Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Conjuring God?

To be honest, I am currently really rethinking my theology of prayer and have some concerns about the underlying assumptions that seem to be building in the 24-7 prayer movement; many which I am starting to think are stretching biblical truth to far and counter-productive to a healthy spiritual life. Obviously I support any gathering of the local church around Christ for the purpose of worship or evangelism or works of Justice. But I don't believe in conjuring God in any way, shape or form, which I fear is subtly being taught, inadvertently or consciously. 

Conjuring mentality is something that charismatic and Pentecostals have a real problem with in practice and theologically. I am from that wing of the church and over the years I have seen the growing trend towards more and more experiential focused events, music and ministry. And it all begins in the language, mindsets of leaders. I personally dont want to enforce the man centered focus of much of this movement. To me it doesn't exalt Christ or emerge from a finished reality of the work of Christ but a move to move God. It puts man as the one who awakens God, pushes God, calls God down, arranges this or that to somehow convince Him to come or do something...which to me, is dangerously anti-new-covenant.  

God is here, He has come, He has been poured out, His work has accomplished most of what we are asking Him to accomplish. I fear there is a host of Christians that have found a way to serve God without really doing anything but talking to each other. The whole temple worship, ministry and pattern is a mere shadow of the REALITY we now HAVE in CHRIST...I have real trouble with teaching that builds on the shadows of the law era. We are in a new covenant that according to Hebrews  is "not according to the old" Heb 8:9. So when I see a "rebuilding David's tabernacle" approach either functionally or theologically, I have to pull back. The whole point of "David's Tabernacle" was the inclusion of the gentiles not worship, a grave misapplication of scripture that has been the backbone for a whole lots of unscriptural ideas, teaching and practices. I worship, dance, speak in tongues, prophesy, wave banners, use instruments, sing in the spirit, lay on hands and all that but none of it is meditorial or has any summoning power...no matter how long I do it, how loud I don it, how energetic or skilled I do it. 

Much of what I see and hear seems to imply or move people towards this kind of understanding. It becomes not an unveiling of Christ but a work that we accomplish to move Christ. I am concerned that we are going against the apostolic admonition that warns in Romans 10:6 "The righteousness based on faith speaks as follows "Do not say in your heart, who will ascend into heaven? That is to bring Christ down...I see that mentality spreading quickly through many branches of the church. We can't bring Christ Down.

I am not writing this to sound elite or aloof but simply desire some theological discussion but the underpinnings of this progression scripturally and as it relates to the gathering together of the saints, local. I have maintained a connection to all things "church of Spokane" out of respect for the elders of the city and the teaching of the new testament and to maintain the unity we all ready have in Christ and will continue to do so but I will also raise these issues as I have a responsibility as an elder in the city as well, to lovingly hold fast to the head, so that we can experience a growth that God causes.  

Monday, October 30, 2006

cylon fever

Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
If you have not seen the new Battlestar Galactica on the Sfi-channel than you are missing one of the best if not the best show on tv. I like it better than Heros, Prison Break and maybe even 24. It is not a kids show for sure both for content and because it is a real drama. The writing is phenomenal. The characters are deep and you get hooked real bad. Watch the free iTunes season 1-2 overview to catch up with season three. I bet you get hooked by it too.

The moon is under my feet...

The true preaching of the gospel of salvation by grace alone always leads to the possibility of this charge being brought against it. There is no better test as to whether a man is really preaching the New Testament gospel of salvation than this, that some people might misunderstand it and misinterpret it to mean that it really amounts to this, that because you are saved by grace alone it does not matter at all what you do; you can go on sinning as much as you like because it will redound all the more to the glory of grace. If my preaching and presentation of the gospel of salvation does not expose it to that misunderstanding, then it is not the gospel. -D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say,'Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!' But wisdom is justified by her children -Matt. 11:19

In Colossians 2:18-23 Paul addresses a very important issue concerning  those who seek to teach christians to live their spiritual lives according to what he calls “the elementary principles of this world” (vs. 20). These people present a faith that revolves around “decrees”(vs 21) that focus on “do not handle, do not taste, do not touch”, which he says derive not from scripture but “commandments and teachings of men” all of which have “the appearance of wisdom”(vs. 23). 

They teach a spiritual life centered on “the things that are on earth instead of setting peoples minds on things above.” (3:1). That means salvation becomes a subjective experience based on me and my ability to do this or that; instead of an objective event that Christ accomplished for me and which I enter by faith. One is constantly uncertain and the other is a finished work. 

When we base our spiritual life on anything other than Christ and what He has done, we become prey to a host of unsettling winds and waves that can prevent us from experiencing the LIFE that is ours through Him.  I rarely hear christians speaking of Christ and the work He did for them as their present reality in their walk but more about what they need to do to get closer to God.

Most Christians dont believe that they are united with God through Christ but must do something to draw near to Him and most of their reasonings are based on how they feel moment to moment, sin to sin, not what the scriptures say. Again they monitor their spiritual health by subjective analysis not scriptural truth. 

So if I base my spiritual health on a list of things I must do or not do, then I am the continual barometer of life not Christ. So shadows and sin management become my drum beat for myself and everyone else. Enjoying life is replaced with a tightrope mentality that is fearful, timid and bound up instead of free. Soon everything looks like sin, every tree in the garden is a bad tree, instead of only one tree is bad and the rest are good to eat. 

We are called into a new creation in Christ...where we can taste the powers of the age to come. Freedom for the christian is a taste of that new creation. We should be mirroring the Sun that is rising, the kingdom that is here and coming instead of the moon light of a reflected and shadowy era. 

The moon is under my feet according to rev 12 and I am clothed with the sun! What a powerful revelation of truth that is to those who can believe it and choose to live within and by that truth.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Third family

Third family
Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
Sar Loe & and his wife That Hser arrived on Wednesday night. So the three family's are all here and happily reunited on the other side of the world in little Spokane Wa. How strange indeed to think about the changes they have went through. We have expressed a desire to rent a little apartment in the same street as the other two families, so please pray that the landlord will say yes. So far God has moved every piece into the unfolding puzzle in a smooth way. This place would be perfect and I am holding on to it in faith for them. We will be posting a short video on our church website that will include video of them from their previous refugee camp so you can see their life prior to coming. We will also include a look at their new homes, the families and life here. Kind of a little biography. Then hopefully friends and family in the camp might be able to view it too.

Bite Me!

hack and slash
Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
Well I had to go back into the doctors today. I woke up and could feel the egg sized knot under my armpit skin swelling to a exploding level of pressure. It really hurt to even have my arm at my side. So I first took matters into my own hand and decided I would bite the bullet and try to open the swelling mound of red tissue. After some teeth grinding moments of pain, I was able to strike oil...well oil, if oil is carmel colored.

But I knew I needed help, so I called my wife up to the operating room (The bathroom) and had her go at it. After a short list of expletives and bare knuckling the wall and a lot of drainage I had her stop. Then she took off the bandaid on the lower wound and about got sick...full of puss and after cleaning it left a nice size hole about the shape of a nickel. So I decided to go in again. Doctor saw me, said he was glad I came in because the infection can spread to the blood and cause a host of other issues. Said the lower wound looks bad but is actually coming along well...draining is good for these kind of things.

But the upper arm needed to be cut open to release the stuff that was inside...so he lovingly stuck my already screaming bulge of sensitivity with some needles. That was about as fun as chewing glass. So after feeling like I wanted to wet my pants he cut it open, drained it and then said he needed the PROBE. Now where I come from the word probe always sounds bad, no matter what it is. Sure enough it was bad...the probe, is used to stick into open flesh and look around for anything hiding inside. Because according to him, the abscess was deep...no kidding. So he packed it full of gauss so that the drainage could continue and not build up inside the wound. As you can see from the picture it is working.

So there you go...oh I forgot, after all that the nice nurse betty said I needed a shot of high powered antibiotics in my butt...drop your shorts sir this will sting.

Yep, it did.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Breath of God

Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
God breathed into adam and he became a living soul. I see the multi-colored creative animation of God in His out-breathing.

After darkness, light.

Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
Here is my first painting since I emerged from my season of darkness last year. I got my man hole up and running again, I've got some great space but need a bit more lighting for the art studio side. This is a mix of oil and acrylic.

The hidden mines of God...

If those who are called philosophers, especially the Platonists, have said things which are indeed true and are well accommodated to our faith, they should not b e feared; rather what they have said should be taken from them as from unjust possessors  and converted to our use. Just as the Egyptians has not only idols and grave burdens which the people of Israel detested and avoided, so also they had vases and ornaments of gold and silver and clothing which the israelites took with them secretly when they fled as if to put them to a better use. They did not do this on their own authority but at God’s commandment, while the Egyptians unwittingly supplied them with things they themselves did not use well. 

In the same way all the teachings of the pagans contain not only simulated and superstitious imaginings and grave burdens of unnecessary labor, which each one of us leaving the society of pagans under the leadership of Christ ought to abominate and avoid but also liberal disciplines more suited to the uses of truth, and some most useful precepts concerning morals. Even some truths concerning the worship of one God are discovered among them. These are, as it were, their gold and silver, which they did not institute themselves but dug up from certain mines of Divine providence, which  is everywhere infused and perversely and injuriously abused in the worship of demons. 

When the Christian separates himself in spirit from their miserable society, he should take this treasure with him for just use of teaching the gospel. And their clothing, which is made up of those human institutions which are accommodated to human society and necessary to the conduct of life, should be seized and held to be converted to christian uses. ---Saint Augustine “On Christian Doctrine” book two, #6o

Happy Reformation month!!!

Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
Who loves not women, wine and song remains a fool his whole life long. -Martin Luther

Devils don't laugh...

Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
It amazes me that so often it is Christians that seem so bound, uptight, ridged, timid, fretful, skittish, paranoid, fearful, witless, humorless, constipated, frigid, morbidly melancholy, pissy and prissy.

It's a sad thing that many have become imprisoned in a block of religious ice that has frozen them. They are stiff and bland, afraid of humanness or life. They project a world in shadows instead of dawning light. They see evil everywhere, in the person, in the food, in the arts, in the fields, in the home, in conversations. They remind me of the person with the eyes of darkness, soon they become filled with shadows. They can't see light only the black. Such religion has the fall as the first act of creation and not the "IT IS GOOD" as the first proclamation of God. Creation and goodness is what we are returning to. It is what we are being transformed into from faith to faith. We are not as we will be but we are becoming more than we were.

He is called the Sunrise from on High in the book of Malachi for a reason. Jesus himself said that it was now day and we were to work in the knowledge that night was coming when no man can work. BUT that night is NOT HERE YET! The earth is being filled with the light of the knowledge of God found in the face of Christ. His face is shinning with the light of the Sun and when it hits full day, we shall be transformed by that light into his image, even our own bodies will be changed in that hour.

According to scriptures the dawn came with the birth of the Son...so what time is it now? Whatever time it is, it is time to reveal life as God calls it to be lived. We walk in the light not the shadows. He is the light of life...and those who follow Him are free in that light, to live with joy, to laugh often and to love passionately and fervently, to exude hope and faith like one who is dangerously confident.

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times, some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused if it be received with thanksgiving: For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereupon thou hast attained. (Paul: 1 Timothy 4:1-6).

Notice what the doctrines that demons bring, notice what it is that they cause people to depart from, are seduced by and listen to. Notice the words “forbidding and commanding and abstaining” compared to the words “created, received, thanksgiving, truth, good”. Now gather with most christians or listen to most sermons and tell me...which set of words do you hear the most? What point of reference is their gospel coming from? What “doctrines” are they teaching? Where do those thoughts about God, life and truth come from? I submit to you that much of what is communicated isn’t the truth of the Gospel but yet more perverted truth of a fallen serpent...doctrines of demons.

After Darkness, Light!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

My loathsome Archenemy

I believe this is my archenemy, the arachnid of Asmodeus, venomous sneak of the underworld, haunter of the holy, the horrible and horrendous Hobo!

There have been about 175 reported bites from the Hobo spider. Although the bite of the hobo spider usually is initially painless, the bite of the hobo spider can be serious. About 50% of Hobo spider bites are "dry", meaning that no venom is injected and nothing happens to the victim. Typically when the venom is injected, the victim will experience an immediate redness, which develops around the bite then may begin to disappear within a few hours. The most commonly reported symptom is severe headache. Other symptoms can include nausea, weakness, fatigue, temporary memory loss, and vision impairment.

Very often for the first 24 hours it may appear no worse then a mosquito bite, then it appears to blister in the center. Within 24-36 hours the blister breaks open, leaving an open, oozing ulceration. Lesions generally heal within 45 days, but can result in a permanent scar, and healing can require up to 3 years if the bite occurred in fatty tissue.

As you can see the bite has progressed. It is now a painful producer of putrid puss. Imagine placing a egg sized mass of swollen tissue under your skin and every time you put pressure on it, out oozes its contents. Then travel a few inches up into the glands in your arm pit and inflame them to a nice couple of olive sized irritants. I am now the patron saint of spider slaying. All Arachnids shall taste the black rubber of my vengeful boots!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

spawn of satan

spider bite
Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
I got this nasty bite on my chest. It's looking better now after antibiotics. The doctor said to try to get the infection out, if you know what I mean. So I scheduled a session with LeeElla where she squeezed the infected guts out. If a man could faint, I think I came close. My whole right side of my chest and armpit is swollen and extremely sore. Yesterday I was laid out in pain...now I have yet another reason to hate arachnids...vile, venomous spawn of satan!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Facing the Fear of Feasting...

Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
Worship with body

tithe your herbs

thithe your herbs
Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
Luke 11:42
But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.

Finally a tithe has come in of herbs. Some joker dropped this in the offering after listening to one of my sermons on how the priests of the new testament were devouring widow's houses with their extra-biblical teachings on giving. I had made a comment about how I never saw someone who believes in tithing and who quoted Luke 11:42 ever bring an offering from their spice rack at home...well now I can't say that anymore.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Moon light

Moon light
Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
One of the great things to watch in this journey of resettling the KaRen is seeing Moon Light start to take the lead in helping the next family. He is a gentle and wise man. His willingness to learn, to patiently work through all the challenges is so admirable. He is a leader who has took the first step here and he is excited to see many more come to Spokane. He tells me they are closing the camp he came from and many of the KaRen are putting down Spokane as the place they desire to come to. Moon Light will be here waiting with open arms.

He is so funny, he was telling me how Kan Shwe was laughing at the 2 liters of Pepsi...every thing is so big here! Moon Light and I took him to eat his first McDonalds cheeseburger. When we were ordering he saw the apple pie and wanted to try that but when we ate everything what he really liked was the french fries! I feel like I've already corrupted them, but ohhhhhhh it tasted so good and all the smiles at the table seemed to confirm that.

kids are kids...

Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
One of the things I have learned through getting to know all these KaRen children is that they are just like any kids I know. Even though my kids and these children can't speak to each other in english, they can communicate. Watching them all ride bikes together or slide down the slides at the park or playing video games in my living room; reveals that we are all pretty much the same. You can watch them pester each other, squabble, tease and cry. They are just like us in so many ways, which I guess I thought that wouldn't be the case.

They came from a rural village, bamboo huts with no doors. They cooked by open fires outside and a host of other completely non-urban, western stuff. But...show the girls a cute pair of shoes and there comes a smile.

Little Bah Ehdoh was chasing Austin around the house the other night singing "Happy, Happy Home"; in moments like that you realize the human heart longs for the same things no matter where it may come from.

2nd KaRen family arrived...

The second KaRen family arrived Thursday night. They are: Kan (dad) Lee (Mom) Clow(12), Klee(11), Bah Eh Doo (3).
It was quite a different arrival than the first family, this time there was a family reunion at the airport. Lee is Yoo Yue's sister, so Moon Lights family were so excited to see relatives and welcome them to their new home. You can see that joy in the faces of the two youngest as they hug each other.

We also secured a second duplex for the Shwee family and they signed the lease on Saturday and we will move them in on Wednesday. The place was trashed when we looked at it originally but the landlord really put a lot of work into it and it was fine when we looked at it yesterday. Now we just need to furnish it and it will move from a house to a home. It's a two bedroom home and when Kan saw it inside, he remarked to Moon Light that it was SO BIG! He thought they would have to have somebody else live with them because it was so large :) Oh perspective, it can turn a stone into a ladder to heaven.

Now we need a one bedroom apartment for the next sister and her husband, they are in their mid twenties and come Wednesday.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Thursday, October 19, 2006

this is nuts....

This is so wrong...in so many ways...but I still laugh, why is that?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

How rich are you?

How rich are you compared to others in the world?
Check it out:
I've got a lot of dough?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Becoming home

becoming home.JPG
Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
Moon Light's family are quickly becoming more at home here in Spokane. They have a nice 2 bedroom home in our little neighborhood. The children are all registered and scheduled to start school tomorrow at my kids school, in fact July is in Austin's class. Moon Light and YooYue are attending english classes and have learned how to take the bus, shop at Fred Meyer and got their own phone today. They join us for all our services at church. It really has been an amazing journey to watch, shape and enjoy.

YooYue's sister's family arrives Thursday night, another group of 5 and her other sister and her husband arrive on the 25th. We found and secured a 2 bedroom duplex right down the street from Moonlight for the next family and hopefully they will get the keys on Saturday! Now we need to find a one bedroom apartment for the last family.

God has been so faithful and has answered all of our prayers for these families, I give God praise for His care.

so true...

Christ vs. Moralism

Monday, October 16, 2006

I've already confessed...

Everybody going and I want to go too 
Don't wanna take a chance with somebody new 
I did all I could, I did it right there and then 
I've already confessed - no need to confess again 
-Song: Thunder on the mountain, Bob Dylan

I find God all over the place in Bob Dylans lyrics. 
It amazes me that people question his faith.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

You gotta serve somebody...and it won't be me.

In a day when it seems music is pudgy with the steroids of ego, it is
refreshing to listen to pure poetry woven into song but not
emasculated by sound. I loved that the band would soften their
instruments when Dylan would play a few notes on his harmonica. The
music was fantastic but not at the expense of the words. Dylan can
weave together words like few others can even dream of doing. His
words move me, a few times I even felt tears form. That is the power
of communication...when words become flesh.

Dylan didn't suffocate his music with himself. He came out, played,
introduced his friends that were making fire with him and left.
At first it all seemed quite detached but I realized it was an
offering from one that had learned to give without expecting much if
anything in return. We had come, that was enough. He played and sang,
that was enough. We want art to be about the person. We want to be
the focus of the performance, show us we are important, sing to us,
play for us, talk to us...and in the end...bow to us. Or...become a
manifestation of all our self seeking idolatry and make the stage
your own altar and force us to worship you....we love it so. It
really is depraved.

Dylan didn't do that...it was as if he was free in a way that seemed
so strange in the face of so many artists that have turned the art
into a anthropocentric experience. At the end the band came to the
center of the stage and just stood there facing the crowd. They
didn't smile, say anything and definitely didn't bow to us and then
they walked off the stage. Of course people stomped their feet,
screamed, clapped and tried with all their might to lure them back to
us...but he didn't come....He left.

He was free to just walk away from the stage...Oh that more people
could come to that place in their craft. I loved it.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Letting loose the Wild Boar!

Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
After darkness, light! This was a rally cry of the reformation and we could benefit from hearing it sounded yet again in this theological hazy era.

Since it is October I thought I would focus on the 5 Solas of the reformation at Jacob's Well. Luther (nick named the Wild Boar by his catholic foes) lit the powder keg on the 31st by nailing his 95 thesis to the old church door. For the next 5 weeks we will be digging into the 5 main theological points of the reformation.

This Sunday: Sola Scriptura...let the mayhem begin!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Did Dylan...

Originally uploaded by ericblauer.

Dylan, Water and rest...

Woodmark hotel
Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
LeeElla and I are in Seattle to see Bob Dylan in concert and staying at a great hotel called The WoodMark in Kirkland. We were able to steal away for a real quick trip. Our room overlooks Lake Washington and from this desk all I can see is water, sun and sailboats and the sound of water lapping up on the shore. Oh...so relaxing. We had dinner out on the patio as picture above but there was no one out there, it was sunset, calm wind and about 65 degrees.

Demon dogs from hell....

Pitbull bite
Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
Johnny, a bro from our church was visiting a friend in the neighborhood and the guys dog (a pit bull) got hungry for Johnny's leg. He had to punch the dogs head with all his might to get it to let go. Yikes! Those dogs are of the deeevil.

Rambo 4

Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
No way! Check this out, how crazy is this? Talk about being on the cutting edge...

The next chapter finds Rambo recruited by a group of Christian human rights missionaries to protect them against pirates, during a humanitarian aid deliver to the persecuted Karen people of Burma. After some of the missionaries are taken prisoner by sadistic Burmese soldiers, Rambo gets a second impossible job: to assemble a team of mercenaries to rescue the surviving relief workers.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

UFC fix

Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
Tito smashed the Shamrock tonight and it was good. But I was most impressed with Jason (The Athlete) MacDonald from Canada that dude is going to be one to keep an eye on.

a good iTunes download

"We Believe"
What a great song by Good Charlotte

Gently in Thy fire...

Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
Remember, Lord, thou hast not made me good.
Or if thou didst, it was so long ago
I have forgotten, and never understood,
I humbly think. At best it was crude,
A rough-hewn goodness, that did need this woe,
This sin, these harms of all kinds fierce and rude.
To shape it out, making it live and grow.

But thou art making me, I thank thee, sire.
What thou hast done and doest thou know'st well,
And I will help thee: gently in thy fire
I will lie burning; and thy potter's-wheel
I will whirl patient, though my brain should reel.
Thy grace shall be enough the grief to quell,
And growing strength perfect through weakness dire.
-George macdonald

Dwight's on the phone...

Send someone a telephone message from Dwight at the Office.
Too funny.

Love this style...

This video game has a very cool look to it, I have never seen one like it.

Monday, October 09, 2006

fantasy football?

fantasy football
Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
yep...sounds like something I would be interested in.

Flower of June God's face shines on you...

flower of June
Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
Jacob's Well started meeting in East Central as a gathered church in June 2006. I found out this week that the Karen phrase we had painted on our walls means something different than I thought it did. We thought it meant "flower that loves God". For me that phrase captured the spirit of our growing church as reflected in a poem I wrote at that time called "Gutter flower".

But I found out the phrase actually means "Little girl who loves June flower". Jacob's Well is truly a small flower that was planted in June.

We are so thankful to be a part of what God is growing in our community. It has been a difficult yet extremely rewarding adventure.

One of the awesome parts of this journey is reaching new people from in and out of our neighborhood. We are growing and having to adjust all our time tables because of it. So far this month we have moved past 100 people! God is so good.

We are praying that the fragrance of Christ in this little gutter flower will continue to draw those who who are awakening to the kingdom. That the graves of the dead will be opened and that our community will begin to hear the singing of those who have been brought alive by the power of God's mighty voice. That a rushing stream of grace and mercy will continue to spill out of this well and bring to life everything that the river touches. That sweet fruit will grow up among us and the leaves of of this branch of the tree of life will bring healing to the nations.

And most importantly Jesus will delight in this little flower. That she will grow in beauty for the glory of His name. That her unfolding petals will glisten with grace. Though she should be trampled in the dust at times, she will rise again and again to His glory. That she will become the host to a thousand seeds that spread on the four winds of God to other hidden places. That she will be one of many to come that will grow in unlikely and holy places.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Day 9 in America

Moon Light
Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
Moon Light & Yoo Yue sign the lease on their first American home tomorrow. It's a nice 2 bedroom duplex right around the corner from our church and around the block from our house. They are excited to have their own place and putting their new life together. Our church and World Relief are furnishing their home from the bottom to the top. It has been quite a project, collecting stuff, purchasing items and making sure they like what we are gathering. They arrived with hardly anything, some clothes and personal items but that is about it.

It has been a lot of work helping a family enter the US and become familiar with all the ins and outs of American life. Government meetings, housing, funding, medical, doctors visits, english lessons around the kitchen table, household lessons about everything from how to use our various bathroom stuff to washing machines, stoves, microwaves, tvs and anything else you wouldn't find in a village in Burma. But dont let that stuff fool you, they are smart tacks for sure. They love to laugh and are quick to learn too.

So much I could share about so many things thats for sure. It has been a stretching experience but a rich one too. Last wed. night it was cool to hear all of them singing hymns with LeeElla in the kitchen. We will have to include some in our sunday service because they know them in english. They love the Lord and Yoo Yue even plays guitar. She picked it up at the church and started singing a song with her kids...it was quite moving to watch.

So ends this leg of the KaRen journey but more is to come. Two of Yoo Yue's sisters are arriving with their families too. The first family of 5 arrives on September 22 and the second, a couple, arrives on the 25th. So it all starts over again...whew! So pray that we all will stay energized, prayerful, rested and healthy to help with the next families. Pray that we can find them housing in our neighborhood too, so that all the families can be close to each other, our church and our home.

God is good.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

This is my body...

Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
Great article on the power of birth and the sacrifice of a mother.
Here: This is my body

I saw this at the park today.

Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
I wish...

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Beer can smashing neanderthals

I have read a lot of criticism of various different ministries that are voicing messages to men about masculinity. I feel some critiques have valid points being raised but to me many are missing the real point of why these manly messages are being so received. What is it about the characters, the bits of heroic prose and imagery that are used that resonates with a lot of men? I have read many of the theological concerns with some content in books like Wild at Heart etc...and it seems some are valid but many are over the top too. I have listened to the paranoid prognostications of a mass of steroid popping, wife slapping, gut protruding, beer can smashing neanderthals storming the pews. But to me that seems to be just doing the exact type of over characterizing that the critics seem to be complaining about. 

Granted not all church bred men are sea-foam green wearing, lillty two stepping charismaniacs, with one eye cocked to the ceiling and the other glossed over. Not all talk in submissive hush tones like a beaten dog. Not all shake your hand like its made of tissue. But many do...but most of that stuff is not really the problem; though it sure does grate against many men's minds. So much so that just writing it or finally voicing it out-loud has been like finally exhaling after holding ones breath for what seems like eternity. Oh my goodness I am not the only one who cant stand that stuff! Coming out of the closet so to speak has been liberating to the male soul. Getting in touch with his real feelings has been therapeutic even if those feelings are the ones being expressed. Every woman and every man possessed with a counseling spirit wants us to talk, share, be honest and real...as long as it isn't too rough. 

Many talk about Jesus as the perfect example of masculinity, that sounds so spiritual to say, but in reality there is a few hundred layers of feminized preaching that have coated that image that desperately needs to be peeled away. I think many of these ministries are just trying to do that; redeem Jesus from the nursery and the tea parties. 

Let's be honest the Hugh Grant image of the Christian male reigns supreme. 
It amazes me that this issue seems to be up for debate. 

Much of the messages from Eldridge and Driscoll and others seem to be awakening the very core elements that undergird the very concerns being made. Being a good father, a loving husband and productive worker and a righteously ambitious expander of the kingdom are all noble endeavors. William Wallace and Maximus can embody those characteristics too. Conquest isn't evil. The challenge of Jesus to the church in Revelations is to be an overcomer. That is both an internal war and an external war against odds, hardships, failures, lack, opposition, unbelief, fear and a host of other opponents. The masculine soul is needed in such matters. An awakening of the fire in the belly is a good thing when faced with so much today that seeks to distort the true image of God in man. 

I applaud the books, the sermons, the language, the manner in which it is spoken and the edge in which it has been done. It has born great fruit in me, helped me take courageous leaps of faith, awakened His grace and courage in me and helped me see I am not alone. 

Sunday, October 01, 2006


This is Linda Po, she came to our house for the weekend to help with translating for the KaRen family. She is KaRen as well, been here for 5 years. She is a student in another town in Wa. She is studying Micro biology and plans to return to her people to help with malaria. She was sweet and a great help and thankfully she is just a call away if we need a little communication help.

One of the amazing things about this experience is seeing my kids become apart too. They have been awesome, especially Austin, he has really been a good friend, host and helper. Haley obviously enjoys the boys.

I am pretty sure this was their first swing set experience by their reaction. The little willies' in their stomach made them giggle and want out fairly quickly. It was funny to watch.

Becoming a prayer for the damned...

Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
Because of your wrath there is no health in my body; my bones have no soundness because of my sin. My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear. My wounds fester and are loathsome because of my sinful folly. I am bowed down and brought very low; all day long I go about mourning. My back is filled with searing pain; there is no health in my body. I am feeble and utterly crushed; I groan in anguish of heart. All my longings lie open before you, O Lord; my sighing is not hidden from you. My heart pounds, my strength fails me; even the light has gone from my eyes. My friends and companions avoid me because of my wounds; my neighbors stay far away. Those who seek my life set their traps, those who would harm me talk of my ruin; all day long they plot deception. -Psalms 38:3-12

If you have never seen a meth addict in the throes of a body contorting high, it's hard to explain the horror. We met Natalie on the sidewalk in front of our church today. She was painfully high if you can call a life crushing, hope stealing, body hammering...a high. She was around 21 but obviously a few feet from eternity on the road she is on.

Her name was Natalie I think, she had bruises on her arms. She wore loose clothing that hung off her contorting skinny body. Meth creates havoc on the central nervous system, you can see it yanking each nerve fiber like a master of puppets it is. Violently racing through their cerebral cortex like a city street in Bombay. Confusing, chaotic and completely out of control.

She wept openly, stumbled over her words as they poured out of her frightened and embarrassed soul. Skittish is putting it mildly. Through a mix of excuses, mumblings about men, prostitution and words that liars say to her...she begged, blubbered and simply manifested the spirit of death before us. She is being consumed like dry paper.

Some offered to pray for her, what else can you do in a moment like that?...she said she had prayed already. I stood there silent, no prayers to pray for her. I could only pray for someone to come help us minister to young women like her. I prayed for a house to care for abused women who are being raped by darkness. I prayed for a church to rise up that can say more than...can we pray for you? I am sick of praying, I want to do something...I want to be the answer to prayers for the damned.

Unfortunately there was about 8 of us around her on the sidewalk, that means there were too many for compassion to fully help. She felt like a caged animal and paced around in circles like a dog who had just been beaten...it wants to be pet but is deathly afraid of the hands that meet out pain and pleasure...it was just too confusing for her to remain there, so she stumbled off in a fit of mixed desires that overwhelmed her all ready fried mind.