Wednesday, February 28, 2007

We will go with you...or will we?

One of my most favorite poems of all time. It finds its way back into my life every few years and I'm richer for it. Take the time to read it slowly...

"Misgiving" by Robert Frost

All crying, 'We will go with you, O Wind!'
The foliage follow him, leaf and stem;
But a sleep oppresses them as they go,
And they end by bidding them as they go,
And they end by bidding him stay with them.

Since ever they flung abroad in spring
The leaves had promised themselves this flight,
Who now would fain seek sheltering wall,
Or thicket, or hollow place for the night.

And now they answer his summoning blast
With an ever vaguer and vaguer stir,
Or at utmost a little reluctant whirl
That drops them no further than where they were.

I only hope that when I am free
As they are free to go in quest
Of the knowledge beyond the bounds of life
It may not seem better to me to rest"

Here is my prayer for you today...When you are free to go in quest...may it not seem better to you to rest.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

There nothing like...

...the scream of a child! No, it's not what you think. We just spent an awesome day with some friends about 15 minutes (and 2000 feet of elevation) outside of Hope in a place called Sunshine Valley. There was still well over a foot of snow and my children loved it. It was such a good day I wanted to post a few of the pictures here. Enjoy...

Sometimes the only bad thing about a day is that it's over...

Friday, February 09, 2007

Art as food for the heart...

I've been preaching through the book of Jeremiah at the church lately. It's been a very powerful experience for me. I have come to really love and admire Jeremiah and his faithfulness to the difficult call that God gave him as well as his love and compassion for the people who were running away from God. He is a man who weeps for both the honor of God and the depravity of humanity. Judgment and compassion. Passion and humility. There is much for me to learn from this man who lived 2600 years ago.

That's why I took the time to appreciate this picture...

...from Tod Bolsinger's blog, It Takes A Church... Tod writes.

"Michelangelo's "Jeremiah" was the "picture of the day" on my Google home page. Something about the power of his version of the prophet from the Sistine Chapel tugged at my heart."
Sometimes art helps enflesh the text. Just spend some time looking at it. And then read through Jeremiah. You won't come away the same.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Bless my enemies...

You may have noticed that I really appreciate written prayers. (See here and here) I used to think that they were a mindless ritual. Why write out a prayer ahead of time When you could just pray "from the heart"? As I am maturing (and yes, contrary to many opinions, I am maturing) I have come to realize the power of a written prayer to make me pray things that I need to pray. My heart isn't always willing to surrender. It wants to pray about the weather. Not about the things that lie within.

So now I like written prayers. They serve as signposts that help me to follow Jesus. Today I came across a prayer written by Serbian bishop Nikolai Velimirovic, who spoke out against Nazism in the early 1940s. Because of his protests, he was arrested and taken to the Dachau concentration camp. He prays,

"Bless my enemies, O Lord.

Even I bless them and do not curse them.

Enemies have driven me into your embrace more than friends have.

Friends have bound me to Earth; enemies have loosed me from Earth and have demolished all my aspirations in the world.

Just as a hunted animal finds safer shelter than an un-hunted animal does, so have I, persecuted by enemies, found the safest sanctuary, having ensconced myself beneath your tabernacle, where neither friends nor enemies can slay my soul.

Bless my enemies, O Lord.

Even I bless and do not curse them."

That's a prayer that my heart won't come up with on it's own. It's too honest. Too weighty. Too dangerous. So thanks Nikolai. You've helped to reorient me away from myself and back toward Jesus. That's what prayer should be all about.

A whole lot of "one" can really make a difference...

Feel like you could never make an impact in this big old world? You're only one person. We all feel that way sometimes.

Here's some great reminders about the power of one (when it joins with other "ones"). It comes from an old issue of the Atlanta Journal Consititution (8-22-04) and an article named, "A penny saved." The article shows the power of pennies when they join forces:
  • A one cent per case increase of Coca-Cola would bring the company $45 million a year.
  • A one cent-per-gallon increase in the price of jet fuel increases Delta Airline's company costs by $25 million a year.
  • A one cent increase in the hourly wage for all the employees of Home Depot amounts to $6.5 million a year.
  • If Krispy Kreme increased the cost of each donut by one penny, the company would increase profits by $27 million.
Lots of implications here for Christians...if we really began to join together and live as one the impact in the world could be increased exponentially. I think that might have been what Jesus wanted when he prayed,
"I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you." (Jn. 17:20-21)
Sometimes we need to get caught up in what could be instead of what is...

Friday, February 02, 2007

Rethinking the Familiar

You should really read almost everything that Andy Crouch writes. Here's a sample that should get you started.

In Luke 14, Jesus tells the stories of a tower builder and an embattled king. In many English Bibles, these twin parables are labeled “The Cost of Discipleship.” But Jesus’ first hearers would have known that label was exactly backwards. For these stories are not about disciples, but fools...Make no mistake. The tower builder and the king are not models of discipleship. When does Jesus ever speak of discipleship as if it were a construction project, carefully calculated and accounted for, or a war, in which we marshal our own forces and find them adequate for the battle? Biblical faith is the abandonment of our tower building, the surrender of our ambitions to foolishly fight our way to security.

Read the rest here.