Thursday, December 24, 2009

just for a moment...

I have been reading Samuel and 2 Samuel over the past few weeks, and to be honest I just don’t get it. When I finish, will have to go back and start over. If the Lord wants to speak to me through these words I obviously need to listen a little more closely.

My reaction so far: if these books were made into a movie it would be called Boys Will Be Boys. Senseless violence. Petty revenge. Hurtful words. Pillage and take what you want. It’s like The Sopranos on steroids.

And in the midst of all these, you find these words. Nathan’s revelation.

The LORD himself will establish a house for you: When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with the rod of men, with floggings inflicted by men. But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.

After a moment of prayer and celebration, David goes on to defeat the Moabites. He made them lie down on the ground and measured them off with a length of cord. Every two lengths of them were put to death, and the third length was allowed to live. After all, boys will be boys.

In any case, this passage made me think about Christmas. In the midst of mortgage payments, office politics, competition and ambition, God interjects himself so we can gather for a moment of prayer and celebration. Each year our Lord reminds us that he kept his promise, that a kingdom awaits us, and that we his people will ensure forever.

Now I just hope I don’t run into any Moabites tomorrow.

Peace and joy to you.

Ed G

Friday, December 11, 2009

just wondering...

Are the people who complain that Christians behave one way on Sunday morning and another way the rest of the week…

... also the same people who complain whenever someone says a prayer or brings up faith in a business or secular setting?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

soar on wings like eagles

I have a few friends who suffer from chronic depression. Some of these friends are only teenagers… a time of life that is supposed to be carefree and happy. Please join me for a moment of prayer today over at Daily Prayer.

Monday, December 7, 2009

be sharp

As iron sharpens iron,
so one man sharpens another.

Every Wednesday, we have a regularly scheduled conference call at work to review the status of a particular project. In a way, this quick update meeting is designed to hold people accountable for their prior follow-ups. So it’s not surprising that there is always a flurry of emails and activities on Tuesday afternoon. No one wants to be unprepared.

Another project I am working on involves a written report every month. We prepare the report well before month end so there will be time to work on any items that somehow slipped through the cracks. In a way, the report holds us accountable.

While reports and meetings work in the business world, when it comes to our journeys with Christ we must rely on one another. Our relationships hold us accountable.

I was reminded of this fact last week when I received an email from my friend TK asking if I was available for lunch.

Now to be clear – there was no hidden agenda in TK’s invitation. This was not a status meeting. No written reports were expected. My guess is that the only expectation would be for some friendly chit chat. And some lunch.

Any yet, this simple lunch invitation led to a series of actions on my part.

You see, I had previously told TK that I was going to reach out to a mutual friend, but the two of us had not yet connected. So I got off my butt, contacted this person and we had coffee this week.

I had also made a commitment to myself to get involved in a community service project this month – so I scheduled that in advance of my lunch as well.

That’s two things that I had been putting off for no good reason—now done. All because a friend sent a simple email inviting me to lunch.

Funny, isn’t it, that we can hold each other accountable without even thinking about it. You just need to invite someone into your life.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

our forgotten prayers

It's amazing how easy it is to forget the pain and hurt when it is no longer in your face. Won't you join me today over at Daily Prayer?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

giving thanks for the light

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men.

We swam last night under a star-lit night in what is called the luminous lagoon.

Our local friend Sean had promised that it would be unlike anything we had experienced before and his words held true. This particular lagoon is inhabited by millions of microorganisms called dinoflagellate, which glow whenever the water is disturbed.

Wading in the water, we saw that when you move arm, twitch a finger, kick a leg or simple wiggle a toe, each movement creates a bright glow. From total darkness, movement creates light.

So on this day of thanksgiving, I hope you can join me in the two prayers:

One, that we all can keep our eyes open today to witness the amazing world God has created for us… a world filled with awe, wonder and mystery.

And second, that we can all move beyond the waters of a luminous lagoon to create light right where we are right now – through our words, our deeds, our action and movement – and take away the darkness in someone’s life.

O heavenly Father, we give you praise.
Thank you O Lord for the peace, joy and mysteries of life.
Thank you O Lord for the Word that enables us to become children of the light.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

just a little bit louder now...

You can join me in prayer today over at Daily Prayer.

Monday, November 9, 2009

working on a dream

There were no warm up acts.

From the very first note, he held nothing back.

He gritted his teeth and dug in immediately, his inner energy taking control. He grimaced and his voice strained. Then he dug even deeper… reached far… and touched those around him on an emotional level. It was still the first song.

I like to ease into my work day. Power up the laptop. A cup of coffee. Perhaps some surfing before even looking at the to-do list. After opening a file, maybe I’ll enjoy a banana.

But not this guy. From the first note, he was giving his all.

There were no breaks between songs. No wardrobe changes. No snacks. No intermissions. Just as the final notes of one song echoed off the ceiling, he turned and said “one, two, three, four” and he was off again, finding some way to push it even harder. Again. And again. He came onto the stage at 8:30 last night. He did not stop playing, singing, engaging, dancing, energizing, living, connecting for the next three hours. By 11:40, he had performed 32 emotionally draining songs. His work was done.

And as I stood there, I wondered what my life would be like if I came to work with that that same “give it everything you’ve got” attitude?

My clients would notice.

And then I looked into heaven, and wondered what the world would be like if I approached my walk with Christ with that same focus, that same drive, that same level of non-stop energy. That same sense of purpose. What if I dug deep and held nothing back.

It can be done. It really can.

Jesus did it. And all he asks is for us to follow.

It can be done. It really can. I even know people who have.

People who don’t need to ease into acts of love. People who don’t take breaks, people who are servants of Christ from the moment they wake up until the day ends. People who find ways to dig deeper. Engage. Energize. Live. Connect.

It can be done. It really can.


Thursday, November 5, 2009


Many visitors here will be familiar with Kansas Bob.

He writes about his walk with Christ at An Eye for Redemption, and provides insights into the inane and insane at Kansas Bob. His third blog is called Daily Prayer.

His last post at Daily Prayer is republished here:

One year ago today I sat in a hospital room watching my wife Ann receive a chemotherapy treatment. Feeling a bit prayerful I started a new blog and called it Daily Prayer. Now 52 weeks and 187 posts later I find that I no longer post there every day. I still regularly pray but don't always feel like writing about what I pray.

So I thought that I would invite you to write a prayer or devotional thought on prayer to be posted there with a link back to your blog. I would also be open to making it a group authored site if anyone would commit to posting once a week. If you are interested please email me and let me know how you would like to be involved.

Tonight I joined Bob in his endeavor. I mention that here not so that you will offer kudos -- but that you will join me. You can contact Kansas Bob directly.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

thursday randomness

Can one letter make a big difference? Consider...

Give me everything.
Give my everything.

Misreading this one word made me think about why Christ chose the tyrant Saul to become the apostle Paul. Some people are just wired to give everything... all they need is direction. Makes me wonder whether I've included my "highly driven" friends on my prayer list...

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I have probably said the Lord's prayer thousands of times in my life, and there has been one line that I've sometimes had trouble with. When I've prayed "give us our daily bread" I've been asking the Lord to take care of me and my family. Lord, give us food, clothing, shelter. Let my business prosper. Give me, Lord, what I need. And to be honest, sometimes I've felt selfish saying that part of the Lord's prayer.

Last week I was listening to Michael W Smith's song, Breathe. It includes the following verse:

This is my daily bread
This is my daily bread
Your very word spoken to me

Today, when I said the Lord's prayer, I prayed that I would hear and feel his word. That did not seem selfish at all.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I am a creature of routine and habit... so it's not surprising that a four-day golf trip with the guys managed to put me off kilter. Each day I was away, I could see my "good habits" (Bible reading, prayer time, eating well, exercising) slowly slipping away. Now that I am home, still not back on track. Can't wait for Monday.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

mind lovin' -- part two

Perhaps you can file this under strange… or not.

About two weeks ago, I began to notice a ringing in my ears. A steady high-pitched tone.

Now for the most part, I do not hear this ‘ringing’ constantly, but I quickly realized that I could focus and bring this tone to the forefront whenever I wanted to. Like it was always there, but I rarely noticed it unless I focused my attention.

Once in a while, it would find its way into my head on its own accord. Often, while I was in prayer. Or reading scripture.

Not surprisingly, I’ve come to associate this tone with the presence of God. Much of the time it is silent, my attention elsewhere. There are times when it comes into my head, drawing my attention to the Lord. And there are times when I go “looking for it” – quickly comforted by its presence.

I hear it now, loudly, and it makes me smile.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

mind lovin' - part one

Love the Lord your God with all your mind.

When the NFL schedule comes out, you scan down week by week and look for the easy games… the ones where you can count on your team coming out on top.

A month ago, when I decided to spend some time meditating on Mark 12: 28-30, my eyes immediately jumped down to this segment “with all your mind”. Sure, I could struggle through that whole heart and soul thing, but once we came to “mind” I would be in my natural environment. It would be an easy win.

After all, I am a “mind guy”. Love to think, imagine, strategize, calculate, create. Left side or right, take your pick. Find the needle in the haystack, see the forest despite all them trees. I couldn’t wait to come here and share with you what it means to love the Lord with all your mind. An epic series for sure. Three posts, maybe more.

And yet…

For a week now, I’ve sat before the Lord and pondered what it means to love God with all my mind, and I’ve come up empty. No words of inspiration, no free-flowing prose. Another day would come and go. Nothing to share with you again.

And then this morning, my eyes opened.

My mind belongs to me. It is mine. It is the one place I can go to get away. I can be sitting with you having an intelligent conversation and be two other places at the same time. Mental multi-tasking. I reflect, project, think, ponder, fantasize and analyze… and it’s the only thing I can call my own.

Sure, I invite God in. Most of my conversations with Father, Christ and Spirit are voiceless. Even when praying intently, though, I’ll catch myself having two or three other streams of thought happening at the same time. It’s also where I go to hide and get away when so moved. It’s my safe place. And I don’t want to give it away.

So tonight I am going to reflect on another passage in Mark, now seen under a new light. It reads: It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.

I’ve never been one hung up on money, but perhaps riches come in many shapes and sizes. If so moved, please feel free to share in what ways are you rich...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

unfinished business: mark 12: 28-30

One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?"

"The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”

Shema Yisrael (Hear, O Israel) are the first words of a section of the Torah that is a centerpiece of the morning and evening Jewish prayer service. You can imagine Joseph teaching his son this prayer early in his young life. It is a prayer that Jesus, a devout Jew, may have recited 20,000 times in his life… probably more.

In this prayer, the word LOVE is mentioned once. GOD twice. And the word LORD three times. One word, however, is repeated four times in this two sentence prayer. The word, perhaps, that ensures this is a never-ending journey and not something we can simply cross off our to-do list. A life-long mission known as ALL.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.

The conversation cited above between Jesus and the teacher of the law took place two days after Jesus arrived triumphantly in Jerusalem. Two days before his last supper. And I wonder today, whether Jesus – who lived a perfect life – had yet to complete his life-long journey himself. While the Gospel records how he had loved the Lord, his Father, with his heart, soul, mind and strength over his three year ministry, something was still missing. ALL.

So let’s look at what Jesus does next.

He loved the Lord with ALL his heart.
At dinner, Jesus announced that one among his inner circle would betray him. As heartbreaking as that must have been, he then added that his best friend, his right hand man, would disown him. Jesus responds by giving thanks and praise to God.

He lover the Lord with ALL his soul.
In the Garden called Gethsemane, Jesus fell to the ground in prayer, his soul overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Devastated, he closed his conversation with God with four words that sealed his fate: thy will be done.

He loved the Lord with ALL his mind.
Standing before Pilate, Jesus heard the false testimony against him. Accusations and contradictions. With any outburst, perhaps he could have saved his life. To the amazement of all, he remained true to God and made no reply—not even to a single charge.

He loved the Lord with ALL his strength.
Already exhausted in the garden, Jesus would not sleep. He would subject himself to beatings, forty lashes and a crown of thorns. Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull to be crucified.

Every morning and every evening for most of his 33 years on earth, Jesus prayed the Shema. Twenty-thousand times he recited 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’

And here, at the peak of Golgatha, his journey came to a close. He had absolutely nothing left to give God. He had given it all.

A destination achieved, a life-ling prayer fulfilled, he looked up to heaven. Fittingly, he final words convey so much. “It is finished.
Are you ready to follow Jesus’ example? Are you ready to give your all?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

soul lovin’ – part three

My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.

In the place called Gethsemane, Peter, James and John stood watch while Jesus fell to the ground and prayed. One friend had betrayed him, another about to deny him, a night and day of humiliation, torture and death before him. And Jesus’ soul was overwhelmed.

Reading this passage this morning, it dawned on me that Jesus must have been physically drained as he headed to the garden. When you consider the events of that week, it’s not surprising. His three disciples could not even keep their eyes open; time and again the heaviness of sleep overcame them. Jesus must have been exhausted too… and yet no sleep would come until he closed his eyes in victory on the cross. Tired, and yet his work not yet begun.

Physically weary, emotionally shaken. And yet, at this critical crossroads, the gospel writes about something much deeper – his soul.

I wonder if I could get to a point where my soul is overwhelmed by anything… joy, love, sorrow, grief. Perhaps to reach your “all” you first need to go all in.

Love the Lord your God with all your soul.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

soul lovin’ – part two

Love the Lord your God with all your soul.

In response to an earlier post, Bob O’Kansas remarks: I sometimes think that it means to love God with our whole being.

Our whole being.

A few months back in church (of all places) there was a moment, albeit brief, where I felt that I was loving God with my whole being.

Normally, there is a time during Sunday service for music. Each week is different, but most times there’s a segment of three or four songs – it could be a rock band or a simple guitar. Sometimes a flute. Usually contemporary… once in a while a rap.

On this particular Sunday, Sam played and sang alone. He played one song, that I recall had one line of lyrics, and he played this combination of notes, interspersed with that one line of singing, for thirty minutes. Maybe forty.

The first three minutes were interesting. Then it got weird. It was time for the next song, one with some more lyrics perhaps, but Sam continued to play the same notes. Sing the same line of praise. Over. And over.

It soon became uncomfortable, and my eyes scooted around the room. I was clearly not alone.

But after another five minutes something strange happened. I decided to just go with it. And I focused my attention to the notes. Each note. And the combinations. And the vibrations that echoed from the guitar. And I loved the Lord.

Bob says to love the lord with our whole being, and in this case I could feel the moment taking over… through my body. My limbs. The hairs on my head and the tips of my toes. The blood pouring through my veins.

And as the moment continued, the discomfort faded. And for one moment, I could feel the individual cells in my body dancing, dancing in praise for God, each individual living cell, like this massive orchestra, a million strong, singing together – praise and glory to God.

Praise and glory to God.

This morning I tried to recapture that moment. Didn’t get there 100%, but closer than I’ve been in a while.

Go ahead… try loving the Lord your God with all your soul today.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

soul lovin' -- part one

Love the Lord your God with all your soul.

My earliest concept of the human soul was framed by my first grade teacher, Sister Bernadette Marie.

I remember visualizing the soul as an actual entity, like a spirit or apparition. When we were behaving and free from sin, our soul was pure, white. But when we did something wrong, we added a stain on our souls. Creating black marks, blemishes on eternal life.

As we prepared for confession at the age of eight, we were taught the power of confession. And forgiveness. How we could take our soul in for a wash and come out sparkling white again, no matter how dirty we had gotten.

In some ways, my soul became a scorecard. The place where God kept track of my sins, and where Jesus would apply his loving eraser.

And when we died, our souls would live on… in heaven or hell… depending on how it looked on our final day.

At least that’s what I remember.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Spending some time this week before God, I am trying to focus on my soul… to love God with all of my soul. And it doesn’t quite feel like a scorecard.

One student of the bible writes, “Quite often in everyday language, men get it right about the soul, whereas Theologians miss the mark. Such expressions as.... ‘the poor old soul’... or ‘hundreds of souls perished’ readily convey in the true sense that the reference is to people.

The author continues, noting that the international distress signal, SOS, which some translate as SAVE OUR SOULS, is not a plea to rescue something which is invisible or intangible, but rather to rescue the whole being—that those concerned might hold on to life and be restored alive to loved ones.

Wikepedia also notes that definitions vary within Christian circles.

Other Christians reject the idea of the immortality of the soul, citing the Apostles' Creed's reference to the "resurrection of the body" (the Greek word for body is soma σωμα, which implies the whole person, not sarx σαρξ, the term for flesh or corpse). They consider the soul to be the life force, which ends in death and is restored in the resurrection. Theologian Frederick Buechner sums up this position in his 1973 book Whistling in the Dark: "...we go to our graves as dead as a doornail and are given our lives back again by God (i.e., resurrected) just as we were given them by God in the first place.

Hmmm. More to follow…

Monday, August 31, 2009

the eyes of my heart

fifty feet high
the front row of trees swayed left
the second row leaned right

the first step
in what would become
a most amazing waltz

each individual leave danced
in harmony that exceeded mozart
in grace that exceeded baryshnikov

the late-afternoon sun
reflected the glory that is the Lord
each ray of light focused with intent

large movements intertwined
with a hundred purposeful gestures
to create a moment of magic

a moment, i regret
that words cannot capture
but will remain eternally in my heart

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

heart lovin’ – part four

Love the Lord your God with all your heart.

Quick question: Did the angels cry more on Friday or Sunday?

Which events tugged deeper at their hearts… the forty lashes and crown of thorns, the three painful falls, the crucifixion, the spear in the side, darkness, loneliness, despair. Or was it the empty tomb, the resurrection, the victorious morning, the fulfillment, hope and glory?

Did the angels cry more on Friday or Sunday?

Sometimes I pray for God to open the eyes of my heart. To enable me to see as the Lord sees. But I confess that these have been half-hearted prayers. Here’s the truth: the idea of seeing as the Lord sees terrifies me.

Every day our Father in heaven looks down and sees his children hungry, in despair. He sees brother stealing from brother. Sister taking a knife in rage and thrusting it into sister. With his God-sized heart he sees and feels every moment of hurt and heartache. His own children, his creation, inflicting so much pain and suffering on one another. With his eyes so open, how can God even bear to see what he sees in his heart… every moment of every day. And why would I want to see that way… do I really want to open the eyes of my heart? I tremble just thinking about it.

As noted in prior post, I am not really a “feelings” person. But I do often find myself tearing up at movies, dare I say ‘crying’. Interestingly, it’s never the sad moments. When the friends of George Bailey give all they have, when August Rush’s mom and dad see each other from across the park, when Gale Sayers professes his love for Brian Picollo…

Sitting before my creator this morning, it became clear that opening the eyes of my heart would allow me to see more than the despair and darkness I try so desperately to avoid. One could also see love, hope, wonder, appreciation, unexpected joy, peace, satisfaction, amazement and so much more – in ways never before imagined.

When I think about the shape the world is in these days, I see a lot of Fridays. But today I’m thinking that there are far more Sundays out there. And these events are much more impactful. They reach deeper into the heart. And they can easily wash away and overshadow any pain you can ever witness.

Without a doubt, the angels cried more on Sunday. How could they not?

So I’ll pray today with confidence – and not a glint of terror – Lord, open the eyes of my heart.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

heart lovin' - part three

Love the Lord your God with all your heart.

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is one of the best known and trusted personality assessments. I participated in a detailed assessment while in corporate America about twenty years ago and just last week took a quickie version on Facebook.

One of the four dichotomies it measures is how you make decisions: by thinking or feeling. Wiki provides a good explanation of these:

Those who prefer thinking tend to decide things from a more detached standpoint, measuring the decision by what seems reasonable, logical, causal, consistent and matching a given set of rules. Those who prefer feeling tend to come to decisions by associating or empathizing with the situation, looking at it 'from the inside' and weighing the situation to achieve, on balance, the greatest harmony, consensus and fit, considering the needs of the people involved.

I am a T. Thinker. Always have been wired that way. Or, as my son would say, that’s how I roll.

So as I ponder Mark 12: 28-30 this afternoon, I can only wonder whether “loving with all your heart” comes more naturally to some people than others – and if so, what implications does that have for my relationship with Jesus Christ?

People talk about ‘heartless’ when describing those who act without feeling or emotion… lacking empathy or compassion. And while I have probably been accused in such words, I feel pretty confident in the fact that I am not totally heartless.

In sports, however, we refer to a player’s heart to describe their enthusiasm and intensity for the game. In a way, a person’s heart can transcend their skills and abilities. When an underdog wins, it’s more often attributed to heart than chance. This morning at church, we were praising God with some arm-waving, foot-stomping intensity, and it was really cool. But I confess that my enthusiasm and intensity waned before I even reached the car. In fact, waned is a definite understatement.

Truth is, when it comes to loving with all my heart, I am less concerned with the thinker-feeling wiring. After all, even the Tin Man got his heart.
But I do often wonder: why am I unable to sustain my enthusiasm and intensity for the God of the universe? Where is my heart?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

heart lovin' -- part two

Love the Lord your God with all your heart.

In kindergarten, the teachers taught us how to make the perfect heart. You start with a piece of pink or red construction paper and fold it in half. Then – and this is the brilliant part – you only need to cut out one side. You unfold your paper and voila – the perfect heart.

The occasion, of course, was Valentine’s day. So as I ponder this morning on what it means to love God with all my heart, a somewhat scary question arises. Is there supposed to be a romantic element to all of this?

Wikipedia talks about romance as a literary genre.
A style of heroic prose… fantastic stories about the marvelous adventures of a chivalrous, heroic knight, often of super-human ability, who often goes on a quest… In later romances, particularly those of French origin, there is a marked tendency to emphasize themes of courtly love, such as faithfulness in adversity.

Hmmm… that certainly seems biblical. Heroism. Quests. Faithfulness in adversity.

But what about romantic love. You know, the mushy kind.

I don’t think I’ve ever been called ‘a romantic’. My wife could probably attest that it’s not something that comes naturally. So I used the google machine this morning to come up with some romantic ideas:

- write a letter to express your love
- don’t make it about how much you spend
- read a love poem
- learn how to say you’re sorry
- hold hands in public
- use candles to create a warm setting

Paul’s letters, David’s poems, confession, public acknowledgement of Christ… romantic?

Let’s try the dictionary.

intransitive verb: to exaggerate or invent detail or incident............. transitive verb: try to curry favor with

This two-sided definition caught my attention – that the work of God is beyond belief. And yet, we are called to love him with all out heart. So where does this net out? Is there supposed to me a romantic element to all of this?

They say everything you need to know is learned in kindergarten. Which brings me back to small hands, construction paper and safety scissors. When it comes to having a romantic relationship with my Lord and God, it seems I only need to deal with my efforts, my intentions, my love. For however I get there… whether I need to draw lines, or settle for crooked cuts, when you unfold the paper and bring God into the equation, you are left with a perfect heart.

So go ahead.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

heart lovin' -- part one

Love your God with all your heart.

I remember my mom coming into my room, the crust of sleep still covering my eyes. It was Sunday morning, time for church. My teenage pleas for staying home did not reach sympathetic ears. “You can sacrifice an hour,” my mom would say. “You can sacrifice an hour for God.”

Even while they called it a ‘Celebration of the Eucharist’, spending time before my creator was never positioned as a celebration. It was a sacrifice.

Fast forward thirty-some-odd years. While out visiting my mom for the weekend, each of my three children come to me independently and ask, “Are we going to be home in time for church this evening?”

Celebrate. Love your God with all your heart.

When I thought about hearts and love this morning, one of the first images that came into my mind was the famous I NY advertising campaign. The ads showed people frolicking at the beach, enjoying a baseball game, absorbing the majesty of a waterfall, soaring through the sky in a hot air balloon. Loving New York didn’t involve a deep emotional commitment. It meant having fun, enjoying the time, liking the experience.

Perhaps loving God with all of your heart needs to start there. You need to like him. Feel the rush. Thoroughly enjoy his presence. It seems strange to write this, but I need to love the Lord the same way I love playing golf, or soccer. The same way I love a nice dinner or a great action flick. With anticipation and self-enjoyment.

Delight yourself in the LORD.

So today as I reflect on what it means to love the Lord with all my heart, here are a few things that delight me.

Sunlight peaking through branches in the morning. When music is playing, I can center my attention on a single instrument, like the strum of a guitar, and actually feeling the vibrations. A cool breeze gently rolls over my shoulder on a hot summer evening, seemingly coming out of no where. While driving on the highway, the way the foreground moves rapidly while the background stays still, and you can adjust from speed to stillness by simply refocusing your eyes. Feeling alone and isolated, someone comes up, smiles and says ‘I’ve missed you so much, let’s have dinner together.” The stillness and peace before falling asleep.

Yes, it’s true. I God.
If you care to share, I am interested in hearing... what delights you?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

re-engaging: mark 12:28-30

One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?"

"The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”

> Love with all your heart
> Love with all your soul
> Love with all your mind
> Love with all your strength

Normally, I’ve came away from this passage hearing Jesus say you need to love God with everything you have. And while that is true, this morning my mind began to wonder.

What does it mean to love with your heart? How is that different from loving with your soul? What new perspective comes when you start loving with your mind? What changes when you start loving with your strength?

The Sh'ma Yisroel or just Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4-6) is the centerpiece of the morning and evening Jewish prayer service… a prayer that dates back thousands of years before Christ. And, as this passage from Mark relates, the most important commandment of all.

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to spend some time reflecting on what it means to Love the Lord in these different ways. Let’s see where this goes…

Sunday, June 14, 2009

will you stay through the 9th?

We left the Yankee game on Saturday after the eight inning. Our beloved Yankees were trailing the cross-town Mets 2-6 and from what we had seen so far that day, a 9th inning rally was unlikely. Our lack-of-faith proved accurate as the Yanks went down quietly 1-2-3 as we made it out of the parking lot and were already on our way home.

Sure, it’s possible they could have staged an amazing rally – and we would have missed it by leaving early – it just seemed unlikely.

You see that lack-of-faith among players some times, too. They are so far down in a series or so far behind in a particular game that they just go through the motions… waiting for the clock to run out. The eventual loss is inevitable.

This came to mind this morning as our pastor spoke about the ongoing battle between the spirit and the flesh. What the heart desires vs. the acts of selfishness, laziness and gratification. You see… that battle has been going on daily within me. And the flesh has been on a good winning streak of late. While there have certainly been some victories and runs scored for the spirit, when I look back I get the sense that the flesh has gone undefeated for the past 18 months. That’s 0-18 for the good guys.

What’s worse, I have come to expect defeat. And I start each day waiting for the loss. Going through the motions, in what has become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Losing becomes inevitable. And that kind of thinking only makes the outcome more likely.

I know the momentum can shift at any time. I’m just not helping the cause very much. But I pray that you won’t leave this game before it’s over. Is there any hope for a rally?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

low-frustration golf

We played a golf course yesterday that had five tee boxes, each marked by a different color: gold, green, white, blue and black. From gold, the forward tees, the course plays at 5,188 yards. From the black tee box, what some call “the tips”, the distance is a much more challenging 7,186 yards.

As a golfer, you want to make a choice that is both challenging and fair. You want to stretch your abilities without being aggravated. After all, you're supposed to enjoy the day.

Now I am no Tiger Woods, and playing from the tips would have been a disaster. Moving up to the blue tees would be been easier, but breaking 100 from there is near-impossible for me. At 6,300 yards, however, the white tees gave me a chance to score better than 100… even 90 if everything fell into place. White tees made sense: it promised a challenge without the guaranteed frustration.

Now Michael played with us yesterday, too. He’s a much better golfer than I am, but he has not played much recently so he’s not as sharp. While he could have handled the blue or black distance in his prime, he too chose white for the same reason: it promised a challenge without the guaranteed frustration. Golf is supposed to be fun.

Lately, my walk with Christ has not been so much fun. I’ve been extremely frustrated in my behaviors, my choices – especially compared to where I was three years ago.

And it dawned on me. Maybe I’m playing from the wrong tee box.

A few years ago, I was closer to God. And by letting God into my life, with joy and consistency for several years, he did some amazing things. He could hit the ball long and far. And if his putts didn’t fall in, they came pretty close to the hole.

Then I stopped playing. My time with God became less frequent, less purposeful. And my “game” got rusty.

Then this day comes when you decide to get back in the game. So you pick up your clubs and head for “the tips” just like the old days. And your drive goes into the woods. Your recovery shot bounces off the fairway. The approach shot lands in the river. The chip flies over the green. And putting? The first one short, the second long and the third rims out. And if these golf terms don’t make sense to you, trust me that the frustration level is extremely high.

So you put down your sticks. Walk away. And a few weeks later you get the urge to try again… with the same results. And the frustration only increases. An endless cycle? Maybe not.

As a Christian, you want to make choices that are both challenging and fair. You want to stretch your abilities without being frustrated. You should enjoy your walk with Christ.

For me, that means spending more time with God. Being more purposeful in prayer and scripture. Giving up a little more control each day. Giving Jesus a chance to work through me. And knowing that this may not happen overnight...

In the interim, I’m going to move up to the forward tees. Play within my game. And start to have some fun again.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

what did you do with the peace?

Two pastors from Kenya are visiting our church, and last night they spoke about their ministry. The work they are doing is inspirational—and the lengths they will go to reach people with the good news of Jesus Christ is simply amazing.

They spoke about being stoned because they believed in Christ. They showed a video of 5,000 people attacking their church, injuring many. They spoke of gun shots. Wives being kicked out of their homes because they had faith in Jesus. Brothers hunting down brothers who converted to Christianity. Having no rights, no protection. They talked about persecution and suffering.

And above all – the great joy in which they served the Lord.

Toward the end of the evening, pastor Guerim read from the book of Acts.

In many ways, members of the early church were like these pastors from Africa. Persecuted. Attacked. Hunted. Here in America, they noted, we have peace. Here in America, these two pastors do not wake up and pray for protection, as they have every day for years. They are safe. A time of peace. And so he read Acts 9:31.

Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord.
When the early church enjoyed a time of peace, Guerim noted, they did not sit by idly, content to worship the Lord. They were strengthened. They were encouraged. And they used this time to do amazing things—to grow in numbers.

When the time comes and we face the Lord on judgment day, Pastor Guerim believes Americans will be asked a question unlike the questions asked of he and his African brothers.

We will be asked – what did you do with the peace?

Friday, May 1, 2009

friday fun... it's torture

Was reading a CNN report on a survey, which concluded that the more often Americans go to church, the more likely they are to support the torture of suspected terrorists.

Then this memory popped into my head from my early teens of my mom saying "if i can sit through an hour of church, so can you."

Monday, April 27, 2009

simply beyond words

My friend TK introduced me to what is known as "the wordless bible".

In simplest terms, it is the story of our salvation -- or more specifically, my salvation. I started to carry this book in my wallet. Five pages. No words.

It starts with the story of a glorious gift... a personal relationship with a loving God and creator. A moment that turns to darkness when when I turn my back on God and reject him through my words, my thoughts, my actions. That is not the end of the story, though, as someone else paid the price for my misgivings. Jesus gave his life on the cross for me. And since the moment I accepted this gift... this fresh start... this cleansing love... I have been able to grow in a more meaningful, personal relationship with God and his people.

From what I have heard, this wordless bible is used in countries where carrying a bible in public could be dangerous... and it is also used to introduce children to the amazing story of God's love. But somehow... the simplicity works wonders for me too.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

protect traditional marriage

Yesterday four thousand people packed the Augusta Civic Center to offer their opinions on a bill that would legalize divorce—a bill that will soon make its way through the Maine House and Senate. If it passes and is signed by the governor, Maine would become the second state to legalize divorce through the legislative process. This is in addition to the three other states were divorce has been declared legal through the courts.

Not surprising, conservatives and some religious groups are up in arms about current events. This past November, a group funded in no small way by a Utah-based church helped gather the support needed to overturn a prior court ruling that had legalized divorce in California

Recently, the National Association for Marriage, a nonprofit organization with a mission to protect marriage and the faith communities that sustain it, released an advertisement on this very issue:

“There’s a storm gathering. The clouds are dark and the winds are strong and I am afraid. Some who advocate for legalized divorce have taken the issue far beyond unhappy couples. They want to bring the issue into my life. My freedom will be taken away. I’m a California lawyer who must choose between my faith and my job. I’m part of a New Jersey church group punished by the government because we can’t support divorce. I’m a Massachusetts parent helpless watching public schools teach my son that divorce is okay. But some who advocate same divorce have not been content with unhappy couples simply separating. Those advocates want to change the way I live. I will have no choice. The storm is coming. But we have hope, a rainbow coalition of people of every creed and color are coming together in love to protect marriage.”

Clearly, there is clear biblical justification for the anti-divorce movement.

Matthew 19:6
“So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

Matthew 19: 8-9
Jesus replied, "Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery."

As for me, I do not think you can legislate morality. While I don’t agree that divorce is right, I don’t see why it is my place to keep to people who obviously don’t love each other bound by marriage.

I know my life is different today than the time before I became a Christian – and the difference was not caused because someone else telling me what I can and cannot do. The difference was caused by me developing a personal relationship with God.

When I think about how Jesus wants me to respond to this whole issue of legalized divorce, I can’t help by think about a verse in Galatians: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Against such thing there is no law. Instead of running around trying to tell people whether it’s ok for them to get divorced, I prefer to work on relationships with the people in my circles… and tell them more about how I came to know Jesus.

Hopefully, we will come to a point where divorce is legal in all 50 states so we can begin to have more meaningful discussions.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

aren't we all hannah montana?

In its first ten days, the new Hannah Montana movie grossed over $50 million. For the past three years, the Emmy-nominated television series has set records on the Disney Channel. And sold-out concert tours have led to families spending $1,000 per ticket to see a single performance.

Leading her double-life as pop-star Hannah Montana and average-joe Miley Stewart, the title characters sings that she has the best of both worlds. The fame and rewards of stardom along with the privacy and intimacy of a normal home life.

And is it any wonder that this story-line is so popular? We all lead two lives. And hope that the worlds never collide.

You see this in politics. While at a San Francisco meeting with his core supporters, Barack Obama talks about how small-town voters cling to certain narrow-minded issues in elections. While he highlights his support for the second amendment and faith-based programs when campaigning in those same towns himself.

You see this in baseball. Commission Selig and leading players talk about respect for the sport while doing nothing of substance to rid the sport of substances that have led to record-breaking home run records and attendance.

You see this in business, where companies tout merit and achievement while advancement and opportunity is often based on relationships and connections.

Everyone prospers. Everyone gets the best of both worlds.

And yet, the tag line for the latest Hannah Montana movie cause me to pause.

She has the best of both worlds... now, she has to pick just one.

I haven’t seen the movie, but I surmise that Miley reaches a junction when a choice has to be made. She can no longer be a no-name high-schooler by day and international pop star by night.

After all, this fantasy … that you can constantly pass from one world to the other… effortlessly and without consequences is just that… a fantasy.

It’s the fantasy I live as a Christian. And my guess is that I won’t know the time or hour when my junction meets me. Who knows what world I’ll be in that day.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

the light is still on

have not spent much time here over the past few weeks... i look forward to catching up with your journeys soon. excited about this week, with good friday and easter. a celebration of victory if ever there was one.

while i have not been as attentive here, have been very intentional this lenten season of reaching up and reaching out--spending more time in scripture, prayer, sitting quietly before god and just being aware of the person sitting across from me. have also been working on trying to smile more -- to let the joy in my heart be seen on my face. (i can hear the voice of my 8th grade english teacher as i write this, "gillespie, do you ever smile?")

work has been very busy (a blessing, in many ways) but i have too many kingdom-oriented projects that are sitting by idly as a result. i can and should be doing more -- and i will.

so just wanted to say i miss you -- and will visit soon. until then, may your days be filled with an abundance of joy, for the Christ has risen. Just for you.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

blog habits

technology makes it easy to keep in touch with blogging friends. you can "follow" people. you can "subscribe" to rss feeds. you can even "twitter". or have fresh blog posts "fowarded" right to your inbox.

as one who got rid of his blackberry in 2004, i must confess that none of those apply to me.

i prefer to simply click through on my blog roll (listed as more journeys). i kind of think of it as knocking on a neighbor's door. sometimes no one is home. days (weeks) might go by without a new diary, and you wonder... how are they... is everything ok... i hope their life is full of joy today.

and other times you are surprised by a new posting. the latest insights. a personal story. you can smell it when you click through. like a bouquet of garden flowers. a fresh pot of coffee. and hot-from-the-oven cookies, all rolled into one. before i read a single word i am already smiling.

so the question for you... how did you get here today? did you follow, click, link... or was it just a knock?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

hate the sin, love the sinner

While this phrase was coined by a Hindu, it has been picked up and preached in Christian circles.

Hate the sin, love the sinner.

Do you know what this really is? Just another excuse to hate. Instead of saying I hate gays, I hate people involved in abortion, I hate people who cheat on taxes, I hate liberals, I hate people who are not just like me... we find ways to justify ourselves.

Let's put a biblical slant on it. Let's be righteous. Let's be compassionate.

Hate the sin, lover the sinner.

Do you know what that really is? Hate.

I heard that line in church a few weeks ago (not from the preacher) and it got me thinking. Even went so far as to search the word "hate" in the Bible. And you know what?

Jesus never preached a message of hate. Here's what Jesus said:
You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.

Jesus preached a message of love. Love. Love. Love.

So maybe next time, when someone hides behind Christ in the name of hate, I'll have enough courage to speak up. Even if someone hates me for it.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

thursday ramblings

Light may be most beautiful when you can see each individual component -- but most useful when each part comes together.

Jesus said, "Why do you call me 'Lord, Lord' and do not do what I say?" To which I reply, "Good question."

I was pulled from a deep sleep at exactly 5:30am. The alarm clock was never set. Later my wife felt a sudden urge to reach for her ear, just in time to catch an earning that had fallen. It's so totally cool when God is in the house.

On Tuesday I heard the birds singing in the morning. They sing every day. Tuesday I just heard them.

Today was more purposeful than yesterday. Tomorrow's looking pretty good.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

where is your wind blowing?

Hurricanes and cyclones revolve around their own center -- drawing everything in to meet their demands for strength and power -- leaving a path of destruction in their wake.
Compare that to a flower -- where gentle breezes take away their most precious assets, their seeds -- in the process creating new life.
We can pull everything towards ourselves... or we can give it away.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

the face of liberty

They that can give up essential liberty
to obtain a little temporary safety,
deserve neither liberty or safety.
Benjamin Franklin

My family spent a few days in Philadelphia this past week. The town where Thomas Jefferson penned the Declaration of Independence and James Madison wrote the U.S. Constitution knows a few things about liberty, which Webster’s defines as “the quality or state of being free.”

The U.S. Mint, situated on the north end of Independence Mall, engraves the word LIBERTY on every coin they produce. And of course, there is the Liberty Bell.

The first thing that struck me about the Liberty Bell was its imperfections. The surface area is anything but smooth, and is marked instead by dents, welts, swells, patches and bumps. The rim, which one would expect to be sharp and circular, is rough and chiseled. This clarion of freedom… which assembled the masses in 1776, harked the end of slavery in the late 1800s and echoed the voices of the suffragettes in the 20th Century… appears flawed, damaged and defective. And did I mention that crack?

Yet this cast of copper and zinc is treasured. Patriots hid it under church floors during the Revolutionary War to protect it from the British army. It has traveled from coast to coast. A million people come each year to stand in its presence. To read the verse from Leviticus inscribed on its crown: proclaim LIBERTY throughout the land unto all Inhabitants thereof.

When you get up close you see that liberty doesn’t look pretty. It appears flawed. Chiseled. Cracked. And yet it is perfect in every way imaginable.

In this, the city of brotherly love, I also thought about words Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

Reflecting about what I expect from my relationship with Christ, it dawned on me that when I finally go all in with Jesus… when I choose to live the life he intended for me… it is probably not going to look pretty to the outside world. When I finally allow Jesus to set me free it is likely that others will see me as flawed. Chiseled. Cracked.

For some reason I can’t explain, that thought comforts me.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

wednesday randomness

Was reminded recently about the Exodus, and how some of those who were delivered from bondage wanted to return to Egypt. I have been freed, too, but sometimes I go looking for my Egyptian passport. Like I want to be a dual citizen. Ugggh!

It's amazing how easy it is to see the presence of God in this world if we open our eyes, ears and hearts.

We all have demons. Last week I was praying for God's help in overcoming a temptation when it dawned on me that this battle was already fought and won. That changed everything.

I probably pray as much about my life as i do for others. Not sure whether that's a good thing or not.

When I turn my back on the Lord (you know, that sin stuff) I usually respond by avoiding God for a while... I guess you call that shame. Was reminded of that this morning reading about one of Peter's first encounters with Christ. "Go away from me Lord, I am a sinful man!" And of course, Jesus replies... c'mon, let's go for a walk.

What was the first thing Jesus did in his ministry? He took time to meet, comfort and heal individuals... ordinary people in need... one at a time. I was doing more of that a year ago than I am today.

While I have loved and served God the father for a while now, and have definitely been touched by the Holy Spirit... hard to explain but I may now be learning to love Jesus.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Kýrie, eléison

Kýrie, eléison
Christé, eléison
Kýrie, eléison

Singing in the boys choir at Tolentine’s in the Bronx, the “Kýrie” hymn was a weekly ritual. The words seemed to lift themselves into the rafters, drifting toward heaven. Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy. Lord have mercy.


I don’t remember hearing many homilies on this topic, though. It’s not a word that comes up in conversation much these days, whether in church or out. Instead, we talk a lot about mercy’s close cousin… forgiveness. Forgive me, Lord. Forgive and forget. Forgive your enemies. Can you forgive me? Before you pray, forgive. You need to forgive yourself. I will never forgive you! Without forgiveness, there is no future.

Mercy? That’s just for criminals, right?

I like forgiveness. You’re not looking for anything tangible… you just want to feel better. As wiki says, forgiveness is typically defined as the process of ceasing to feel resentment, indignation or anger for a perceived offense.

The bible talks a lot about forgiveness. And if you look at what may be the most-quoted story of forgiveness, the Prodigal Son, you see that the “wrong doer” in this case is not looking for anything tangible… he just wants everyone to feel better.

Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men. Luke 15: 18-19

Mercy? That’s not about feelings… it’s more of a transaction.

This distinction came to bear this morning as I was reading from the Gospel of Luke. Mary had just gone to see her cousin Elizabeth, and she sings a song or praise to the Lord… including this verse:

His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.
Luke 1:50

I probably pray for God’s forgiveness daily. But can count on one hand the times I have asked for God’s mercy. I kind of expect that the “day-to-day sins” will simply be swept under the rug… kind of an automatic. It’s only when I’m really defiant that I begin to fear my maker. Most days, I take God’s mercy for granted… while in fact I probably should be trembling much more.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

25 random things...

I was tagged on Facebool to write 25 random things about myself. And because I am lazy, instead of writing what I want to say over here today, I'll just repost that list.

I need to be right. I always need to be right. Got it?

The fact that PT Barnum started the circus when he was in his sixties motivates me to get off my butt and try new things.

Last week, I spend a whole day sitting on a couch with Eileen, just hanging out in front of a fire. It was one of my favorite days.

I need to constantly remind myself that my children are there own persons, living lives meant just for them, and they are not extensions of me.

Nothing irritates me more than jammed copy machines. Grrrrrrr.

This month, I made soup for the first time.

Have never sued anyone, nor has anyone ever sued me.

Have never fired a firearm (nor has anyone fired at me).

It wouldn’t surprise me if I was diagnosed as an obsessive compulsive. I had to delete games on my PC because I could just spend hour after hour playing Free Cell.

I hate being thanked in public. But not being thanked in private irks me even more.

The last time I was drunk was April 5, 2002. My car said hello to the median on the Merritt Parkway on the way home from Yankee Stadium. The entire left side was totaled. The air bag never deployed. The Lord kept me from harm.

I often wonder what I have done to earn God’s love. Then I remember there is nothing I can do about that… it is His gift. My roll in this is to love Him back. Some days I don’t do that very well.

The trooper who arrived on the scene at my crash was Officer D’Amato. I received a ticket for changing lanes without signaling. I will remember his name always.

There are days when I would just like to start all over. And there are other days when I realize that I can start over… starting today.

I finished my first screenplay in 2007. I am ten pages into my second (but have been at page ten for many months now… hmmmm).

I don’t like dogs… but wouldn’t mind having one as a pet.

I often cry at the end of sappy movies. It’s a Wonderful Life gets me every time.

Some times I think I am the only person who can’t stand Meryl Streep.

It bothers me that people close to me don’t see the peace and joy that has come into my life since I discovered Jesus and His love.

I broke 90 on the golf course once in my life. I was playing with my brother Tom. All the best rounds I have had have been when playing with my brother.

I blog at

When I got on the scale in January 1, it dawned on me that I had gained 45 pounds over the past five years. I’ve come to learn that losing weight is not about diets or workout plans – it’s about making a decision to lose weight.

I love to plan and organize events.

This year, I have a dream that involved organizing a performing arts club – getting people together so we can go perform for people who don’t have ready access to live performances.

I have many secrets. Maybe one day I will share them. Today is not that day.

Friday, January 23, 2009

a new day

Here's a link to 48 amazing photo's from Tuesday's inauguration. Enjoy!

Friday, January 16, 2009

from the book of bob

some people feel the rain.

others just get wet.
- Bob Dylan, American songwriter

Monday, January 12, 2009

scripture: have at it

The biography of Walt Disney is over 800 pages, the Gospel of John less than 27. So I get the sense that the Gospel authors took great pains to choose their words wisely, and that every paragraph is important.

Reading John last week, was struck by the telling of the crucifixion... an event John witnessed first-hand. While this scene is presented in vivid detail in The Passion of the Christ, it is portrayed over the course of a few paragraphs in John, ending with:
These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: "Not one of his bones will be broken," and, as another scripture says, "They will look on the one they have pierced." John 19: 36-37

So I am coming back to this again today... knowing that having these two events together is important. Body pierced, but no bones broken.

What do these verses say to you? Why is so important that they are talked about in the same context? No broken bones, but body pierced. This is not a question for bible scholars, it's a question for you. First thoughts OK. Thanks for playing.

i can only imagine

via the Naked Pastor

Thursday, January 8, 2009

2009: a year of dreams

And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Joel 2:28

Over the years, I’ve taken my fair share of self-assessments and strength-finder tests through various employers and organizations. And I’ve been told I have an ability to apply logic and intuition to put things together—often to see how certain actions may play out three or four steps ahead.

In the business-world, this has served me well. My clients count on me to identify potential obstacles and hurdles that could impact marketing campaigns, for example, and develop strategies that are more likely to succeed.

If you’ve been following things here at cross the road over the past month, you’ll know that I have been struggling with dreams – or more specifically, my lack thereof. For some time now I have been living a life of contentment—satisfied with small steps, comforted by the safety of routine. But my friend TK has challenged me to dream God-sized dreams… that even at my “advanced age” I was still being called upon to make the world a better place.

While visiting Seedlings in Stone the other day, I came to the realization that this ability to apply logic and intuition to see several steps ahead was holding me back. I was afraid to accept a dream if I didn’t see how it could be achieved.

In other words, I was failing to allow for the presence of God.

My God defies logic. My God is not limited by my degrees of intuitiveness. He moves mountains. Defeats death. Loves the broken. Loves even me.

If I wanted to dream God-sized dreams, I needed to let go of my Ed-sized imagination.

And you know what… I do have dreams. I have no idea how they will ever come to life, but I am ready to go at it. Stay tuned…

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

flat is the new up

Rec'd an e-newsletter written by a business associate and the author was making a a comment about the economy.

Flat is the new up. This is the notion that simply maintaining the revenues and profits of the past is a victory when so many companies are shrinking or disappearing.

And I was thinking... how many times have I mistakenly applied that same thought process to my walk with Christ? Hmmmm.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

don't hold me responsible

Roland Burris showed up in Washington today and was denied a seat in the U.S. Senate under the cloud plaguing Illinois' Governor Rod Blagojevich - the man who promoted him.

So this afternoon, Blago issued this plea: "The people of Illinois are entitled to be represented by two senators in the United States Senate... Any allegations against me should not be held against him and especially not the people of Illinois."

While pondering whether or not Burris should be allowed to join Congress, I had this thought.

How many times do people look at me and say 'if that's what it means to be a Christ follower, I want no part of it'. Like all of us on this journey, we have moments of sunshine and moments of clouds.

So I just have one thing to say to those who are far from Christ: Any allegations against me should not be held against Him.

what's new

And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness. God called the light "day," and the darkness he called "night." And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.

On the equator, the earth rotates around its axis at a speed of 1,037 miles per hour (slightly slower up here in North America). At the same time, our planet orbits the sun at a speed of 66,660 miles per hour.

The end result of these amazingly consistent rules of physics and nature are two gifts: new days and new years.

I cannot imagine living life without either of these gifts. They are gifts of anticipation and opportunity. Second chances. New discoveries. Rebirths.

Our amzing God knows us so well... he understands our needs more than we could ever imagine. On the first day, God created the gift of hope.

Personally, I like to start anew on Monday's, so yesterday was the official start of my 2009. And I am so excited. So full of anticipation. Ready for new discoveries. All because of the gift of hope. Thank you Lord.

Friday, January 2, 2009

i don't know what to do...

When I was a youngster, I had lots of dreams. Getting married and raising kids, buying a house, driving a convertible, starting a business, building skyscrapers, flying a plane, seeing my face on the cover of Time magazine... yada yada.

But today, I find myself in a situation where these dreams have either been realized or simply faded away... living a 9-5 life of comfort devoid of big dreams and aspirations that will change the world. And that's not right. We all should be dreaming. We can all change the world. We need to see it... and we need to work for it.

So I've been turning to God. Help me God. Show me the way. Fill my mind with dreams. Paint a picture for me. Open my eyes. Tell me what to do.

And after several weeks, I am no closer to an answer.

But today the feeling I'm getting from God seems eerily familiar to a scene from the Godfather. I don't know about you, but seems like just about every situation in life can be described by a scene from the Godfather.

So as I turn to God, looking for him to take care of everything and draw me a personal roadmap for my faithwalk... I'm not getting a simple answer. I'm getting a bucket of cold water thrown in my face.

Kinda like when Johnny Fontaine goes to the Godfather for help... knowing that the Godfather can never refuse a request made of him.

Johnny: Oh godfather, I don't know what to do. I don't know what to do.
Corleone: You can act like a man. (The Don slaps Johnny in the face.)

So I'm asking God what I should be dreaming about. And his response: act like a man. Gee, I didn't know it was going to be this tough...