What uncommon things do we want to become common?

Things like:
our children having mutual love and respect for each other.
our teenage children having love, honor, respect and obedience for their parents.
us continually becoming better friends and lovers.
our family totally trusting God in all things and putting our faith in Him to fulfill his promises.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Hysterical Strength

By Creg

Did you see the part in The Incredibles where Mr. Incredible lifts a car to save someone? I know it's animation but that scene could really happen. I don't mean that someone could look like Mr. Incredible. A 64 inch chest and a 29 inch waste can't happen, but the car lifting thing could.

A recent article in Sports Illustrated told about Rhiannon Hull & her 6 year old son Julian. They were swimming near the beach in Costa Rica on a particular day that would have the greatest changes in tidal waves of the season. It would be very easy to get very deep very quickly. In all likelihood Rhiannon and Julian stepped off a sandy ledge and were swept by the current into open water. In roughly the time it takes to read this sentence, a day at the beach had turned into the ultimate test of endurance. For the next half hour, Rhiannon would fight not just for her life but for Julian's as well. At 5'2" and 100 pounds she had been able to shoulder-press her 45 pound son to get some surfers' attention while treading water. Hysterical strength. As the surfers approached, Rhiannon seemed to shove Julian forward. Julian would recall feeling her hand, under the water, on his foot. One rescuer reached out and snatched Julian. He turned and placed the boy on his surfboard. Julian is safe. They were less than 10 feet away from her, but in the time it took the rescuer to turn back around, Rhiannon had breathed her last breath and vanished into the sea.

You might have heard stories like the one about Nick Harris, the 5'7" 185 pound Kansas man who in 2009 lifted a Mercury sedan off a pinned six-year-old neighbor. Or the one about Lydia Angyiou from northern Quebec, 5 feet tall and 90 pounds, who in '06 wrestled a 700 pound polar bear long enough for her son to escape to safety.

As a group of South African sports scientists recently wrote, "An unusual feature of humans is their ability to produce extraordinary feats of strength (hysterical strength) or inconceivable performances of endurance when the only alternative is to face death." These superhero exploits, the scientists concluded, are the result of the human brain's forcing the body to keep much of its muscle power in reserve unless the power is required to preserve life. The data suggest that our brains ensure that we can never perform our best until the stakes are dire.

Because of the risk of injury or exhaustion, the brain usually does not allow all or even nearly all the body's power or endurance to be used without that life-threatening danger. After lifting the Mercury, Mr. Harris tried to repeat the performance later the same day, he couldn’t. But that one time, with life on the line, "somehow, adrenaline, hand of God, whatever you want to call it-I don't know how I did it," Harris said.

Amazed at the human body? Now think spiritual for a moment. If God put in that strength mechanism for out physical bodies, just think what He has done for our spiritual lives! When Jesus tells us how to live through His teachings, He's not saying, "Here's the instructions, best of luck. Hope you get your life put back together." When Jesus speaks He empowers. The presence & power of the Holy Spirit enables us to live the kingdom life that Jesus invites us into.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Authentic Worship

By Creg

I love reading the bible. I love studying the bible. I love going to bible class. We have a great bible teacher. But Wednesday was the best bible class I've ever been to and we didn't even open the bible!

For several weeks we've opened class with the question, "Where have you seen the Good News at work this week?" There have been a growing number of people who have told their story the last few weeks, but this time it took up the whole class as people gave one testimony after another for 45 minutes. Toward the end of class Heather said how glad she was to be here because she hadn't seen any good news that week and to hear everyone's story really uplifted her. Then Brandon said he saw the good news in Heather because of how she and her husband had dealt with a certain situation. That's God working through the body of Christ.

Tonight we had some powerful words about how we too often try to impress God with our spiritual lives. We just have to try harder (pray longer, give more...) to be in good standing with God. That line of thinking then produces guilt when we don't do those things. The lesson Damon gave reminded us that our relationship with God is based on Jesus, not on us. The communion talk that followed the sermon was given by Laura who proceeded to show us a page full of notes she was going to impress us with. As she wadded up the paper she said, "I'm not giving that talk because it was all about me. I'm exhibit A from Damon's sermon. So let's make this time about God. Someone tell me how they have seen God working." One by one people started giving emotional testimonies.

Church ran 30 minutes long and no one cared. It was as if we were all on the edge of our seats waiting in anticipation of what God was going to do next.

I can't wait to see what happens next week.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Breakfast for 300!

By Creg

Istre in the Making is in big business!

Our happy hardworking helpful crew of 8 has just finished our first big catering job. We've done jobs for 15 people before, but nothing like this. We have a friend who is on the board of a non-profit group in town and they were having their annual fundraiser at the 1st Baptist Church. She had hired us to do some small jobs before so she asked if we were up to the challenge. Her group had previously used another facility that insisted on using their own caterers, but now they wanted to cut down on costs, so she asked us if we could do it better & cheaper. After a big gulp we did some mental math, figured out how much money we could make and said, "Sure!"

Chelsa did a great job planning the menu, organizing the meal, teaching the kids their jobs and delegating work for everyone, including Granny Kay and Pa King. We served sausage bread ring, apple bread, fruit yogurt with homemade granola and orange juice. We spent several days baking and preparing what we could in advance and despite a couple of broken jars, dropped eggs, and spilled oil a good time was had by all.

That morning we got up at 5:00, fed our animals, and headed to the Hillcrest kitchen for final preparations where we sliced bread and loaded the contents of several refrigerators into the Yukon. We arrived at the church at 6:00 and started setting the food and drinks on 32 tables that each sat 9 people. We were supposed to be done by 7:30 and at 7:00 guests started to arrive. All we needed to finish was passing out drinks; orange juice and water for every place. As I was carrying trays with 40 cups of water, dodging people and trying to anticipate what handshake was coming next, the kids were busily distributing the drinks to their places.

It's 7:21 and the last cup is down, we made it! Now to the kitchen to wash up.