Tuesday, July 29, 2003

What's in my blood?

"I know not what strength lies in my blood, but I swear to you I will not let the White City fall, nor our people fail." - STRIDER (LOTR)

Amen, enough said!
Facing your Balrog

"A balrog. A demon of the ancient world. This foe is beyond any of you. Run!" -GANDALF

"I am a servant of the secret fire, wielder of the flame of Anor! Dark fire shall not avail you, flame of Udun!
Go back to the shadow from where you came from! You shall not pass!"

Often it's our battle with our greatest demons that transforms us into the person we are called to become. Like in the LOTR and how Gandalf the gray turned into Gandalf the white after and through, his mythic battle with the ominous Balrog on the bridge of Khazâd-dûm. He was changed from glory to glory through his battle and death. Are you facing a personal Balrog right now? I know I am and it is changing me...

"Something was coming up behind them. What it was could not be seen: it was like a great shadow, in the middle of which a dark form, of man-shape maybe, yet greater; and a power and terror seemed to be in it and to go before it.

It came to the edge of the fire and the light faded as if a cloud had bent over it. Then with a rush it leaped across the fissure. The flames roared up to greet it, and wreathed about it; and a black smoke swirled in the air. Its streaming mane kindled, and blazed behind it. In its right hand was a blade like a stabbing tongue of fire; in its left it held a whip of many thongs."

"The Balrog reached the bridge. Gandalf stood in the middle of the span, leaning on the staff in his left hand, but in his other hand Glamdring gleamed, cold and white. His enemy halted again, facing him, and the shadow about it reached out like two vast wings. It raised the whip, and the thongs whined and cracked. Fire came from its nostrils. But Gandalf stood firm.

'You cannot pass,' he said. The Orcs stood still, and a dead silence fell. 'I am a servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the flame of Anor. You cannot pass. The dark fire will not avail yoiu, flame of Udûdun. Go back to the Shadow! You cannot pass.'

The Balrog made no answer. The fire in it seemed to die, but the darkness grew. It stepped forward slowly on the bridge, and suddenly it drew himself up to a great height, and its wings were spread from wall to wall; but still Gandalf could be seen, glimmering in the gloom; he seemed small, and altogether alone: grey and bent, like a wizened tree before the onset of a storm.
From out of the shadow a red sword leaped flaming.
Glamdring glittered white in answer.
There was a ringing clash and a stab of white fire..."
-LOTR (Tolkien)

Sunday, July 27, 2003

Sheesh she stinks
Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life was one of the worst movies I have seen in a long time. Make me gag.
Cheesy, over the top, bad acting, slow...it was dumb and dumberer. What a waste of brain waves, If I wasn't sitting next to my lovely wife it would of been a complete waste of time.


Does Mel have a woman issue?
Did you notice that in a lot of Mel Gibson movies the wife/girlfriend is dead or gets killed? (Braveheart, Patriot, Signs, etc)


Saturday, July 26, 2003

Scarred the crap out of me!
I watched "SIGNS" last night. It's taken me awhile to get around to it. I don't really enjoy "scary" movies and I know this one wasn't really that scary compared to most but it was creepy. The whole "what's behind the door" thing always gets me in the gut, As a friend of mine says: "It makes my butt pucker". I really liked the movie though. A story about falling form grace and then being brought back wrapped around an Alien story was great! That is the type of writing that Christians need to be doing in the arts. Taking spiritual themes and presenting them in a creative, non preachy, non-cheesy way, with an edge that can cut through most peoples thick anit-religious skin. Good job guys! You scarred me and made me think all at the same time bravo! Another cheers for using Goliath's sword.

Thursday, July 24, 2003

This made me laugh out loud! I find myself laughing a lot at Mark's blog. He says things I wish I had the guts to say.

My blog is about as beautiful as William Shatner naked. Sure it can be overly dramatic, but it's real hard to look at.http://waterbrain.blogspot.com/ -Mark Riddle
This is a song written by Angela Hunt my sister in law.
She recently emailed this song of hers to me in response to an email I sent out about the wooing of God.
I thought it was a great:

I lay asleep... but my heart is awake
and in the distance beyond a still voice is calling my name
Lord your calling my name
but I do not answer your call, even though I hear you crying out to me
making this one plea... that you will make a way
this is when I heard you say

"I'm here knocking. I'm here reaching
I'm hear waiting for you to run to me
When will you open that door?
Wen will it be me your reaching for?
You know I will wait for you evermore"

I'm so tired of myself always getting in the way
How sweet is the voice that is calling my name
Lord your calling my name
Now I'll rise and find the one I love
and I will never let you go
for this one thing I know...
that you will make a way
Lord, listen to me say

"I hear you knocking
see you reaching
I know you're waiting for me to run to you
I'm ready to open that door
Oh Lord it is you I'm reaching for
You don't have to wait for me anymore"

For my soul longs for you my Lord
What can I do my Lord?
But worship you my whole life long
For you're my love and my song
I will never let you go
This I know

THE END ----- P.S. This song was inspired several years a go by a
message you preached -Angela

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

The comics on this site have quickly become some of my most fave. A bit in the same vein as "Red Meat" if you are familiar with that one. I like this one more though.

Have been reading CS Lewis's "Out of the silent planet". I have not read fiction in a long time. I used to read it exclusively but after becoming a christian I somehow felt it was nolonger a good use of time or something. I have really enjoyed it now though and I am finding Lewis's SF more enjoyable than anything I have read form him before. I have had a hard time connecting in the past with any of his writing, it just didn't do it for me.

I am also reading a book on Jesus by Philip Yancey (The Jesus I never knew). I love his writing. I wept many times just reading the first chapter. He speaks to me like few other authors do. I found myself pondering the point he made about God revealing himself to the world first as a baby. We watched some of the kids birth videos last night and I found it all quite amazing to think God first came as a helpless baby. What a revelation, a daring act, a amazing mystery. God emerging cell by cell in Mary's womb. God growing. Wow what a thought.

We went camping this last week for two days up on Priest Lake ID. It was hot but the lake is one of the most clean and clear around here. It's a huge lake too, as most are around the Inland NW. It was great to swim and watch the kids play in the sandy beach and have so much fun. Me and the boys went on a hike into the woods and up a large mountainside. There are bears around the camp, so it was a bit unnerving but fun. We found bear crap and the bear's stash of food and garbage he had stolen in a midnight raid from camp. Camping with 7 people was a bit challenging but still fun. It was Alicia's (our new 16 year old member of our family) 3rd time camping. She did great, it was fun seeing her experience it. One tent, 7 people, always a memory ;)

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

The whole life of the good Christian is a holy longing, what you desire ardently, as yet you do not see…By withholding of the vision, God extends the longing. Through longing He extends the soul, by extending He makes room in it. Let us long because we are to be filled…that is our life, to be exercised by longing.”
–St. Augustine

Are you being "exercised" by your longings?
Vexed by your visions?
Maddened by your musings?

Has your heart grown sick from the long winter of your hopes? Have you been waiting for the summer and it hasn't arrived? It amazes me how much I learn about myself from not getting what I long for. There's a holy wisdom in the 8th month agitation.

My soul is being extended, the stretch marks will be with me forever, I am sure. It's got to be a ten pounder by the way I carry it.

Sometimes it's fearfully silent and I think something must be wrong and then I am kicked in parts that don't respond well to such violence; but I am left ruthlessly aware of life again. Vision is alive.

Ahhhh the abuse of it all, the bloody path of birth.

I am being "exercised" by my longings!!!!

Oh Augustine, you put flesh on my hauntings, your pen is an illumined one indeed.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

"My God, What is a heart
That Thou shouldst it so eye and woo
Powering upon it with all Thy art
As if thou hadst nothing else to do?"
-George Herbert (Mattens)

I am amazed at the persistence of God. His ever looming shadow that seems to always beckon me nearer.
His gentle knocking, His whispers to my wayward mind.

Like the maiden I often find myself saying:

"I slept but my heart was awake. Listen! My lover is knocking; Open to me..." -SoS 5:2

He finds me, no matter where or what I find myself hiding within. The hound of heaven ever pursues me. He appears in the music, movies, books, the child, in the birds, the singing of the trees, the depth of the water.

Everywhere I am, He is there in it but not of it...but through it.

It is a mysterious thing to know He desires my heart.
My core, the very innermost intimate place, the real me. Not a superimposed religious self, or a propped up "be good because others are looking" facade but the true me; the raw me, all of it, the inside of the cup too.

I don't know if that encourages anyone else but the fact that I feel Him pressing in on me even when I don't seem to respond as much as I should, gives me hope. Like the sun that always rises, always spreads forth it's life giving warmth and power, so I bask in the ever dawning of God.

Monday, July 14, 2003

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
But desire fulfilled is a tree of life.”
–Proverbs 13:12

God is a God of dreams. He often speaks into our watery subconscious; planting a future possibility within our heart like a shadowy rock submerged in a deep pool. In our sleep He often writes on our hearts, quiet moments when we are most vulnerable to His voice. These dreams, these thoughts, these stirrings of illumination can awaken faith and stir hope; they are holy epiphanies.

But life is unpredictable like shaving while driving…the unseen bumps in the road slice us open with wincing and unexpected pain. We are often left profusely bleeding, messy and bewildered by the suddenness of it all.

Often our encounters with the razor edge of life, leaves us bleeding deceivingly slow. We lose soul strength, our hearts stop beating hard; we no longer pant after much but settle down into a long yawn.

We can get jaded or just plain bored with youthful idealism and settle for mocking because it’s easier on the heart. Like Fantine in Victor Hugo’s “Les Miserables” we bemoan the death of hope in haunting song:

I had a dream in time gone by
When hope was high
And life worth living
I dreamed that love would never die
I dreamed that God would be forgiving
I had a dream my life would be
So different from this hell I’m living
So different now from what it seemed
Now life has killed my dream.

For many of us, we have forgotten our dreams. We’ve let go of the thoughts of building a unique future and resigned to live out someone else’s vision for our life.

“Without a deep and burning desire of our own,
we will be ruled by the desires of others”.
–John Elderidge

We no longer really pray… not because we have lost faith in prayer, we just no longer have anything that stirs the waters of our soul. Nothing seems to penetrate our petrifying hearts. We have looked into the face of life for too long and like Medusa, she is turning us to stone.

Like Lot’s wife our constant gazing backwards into what we have known immobilizes us from ever looking forward. We are stuck, a pillar of salt, a monument to an obsession with the past. An altar to what was instead of what can be.

Desire gives fervor to prayer. The soul cannot be listless when some great desire fixes and inflames it…Strong desires make strong prayers…The neglect of prayer is the fearful token of dead spiritual desires…There can be no true praying without desire”.
–EM Bounds

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst –Jesus

We need an encounter with the Lord of Eyes (Rev. 4:6), the God of vision. To be lifted out of the creeping blindness of disillusionment. We need God to again give us mouth to mouth resuscitation to revive our deflated souls (Gen 2:7).

Like Elijah we need to let go of our preconceived ideas of how life should turn out. Let go of our dramatic and flashy preoccupations with thunder, wind and fire and await the Holy Whisperer to come.

Great displays of power can be watched from afar but only those who are intimate and close can hear the whisper.

We have retreated into a cave of disappointment. We hide in our homes, in our TV’s, our computers, our food or whatever else can numb our monotonous suburban souls. We no longer look for mountaintops but have settled for dark holes of safety where we nurse our lonely realities.

We need the voice of God to visit us and call us out of our subterranean wanderings. We need the all-consuming fire to once again ignite our passions; we were not designed to be thermometers but thermostats!

Give me a man in love, he knows what I mean. Give me one who yearns, give me one who is hungry, give me one far away in this desert, who is thirsty and sighs for the spring of the Eternal Country. Give me that sort of man, he knows what I mean. But if I speak to a cold man, he just doesn’t know what I am talking about.” –Augustine

What has sent you to the cave? An illness, a career slump or a brutal divorce? Have you receded into the dark because life has stung you and you can’t get the stinger out? Have you abandoned your passions because it’s uncomfortable to be pregnant with dreams? Do you go through life doped up on spiritual birth control because you can’t handle the stretch marks that vision gives? Are you tired of living in that holy tension of believing before you see?

The whole life of the good Christian is a holy longing, what you desire ardently, as yet you do not see…By withholding of the vision, God extends the longing. Through longing He extends the soul, by extending He makes room in it. Let us long because we are to be filled…that is our life, to be exercised by longing.”

My prayer is that you will be recommissioned like Elijah. Sent out to live a life that is attuned to the whispers of God. To let go of changing the world and instead search out your three (1 Kings 19:15-17). Three men and a whisper is all that God desired of Elijah to focus on and with God that is enough.

God is speaking in the whispers of your desires and no matter how small they may be, in God’s hand they can even turn a nation.

“You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.”
–Ps. 145:16

“Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart”
–Psalms 37:4

"Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive."
-pg 200; Wild at Heart - John Eldredge

One of my fave quotes from a must read book and author. Here is another one that struck me too:

Soren Kierkegaard once said, "If you mean by Christian what the Sermon on the Mount says about being a Christian, then in any given time in history, there might be four or five such persons who would have the right to call themselves Christians".
The fellowship of His sufferings:

Last night I was in Martin Hall Youth Detention Center sharing with young offenders and touched on something that makes me come alive.

I was talking to a 13 year old girl named "Chelsea" who had been in Martin Hall 4 times. She had waved me over to talk after the short message during our biweekly outreach service and sharing time.

She was relating to some things I had said and was starting to share more, when all of a sudden a fight broke out among two young guys. The guards quickly subdued the melee and then told us we had to leave. A very normal procedure due to the volatile atmosphere.

I was so disappointed because I was on the verge of a very profitable conversation with Chelsea. As I stood up and told her I would pray for her, I could see the disappointment in her eyes too. I stood there suspended in that place where time seems to stop and God's heart is heard pounding with an ache that seems to be louder than what is going on around me. That moment when you can see the heart of a child that is longing for love, for meaning, for sharing. Those moments are desperately holy to me. Moments like those bring the reality of Jesus's words about being in the "least of these".

I left feeling the sorrow of God, I could taste His tears in my soul. I know the fellowship of His sufferings, the man of sorrows, in those moments. A bitter cup to sip from, I can't imagine what He feels drinking to the dregs...

Saturday, July 12, 2003

First test on new blog