Friday, August 29, 2008

diary of an at-home dad part. 1

So my wife is back to work in a school and once again i find myself among the ranks of an at-home dad two days a week. It's really a blessing, as i spend a couple of months in Tanzania and my travels around the states are picking up. I remember listening to an interview with Ann Graham-Lotts, a daughter of Billy Graham. She was asked what it was like being the daughter of THE Billy Graham, and her reply was quick and honest; "hard, I didn't have a daddy around to often, but we understood that he had work to do." I think about this alot when I get frustrated that I never seem to have enough time to "do" my "work" and then catch myself and remember that my daughter is my real work... and i am amazed at how God is using her to form me more and more into His image. Here's is where the rubber hits the road for me....sacrifice on both end; my family gives me up because the Lord gave Himself up...

Here's how i saw it during yesterday's nap-time (or lack of) My daughter is in a daycare two days a week and they just moved her up into the "toddler one" room. I have no idea where they came up with that idea, i mean she's just too little for that "big kid class" (if I keep telling this to myself, will it become true?) Well, she's at the stage of dropping her morning nap and having just one in the early afternoon. It seems to go well for everyone but me...did i miss a memo on this somewhere? Well as i put her down today, i had to do the "five minutes and go up, and then wait ten..." thing and she held out to 8 minutes and 47 seconds...

She's got a strong will (stupid apples, can't they fall farther from the tree!) and a great set of lungs (argh...ditto) and as her cries reached the ears of her father i found myself thinking "how long"...not because it bothered me (it did, but not in a aggravated way) but because my daughter was crying out becuase she didn't understand what was going on... plain and simple....and my heart broke. i found myself really hurting, and Scripture began to fill my head, words that Jesus spoke like when he was pleading in the Garden about the sacrifice he had to make, and the cries of pain over the wayward people of Jerusalem, and the snort of rage over the death of his friend Lazarus and the pain of his sisters as they mourned. About the hidden things of the Lord...
...and it started to strike me afresh, this deep sense of pain that a father hears when his children cry out, afraid, uncertain, frustrated, mad at him because they didn't get their way. And I know that God doens't rejoice in our suffering...but my daughter gave me real-life testimony
Our father hears our cries in the same way. The gut-wrenching that I felt with because of my daughter is in some way a shadow of the anguish that our Mediator feels for us. When "all of creation groans with eager expectation..." the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are included in that...somehow.
What did that drive me to do? Say thank you Lord, I love you. Please help my daughter. It became very real, and I pray it does for you as well. It's not a sense of the deep theological debate concerning the emotions of God. Nope...a simple truth revealed to a simple man...God really is love

Thursday, August 28, 2008

chasin' hot pants...for Jesus wife and i have been married for awhile and she really knows me well. When i joke around with her and its REALLY obvious she smiles at me with a crooked grin and says "fuego!"...a reference to the state of my they're on fire! i hear fuego alot. makes me crack up, so i run around the room when i think i'm really (that is actually) funny trying to snuff out the invisible flames coming off my butt...

...ya know, it would be alot easier if God made that a reality, wouldn't? I mean, when you met people lying, their pants would burst into flames! Oh man, what an ad campaign! (if you make money off that idea, hook me up) if it would happen, me and Jesus were chasing hot pants up and down my street today.

...the doorbell rang and there where two Jehovah's Witness there, wanting to "give me something". All i say when i hear this is "no thanks, but i'd like to give you something" and i start to pray that the false gospel they have been given will be forgotten. When i'm done praying they always ask "what was that about?" and i simply reply "i've prayed that you might hear the Truth"

....we'll these two today stood there in their fuego pants and i simply asked them if Jesus was God, to which they replied "no" (as i knew she would). "May I ask you a question?" i said. "Sure" was the reply.
I'd like to ask you a question about a verse that is not one of those marked in your book (she had her proof texts all many Christians do)...and i'd like to use my Bible and your book." "OK"
"Let's look at John 1:1, what do you read in your book"
"In the beginning was the Word, and the word was a god"
"May I ask why the word "Word is capitalized in your book"
"well, i don't know...(her friend pipes in) that's a name for God
"so you're telling me that it's reading "God was a god?"...He was one of many?"
"no, it's the name for Jesus"
"so, Jesus was a god, you agree?"
We spoke for abit, and as they walked down my sidewalk, i put my daughter into her stroller and told them i'd follow behind, going to the doors they went to and put out their flaming pants..that is correcting their wrongs. I told one guy walking his dog that they denied Jesus was God, and a young kid who took their books in his doorway up the street.... this is what Jesus did to hot pants, he exposed the lies and pointed to his father....was it uncomfortable, yes it was, but i couldn't let their people lie to my neighbors and say that Jesus wasn't God. I wasn't angry at them, i felt sad so as i walked behind them i reminded them of the deep love Jesus had for them., what do you do when you see hot pants walking down the street? Look at them and say nothing, or expose the lie in love.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

yer grandma wears army boots..and so does jesus when i was a kid it used to be an insult to say "yer grandma wears army boots"'s pretty stupid, and i have no idea where the saying came from, but it stuck in my head.

lot's of junk get stuck in my head, much to my wife's dismay. But i've come to realize that Jesus wears army boots as least in the picture that smacked me between the eyes on the cover of the NYT on May 29, 2007.

Now i don't really care where you stand on war...i could blog for a really long time on the just war theory and spin both sides...i've come to understand that the answer is, when asked "whose side is Jesus on" is "yes"...see, the Word says that Christ died for sinners at just the right time, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring glory to God (Romans 5:8)... so Jesus didn't die for the "good guys"...that's a flawed question for their are no "good" guys (1 John 1:8) since we all fell short, than that's who Jesus is fallen folks (Matthew 9:12-23) that's what went through my mind when i saw this picture...Jesus in full camo...letting some random kid hide behind him as he walked into the path of death...look at his eyes, see how he's not distracted by anything...that's the garden, on the cross...letting us hide behind him while he walks into the battle against enemies that we could never face...grace

we're called to do the same thing friends, you and walk into harms way, into the dirt and fear of life where others run, and to let the scared, helpless ones hide and attach themselves to us...simply because that's what Jesus did for us...grace and mercy

.... i heard many times today as i spoke to friends; "bryan, you've got the guts to walk into places where i can' are fearless to ride the storms of life. i don't have that courage!"

...well, tonight let me tell you i have that courage either...i've been in the midst of a battle that left in it's wake death and pain, fear and anger, and yet i can still say "Lord, Lord"...and that is and understanding of a deep, deep truth that let's me do this.

two days after i graduated seminary, my wife went into labor with our first child. It was the "perfect" pregnancy....that's what we heard all along...we were poised to head out and replant a church in an area we where sure was ripe for our gifts...and then one night, things went really bad, really fast... triumph turned to tragedy in the blink of an eye

my wife went into labor, and we went to the hospital. The attending nurse at one point had a very difficult time finding our child's heart beat, and when the attending physician came in and saw our child's heart rate, he rolled my wife off for an emergency c-section...the last thing he said to me was "i'll see you in a few minutes with a healthy baby" i sat there by myself in the loneliest place i think man has ever what seemed like eternity, our Dr. returned with another Dr. and they both knelt by my side and said words that parents are not supposed to hear; "where sorry, but your son did not make it".

...and they both put their hands on me and prayed...the story unfolds for month after month as the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit ministered to us and to thousands of others in ways that defy words...but we learned through it all the answer to the question "where was God when.....?"

...."closer than our own breath....." that's where He was and is and will always be. No, we never said "that you Jesus for doing this to us....we said "thank you Jesus in the midst of this"... when you hear my stories of walking into places where others won't go...or you say "I don't have the courage that he has"....let me tell you that i don't either...i just know that there is no place, height nor depth, that i can ever go where my precious Jesus has not been before me...he took the hit of all the attacks on me so i would only have to bear the see the word for Hope in Biblical Greek is a noun, not a's a real thing, not an idea

so please, step in line behind me friends, for if Christ is for us, who can be against us?

in sure Hope


Monday, August 25, 2008

a drip for jesus...

We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.
Mother Teresa let me start by saying thank you to all of you who joined me in prayer for China as well as those who have been praying for me. Many times i have felt shrouded by the cloak of prayer as i stood in the midst of my town. It has been a journey that i shall never forget, and an action that i will continue to do in my life...
...well, i brought my sign with me on vacation as i said, but i didn't stand on any corners... instead i surfed, prayed, picked up garbage on the beach and enjoyed my family. Before i left i told myself "the Chinese Christians aren't on vacation, so i'll keep it up!" i have a habit of telling myself what to do. The Holy Spirit is trying to break of that so i'll be more attentive to him.... so i was reminded of Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever....
Silly me to forget.
...but i was out there this morning with my sign for the last time asking strangers on their way to somewhere to stop and pray for strangers. i'll miss my corner, the faces in the windshields, the cramps in my arms, the hour of prayer and the blessing to stand up for sisters and brothers proclaiming the truth of Jesus...but something has happened in me.
The Holy Spirit has built into my heart a corner on which He can took obedience on my part to follow his lead, but as i stood there like fool i actually became what i was doing... what happened today? Well, i found myself weeping early on and had no problem letting my tears roll down my cheeks. If Jesus could weep over Jerusalem, it would be an honor to weep over China for Him
....just when i was feeling very alone (i found this always happened at some point, hey, Jesus did in the Garden) a female schoolbus driver rode by and blew me a huge kiss out her window.
...a man who was jogging came across the street to read my sign "Father, why should I pray for China? The Olympics didn't do much for the human rights abuses..."Well" i replied, " there are Christians in prison today in China, so i'm going to stand here on this corner and ask people to pray." He looked at me while he kept his feet moving...."all right Father, I'll pray for China" he said and turned and left.
...a policeman was stopped in traffic right in front of me and smiled (why do they all like me?) "looks like it might rain, good luck!" (mmm i'm not down with luck!) "that's ok, there are Christians in prison in China, i can handle rain"... a half hour later when the rain started i didn't grab my jacket, it felt too sweet
...on my way home i stopped for coffee (surprised?) and a man asked to sit next to me. He used to be a former customer of mine when i worked at the coffee shop we were both at...he asked what i was doing so we talked...turns out he's owns a software company that developed programs to track people and supplies during massive humanitarian relief efforts...he offered to help me out. i was leaving i passed by a man who is high-functioning mentally challenged. He was mumbling something to me and when i got close enough to understand him he said he didn't have a rain i gave him the one i had brought didn't zip up (he's kinda big) but it was better than nothing... i've come to understand that indeed a great work was done in my life and by God's grace in the lives of others as well...i'm not sure what kind of impact i had, but i was called to be faithful, not successful. Along the way I was both loved and abused (like Jesus had been). The TV crews never showed up, nor the newspapers..but joggers did, cult-members did, kids did, neighbors did and random people who needed prayer...
My sign is sitting rolled up in the corner of my office. I think i'll hang it up as a reminder of the time i spent being a drip for Jesus...come back, my work continues on!
how much can one drop do?
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.
Isaiah 53:5

Saturday, August 16, 2008

day 7...gone surfin'

....when i was in college at LIU Southampton on the East End of Long Island my friends would tease me that they never saw me dry...i surfed my brains out as often as i could

...well times have changed, but me and the fam' are heading off to Cape Cod for a week of surf and relaxation...but i will be bringing my sign and standing on the side of the road Monday-Friday 7:30-8:30 am...

...i won't be blogging, just paddling! We'd appreciate your prayers. I'll see ya'll when we get back..

Friday, August 15, 2008 6 Jesus and (take 2) i've got a good friend who's in industrial management and i'm really intrigued by what he does. See, if God is omnipotent, they we should see brushes of Him everywhere, right? So i tend to ask people lots of questions and learn from the ground level. He loaned me a book the other day which i think never made the NYT best seller list, but it should! Check this out
...Toyoda Sakichi and Toyoda Kiichiro developed the Toyota model of production. ...."they had the foresight to go always to the heart of the matter. Both spent their lives mainly in the production fields, looking at things realistically, calmly, and objectively." They understood and chased the "actual-v-theoretical"... it's the "looks good on paper, but does it fly?" approach why do so few Christians do the same i wondered today. They read the book, love the actions of Jesus, and applaud from the bleacher seats the guy who's out in the field doing the deal. Don't get me wrong, i'm right there with them compared to the heroes of faith that i've been reading about! You could say that i've got splinters in my bottom as apposed to a speck in my eye! here's today's hero who got up off the bench and worked the factory floor...
Nguyen Van Thunan was imprisoned in Vietnam for his faith. He says that he spent years waiting for his release...until one day he got it..."No, i will not spend my time waiting. I will live the present moment and fill it with love" He chose to rely on the power of the Holy Spirit. The result? He gave up what he thought was God's agenda for his life and began to focus on God. He writes "I said to myself...why torment yourself? All of the work [you had done but cannot do now] is excellent work, the work of God, but it is not God!" So he changed his focus to God, not what he wasn't doing, and God brought the ministry to him. The power came from God, not his (Nguyen's) actions.
...this is life on the production line of salvation history... today, i seemed to be more focused on God than my sign and plea....i still believe that i was called to do what i'm doing, but God had a very different agenda for me today.

here's what happened....

the "different guy" in town (whose appearance and actions make most uncomfortable) stopped, took off his head set and yelled across bus traffic I love your sign, I will pray for China today!" I laughed, because while i watched him make eye contact with me i started to pray, "Lord, please no".

A bit later a woman stopped, read my sign and said "we all need prayer", so i asked her what she needed prayer for and prayed for her(Carroll) on the street.

And then this guy walks up and i say "i like your tie" he stops and asks if he could give me a copy of the Watch Tower (the paper for the Jehovah's Witness) to which i said, no thank you, but can i give you a book and pray for you. I asked his name (Cletus) put my sign down, i laid hands on him and prayed for deliverance for him from the false gospel he had been taught. He walked away not really sure what happened.

Later as I left my corner i saw him across the street handing out literature to a mildly retarded young man whom i see working in town. i walked over to them and simply said the young guy "do you believe in Jesus" "yes" he said. "Do you believe he was God on earth?" "well...he replied. "Well" i said to him, "if you profess to be a Christian, the whole deal revolves on that. This man Cletus here, now Cletus, correct me if i'm wrong, will tell you that Jesus was not God, or even THE son of God, right. " "Right,"Cletus said, yes, you worship the created, i worship the Creator"... so the kid saw his lie and said he had to catch his bus. I told Cletus he forgot the book he said i could give him and put my Bible into his briefcase. "I don't want your book" he yelled at me and threw it back at me. "But Cletus" i said, "if you want to follow Jesus, you need to know the truth. i wasn't a jerk, or forceful, just convicted

...i began to walk home when i passed this guy sitting on a bench with his head down sitting next to a half a 2 liter bottle of soda. i felt i was supposed to stop and talk to this guy, hear his story and pray. But i kept walking, i had to get a coffee and get home so i could go rock climbing. The nagging continued so 25 yards past him i stopped and turned around. "Excuse me" i said " i get a sense that you could use some prayer. What's your name, are you ok?" Oh, I'm Peter and I'm fine, you could pray for my dad though, he died in '91..." and as his story rambled on i could tell he had some issues. "oh, well how are you today?" "Not so good" he said. "I'm chronic bipolar and schizophrenic and my meds are working to good." "Oh my, do you have a case worker" "Yes, I'm seeing him today" "That's great, let's pray for that". So i prayed for another person on the street asking for a peaceful day, meds that worked and head is still spinning, what did i learn? that my heart is indeed being transformed by God's grace. Spending all this time in prayer for others and learning of their acts has moved me to act as i wait holding my sign, to be attentive to the Spirit of God, and to listen....
God's peace to you all

Thursday, August 14, 2008

day 5...playing in traffic for Jesus

This morning i went to the Voice of the Martyrs web site to read the stories of the persecuted today. VOM, along with China Aid launched the appeal from Chinese House Church leaders for prayer...this is what i found posted;
Pastor Zhang “Bike” Mingxuan, known for traveling across China on a bicycle to evangelize, was arrested by Chinese police just two days before the Olympics began. Pastor Bike was the inspiration for the recent partnership between The Voice of the Martyrs and China Aid Association to create the Olympic Prayer Band.

Pastor Bike pleaded with VOM staff to ask Christians to pray for persecuted Christians in China during the Olympics. The pastor voluntarily preaches the gospel openly in China despite being persecuted. He has asked for his identity to be revealed to bring continued attention to the persecution of Christians in Communist China.
Thanks to Pastor Bike’s inspiration and the commitment of concerned Christians across the United States, more than 800,000 prayer bands have been circulated. On Aug. 6, Pastor Bike was arrested while trying to deliver medicine to his ailing wife. His wife and another pastor were also arrested. We have also learned this week that Chinese officials are opening a full investigation of the Olympic Prayer Bands that were distributed to house church members within China. Despite this increased pressure from Chinese authorities, Chinese Christians continue to ask for prayer and to make their plight known. that little rubber band that i wear that says "pray for China" would have had me investigated, and the sign that i've been holding would have had me arrested and sent to one of the official "re-education farms". i was so aware of this today that i found myself counting the police cars that drove by, thanking the Lord that they were not slamming on their breaks, beating me and throwing me in the back of their cars. i prayed for those in China for whom the cars did stop, asking The Lord to give them strength and to turn their captures hearts to him. what happened today as i stood there? Oddly enough, almost EVERY police car that drove by today slowed down, and the officer even rolled down his window and shouted support
...the eyes behind the windshields of the other cars searched even deeper as i stood for the 6th day...and children in back seats could not stop staring at me as their parents drove by...
...but one man pulled his car over in the midst of traffic to stop and ask "why should i pray for China?" "Because there are Christians who are being beaten today for doing what I am doing, and the Holy Spirit has asked me to call people to pray" i responded. He smiled and said "can i make a suggestion? Most folks driving by don't know why you're asking them to pray, perhaps you should make a sign that reads "please pray for the persecuted church in China." "Well" i said, "this is the sign the Holy Spirit asked me to write. i'm asking for prayer, not protesting treatment. i trust that the Spirit will move in the hearts of those driving by and speak to them.Besides, i've been finding that people who are moved walk up to me and ask." With that, the man looked at me and said "i might get arrested for stopping here, but i gotta get out and shake your hand." Turns out this guy had spent time in China with missionaries in the underground church in China, and here in the middle of yuppie-ville rush hour traffic (literally) the Holy Spirit connected us...could i ever script this stuff?
...he took my card and said he'd connect, and apologized that he couldn't talk longer but he was on his way to NYC for business...he said "he's sorry" i had to laugh! He had turned around and stopped in traffic because God moved him.... i stopped by for a coffee afterward i bumped into an old friend who had supported me for years...we haven't spoken much since i've launched off in this new adventure with God...she said she had read part of my support letter, and apologized that she had to get to a meeting and she was very time to catch up...Now, this all may have been true and heartfelt, but still i felt very sad. i had met a man just 15 minutes before who stopped in traffic to ask a stranger why he was asking for prayer, and here was a friend in a very small line in a very safe coffee shop who did not have the time to look at the "burning bush" today i am grateful for the brave pastors in China, and i was given the gift of Joy from the Lord today. i was beaming that i was asked by God to stand at my intersection, holding my arms did not hurt today, my feet were fine, only one person yelled, i didn't sweat...and in my head i kept sensing "you are the light of the world, and you are not under a basket...your work is glorifying me" to paraphrase Joshua...chose this day what you will do....hurry through the coffee shop or stop in traffic for Jesus?
play in traffic friends, play in traffic

But others trusted God and were tortured, preferring to die rather than turn from God and be free. They placed their hope in the resurrection to a better life. Some were mocked, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in dungeons. Some died by stoning, and some were sawed in half; others were killed with the sword. Some went about in skins of sheep and goats, hungry and oppressed and mistreated. They were too good for this world.
Hebrews 11:35-38

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

day 4...the China-Americano Connection

Before I left this morning I read the story of a 16 year old boy named Yun who in Mainland China in the 1950's first heard that the Bible existed.
..."There is a book that tells how to get to heaven?' "Yes, Yun. I have seen it with my own eyes," answered the old man. "Where is this book?" asked Yun. "I must see it for myself!" "It is very far away-over 35 miles," the old man said sadly. "It is too far to walk and you have no bicycle." "I will go!" Replied Yun. This young man walked the 35 miles and met with the owner of the Bible...Yun then joined with another Christian, and together they went from village to village telling about Jesus... was sunny today and a bit warm as i stood on my corner. i make it a point to make eye contact with people as they drive by, like Jesus had done with Peter. Since i've been at the same corner now for four days cars and faces are becoming familiar. i've noticed that expressions have changed. People seem to have a look of contemplation...that's the power of a consistent faith. As my arms became sore from holding my sign in one position for an hour and sweat trickled down my back (tell me again why most Anglican clergy wear black???) i thought of Yun walking 35 miles to just see a Bible. i was strengthened by his faith... again i had three neighbors smile and wave (thank you Jesus that they know what i am about), and i had a good laugh with the guys who were mowing the green that i was standing in front of...
so when i left i stopped by Starbucks for an Iced Americano...people are now getting curious about this priest walking in with a folded poster board. i put my sign down (doubled-over) on a table next to me as i added 1/2 & 1/2 to my coffee (yep, i mess with my coffee) and a woman asked if i was going to sit there. i told her no, and offered to move my sign if it was in her way. "No", she said, it was fine there. "It must be a good one though" she offered as she made a gesture to my collar. "Are you with the peace protests they have out there?" "No mam" i said, "but i am looking forward to the day when all violence is crushed". "i'm not protesting, i'm requesting". With that she opened up my sign that read "please pray for China"...she looked up at with eyes searching for an explanation. "In China, if Christians do not register their churches with the official church (Three-Self Patriotic Church) and adhere to their practices and beliefs, the government arrests or harasses the congregation, confiscating property and often beating the pastor and flock." Not many people know this, so i'm asking for prayer for them. Would you please pray for them today?" She had a look of bewilderment as i picked up my sign and walked out. Others who were around us had leaned in the old EF Hutton adds, honest.
...Yun was later beaten many times and eventually imprisoned for 10 years for his faith in Jesus. Yesterday a prominent house pastor was arrested for going to church in Beijing (see Voice of the Martyrs website)....
...tell the stories of the scandalous cross today, and of the faithful followers who understand the cost...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

day 3..."me and Nee"

...there was no rain today, but i still grabbed my bag as i headed out the door this morning. Last night i had started reading from Cox's Book of Modern Saints and Martyrs written by Baroness Caroline Cox. Cox founded HART (Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust) which takes her to places that the Red Cross calls "red-zones"...areas where the violence is so active that relief agencies refuse to send workers. When others are evacuated, she goes in. She says of the Christians she finds who refuse to leave these zones, who are currently living the life found in 1 Peter 1:3-7...
"It is important for their stories to be told, for many reasons. The testimonies of modern martyrs should be recorded and celebrated-not consigned to the dustbin of history...Their witness may serve as a source of inspiration..."
So today as is stood holding my sign, i meditated on the the final words left by a Man of God named Watchman Nee who gave his life for the faith in China...Nee became a Christian at 17 and his zeal was fast and strong. In 1928 he established the Shanghai Gospel Backroom and before his arrest approximately 400 churches were started in China. Since his death on a labor farm in 1972, 2,300 churches trace their roots back to this man's ministry. During his detention, just before his death, his family was alerted to that he was gravely ill, but by the time his grandniece could get to him, he had died and been cremated. She writes..."before his departure, he left a piece of paper under his pillow which had several lines of big words written in a shaking hand...'Christ is the Son of God, who died for the redemption of sinners and resurrected after three days. This is the greatest truth in the universe. I die because of my belief in Christ. Watchman Nee"
...i stood repeating these words over and over, for nearly an hour this morning as i stood on my corner. i prayed "Christ, you are the Son of God, who died for the redemption of sinners and was resurrected after three days. i pray today for all who are persecuted in China today for proclaiming this, the greatest Truth in the universe." i was grateful when my feet got sore (i even wore sneakers) and when my arms got tired, because i was reminded of all those who gave their lives, not just an hour... just before i left, a young man walking by me stopped, took his ipod ear buds out and asked "so why should we pray for China?" which i replied "there are Christians who are persecuted because they proclaim that "Christ is the Son of God...."
so there you have it, day three...hundreds more called to prayer...and the words of a Saint of God from China passed on to a young kid in West Hartford....

Monday, August 11, 2008

day 2...diaper bags and downpours i woke up today to the sound of hard rain. we've been having it on and off for days now. i rummaged around to find my gortex coat, hat and pants so that i would stay dry while i called the traffic to prayer. by the time i left the rain had let up, so i grabbed the nearest bag i could find (my BOB diaper bag), stuffed my hat and pants into it, tied my coat around my waist, picked up my sign and walked the three blocks to town. i laughed on route thinking "here i am calling my town to rattle the gates of heaven and change the course of history and all i've got is a diaper bag and a sign....but hey, God has used less in the hands of others...

before i head out each day i spend time in prayer and reading. Ephesians tells us to put on the whole armour of God and i know that the battle i enter into each morning on my little corner is against powers and principalities that i can't (nor want to) see. i finished a sermon i started reading yesterday preached by Charles Spurgeon on Gospel mission. i was deeply moved by his words referring to why his generation didn't see the powerful works of the Spirit as in days of the Apostolic Church

..."Again, we have not enough self-denial (emphasis his); that is one reason why we do not prosper. Far be it from me to say aught against the self-denial of those worthy brethren who have left their country to cross the story deep to preach the Word."

...and the Spirit led me to Job 19 this day..."I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth." and Romans 12:21 "do not overcome evil by evil, but overcome evil with good."

i it was flooded with a sense of affirmation. armed with the Spirit and Word (and gortex) i took my place with more assurance and power than i had felt before...i had no one yelling today(although i expected it) as i stood and prayed in the power of the Spirit...i had a few honks, thumbs-up, peace signs, hands clasped and raised in the form of prayer. Two school buses drove by and the children saw a man of God in the midst of town begging people to humble themselves in neighbor across the street passed me as he walked to the bus and we had a great old youth group kid from 14 years ago waved out her window...a friend who i used to work for who owns one of the largest pet stores in the state rolled down his window and gave me a smile and look that affirmed the fact that yes, i looked like a follower of Jesus, i will stand and proclaim you was something else

...i stand and pray there for an hour (give or take a few minutes) and this puts me in mind of the saints of old and acts of my arms got sore. i thanked God for the chance to suffer in a small way for Him and prayed for those whose arms were sore because they were tied and in prison for the Gospel...i was wearing my "church shoes" and as my feet began to get sore i laughed at myself; my shoes were made for show, not work! i prayed for those whose feet were sore because they walked for days to preach the Word. day 2 was over and i left my very public place where i had proclaimed Jesus and went to Starbucks for an egg sandwich and Iced Americano....deeply touched by the Christians in China who hide behind doors and feast on the Bread of Life...

...of these the world is not worthy


Friday, August 8, 2008

day one...back in the day

"Back in the day" i might have been spotted walking around a parking lot or at an intersection near where the Dead might have been playing holding a sign that could have read "i need a miracle" (which in deadhead language means "i don't have a ticket do you have one you could sell me hopefully really cheap or better yet free!").... or I also might have been found walking toward the United Nations building, the Capital or the White House carrying pieces of poster board that may have had words on them relating to various current political actions...perhaps i had long hair (or any hair for that matter), a tye-dye shirt and some hippy-type necklaces...

Well.....things looked a little different this morning as i began a call to prayer at one of the busiest commuter intersections in the upper-middle class town where i live. I was at an intersection holding a sign like "back in the day" ... but my hair was thin, my shirt was black and my necklace was under a clerical collar....

... but my sign still asked for a miracle...but not for me, for someone else...and not for the Dead, but for Life

i stood there not in protest, but asking a request...asking for people to rattle the gates of heaven on behalf of people who are being oppressed....politically, spiritually, emotionally, economically, sign simple ready "please pray for China"....

i had no agenda...only a burden that the Lord placed on me, one to call people to pray. i woke up freaked out over having to do what i said i was commented to doing.."what if the police come, what if people ask me why i'm there, what if the newspaper shows up, what if this is really not from the Lord and it's just my idea, what-if, what-if, the first 15 minutes i was sweating and shaking...

so i stood their holding my sign. i sang in my head ...'i stand amazed" ...which kinda took my mind off of what i was doing...then i caught myself and started to pray for all the folks who went by and for all those in car full of kids yelled at me, a city bus driver rolled down his window and mocked me, two cars honked and gave me a thumbs up...but most of the people drove by and looked, a few seems like the masses didn't know what to do with a priest who stood in the center of town with a sign asking people to pray...

i was changed....i've asked kids over the years to gather at a flag pole and pray at their school in plain sight...i've told people to seek to please the Lord not man...i've preached about getting out of the boat and stepping onto the waves....i've done these things before, but never alone like this morning....i felt really exposed, yet wrapped in the blood of Jesus...i didn't have the anger of my youth, but the peace that surpasses all understanding...

so what happened? a bit of fear is gone from my life....and pretty much my whole town knows where i put my trust...and i'll be there each day for the next few weeks...asking people to join me in asking God for a miracle....and the only reason i'll be there doing this is because He has done one in my life


stand with strong knees..

in the Master