Monday, December 10, 2007
Thursday, December 06, 2007
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Poor King of Kings.
Jesus is two houses down and has six children. Now he's pregnant with the seventh. I don't know if he hasn't figured out what birth control is, or what, but how does he expect his husband to feed all those babies on that salary? And you know with all those kids the Lord of Lords can't work. That means hardworking taxpayers' money has to go for Christ's food stamps.
He needs to get fixed.
The Lord is a crazy man--paranoid schizophrenic. If he doesn't take his medication, he walks up and down the street, cussing and spitting on everybody he passes. He's homeless. Nobody knows where his family s-if he's got one. Digs out of trash cans for food. Somebody ought to get him off the street.
I'm starting to see the Son of God everywhere I go. He's always crying or egging or looking pitiful. Why doesn't he pull himself up by his bootstraps? This is America!! Makes me mad. He's ruining our neighborhood.
Somebody ought to do something about him.
-Claudia Mair Burney
Monday, December 03, 2007
i hadn't even noticed that mark had posted...it probably wouldn't have meant as much as it does reading it now.
i don't really have anything inspiring to say, i guess i just wanted to tell you guys thank you.
the last few months have been hard on me...all of you know that because you've heard the story a million times.
i just like that i feel at home with all of you, like i can tell you my stories over and over and i know that you'll listen.
i know that you'll care when i'm having a bad day, and that i can actually be honest.
i've never really believed it when people told me that they cared about me, but i'm starting to...
with all of you.
i think all of you mean it...that perhaps you actually like me, and might even care.
that's a nice feeling.
like a hug, or sunshine when i'm cold.
the holidays are here...and the noise is getting turned up.
that word describes it nicely...thanks mark.
i wish for all of you that it would go smoother...that things would be easier this time, this year, this holiday season,
but the reality is that it might not and i hope that's okay too.
all the pain getting stirred up...all the things we should have said or not said,
all the time we've spent over this past year abusing each other and being selfish.
i hope that if all that does come up that you have peace.
that you can stand in the storm of hustle & bustle,
of ribbons and bows and presents,
and food and travel and stress,
and expectations and short tempers and regret...
that you could stand still as it all tosses around you,
and that somehow you could be at peace.
i don't know how to do that...
so my prayer is for me too.
but i'm learning how,
and you all are making that process so much easier.
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
Most of them are meaningless now that I've forgotten why I wrote them down. Words like "contentious". That was obviously wrote down so that I might look it up in the dictionary and expand my vocabulary or get more meaning from something I heard. Yet the dictionary remains closed.
Or there's a name, Lisa Terkeurst, and a question, "Who holds the key to your heart?". I don't have any idea where this came from and yet when I look at it the question haunts me.
Who does hold the key to my heart? My wife of course, oh and Jesus... yeah that's it, Jesus. At least that's what I like to think. The truth is, that my pride holds the door closed most of the time.
I wrote down prayers to. Mainly to help me focus on what I was praying about. But reading them brings back memories I thought were buried in the dark corners of my consciousness. They bring tears of sorrow for lost children, broken promises and misguided dreams. They also remind me of a time when I relied more heavily on God and not so much on my own strength.
I wrote a verse to a song we sing.
Jere Pfister says she saw a sign near her Heights home on North Main that captured her attention and her imagination. The sign looked like an ice cream cone with a scoop of vanilla on top. The word "Jesus" was faded but visible on the ball of ice cream. Here's the poem the sign inspired:
I wonder what Jesus-flavored ice cream would taste like.
Cool and metallic like the new cathedral in Los Angeles,
Where even the statues and Stations of the Cross are patented,
Copied, sold in-house or by mail order via the Internet.
Or salty like the tears of the wails of mothers of lost children,
Sweet trustiing children who only obey their elders?
Would Jesus ice cream taste sweet like love, sweet love,
Or bitter, sweet, lumpy, like the road to sustained love.
Would Jesus run down my hand and arm on hot days
Staining my clothes, making my hands sticky to touch
Like a vanilla-flavored ice cream cone on a hot July day,
Cause me to lick my fingers, suck them, use my spit
To clean the Jesus streaks from my arms and round my lips.
Would Jesus feed me, nourish me like communion
Is supposed to, but rarely, hardly ever does, anymore.
Friday, August 24, 2007
At this year's Willowcreek Leadership Summit Dr. Michael Porter a Harvard business professor challenged us to ask the question, "are we doing good, well". His contention is that most congregations that are trying to do good – aren't doing it very well. He said that at best we are ineffective and at worst we could be doing harm. He suggested that we change our mindset from charity & giving to that of delivering a service to a customer. He recommended that we ask "how can we add value to this particular customer." For Porter results are the key. He recommends a strategic approach that asks four questions: 1. Do we have clearly defined goals about what our objective is? 2. Where will we serve? 3. How will we serve? What specific needs will we address? More is not better. 4. How will we create alignment? Porter advocates for a sustainable solution model. There was much more to his presentation and I recommend you check it out at www.willowcreek.com/leadership2007.
I was really challenged by Porter's presentation. I believe that getting Christians to "do good" is valuable to them, to the person being served, and to the Kingdom. However, I was challenged to move beyond just the act of service. I was challenged to think more strategically – to see that providing sustainable solutions is what the Kingdom is all about. I will think differently about what my congregation ought to be doing and how I will help other congregations in the future. What do you think?
Monday, August 13, 2007
In March, I attended a workshop made up of Baptist denominational leaders and secular professionals. During lunch, as we exchanged pleasantries and unwrapped our plastic tableware, one of the participants, a young and thoroughly secular financial analyst, raised her fork and asked, “So, why are church people always fighting?”
As you can imagine, we were deeply uncomfortable. She seemed oblivious to the provocative nature of her question. Seated around the table were a half-dozen Southern Baptist ministers representing at least as many points of view. We were fundamentalist and moderate, male and female, traditional and emergent. Her sincere but offhanded question hung in the air.
The easy answer to her question would go something like this: “We fight because there are people who don’t agree with us, who need to be set straight. We who are right must defend the truth against those who are wrong. Besides, we’re not really fighting; we’re just correcting the error in our midst.”
There is a more complex answer, though. We fight when we lack the emotional maturity to navigate the anxiety that our differences create in us. We may lack the ability to tolerate and appreciate the ways that others differ from us. We may lack the ability to express calmly and firmly what we believe in the face of opposition. We may lack empathy, the capacity to see something from someone else’s point of view. We may lack the maturity to stay lovingly connected to a person with whom we disagree.
When I was a teenager with strongly held opinions and typical teenaged arrogance, my parents taught me to preface my passionately delivered speeches with the phrases, “In my opinion . . .” or “I could be wrong, but . . .” or “The way I see it . . .” At the time, I thought their requirement that was unreasonable. After all, I knew I wasn’t wrong and I didn’t think there was another reasonable way to see things. But this way of communicating gradually changed my heart, as I’m sure my parents hoped it would, and I realized that humility—an important Christian virtue, after all—means entertaining the possibility that my opinion could be incomplete or uninformed or even (gulp) wrong.
But what if I know for a fact that I’m not wrong? Humility still demands that I take some time to listen—really listen—to the person with whom I disagree, listening for her point of view, listening for her feelings, listening to her heart. Of course, most of the time, I lack the maturity to really listen to understand another person. Instead, I listen impatiently, waiting for my turn to refute what I am hearing. Or, I listen to gather ammunition to use against my opponent.
But listening to another person is a gift of grace. I believe that it is the truest practice of the second commandment—that we love our neighbor as ourselves. After all, I already know what I think, what I feel, what I want. To love my neighbor means that I am willing to spend time and energy exploring what he thinks, what he feels, what he wants. Defensiveness gives way to empathy, a practical expression of love.
We may fear that empathy will make us weak, that we will lose the resolve to be assertive. Actually, once we have listened well, we have earned the right to express our own opinions. Paul reminded us to “speak the truth in love” and once we have nailed down the “love” part, we are free to speak the truth as we see it. Of course, we have deeply held convictions as well as personal preferences and we must learn to assertively communicate our opinions as part of a healthy approach to conflict.
As we express our own point of view, we remember that it is just that: our own point of view. So we may say, “I see that differently. What I think is . . .” or “May I tell you how I see this?” We may even concede part of the argument by saying, “I agree with this part of what you are saying. Where I differ is . . .” We may even say, “I believe that the Bible teaches . . .” or “I believe that this is God’s will,” but we are careful never to use our spiritual convictions, however deeply held, to coerce others into doing things our way.
So, I thought about all of this as I left the lunch meeting in March and I developed a little fantasy that makes me smile. In my mind, I replay the scene. All of us, denominational and secular leaders, are sitting down to lunch when the woman, the financial analyst, asks thoughtfully, “So, why are church people so loving?” Well, I can dream, can’t I?
Trisha Taylor works with the Center for Counseling, network of Christian therapists dedicated to professional mental health care guided by a Christ-like model for growth and transformation. Therapists are available for workshops, individual counseling, and working with church staffs and other leaders.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
i have an idea for us...i don't know how well it will work, but i'd like to try:
i'd like us to come up with a list or a couple of things that we feel everyone else in our little group is really great at...perhaps we may go even as far as calling each other 'gifted' in some way.
i know for me, that i didn't really think i had anything brilliant to say when i started writing the blessings, but you guys encouraged me and made me feel as if i might be kinda good at it.
i think there are a lot of us that may feel that same way, and it may do us some good to hear what we're good at from others. i figure if we don't know someone well enough to know what they're good or gifted at, then maybe we should spend some more time getting to know them! this doesn't have to be anything fancy, and some of us may not even want to do it or find it valuable, but i really like the idea of it.
i hope all of you have a great thursday night and i wish i could be there.
i'll be thinking of all of you...
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
|So I was telling some of my friends the other day that things in my life seem a little blah lately. I thought alot more about what I had said and was of course trying to fix it so that my life would be awesome and energetic. Well, obviously not much has happened, I am albe to spend time on the blog at noon on a perfectly fine day, and I hate getting on the computer in the middle of the day, but as I said, things have just been blah. Anyway, as I was thinking about it, I thought that maybe I have been spending a little to much time focusing on me and I think that maybe if I spend some time thinking about others and getting involved in whats going on around me maybe I can quit being petty about silly things and feeling that things are blah. So, how are yall doing. I wonder how are friend Shannen over seas is doing. I am actually going to take it a step further and google her today and see if I can catch up. I am sure her life is not blah right now. Juli had been doing some really need stuff with the kids at the YMCA, I know she is a blessing to those kids, even though she probobly wishes things would slow down, it sure doesn't seem if her life is blah.|
Well, hopefully I will get better at this blogging and get better at getting involved with the world around me, even doing the simple things like sharing my life on the blog. I know Mark, you are still shocked that I wrote. Lets just hope this isn't a one time deal. I am very close to hitting delete because as I read over this I want to say to myself, God, this just doesn't make sense. So, I say get over it, because if it doesn't make sense to you I am sorry, just know that blogging is a hard thing for me becuase anyone can read and make judgements, but I want to start living a little more community, so here it is.
Saturday, June 23, 2007
a) where do you feel wellspring has been....where is it now....and where is it going?
b) acts 2:41 says that the early christians 'committed themselves to the teaching of the apostles, the life together, the common meal, and the prayers.'
how are we doing each of those individually, and how can we continue to add some depth to them?
i think these are good questions for our little community to be asking...
and i think there are more to come.
questions of what it means to live missionally and what our place is in this big world,
but for now, think of these...and i'll see some of you on sunday.
Monday, June 18, 2007
to read it repeatedly?
to strap or bind it to one's body?
or simply to remember as you walk through life...
step by step?
who gets to interpret such readings and teachings?
do you? do i? do we?
who do we give permission
how do we decide what is
how do we know if we're close-
if we're on the right track?
how do we know where to act,
what to do,
and who to love?
so many questions with responding echoing silence.
may you continue to ask to listen to respond.
it is in community that we being to understand
what it means to be devoted and to walk in faith.
be blessed as you ask your questions.
perhaps that's all we can do right now...
perhaps that's when we grow and mature.
perhaps that's when we actually become the church...
step by step.
as we join our minds
as we read, learn, and view the past
remembering times of long ago.
let us be blessed
as we join our hands
as we learn the lines of each others faces
the troubles of one anothers hearts
living life together
and changing the world
side by side.
let us be blessed
as we break bread together
as we fill our stomachs and our hearts,
laughing, loving and learning with one another
sitting close enough to feel each others energy and pulse
close enough to hear the beating and the rhythm of our hearts
let us be blessed
as we bow our heads
as we choose to be silent,
if only briefly,
allowing ourselves to be vulnerable
and perhaps strangely warmed.
let us join
as we travel down this road together.
let us laugh together
let us cry together
let us hope
in sickness and in health
in good times and bad
if we choose it,
till death do we part-
and perhaps meeting in a place that we do not know yet.
who stand in the tension and flux
of understanding God.
in the struggle to understand what is
and what isn't,
and what will be,
what we are
and what we should be.
blessings on you
who step out of the battle waging on
who choose to be peace
who choose to listen
and who choose to be humble
in a world that seems so very sure
and so very lost.
blessings...as you change,
as we revisit places we've been,
and look toward the places we'd like to see.
as we embrace dialogue,
as we choose love,
and as we rejoice in this journey.
continually thankful for the chance to
the chance to think,
and the ever-present chance to change.
Sunday, June 10, 2007
I can't pray sometimes because I'm afraid of the answers or results.
I can't pray sometimes because I lack the faith.
I can't pray sometimes because I don't feel like I deserve the attention of God.
But when I make it back into prayer, back to fellowship with God, I know God will be there to welcome the prodigal son and it feels so good. To be able to lift a prayer to the one who spins the universe is a awesome thought. To be able to talk to God in the middle of a conversation with someone else and know He's there and listening is an awesome thought.
Prayer is an integral part of my belief in God and Jesus Christ. Without prayer I'm not sure where I would be in my life. Too many struggles, trials and pains to go through alone.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
From the sweet grass to the packing house.
Birth 'til death.
We travel between the eternities.
I'm indeed blessed to have traveling companions
Friday, May 25, 2007
Jesus referred often (in the scriptures-John 5,8,others) and did exactly what the Father told him, so
1)where is the Father at work-I must join Him with my life
2)where is the Father at work in the larger body-Wellspring community must join Him collectively
Question: Do we individually know these answers and do you sense the work the Father would have Wellspring join in on and do?
what it means to not just be a spectator to this 'kingdom show'...
sitting, watching, having your heart stirred, your pulse racing,
palms sweating with anticipation and excitement
yet still remaining seated.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
what honesty, authenticity, and transparency look like,
what it means to not just be a spectator to this 'kingdom show'...
sitting, watching, having your heart stirred, your pulse racing,
palms sweating with anticipation and excitement
yet still remaining seated.
ask yourself what it means to truly commit,
to your family,
to your community,
to the decision that this is not a passing fad,
an emotional high,
but instead is a life change.
choosing to let go of selfishness,
ask yourself what it means to truly be different,
to truly live in community,
to truly not just be a bystander,
but a believer that a new way is possible.
are you willing to rearrange your life?
are you ready to try so hard...
palms calloused, brow sweating, muscles aching
from the struggle of swimming against the norm,
against the status quo?
are you bold enough to believe that our talk is not in vain?
this is achievable.
new life is possible.
one decision at a time-
transformation will begin.
Thursday, May 17, 2007
today is a day for hope.
a day to celebrate, to grieve, to remember, and to be thankful.
a day to celebrate the mystery of creation
to grieve what was and what should have been
to remember those who have helped mold you into who you are
and a day to be thankful for the patience and kindness you have been given.
today is a day to be still.
to take the opportunity to seek out feelings or loss, of joy, of anger, and of love.
the opportunity to acknowledge your past and those who touched it
the opportunity to gaze upon your future,
and the change for you to touch and inspire.
today is a day of grace.
grace for those who hurt you,
who lived out their own pain in your life
for those you struggle to love...and to forgive.
grace for you who will too inflict pain upon,
and those you will request grace from.
share yourself today.
bless someone today.
feel yourself loved and cherished...
for today is a day of creation.
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
as you step into this safe place
as you seek out your own inner melody
and as it becomes clearer
as you are able to share
more of yourself and more of your story.
allow yourself to be blessed
as you begin to feel and almost see
the rhythms of others
a vibration so strong
that as we come together in true intimacy
and begin to live life together
allow yourself to be blessed
as each new coat of paint is brushed
as new stories are told
and more of sacred life revealed
the color ever growing brighter,
let us dance together.
let us sing together.
let us read together.
let us watch, and learn, and teach together.
let us resonate, and create, and grow together.
let us continue to bless each other. amen.
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
for you to be responsible
what would it feel like
for you to search, and learn, and find
while being connected , intimate, and honest.
what would it sound like
to hear the voice of God through direct connection
and the voice of love through deep community.
what would life be like
to try your hardest
to be challenged
to be encouraged
to be teachable
and to practice life together along the way.
today you have the ability and the choice
to dream of what life can look like
for you, for your community, and for the world.
the decision is yours, it's mine, and it's ours.
welcome to the journey...
what a relief to know you don't have to travel it alone.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Monday, April 16, 2007
as you choose togetherness.
as you battle the lines between
the orthodox and the ordinary,
the spiritual and the secular,
the holy and the human.
as you choose to make the steps
to reach out
to share your heights and depths
make the sacrifice of your 'safe space'...
keeping others at a distance,
close enough for presence
yet far enough to remain unscathed
by the messiness of relationships.
as you seek to be holistic.
as you feel your heart strangely warmed
by the joys of feeling understood
and no longer alone.
choosing not to separate,
but to be opened and made whole.
share enough to memorize the details of others' faces...
break the bread
break down the barriers
and break into intimacy.
Is Hospitality just about opening up your home? Actually I think it is less about opening up your home and more about opening up your life, however because we live in homes that is of course part of it. Hospitality is not about turned down sheets and chocolates on pillows, but it is about receiving others where they are at and allowing people space to rest and pause, a place to be themselves, and a place to wrestle with what is going on in their lives. And providing hospitality is as much about ourselves as it is about the quest for “one learns about himself as he is loved, annoyed, grieved, respected-all in community and with the guest” (from Radical Hospitality). Hospitality is a context that allows for us all to be sharpened and transformed.
Kinda cool, huh?
Sunday, April 15, 2007
you've kept them shut,
waiting, long enough.
still your heart.
it's been breaking,
lamenting, long enough.
rest your legs.
you've been in the desert,
wandering, long enough.
see the sun's rays glinting on the horizon.
impatience and adrenaline flow through your veins,
exciting every limb.
feel every hair raise in anxious expectation.
feel the cold dew on your feet
as the rising morning fog swirls around
and you desperately run.
feel the pounding of your heart
and your hand clasp around the prize.
the curtain has been torn,
the stone rolled away,
and the tomb has been emptied.
stand there with the shoved-aside women.
your eyes widen in amazement
hear the pounding of your hear in your ears
and for a brief moment-
cynicism, doubt, and confusion-
a smile crawls across your face,
because you know
you have found the prize.
welcome to a brand new day.
hallelujah. hallelujah. hallelujah.
Thursday, April 12, 2007
See you Sunday
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Recieving what you don't deserve.
NOT recieving what you do deserve.
I heard a story about grace last weekend and the reality of it really came clear. I'll try to tell it:
It starts with a man in prison. There is no explaination why he's there, his guilt doesn't seem to be doubted by anyone but he has been there for 14 years and he has constantly been appealing to the governor for release.
Finally the wardon comes to see him and gives him the news he's waited on for years, he has been granted a full pardon. The wardon, expecting a joyful or at least a somewhat happy response, was surprised by the indifferent attitude of the inmate. The wardon explains that they had called his sister to pick him up. When he left he had the cell unlocked and the door opened, though the inmate made no move for the door.
A little later the custodian came through to clean the cell and was surprised to find the inmate still in the cell.
"Why are you still here?"
"I'm a prisoner, I belong here."
"But you've been set free you don't have to be here."
"Yes, I know. I have the paper right here. I just don't know if I can believe it."
The inmate returned to the bunk that had been the center of his world for so many years.When his sister shows up she greets him with some question about why he's still in his cell. He explains he doesn't understand why he has been pardoned now after so many years of trying to get through to the parole board and he's not real sure it isn't some big joke. He confides that he really doesn't know how handle his new found freedom so he opts for the comfort of familiarity. Even though it is a prison cell. She tells him that she doesn't know why or how, only that he is free. She suggests they just take a walk and he leaves the cell with her hand in his arm.
I'm sure I didn't do the story justice but seeing it brought tears to my eyes. I wondered how many people don't accept Gods grace just because they don't understand it. Maybe they just can't believe it could be for them. Since it can't be earned or bought it couldn't possibly be meant for them.
Well my friends (and readers of long boring blogs), it IS for you and me. Gods grace has set us free from the prison of sin if we only accept it. His grace shown to you through his son Jesus dieing on the cross, some 2000 years ago, and rising again three days later. He beared it all. All our sins, all our short comings, all our faults.
That's what Easter is all about. New life through Gods grace through Jesus Christ.
P.S.- I really didn't intend for this to become a sermon with a bunch of "church" words and phrases, but there it is.
Thursday, April 05, 2007
as you realize that you too yell hosanna
as you realize that life is about moments...
one moment crying out in adoration
and the next turning your back on love.
may you have hope
as you seek out the tempter.
as you acknowledge that we each deal
with our own humanity...
with hungering of belly and soul,
with belief that we can do it alone-
independent of help and love,
that it is us that can will existence.
may you have hope
as you sit with christ.
as you eat the last meal.
as he washes your calloused feet.
as you fall asleep despite his begging.
as you then abandon him,
and as we all gather together
to hold the hammer and nails.
for, despite our failures
despite our disappointments
despite our brokenness
he will rise again
bathed in glory.
your hope has not been in vain.
Saturday, March 31, 2007
This month we would like to share about healing and the move of the Holy Spirit. From our many travels around the world and our gospel expeditions we have seen the mighty hand of the Lord work in wonderful and spectacular ways. We have been eyewitnesses of healings, deliverance's, and most of all the miracle of the new birth. Sometimes people ask us, "Why do we not see the same type of spectacular healing here in America as we hear about overseas?" This is a valid question, but unfortunately it leads some to question healing altogether. The answer to why this may occur, and granted there are many healings and deliverance's happening right now here in America, rest with Faith. Hebrews 11:6 "And without FAITH it is impossible to please Him, for those who come to God must believe that He is, and that He is the rewarder of those who seek Him." You see, apart from faith God cannot move.
In places like Asia and Africa the spiritual world is very prevalent. It is apart of daily life and most BELIEVE in it. Where as in Europe and America, we are, for the most part, very skeptical when it comes to the supernatural. Skepticism, or unbelief, even occurs in the church and we tend to conform our beliefs from our environment rather than by what the Word of God has to say. The word is clear that Christ Jesus is never changing (Heb. 13:8) and throughout the word of God we find a healing Lord. Read Mark 5:21-34 to see faith of an individual in action and healing because of it.
When we minister the word in far reaching places to people who believe in evil spirit and supernatural works it isn't hard for them to believe in the supernatural God we preach. As we teach about what Christ did and what He can do in them their faith begins to rise. They know of the spiritual world, and when they hear of a healing God who will take away their sins, helps them physically, and listens to their cares and worries they say, "YES, I want this Jesus. Yes, I want to be healed. Yes, I BELIEVE He can heal me." They come to this decision because they also feel the lack from the constant visits to witch-doctors that seem to do more harm than good. They come to this decision because they know instinctively in their heart that no stone, idol, or earthly object can ultimately heal them. They come to Christ because when truth hits their heart faith springs forward.
I can remember a moment in India when we had a small church service where many Hindus came to see and hear of this God who does wonderful works. A local man who did intense physical labor came forward when we asked if anyone would like us to lay hands and believe for healing. We prayed and believed for this man. Two hours later he walked, after gathering his family (wife and two children), 10km from his village to the place we were staying. He reported to us his back had been completely healed. He then wanted us to pray for the rest of the ailments his family was suffering from. We explained it is from the power of God who heals and we simply believe in that power and pray. He laid hands on his family with us as we prayed and they too received healing. Consequently they now all believe in Jesus and carry the testimony of a healing God.
There is much to be said about healing in the Lord, but know this, if you are suffering and want a work of the Holy Spirit simply BELIEVE. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God, so meditate upon scriptures that deal with healing. Walk by faith and not by sight and claim, "I am healed in Jesus name!" Watch what wonderful things happen when you couple faith with what you speak.
Tim and Will
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TRAVEL THE ROAD
Monday, March 26, 2007
as air travels through you
expanding your lungs to their full capacity
as you hold your breath
and as the tinge of pain
from waiting and holding it all in overwhelms you.
as life twists, turns, and flips you,
heartache after heartache
working through the strain of life's struggles
and trying to find the glimmers of hope
through the darkness of suffering.
you are blessed
even in those times when hope is not enough
when to persevere seems foolish
and when our character fails us
do not allow circumstance to deter you
there is something much deeper,
even when not seen,
that holds you there
singing to your subconscious
something that keeps you coming.
the hope that God is who he says he is.
that if we really truly try,
we too can rejoice.
we too can tell the story of suffering,
and of character.
that we too can know,
deeply and intimately,
what it means to hope.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
"If we have no power, the emerging cultures will not be drawn to us. They are not afraid they are going to go to church and be changed. They are more afraid they will go to chruch and not be changed."
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Monday, March 05, 2007
in times when you forget what it is to smile
when your heart is so heavy it hurts
and it feels as though no one understands
i encourage you in your 'lostness'
in your dark nights
as you descend the depths of silence
and as you brush the bottom of your soul
as your voice grows hoarse
as your confidence weakens
as you question-as you doubt
as you wonder who is friend
and who is foe
i encourage you
to passionately wait
to diligently seek
to quietly hope
to grit your teeth
to clench your fist
and to continue on.
for God has not forgotten you
you have not been abandoned
God will renew you each morning
and will deliver each promise.
feel yourself held.
and above all else,
Friday, March 02, 2007
Here are some of their thoughts:
We acknowledge that the epoch of history that shaped the contemporary church has crashed like a wave on a shore and left the church high and dry. That epoch is known as the era of Christendom. Christendom has been in decline for the last 250 years.
Christendom is the name given to the religious culture that has dominated Western society since the fourth century. Awakened by the Roman emperor Constantine, it was the cultural phenomenon that resulted when Christianity was established as the official imperial religion, moving it form being a marginalized, subversive, and persecuted movement to being the official religion in the empire. Whereas followers of Jesus at one time had to meet secretly in homes and underground in catacombs, now they were given some of the greatest temples and meeting spaces in the empire.
The net effect over the entire Christendom epoch was that Christianity moved form being a dynamic, revolutionary, social, and spiritual movement to being a static religious institution with its attendant structured, priesthood, and sacraments.
Christendom describes the standardized form and expression of the church and mission formed in the post-Constantine period (AD 312 to present). It is important to note that it was not the original form in which the church expressed itself. The Christendom church is fundamentally different form the NT church, which is made up of a network of grassroots missional communities organized as a movement.
Christendom is marked by the following characteristics:
Its mode of engagement is attractional/extractional as opposed to missional/sending. Come to us.
A shift of focus to dedicated, sacred building/places of worship. The church in the Christendom epoch is more static and institutional in form.
The emergence of an institutionally recognized, profession clergy class acting primarily in a pastor-teacher mode.
Church is perceived as central to society and surrounding culture. The church holds a place of honor and respect in the community.
The Christendom mode church is dualistic. It separates the sacred from the profane, the holy from the unholy, the in from the out.
The church in Christendom is hierarchical. It’s top down and bureaucratic in it’s approach to leadership
Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Saturday, February 24, 2007
Monday, February 19, 2007
the first thing is going to be a 'fat tuesday' meal at pappasitos on 1960!
we'll get there tomorrow around 7 and will hopefully eat ourselves into a bit of gluttony.
(i might even bring some mardi gras beads...don't get excited rodney, you've got to keep your clothes on at dinner!)
following that is ash wednesday, and i encourage all of you to pop into a catholic, episcopal, or lutheran service...(there may be other denominations doing it as well).
it's short...and they usually do several a day.
for those of you that may not have grown up in a church or lifestyle that included lent...
you can check out some info on wikipedia
i'm usually the last person to be a proponent of anything traditional...
but i'm working on that.
it's real easy to get excited during advent leading up to christmas...
and many times i forget about the time leading up to the crucifixion.
this is a good time for reflection...
and perhaps for our community to try something new.
in the moments where the cost to follow seems
a place where eyes grow tired of searching
hands grow weary from the work
voice is strained from the yelling
and the heart is breaking from the waiting.
feel yourself tethered
your mourning, your anxiety, your desperation
will not carry you away.
this is where even your groans are understood.
as you do the hard work of letting yourself go
erupting out onto the other side
stepping into the grace
into the rhythm
into the light.
allow the crying to cease
allow the yelling to subside
feel yourself enveloped in love and patience
by something much bigger than you
something that does not grow weary
and that will never leave you.
here in this embrace.
Saturday, February 17, 2007
Loneliness, Boredom, Stress, and The Media.
In the years ahead we will live increasingly in fictions. We will turn on our virtual-reality systems on and lie back, experiencing heavenly pleasures of sight and sound in a snug electronic nest. The real world will almost be totally blotted out from our experience.A quote from "World Future Society"
Life is meant to be participatory and relational. In the past life was "experience rich" but "stimulus poor". Today that ratio has reversed, and much of this trend is due to the pervasive presence of media in our current environment , it is easy to lapse into a media saturated existence. When lonely, or boredom or stressed, the first thing we often do is activate our media surroundings,which usually means turning on the television. In a previous era we would have perhaps have visited a friend.This is not to say that all such media usage for loneliness is inappropriate. But if over used, it will result in more isolation, not less.It is therefore wise to guard against media constituting our only barrier to loneliness.Loneliness and boredom are often traveling partners. While loneliness can motivate to move toward community,boredom can motivate us toward creativity.We should not fear boredom as we do, it can be useful. If we tolerate a bored state for long it can become a seedbed of imagination and to short circuit boredom is to short circuit creativity.The temptation is to immediately solve boredom with media. When children are bored, we usually rescue them with television,videos,or computer games. Instead, if we allow boredom to build with no possibility of electronics, imagination will begin to surface. This is called play.Play is the business of childhood. It is healthy for kids to get bored and to have to play their way out of it. In addition to loneliness and boredom,stress is another factor that drives us to a relaxing media respite. This is acceptable from time to time.But when a media respite becomes a media overload,turn off the television. When media saturation becomes physical sedentary and socially isolating,move to restore appropriate levels of physical and social activity, where real healing is found.
Allow boredom to nourish the imagination rather than consume and reenergize your participatory experience. Dont live a vicarious virtual-reality existence, create a personal-experience reality and in doing so, you will increase physical exercise,connect to others,and build community.
Monday, February 12, 2007
thanks to all of you for being so supportive of it.
you are blessed.
your inheritance is waiting,
since the dawn of time
when God molded chaos...
the Kingdom was waiting for you.
you are blessed
because at one point
you too were a stranger.
someone was kind to you
because you were different.
when no one else would,
and perhaps even clothed, fed, or cared for you...
you are blessed
as you attempt to open your eyes.
your blindness is gone...
if you choose it.
your heart is softened...
if you want it.
and your hands will begin to help...
if you will only try.
you are blessed
as you choose love over indifference
as you meet eyes with a stranger
as you individually and corporately seek to help
as you are overwhelmed
as you cry out against injustice
and as you are taken into the warmth unseen
as a friend...
no longer a stranger.
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
General Douglas McArthur
Monday, January 29, 2007
I liked it so much I asked for a copy. He was making the point that our "heroes of the faith are flawed." While it may be too telling about me, I have to confess that I find great comfort that the Bible is filled with stories of the real-ness of people such as:
drunkards like Noah
liars like Abraham
tricksters like Jacob
murderers like Moses
adulterers like David
idolaters like Solomon
backsliders like Elisha
cursing sailors like Peter
doubters like Thomas
spoiled brats like James and John
persecutors like Paul
sinners like you and me.
Sunday, January 28, 2007
we even had our very own dr. sloan give a lecture.
i was surprised.
i thought that, being one of his first public lectures, it would be something powerful, something enlightening, something uplifting...
and it was, but not in the way i had expected.
on the topic of biblical writing and poetry, sloan decided to pull from lamentations and the psalms.
lamentations is a sad, sorrowful, book of despair.
it's hard to read for most, and something i think most of us tend to skim over.
from my OT survey class i remember the discussion of how lamentations begins every verse or line with the consecutive letters of the hebrew alphabet.
some think this is a nemonic device since everything was committed to memory...
but as sloan pointed out, that would be really hard to do considering there are several lines beginning with a, with b, with g and so on.
most of the lines begin with a word we translate to mean 'how?', but it actually is more like an unpronounceable moan.
so perhaps, he offered, that this was not for sheer memorization but for survival.
that when we mourn, if we aren't tethered down...we can tend to allow that slow moan to turn into outright shrieking hysteria.
it is freedom to mourn and grieve, but in such a way that keeps it somewhat contained.
sloan laughed when he said that you must have lived many years if you had looked to the psalms for consolation and daily reading.
perhaps i have lived many years.
the psalms, too, are sad.
it's funny to read some of them since they start off with such, again, sorrowful words and yet end with a 'praise God!' or something. sounds like us sometimes. we can relate to someone else all the shit that's going on with us, and then at the end finish it with something ridiculous like 'but God is still faithful....yada yada yada'.
why do we do it?
sloan mentioned lots of other things too, things that i'm sure most people-like our own ken w.- know from their own long days of religious schooling.
he touched on the many places jesus drew from the psalms and how that was probably the collection of writing that had the greatest effect on jc.
and...the point of all this...sloan addressed how, back in the day, lamentations were used during worship.
the people were in a hard place...they felt alone and deserted and confused...and they used that honesty in worship.
i want us to use whatever it is...maybe we are in a moment of celebration or mourning...either way, i want us to use it.
ken has been asking for us to find heartfelt ways of worshipping...
and so i wonder, what if we could all jot down our thoughts and begin to form ways of using it in worship.
maybe a poem, maybe john or rodney or some other musician were to make it into actual music...
i don't know. i just want us to begin to use our lives to worship with.
i don't want to sing songs about things i've never experienced and never felt. some of them the rest of you have felt or gone through, but i haven't, and maybe some of you can relate to that.
anyways, something to think about i suppose.
let me know what you guys feel about it.
Saturday, January 27, 2007
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
This is a quote of a quote. The origional quote is from the book The Church as the People of God by Hans Kung. I found it in the current book I'm reading called The Forgotten Ways by Alan Hirsh.
Monday, January 15, 2007
and we plan on helping him do that.
thanks to karen (party planner extrordinaire) we'll be celebrating 'traditional baptist style'...meaning, bring your own pot-luck dish. anything you want, but enough to share...and by anything, we mean ANYTHING. (i guess this isn't totally 'traditional baptist' after all! ha!)
so give shuman a call for directions if you haven't made it over to the new estate...
should prove to be a pretty fun evening...come and help us toast one of our favorite guys :)
Friday, January 12, 2007
In the book “Exiles” Michael Frost makes the case that following the example of Jesus includes the following four aspects. I would like to know what you think.
An active sharing of life, participating in the fears, frustrations, and afflictions of the host community. The prayer of the exile should be, “Lord, let your mind be in me,” for no witness is capable of incarnationality without the mind of Jesus.
An employment of the language and thought forms of those with whom we seek to share Jesus. After all, he used common speech and stories: salt, fruit, birds, and the like. He seldom used theological or religious jargon or technical terms.
A preparedness to go to the people, not expecting them to come to us. As Jesus came from the heavens to humanity, we enter into the “tribal” realities of human society.
A confidence that the gospel can be communicated by ordinary means, through acts of servanthood, loving relationships, good deed; in this way the exile becomes an extension of the incarnation in our time. Deeds thus create words.
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
VIRGINIA BEACH, Virginia (AP) -- Evangelical broadcaster Pat Robertson said Tuesday that God has told him that a terrorist attack on the United States would cause a "mass killing" late in 2007.
"I'm not necessarily saying it's going to be nuclear," he said during his news-and-talk television show "The 700 Club" on the Christian Broadcasting Network.
"The Lord didn't say nuclear. But I do believe it will be something like that."
Robertson said God told him about the impending tragedy during a recent prayer retreat.
God also said, he claims, that major cities and possibly millions of people will be affected by the attack, which should take place sometime after September.
Robertson suggested in January 2006 that God punished then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon with a stroke for ceding Israeli-controlled land to the Palestinians.
The broadcaster predicted in January 2004 that President Bush would easily win re-election.
Bush won 51 percent of the vote that fall, beating Democratic Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts.
In 2005, Robertson predicted that Bush would have victory after victory in his second term. He said Social Security reform proposals would be approved and Bush would nominate conservative judges to federal courts.
Lawmakers confirmed Bush's 2005 nominations of John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court. But the president's Social Security initiative was stalled.
"I have a relatively good track record," he said. "Sometimes I miss."
In May, Robertson said God told him that storms and possibly a tsunami were to crash into America's coastline in 2006.
Even though the U.S. was not hit with a tsunami, Robertson on Tuesday cited last spring's heavy rains and flooding in New England as partly fulfilling the prediction.
What is the deal with this? We know that God and Pat are tight. Anyone who smiles as much as Pat can must have some good friends. Apparently, God lets Pat in on some good gossip and it's not very good news. Doom and gloom, etc. Now according to Pat, God has given him "predictions" in the past. Some of which have come true, but not all. So, are we supposed to get from this the notion that if God tells us some dire prediction, we can assume that a 50% success rate is good enough...from God? Now,when it doesn't quite come out as predicted we get get this quote:
"I have a relatively good track record," he said. "Sometimes I miss."
So in his next breath he says He gets it wrong sometimes. So who are we supposed to believe is really speaking here? God or Pat? I just do not see what the point of Pat Robinson is.
I could guess the future as well as anyone and if I had a 50% rate of success that would be pretty good I think.
I will give it a try: