The Hills Are Alive with the Sound of Humility

I was struck by the genuine humility Julie Andrews displayed after receiving the AFI Lifetime Achievement Award earlier this year. Rare indeed is her talent, but rarer still is the sincere deference she showed to the many folks who work behind the scenes to convey her art to the screen. The clip of her acceptance speech is below. First, however, a little fun…

 💙 🎼 💚 🎹 ❤️ 🎵 💛 🎶 💙 🎼 💚 🎹 ❤️ 🎵 💛

Poolside with the Aquadorable

It’s too early to tell if SamJam is going to carry on the family business of being a competitive swimmer, but early indications are promising. He loves the pool and is fascinated by water. I suspect his lips and toes would have to be blue before he comes out willingly to get dried off and warmed up. He’s the picture of adorableness while poolside, but, of course, I’m forever biased. 💙 💙 💙

On another note, this past week was “let’s try to take some steps” week. He’s not there yet in terms of balance, but he can support his own weight and move his legs in the right direction. I’m astounded at the progress he’s making. Apparently, so is he. He smiles and giggles every time he realizes we’re enamored with his wiggly, jiggly attempts at forward motion. 

Finally, we can file this picture under the heading, “While My Guitar Gently Sleeps.” 

I cackled a bit when I saw it yesterday for the first time, so Bethany put it on him again today for our Sunday night hangout. Do I really need to mention that I had a blast “strumming” his strings? There might have been some pickin’ and grinnin’, too. Oh, and “tuning” the guitar just above the neck also led to some happy moments.

Maybe he’ll be a musician, too. That would fit the family profile.

Have a great week, everyone. Be blessed.

Bonus: The chatty one zooms in on himself!

The Newest Phillies Fan

Our neighbor across the street got SamJam a Phillie Phanatic doll. That was especially kind of him since he’s a Cardinals fan. At first Samuel was perplexed. Then he was intrigued. Then he smiled. Then he giggled. He was quite captivated by the long red tongue sticking out the long green nose. Best mascot ever.

All Chili Dogs Go to Heaven

1. My poor mother-in-law is prepping today for a colonoscopy on Tuesday, so we decided to have our Independence Day picnic yesterday and join her today in a period of, uhm, deprivation. Yeah, that’s the word for it. Deprivation. Nuff said! She continues to decline cognitively, and sometimes it’s a real challenge to know how best to care for her. Something seems to be wrong digestively, too, so we’re getting her checked out. Of course, it could all be mental. Either way, we’ll know soon enough.

2. Yesterday’s picnic treats included chili dogs (with mustard and onions) and a build-your-own sundae bar. We had three kinds of ice cream and about nine or ten different kinds of toppings. The most interesting topping was waffle cone crumbs, which turned out to be delicious. I’ve never had those before, but I saw them at Dutch-Way last week and wanted to try them. I’m pretty sure I could survive on picnic food! Especially chili dogs. All chili dogs go to heaven, right?

3. Since this past weekend was the anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg (July 1-3, 1863), we watched the extended version of Gettysburg, the poignant 1993 movie starring Tom Berenger, Jeff Daniels, and Martin Sheen. Just hearing the theme song is enough to get me choked up. Sadly, Gettysburg was the bloodiest battle of the Civil War. Officially, 7,863 were killed, 27,224 were wounded, and 11,199 went missing. My great-great-grandfather, Michael Link, fought in that battle and nearly died. I wrote about him here last year. 

4. Our current sermon series on the book of Philemon, which I’ve titled “Squeezed,” is meddling with many of our hearts. Paul’s letter to a first-century friend is only 355 words in the original Greek, but it carries a theological weight far beyond its length. It’s all about forgiveness and reconciliation. I keep thinking about Genesis 33:10b: “To see your face is like seeing the face of God, now that you have received me favorably.” I had the opportunity last week at a wedding to see quite a few folks from a previous era, and it was a delight to reconnect. The divine Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) is pure relationship—perfect unity, diversity, and mutuality, so it’s no wonder the Scriptures keep pressing us to be on good terms with each other to the extent that we’re able. God is completely unified within himself, and he wants his people to reflect him in this way by being unified as well. Something to think about before it’s too late.

5. Since I was recently dubbed “Instagramps” by a good friend of the family, I’ll need to live up to my new name and end with a few shots of Samuel. Apparently, he’ll be driving soon. 🙂

EDIT: Bonus Fourth of July Pics:

Squeezed, Part 2: You Want Me to Do What? (Philemon 1:10-21)

In Part 2 of our series, we put ourselves in the sandals of Philemon, the slave owner. As Paul’s letter unfolds, Philemon begins to get the point: “Your slave, Onesimus, who stole from you and ran away, is coming back. In fact, he’s standing outside the door right now.” And it’s obvious you’re being asked by the Apostle Paul to love him, forgive him, and reconcile with him—something totally unheard of in the first century. It’s Philemon’s turn now to be squeezed.

Philemon’s initial reaction would surely have been something like, “Paul, you want me to do what? If I go soft on Onesimus, my other slaves will be more inclined to run off now, too. I can’t allow that! And what about all the other slaves in Colossae? If I receive Onesimus back without any punishment, word will spread that Christianity turns you into a doormat that people can walk all over. The other Christian masters will despise me!”

“And what about gospel outreach? It’s tough enough trying to witness to Christ in this empire. After all, Romans despise love. To them it’s not a virtue; they mock it and sneer at it all the time.” Philemon has a lot to think about when he gets Paul’s letter. He knows firsthand that when Christians loved each other, the Romans thought they were crazy. We have ancient correspondence that says, “These Christians are so crazy, they love each other even before they’ve met.”

Into that atmosphere, you’re going to talk about a gospel of love and forgiveness? Even for slaves? That’s insanity! To the pagan world, slaves were just “living tools” or “breathing machines.” You don’t forgive your household tools; you simply use them and get rid of them whenever they stop working. So, it’s going to be tough for Philemon to try to explain to the other slave owners in Colossae why Onesimus isn’t getting branded, flogged, or punished in some other way.

The book of Philemon is for believers today, too. Indeed, the grace of God in Christ takes believers off one hook (i.e., the hook of eternal judgment) and places us on another hook (i.e., the hook of forgiving others as we ourselves have been forgiven). It was Jesus himself who taught his people to pray, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” In other words, to have been forgiven makes you a forgiverThat’s the consistent message throughout the New Testament. 

But how do we forgive others who’ve hurt us, wounded us, betrayed us, or offended us in some significant way? And how do we go beyond mere forgiveness into the realm of genuine reconciliation? It takes a miracle. It takes Jesus—the one who is infinite love himself and has shed abroad his love in our hearts (Romans 5:5).

Sermon Resources:

Contact This New Life directly for the sermon audio file.