Monday, November 01, 2010

object lesson

i enjoy using object lessons in my teaching. they're fun, and they're memorable -- sometimes more memorable than the actual message. i'm betting that someone still remembers the time i preached with my shirt (purposely) misbuttoned. and i know for a fact that some folks who went to that first all-church retreat i did for lighthouse back in 2005 haven't forgotten the notorious underwear object lesson; i'm less certain they remember the point i was trying to make!

of course, i wasn't counting on being an object lesson for so much of my life, though even a cursory reading of the bible might have given me sufficient warning (cf. ephesians 3:10, john 13:35, ephesians 5:32). sometimes, i am a cautionary tale (a voice from heaven warns: "don't let this happen to you!"), but more often, i am proof that God is both merciful and generous. perhaps i've been both in marriage.

m and i celebrated our 23rd anniversary tonight. i accompanied her to her systematic theology class (what's more romantic than three plus hours discussing the doctrine of God?), after which we went to shanghai garden in the international district of seattle. unfortunately, i forgot to pack the camera, so all i had was a lousy camera phone (hence the photo quality in the collage above), but that didn't diminish our enjoyment of the hand-shaven noodles and succulent scallops. afterward, we went in search of desserts (don tat and our first-ever paris brest - filled with an amazing pumpkin custard!).

in between delicious bites, we reminisced about our favorite memories of the last 23 years. for m, that included our family's around the country road trip from montreal to seattle, our annual family trips to pinnacles national monument when we lived in california, and our time in montreal (a fun season of ministry together, with a highlight being the international christmas camp in 2005). i cited m's and my first vacation trip to mendocino (we stayed at the lord's land), the sight of m in her re-designed wedding dress (made from her original wedding dress, which was deconstructed and completely redone) at our renewal of vows on our seventh anniversary, and playing board games with our girls (from special rules for the girls when they were little, so that they could be competitive, to special rules for us when they got bigger, so that we(!) could be competitive).

as those of you who have prayed for us over the years well know, we've had some serious trials -- some from within, others from without. i'm not proud of the fact that i've been responsible for more than my share. but through it all, God has been (with a tip of the hat to s.m. lockridge) enduringly strong, eternally steadfast, and imperially powerful. our anniversary is a reminder of his faithfulness -- and yours. we give our heartfelt praise to God, and our earnest thanks to all of you. years ago, i was given a word that we have the privilege of proving that God's promises are true, and that has been on full display in our life together.

through many dangers, toils, and snares
we have already come
'tis grace hath brought us safe thus far,
and grace will lead us home

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7 comments:

Bora said...

Beautiful post. Beautiful couple. Congrats!

gr8god said...

thanks, bora. it's an overused phrase, but i really do feel blessed.

Kim W. said...

Congrats Barry. And I totally remember the shirt being buttoned wrong and how embarrassed I was for you throughout the whole sermon. And I remember that the point was if you don't get it right in the beginning, the rest doesn't matter--am I right? Anyway, I'm happy for you guys!

Johnine said...

Love the sunset photo background and am so happy to remember the 7th annvsy. celebration! I remember being at Walmart w/M. at midnight for ribbon or something for the ceremony the next day! I praise God with you for 23 years of his faithfulness to you in your marriage. JJ

gr8god said...

kim w: yes, you get the gold star for remembering the point of that one. thanks for celebrating with us.

johnine: that seventh seems like a LONG time ago. b was 4 and n was only 2; now they're adult women who live out of state and come to see us during the summers!

how's the new life unfolding?

Sally said...

Hey Barry,

I only heard one of your sermons but still remember the object lesson from it - the branch of a tree (you brought it in), though it looks alive, is actually dead, because it is detached from the tree. So with us...

I'm glad you used an object lesson in it, which helped me remember it.

Sally

gr8god said...

thanks for your comment, sally. i still remember that day - and an amazing blog post you wrote about it afterward.

glad the object lesson worked for you. i like using object lessons - just surprised to find myself being one so much of the time!