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What would you do with the gift of extra time?

My brother-in-law and his wife found their way to the marriage altar the same year Laura and I did—1992.  Laura and I celebrated 28 years of marriage last month, while Mark and Carla will be celebrating anniversary number seven, at least on the actual day of their marriage.  How so?  Leap Year.  They proudly married on Leap Year Day, February 29, 1992, and since that day only rolls around every four years, they justify their quips of being married seven years with two daughters in their twenties.

That’s right, we are now in another Leap Year, where February 29 is added to our precious Gregorian calendar, giving us 366 days to live instead of the usual 365.  I don’t want to bore you with too much detail, but Leap Year was invented to compensate for the earth’s annual trek around the sun, which lasts a fraction longer (about .2422 of a day) than the Gregorian calendar’s 365 days.  By adding an extra day every four years or so (the year must be divisible by 4, and a century year must be divisible by 400), the calendar stays synchronized with the four seasons.  Without it, the calendar would be off by 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 45 seconds each year.  Feel better?

So, why all the fuss?

What if I told you that I could miraculously give you an extra day—a day that only comes around every four years?  What if I could give you the gift of extra time?  Time beyond what’s normally scheduled to fit in 365 days a year.  What would you do with that gift?

Well, thanks to some brilliant astronomers and other scientists, we have that gift available to us this year.  My question to you is: What are you going to do with it?  How are you going to live in that extra time of February 29? 

God is not surprised by the surplus of time.  He “determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place” (Acts 17:26).  He is the One who created “lights in the vault of the sky to . . . serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years” (Genesis 1:14).  He knew all along that this year, 2020, we would have the gift of an extra day.

My suggestion is that before you cram it full of regular Saturday activities and treat it just like any ordinary day, why not set it apart as a holy day, a Sabbath?  Why not receive this gift of an extra day and use it for laughter, rest, and re-creation of your mind and soul? 

Don’t worry, “time keeps on ticking, ticking, ticking into the future.”  March 1 will be waiting for you right around the corner, and life will go on.  But what a blessing to step out of the normal 365-day year and live the extra 366th day in celebration and joy.  Let’s enjoy it while we can because we won’t see it again for another four years.

Posted by Rick Grover, Lead Pastor with

How About a Little Romantic Realism this Valentine’s Day?

After all these years, I finally figured something out. I tend to have a romanticized view of life. Here’s what it looks like: Life is always better somewhere else—a better job, a better house, a better car, a better spouse. (Not that I’ve ever experienced the last of that list, but I know others who have.)

Romanticism is debilitating because it never finds God in the ordinary. We struggle with seeing how we could possibly serve God in the boring, daily routine of getting up, eating food, going to work, coming home, eating more food, and going to bed, only to get up and start all over again the next day.

Romanticism is never sustainable. Just ask anyone who has tried to perpetuate the waves of romantic highs. The tide comes in, and the tide goes out. Blessed be the name of the Lord. When the tide goes out—and our emotions with it—we find ourselves shifting down from romanticism to resignation. “I’ll never love again.” “This is my lot in life.” “Mine is a hopeless situation.”

When we always seek the extraordinary, we wake up in the ordinary and resign ourselves to a gray existence. Romanticism and resignation are all-or-nothing thinking. Every day is either blue skies or gray and dreary.

But there’s a better way. Jesus calls us to Romantic Realism. God does show up at times in extraordinary ways, but He is also there in ordinary moments of everyday life. He moved through the judges and prophets of old, but He also used a widow and little boy to teach us lessons of deep faith (Mark 12:43; John 6:9).

Romantic Realism gives us fresh eyes to see the world around us, in all of its brokenness and pain, as a place where fresh flowers still bloom and the sun still shines. Here we find contentment while we still long for “a better country, that is, a heavenly one” (Hebrews 11:16).

So, as Zack Eswine once wrote,

“If you are wearing yourself out trying to be and do more than this, Jesus is calling you to stop all this tramping about and come finally home. The great work to be done is right in front of you with the persons and places that his providence has granted you. For me, this means reading the Webster-Kirkwood Times or the St. Louis Post Dispatch, when it sounds much more sexy and feels much more important to read the New York Times or USA Today. I can read the former without the latter but not the other way around because here is where he has called me. Here is where he is working. Here is my past, my place, my life, his glory” (The Imperfect Pastor, 249).

So whether you’re in or out of a relationship this Valentine’s Day, remember this…the grass isn’t always greener. Let’s not miss the current moment because we long for moments yet to come. Join me in celebrating the God of the ordinary who also specializes in doing the extraordinary.

Posted by Rick Grover, Lead Pastor with

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