Gifting a legacy …

The legacy sits quietly on the bookshelf, too fragile to be of any practical use. It’s yellowed pages threaten to flutter away and must be turned carefully to find the treasures within.

A piece of paper with names and dates. It’s the birthdates of the family members who have gone before me, beginning with Mary in 1822. A note on the pages between the testaments tells me that the volume was published by the American Bible Society in 1894. Does this mean Mary was in her 70s when she wrote her name on the inside cover? And what does it say that a woman born in 1822 could read?

Later, pressed carefully into the pages of the gospel of John is a clipping from a newspaper dated 1900. It’s a poem, or maybe a song, titled, The Church of My Youth. Did Florence, born in 1883, add this to the legacy? Or was Mary still an active, reading 78-year-old remembering the church of the Victorian era?

What does it mean that the onlymarkings in the book are brackets and large X’s next to certain chapters and verses in the book of Ezekiel? Does it have anything to do with the strange bookmark that says, “Ex-pupil?”

And the flowers … or maybe clovers … pressed into the pages? Where were they from? What did they mean to the person who put them there?

All these mysteries are secondary to the greater legacy of the Bible itself, of the love of the word of God that has been passed down through the generations on both sides of my family and now rests in me.

Yet, I am keenly aware that for 340 million people on the planet, there is no such legacy. For these people, the Scriptures simply do not exist in the language they understand best.

Let me say that again. 340 million people. 

340 million who have no Bible … or even a portion of a Bible … to hand down to the next generation.

This Christmas, you can give them a gift of a legacy through OneVerse while honoring those who share in your legacy of faith. For $26, you can sponsor the translation of a verse for one of seven Bibleless people groups. In return, you receive a card that you can personalize before giving it to a loved one.

The best part is that you will also receive a code that allows you to look up what verse your sponsorship has translated. When I did this for my grandmother … who is clueless about all things Internet, as you might expect from a 94-year-old … I looked up the verse and created a postcard for her to keep in her Bible.

Not the old one with the pressed flowers, odd bookmarks and newspaper clippings.

The one with her handwritten notes and underlining.

A whole new legacy waiting to be explored.

Monday Morning Prayer: The Penn State-Nebraska edition

A sea of red and blue gathered at midfield prior to the Penn State-Nebraska game Saturday. In a few moments, the two teams would be going full tilt at each other to win this key Big 10 match-up.

But right then, in that moment, they were men seeking God in the midst of a devastating scandal involving a former Penn State assistant coach.

Ron Brown, an assistant Nebraska coach and the founder of Mission Nebraska, led the prayer, calling on protection for the victims and for truth and justice to be known. “Every one of these men have been called to this platform today,” Brown prayed. “And Lord, we know that we don’t have control of all the events that took place this week, but we do know that you’re bigger than it all.”

After the game, Brown summarized his prayer to the Altoona Mirror, “”Everybody was kneeling, their helmets off in reverence to God, asking God to heal this place.”

May God indeed heal this place.

Not just Penn State.

But also nation that has seen far too many of these sorts of scandals.

Two voices, 1500 miles apart

Powerful new element this year...Photo by Erin at Home with the Boys on the Relevant Flickr stream.

Galveston, Texas • 13 October 2011

Mary is praying with me, for me. Her prayers are animated – energetic even. In the middle of a sentence, she pauses as if looking for the right word then sits bolt upright.

“I’m thinking of a verse,” she says, reaching for her Bible.

“Wait!” she exclaims, twisting around in her chair. “That’s it.”

She points to the banner hanging in the prayer room. The simple, beautiful banner read, “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”

Mary said she saw the word “seek” in big, bold letters. Maybe in red or in a different font.

Just that quick she bowed her head again and returned to prayer.

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania • 29 October 2011

I’m surprised the line isn’t longer. Renee Swope was giving away free copies of her book, A Confident Heart, and signing them. I’m kind of lost in thought as I approach the table.

Renee looks at my name tag. In great, swooping letters, she writes first my name, then hers on the title page of her book. Then, she pauses, holds her pen up in a thoughtful pose.

“There’s a verse,” she says more to herself than to me.

Then, in the same great, swooping letters, she wrote, “Jer. 29:11-13.”

At home • 7 November 2011

Maybe Mary had seen that verse all day so it was on her mind.

Maybe Renee wrote that verse in everyone’s book.

Maybe it’s a coincidence that Mary and Renee – two women who don’t know each other, separated by 1500 miles and two weeks – came up with the same verse to share with me.

Maybe.

But I know our God works differently.

There are no coincidences for a sovereign God so there’s clearly a message for me in these verses.

Seek me.

Seek me.

… when you search for Me with all your heart.

This is where the blog post should come together with a stunning revelation.

But it won’t. it can’t.

I can’t share what I haven’t unraveled.

But I can invite you to follow the unravelling …

Sista-voices of God

She flat-out asked me within the first half-hour of Relevant.

“What do you want from the conference?” Lisa-Jo (aka the gypsy mama) asked.

I told her about how my blog had more focus when I started than it did now and how I wanted to find direction.

That was true … as far as it went.

What I really wanted was to hear God’s voice.

If he wanted to talk to me about blogging, great. If not, great. I just wanted to hear him.

The first evening passes without a whisper.

No voices the first morning … or afternoon … or evening. Nothing as I jumped out of bed Saturday morning thinking that breakfast was at 8 a.m. not 8:30 a.m.

Why, God? You’re talking to everyone else. I see it on the Twitter stream. I hear them talking about it. Didn’t you want to say anything to this daughter of yours this weekend? You brought me here. What did you want to show me, tell me?

Then I thought of Bonni and her encouraging words when I told her about my ideas for e-books that looked at Scriptures (particularly the Old Testament) in creative ways.

And then I heard Johanna’s laughter as we talked late into the night about dreams and visions for social media at The Seed Company while we rehashed the talks from the speakers and sessions that day.

I remembered the jolt I felt when Tsh talked about being in your element when you work at the intersection of your skills and passion.

I listened to Shaun Groves, Kristi Greim and Kristen Welch talk about communicating a cause to blog readers with grace and compassion … and then a few hours later see about 15 women come to a meet-up of bloggers interested in using their voice to speak for the Bibleless.

I saw a prayer room filled with women writing, writing, writing in journals they would give away.

I marveled at how I seemed to pick seats at random tables only to be joined by women I had “met” on Twitter and hoped to see in real life.

I heard my own voice as I talked about the beauty of the interconnections between the Old and New Testaments.

Then, a lightning bolt.

God had been speaking all along.

He spoke through the sister-voices (and one brother voice!) all weekend, inviting me to remember my first love … Him and the precious Word he gave us.

How does that translate to blogging life?

I’m not sure yet.

Sometimes God only – maddeningly – reveals his will a step at a time. For now, I simply rest in his presence and in his word.

And, I keep listening for the sista-voices of God speaking truth over me …