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Archives For December 10, 2011
Let me introduce you to my friend, Scott Erickson. Scott is the Artist-in-Residence at Ecclesia Church in Houston (led by Pastor Chris Seay). I recently featured Scott, Chris, and Ecclesia in a blog post about Tattoos and the season of Lent. Check it out, here.
Scott is probably the only person in the world who is an artist-in-residence at a church. He also travels around the world with various organizations, conferences, and events painting live for the audience.
Throughout this year, I want to introduce you to some of my friends. People whose voices I know, respect, and appreciate. Their words often challenge me in my thinking and faith. I hope they’ll challenge you, too. Enjoy!
I had the joy of not just travelling to but living in many beautiful places in my life. The coast of Florida. The beaches of the Bahamas. The smoky mountains of North Carolina. The ski slopes of Colorado. The majestic coast of Alaska.
The rugged mountains. The pristine hiking trails. The striking vegetation. But what took my breath away were the lakes—Lake Louise, Lake Peyto, Lake Bow, Lake Moraine, and many others whose turquoise blue waters took on an otherworldly quality.
One of the members of the film crew, Justin Wylie, took some of the B-roll (the background scenery) and put together some glimpses of the area with light background music. Even if you only watch a minute or two, you’ll get a glimpse of God’s incredible creation, and a taste of what to expect when the Bible Study release January 7.
Here are 9 things to know before you go to Lake Louise, Banff, or the Canadian Rockies:
Iceland is dreamy. This ethereal landscape and lighting can make you feel like you’re on Mars one moment and on the set Game of Thrones (which was filmed in Iceland) the next. For me, Iceland feels like Alaska crashed into the moon and then was taken over by IKEA.
Iceland requires a little planning and research, because without a plan you’ll feel like you’re floating in this country—unsure of where to go or what to do. Signage isn’t a huge priority in Iceland so finding even the most popular tourist spots becomes an adventure unless you have 15/20 vision (to see the signs) and read the local language. A little prep work and insider information will make your adventure amazing.
Here are 4 things we wish would have known before we went to Iceland:
1. This beautiful country is easiest to get around for those who love tour buses. You can land in Reykjavik and grab a tour bus to the famous Blue Lagoon (largest geothermal pool in the world and one of the 25 wonders of the world) from the airport. Then take a bus into town where you can grab a bus tour of the famed Golden Circle which includes stops at a breathtaking waterfall, geyser, and volcanic pool. Once in town, you can rent a car and go off on your own.
2. For those who prefer a rental car (for a day or the entire trip), consider one of the local brands (rather than Avis, Budget or Hertz) for significant savings. You’ll need a good map or GPS to navigate the country. When in Reykjavik, you can find free parking (and more importantly, not have to feed a street meter throughout the day) at the large church that anchors the city. Driving is on the right side of the road, you’re legally required to keep your headlights on all day (and night). If you choose to rent a car, explore any little towns or turnoffs that you find. Something beautiful and memorable is likely waiting.
3. Whatever star rating your hotel is in Reykjavik, mentally subtract one-and-a-half to two stars before you arrive. We booked a four-star hotel and ended up in something that was closer to two star. A far better way to go (and when we go back), we’ll book through airbnb.com. We met a ton of people who used the site to rent flats, bedrooms, apartments and homes in Iceland and had great experiences, saved a fortune, and connected with the locals.
4. Smile big. People flood into Iceland on 24-hour to 72-hour layovers. You may be able to schedule one (at low to no cost) the next time you’re crossing the Atlantic so check with your airline. As a result, Iceland becomes a big travel depot with people coming and going. But moving beyond being another tourist and connecting with the Icelandics is easy—smile big, be warm and friendly, and ask questions. We found the people to be kind, gracious, and helpful whenever we engaged with them.
Are you planning a trip soon? Where are you going?
*Photo courtesy of here
Awhile back, I found myself living life in overdrive-the kind of busy where the car flies down the highway thirty miles above the speed limit, completely out of control. Maxed out, I burned the candle on both ends as well as in the middle. My relationships suffered, especially my intimacy with God.
Sick of consuming prepackaged food, I carved some time out of an already stuffed schedule to buy fresh provisions. I scouted out the shortest checkout line at the store and rushed my grocery cart to the car. While transferring the groceries to the car, a crystal-clear thought overwhelmed my mind:
I miss you.
God had spoken. No question. No doubt. A sudden sense of remorse flooded through me. How could I have gotten so busy as to ignore the One who desires a relationship with me above all else?
My eyes welled up and my soul softened as I finished putting away the groceries. I prayed a quiet but heartfelt, I’m sorry, and I miss you too.
Those of you reading along in The Organic God Summer Book Club and Bible Study probably already know this experience was one of the most tender interactions with God I have ever had. I was deeply moved, not because God’s words made me feel shame or guilt, but because they were bathed in his kindness.
In a story tucked in 2 Samuel 9, King David extends the kindness of God to another. David’s determined to show kindness in honor of his friend Jonathan. After taking over the throne, the last thing Jonathan’s family would expect from the new king is kindness.
But still David searches for a remaining relative, and Mephibosheth–a man crippled in both feet-is recognized as the last living son of Jonathan. David invites him to the royal palace. Mephibosheth awaits an execution being the grandson of the previous king.
Instead, David offers Mephibosheth property, wealth, honor and respect. Where cruelty is expected, compassion is extended. David goes above and beyond to extend God’s hesed or lovingkindness to Mephibosheth.
Just as God bathes us in his kindness, we are encouraged to spread that kindness to others. God doesn’t just want us to know that he is kind but to experience his kindness and then reflect it to others.
How has God revealed his kindness to you this week?
Close your eyes for a moment and think about some of the people in your life. With whom is God asking you to share his kindness?
**Photo courtesy of here