Tuesday, August 31, 2004

I can never explain how the Holy Spirit works or how it ebbs and flows. All I know is that I experience it.

I was innocently listening to some i-tunes songs choosing a few I would play tonight for house church and "kabango"! The Spirit within me began to well up. I don't what its like for you but here's what I feel. My abdomen area begins to tremble, my heart gets caught in my throat, if I allow it I would start to weep, my mind gets captured to some higher place and ALL i want to do is worship, or be quiet, or lament in prayer, or cry out, or write. The presence stays with me awhile depending on how much I feed it. I get really reflective and can linger there for awhile. I also get really sad. Sad about the shortcomings in my life. Sad about injustices in the world I see around me. Sad about the entrenchment of the enemy amongst people I love so much. Sad about the responsibility of being a leader in a sometimes fierce battle.

I know that some of you around me are interested in the Kingdom but have never had an experience of the Spirit and I would love it if you did. Of course it can't be manufactured and can't be bought, but it is real. I watch you chase after counterfeit experiences looking for life in things that are dead and it makes me sad because I really care. I care about you, I care about your future and I want you to have an internal hope that can't be quenched. I want you to taste of water that doesn't make you thirsty anymore. I want you to eat of bread that makes other hungers seem pointless. I want you to find the reason your alive. I don't want you just to believe it, I want you to experience it, I want you to embrace it at the core of who you are. I pray the Spirit of the Lord upon you to surprise you in any way he seems fit. For some of you, its been a long time since you gave God that kind of chance and I just pray for you to dream again.

I also seem to in these times have random memories that need to be dealt with. While driving by myself tonight I was reminded of a 19 year old guy named "Wayne" who came to me in tears after hearing me preach a sermon entitled "Where do I go?" about 8 years ago. He was a hard kid, active in drugs and sexual relationships and he came to me completely broken. Through his tears he looked at me as if I had the very words of life. I did what I then knew how to do, I led him in a prayer of salvation. I had no idea how else to help him. I offered him no community and no ongoing apprenticeship to Jesus. How the hell can I preach about such words and have no clue what to do if someone actually took me up on the issue???? I never saw Wayne again. I have no idea what he's up to. I did hear that a couple weeks later he was back at his old lifestyle. I don't know why I had this memory but in the quiet of this night I say, "I'm sorry, Wayne, I was yet blind myself."

peace to you and your house tonight,

Monday, August 30, 2004

been having the hardest time with blogs. I've lost 3 of them in the past week. I think the only place I can blog from is home now so they may not be as frequent.

I got "that" look today. You know the one. The one where someone stares at you because you might have horns growing out of your head. It was in the midst of a conversation where this person was trying to persuade me to teach or lead in a certain way and there was agenda behind it. The inference was that if I taught Christianity in a more simplistic way (i.e. get them saved) then behavior would follow. I said, "Just for the record, I never talk about heaven or hell". There was the "look" and a gasp. Rather, I continued, I try to focus on the Gospel and Transformation. Now to be fair to this individual, its not their fault, they were reacting out of their worldview. This just seems to be the point for me. The reason I have an audience with students is because I focus on the Gospel of the Kingdom and call that out in those I teach. I am not seeking external behaviors, I'm seeking internal transformations. And if the Spirit does the work of transformation, then what follows is a life of loving God and neighbor. This is my 14th year in ministry to students and forgive me if I'm cynical of the "getting saved/walk the aisle/throw your stick in the fire/rededicate your life" one-time decision. I'm looking long term, focusing on living and loving, rather than being entertaining and emotional. The Gospel matters at the intersection of life and students know what a counterfeit smells like.

I got back to working out today, will be lifting and running after school. Let's just say that I'm not 19 anymore, no matter how hard I try.


Wednesday, August 25, 2004

you know the drill, i had a long, involved blog and before I could copy it or post it, I lost it.

How long oh Lord do I need to wait til Friday?

Monday, August 23, 2004

1st day of school today, of course i managed to get sick a couple days ago so I can feel like crap the first few days. but being the trooper that I am, I'll ramp up slowly.

news is that Bean will be in town come friday, the weekend is looking tasty.


Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Becca Mcgillivary has arrived as well. Mom and baby are doing well. Begin prayers for the recovery.
Jude Michael Long has arrived as of 5:45 a.m. 8 lbs., 20 inches long. Joe has a threesome of boys on his hands, all future Bengal fans.

Within an hour or so, we expect the arrival of Becca McGillivary. They will share the same birthday. But yet another reason to throw a party.

Here's today's Finan reading which is so appropriate:
"Matthew had met Jesus and wanted all his friends to meet the Master too. What could he do? He could do the one thing he really knew how to do well - he could throw a party. People always enjoyed his parties. So he threw a big party and invited everybody - Jesus could do the rest.
Why can we not just do the same - lay aside time-consuming religious activities, and spend time with people we like, instead?"

sounds good to me :)

Monday, August 16, 2004

Things I learned on my trip to Europe:
1) Its wise for apostles to travel in teams
2) My life is full of counterfeits (idols) that are cheap imitations for the real thing
3) The U.S. is largely blamed for the world's problems
4) Vastly in Church history we have placed high value on physcial space and low value on personal transformation
5) The U.S. is 100 years behind in the movement known as post-modernity (and I'm glad about that)
6) Its hard to find models of people doing community and mission simultaneously
7) The world is a beautiful place for those who have eyes to see it
8) I'm so thankful to have a time in my summer where I could be quiet and just let the wind hit my face. Sometimes you just need to reflect on the fact that you're alive and be reminded of why that's true.

Things I'm thinking about:
1) I have passions and creativities in me that are crying out for an outlet but I haven't found their usefulness yet. If I were an artist I would paint. If I were a musician, I'd write a song. I don't know what my medium is, but some truths are groaning in my belly.
2) I am to focus on remaining "in Christ" and greater transformations of my soul will happen. There are some giants in my life that need a few smooth stones to the forehead.
3) How can a suburban extrovert practice monking in the real world? (baby steps, baby steps)
4) There are atleast 2 different gospels represented in the church today. (its becoming evident that its more than models, styles and forms)
5) that I long to see his Kingdom come to earth again, more and more. that the Kingdom is an unstoppable force that can't be mocked or distracted. It is ultimate reality, we adjust to its flow.

Things I'm praying for:
in the next 24 hours, 2 of my best friends are welcoming new babies into his Kingdom on earth. Please pray for Paul and Nicki McGilivary and Joe and Julie Long.


Thursday, August 12, 2004

im home and safe but am jet lagging pretty badly. will reflect some more eloquently when I get my sea legs underneath me again.

peace for now,

Monday, August 09, 2004

ok, here's my last blog from England. we took a train to Cambridge today and saw one of the world's most famous universities and a very cool town to boot. i can't really communicate how tired we are. our knees are buckling, our joints hurt, we have nothing left in the reserves. the both of us got pretty dehydrated yesterday, it was 90 degrees and we were out all day walking. we cramped up pretty bad last night in bed and had nausea due to the lack of water. we buy bottled water just about everytime we see it but can't keep up with our bodies sweating. we will not backpack down to near Gatwick airport for a night of sleep and then home at last at 10:30 a.m.

this trip has been such a blessing. ive learned alot. ive listened to Abba whisper to me some instructions. ive experienced much. thank you to my wife especially for letting me go and be gone so long.
pray for our trip home, can't wait to see y'all. maybe friday night will have to be a bbq and missionary slide show. i have 200 digital pics to share.

rounding 3rd and heading for home,

Sunday, August 08, 2004

had a lovely night stay in our priceline hotel in london last night. clean bed, clean shower, air conditioned room, only one roomate . . . it was a welcomed holiday. after checking in, taking a 2 hour nap and getting a shower, we went out to the town. the subway here works great, can take you anywhere at anytime. nothing is more than 10 minutes away. we saw Big Ben, Parliament, Westminster Abbey, the millenium wheel, piccadilly circus, leicester square and trafalgar square all last night. ate a nice italian meal on an outside table and hit a pub called the "Porcupine" for a pint and then brought a pizza back to the room after midnight. pray for mark, he has a cold/bug that is really bothering him but he is pushing through.

we're headed to Hyde Park today to rest and read in the park, listen in on the famous "speaker's corner" and maybe hit the British museum. tommorrow we hit Cambridge to visit the university and then finally making the flight back over the pond home on tuesday morning. the trip has been fun, fascinating at times, exhausting and stretching, inspired and filled with culture. but home is calling me, i'm ready.

peace to you today,

Friday, August 06, 2004

not much to say tonight, we're in manchester, england. we're not very impressed with this city. we have found ourselves completely exhausted. we have done so much walking these past few days and its gotten to us. i'm also done with staying in youth hostels with other people i don't know or trust, i have realized how much i love my own space on this trip. i'm missing simple comforts. tommorrow we are heading right to london via train and check into our hotel for a long nap and hot shower. we are really grossly dirty and smelly, walking, sweating and no laundry in sight. hopefully the other 14 people staying in our dorm room tonight will not be as loud and drunk as the past couple nights around the hostels.

i'll keep ya posted.

peace to you tonight,

Thursday, August 05, 2004

arrgghh, me maties! I'm writing you a report from the highlands of Scotland, through the dense fog and one can spot pirates all about town (so shimber me timbers).

sorry for the delay in blogs, but i had a long one posted and the internet cafe computer crashed at the end, so i didn't have the energy to repeat it. our 2nd day of teaching in ukraine did not go as well. it became clear that palmer and i represented a different gospel than the one they were looking for. the local pastors were adamant about wanting $$ for new buildings and had enough of this house church stuff. we kept talking about being small, simple, relational and authentic followers, they wanted a magic pill to get their people to give more and getting more americans over there to do the work. i hosted a panel discussion for open questions, it turned into a train wreck. ironically, that morning at 6:15 a.m., the Spirit woke me up and had me read from Matthew 9 where Jesus said "don't worry if they hate you, they hated me first".

We then headed off to Northumbria Christian Community for 2 days. let's just say that the place is holy. we stayed in a guestroom in the tower that dates back to the 14th century, that's the 1300's folks!!!! we participated in morning prayers, evening prayers, nightly canticles and common meals. we took a day on holy island to visit the abbey of st. cuthbert and feel the unbelievalbe scenary of northern england. you can only access this place at low tide, how cool is that?

we are now in edingburgh, Scotland and it is the most amazing architecture city i have ever been in. breathtaking at all times, really, really, old and creepy-like spooky at night. we caught an interesting comdedian last night and had a couple pints of local tastes. today we will go to a live theatre re: the columbine shootings, then some souveneir shopping (the pipes are already purchased, fellas) then to another comdeic live theatre act, dinner at a pub, another comdedian later on, smoke a cuban cigar then to a club featuring music from 80's rock bands. tommorrow we get on a train and go to Manchester, England for a hostel and some used record stores. Our final few days are in oxford, london and cambridge.

i miss my family more and more everyday now. i want to hold them, badly. i'm actually hoping these next few days go quickly. i also miss my spiritual family, ordinary community. while away i realize how much of my identity is wrapped up in them. church is truly not somewhere you go, its a people you belong to.

much love,