Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Saturday, August 4, 2012
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Thursday, June 7, 2012
I love living in a small town! It is great to drive down the street and see members of our congregation living life and being extensions of grace. Most times, I will take a moment and honk the horn to say hello, or role down the window and say a quick greeting. But recently, I have become more shy. I may be this close (two fingers almost pushed together) to ignoring all people and sticking to the 10 and 2. But I guess you are wondering how and why I have come to decision...more importantly why does this matter to you the reader? Simply put, it matters because this is yet again another humorous page in the adventure of my life. Let's begin.... Since moving to Kansas, we have connected with several families from our church. One of those families is the Blosser family. Rick, Joni, Conner, Carly, Caley and even Grandma Tibbits have become great friends who have provided many, many laughs in our short friendship! Joni and Carly, usually can be seen driving around town in a White Pontiac Grand Am. Most days, they will honk the horn as they drive by our house and of course if we see each other on the road we will always stop at an intersection to catch a quick laugh (much to the annoyance of the people behind us). Recently, it would seem that a large percent of the population of Hutchinson drives the same vehicle as our friends. The only reason I know this to be true, is because I have honked at every single one of these people. One would think that I would search for the identifying markers of the car...like a dent, or special license plate...but not me...I just honk freely and wave emphatically to catch their attention...only to discover its not them; which then leaves the victim of my gleeful greeting paralyzed with wonder as to my own identity. I could go on with all the different scenes and stories about this epic failure of identification, but I feel lead to share one story that will be forever burned in my mind. It was the night that I returned from my trip to Israel, and I had to take Keller to a basketball practice. As I was pulling out of our driveway, I noticed Joni (or who I thought was Joni) drive by without honking. "What's up with that?" I thought. So, I quickly jumped and took off down the road to catch up with her. I rounded the corner and noticed that she had stopped at someone's else. "I wonder what she is doing there?", was my thought as I continued to drive. I pulled up next to her,rolled down the window and held the following conversation: Me:(in my best thug type voice) Wazup girlie! It's been to long! How you be? What's the word? What are you doing at this house? "Joni": (Silence) Me: HEY! What are you doing? "Joni" excuse me? Me: You drove past me so fast and didn't say hi! What are you doing here? "Joni": Delivering a pizza?? Me: Wait...what? Before I could say anything else, "Joni" stepped into the light and that is when I realized it's not Joni. It was in fact a pizza delivery girl who happens to drive the same car! At this moment, one would think that I would offer up an apology for bothering the poor girl. But what did I say, "Oh gee, you're not my friend!" And with that I drove off into the night praying the young lady didn't memorize my license plate so she could call the cops. I know it was not my finest moment, but I figured she won't know it was me because it was night time and....well never mind! So if you live in Hutch and you drive a white vehicle, watch out, I might be honking at you!
Sunday, May 27, 2012
A couple of months, we found out that the Gage twins are boys! We are super excited and at the same time, the reality of our lives changing is sinking in now more than ever! There are little things that will be different..for example, my "Parenthood 2.0" Series will now become "Parenthood 4.0-Lord give us strength". If you enjoyed reading my adventures of mayhem with my two older children...I can only assume that the high jinks will continue and double this summer. But clearly, these twins in addition to Keller and Kerrington are indeed multiple blessings! When I think about my children, I understand the blessings they bring to my heart... and also opportunities for growth in grace, and reflections of life that has been sustained by an amazing God. BLESSING #1: Bonding and healing I feel that since the twins are both boys, something unique is happening for us as a family and for me as a father. It is no secret that there is a special bond between fathers and sons. It goes beyond sharing jokes and stories, playing sports and video games, and all the other grunts and snorts and strange sounds. I confess that as a child of divorced parents, the desire to strengthen that bond between myself and my sons is more pronounced then ever before. In addition, the life that my children live is far different then my own upbringing. And through the call and responsibility of parenting my own children, I am discovering that God is healing the hurts in my own life...especially those Daddy issues I had to face. Again, I can see His hand of healing as I think about the amazing relationship I now have with my father! BLESSING #2; There's only One Princess The more I thought about it, the more I feel that the twins being both boys is a great thing for Kerrington! (hehehe) For those of you that know her, you know that she is indeed a princess and there were times before this week of the gender reveal, I wondered how well she was going to do with another sister..or two. Clearly, this was divine! Of course, you can see the challenge ahead that she is not only the only girl, but the middle child. But yet again, here is another opportunity to have a unique special relationship with my only daughter...that I can assume will include trips to the ballet, tea parties and more. BLESSING #3 A New kind of Gage I think it is safe to say that every parent wants the best for their children; that every parent desires, prays, and hopes, that their children will have every opportunity possible and to achieve whatever they desire to be. As proud as I am of my family and our family legacy, I confess that I desire more for all my children. A new brand of Gage requires me, as the father, to set a whole new example. A lot of that change has already happened simply by working hard at my marriage. I recently found one of my old journals and as I reflected and remembered some interesting memories, I found this following statement in my journal: "Divorce sucks! Why does this happen? I don't think parents understand what this does to their children. I know that I will never let this happen to my children." (circa 1992 journal entry). As strange as this sounds, dispite some of the hard roads we went through, I am thankful for my upbringing. I am thankful because I discovered that there is a God who could meet all the needs of my life..and prepare me for the life I am living today. And so, our journey continues.
Friday, February 24, 2012
Anyway, the other night, we were watching Adele sing on The Grammys(please don't judge me...that was the only performance he watched). By the end of her performance he was already humming the melody of the chorus. After that, I figured he would have forgotten the song...until tonight.
I walked into our bedroom to find that he had found my ipod...the following conversation took place:
Me: Keller what are doing?
Keller: listening to your ipod!
Me: What are you listening too?
Me: KELLER what are you listening too?
Keller: Dad...can you please be quiet...I'm just rolling in the deep.
Me: excuse me?
Keller: you know (now singing in his best Adele voice) Rolling in the deeeeeeeeeeeep!
I think Adele is a great singer and performer. This is a whole lot better then him trying to sing another Justin Beiber song!
Thursday, February 9, 2012
We have had another great and busy day. I confess to you that it was a little hard balancing taking time to reflect spiritually about these different locations and filling a little rushed getting from one place to the next...regardless of the schedule, the Lord is still able to reveal Himself is remarkable ways.
The sites we visited today included the ruins of Belt She'an, Ancient Tel Megiddo, the Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth, The church in Cana (where Jesus performed the first miracle), and to end the day, several from our team were baptized in the Jordan River. How exciting for them....except the water was super super cold.
A cool side note for me happened this morning at the ancient Theatre in the ruins of Belt She'an. I took a moment and took the stage and sang a sample of my favorite aria (Nessun Dorma). It was a beautiful place and I could go on and on about the history of the town, but I encourage you to take a moment and research this place. It is one of the largest digs in the area.
We journeyed to Nazareth to see the Church of the Annunciation. You have to realize that when Mary was here in this village, there may have been a couple hundred people living there...which is a completely different feel to the modern Nazareth, that boost 60,000 people and many modern conveniences.
We stopped at the Church of the Annunication which tradition says is the place that Mary was told that she would give birth to the Son of God. One the wall of the main enterance there is a Latin statement: Verbo carp Factum est et Habitauit en Nobus which means " And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us."
Inside this church on the first floor, you will find the cave that belonged to the Holy Family. Interestingly, the second floor of the church is dedicated to Mary herself. Along the walls, you will find images of Mary from different parts of the world. I was overwhelmed by the beauty of this sanctuary and had to pull back and reflect on the story of Mary. She was ready and willing to be used by God. Yes there were questions....but there was no hesitation "Let it be as you have said according to Your word." Wow!!!!
My hearts desire is to be ready and willing to serve and be used by God. I found myself praying in that Church that He would help me to be so in tune and so aware of his presence so that there is no hesitation when he calls my name. I don't consider myself a songwriter, but, feeling inspired by my experienced, I wrote these lyrics down in my journal as we were leaving....
Be in me, work in me, Here I stand, Here's my heart.
Be in me, work in me, in all I say and do.
Lord, I want my life to honor You.
I hope that this is your prayer as well.
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
How excited am I that I am blogging from another country? As many of you know, I am on a once in a lifetime trip to Israel with the pastoral staff and other members of our church. There are no words to describe what it is like to be in cities like Kursi, travel in a boat on the Sea of Galilee, and stand on the Mount of the Beatitudes! It is historically exciting and spiritually overwhelming....and the crazy thing is, we are just on day one.
This morning I had the honor of giving the devotional in the ruins of Kursi. If you don't know about the events that happened take a moment and read Matthew 8:28-32. I was excited to find out that I was going to bring the word in this location...then I read the passages of scripture and started to panic. I mean how do you explain the spiritual ramifications of possessed pigs running off a cliff and plunging into the sea. I thought the pastor was playing a joke on me....or that this was some kind of hazing ritual since I am the new guy! But the task was before me and I knew we could talk about more then just deviled ham.
So printed below are some of my thoughts about this story.
I begin with this quote,
"Who is like our God and to whom shall we compare him? He is all knowing. He knows our hearts. He is the creator and redeemer of mankind. He has bought our lives with the blood of Jesus Christ." We are not our own. Our lives belong to Him.
When I stand here in Kursi and read this story, I am thankful for the authority of God in my life. I am thankful that He has authority over the dark things that can threaten my life....but it is much more then spirit demons. It's little things like attitudes, communication with others and so on. Take a moment and think back to the person you were before you met Christ. Now take a moment and rejoice and give thanks for the authority that He has over you life.
Now, when we look at this story we have to understand that the disciples have just witnessed the power and authority of Jesus through healings and the calming of the storm. They have crossed the sea to a place that they did not necessarily need to go, and were greeted by some interesting people. I don't think they were the welcoming committee, selected by town leadership. These men were dark, consumed with evil and death. And when Jesus approaches them something unique happens:(from verse 29)
"Why are you bothering us, Son of God? You have no right to torture us before God's appointed time."
These demons identify who Jesus really is as Son of God. So many people,both common and religious, were blinded to Jesus' personhood. And because the demons knew Him, they feared him as well. They knew that there was a judgement in store for them....a judgement they didn't want. And so, they asked for mercy in verse 31: (cue the pigs)
"If you cast us out, send us into that herd of pigs."
Now, many have wondered and argued that the region and area of Kursi was populated by Gentiles....because of the pigs. But I think the important thing to remember is that Jesus still came to minister. In his eyes, no one is so far out of reach that God doesn't extend His arms of love and grace and mercy.
But the story continues....the herdsmen have seen this take place and they run to tell the townspeople. At this point you would think there would be a big celebration. There should be parties in the street...afterall Jesus just released this heavy darkness from their town! This is a reason to rejoice right? WRONG!!!! (Cue the pitch forks and torches) the townspeople were hot to trot! Apparently this was a village comprised of passive agressive people. One would think they would want the evil gone, they get their wish, but now they are mad about. Clearly, there is another lesson about priorities and the kingdom but we will save that for another time.
So the people tell Jesus to leave....and leave quickly they did. But I have to wonder what the disciples were thinking. They had just seen the storm, they have now seen this miracle with the demons, and yet the people make them leave. They have to wonder if the people of Kursi missed the point all together. And just as they head back into the sea, there is a glimmer of hope that comes in Mark 5:18-20.
One of the men that was healed begged Jesus to take him with them. But Jesus commanded him to stay and "tell them what wonderful things the Lord has done for you and how merciful He has been." And so the man did as he was told with the complete understanding that the authority of Jesus had done an amazing work in his life.
That man's response to authority should also be our response to the authority of Jesus in our own lives. So as we stand here in these places that Jesus healed and , preached and taught, let us be reminded of the calling that we have to submit to the Authority of the Lord and fulfill our responsibility to share and extend his love and grace to others.
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
It is hard to believe that our little boy is now 6 years old today! It is no secret that this kid has lived a lot of life and has no doubt made a lasting impression in this short amount of time! As Ashley and I watch him learn and grow, we are reminded of how God has truly blessed us as parents and how He has protected Keller!
But this post is about the humorous side of our son! Indeed, Keller has been blessed with an amazing sense of humor and is always keeping us laughing. If you haven't, take a moment and read through a couple of my other post titled "Statements by Keller," you'll be glad you did!
Since it is Keller's birthday, I had to dedicate this post to him and his wild ideas! This was a conversation Keller had with Ashley one day after school! If you follow my wife on facebook, you have already heard this story...but feel free to read and laugh again!
"Me: Kel, your teacher said you followed directions but did poor coloring, what do think you should do differently on the next paper?
Keller:well, I just think coloring inside the lines is too pretty for me, but I will try!#whatakid"
Welcome to our world! Enjoy the ride!
Monday, January 30, 2012
Monday, October 12, 2009
Thou O Lord
I have to confess that after writing last week's blog, the week went down hill pretty fast! I found myself becoming very overwhelmed with some of the responsibilities of my life. My mood was not the best, and I am sure I was not very easy to live with...just ask my wife!
In the midst of all of this, my wife decided that we should take a step back and get away from it all. So naturally we did what we Gage's do best...we went shopping! BTW, there are some good sales going on right now...so if you can, don't miss out! And of course I did purchase some items to add to our fall home collection. But I will explain that in another blog.
As we were driving back home, I was listening to some of the music that our worship choir is working on this year! One of my favorite songs that we are singing is "Thou O Lord." It is based off of Psalm 3. When I first heard this song several years ago, I heard it as a great sounding song and not applying much thought into what is was really saying. But as I was driving down this highway, I could feel His word speaking to me. In that moment I realized that one of the hardest things we do as Christians, as people, is trying to rely fully on God. In speaking of myself, I know that I tend to trust my creativity, my talent, my socialization, and my professional abilities, when I know I should be trusting in Him.
Later that night during my quiet time, I decided to go back and read this Psalm. In my bible, the subtitle of the psalm states "A Psalm of David, when he fled from his son Absalom." The psalm was written during horrible time in David's life. If you get a chance, read 2 Samuel 15-17, and note all the "drama" that was surrounding his life. After reading these chapters and this psalm, my heart was humbled for several reasons. For starters, the issues that I am facing cannot be compared to anything that David walked through. Treachery, betrayal, mutiny, a wayward son; these are very ugly circumstances. Surely, if God could handle all this, then my issues of weariness, discontent, disappointment are a speck of dust. Mostly, I was humbled as I read how David handled himself during this period of his life. He claims God as his shield, his source of protection (psalm 3:3).
I know I have not received a threat on my life...yet; but I cannot ignore the feeling that sometimes there is a battle raging around me. I have to ask, if you have ever felt the same way? My heart's desire and challenge is that I want handle attacks, insults, and criticism the way David did. I believe that David considered the words against him for what they were worth, analyzed them for any truth and discarded the rest. To do something like that, in the midst of all these challenges, takes an extra measure of wisdom, grace, and peace; which can only come from Him.
The bottom line is that, throughout all that was surrounding David, he fully relied on the God who made him lie down, sleep, and wake again due to His sustaining love for him.
What is the battle surrounding you? What is the circumstance that is so great in your life? Are your relying on your abilities or are you relying on Him?
"Thou O Lord, are a shield for me, my glory and the lifter of my head."
Sunday, January 22, 2012
I was a little worried about posting this recipe with all the news about Paula Deen but the truth is...a little sugar and butter never hurt anyone...as long as you immediately go on a five mile bike ride or run, right?
In all seriousness, I don't think it is wrong to enjoy a little dessert from time to time, and even as I am journeying through my own weight loss journey, I know and understand that I cannot-regardless of the amazing taste- partake in foods like this gooey butter cake and other comfort foods on a daily basis. But enough with all the health talk...listed below is my version of the Chocolate Gooey Butter Cake. I think the only difference between my version and Paula Deen's version is that I use one less stick of butter, and I use Mexican vanilla!
For the Crust
1 Chocolate Cake mix (regular chocolate works best but have tried Devil's food and German Chocolate)
1 stick butter (melted)
1 teaspoon of vanilla
For top layer:
8 oz. Soften Cream Cheese
1 box of powdered sugar
5 tablespoons of cocoa powder
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Lightly grease 13X9 pan and set aside
1. In small bowl, mix the cake mix, egg, melted butter and vanilla until well blended making a dough type texture.
2. Pat the mixture into the greased baking dish and set aside.
3. With a mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add eggs and powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
4. Add cocoa powder to cream cheese mixture and beat until smooth
5. Pour Cream cheese mixture with the first layer in the baking dish.
6. Place in oven and bake for 35-40 minutes. Top layer should have golden color and crackled look.
7. Remove from oven and let cool.
8. Cut cake into square pieces and serve with dollop of Whipped Cream and shaved chocolate pieces. You can also serve with fresh strawberries.
***Please note, if you don't like chocolate, you can make this a traditional Gooey butter cake. Simply switch the chocolate cake mix for a yellow cake mix and remove the cocoa powder from the filling.
Friday, January 20, 2012
Does anyone else have a love/hate relationship with their cell phones? We "ooo" and "Ahh" at all the cool things it can do for us. But some of those features can really work your nerves...which brings us to another thrilling and funny blog post.
Anyone who knows me knows that I love social media! My social media swagger was kicked up a notch when I got this crazy new cell phone. Because like many of us, it is so important for us to stay connected to email, facebook, twitter and now pinterest; so naturally I send a lot of these updates from my phone. For me, it is important for all my status updates, tweets, post, to serve a purpose...whether that be food for thought, spiritual reflection, or a good ol belly laugh. Today I was reminded of a Twitter post called "Friday 5". You are suppose to list the 5 things you are thankful for that day. Just another way for us to take our minds off the negative things happening around us and to take a moment and reflect on the good. As I was reading a couple of post from some twitter followers, I realized that I had not posted my "Friday 5" on facebook. Without a moment of hesitation, I pulled up the Facebook page on my phone and quickly typed in my 5 things. I am not sure why I was in a rush to post them...to my knowledge there isn't a deadline (unless you count midnight as the deadline). There was much relief once I pressed send and I confess that I was anticipating some great responses from my FB friends! And then....the beeps from my cellphone starting coming in, informing me of all the people making comments and posting what I thought were their own "Friday 5" items. By the third comment in, I realized something was not quite right with the responses. So I went back into facebook and here is what I see:
"My Friday five is week are: creativity,laughter, songs that tug at your heart, paint rollers, and pinterest! What five thongs are you thankful for today!"
I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me! I thought I was positive that I typed the word "things". But alas, there it was...with eight comments in 5 minutes or less. The Evil One, aka T9 predict text, had struck again! There was a brief moment of shame and disappointment..."How could you let this happen, Ryan?" But then I got the giggles as more and more of you kept commenting. More importantly, despite the word flub, people started posting their "Friday 5" items! so I guess I accomplished 2 of my social media goals today...reflection and laughter.
But I hope this does not make me lose my Social Media Swagger!
Oh be careful little fingers what you post (clap,clap)
Monday, January 2, 2012
Its the second day of January; the second day of this grand new year...and I am already behind! How is that even possible? How does that happen...or the better question would be, "why do we let that happen?" It is safe to say that at some point, we have all been inspired to make life changing new year's resolutions...only to have them fizzle out by the end of the month...or even, the end of the first week. We then find ourselves feeling downhearted because we could not keep that one simple plan of losing weight, or spending less time on the computer, etc, etc.
For me, I didn't want 2012 to be mired down in defeat by March, because I only lost 3 pounds, or because I only sent one thank you note instead of fifty, or that I started writing a New Years blog the second day of the new year! Instead of viewing New Year's as a clean crisp marker board, I am viewing it as a gently used chalked board; eager to be clean, ready to be used....here's why. We all understand that each year rolls over into the next. As much as we want our lives to start fresh and the things/troubles of the previous year to disappear at midnight, the truth is, sometimes, they roll over with us. Just like a chalk board, you erase the old sentence to write something new, but the chalk dust from that previous statement is still lingering on the board(even when you use wet cleaning cloth, there is still a residue)...even in the midst of the new statement; the new life change.
But here is the good news; The past is just that...the past. We are called to forget the past. Remember these scriptures:
"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past" Isaiah 43:18
"He will wipe every tear from their eyes...for the old order of things has passed away." Revelation 21:4 (paraphrased)
These scripture remind us that even though things have happened in the past, we do not have to stay trapped in it. There may be consequences from those things...but that does not give us license to wallow in the things of the previous year. Remember, He is making all things new and He has a plan for all of us....Plans to give us a hope and a future(reference Jeremiah 29:11). Yes, you can learn from the past, but once you have learned from it, put it away.
And so...I have chosen to not write down any resolutions this year, Partly because I am still working on the resolutions I wrote last year. Plus, I know I am not perfect, and that there will always be something to work on, and I already write enough to do list, do I really need to write one more? (those that know me well are NOT free to comment here)In addition, I am learning to say no to the habits, commitments, things, attitudes, and even people, that are not working in my life. More importantly, I am starting this new year with God first! He has revealed Himself time and time again! He has shown his faithfulness and extended his grace in my life in 2011 and all the other years since 1979...so why wouldn't He do it again?
Because of who and all that He is, my resolution is to start each day eager to worship him; to take more time and be still in His presence, to embrace all that he puts before me. By placing my obedience to Him first, I trust that He will give me the strength, courage, energy, passion to fulfill those so called resolutions.
2012 is already poised to be a life changing year in the Gage Family. We embrace the journey, ready to seek and follow His will for our lives with the understanding that He is able to do immeasurably more then we could ask or seek.
May He bless you and your family in 2012!