

4:7   But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.

Ephesians 4:1-7

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Ephesians 4:1-7
Defending the Gates
September 23, 2012
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
Ephesians 6:10-18

3:1    Eliashib the high priest and his fellow priests went to work and rebuilt the Sheep Gate. They dedicated it and set its doors in place, building as far as the Tower of the Hundred, which they dedicated, and as far as the Tower of Hananel. 2 The men of Jericho built the adjoining section, and Zaccur son of Imri built next to them.

3:3    The Fish Gate was rebuilt by the sons of Hassenaah. They laid its beams and put its doors and bolts and bars in place. 4 Meremoth son of Uriah, the son of Hakkoz, repaired the next section. Next to him Meshullam son of Berekiah, the son of Meshezabel, made repairs, and next to him Zadok son of Baana also made repairs. 5 The next section was repaired by the men of Tekoa, but their nobles would not put their shoulders to the work under their supervisors.

3:6    The Jeshanah Gate was repaired by Joiada son of Paseah and Meshullam son of Besodeiah. They laid its beams and put its doors and bolts and bars in place. 7 Next to them, repairs were made by men from Gibeon and Mizpah—Melatiah of Gibeon and Jadon of Meronoth—places under the authority of the governor of Trans-euphrates. 8 Uzziel son of Harhaiah, one of the goldsmiths, repaired the next section; and Hananiah, one of the perfume-makers, made repairs next to that. They restored Jerusalem as far as the Broad Wall. 9 Rephaiah son of Hur, ruler of a half-district of Jerusalem, repaired the next section. 10 Adjoining this, Jedaiah son of Harumaph made repairs opposite his house, and Hattush son of Hashabneiah made repairs next to him. 11 Malkijah son of Harim and Hasshub son of Pahath-moab repaired another section and the Tower of the Ovens. 12 Shallum son of Hallohesh, ruler of a half-district of Jerusalem, repaired the next section with the help of his daughters.

3:13    The Valley Gate was repaired by Hanun and the residents of Zanoah. They rebuilt it and put its doors and bolts and bars in place. They also repaired five hundred yards of the wall as far as the Dung Gate.

3:14    The Dung Gate was repaired by Malkijah son of Recab, ruler of the district of Beth Hakkerem. He rebuilt it and put its doors and bolts and bars in place.

3:15    The Fountain Gate was repaired by Shallun son of Col-hozeh, ruler of the district of Mizpah. He rebuilt it, roofing it over and putting its doors and bolts and bars in place. He also repaired the wall of the Pool of Siloam, by the King’s Garden, as far as the steps going down from the City of David. 16 Beyond him, Nehemiah son of Azbuk, ruler of a half-district of Beth Zur, made repairs up to a point opposite the tombs of David, as far as the artificial pool and the House of the Heroes.

3:17    Next to him, the repairs were made by the Levites under Rehum son of Bani. Beside him, Hashabiah, ruler of half the district of Keilah, carried out repairs for his district. 18 Next to him, the repairs were made by their countrymen under Binnui son of Henadad, ruler of the other half-district of Keilah. 19 Next to him, Ezer son of Jeshua, ruler of Mizpah, repaired another section, from a point facing the ascent to the armory as far as the angle. 20 Next to him, Baruch son of Zabbai zealously repaired another section, from the angle to the entrance of the house of Eliashib the high priest. 21 Next to him, Meremoth son of Uriah, the son of Hakkoz, repaired another section, from the entrance of Eliashib’s house to the end of it.

3:22    The repairs next to him were made by the priests from the surrounding region. 23 Beyond them, Benjamin and Hasshub made repairs in front of their house; and next to them, Azariah son of Maaseiah, the son of Ananiah, made repairs beside his house. 24 Next to him, Binnui son of Henadad repaired another section, from Azariah’s house to the angle and the corner, 25 and Palal son of Uzai worked opposite the angle and the tower projecting from the upper palace near the court of the guard. Next to him, Pedaiah son of Parosh 26 and the temple servants living on the hill of Ophel made repairs up to a point opposite the Water Gate toward the east and the projecting tower. 27 Next to them, the men of Tekoa repaired another section, from the great projecting tower to the wall of Ophel.

3:28    Above the Horse Gate, the priests made repairs, each in front of his own house. 29 Next to them, Zadok son of Immer made repairs opposite his house. Next to him, Shemaiah son of Shecaniah, the guard at the East Gate, made repairs. 30 Next to him, Hananiah son of Shelemiah, and Hanun, the sixth son of Zalaph, repaired another section. Next to them, Meshullam son of Berekiah made repairs opposite his living quarters. 31 Next to him, Malkijah, one of the goldsmiths, made repairs as far as the house of the temple servants and the merchants, opposite the Inspection Gate, and as far as the room above the corner; 32 and between the room above the corner and the Sheep Gate the goldsmiths and merchants made repairs.

Nehemiah, Chapter 3

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Nehemiah 3
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