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Beautiful Anna

Luke 2:36-38 (The Message)

36-38Anna the prophetess was also there, a daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher. She was by now a very old woman. She had been married seven years and a widow for eighty-four. She never left the Temple area, worshiping night and day with her fastings and prayers. At the very time Simeon was praying, she showed up, broke into an anthem of praise to God, and talked about the child to all who were waiting expectantly for the freeing of Jerusalem.

I love Anna and I love her story.

Born in the last quarter of a 400-year silence, her life – with all of it’s tears and tragedy – is wedged somewhere between Malachi and Matthew (a dark season if ever there was one.) In addition, she has the distinction of having been married just seven years before becoming a widow – not for 5 years or 10 years, but for 84 – for all the years she has left. The woman has so many reasons to give up or get mad, but she chooses a completely different plan. Instead of sitting around, soaking in the puddle of her circumstances, she runs to the House of the Lord for refuge…and it becomes her reason for living.

Day and night, night and day, Anna prays.
And worships.
And waits.

All that time in the presence of the invisible God positions her to recognize the flesh-and-blood-God the minute she sees Him. In fact, it seems like her spirit sees Him long before her aging eyes ever catch a glimpse, and as soon as the facts sink in, she’s telling the world about what she just found. I don’t think Anna would have traded her 84 years of aloneness for that one look at God.

There must be some seriously significant principles in this tiny little story, because rarely do I run into a life story that looks so sad and yet makes me so envious. I want to see God. I want to run to His House and find my hope there. I want to announce His arrival to a dying generation. I want to worship day and night, night and day, in the good and bad and dark and light and quiet and noisy seasons of my life. Such a lovely story.

Beautiful Anna.

January 14, 2008 - 6:16 pm

Cassie - such a lovely post! and 2 days in a row!

thanks for the insights Bo!

January 17, 2008 - 9:39 am

Yessica - You’re insight is awesome, God has blessed you with such a rad talent for thinking outside the box and presenting it in practical ways… so thanks for sharing your thoughts. They are stinking inspired without a doubt! I love reading your take on… everything.

February 10, 2008 - 10:04 pm

Cher - Bo,

This post made me cry…and also relate to your emotions of envy and sadness too. What an amazing woman and what an amazing example of LIFE!

Cher

March 5, 2008 - 5:45 am

helenw13 - I missed this one…lovely…truly lovely.

Lord we run to You…because no one else will do!

One by One

 

Luke 4:40-41 When the sun went down, everyone who had anyone sick with some ailment or other brought them to Him. One by one He placed his hands on them and healed them.

 

I love the words, “one by one”. Earlier in the chapter, Satan offers Jesus many ways to use and demonstrate His power and all of them involve some kind of mass-produced, impersonal result. Jesus refused to wield His power apart from relationship. He is focused on the needs of each individual and His relationship to them is critical to His “Lord of All” character. Clearly, He could have waved His arms and healed everyone and fixed everything, but He instead insisted upon demonstrating that He is the God of every person…not just the God of mankind. This awareness builds the groundwork upon which we construct our understanding of His most powerful act of all. As we watch Him take the long walk to the cross, we know that this is not just for “all people”, but for every person. It was for me. And Steve. And Josiah. And my neighbor, Berta.

 

One by one, He healed them all. One by one, He still does.

 

However, I wonder: when we serve the “one by one” God, why we so often work mostly to become like each other. He constantly demonstrated a passionate desire to maintain a real relationship with individuals…and yet we tend to model our lives after those around us, hoping that our friendship with Him will look just like their friendship with Him.

 

Someone told me recently that they absolutely would not read a certain translation of the Bible because their small group leader didn’t like it. Another person mentioned a specific philosophy that they had disregarded without evaluation because their mentor was not a fan. I understand following leaders. I get that we all need discipleship…in fact, I’m really passionate about that fact. I don’t, however, want to ever assume that as followers of Jesus we will all look, speak, pray or even believe exactly like one another.

 

The image of God – stamped on each one of us – allows for some really beautiful and startling diversity if we’ll truly get to know the one-by-one God.

January 9, 2008 - 1:28 am

Lorelei - I love this post, Bo. Joann just came over to visit me and she’s always been a friend to challenge me in this area which is so needed. My destiny is unlike any others and it’s going to take some different preparation from my ‘one-by-one’ God in order for me to walk in that destiny. Such a great and huge reminder and revleation. Thanks for that.

January 9, 2008 - 3:08 am

Jennifer - I agree as well. I think that, maybe, finding out who God has made me to be sometimes just seems too hard. Its a lot easier to just try to be like someone you look up to…I think it plays into the “microwaveable,” generation I am from that wants everything right now…no matter what the results are in the end. If you think of fast food, its faster, and usually feeds our craving for instant gratification, but in the end it clogs our arteries, gives us thunder-thighs, and decreases our quality of life.
At times, I have felt like I have to at least look put together as quickly as possible. So its easier to make a quick, cheap imitation of someone else, than to risk not knowing who I am at all.
But I too have come to the realization that this is no way to live. God did not give us any imitations! He gave us the best of everything He has, including His own image in each of us. He is too big of a God to be contained in any one person, so to avoid knowing myself as He created me is to avoid knowing the part of God He created me to reflect. And hands down, this has to be the longest comment in blog history! It means a lot to hear this from you Bo…Thanks!

January 9, 2008 - 6:29 am

Katie Scott - I just wanted you to know that I’m officially copyrighting everything you’ve written in this blog (yes including suckling pig) and I’m going to publish a best selling book with it. I just thought I should let you know…

Watch for Flying Time…

Tonight I landed on my blog through a link on someone else’s. That’s not – in itself – remarkable, but the journey to this post made me really nostalgic.

I saw Luke and Kristin’s beautiful engagement picture and so vividly remembered the day he talked with Steve & I in Steve’s office and asked our thoughts about him asking Kristin out for coffee. If I remember right, our answer was “Go for it!” but our real thoughts were, “Good luck!” cuz we didn’t really think that was gonna go anywhere. Now, they’re going to be married in 2 weeks and I just goes to show: we’re wrong a lot, and that’s why we often say, “Uh, yeah…give it a shot!” : )

I also ran into the blog of Caleb & Ashley Brown. Caleb put in a full year of weekly meetings with me – mostly because he found that girls were mad at him a lot. He talked to me about Ashley – one of my favorite girls EVER – before she even returned from Australia, as he stared lovingly at her picture on my fridge. I think with him, I actually said, “Uh, yeah…well, she’s WAY over your head, but go ahead and ask her!” And sure enough, it was good and God and they are serving Kingdom purpose in Kansas and are going to be a family of renown.

Brent and Virginia Earwicker. Jump with me into the wayback machine and travel to 19something – before Brent even had a drivers license. We met him and loved him immediately and wondered and prayed about the way he would someday change the world. Now – wow – look at him doing just that in Africa, alongside the incredible woman of God that he convinced to marry him. AND – can we all just imagine for a moment the level of cuteness and prophetically-gifted-musicianship their baby is going to possess upon arrival? Wow and wow again!

And I mosied through the blogosphere of one Samuel Spedick. Can I just say that this is my favorite boy in the “under 7” division? He’s just been so “him” from the moment he was born and I have a special and significant affection for him. So, I watched the video of his first steps and so clearly remembered the meetings that Jenni and I had when she and Chris were falling in love and the profound discoveries she was making as God led her through the process. And also – this one great road trip that we took with our friend, Russ Devos, and this heavily-pierced guy to see a Master’s Commission program in Olympia. Steve and I talked extensively about the qualities that we saw in Chris and how we hoped for young men exactly like him in Westside’s internship. Turns out, God totally answered our prayers with exactly a guy like Chris in our first year of CMC! Now, we see his wife and son and realize: his legacy is in full flight.

And I also remembered meeting Eric Parnell for the first time at Applebees…and Tara Jean at Red Robin…and Lindsay when she visited while she was still in high school and I thought, “that’s the cutest girl EVER.”…and Clif while HE was still in high school and was still deciding whether or not Jesus would really be worth it (and man, I admire his choice more than ANYTHING)….and Annalisa, when she tossed away her return ticket home and stayed to do CLC, even though she knew no one and it cost her just about everything.

These are the people that remind me that God is a generational God and what He does is for now and for tomorrow and for years to come. So it makes me wonder: who haven’t we met yet? What stories are yet to unfold? And who will be the children of the children of these people who’s lives I have watched grow and change and become?

I don’t know – but bottom line: I have just about the best job ever.

June 26, 2007 - 4:58 pm

Kristin Downs - did you land on your blog through OUR blog.. because that would make me quite happy and proud. (so if you didn’t, you should probably just lie to me and say that you did) ๐Ÿ™‚

June 27, 2007 - 1:38 am

Bo - I did! I did! Good job leading me right back to, um, ME. ๐Ÿ™‚

June 29, 2007 - 7:12 am

Cassie - hey bo…
i like your blog traveling story, because i am sitting here wondering how i came upon your blog!

You amaze me. That’s all i have to say.

Cassie Diacogiannis

July 13, 2007 - 1:41 am

Brandy - I like it when other peoples thoughts and writings make me think.. good stuff

August 15, 2007 - 1:55 am

Katie Scott - And then let’s talk about Lindsay and Eric…that deserves a blog all its own! ๐Ÿ™‚

Kill the Suckling Pig!

It’s been a long time, friends. My schedule pretty much swallowed my spring…but summer is here and I’m done speaking for a bit and I’m so excited to be with my kids and do some serious nothing! One plan that Katie and I have had for awhile is for a celebratory dinner when CLC is over. And not just any dinner will be worthy of such a victory…nope, our plan is to have a dinner of rotiserrie suckling pig at Merenda. We’ve taken a lot of criticism for this decision – mostly from my son-in-law – because it would seem that “suckling” mostly means “young” and Corey has very passionately expressed his resistance (I quote: “WE DON’T EAT BABIES!”) Whatever, it’s the closest thing to killing the fatted calf (also a baby, by the way, and even the Bible endorses it!) While we’ve been really excited about this idea for many looooong months…our plan has been foiled by another event on the same night (Merenda only cooks baby pigs on Fridays). So, we’re double booked for celebration and it won’t happen THIS Friday, but mark my words…it will happen. Our faith commands it.

June 8, 2007 - 11:44 am

Brent and Virginia Earwicker - Wow. Why didn’t we dream up this succulent bliss about a year ago? I feel cheated somehow…

June 9, 2007 - 5:27 pm

Katie Scott - Yes indeed!!! Suckling pig here we come!


Ah…family…the best gift of all! I decided to post Whit’s birthday picture and when I did, I ran into this one of Josiah which seemed worthy of inclusion as well. Happy Birthday, Whitney – you’re a treasure to us!