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Kingdom…come!

Here is a page from my journal from June 12. I wasn’t going to share this one, but this morning I felt like I was supposed to. It’s new and rough, but I’m not going to fix it up…it’s real in my heart “as is” and has been shaking up my little world in big ways.

This morning I woke up with a throbbing tooth. I have a lot to do today, it’s my day off and I just can’t get stopped by the silliness of a tooth hurting. For whatever reason, I just said, “stop!” And I knew in my heart – so, so clearly – that my tooth had to bend to the will of God. I just knew it.

It stopped. Totally just stopped hurting and became normal.

I know it’s just a tooth, but now my mind has been racing and tumbling over itself with concepts that I know in my head but don’t own in my heart. A few things that are tossing about today:

1) God and His kingdom originate outside our realm. Another dimension. All that I need comes from that place…not from this one. That place has authority over this one. Resources can be pulled from that place. Many things – indeed MOST things – in this place can be made to bend or bow to that one. And it’s often believer-activated. That’s why we’re here…to bring the power of His dimension into our tiny, little three-dimensional world.

2) Believers – especially in America – take Jesus “into their lives” rather than going into His. They add Him on like a faith-accessory but never tap into the life and power and provision that He actually has. Jesus came to show us HOW to do that…how to live like Him in a world locked inside its own weakness and fragile humanity. When we become Christ-followers, we access His strength and His resources can be lassoed and pulled down into our world. He showed us how. He held the lunch up to His father and essentially said, “This lunch needs to bend to Your will and Your will is to feed five thousand.”

3) We are aware of needing to bend our will to Him…but we don’t make anything else in our life bend. If my will to sin can be conformed – away from my old nature and into His new one – then so can my physical body or my finances or issues that the world is facing or my ability to pray and see results. Everything in my life can come under the authority of the kingdom of God. Everything.

4) The life we’re meant to live with God is FILLED with supernatural adventure…it’s meant to be bursting at the seams with the miraculous, but such a tiny fraction of Christians live in that. No wonder we’ve reduced it to a list of rules or a code or a club or a program. No wonder. It’s all we can figure out to do with the keys we’ve been given. If miracles don’t set us apart…we’ll find something else that does, something that requires less faith.

Hmmm. So many thoughts this morning. I believe that I am here to do the things that Jesus did. And so is Steve. And our kids. It shouldn’t be weird, it should be life. I think sometimes we’ve made mistakes in Christendom when we turn the miraculous into a crusade or a conference or a healing service….it separates it from real life. People come to watch it on a platform rather than immersing themselves in it or understanding that it ought to be abundantly active inside of them. It’s not supposed to be a circus trick…but ordinary, extraordinary life. If the world could see us – each one of us – living with power to heal the sick, raise the dead, multiply lunches and money and joy…that would be appealing. That would be Heaven-on-earth revival.

Teach me how to live and love and heal and pray and bless and dance in Your world.

Your Kingdom come. Please, come.

June 17, 2008 - 3:57 am

helenw13 - Sweet…sweet nectar from the vine…the True Vine…thanks for taking me into the sacred pages of the journal of your soul.

I join you in saying COME!

June 17, 2008 - 5:27 am

Ann Dunagan - Oh my! Bo, I think you put this on here just for me. We are at the place of some HUGE big-time needs – regarding hundreds of orphan kiddos and some huge needs — and I SO want God’s will and His kingdom to COME DOWN here and for us to be able to enter into – and to expand His world down here on here.

Thanks so much for sharing this.
I’m going to print it out and share it right now with both Christi and Jon.

I love you!
Ann

June 17, 2008 - 1:28 pm

cassie - although our dear friend Ann thinks this was just for her, i am fairly sure it was just for me!

still believing in miracles,
cassie

June 19, 2008 - 10:22 am

CI - awesome…so much to think about.

October 11, 2008 - 12:48 am

More than you ever wanted to know about…ME. « Bo Stern - […] Where do you want to be in 6 years? Here.  Loving my family, serving orphans and preaching the Kingdom. Where were you last night? Home, wonderful home. What you’re not? So many things.  Tall, tan, […]

Because I love you…

I’m giving you the link to my newest online addiction, Stuff Christians Like. I love how the author writes – and how he manages to shine light on the silliness we’ve created in the Churchdom (I know – spellcheck doesn’t feel Churchdom is a word, but that just means I’m an inventor!), while still being in love with the Kingdom. Enjoy!

Loving the weather, the sun, the sprinklers, the grill and LIFE,

Bo

June 18, 2008 - 7:34 am

Elisa - Is that LIFE the cereal that you are loving?

June 18, 2008 - 10:17 am

Jamie Schulz - Danny found Stuff Christians Like a while back and we have been laughing at it ever since!Did you read the eagles post? Hilarious! I like your new blog, by the way.

June 18, 2008 - 10:21 am

bolovesjoe - Elisa – I’m giving your comment the prayer grunt of affirmation and a Happy Funtime Vanilla O cookie. Have fun in Mexico!

Jamie – YAY! SO good to hear from you…please bring your new baby here so I can hold him! 🙂

Today

Don’t always be asking, “Where are the good old days?” Wise folks don’t ask questions like that. Ecclesiastes 7:10

I love when a tiny scripture rises up, shakes its fist and demands to be noticed. That’s what this one did to me. It’s so simple, but it just struck me how easy it is to get caught living somewhere other than today. It happens without even realizing it. For instance, our country is stuck right now in an endless cycle of constantly re-hashing how much gas used to cost, how much our homes used to be worth, how much we used to save at the grocery store and how easy it used to be to get a job. And it’s funny, because I don’t remember thinking of 2006 as a time of roaring prosperity. We just lived it then, and probably even complained about it, but we long for it now.

So, I was thinking: what about today? Is it as bad as we think? I mean, because really: if I believe that everything I have comes from Him, then I have to really BELIEVE it…all the time. That means that the $2 I paid for gas two years ago came from God. He was able to provide that for me out of His good treasure and that same God can also handle the $4. Or the $5. Or the unthinkable (which used to be $4!) Sometimes it feels almost wise to worry…but this scripture says “Nope. It’s wise to rest and enjoy the day.”

I don’t want to channel energy into wishing for the good old days. I want to seize this day and this moment and every opportunity to find Him faithful and strong and good. Because I’m ultimately convinced that this season of economic challenge is wildly outside the realm of my control, and yet still fits easily in the palm of His hand. And isn’t that just about the best news ever?

Carpe diem-ing,

Bo

June 15, 2008 - 5:01 pm

Ann Dunagan - Hello Dear Bo!

It’s so funny that your post today is about not just “wishing for the good ole days” because tonight I was missing YOU and our friendship from long ago . . . which is totally still with me!!!

Tori’s high school graduation picture is so fun. She’s beautiful, and oh, does she ever look like you. If the anointing and passion for God and fun attitude for life carries with the looks, she’s gotta be one amazing young woman.

As for the family?? Well, Jon and I are doing great! Patrick is now a 2nd leiutenant officer in the Marines. Josh turns 20 this week and is nearly done with ORU. Christi and I get to speak at this weekend’s Oregon homeschool convention and then we head to Africa. Daniel has long crazy-curly hair and hopes to get his licence in August. And Mark, Caela, and Philip are GROWING and being kids. And me?? well, I’ve got a book coming out next month: “The Mission-Minded Family – Releasing your family to God’s destiny” and I was pretty happy a few days ago when Gregg and Sono Harris (you know, the parents of I kissed dating goodbye and “do hard things”?) wrote a nice endorsement . . . which may become my forward.

well. Just reading all your awesome writings (and ramblings) made me miss you more than ever. Christi and I have been longing to come visit Bend (and your family) sometime soon.

I need to keep in touch with you better, ’cause I LOVE being your friend.

missing you.
Ann

June 15, 2008 - 9:03 pm

bolovesjoe - Wow, Ann…your comment made me wonder where the time has gone. For whatever reason, the sentence that jumped out at me is that Daniel wants to get his license soon and it just seems that this cannot be! I don’t understand how he stopped being four. 🙂 I have been keeping up with your family through your newsletter and I’m so proud of all of you…God is awfully good.

Tori leaves for Portland Bible College in August, and it’s been so odd for us to imagine being a family with only two kids at home. Corey & Whit and Tori are going to Mexico this month, so we’re going to practice and if we don’t like it we’ll just call this whole “grow up and pursue your destiny” thing off.

Goodness, we love you guys and please come see us soon. It would be so fun to catch up!

Much love to you my friend!
Bo

Vicious Rumors of Elves and Such

Wow. Someone please tell me what has happened to this poor, dusty little blog over the past few weeks? Oh…wait…I know this one! Life happened. I was hoping in vain when I logged in today that maybe the blogging elves had visited in the night and posted something a little clever, witty and – dare I say – pithy? But no. It appears things are quite the way I left them so many moons and so much life ago.

A quick rundown on some of the big stuff:

1) I took a quick trip to San Francisco for my best friend’s birthday. My friend, Pam, is one of the dearest, funniest people I know and I’m thankful she still loves me after 25 years of me…um…being me. This trip was really remarkable. And really hot. But mostly remarkable. It included dinner at this amazing restaurant. It’s a meal I have tried to describe to at least a dozen people and I always sense from their response that hearing about a feat of culinary genius is not quite the same as experiencing it firsthand.

2) Whitney’s 21st Birthday. I tell you the truth: I meant to write a heartfelt What Whitney Means to Me tribute on her birthday, but I just got buried under a bunch of other stuff. One of those things was the research, shopping, chopping, mixing, baking and frosting required for the World’s Most Chocolately Chocolate Cake which was requested for her birthday. Seriously, I bet I read 100 recipes, looking for the perfect one. Did I find perfect? No, I did not. Did I find fine? Yes. So the search goes on for the world’s greatest chocolate cake. If you have a contender, send it my way!

3) The Plague, Part II. Days sick: 10. Boxes of Kleenex: 5. Nyquil capsules: 8. Hours of Food Network: 27.

4) Tori’s Graduation. Sniff. Maybe that’s where some of the Kleenex went. I wish I had something more eloquent to say about the whole event, but my feelings are best capsulized in one sentence which I probably said to my husband fifty times during the weekend: Man, I love that kid.

5) CLC Graduation. Sniff, again. It’s amazing to walk with kids through a whole year of their lives and see God’s hand in it all. He’s so good. The wonderful Fabiola spoke at graduation and brought the house down. Woo, Fab! You can totally have my job!

So summer is officially upon us. My kids have been home for two hours and haven’t mentioned being bored yet, but I betcha it’s coming. I’m so excited for this season. Warmer weather, slower pace…that’s my plan.

What about you? What are your plans for summer “vacation”?

Here’s to 80 in the shade,

Bo

June 13, 2008 - 1:43 pm

cassie - hooray for another post!!!
although i love that pic of Tori, so seeing it as much as i did was a delight!

summer is certainly here and hooray! my summer plans include, but are not limited to; 4th of july with my family! 180 summer camp! Disneyland! and river floating!

June 13, 2008 - 11:41 pm

CI - My schedule looked similar to yours. I am looking forward to keeping my house cleaner and enough laundry completed that no one says, “Mom, there’s no towels, shirts, etc…food, (fill in the blank)…” I am hoping for an afternoon in the back yard sunshine with a great book and a tall glass of cold iced tea! It all seems so impossible…but it could happen! 🙂

June 14, 2008 - 12:39 am

bolovesjoe - Cassie – you have awesome summer plans…the happiest place on earth? Totally fun!

Cher – oh, for a summer laundry person! Wouldn’t that be a good invention? Also, I can’t wait for the tea and the sun and the reading…I’m going to do a recommended reading list soon!

Letting Go of Tori

As it relates to yesterday’s post, I would like to say: my Tori graduates in two weks.

Tori has been a remarkable delight in my life and in our family. She is quirky and compelling in ways that I’m still discovering. She is – simply put – a treasure, and I wonder sometimes what God thinks He’s doing in asking me to take her to a strange city and plunk her down in the middle of a strange college (believe me I know, I went there myself), and just walk away.

I wrestle with the desire to go ahead of her and explain to people that she’s deeper than they’ll realize at first. I’d like them to understand her love of Oscar Wilde and science fiction and poetry and – yes, even Disney princesses. I want to assure them that though not everyone gets her right at first, those who do are awfully glad they did. I’d tell them that Tori is one of those people who is comfortable in her own company. She’s a girl who doesn’t care much at all about appearances and she doesn’t do pretense and that sometimes gets her in trouble. I really want to just put her under glass and keep her here with me because I am the one that understands. But God keeps saying no to me. He keeps prying my fingers off of her destiny and saying, “You don’t know the whole story, Bo. You don’t know the future I have planned or the potential yet to be unleashed and the multiplying I will do as you let the seeds of her life parachute away from your care and into Mine.”

So, let go I will. And I will trust that the same breeze that blows her into the wild life He has for her, will also occasionally bring her back home. And if the breeze doesn’t bring her back to Bend, her cell phone will.

Not-so-gracefully letting go,

Bo

May 26, 2008 - 6:39 am

Katie - Honestly, I teared up a little reading that. Why do they have to all go away – and to a place we know too well? 🙂

June 7, 2008 - 12:19 am

helenw13 - Blessings to you Bo as Tori begins this next leg in the relay…Carlen graduated on Monday and I think my heart could have exploded with joy and a bit of relief…ha ha!

I am sure that you and Steve have given her such a firm foundation that she will always have that to dig her feet in when life’s challenges present themselves.

Peace to you,

Helen

November 4, 2008 - 5:42 am

Dear Bo, Who Should I Marry? « Bo Stern - […] time for this concert in which my son-in-law played.  Yay, Elliot! And we also got to see this girl at this school and eat at this place.  I also bought these earrings for less than four bucks which […]