April 13, 2010

The Future of Shopping

So they say technology is a time saver, and I don't always believe that, but this looks amazing and I wish that it was ready to be used at most stores now.

The video speaks for itself. Click HERE to be amazed!

April 11, 2010

Be Thou My Vision

This evening at church we had a guest pastor. The passage was Ephesians 3:14-19, the last part of which says, "...so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God."

He illustrated his point of the "breadth and height and depth" with an actual measuring tape and challenged us to think of Christ's love in literal terms--certainly an interesting perspective. I really caught on to one point in particular though. He said that we often overmeasure our earthly pleasures and undermeasure the love of Christ. I began to think what this realization would look like in my life: if I really understood the intense, all encompassing over reaching love of Christ, non of my earthly idols would stand. I would be so mesmerized by Christ that those "things" would not have the grip on me that they often do. Sigh. It sounds so cut and dry on paper. I suppose that is truly what our struggle on earth is--fighting those idols and distractions and trying to understand God's love. The realization (of his love) is too good to be true, but like any other sinner, I am apt to forget it at times.

We closed with one of my all time favorite hymns: Be Thou My Vision. It is such a beautiful prayer and a great way to start the week.

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tower:
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

April 05, 2010

June Dornbush Penn: "Granny"

My Granny, June Penn, passed away last Tuesday, March 30th. She was 92 years old. Our family gathered in Havre de Grace, Maryland this past weekend to celebrate her homecoming to heaven.

The weekend was full of remembrances from friends and family: tales of the many summers spent at our family’s cottage on the Eastern Shore and testimonies of Granny’s gentle spirit, strong faith and unconditional love.

Granny was an incredible seamstress. She made me (and many others) dolls, blankets, clothes, and quilts. I spent the weekend carrying around my Easter basket that she sewed for me when I was a little girl. It has multi-colored bunny rabbits sewn together, connected and a pretty braided handle. My name is stitched across the handle. On the bottom, she sewed my name again and her signature heart. She finished all of her work with a small, embroidered red heart.

Before she had children (my dad, Bill and my aunt, Bonnie) Granny was a beautician. All throughout her life, she was active in her church. I remember going to visit and watching her sing in the choir.

I talked with one friend at the visitation who told me, “Granny was so proud to be an American. She was so proud of her parents who came over from Germany to start a life with freedom here. She loved her country so much.” Perhaps it was appropriate that Granny was born on June 14th—Flag Day.

Of all the wonderful qualities that Granny possessed—loving wife, mother and grandmother, talented beautician and seamstress, excellent singer, patriotic American—the quality that we celebrated the most and were the most thankful for was that she was a dedicated Christian. Her life truly imitated Christ’s. She was humble but proud of her Christianity. She was soft spoken, but bold when she needed to stand up for what was right. She was a faithful believer even when it was not easy.

2 Timothy 4:7-8 was in the memorial bulletin:

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.”

It is only fitting that the death of a loved one should prompt those left behind to re-examine their lives. It can be overwhelming to consider the prospect of death, however, the Christian has such a great hope because of Jesus’ death. I cannot think of a more magnificent weekend for Granny to be in heaven: Easter. It was also comforting to our family to be able to focus so heavily on the resurrection. Perhaps you sang the classic hymn on Easter Sunday, “Christ the Lord is Risen Today.” There are two lines that I could not stop thinking about all weekend: “Where oh death is now thy sting?” and “Where thy victory, O grave?” I wanted to shout those lines! Granny is alive and perfect and with her Savior right now. She is no longer suffering here on Earth.

There are not many situations that are more sobering than burying a loved one. However, as I continued to think about Granny and other loved ones and my own death one day, I realized that I am not afraid. I know that I will not be on this earth on moment longer or shorter than I need to be. In her last years, Granny used to say sweetly, “I don’t know why the Lord still has me here, I am ready to go.” We can never be sure when our time will come, but we can be sure that the Lord has a perfect plan that he is carrying out, despite what may be obvious to those of us on earth. The sovereignty of God comforts me in these situation because the general thought tends to overwhelm me…until I realize that I do not have to be overwhelmed because God has it all worked out already (whew).

The past few days have served as a reminder and have been encouraging to me. Death is not the end. In fact, for Christians, it is only the beginning. The beginning of spending eternity with our Lord, Jesus Christ. As C.S. Lewis describes it in The Last Battle: “The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning.” Heaven is reality. Praise the Lord.