Sunday, July 27, 2014

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Photos from the Lake

Solving all the world's problems

Dinner

Sunset

David doing his poses on the Lili Pad

Benjamin ending his journey

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Silver Dollar City

They were actually more interested than the look on their faces indicates.

David had to ride every roller coaster in the park. Mission accomplished.

A well deserved break between roller coaster rides. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Swing By the Lake

I’m sitting on a swing on a dock on a lake right at the water’s edge. It’s early in the morning. The kids and Amber are sleeping. Only a gentle breeze exists. No waves. No boats. No traffic. No clutter. No commotion. The only things I can hear are the birds, the locusts, and an occasional fish breaking through the surface of the water.

Fifteen miles due east of where I am sitting is Branson, Missouri. We will be there tomorrow and it is a busy place. Too busy. Its little roads will be congested with minivans and tour buses. Shoppers and tourists. Locals and families on vacation. Retirees and thrill-seekers. Probably even a few retirees who are also thrill-seekers. You can do everything from seeing comedians to racing go-karts to visiting the Titanic museum to shopping at an outlet mall. Because of the hectic pace on the streets, in the stores, at the attractions, and in the restaurants - frustrated will exist.

The view from the swing

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. You will find rest for your souls.” –Matthew 11:28-29

Many of us live in Branson. Our lives are busy and crowded. We fill our schedules with obligations and activities. Life is like stop and go traffic. Some of this is necessary, of course. Most of us have to work. Our kids have to go to school. We want to do other things in life. But I sense frustration in our lives that life is too busy, stressful, and congested.

A swing on a quiet dock is calling many of us. Jesus says he will give us rest for our souls, which is the kind of rest we need the most. But, we have to go to him. We must create time, energy, and space in our lives so that we can experience God. The possibility is to achieve balance and contentment in life. The alternative is being stuck in the traffic jams of life and experiencing constant stress and unfulfillment.

Consider children. It’s possible that we could keep our kids busy with activity pretty much all day, everyday. We could watch them practice, play, and perform all seasons of the year. The danger is that our children become activity-rich and relationship-poor. They have experienced many things in life but are lacking in one of the things that matters the most—a nurturing and loving relationship with their parents.

And so it is with us. We can go through the motions of life and experience pretty much everything under the sun except the thing we need the most—a nurturing relationship with our Heavenly Parent. The one who can give us rest for our souls.

A swing on a dock on lake is calling our name. His name is Jesus. I pray we all discover and experience him together and help others discover and experience him at The Water’s Edge.

The best is yet to come…

Craig

Monday, July 14, 2014

Vacation Bible School

We are having a great time at Vacation Bible School this week. So grateful for all the staff and volunteers who are making this happen.

Vacation Bible School: 2014

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Belize Mission Trip Video

This was the video we showed in worship today from our Belize trip. The team of two dozen people saw over 900 patients, provided over 1000 people a six month supply of medicine and vitamins, and fitted and gave eye glasses to a few hundred more people. 

Here is their story.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

On Criticism and Critics

Dear God,

I am grateful for Your correction, Your patience, and Your grace.
Thank you for the people in my life who have challenged me and made me better.

Speak to me through Scripture. May Your words light my path.
Speak to me through prayer. Connect Your heart to my heart.

This prayer was written in this chair

Place friends and prophets before me and beside me. 
Let them speak grace and truth into my life.

Give me an openness to hear hard, but loving words from You.
Give me an openness to hear hard, but loving words from others.

For those who criticize me unjustly and seek to belittle me:
     Teach me to respond to them with gentleness and self-control.
     Make it clear when I should remain silent.
     And give me courage when I should speak to clarify and calm.

May Your truth about me overwhelm any harsh words that come my way.
     Become bigger to me so my critics become smaller.
     Set me free from being a prisoner to the opinions of others.
     And I pray for the ones who put me down. Love them as only You can.

Help me to see people like You see people and love people like You love people.
Remove the insecure critic in me.

If my criticism of others is unjust and unhelpful – may I remain silent.
If my criticism of others is just and helpful – may I speak with grace and humility.

Bring me closer to You each day in all ways. 
Make my vocation building others up and not tearing others down.

Make me more like You today than I was yesterday.
Help me reflect Your goodness to the world.

Amen.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

People Like That: Hypocritical People - Study Guide 1

Sorry…I forgot to post this Monday. This coming Sunday is dealing with critical people. 


Monday, July 7, 2014

St. Olaf

During this morning's run. A little neighborhood library.

Inside the Hong Kierkegaard Library. Best. Library. Ever.

Double rainbow after the storm.

Sunset from the top of the hill.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Images from Interstate 80 and Interstate 35

I don't suppose the rural Interstates in Iowa get traffic jams too often. I managed to hit two in one trip. At least they were scenic.


Saturday, July 5, 2014

Dutch for a Day

Send these 58 students off early this morning for their mission trip to Tennessee.

Dutch for a day.

Tonight's harvest

Friday, July 4, 2014

Independence Day

The start to a good day

Brothers

Flags, Fireworks, and Freedom

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Water's Edge in 450 Words

Thanks to Brad Krebs for writing this week's column.

What does The Water’s Edge mean to me?


There is no simple answer to that question. 

To ME: The Water’s Edge allows me to focus, reflect, and push towards becoming the man God wants me to be. Our church allows me to surround myself with other strong Christian brothers who challenge me to be a Christ centered man, husband, and father. The practical advice on Sunday mornings pushes me to get better each day and focus spending time with God and seeking His will for my life. My small group allows me to discuss the latest sermon with other people in a similar stage of life and allows me to grow in communion with others.


To MY MARRIAGE: Julia and I started our marriage at The Water’s Edge. We were able to be mentored by a strong Christian couple who opened up their lives to us. Through this mentoring and pre-marital meetings with Craig, our marriage started with our priorities in the right place: a three-way relationship with each other and God. Our church has also given us many married couples to interact with, learn from, and grow with on Sundays. Messages by Craig give practical advice for the most important family relationship, the one between me and Julia. Our small group allows us to surround ourselves with other couples. Julia and I grow closer together as we learn and grow with others in our small group. Most importantly, we get the chance to pray for each other. 

To MY FAMILY: Being a parent is more difficult than I ever thought it would be. Being a father to young kids is a full-time job. Low pay, but really high rewards! I am a much better parent because of The Water’s Edge. The FROG Pond is populated with volunteers who share God’s love with our kids through lessons, activities, and presence. I know that my children will learn Biblical truths not just at home, but in an inviting Christian community every week. Seeing the number of involved young people, in a multitude of service and mission roles, helps me know that we chose the right church for our children to grow closer to God as they grow up. Being surrounded by other families on Sunday mornings and in our small group gives us encouragement and is such a blessing to us.

Julia and I strive to be involved in all aspects of The Water’s Edge: praying, Sunday involvement, small groups, giving, and serving. Going “all-in” at The Water’s Edge has already benefited my children, my wife, my family, and me. I can’t wait for the future. As a wise man says: “The best is yet to come…” 

In Christ,

Brad Krebs