Tidewind Holiday Schedule

Wanted you to be aware of some schedule changes as we approach the holidays:

Thursday, November 23: Thanksgiving Day, no Thursday Tidewind

Thursday, November 30: Tidewind Worship and Prayer
9:00 am to noon
6338 Hythe Road, Indianapolis

Friday, December 1: Christmas Worship Circle
7:00 to 9:00 pm
Message me at questions@tidewind.org for location/details

Thursday, December 7: Tidewind Christmas Worship
9:00 – 11:00 am
Message me at questions@tidewind.org for location/details

Friday, December 8: Christmas Worship Circle
7:00 to 9:00 pm
Message me at questions@tidewind.org for location/details

Tuesday, December 12: Worship at the Y
5:00 – 8:00 pm, Fishers YMCA
9012 E 126th St, Fishers

There will be no Thursday Tidewind from December 14 – January 4. We’ll start up Thursdays again at 9am on January 11 at 6338 Hythe Road, Indianapolis.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and Christmas!

 

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Excuses or Progress?

I have a friend who was in a serious car accident about a year and a half ago.  Injuries from the accident left him unable to work for quite awhile, so as the bills and the stress rose, the bank account progressively fell.  Fortunately, there was one provision that was available to him that could at least ease the pressure: an insurance settlement.  He submitted all the required paperwork and waited for one additional item: written proof from his doctor of his diagnosis and treatment.

The doctor, who works alone in a private medical practice, agreed to get him what he needed.  My friend waited.  And waited.  He contacted the doctor again.  “I’ll have it for you Tuesday.”  “I’m almost done.” “I just need a little more time.”  Weeks turned into many months but still nothing came from the doctor.

My friend continued to follow up and received regular email updates from the doctor.  These emails were paragraphs upon paragraphs long, detailing his own hardships, how he works long days, and how he is struggling with his own medical issues.  Often the doctor went into great (and uncomfortable to read) detail describing his various illnesses.  This situation has gone on for the better part of a year: long excuses, no progress or relief for my friend.  Everyone who hears the story comes to the same conclusion: “If he just spent half the time working on the medical records that he did writing up the excuses, he would have been done by now!”


Not long ago I went out for a long run and spent some time with God as I ran.  Often my time running is like an oasis for me as I can be alone with my thoughts and with the Lord.  But this particular day I was a little down.  I was thinking about times in my life when I felt incredibly close to the Lord, closer than I feel right now.  The thoughts were consuming: What changed?  Why am I not where I need to be?  What is wrong with me?  Will I ever really be transformed into the image of Christ?  My head was spinning and my heart was growing increasingly discouraged.

Then I remembered my friend’s story.  And in that moment, I felt like God was speaking to me: “If you spent half as much time and energy on your relationship with Me as you do complaining about why it’s not where you want it to be, you would be in a much different place!”  How gracious the Lord is to tell us what we really need!  That moment was a reminder to take “every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5)  I had a fresh opportunity to stop my thought in its tracks and dwell and the things that are “good and true and right.” (Philippians 4:8)

Perhaps you, like so many of us, wish you had a closer relationship with God.  You have heard that you should love Him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, but your life doesn’t seem to reflect that priority.  Maybe instead of feeling discouraged and spending time and energy lamenting what isn’t true, you can take that same time and energy to begin to cultivate the relationship with God that you long for.  You might be surprised by how quickly things begin to turn around!

The Hard Work of Being Still

I love the ocean.  I always have, ever since I was a boy growing up in Southern California.  My kids have often asked me about my favorite things: favorite color, favorite food, favorite character from Lost.  I never know how to answer them.  I like lots of colors, especially when there are many hues in close proximity, like a multicolored bouquet of flowers, or a view of the Grand Canyon at sunset.  And don’t get me started on food.  How on earth do you choose between lobster and tiramisu?  I’d rather have both.  Twice.  And do I really need a favorite character from Lost?

Not so with the ocean.  It’s easy to say that is my favorite place to be.  Our family spent some time in California last summer and I savored every second we were at the beach.  Anna and I spent hours boogie boarding.  Of course, she reminds me that she did it the longest since I “took a break” (the 5 minutes I went to check on Andorra and the others).  But that’s beside the point.

Version 2

One of the other things I like to do in the ocean is to simply stand, about chest deep in the water, and let the waves come at me.  I can feel them pushing, pulling, crashing against me.  There is something remarkably satisfying about standing still when everything around you is in motion.  Of course, it’s not easy to do.  I’ve been knocked over, pulled under, and had my respiratory system assaulted by salt water.  (Sometimes the best puns are unintended.)  It takes great effort to stand in the midst of the waves.

This morning I had a lot on  my mind and I thought of Psalm 46:10: “Be still and know that I am God.”  Being still seemed so elusive to me.  Today it wasn’t even stress.  I have good things to do, things in my life that I am genuinely excited about, things that bring me great joy.  But they are noise.  Waves.  They come at me from all directions and push and pull and threaten to knock me over.  And in the midst of the crashing waves, God invites me to stand.

So I took some time this morning – in spite of the voices demanding my attention, the waves knocking me off balance – to be still.  It wasn’t easy – it takes great effort to stand in the midst of the waves.  I stand, sway, stand, go under, stand, fall … it is hard work to leave the other voices behind for awhile and listen to the One whose voice really matters.  But there is something remarkably satisfying about standing still when everything around you is in motion.  It is hard work to be still, but it is unquestionably worth the effort.

 

Second Winter

I am coming to the end of my 23rd winter in Indiana. This Southern California boy still loves a warm sunny day but I have come to appreciate all of the seasons … even if I have to shiver part of the time.

Indiana weather can be somewhat unpredictable. Winter might be icy, snowy, temperate, or frigid, but I’ve noticed a pattern that has seemed to be consistent every year. After some indeterminate amount of time (usually around January 2), people get weary of the cold and long for spring. Sometime in March the temperatures begin to rise. People get a skip in their step. My news feed fills up with crocus pictures. Conversations are buzzing with “Spring is finally here!!”

That lasts about two weeks. Then comes “Second Winter”. The temperatures drop. The snowflakes fall. The windshields whiten. The flowers fade. And every year (mind you I am saying every year) the complaints abound. “Would spring just get here already?” “Why is it cold in late March? It’s supposed to be spring!” “Winter is never going to end!”

The first few times I experienced Second Winter I felt depressed. I missed my warm sunny days. My heart was so ready for spring. Having it for a moment only to lose it again was devastating.

Doesn’t that happen a lot in life? A season of trial seems to be coming to an end, but … The incision is almost healed when you sustain another injury… The credit card is almost paid off when the sump pump fails… You get a raise around the same time your spouse loses his or her job. The long awaited reprieve is short-lived.

In those days we don’t have a guarantee the circumstances will change or that life will get easier. Our confidence lies in the character of the One who made the seasons, who put the stars in space, and who holds us in the palm of His hand.

This I recall to my mind, 
Therefore I have hope.
The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I have hope in Him.”
The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,
To the person who seeks Him.
It is good that he waits silently
For the salvation of the Lord.

— Lamentations 3:21-26

Lamentations 3 (full chapter) on Biblegateway.com

 

Eventually spring does come to Indiana. After a week or two of Second Winter’s “refreeze” the weather warms up, the flowers begin to bloom again, the complaints fade away (at least until summer), and the wondering ceases. Spring has arrived! It usually just takes a little longer than we think.

Yesterday I was talking with a friend who was lamenting the cold. I said, “The great thing about the refreeze is that you know spring is really right around the corner now.”

Spring is on the way …

… It may be the spring of a physical reprieve from the trials we are facing
… It may be the spring that thaws the winter in our hearts and restores hope
… It may be the spring that arrives when we see Him face to face
… It may be all of the above

But rest assured, spring IS on the way.

 

 

Replenish

Psalm 23:1-3:
The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

They almost slipped out of the room unnoticed. We had just finished an evening of worship and I was catching up with a friend when I saw them walking out. Dear friends, normally the ones to come up and give me a hug and a shower of encouragement, were leaving. I excused myself from my conversation and went to say goodbye to them.

“Are you doing OK?” I asked.

“No…” and the tears came. The last several months have been long and wearying for my friends. Personal challenges, changing family dynamics, and financial hardships are just a few of the things that have left them physically and emotionally exhausted.

I invited them to come back in so we could pray for them. I asked God to do a deep work to replenish those areas in their lives that are dry and parched.

When I think of “replenishing”, I picture the deep watering of a garden where the water soaks in and saturates the dry soil. It might seem that this sort of watering is an attempt to make up for neglecting to take care of the garden. However, a Google search for “watering plants” pulls up a number of articles that indicate that it is better to water more mature plants infrequently but deeply because doing so encourages the roots to grow deeper.

Is it possible that sometimes God allows us to go through difficulty for the same reason? That He may allow us to wait in our thirst before giving us something to drink? I think it is likely, because doing so encourages our roots to grow deeper.  I suspect that my friends, whose spiritual roots are already so deep, are being strengthened further and gaining even greater capacity to know and serve the Lord.

As human beings, we always need water. In fact, most of us do not drink enough, and whether we feel thirsty or not, we need a constant supply.  But when we feel thirsty, we KNOW we need water and we go after it.  Our thirst doesn’t create our need for water; our thirst exposes our need.

I am glad that I serve a God who leads me to the water at just the right time and restores – replenishes – my soul.

Absolutely Absolute

My friend Cathy Howie said well something that has been stirring in my mind and heart for awhile. Enjoy the read (and check out some of her other posts as well!)

worship devo

Absolutely_nothing

Always. Never. None. Every.

Absolutes are never true– except that is an absolute.

And except for God.

He is all love and complete forgiveness. He never fails and is the source of endless hope. Everything we have and are is because of Him. Nothing I have is because of my own goodness, intelligence, or talent– it’s all because of Him.

He is absolutely absolute in every way. (Is that redundant? If so, I think it’s OK in this case.)

Recently, my Facebook newsfeed has been barraged with whiny posts about worship– why we should or shouldn’t do something during worship; what a horrible state church worship is in; and if we will only do these 4 (or 6 or 10) things, worship will be saved. All of them have one thing in common: if my personal preference is met, we will be able to worship God.

Really? There is something…

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