Sunday, December 31, 2006
Saturday, December 30, 2006
I can see that longing for the mountains, dirt trails, the open spaces, the trees, the small creeks and the fishing in the faces and voices of the Karen refugees here. I cant wait for it to warm up so we can take them out and into the rivers and the lakes to swim, walk and rest in the quiet...a small but hopefully rejuvenating experience for them.
There is such loss in all of this forced resettling for the refugees...home is such a powerful thing and to lose it or have it driven out of your life, taken from you or burned to the ground has far reaching effects on the soul and heart of a people.
I see this especially in the eyes of Haley the 12 year old son of Moon Light....the loss of friends and playmates, of home, of simply understanding...is caught in the far off look in his face at times.
It is a look that....well, is just...sadness.
Whenever you find tears in your eyes, especially unexpected tears, it is well to pay the closest attention. They are not only telling you something about the secret of who you are, but more often than not God is speaking to you through them of the mystery of where you have come from and is summoning you to where, if your soul is to be saved, you should go to next. --Frederick Buechner
I pray they find that way.
Friday, December 29, 2006
of conjugal attraction unreprov'd,
And meek surrender, half-embracing lean'd
On our first father, half her swelling breast
Naked met his under the flowing gold
Of her loose tresses hid: he in delight
Both of her beauty and submissive charms
Smil'd with superior love, as Jupiter
On Juno smiles, when he impregns the clouds
That shed May flowers; and press'd her matron lip
With kisses pure: aside the devil turn'd
For envy. . . . (Milton, Paradise Lost, IV, 492-503)
I have recently been delving into the works of Rodin, master sculpture and a old dead dude that could make your blood boil with his hammer and chisel! The man was on fire.
"Art can never exist without naked beauty displayed" -William Blake
It amazes me how frigid most christians are about sexuality when one of the most sensual and erotic books on the subject is in the Bible. The Song of Songs is a romp through the passions of marital pleasure and yet, we act like sex is somehow ungodly. Or at least it's insinuated to be lower nature impulses that need to be hidden in the basement like the red headed step child; instead of a gift worth celebrating.
Speaking about love and it's many faces, Solomon spoke of it's combustible nature when he testified: "It's flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the Lord." -Songs 8:6
Notice the ease in which he speaks of the the surging passions of love and God. The two are not cloven as they are in the church. Fire is dangerous, it can harm, destroy and consume a fertile plain and make it a smoldering field of ashes. But it can also awaken the soul with it's light. It's steam has propelled mighty vessels with it's power. It's warmth makes the cold of life bearable and it's dancing magic offers respite from the haunting shadows of night.
Our God is a consuming fire according to the writer of Hebrews; a reflection of which we can experience in the smoldering bosom of our passions. It's a wonder being created in the image of God and this side of God is a mystery indeed!
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
He is one of the lead artists in a new series on Conan the Barbarian graphic novels. Issue one and two have been out and I am awaiting number three in May. His work is very Frazetta like...manly, monstrous men, full figured, beautiful women(no puny, sickly waifs here), intense battles with art and striking coloring that is superb.
part one: http://www.stainlesssteeldroppings.com/?p=341
part two http://www.stainlesssteeldroppings.com/?p=344
part three http://www.stainlesssteeldroppings.com/?p=343
It comes from one of her favorite pictures of me that was taken at a friends pool. We had taken the kids there on a hot afternoon and were having a grand old time. This came out amazingly well considering faces are real difficult for me to do at this point. I was pleased.
Monday, December 25, 2006
This is one of the main verses I spoke on yesterday. A message about the dawn of God that was found in the face of Christ. Trying with all my might to help capture the hope that was and is pregnant in the above verse. Christ is the dawn of God and the gospel is the good news that the Light of God has come. As I preach, I often wonder if the same inspiration that is released like a fragrant flower to me in the verses...is as intoxicating to those hearing.
It's impossible to pass on revelation, we can only pray that the same light we encounter by His Spirit through His word will be ignited in the minds and hearts of those listening.
Yesterday after the message a man came up and stood before me. He was taller than me and he looked just like the picture of this man.
Hard and worn...he stood there silent more than anything else.
You never know what someone is going to say in those moments until you look into their eyes.
He didn't say much and didn't really know what to say other than in a slightly hushed tone..."I am really glad I came today". I could sense the spiritual weight that is present in a moment when something is taking place that is the work of the Holy Spirit. So as he started to withdraw, I reached out and asked if I could pray for him. He said yes and I laid my hands on this big man's shoulder and I prayed.
As I ended and looked at him, his eyes were melting before me.
Tears were rolling down his leathered face, trailing downward in the deep lines in his cheeks, that seemed more like canals than wrinkles.
Moments like those are holy.
You can see "the way of peace" being opened right before you and...you can perceive shadows passing.
Sunday, December 24, 2006
noun: a person who directs the route or course of a ship, aircraft, or other form of transportation, esp. by using instruments and maps...steersman, pilot, guide, wheelman.
It amazes me how frightened people are of new things....even old words applied in new ways.
I heard that some people "out there" got all bent out of shape because I have used the word "navigator" to describe the work and way of a pastor or leader. Ummm...read the above dictionary meaning folks...I think it applies quite correctly.
It is this kind of thinking and paranoid nit picking that keeps many people far from our doors. I am so glad that the people we are in community with are of a different mindset and heart. If we are to reach this generation we must be willing to dare, to stretch, change and sacrifice some things we are familiar with. In every karos moment of history there were those who feared and those who dared.
We are children of the new creation...that means "newness of life" is in our redeemed blood. We are ushering in a kingdom that is not of this world. We are releasing a new dawn that will extinguish this present darkness and result in a new earth and new heavens in the age to come. We live on the crest of a crashing wave of God that will one day culminate in the realization of a dream that has been dreamt by God alone.
The torn veil in the temple on the day Christ died was as much about God getting out as us getting in. That is wildly unpredictable and daring!
The word of God says: God has not given us a spirit of fear that leads to slavery again. Those who have tasted freedom know the prison fear creates and flee those who use fear to control, malign and poison.
God help those who are sailing with such people...in the end they sink ships.
Beware fellow travelers: The guns they point at others will someday point at you!
God never intended churches to be places of safety and predictability. We’ve taken Jesus’ barbarian call and have sanitized it into a religion we call Christianity; a far cry from the movement we see in the apostolic church...Jesus wants to pull us out of the doldrums of this civilized and tamed religion of mediocrity. He wants to release us to become an uncivilized, untamed incitement of faith, love and hope and reclaim that primal passion to serve a lost and broken humanity...designed to unleash the barbaric faith within the hearts of leaders and cultivate the dreams lying latent in their souls.
Saturday, December 23, 2006
Friday, December 22, 2006
Thursday, December 21, 2006
"Our enemies are before us," exclaimed the Spartans at Thermopylae.
"And we are before them." was the cool reply of Leonidas.
"Deliver your arms," came the message from Xerxes.
"Come and take them," was the answer Leonidas sent back.
A persian soldier said: "You will not be able to see the sun for flying javelins and arrows."
"Then we will fight in the shade," replied a Lacedemonian.
(From "Pushing to the Front" by Orison Sweet Marden)
300 is based on the epic graphic novel by Frank Miller. 300 is a ferocious retelling of the ancient Battle of Thermopylae in which King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) and 300 Spartans fought to the death against Xerxes and his massive Persian army. Facing insurmountable odds, their valour and sacrifice inspire all of Greece to unite against their Persian enemy, drawing a line in the sand for democracy.
You can see two trailers here:
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
This blasted pestilence keeps descending on my poor little flesh. This time everything didn't expand like a small volcano thank God. But instead it just looks like I got tagged with some lead in the hood. I guess that is what I will tell people...I got these in a drive by.
Or...there's an urban vampire on the loose that has some nasty meth eaten fangs that after he bites...you get infected.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada: A beautiful, slow-burning drama about love between friends, the length to which loyalty should be prepared to go and how sometimes our memory of events makes us feel better than the events ever did in reality.
-Gareth Higgins is the author of How Movies Help Save My Soul: Finding Spiritual Fingerprints in Culturally Significant Films (RELEVANT Books).
As someone who considers himself a fairly post-anal-retentive-knee-jerk-hyper-sensitive-navel gazing introspective-law yoked-do gooder...I must protest! Come on Gareth, come on Relevant, in the name of all that is even semi good, can you really promote this foul mouthed, brutal and chaos filled film? It plummeted me with non-stop profanity and ugly sexuality that was oozing from juvenile selfishness instead of marital beauty. It forced me like a train wreck, to endure a wife being practically raped and humiliated from behind by a self centered pervert. I finally dove for the remote after what seemed like an eternity of wading through a continual flow of putrid humanity for the proposed cinematic gem hiding underneath the viral video; when in reality it had been less than a half hour!
Excuse me while I spiritually puke into the proverbial toilet of regrets. I'm sure in this post-everything judgmental atmosphere, quoting a "slice" of scripture might seem a bit less avant-garde' but hey in the spirit of all things controversial...
"When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, your lives will produce these evil results: sexual immorality, impure thoughts, eagerness for lustful pleasure, idolatry, participation in demonic activities, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, divisions, the feeling that everyone is wrong except those in your own little group, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other kinds of sin. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God." "Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. -A letter from the apostle Paul to a bunch of idol humping barbarians, that had recently emerged from a flesh drenched, panty praising pagan culture." (Galatians 5:19-21,24)
Come on relevites...please don't turn this radical cultural reformation into a fleshy free for all. True gems come from extreme pressure, like the kind that produces excellent films that don't drag the viewers into cinematic hell...just to find a Cubic Zirconia!
Monday, December 18, 2006
Our family and some of the kids friends joined us and we went and saw "Eragon" at the theater the other night. My son Christian has read both books and is a fan, so he was pretty excited to see it. I am a major fantasy fan (I watched LOTR the two towers and almost all of the ROTK last night on tv, which makes ??? times). It was a good film as long as you dont compare which is hard to do in the wake of LOTR trilogy for me. CGI in the movie was real good, the dragon was by far light years ahead of say, the "Dragon heart" movies. Those blow compared to this dragon. I dont think there was one scene where I thought, that looks cheesy or obviously blue screen.
But in the end after looking back, it was the story that suffered, even though according to the book readers it was the story that was supposed to make this movie great. But I think the adaptation failed yet again. In this day you have to have a killer story to really compete for the attention of the viewer. There are just too many effects available to see today.
But I actually think that is good because it is going to force the best writers to the top. I really have a hard time trying to connect with a character in a 1.5 or 2 hour movie that is trying to CGI me into oblivion. I am not going to care if the dragon dies if I have no story to connect me emotionally to the character. That is what sunk The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe for me....I didn't give a whit for the characters, they were unbelievable and too cutsie.
After watching some of the LOTR last night, it nailed it again for me, you have to have a great story and people who are able to turn story into a great film are critical to making something work on film that was a book. My son thinks the readers will yet again be disappointed by yet another film that castrates a fantastic book. Thats what made LOTR such a success, you saw on film what you had visualized when you read the books, thats a gift.
Eragon is a good movie worth seeing on the big screen (dragons have to be big you know) but I would go at discount times.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
1. Congregations will not understand the unity of the Bible or the progressive nature of revelation. They will fall prey to those proclaiming the disunity of the biblical message; and a fragmented Bible cannot be recognized as the inspired word of God.
2. Congregations will not understand the centrality of Christ for interpreting Scripture and the meaning of life in our world. Recourse to people and events—particularly those of the Old Testament—will be valued mainly for their exemplary lessons, and not for their typological contribution to understanding the person and work of Christ. They will not see that Christ in his gospel is the interpreting principle for scripture and, indeed, for all reality.
3. Grace will be eroded by legalism. Preaching that principally points to the examples of Bible characters leads almost inevitably to legalism since the connection with the gospel of grace will be clouded or even completely lost.
4. The application of Bible texts will often be short-circuited. The Bible is reduced to a lucky-dip of texts all of which are perceived as standing in the same essential relationship to the Christian believer, and the progressive nature of biblical revelation in salvation-history is ignored.
5. The presuppositions of the New Testament in portraying Christ as the fulfiller of the Old Testament will be overlooked so that the fullness of Christ’s person and work is undermined. Teaching from the Old Testament is particularly at risk.
6. The doctrinal formulations of the church will be seen as less important in that their relationship to the progressive revelation of the Bible will not be evident. Biblical theology and doctrine work together for a robust understanding of God and his purposes for his people and the world. -Graeme Goldsworthy
Saturday, December 09, 2006
Friday, December 08, 2006
Here is a list of some spiritual things you can go out and do today, if you want to be spiritual. Lifted from http://markhorne.wordpress.com/2006/11/27/how-to-be-spiritual-according-to-the-bible/
- Drink and eat a lot with family and friends (Deuteronomy 14.22-27; Ecclesiastes 9.7).
- Include strangers, people below your socio-economic status, and characters of ill-repute in these parties–if you notice they aren’t being treated in a really welcoming manner, you may need to invite fewer of your friends in order to produce the right environment (Deuteronomy 16.10-15; Luke 14.12-14; Luke 15.1, 2).
- Have frequent sex with your spouse (Ecclesiastes 9.9; First Corinthians 7.2-5).
- Enjoy your work (Ecclesiastes 9.10).
- Work hard (Ecclesiastes 11.6).
- Worship God in public with other people (Psalm 100, ad infinitum).
- Sing really violent songs as prayers (The Psalms).
- Loan money without expecting payment in return (Luke 6.35).
- Pursue profit in business–otherwise you are never going to be able to afford to be open handed (Luke 19.20-26; Ephesians 4.28).
- Enjoy the luxuries you have (Ecclesiastes 9.8).
- If it is an especially holy day, and you hear the Law of God and are feeling especially convicted for your many sins, make sure you don’t weep but rather go party and share food and fellowship with others (Nehemiah 8).
- Gently restore people you catch in wrongdoing and don’t demand payback when you are the victim (Galatians 6.1, 2).
- Teach your children to be spiritual(Deuteronomy 6.1-9).
- Don’t care if anyone else judges you or your children as unspiritual; care what God thinks (Romans 2.28, 29).
Prophecy is a spiritual gift that has been an ongoing gift that the Holy Spirit has manifested through me ever since I was born from above at age 15.
It is a gift of the Holy Spirit though and like all the gifts they come and go like the wind. Jesus said that those born of the Spirit would operate much like the wind. There would be a coming and going nature about them that is unpredictable in its pridictableness.
For me it comes in seasons. Like a spiritual tide that I cannot command, call or force but simply await and flow within. Sometimes it is strong, sometimes calm, at times His voice is loud and in others moments...quiet like a whisper.
Lately His voice has been approaching gently but clearly. This morning at 3:30 am, I was awakened by a tearing sound. I woke up and lay there and then prayed and He spoke.
"I have put the power of my Holy Spirit in your hands"
I immediately laid my hands on my head and chest and prayed for my health issues. Then this phrase came to my mind. I have never heard it before but it summed up the moment and I anticipate the days ahead, he spoke again.
"In the name of Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit, for the glory of God"
All of my advancing moments of change and new ground being taken have been prophesied times. I have "seen" them before I ever did them. I know the "My times are in Your hand" as David said. These days are fruit from years of suffering, prayer, sowing and waiting. God's word and His promises to us are coming to pass in some phenomenal ways. We should take time to prayerfully thank God for His plan, His love and His goodness to us.
The new year is almost here and I sense that it will be another amazing year of deeds done...In the name of Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit, for the glory of God!
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
As Paul modeled in Acts: 21:10-14
“After we had been there a number of days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. Coming over to us, he took Paul's belt, tied his own hands and feet with it and said, "The Holy Spirit says, 'In this way the Jews of Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles.'" When we heard this, we and the people there pleaded with Paul not to go up to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered, "Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus." When he would not be dissuaded, we gave up and said, "The Lord's will be done."
Notice that the brothers and sisters seemed to misinterpret the Lord’s statement about the future or at least they handled it with emotion first and put pressure on Paul as a result. That whole interchange is fraught with emotional pull. Imagine the pressure, you can hear it in Paul’s response. I think many christians would hear that word and heed it as some kind of warning not to go to Jerusalem because they wrongly assume that danger is somehow to be avoided instead of endured or faced. Many people prophesy about “pit’s with Lions” and expect us to flee or avoid such dangers but there are some who see the dangers, observe the horrid circumstances and challenging obstacles and yet...still jump in the pit!
“And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was a valiant man of Kabzeel, a doer of great deeds; he smote two ariels of Moab. He also went down and slew a lion in a pit on a day when snow had fallen. And he slew an Egyptian, a man of great stature, five cubits tall. The Egyptian had in his hand a spear like a weaver's beam; but Benaiah went down to him with a staff, and snatched the spear out of the Egyptian's hand, and slew him with his own spear. These things did Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and won a name beside the three mighty men. He was renowned among the thirty, but did not attain to the three. And David set him over his bodyguard. (1 Chronicles 11:22-25).
Jump in the pit!
Someone’s life depends on it, a nation depends on it, your own soul depends on it.
Is it dangerous? Yes. Could you die? Yes. Would it be easier to avoid the pits? For sure, most people do. Will you regret it in the end? No. You will never forget it because the fight in the pit is a completely different brawl. It makes you who you are supposed to become.
Avoid the pits and avoid your destiny.
God help us to lead “mighty men and women” who don’t run from prophesies of danger but hear them as confirmations of being on the right road! Let us lead the way with courage and boldness in the spirit of faith. Humbly hungry for dead lion meat!
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Learning how to blend our interests, education, economics and mission into a unified plan that will provide economic sustainability for producers and the consumer is critical if we are going to truly help the poor. Throwing money at the problem doesn't work, finding ways to empower and prosper will. This company catches that vision and models what I envision happening on a multitude of levels.
EDUN is a socially conscious clothing company launched in Spring 2005 by Ali Hewson and Bono with New York clothing designer Rogan Gregory. The company's mission is to help increase trade and create sustainable employment for developing areas of the world with an emphasis on Africa, providing a business model that others can replicate and follow. Buy a shirt and change lives here: http://www.edun.ie/one.asp
Do you have a interest in fashion? Imagine working in a chronically vain industry and finding a way to mine some of those rich gold veins of wealth for good, while still creating great art! There has to be a major enlightenment in our minds as to how to advance justice, mission and humanitarian aid in order to truly engage all of us in the work of ministry. Our mindsets need to be shifted to see possibilities that are just waiting for the entrepreneur to discover, design and deliver.
A whole new missionary force is just waiting to be unleashed....if they could just see the gifts God has given them are His call.
Saturday, December 02, 2006
Friday, December 01, 2006
My wife and I are arguing about whether the below invitation to a
free, afternoon pedicure would be appealing to anyone other than a
homosexual male or girlfriend.
Invitation for my husband:
You and I
side by side
soaking our feet in a hot, sudsy pool.
A messaging chair gently works on our tired muscles.
Next, we get a full foot and leg message, strong and slow,
while we chatter about our dreams and wishes.
Next of course we get cleaned and clipped and scrubbed,
followed by a paraffin wax, hot and smooth for our rough parts.
Ahh...you wait outside while I finish off with polish.
Wanna join me?
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Monday, November 27, 2006
I find that doing art has similar challenges as walking out faith; particularly when it comes to making the commitment to put an idea on canvas or paper. It takes courage to commit to trying. I am currently working on a painting of Marilyn Monroe. I struggle with realism, so painting a woman is a real tough one for me. Deciding to try and take the step to put the paint on the canvas was tough. Paint isn't cheap! So learning is expensive, so I have to count the cost and once I start there is no turning back....good or bad.
The truth is, you only become better at your craft by doing your work. No other way around it and in fact the more risks you take the more satisfaction you find. I wanted to do more stuff and in order to accomplish that, I had to let go of what I was familiar with and venture into the unknown. I am so glad I did. Learning to let go of realism was a big hurdle for me. Most of my art has always been copying other peoples art. So having everything look just like the original was critical. That is important as a new artist but sooner or later you have to stop reproducing other peoples art and make your own...that is a step of faith too.
It takes a measure of courage to be an artist.
Sunday, November 26, 2006
Yesterday a bunch of us decorated Jacob's Well for the Christmas season. I will post some pictures soon of the amazing decorations and the two sidewalk windows that are amazing! It was cool to be able to add some beauty to the neighborhood and show we love it and are glad to be here.
I was amazed at the hard work and creative ideas that the crew had. But what really moved me was that after the few that were left at night were done, they came up with the idea to go and put Christmas lights up at one of the KaRen's homes. So after a long afternoon of work, we trudged off in the freezing cold and did a drive by lighting for Moon Light and his family. It was so great to see his kids faces pressed up against the window with smiles from ear to ear. it made the bitter cold worth it.
I knew it really was special when a neighbor came out and watched us throwing the lighting party. You never know what kind of impact you are having when you simply live it, not programed, planned or pushed...just faith working by love.
With all the dissing on churches these days...last night made me proud to be a part of this community of Christians. You folks amaze me.
All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law." 11 Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, "The righteous will live by faith. -Galatians 3:10-11
Ohhh that's mighty stiff! Many Christians can't take it that strong, they want a watered down swig of a "different" gospel. Under a curse...chew on that for a while. I started a new series of messages today from the book of Galatians. We will be going through verse by verse for the next 6 weeks. A condensed but potent look at Paul's theological stick of dynamite that goes for the jugular of works based gospels. This book is not for the timid, Paul takes the gloves off and goes fist to face with a distorted gospel.
We...know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified....if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!" -Galatians 2:16,21
Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. Galatians 5:2-4
Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law. -Galatians 3:25
Friday, November 24, 2006
With a lot of feedback from the article, I want to clarify a few points.
* This whole journey is one that God has brought all of us into. There is an obvious unfolding plan of God in the events, people and circumstances in all this. No one can take credit for the work or the opportunity to serve the purposes of God. He awakens, empowers, connects, softens and makes one sensitive, sheds light, puts faith and love in our hearts and weaves continents, people and stories together for His glory and for Justice.
* Each of us are called to carry our own load in it all. Some are called or choose...to risk and sacrifice more.
* We must obey the call of Jesus to serve, love and work for justice for the poor....Especially the ones that we live with or around. That is the whole point of the good Samaritan story. You look under your nose first and then out to the fields around you. Mission isn't something you wait to do, it is something you are on, no matter where the location.
* If we obey the call of Isaiah 58 the promises of the chapter will follow too.
* God most often uses people who are willing but sometimes He knocks you off your self-focused horse (Like Paul) blinds you with a God-focused revelation and transforms you in an instant for His purpose and glory.
* The main point of the article and my first hope is that Burmese lives are saved, political, humanitarian and religious action is stirred, our KaRen brothers and sisters in Burma get their freedom and lives back. It's about them.
My hope and prayer is that people will stop dreaming and move to vision. We need dreams but more than that we need a vision on how to fulfill that dream and that will take faith, courage, boldness and plain old guts. Nothing that is important will happen without putting your butt on the line. There are plenty of dreamers in the grave with their dreams.
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Monday, November 20, 2006
Trail with daisies and barley
Down the rivers of the windfall light.
And as I was green and carefree, famous among the barns
about the happy yard and singing as the farm was home,
In the sun that is young once only,
Time let me play and be
Golden in the mercy of his means,
And green and golden I was huntsman and herdsmen, the calves
Sang to my horn the foxes on the hills barked clear and cold,
and the sabbath rang slowly
In the pebbles of the holy streams.
-Dylan Thomas, "Fern Hill"
I love this piece...if you cut open my soul and looked on the outside of it's skin, this would be tattooed on the fabric of my memory. You could read it woven out of a hundred gasps at discovered beauty as a boy. fleeting minutes that were holy and end up seared into your desires and never leave no matter how many paved streets you are imprisoned out of necessity to walk. These places are easily read in the scars from adventuring that cover my aging flesh.
It's sad that the wounds that are more fresh and visible are the results of lesser things. Oh for the splinter, the bruise, the bumps and the badges of exploration that only are awarded to the ones who are oblivious to tomorrow and were...kings of the moment.
Sunday, November 19, 2006
It reminded me of the "Mighty Men of Valor" described in 1 Chronicles 12:8 "...men trained for war, who could handle shield and spear and whose faces were like the faces of lions and they were swift as the gazelles on the mountains." There are not enough men with the faces of lions today. The tumultuous righteous hunger has been doused with a pretty pink pepto piety. Mighty men of valor know what they want and go after it. Many boys in grown ups clothes today haven't a clue what they want. Or they live under paralyzing mentality that they don't deserve what they desire so deeply in their numbed hearts. They have allowed themselves to be de-fanged of the necessary bite to fight for what they must, to become who they were born to be.
It gets safe at the place of familiarity. Mild accomplishment can breed besetting timidity and a fearfulness can set in like a debilitating spiritual arthritis. It can turn a once hungry man into a sedentary could have been. It reminds me of the chiding of Moses to the sons of Gad and Rueben, "Shall your brothers go to war while you yourselves sit here?
Have we found our war? Or will we be content to sit back and watch someone else fight for our amusement?
God stir our blood again and again and awaken in our breast the fierceness of the lion of Judah, until we hunger like we have never hungered before!
capture the homeless faces in a powerful way, worht a look if you like photography.
Friday, November 17, 2006
This year we will be throwing a Thanksgiving Dinner at Jacob's Well Church for anyone who wants to join us. So far we have around 60 people. It will be amazing to sit down with our KaRen friends and truly see gratitude and pure thanksgiving. Not unlike the early pilgrims must have experienced after fleeing political and religious oppression in their own homeland.
This holiday season we have the blessing of living out the heart of Jesus as expressed in Matthew 23:25 "I was hungry, and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty, and you gave me drink. I was a stranger, and you took me in." We truly have much to be thankful for in this great nation and it's been moving to watch our KaRen friends discover that for themselves.
Please pray for my brother Matt and the team as they risk much to bring aid to these people during the holiday season. It is dangerous work and they need our prayers.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
The above statistics are brutal but in many ways they are understandable to me based on how most Christians are exposed to "missions". If the need is always presented in a impersonal, non-connected, paper-based or video-based way...you won't generate much sustained momentum for a cause. (oh and by the way, where is he drinking coffee?)
I think people need to connect with people they know, they need to see, touch and hear the world they are trying to be awakened to help. That can come about through finding ways to move from just being a church that has visiting "missionaries" to becoming a church that is on a mission. Seeking as Erwin Mcmanus says to build a church full of people who see themselves as missionaries no matter where God calls them to live. I long to send out people to plant churches not just support those who we discover are doing it. I think it takes both but if we are honest, we really have not seen to many people carry a call to the nations and actually go. Lot's of talk but not lots of walk in this area. I long to see that change.
The “wine” of heaven is to endlessly experience God’s love passing through one’s soul as it is expressed to others. That is at the heart of missions. We go because we love and we love because God has placed His love within our hearts. Our capabilities create responsibilities. Our indifference creates casualties. We are needed to advance the purposes of God in this generation.
The hardest thing for people to believe in the world is that God is good. What is God’s plan for making this believable to suffering people? We are the plan. He doesn’t have another plan. You are the light of the world – let your light so shine among men that they will see your good works and give glory to your father in heaven -Author unknown
I pray that God will grant us the boldness to act on His word in ways that will unfold more and more stories that will proclaim His glory to the world. Stories that produce this result: "Tell your children about these things, then let your children tell their children, and let your grandchildren tell their children." (Joel 1:3 NCV). Let's create history with our own hands and feet.
Those who love stay awake when duty calls, wake up from sleep when someone needs help; those who love keep burning, no matter what, like a lighted torch. -Thomas Kempis
I truly believe that the Lord of the Harvest has a "burning torch" for some people or place for all of us in some way that only we can fulfill. Will it cost? Yes, will it be worth it? Yes...eventually.
Then about two days ago another set of wonderful infections started appearing under my arm and the largest yet. I woke up yesterday feeling mighty low and running a fever, so I headed to the doctor. The lump according to the doctor was about the size of a grapefruit internally/externally, he tried to lance it but nothing really came out (real fun process) so they sent me to get a CT scan. That's where they shoot you with some strange dye and put you in a metal coffin and soak your bodies with radiation and watch the scientific food coloring go through the infected areas and see if there is anything going on that will require a surgeon to deal with. The results came back good, no internal pockets of infection.
It appears that the last infection from the bite returned because the antibiotics were not strong enough. But....(don't Doctors always find something else?) they detected I had pneumonia on-top of it all. No wonder I was feeling like dung. I mean coughing up bloody lung butter and squeezing out puss from various small painful flesh volcanoes makes for a tough little day but at least I understand why I felt like I had absolutely been drained off all my energy too.
Sooooo I just have to wait the infection out and rest, blah blah blah. All of this started in October, which just happened to be about one of the most busy times of the year for me with everything going on here. Hoochee Mamma it's been tough.
So the moral of this gross story little children is:
Stay away from spiders.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Friday, November 10, 2006
In 1 Cor. 4:1 Paul says: "Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. And in Col. 4:3-4: "Praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned; that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak.
What challenge and holy responsibility. In the last few weeks there have been many times when I began to reach into the mist of these mysteries and by God's grace tried to preach Christ in such a way as to bring light to things hidden concerning the mystery of salvation. It is a difficult yet important task but one littered with potential dangers and I think that is why many seem to avoid the topics. Even the reformers were wary of digging to far into the secrets of God and implored us to preach what was revealed because the secret things belong to God. Speaking of the dangers of trying to figure out the deep counsels of God concerning salvation Calvin warned that it could become: “...a labyrinth, from which the mind of man can by no means extricate itself." and the wild boar of the reformation warned: “The old Adam must be quite dead before you can endure this matter and drink this strong wine. Therefore make sure you don’t drink wine while you are still a babe at the breast.” -Martin Luther
"...grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" -2 Peter 3:18.
I am about to complete a 5 week series on the five Sola's of the reformation: Scripture alone, Christ alone, grace alone, faith alone and this week is God's glory alone. It has amazed and troubled me how many people seem to be hearing these theological truths for the first time.
One comment showed me the reality that so much of our conversations about the bible, christian life and faith are clouded in man centered ideas and teaching. One person made this innocent but revealing statement: "So my christian walk is based on what Christ did?"
Is hearing a gospel from childhood to adulthood that is based on man's work very serious? Well...listen to Paul in his letter to the Galatian church:
If anyone is preaching to you a gospel different from or contrary to that which you received [from us], let him be accursed (anathema, devoted to destruction, doomed to eternal punishment) -Galatians 1:9. Thats serious business, them be fight'n words for sure!
Is the clarity of the gospel essential to living and walking with Christ?
According to the Apostle Paul, it really is and yet so many people really have a confused understanding of Christ's work and the completeness of it. Ask most christians why the gospel is good news and they most likely can't tell you...oh, how far the church has drifted from the rock of the finished work of Christ. God give us more reformers that will preach Christ and Him crucified.
A woman went up to the bar in a quiet rural pub...
She gestured alluringly to the bartender who approached her immediately.
She seductively signaled that he should bring his face closer to hers.
As he did, she gently caressed his full beard.
"Are you the manager?" she asked, softly stroking his face with both
"Actually, no," he replied.
"Can you get him for me? I need to speak to him," she said, running her
Hands beyond his beard and into his hair.
"I'm afraid I can't," breathed the bartender.. "Is there anything I can
"Yes. I need for you to give him a message," she continued, running her
Forefinger across the bartender's lip and slyly popping a couple of her
fingers into his mouth and allowing him to suck them gently.
"What should I tell him?" the bartender managed to say.
"Tell him," she whispered, "There's no toilet paper, hand soap, or paper
towels in the ladies room."
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Sunday, November 05, 2006
Pray for them and my brother as they work to serve God's purposes for these amazing people. They serve at great risk and personal sacrifice.
God Speed brothers and sisters, we are praying for you.
Saturday, November 04, 2006
Friday, November 03, 2006
I finished reading a recent article on Christians and the arts and
realized so much of what is being said is so mamby pamby. So much of
the conversation is painfully timid. It made me long for someone to
let lose a whip in the temple. God have mercy is there any fire
burning in anyones bones today? I appreciated the discussion
presented in the article but found myself hoping for something more
salty. Many of the thoughts though correct in my opinion were tired
and bland. They felt like words with mittens on. I long to see some
bare knuckled writing, taking the gloves off and go for the knock
out. So much of the conversation sounds like two English women
sipping tea instead of the iconoclastic ruminations of an artist on
the edge. Maybe the artists need to start speaking up instead of the
ones consuming the art?
In fact, that really is what is needed...more artists to just do
their art in the boldness and in your face rawness of the artistic
tradition. More talk just seems to muddy the water. It reminds me of
conversations I have with people who tell me they are "into" art. I
ask to see their work and they make up excuses to why they have
nothing to show. An artist does art, a writer writes, a photographer
takes pictures, a film maker produces a movie! STOP TALKING AND DO
Write something that grabs me by the balls and ignites my freezing
blood. Throw out the buffet style discussions that all taste the same
and are made for dying people eating with dentures. Give me a thick,
juicy steak that awakens the feasting madness in me that is needed to
break out of this MSG culture.
For God sakes and for hell bound souls...Somebody pick a fight and
throw a punch that matters.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
I talk to God.
How can one not respond to the One who is speaking (Hebrews 12:25).
I think a lot of the teaching on prayer that I hear is anthropocentric,
a big word that means man centered. We lose sight of the great truth
of the gospel both hidden in the shadows of the old or in the light
of the new that God is the initiator and we are the responders. I
think that is an important to understand in prayer and most
everything else in the christian life.
I think a lot of the issue is our culture. We are a self focused
people, everything holy gets turned into something about
me...somehow, someway. Most of the excitement about prayer is often
focused around something that has do with benefiting me, my church or
our little world. Now, I do think that prayer is about us as well..we
are the ones called to pray and present our needs to the Father. It's
the move towards a circus like atmosphere that was present on the top
of mount Carmel that worries me. It's the way a holy act of
listening, sharing and obeying starts looking or sounding like a work
instead of a means of Grace.
I pray...But my prayer life is with a person not a machine.
Person-hood has seasons, movement, closeness and nearness, periods of
great passion and intimacy and eclipses of shadow. The tide comes in
and moves out. There are times when we are united in such a way that
one seems to be lost in the other. But there are also times when both
of us seem to be on different planets talking through a can and
string. I don't worry about it. I don't wring my hands in a heat of
manic introspection. I trust the seasons and the Life of God in me and
for God to be the initiator in my spiritual life. I trust Him to be
Lord and shepherd of my soul. I have placed my spiritual life in His
hands and He has been faithful to lead, guide, correct and resurrect
me. He visits me by His grace and through the means of grace that He
has given me to enjoy and draw near to Him. I find Him because He
reveals Himself to me in many ways and many forms and the results are
always a humble thankfulness for His self-revelation to me. He draws
me, He speaks to me, He walks with me as a friend who has said He
would never leave me nor forsake me. That frees me from performance
and fear or a need to bend His arm. It liberates me from thinking I
have to get His attention, wake Him up or kick Him in the pants to
get Him to do something. I have resigned to the fact that I am not
God's secretary, wife or parent. I am simply His servant, here to
serve Him at His bidding. That is a place of rest, not inactivity but
form a posture of peace, security, confidence and humility.
I have been involved in the prayer movement...in different forms. I
was at the CAll DC, I've trekked to the UK to talk, see and
experience some of the hotspots of the 24-7 prayer movement, I have had contact with some of the leaders and offspring of the movement. I've read the books, the websites and been involved in the "flow" as it
expresses itself in corporate gatherings and local late night prayer
and fasting vigils. I cut our youth churches teeth on MIdnight
prayer. I'm just trying to give some background to show that I am
speaking from within not without the movement. I hope to help read
the map, adjust the sails and arrange for the best man power where it
is needed to catch the moving wind. A crazy yet necessary task, I am
also tending to my own sails and seeking to best equip the church to
catch the great wind of God that was unleashed on Pentecost and is
making its way through our planet in His time, in His way and with
His glory in sight as the end.