Monday, October 28, 2013

Monday
October 26, 2013
Colorado Springs


THE JOLTS

I like to be in control.  I like it as smooth as possible.
I like to have it all charted into the future...all figured out.
I like to savor the predictable, function in the certain,
And celebrate that fact that it all worked out as I had planned.

And then comes "the wind of the Spirit"..."rushing, mighty, bewildering" puzzling...and the coming of the seemingly chaotic normative.  Our "boats" taking on water, the needs that cannot seemingly be met, the life-threatening challenges.  The jolts.

Stuff that forever changes life...
  health crisis
  job shifts
  unexpected downturns
  the face-off
  the spiritual attacks
  the failure
  the momentous changes.

Like the end of 9 1/2 wonderful months in Milford, Nebraska, we said "goodbye" and then went into the different "jolty"present.
Like the recent visit to some of our family in a central asian country and the jolts of exposure to a challenging culture and calling and sacrificial life.
 
And there is more.

During these times, life feels close to completely out of control...can't even find the control panel.

Where does my help come from?

What I am finding are not shock removers, or quick-fixers,
    but shock-absorbers, jolt-calmers, heart-stylers that help:

SO...here is a short list of essential jolt-calmers:

1.
 Relationship action:
 time with relationships, the kind that evidence the care and understanding.  Arms-around, hearts-around care that puts perspective and Jesus into the midst of it all.
  Wisdom: build strong relationships all the time...not just when "jolts" occur.

2.
 Soul action:
 Centering, quieting, meditating with upped frequency. The lingering place, the conversations with God and spouse.
  Wisdom: the bigger the "bump" the greater the soul need.

3.
 Heart action:
 Feeding, repenting and forgiving - keeping the heart-engine tuned up. "Bumps" in the road most often signal a need for roadwork - aka heart-work.
  Wisdom: God being sovereign, there is meaning about our lives to discover, regarding our "jolts."

"I'm not afraid when you walk at my side.
Your trusty shepherd's crook makes me feel secure."
       from Psalm 23 - The Message.

Walking through jolts.....with you.






Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Lela

We drove to see her and to help her celebrate her birthday.

Took her out to lunch at her favorite place where she ordered her usual - fried potatoes with onions, salted well, stiff coffee and a glass of orange juice.

She refused an arm to help stabilize her in the wintery weather, insisting that she can make it fine. No meds.  No pain killers.  Just a little hip weakness.

Lots of the conversation as we ate together - all five of us - was on the orphan train, a significant historical event in US history when many young children were shipped across the country to an unknown destination to try to survive, their parents of origin gone from their lives.  Lela was one of those orphans and remembers the trip well...in fact she "remembers things long ago better than today."

Back at the home, where she stays, she showed us around...one room, decorated by her in shades of violet was shown to us...the room she spends most of her time in.  She opened a box and there we saw pictures of the orphan train, and in some group shots, there she was, an infant, smiling bravely, heading into the unknown.

What has life been like for you Lela?  Her answers: "Jesus has been my closest friend. An orphan at the start and pretty alone at the end, but Jesus all the way. God takes care of His children."

I gaze at her gnarling fingers, the prominence of blood vessels - and I envy her wavy white hair! I  flush when she pats my face gently and instructs me.

And what is the best day you have had recently, Lela?  Her answer: "Today."

We say Goodbye with long, tender embrace. We all somehow sense this might be the last time...and the next time will be in eternity when it is a forever Hello.  And she has become a general in His heavenly host.

Lela is 99.

So, on my birthday, today, when I sometimes start to feel a bit old, Lela has a gift to give of hope and courage and endurance.  She is 32 years out front, going strong, and looking up.

Thanks Lela.

See you again - and forever.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

2012 in Review


2012 in Review

Greetings!

Our hearts are grateful to God for His blessings on our lives during this past year.  Health, provision, ministry, family strengths....it is all part of our journey in these last months.

Family additions:
Jack Thomas Yeackley (third child of Micah and Sarah) snuck in before the end of last year. Neely Therese Argue (sixth child of Brad and Amy) was born in March.  We were delighted too, when 16 year old Sophie joined Cami and Paul’s family just a few months ago. (And did we tell you that Jess and JJ are expecting their third?!)  
Shayla “added” a new job this year with Delta Airlines.  She’s looking forward to traveling as she finds the time. 
It has been a year of great family life...lots of skyping, praying and celebrating.

In September Jackie and I flew west and spent seven days with Peter and Judy (Dave’s sister) Rogerson at their home in Powell River, BC, Canada. The scenic wonder is still going off in our minds.  A very special time.

Ministry:
Till mid-June we were at Church at Briargate in northern Colorado Springs.  Then after a break we came back to Nebraska, to help the Milford church in transition. That is where we are as I write this to you.  Things are going well, and we will be here still for a number of months.
 These opportunities to assist churches are all unique, and both Jackie and I are finding our teamwork to be a source of great encouragement.  Along with all of this, coaching and counseling have also been in place.

Oh, and did we tell you how much fun it is to be back in eastern Nebraska?...seeing friends, eating Valentino’s pizza, getting in on Big Red action, living in small town rural America.  (Oops...and here comes winter.  Stay tuned.)

We are grateful for each day of strength, health and purpose.  We thank God and acknowledge from our hearts that “every good and perfect gift” is from Him.

In the months ahead Jess and JJ and family hope to move overseas.  If you feel the nudge, please pray God’s blessing to be upon them.  Thanks!

We trust that this season finds you in His presence often and every way that you can advancing His Kingdom.  

God bless you!  We love you!

David & Jackie Argue

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

God's will and adversity

It's been a long time since I blogged.


For all of you who have checked in over and over, I apologize.  The times have been hectic...with adjusting to Milford, helping our kids, watching our grandkids, having a blizzard of hospitality in our home, traveling the 520 miles back and forth to our place of ministry and much more.  It has been and is intense, but the Lord has been helping us.  Milford is doing well, making changes, growing, adjusting. Some real victories to celebrate.

I'll try to do better on keeping you posted...and every time I enter a blog, I will as well, inform you of it by Facebook.  Your readership and comments are special.  Thanks for your understanding.

Right now, we are in day 6 of a 9-day watching of Carson and Preslie for JJ and Jess who are in Istanbul, Turkey at a conference.  We are back in Colorado this week, and will travel back to Nebraska on Saturday.

My attention caught this morning in reviewing Acts with the question: how often did God's will get tempered by resistance? - i.e. how often did refocusing get brought about by the "insurmountable?"

Answer - 12 times between Acts 8 and 20 - I won't list them all, but you might try to find them in your own reading.  Here are just a few of what I found:
     1. 8:4ff - those who were scattered (resistance produced new locations) went about preaching
     2. 9:29ff - because of threats (to stay meant probable loss of life) they sent Paul off to Tarsus
     3. 12 - after Peter's rescue from imprisonment - "he departed to another place"

They stood strong in the face of resistance, but when a line was crossed, they also knew how to readjust and go to more receptive (and safer) places.

Wish I knew how this all worked, but it does give me pause to see that it did (even for the original apostles).

Bravado is not always proof of walking in God's will.  Sometimes, prudence and shifting is too.

Selah...from someone who is lots more at ease with what seems like prudence.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Terra firma - (solid earth)

Got a call from a high school friend I haven't seen or spoken to in over 40 years.  We now both live a continent away from where we did when we were high school friends.  Plus different countries, different life journeys, different ministry focuses.

But the same Lord, the same memories of the days of youth, the same life station now (stepping towards retirement) and the same spiritual passions.  And we both have Grandpa stories to share.

The call was a trip into the past....both joyful, and painful - especially when hearing about mutual buddies now gravely ill, or marriages in trouble.  It was deeply touching to have made the contact.  I could hardly express it to Jackie.  Life goes by quickly.

And then eternity.

Makes me reflect on what heaven may be like.  Some things we know for sure:"He will wipe away all tears." "We shall know as we have been known."  "We shall rule and reign with Him in the new heavens and new earth."   And "so we shall forever be with the Lord."

I use a bright orange (Berol Prismacolor pencil #917 - "streets of gold...:) - to mark verses in the Bible that speak of heaven, the future of those who have been faithful during this time on earth,  the blessings that await us.  There are vast numbers of verses....in most of the Bible.

This dimension of reality is as solid as the earth under our feet.

So....May each of us keep the big - the really BIG picture in focus.  May the things of earth "grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace."

Selah.


The next time I write, it will be from our 7th location of transitional  ministry, Milford, Nebraska.  Join me in praying for a wonderful outpouring of His presence and will.




Thursday, September 27, 2012

Indulgences

Still reading - and enjoying - MacCulloch's huge work: Christianity...the first 3000 years. (Penguin)

Fascinating snapshots of the development of faith and practice in the church.

For instance...on page 555 he links assumptions that, at the time (1200-1300), seemed to fit well:
      1. God demands action from a sinner to prove he has repented
      2. Christ's merits are infinite since he is part of the Godhead...and there are merits from the saints, and Mary that together, form a "treasury of merit."
      3. The pope would be criminal not to provide for the dispensing of those merits to those in need.
      4. Merits can be granted to the faithful (even the departed ones) to shorten their time in purgatory.
      5. That grant is an indulgence.  (The "earliest dated piece of English printing" is an indulgence -1476.)
      6. Lots of money was involved..."indulgences were as ubiquitous as the modern lottery ticket."

All of that changes when you see that assumption #1 is in itself wrong...along with lots of the others in this list.

God's demands for action have nothing to do with us proving we have repented....but we are called to a new life that demonstrates that we indeed have become new creatures in Christ.

We are forgiven freely by the sufficient work of Christ in death and resurrection, and on the basis of faith alone. That is the clear reading of His Word.  (Indeed, it was the practice of indulgences that put much fuel on Martin Luther's fire and brought on the Reformation and protestantism.)

Indulgences....are they still around? Yes.  In different form, yes.  In more primitive cultures, yes.  In our  "Christian" culture?  Yes.

It can happen when the Bible (in our daily, actual living) is less than the sufficient guide to faith and practice.

May we stand in faith entirely....and turn from that which lessens Christ's call to action in our lives.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Salt and light.

Jesus said:
"You are salt...you are light...so..shine before others, so they may see..."
  Matthew 5:13-16.

One of my grandsons is getting pretty salty...and pretty full of light.

His name, Carson.
Age 6.
First grade in a public school class of 25.
Teacher: Mrs.V.

Yesterday, Mrs. V phoned our daughter, Jess, at the end of the school day saying, "I need to let you know what happened today."

  With that, this story unfolded.

Mrs. V has a friend whose daughter was taken to a Denver hospital, and Mrs. V was asking the class to make greeting cards for her.

She gave them two requests:
 1. put your name on the card and
 2. put a "happy thought" on the card.

Before they did this work she asked them to share with everyone their happy thought.


And so, happy thoughts tumbled out into the room...trips to Disneyland, toys, and more....till they got to Carson.

He paused in thought, putting his fingers over his lips and then said: "My happy thought is I pray that she gets better."

When the happy thoughts were all shared,  Mrs. V then asked the children to go ahead and make their cards.  She then collected them and read them herself when the day was over...and discovered that all the children had written Carson's happy thought as theirs.

And so it was time to call Jess.  "Carson gets it." she said.  "And he is having a great impact on my class."

Salt and light.  Everyone needs it.  Even a six-year-old can be it.

Thanks Carson.  You've shown us how.