What better way to finish it off than with a road trip with our favorite listeners?
Admittedly, the audio isn’t perfect in this episode, but we had a fun time driving to a local hot-spot, Dodge Park where we got out and sat by the river while we talked about road trips we’ve both taken recently and the lessons we each learned.
Stepping out of the car at St. Ignatius Mission in Montana, the air was thick with smoke from recent fires throughout the western US and Glacier National Park. Everything was quiet and still.
Before us stood the Mission Church, the place where, in approximately 1890, my great, great grandfather, Eli “Kelly” Cyr was raised from the age of 8, after his mother died of lung fever. The eldest of 5 children, Eli and his brothers were sent to St. Ignatius Mission while his two younger sisters, under the age of 2, were sent to live with relatives until they were old enough to join their brothers.
Eli (far right) and his younger brothers, circa 1890.
“The Mission, and the town that grew up around it, was founded in 1854 by Jesuit missionaries and named for their founder, St. Ignatius Loyola. In the following years it was the home of the first Jesuit theologate and industrial arts school in the Northwest, the first Catholic Sisters and Catholic school in Montan, and the first hospital, sawmill, flour mill, printing press, carpenter shop and blacksmith shop in the Mission Valley.”
– excerpt from St. Ignatius Mission: Historical Site. 1977
“Main Street of St. Ignatius with Mission Church and School in background about 1895.”
During his time at the Mission, under the tutelage of the brothers and sisters, Eli learned how shoemaking, music, and cooking. Each of these skills proved beneficial as Eli struck out on his own, eventually marrying and having a daughter. Through the years, he was a cobbler, a bandleader, and the owner of a confectionary and a restaurant.
While the Mission was founded in 1854, this church wasn’t built until the 1890s and is one of the last remaining buildings affiliated with the Mission due to multiple fires and lack of funding.
Construction of the Mission Church was completed in approximately 1893. Walking through its thick, oak doors one is immediately met with an impressive array of murals covering the walls and ceiling. These murals were all painted by the Jesuit cook and handyman, Brother Joseph Carignano. Brother Joseph had no formal art training, but he did have a vision and a dedication to the project he felt called to.
The three paintings behind the altar are representations of three visions that St. Ignatius Loyola had. Above, is a depiction of the Last Judgement.
Though the Mission Church was not fully completed before Eli Cyr had grown enough to strike out on his own, and while many of the buildings were destroyed by fire, there are still remnants of what was there during his time.
The flour mill was in operation from 1864-1934
The flour mill now. Just a shadow of its former self, yet beautiful all the same.
The flour grinding stones that remain are now located near the Mission Church as a testimony to the productivity of 70 years.
St. Ignatius Mission was a vast community in its heyday. There are no longer records to let us know how many boys and girls came through its doors as students or orphans, much less the Jesuit Brothers and Ursuline Sisters. And while many of its buildings are no longer standing, it is a treat to walk through the grounds and get a sense of the history.
Built in 1854 by the Jesuit Fathers and Brothers, what is now the Mission Museum was originally a log cabin that the Brothers slept in. The upstairs is no longer accessible as it has been ceilinged off.
I do wish I knew some of what my great, great grandfather thought about his time there. There aren’t any actual stories from him that have survived time, just shadows that he passed on to his daughter, faint traces of a young boy who, for the most part, enjoyed his time with the Sisters, especially in the kitchen.
It was an absolute joy to make a connection, however distant, to someone I’ve only heard and read stories about. Eli was a man who, like us all, struggled with his faith and how to live it out. I’m sure he didn’t do it perfectly. But he did it.
As an adult, he helped build a church or two. He and his wife, Clara, were constantly opening their home to whatever Father, Brother or Sister was coming through their small town. Their hospitality was bigger than their budget and everyone seemed to be blessed by their friendship.
And while my family now is not Catholic, it’s good to be able to see a bit of my ancestral past and know that there is a heritage of faith that has been built through the generations. I hope it will continue to grow for many generations to come.
My traveling buddies, left to right: Evan (son), Molly (daughter), Jenna (friend).
Hey y’all! I’m really excited about this episode because my dad is joining me in it!
What? How can that be?
No, I haven’t figured out a way to communicate with people beyond the grave, but I am super fortunate that my dad recorded a bunch of his music over the years and I have some of it. So, at the conclusion of this episode, you will hear my dad singing a song he wrote in the ’80s. It was recorded in our garage studio, the original Throne Together Studios with his good friend, Phil.
(Shout out to Phil, who’s been a worship pastor for a lot of years and now has a ministry ministering to men and women who lead us weekly in worship. Go check him out here. He’s a cool dude.)
Anyway, this week’s episode is what it’s all about. It’s why we are so passionate about bringing you this show every week. It’s all about Jesus and the price He paid so we could come face to face with the God who made us.
Though only one scripture was directly referred to, many were referenced. Here are some of them:
*The Gospel accounts that relate the story from just before the crucifixion until Jesus’ ascension to heaven: Matthew 26-28, Mark 14-16, Luke 22-24, John 17-21
*Jesus clarifying the fulfillment of the law (“You have heard it said…”): Matthew 5:21- 22 and verses 27-30.
*Paul’s explanation of the fulfillment of the law: Galatians 3:10-29
*Grace is a complete and free gift: Ephesians 2:8-9
*God calling you the apple of His eye: Zechariah 2:8
If you have any questions or want to know more about dedicating your life to God, please get in touch with us. We would love to answer any questions we can or help put you in touch with someone close to you who can help guide you.
What’s meant to be a piece relating to this week’s episode is instead going to be me saying I don’t know what to say.
Y’all…I’m exhausted! This summer has been so busy! We’re finally at that age where our kids are growing up and doing more independently and with friends and I had the weird notion that life would slow down a bit. I was wrong.
I don’t know exactly why it’s been such a whirlwind, I just know that it has.
That being said, I think I need a break.
By the time you’re reading this, I will be in Lakeside, Montana with 3 teenagers. We’re going to go look at the Youth With A Mission campus there. That’s where I went over 20 years ago and it started something new in me. Now, it’s my daughter’s turn. As she considers what she wants to do after high school, this seems like a good option.
We’ll see. All I know is, I’ve got three teenagers in the car for 4 days for a super fast road trip and I’m really, truly excited!
I’ll fill you in upon my return.
In the meantime, have an amazing finish to the summer or 2018. It’ll be gone before you know it. Make the time count.
“For the Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting
and His faithfulness to all generations.”
– Psalm 100:5
This last Sunday a remarkable thing happened. I worshiped at my home church.
Admittedly, this doesn’t sound like such a big deal. But wait…. This was the church building I grew up in, the one I helped pound nails into when I was a little kid. The very building that I watched grow from a tree covered plot of land to a log church at the base of Mt. Hood.
Still, why is that remarkable?
Twenty years ago that church, along with two other churches in the area, decided to have a marriage, so to speak. Three churches became one.
Folks, church merges happen all the time. That’s nothing new. What’s exceptionally rare is when those merges work out.
That’s what happened in this case. Matt and I had already married and moved to Utah so I didn’t get to witness this marriage first-hand, but I heard the good news from family and friends.
And this last Sunday we had a 20-year anniversary reunion to celebrate it all.
Here’s the super cool thing: in that celebration, I got to see people I hadn’t seen in over 20 years. I got to see men and women, now gray and starting to show the effects of age, who helped shape and mold my life as a young believer. It was a beautiful collage of people from varied walks and backgrounds all converging in one place to raise their voices to praise the God who unites us as a family.
But there were several people who weren’t there.
There are those who, like my dad and my former pastor, have already gone to be with the Lord. There were also those missing who had only recently passed away, the wounds still raw from their sudden and early departure. There were those, too, who are coming to the end of their days, their health preventing them from making the trip to join us for such an occasion.
It was a beautiful picture of the Now and the Not Yet.
It was a reminder of the faithfulness of our God who unabashedly pursues us.
I was 7 years old when I asked Jesus to come into my heart and take me to Heaven if I died. I had no idea what I was signing up for. All I knew was that the people around me seemed different and I wanted what they had. I didn’t know it then, but it was hope and joy. They had a confidence that drew me in, wrapping me up in its warm embrace.
In the years that followed that child’s prayer, I continued to watch the older kids and adults that filled my days. I listened to their conversations about their faith and understanding of who God is; I watched as they struggled to put into practice the ideals that the Bible teaches. I saw God’s characteristics being manifested in my family, my youth leaders, my mentors and people who didn’t even know I was watching them.
And little by little, my own faith began to take shape and grow. I had my own struggles and battles to overcome, along with shining moments and clear victories. All the while, there were a handful of adults, wiser and more generous than I, who remained faithful to pray for me as I learned to spread my wings. They came along quietly but boldly, challenging my thinking and encouraging my faith.
In ways big and small, they helped me become the woman I am today. They were gentle and compassionate, full of grace and truth. Without their prayers and willingness to invest in a spiritually clumsy, selfish, and often impetuous kid, it’s impossible to say where I might be now!
As we sang together on Sunday, I closed my eyes and let the music wash over everything. The little church was packed tight and the voices filled it to the rafters with a sweet, sweet sound. And as I looked around afterward and saw the faces of the young and the old, families who were all together from the tiniest babe to the grayest of grays, it was evident that God has indeed been faithful through the generations.
I walked away that day with a sense of awe at how loved by God I am. He has welcomed us each to the table and calls us sons and daughters. He has lavished us with His love and grace. He has gifted us with people to share life with; people that can cheer us on and prod us forward. He has called us to be the same for somebody else.
We are the luckiest people in the world! We are part of the biggest, most inclusive, mixed up, eclectic family. How cool is that?
Who are you investing in? Is there someone in your sphere who needs a spiritual big brother or sister? What are you doing to show them Jesus? If there isn’t anyone like this in your life, why?
I’m just saying…somebody’s watching you. Whether you know it (or want it) or not, if you’ve publicly called yourself a follower of Christ, you are being observed. What are people seeing?
I don’t know about you, but I want to keep this cycle going. I want to sit in church someday with my own children’s children on my lap, knowing that they, too, are being taught the love and truth of a faithful God.
(P.S. To my mountain church family, I’m pretty positive that Dad, Stan, Grandma and Grandpa Wall, Jack, Jason, Ed and all the others who have gone before us were joining in the singing. There were angels in the rafters, I’m sure.)
This week we travel alongside Jesus as He makes a quick trip through Samaria where He meets a woman and turns her world upside down. Listen to the full episode!
Brandy takes us to John chapter 4 and walks us through why Jesus traveling to Samaria was a strange event in the first place and then shows us the significance of what happened there. From the compassion He shows to a woman with a life full of sin to the way that Jesus saw every day as an opportunity to share His message of hope and redemption to the people He encountered, this simple story is chock-full of challenges to us and the way we interact with the world. Scripture:John 4
At the conclusion, Brandy shares the importance of reading Show Notes. (This very page so if you’re here, congratulations!)
For a complete transcript click HERE Email us show ideas or road trip stories
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For years I had, on our front door, a little sticky note that read, “Remember what God has already brought you through.” It was a quick visual for me to see each and every day reminding me of God’s faithfulness so that when I stepped out of the relative safety of my home, I would carry this one simple truth with me.
It did, in fact, become such a habit to look at that it lost its punch. I got very good at quoting that little phrase but somehow forgot how to apply its truth to my daily life.
It turns out, I’m not so different from the Israelites, after all. And chances are, neither are you.
Looking through the book of Exodus you will see scores of times that those folks just plumb forgot all the awe-inspiring things God did to provide for them. He made water gush out of a rock because they were thirsty. He dropped manna from the skies so they could eat. He appeared to Moses who proceeded to glow with God’s glory for over a month.
I know some pretty cool and highly talented people, but none of them can do anything even close to that, y’all. And God did this kind of thing on a regular basis.
But somehow, it never seemed to be enough to make a lasting impression on these guys.
Take, for example, chapter 14 in the book of Exodus, the time God led the Israelites through the Red Sea over dry land. Here, the Egyptians are in hot pursuit of the Israelites. I imagine the best car chase scene you’ve ever watched in a movie but with chariots. The Israelites pulled up to the sea’s edge and must have thought it was over. I mean, it’s not like they could just swim across the sea, ya know?
So, God, being God, works through Moses, who bangs down his staff and wah-la! The sea begins to dry up and the Israelites, looking back and forth at each other, shrug their shoulders and start to walk across the dry seabed.
They cross and meanwhile, the Egyptians get swallowed up by the raging waters that are coming back to life after the Israelites pass by. Boom! Mic drop.
God did a super big thing. Surely this is the event that is going to stick in their minds for the rest of their lives and they will never again complain to God about His timing, His provision, His purpose…whatever.
In fact, in chapter 15 of Exodus, following this Main Event, the Israelites write a song of praise and sing it to God.
“The Lord is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise Him; my father’s God, and I will extol Him. The Lord is a warrior; The Lord is His name. Who is like You among the gods, O Lord? Who is like You, majestic in holiness, awesome in praises, working wonders? You stretched out Your right hand, the earth swallowed them. In Your lovingkindness You have led the people who You have redeemed; in Your strength You have guided them to Your holy habitation.”
-Exodus 15: 2-3, 11-13
That’s beautiful! They get it! They recognize that God is far above all other gods, that He alone saves and redeems His people and that He is worthy of praise.
Man, they didn’t even wait for the next chapter before things go south.
In verse 22, directly after they have sung this beautiful song to the Lord who saved them, they come to a place where they are thirsty and there’s no sign of water. Granted, it had been three days. I imagine that’s got to be uncomfortable in ways I’ve never personally experienced. All the same, the grumbling begins.
How quickly they seem to have forgotten what God has already brought them through. How easily they have let that miraculous event fall to the back of their memory like some far off dream.
I look at that and I want to smack those foolish Israelites up-side the head and say, “Pull it together, man! Don’t you remember what happened three ding-dang days ago?” I get so exasperated as I read of the Israelite’s wanderings. They are a tiresome lot, aren’t they?
But then…ah, you knew it was coming…I think about all the times I forget about all that God has brought me through. I forget the times when he provided money just as the cupboards were running dry. I forget about the times that doctors have been willing to treat some very serious medical conditions even though I didn’t have a penny to pay them. I forget about the healing God has brought about in broken relationships, relationships that by worldly standards should never have been redeemed.
But still, He is faithful.
Here’s my challenge…and I mean this. I don’t want you to just read this and think what a great idea it is and then fail to do it. I want you to take a few minutes and on sticky notes or notecards or scrap paper, write out the ways that God has been faithful in your life. One word or phrase per piece of paper; enough for you to be able to glance at and be reminded of God’s faithfulness in your past.
These are little memorials, guys. That’s all they are. Little markers that you can then post around your house, your car, your office to remind you that even in the midst of this current storm, you can be sure that God is with you because He’s been with you in the past.
It’ll take no more than 15 minutes. That’s less than the time it takes to watch a dumb sitcom. What are you waiting for?
Go make a memorial so you never forget that God is faithful even when we grumble.