Friday, May 28, 2010

Seymour gets baptized at 88 years old

So I man I have known for years got baptized on last week into the family of God. I was so excited to hear about it that I ran upstairs to tell my wife weeping with joy....why?

I met him years ago while serving as an assistant at a church in CT. His friends would bring him to church and he would walk up for a blessing during communion, see he was Jewish but came each week to hear of Jesus and experience His love through His people. One Sunday he walked right up to me as I was handing out the bread, looked me in the eye and said "I want one of those". "I'm sorry" I told him, "but you can't Seymor, you need to be Christian" (I knew him well and he didn't believe in Jesus at the time)..."so God doesn't want me?" he replied. "Oh no, he wants you desperately" I told him.

So for the next year he would come to church looking for peace. He had lost his wife (the good woman) years ago and he didn't understand why and was in deep pain. She had suffered an long illness...they were good people, he had done good, he was an industry leader in the NY garment industry...and now he was alone, trying to fill a void and numb the confussion. He gave tirelessly to the poor and broken...and he would listen over and over.

One Sunday he walked up to me during the service and said "I don't believe what you believe but I want to... But I can see that you really believe it with all you have"...."is that enough?" For now, I told him...and he went back to his pew.

We would meet for lunch time and again and talk about the good woman and Jesus over burgers at Fridays' in the mall...and always the sadness would remain. He loved me (as he always said) and adored my wife and daughter...and I loved him as only a person who has walked through deep sadness personally can....

I left that parish yet kept in touch. And this morning I heard that last Sunday he got baptized. The priest had walked up to him during brunch after the first service and told him he had been thinking that he should be baptized...ok, he said. Great, let's get together and discuss it! No, let's do it today! Sure, next service! No, how why not now?

So upstairs they went, with a witness...and my friend Seymour walked away from a world of pain and hurt into the open loving healing arms of Jesus. And I weep and shake as I write this. I can still see his face across from mine over so many burgers...the why's, the pain, the why would a God like that want a man like me?

I cannot wait to see him as soon as I can, this new creation friend of mine. I am so grateful for his friends that brought him to church and told him of Jesus..and I am so grateful for God that He gave his best for this man...and that this man walked away from all he knew into a new faith and the arms of Christ....at 88 years old...praise God

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

One month and counting

So this morning I was in prayer about why the Lord has sent me to Tabora...and I kept getting the sense that was to simply talk about Jesus, buy nets and help bring food and water. So when I started working this morning there was a message telling me of a wonderful new donation for just such work!

This morning I purchased an ingenious irrigation system from Chaplin Living Water Ministries. There are two drip systems; one uses a trash can the other a five gallon bucket (neither included!) and a flat irrigation tape, connectors and a nail. By raising the container a specific height and spacing the holes in the tape, it is possible to make horrible land fertile! The entire weight is 16lbs so I will have to trim my bags way down but that's ok....

So it's been a good day...God clearly spoke in prayer, and answered! And I found a way to help people not only conserve water, but increase their harvest!

Keep ya posted, keep praying!
Blessings
b

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Tanzania 2010 updat from the clinic

Plans are well underway! We have raised funds to:
  1. cover my travel to and in Tanzania
  2. build the cistern in Tura
  3. purchase nearly 400 nets!
Keep praying as hearts are moved and funds roll in! Here is the latest update from the clinic (don't mind the spelling as Ruth has a broken keyboard)
 
Reg Mwakashindye : don't worry about spelling: I spell it wrong all the time.... Reg cistern or well: they are having a lot of input from government suddenly and been give 'a lot of money' (!!!) to build a zahanati , water, etc. o We think they are trying to phase us out maybe, but there are so many places to go that are waiting for us that we are quite grateful.
We are hoping to build a small 'familia moja community'  on th farm for socially, or 'medicALLY' OUTCAST /needy PEOPLE. We are hoping to build two first houses this summer and we have  no clean water there. So maybe building a rainwater cistern there would be something that people want to support?
God bless you wherever you are. Love from here
Ruth
So we wi

Thursday, April 15, 2010

what happens when the Holy Spirit falls on kids

Bryan,
I just have to tell you what happened here yesterday. Noah (our second) had a baseball game and Chase stayed with his friend JB (who is not a Christian) to play Xbox. We return three hours later to see them out in the dark putting away the lawn mower. Our neighbor moved months ago back to Cleveland because her parents both died and she was alone in the house and only in her early twenties. The house is empty and the landscaping was really getting bad. In our community, you are fined if your yard is not kept up. Instead of playing video games, Chase and JB spent three hours cutting grass, pulling weeds, and clipping hedges for someone who would never know and never see them. They felt very good when they were done.
The next day, another neighbor who saw them cutting the grass asked if they would cut their grass for $20. They were so excited because they had been trying to get lawn jobs. JB came up to me and told me very excitedly. I told him that it was God and he said, “I know!”. I started to tell him about the Good Samaritan story, but Chase had just told him. He told him that they helped someone who couldn’t give them anything in return. God saw their hearts. Praise God! What a witness to JB and Chase!
Another boy on the street asked why they were cutting the grass at the empty house and if they were getting paid. Chase & JB said no and that boy said, "What a waste of time!".
I have been holding a bible study for these kids every week for about 8 months. I have seen small moments in their lives (usually only during the bible study and not outside where it really counts), but when the kids lead the kids, then we will see real change! God is at work on our street!
Thank you for your workshop. Chase gets it and has had two opportunities to live it already this week!
Kristti

Friday, March 19, 2010

Blood, Jesus and the Soviet Union...

Early this morning I went to a clinic to have some blood drawn. I had to fast overnight so I was in the twilight state of dad-with-an-infant-with-no-coffeeness... a very sad state indeed. The last thing on my agenda was talking about the centrality of Jesus to the Christian Faith to a Polish immigrant who had seen the destruction of Churches in an attempt to erase a the history of Christianity from an entire country but God always seems to have a different agenda for me... (dang, and without coffee)

Her name was Celina and noticing her accent I started small talk asking where she called home. Poland, she told me...how do you say hello (I love to learn a bit of language) so she told me and smiled and that opened the flood gates and we talked all about Poland...

I was taught about the hills, the plains, the mountains, the people. I asked her when she came and she told me she had been in Poland when it was occupied by the Soviet Union. "I'm a priest" I told her, "what was it like for the Churches then...do you have a faith background?"...Yes, she said she was Catholic and spoke with pride of Pope John Paul II. It was good for them all because before that they never saw the faith, it was all hidden in Rome but now it was in their villages.

The Churches were knocked down and burned during the Soviet Occupation she told me, and they were taught in school that Jesus did not exist, a vastly different story from what they were told my their parents at home. They (the Soviets) had no idea about Jesus. She told me of a Soviet doctor who had come to America; she had pulled her aside one day while she was doing some blood work and asked her "what is this Christmas?" ...It is the birthday of Jesus! Celina told her...

Can you imagine, she asked me, not knowing about Jesus? It is sad, she said, especially all those whose religions practice hatred...like the violent Muslims. If you just practice your faith well, we are all OK! You practice what you do and we practice what we do...we all worship Jesus but in different ways...I could understand how her parents taught her this. They had been forced by death and fire to recant their faith...and now they could not stomach to "force" anyone to accept a faith that seemed exclusive. She came from a land and a time where you didn't talk back to your parents, where you accepted what they said...

And I was left to speak the Truth to a woman whom I had just met, an Ancient Truth, the Truth, that went against what she had learned from her parents in the village...
"Celina, that is not Christianity. Only the Christian Faith worships Jesus." He is the only hope to reform the hatred you have seen. It's about being in Christ and worshiping Him. "

How do you convince someone who has been told by their fathers, fathers, father something else? "You can't" I told her, "that is the job of the Holy Spirit", the power that your Pope knew. "Only the Holy Spirit can transform a heart of stone to a heart of flesh."

"This is not what my parents taught me" she said. "I will have to think about it".... so I told her to not believe me but to search the Scriptures and ask a Priest. She looked intense, not offended.

I was struck by the conversation and went off to have breakfast at Starbucks, sitting by the window, reading, eating and praying...and I found myself struck yet again by how God is so ridiculous...
a woman had watched her country destroyed by a Godless power and had come to America for opportunity...and one morning while drawing blood from a sleep-deprived man heard about Jesus in a way she never had...

So I have this haunting thought in my mind from the whole conversation; she said she was very glad that John Paul II was from Poland because they could finally see the faith and it was no longer hidden in Italy...how true for the rest of the world...folks don't see Jesus because He's hidden in the Church...
b

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Spirit-driven mission according to Scaredy Squirrel


I am an Anglican, and as such I believe the Word of God to be True, the Master to have paid my price, Jesus to be alive and active, and to be called to proclaim Jesus to the ends of the Earth.

I am Anglican, and I trust God to be God, and His plans will succeed.

But I have not always felt this way, and I, along with Paul (the wretch formally known as Saul) live a daily struggle to release my meager, futile attempt of control of the universe to the one who created it....

As I have journeyed this Lent I have seen God in the midst of my life and the lives of others. I have seen and heard the Voice which spoke creation into existence in the homeless, the natural order, within the wall of my house and the interior of my soul. He has used ancient Words from the Patriarchs, Words from my Spiritual Anglican Fathers and from my daughter's story books...

I have learned from Scaredy Squirrel that we can pack all we wish to bring for all of the unforeseen emergencies yet it is God alone who knows what we will need, and it is He alone who can provide what is needed along the way. Scaredy Squirrel never left his tree for fear of the presumed known (green martians, sharks, killer bees, poison ivy, tarantulas, and germs) looking and checking day after day at his emergency kit packed with all that would be needed in case the dreaded expected unexpected happened upon him....

...and when he finally did fall out of his tree (an accidental reaction to a misconception of reality) he found that he was not in need of all he thought he was...God had made him a flying squirrel.

And so it is with Christians who experience what Brennan Manning calls "the second conversion", a point in life when they are exposed to the reality of their futile attempts and the greater reality of God's Grace in the midst of their fear. Sometimes they jump, other times they are pushed, but in the midst of the free-fall if they will but release their lives to the Spirit of God He will appear...the relief may not come in the way they expected; they may not sprout wings and fly, but God will come...

Jesus told his followers to go and spread the Gospel and take no staff or bag (the Gospels record this story differently...take/don't take the staff) for His promise to Abram (later Abraham) of protection and reward holds true to them...for God is not man that He should lie nor son of man that he should deceive. Don't pack an emergency kit, for you will have no need for God. That is trust, and that is where the power of God lives...

So at New Hope my folks are jumping out of the tree into a housing complex a mile away from us that people steer away from because of things more real than green martians and sharks in the woods...and we are taking no staff nor purse but we are praying and jumping. If we stay in the tree where will they hear of Jesus?

We jump out of our tree because our Savior was nailed to His tree for us...
Will you jump too? This Lent, pray that God shows you where your plans hold back God's desires and dreams for you and the world.
b

So

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Barney's beat shoes


So I have a real problem with deception...to know that what you are trying to conceal is not palatable and to package it so that others will start to swallow the lie....until it's so far down their throats that they can't spit it back out...that's just wrong.

I have a truth that many will not agree with, that Jesus is God, that the Cross on which He died paid a ransom for my soul and brought me back into relationship with God the Father, and that at some point in time Jesus will return and bring those who profess to His name along with Him...

My being right with God is because of Jesus...Christianity has nothing to hide...it professes a ridiculous truth and does not try to soften it.

One of the letters in the Bible, called the Second Letter to the Corinthians says in chapter two, verse 17 that "unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God". The Greek behind the word there for "peddle" means to water down, like wine, to take what was strong and make it weak. That is what Barney is doing with the Cross of Christ, he tells people that it did not buy our sins, that Jesus was not God....

And Barney is committed to going to many places to tell this lie...I've seen him in many places in town, most recently today at the Children's Museum...
I had taken my daughters for a daddy-day-date and there was Barney and his friend in white shirts, black pants and name tag...working as a volunteer...

As I've mentioned before, I have no problem with folks wearing their symbols (the uniform is such I had been told) but tell the truth behind your outfit please...so I said hey and he remembered me and started some small talk...we were on our way out so I sat down and put my youngest in her car seat and put my oldest coat on...and closed my eyes and began to pray for these two young guys who had been lied to for so long by so many...and when I open my eyes I noticed Barney's beat shoes...he was talking to a person on the other side of counter and had one foot resting behind the other so that the sole of his shoe was exposed..and I noticed that the heal of his left foot had completely worn through so that a large waffle-looking section of the inside of the heal had been exposed...and the Holy Spirit began to move my heart...why could he not afford new shoes? Why was he comfortable with bad shoes? Did folks in his "church" know he had such crappy shoes?" And then I was convicted of the fact that his shoes had been worn out by all his walking in my town spreading lies about Jesus...and I was sad because my shoes were not...
What do your soles look like? What does your soul look like? What do your shoes wear out from? Spreading the Gospel, working, exercise? Why don't Christians in North America have to buy multiple pairs of shoes each year because we walk around so much spreading the Gospel?
Ahhh So many questions! It's been some Lent let me tell you....I pray that my shoes wear out, and that my Gospel is not peddled...
b

Sunday, March 14, 2010

living water in the midst of the chaos

video My church was really blessed today by a friend of ours named Annie. She's part of the thing that God is doing to her generation...living a life following Jesus like the world hasn't see in a long, long, long time. Her testimony is powerful, her love for Jesus gut-wrenching, and her passion for seeing people live Holy lives unquenchable.

I arrived early to help set up the church as I do each Sunday at the middle school where we met. It was a pretty crappy day by North American Standards..a bit of rain, a bit of cold, but I was moved to get out of my truck and pray for the area around us...

So I walked across the parking lot to look at this little brook and find that it's raging. It's amazing how a little water over a wide area can turn into a powerful river when focused....
so I found myself praying deeply, and loudly, that the Church would become the torrent in the midst of our towns, that God would concentrate His Spirit and pull the people together and that the river formed would carve a path that cannot be stopped...

Annie preached on the Living Water that flows out from us...and we later spoke of the water that flows from under the Temple in the Throne Room that pours from the four corners...

But around the river was a whole lot of trash...beer cans, nip bottles, and just garbage...so I found myself praying for all those who are outside the source of the Water of Life, and picked up the junk and placed on the floor in front of the alter...and as we went up for communion, we were had to walk past it all...praying for those outside the river...
a powerful day indeed.

Do you see the river flowing under your school too, or is it just me? Do you stop and pick them up just like Christ did for you, or is it too wet, or too cold? Did anything stop Jesus? I pray that we all jump in the torrent and pull those in with us along the banks...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

how to loose the fear...

I've been in Dallas for the past four days surrounded by people who are following Jesus Christ and helping the nations see His radiant image and experience healing and power. The Bible studies were insane as one teacher in particular spoke the inspired words from Saint Paul to the Church in Corinth....all things will one day glorify Jesus...and it all became clear

As is the case with me so often, and as the teachings reminded us time and time again, God works on the periphery of life and if we are attentive to the movement of the Spirit we will see it. I received a great many things from the gathering, but it was with my Bishop over breakfast in Dallas Fortworth Airport that I was released to bring Jesus to the nations...out on the edges, on the end of the vine, where there is the greatest amount of light.

Brennan Manning speaks of a trust that borders on the heroic as the trust that honors God. This trust is the faith Paul wrote about in his second letter to the church in Corinth and explains why we are given this trust:for the honor of Jesus and the comfort and salvation of others (2 Cor. 1:3ff).

I read this passage this morning as I sucked down a grande Americano and had one of those "ah-ha-so-how-could-i-have-not-seen-that-moments" ...the God of all comfort gives us comfort through our conviction of the reality of Jesus so that when we walk in the dark places we will be able to be a witness to those around us.. When we are fully (well, as much as we can in our "being sanctified human state") aware of the power and scope of Christ's atonement we are set free from fear...sounds good on paper, yeah? The comfort is not for me, for he also states that we will suffer as well...our comfort is a bit different.

So over breakfast after the conference Jesus came to my aid and helped me loose just a bit more of my fear. I was able to give my fear to God, along with confessing my pride lack of trust over eggs and homefries...and the most incredible thing happened:

I was forgiven and set free. God wants me to be all he died for me to be (stolen verse, but too good to pass up).

So, how can you let a few of your chains fall? Look at times in your life when you have been afraid or felt that God had abandoned you and say "Lord, I am sorry that I felt that you could not keep me safe in this area. Please forgive me."

There may be some work to still do for sanctification is a process, and it may be a long road but this is the start. So I am grateful for the conference, and for the fact that I came to the airport eight hours before my fight, and that my Bishop took a wrong turn inside the terminal so that he happened to pass by me, and that the Holy Spirit allowed me to confess my fear and weakness to the Lord and my Bishop, and that God healed me in many ways...for in my weakness God is my strength...

Thank you Jesus that indeed you take my yoke when I ask you too... I am walking a little lighter today. A bit more of my life has glorified Jesus.
b

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Ruthless Trust...a Lenten gift

At New Hope Anglican Church a number of us are reading "Ruthless Trust" written by Brennan Manning through Lent. As I prayed for our parish and asked the Lord what it is we will need for our work, trust echoed over and over. Manning is very clear in the book that trust is the mark of a true disciple of Jesus...I've understood this for years, but why through Lent?

Trust was required of Jesus as He abandoned Himself to the Fathers' will...
Trust was required of those who followed him...
Trust is what's needed more than anything in a world where we can seemingly fix anything...

Trust is what we get when we give up our will, our lives, our autonomy....
He is asking us to give up ourselves. We do this so often in church, singing songs of surrender. But the reality comes home to roost quickly when we examine our lives and our actions, doesn't it?
Trust is our gift back to God, and He finds it so enchanting that Jesus died for it (p.2)...childlike surrender is in trust is the defining spirit of authentic discipleship.(p4).

Why is it so hard to trust? We want clarity! We need to see where were going! "Clarity is the last thing you are clinging to and you must let go of it" (p5)

The stakes are enormous and seem to be irreversible, don't they? But that is what the Lord demands of us...and has not History proved Him to be faithful? Perhaps if we would just take the time to come before the Lord and speak to Him about all the times we feel He has let us down, the times when He was not there, then He might be able to speak to us.

It's a come-clean and get-honest moment with the Lord. I've brought many things to him....and I keep doing it...day after day and sometimes moment after moment.

What are you giving up for Lent....try giving up your lack of trust...
b

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Jesus wasn't a jerk

I was struck hard as I am each Lent by the incredible power and love the early church had for the Lord, each other and the world...and how far off the mark my life in Christ is to theirs. In particular the passages we read from 2 Corinthians 5:20ff hit me to the point that I found myself standing in front of a congregation of two combined churches repenting of my failure and to be the ambassador Christ called me to be, and asking them all, young to old, to accept my failure and forgive me. How could I do this? How could I stand weeping in front of those whom I lead as well as a visiting church and their pastor? The Holy Spirit blessed me with eyes to see the ancient Church, myself and the Lord together...

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

6:1 Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. 2 For he says,

“In a favorable time I listened to you,
and in a day of salvation I have helped you.”

Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. 3 We put no obstacle in any one's way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, 4 but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, 5 beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; 6 by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; 7 by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; 8 through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; 9 as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; 10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.

So I repented of complaining when others mocked me, of taking the easy way out, of not staying up nights in prayer and ministry, of being overfed, of slandering others when I was angry, of being upset when my character was defamed, of not rejoicing...

So the early Church's leaders repented of this, so I did, thanks to the Holy Spirit, who put it all into perspective. And by His Grace, I am a new man today. We finished with Eucharist so that we would not attempt to live this life on our own which would lead to complete failure. Funny thing about God, He tends to hold your feet to the fire. On the way home I stopped for a coffee after a long day and long drive home. The girl who made my Americano asked me, after we talked a little, what I gave up for Lent. (guess my dirty forehead gave it away)...I didn't respond right away, I had just repented in the Spirit and guess was still processing.

"I gave up being a jerk" I told her, "and by God's Grace I won't be anymore". She was taken back to be sure. When she finally had some words together she said "that's odd, most folks give up chocolate or alcohol, I've never heard of that". "Well" I told her "we're called to give up sin in our lives that keep us from being the full image of Jesus. So when Lent is over, we're supposed to look more like Him. So what I lay down I try not to pick back up... At the end of Lent, I wanna look more like Jesus, and He wasn't a jerk."

please pray for me

b


Monday, February 15, 2010

Mormons in the Mall...the lies they don't tell ya

jimmy Hendrix once said it wasn't the notes, it was the spaces in between...and man did that come home to roost today when I walked behind a group of Mormon Elders today at the mall.
First, I gotta tell ya, when I see a cult such as the Mormons or the Jehovah Witness's I follow them around, praying and walking up to those whom they talk to and fill in the empty spaces. Why? I'm a follower of Jesus and when folks lie about Jesus, I have to speak up
So I walked up to this group of eight who were wearing their name tags walking around the mall and asked if they were talking to folks that day. "No, today isn't a "P" day" I was told. "P" day I asked. "Proselytizing" they said, they were just hanging out at the mall. But they were wearing the uniform and badges so I knew it was a total lie. So I did what I said I would do and just followed them at a distance praying and asking God to keep me from getting any sense of superiority.
Well it was a cat and mouse game. I finally walked up to then at one point and said "It's pretty obvious you lied and you are indeed here to talk about Mormonism...so let me just ask you one question. Are your parents Mormon? Yes they all said. What about your Grandparents? One of the three said yes. To the two I asked, where are they now that they have died if they weren't Mormon? Well, it hit the fan. I kept asking simple questions and was told that God does not judge and all is acceptable, that Jesus saves everyone, that you don't have to have a full command of Scripture to be an Elder, that all "christian" faiths are ok...
What happened was that that I asked questions off the ones they had been trained to answer..and they were ripped when I wouldn't let them not answer the question. What they didn't say is that they believe that the Mormon "church" has the only line on the truth...so these four kids couldn't even tell me their "truth". Near the end of the conversation one of them said "please let me just speak (I wouldn't let him turn the question), and I said sure, let's just sit down here and you can tell me every thing you want to...to that he said he wanted to go and play basketball...funny, I thought if we truly cared for souls we would take all the time needed at all places..my heart broke for these kids and I have even more resolve to stop the lies that God hasn't paid the full debt in Jesus. I mean, these kids said we worship the same Jesus, but that His death and substitutionary atonement were sufficient....and that this is what all Christians believe.
to that I say...I will walk behind anyone, any where, at any time and make sure they tell the truth they believe and don't mislead with partial truth...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

substandard sardines and Jesus


During my trip to Tanzania last year I had to build an impromptu roof rack for the clinic truck to carry all of nets back from Arusha. I purchased the lumber from a local guy on the side of the road...after some negotiating I bought eight feet of rough-cut 2x6 for $5 US. I needed some tie downs to keep the huge bundles on top. Peter, one of the drivers for the diocese wanted to use the traditional long strips of black rubber that Tanzanians used to tie down everything...I swear they would use it to tie a wing back on an air plane! But to be fair, it's local, it's cheap, and it's functional. "Driver" doesn't begin to describe what these guys are...they are expert drivers, know everyone everywhere, can find everything, fix everything, and put their lives on the line for you...but I was on a hunt for some came straps as the drive was a few hundred miles on dirt "roads"...

Arusha is the hub of all the tourist traffic heading off on safari so it has an odd mix of traditional and "modern"...we found this supermarket in town that was just insane! You could buy anything you wanted, at a pretty reasonable price...of course most folks in this huge place were mzungu (whites)...and every accent could be heard in each isle...


I found my straps in the automotive isle (having one of those was nuts enough)...and we poked around buying things we didn't need but were craving anyway...broccoli, coffee, candy...canned fish for the ride back...so this can caught my eye...

have you ever wondered where the world's supplies of substandard sardines ends up? It's a dirty little secret i guess you don't see on the "deadliest catch"..sure those fish suck, but hey, let's send them to Tanzania and make some money!...

I kinda think that's how most of us life out lives of mercy to the hurting world...we keep the best and send the substandard stuff along...how can i say this? It's so rare that new clothes make it through the sorting bins at a local mission agency where I volunteer with a bunch of guys that when a piece of tagged clothing comes through you'd think we found a hundred dollar bill...

sure, when disaster hits we all jump on, but what happens when the dust settles...
i guess it's a gut check for me...am i keeping all the best and sending along the crappy sardines? If we have been truly transformed by Jesus, we'll give away the best...just like God did.
When we peer into the manger, the cross, the empty tomb...and realize the once-for-all-deal that we have been given....you just can't keep the good fish to yourselves...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Jesus, assault weapons, and reconcilliaiton


...This past weekend as I was instituted as the Rector of my church (formally recognized is all that means, with many prayers and praises) the local paper was there with us. The headline the next day read "Rebel Priest Ordained". Other than the editorial glitch (I was already ordained) I'm really glad that they see me as a rebel because I am doing all in my power to be part of the revolution..

I was a revolutionary in college when i hung out with folks who were into Earth First and spiked trees. I've lost count on how many times I've marched on DC to protest policies, I've picketed outside the UN, and even the US Embassy in Pannama...we actually closed the Pan-American Highway... I picked coffee for the Sandinista's in 1987 during the Contra War and hung out with 13 year-old kids with AK47's and US Grenade Bandoleer. Yep, I bit of a Rebel...

And now they say I'm a Rebel because I love Jesus, think He is who He said He was, believe God is tired of Christians sitting in their pews watching all Hell break loose, and want to empower Christians to live lives of love that will set the world upside-down just like God asked us to.

And the revolution was a blast last week as i called the local churches together to pray for a broken country and send some aid as well. So a friend and I went to local business putting up fliers to call people to prayer...we stuck them on gas pumps, auto vacuums, coffee shops...grocers put them in their customers bags, stacks were taken to be handed out...

and as I was out I bought some gas cards for some folks and there was a lady there with a sticker on her car that read "the more people i meet, the more i like my dog"...after a week of hearing people talking so much crap about such a tragic event i wanted to show her at least one person who might be acceptable so I turned back, bought an additional $25 card and gave it to her.

"no, no, no" she said "you don't have to do that"..."yeah I do"...handed it to her and left...

so let the revolution continue...and for God's sake, get out of your pew....see most people think God is as big as a jerk as many people who claim to be His followers....Gandhi was asked once why he wasn't a Christian and his reply was "because of Christians"....so let's try to bring reconciliation to the broken, and show people the revolution on God's terms, not ours
b

Thursday, January 7, 2010

New Year Resolutions and Jesus....they don't mix

So it's been awhile since I had a chance to breath and type a bit but life hasn't stopped, nor our work...I've just been remiss. I really want to be more diligent about blogging this year. No, this is not a New Year's Resolution! As a matter of fact I can't stand them and I starting to think that Jesus thinks there nuts too!

The history behind them as most will attest to a time when people would return debts and start fresh. Before the New Year date was aligned with our calendar the day fell on the Spring Solstice, which makes a whole lot more sense, yeah? I used to celebrate the New Year by either spending the day surfing on the East End of Long Island in Monatuak in as many wetsuits as I owned or rock climbing in New Paltz, NY freezing parts of my body off but proving a point!
But what makes New Year's and the accompanying resolutions really "un-Jesus"?
  1. We're called to live lives self-examination daily, not once a year
  2. The top 10 list is self-centered. Most include loosing weight, not smoking etc...good things to do, but all about "me"
  3. They fix the results of the root problem, not the root
So here's the deal...this year I resolve, by God's grace and power, to ask myself daily why i do what i do and what or who and i living for. i will seek to live my life for the sake of others and when my life drops out of balance i will look for the cause

It's not a "what would Jesus do" thing...it's a "do I look like Jesus" and if not ask Him to help me...

so the shot at the top of this post is of my friends in Tura, Tanzania....I'm gonna try and live for them this year
b