Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Ok, in honor of the new U2 album coming out today "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb", let me post a few quotes from the lads. By the way, I will unequivocally say and teach my kids that U2 is the best rock band in the world and always has been. Secondly, I am not one to be starstruck, but I'm fascinated by Bono. His ideas, his passions, his art, his worldview, his Christ following, his leadership, his criticisms, his persona, his creativity and his sound bites.

Here are some quotes from last friday's USA today article in an interview.

In response to the sales of their new album . . . "But we don't see that as the only way to be successful. What we want to preserve above everything else is the creative life of the band. Our approach to being commercial is be really good and original adn don't worry about it."

On greatness . . . "Very good", Bono says, "is the enemy of great. You think great is right next door. It's not. It's in another county." (geez, i love that idea)

On the death of his father and songwriting . . . "Nothing like bereavement to keep the heart porous, " Bono says, "It's hardness of the heart that can close down a writer."

On new album . . . "This album was no time for philosophizing. This is about who do you love, how do you love, why do you love."

On beauty . . . "We are brutal in a very clinical way. That eye is almost cruel in its search for beauty. No one notices the blows or sees the bruises. All we're concerned about is where is the beauty."

The 4 lads from the Green Island are at it again. Who's up for a couple road trips to see them live?????????


Monday, November 22, 2004

I'm stranded here at school and our new computer has been delivered at home. The new member to our family is an iMac G5 w/ wireless keyboard and mouse. I want to go home right now and set it up and begin playing like a kid in a candy shop.

My grandmother back in philly is failing in her health again the the doctors have given her just a couple more days to live so our holiday plans may be changing. This got me thinking this morning about what it must be like to be ready to see Christ face to face and to long for it. There are great relationships here on earth, but I can hardly imagine what seeing Jesus will be like. I experience His presence now but only in the spiritual. Will I one day see him in the physical? I mean the real Christ? The One who has brought truth to my existence. Amazing thing we call life. I pray my Grandmom Marshall walks seamlessly into the arms of the one she has worshipped her entire life. There are parts of me that envy her for that experience, but I'm content rocking this life for a few more decades.


Friday, November 19, 2004

Been doing some reflecting w/ senior Bible classes today on what we have to be thankful for. We spend so much time griping, complaining, moaning about what we don't have, what we think we need, what we're disappointed with, what doesn't fit our agenda, what doesn't work for us, what we don't prefer etc. etc.

What must this sound like to the God who made us? Who created wonders for us to see and beautiful things in life for us to taste? To honor Him, to thank Him, to praise Him ought not to be overlooked.

So here is my thankful list as is in my mind this morning:
- my wife, I couldn't be more in love. She's an amazing person and Mom. And, she's Hot!
- my kids, they have changed me. I love spending time with them. They amaze me with their learning and their growing up. I can't wait to see how they will bring more of the Kingdom to earth.
- my friends. I have for my lifetime longed for the friends that I presently have. I have hoards of people who love me and would do anything for me. Guys I can share my deepest thoughts with and my closet of skeletons. We share a faith that will never end.
- my health. I have done well so far, but if I'm not more intentional, I might not be able to say this 10 years from now.
- my calling. I feel called to teach and announce the good news of the Kingdom. I'm not doing it as much as I want to but in a way I get to use it as my vocation as well, so that's cool.
- my home. A place to make memories with my family and provide hospitality for more Kingdom work.
- my frivolous comforts. I won't list them or you'll think less of me.
- my ongoing salvation in Christ and the experience of Kingdom come.

Stop and be thankful for the Kingdom today,

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

i just had to say that my wireless virginity has been broken. I asked for a wireless network in my house for my birthday this year and it came early. I'm stoked, watching "Elf" with the kids as I send off some emails. We're also expecting our new computer in the mail in a few days, the G5 iMac. Life is good. Thanks to Jon and Ben for their Mac buying advice.

"All of my days . . . You've shown yourself in mysterious ways,
Not always clear to me in the heat of the race,
But I am sure I've seen your image."
-portion of "At Your Table" by Beth Wacome Keck

"Show me how you work, God; School me in your ways.
Take me by the hand; Lead me down the path of truth.
You are my Savior, aren't you?"
-Psalm 25 (The Message)

I love questions. They intrigue me. They involve mystery and the unknown and that captures my imagination and creativity. I love that my relationship with Christ because its open and not controlled. I mean, there is still so much about Him that I have no clue of or have even discovered. Deeper wells of grace and truth that I have yet to tap in my lifetime. I'm not really a person who wished that God was more like Science, known entities and full proof measurements, that stuff doesn't capture me. I like the unknown, I like mystery. Well, I guess I say that when things are going well. When my enemies are closing in, I like to know that He's a Rock of stability and salvation. I don't want to ever lose the awe and wonder of my salvation.

Take me by the hand today, Lord, I'll follow.


Monday, November 15, 2004

Pretty good weekend. Thanks to Alan and VBCC for hosting our regional gathering on friday evening and Saturday. Really good folk as always gathering to share lives and encourage each other for simple, Kingdom work. Our time of prophetic prayer for one another was particularly a highlight for me. We all should do that more.

OCC is in planning stages for 3 pretty cool events coming up. (events = parties) Next Sunday we have our annual Thanksgiving celebration together w/ a nice turkey dinner and a time of worship and giving thanks. On December 10, we are having our annual Christmas party with white elephant gifting, karaoke, good eats and more. Jan. 14-16 is a new thing for us, we're going to have a winter family retreat in north east Ohio staying in a lodge together, going skiing/tubing and have a few worship sessions revolving around a theme. This brings me back to my student ministry days, really looking forward to a getaway and what the Spirit can do in that time. So the holidays are upon us and the calendar is getting full.

Nicki was painting most of the day yesterday, so I had a chance to do some bonding w/ my 3 kids. We played disney trivia, watched The Grinch, then I cleaned the house and did the dishes, then made dinner, then gave them a bath and got them ready for bed, then watched Extreme Makeover Home Edition and then our evening compline prayers before bed. It was good to have concentrated time with them. Nicki is painting again tonight, so I"m back at it.


Thursday, November 11, 2004

First off, let me say this. Go here (http://bethwacomekeck.com/) and buy Beth's CD if your looking for something honest, authentic and stripped down. Its a really beautiful piece of raw worship. Beth's heart and voice has been in my truck this week and the Spirit has been imminently present. I may be buying a few myself for Christmas presents this year. Thanks for your giftings and artistic pasion, Beth.

Secondly, I am attending a Christian teacher convention today and tommorrow in Dayton that our school sends us to every other year. I attended 3 seminars on postmodernism today and they don't have a clue. They are spending all their time setting up a culture war and not getting to the heart of the matter which is that we are losing the hearts of our students. The answer is not to bash Michael Moore and the rest of hollywood. The answer is not to play pop-philosophy with elementary logic about truth. The answer is not to preach to the choir about how right you are. The answer is the Incarnation. The answer is to enter in, not to declare that your right, but to love. Truth does not need to be defended, it shows itself to be true. Students need people who care enough to give them a reason to encounter Truth. When oh when are we going to learn? Its not a battle over ideas, its a spiritual battle for hearts. We don't need anymore "us vs. them" dichotomies, we need to embrace all those outside of the Kingdom of God as his missing children. We are as pompous and prideful as the Pharisees, we lack the simple graces of humility and love. I am beginning to really embrace being an influencer as a teacher, but I share little in common with this propaganda of a culture war. I am not interested in cultural issues, I'm interested in the heart, for that is where our external behaviors come from. We don't love because we memorize long Bible passages about love. We love because the Spirit of the Scriptures is within us and compels us to be like Christ as revealed in the Bible. Postmodernism is not a threat. Relgious minded arrogance is the threat I'm concerned with.


Wednesday, November 10, 2004

I've been reflecting on the Kingdom that has already come. For so long, I believed that my Christianity was about some day going to a place called heaven or waiting for Jesus to come back and take me there. But as I read the N.T., I don't see the evidence of that. Rather, I see a Kingdom that has already come. A Kingdom that came in power, however oddly wrapped as a child laying in a manger. Jesus lived the Kingdom life, sinless, loving, forgiving, gracious, righteous, indignant towards evil etc. He said things like "if you've seen me, you've seen the kingdom" and "I am the bread of life, whoever eats of me will never go hungry again." You see, I eat other things that don't really satisfy. They seem like they will help me, but they end up being a counterfeit to the real thing. I have tasted and enjoyed the reality of Kingdom come, but I haven't had enough. I want more, a lot more. There is still sickness and pain all around me and the eternal kingdom will be wiped clean of those. I see the hearts of many grown cold, not caring anymore and living only in their own cynicism and lack of trust. I see brokenness, decay, heartache, failures and counterfeits. I want to be a conduit of Kingdom come. I want to touch and to heal, I want to speak and see transformation, I want to love and see hate dispel, I want to prophesy and see hope well up, I want to forgive and see freedom, I want to proclaim and see conversions, I want more than I see now. i want to be a conduit for Kingdom come because I'm tired of seeing people around me in pain and in bondage the ways of this world.

Wednesday is an off day for me at school. I have chosen to spend a portion of it in solitude and contemplative prayer seeking the Jesus who is Kingdom come.


Tuesday, November 09, 2004

The Palmers had an amazing wedding this past Saturday night in Columbus. Really beautiful decor, Jewish wedding w/ chanted Hebrew blessings and concluded w/ Palmer stepping on the wine glass. The fun raged on as the Beans, Creech's, Rains' and Marshall's rocked into the early morning. Good fun, good friends.

Should have tommorrow off then a 2 day Christian teacher convention in Dayton on Thursday and Friday (woo hoo).

Today is my eldest dauthter's 8th birthday. Ali is a unique child. Extremely innocent and extremely dramatic. I can't hardly picture her future but I know it will be filled with highs and lows. She is so much like me, I really enjoy her. I envision her and I taking some walks and trips together just dreaming about life and the future. Happy Birthday Ali!

Stop and Notice the Kingdom around you today.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Do you ever hear a voice calling you? I'm not talking about audibly, I'm talking about the times when you listen with your soul? This morning I hear a voice calling me. I wonder if its the same voice that calls to the deep and the same voice that thunders in the sky. Its the voice of a Creator who governs the universe and keeps his eye on the sparrow. Its a voice that gives incredible clarity to this thing we call life. Its a voice that helps me see whether I've been flying right side up or not. I think I've been looking for perspective lately. But how can I get His perspective unless I unplug myself from this world's systems? How can I hear until I'm quiet in solitude not allowing other voices to distract? How can I strip myself away so that He's the only voice that is left? I long to follow that voice. I long to obey whatever it says. I long to be shaped and molded by the coals from his flame. How can you ever know who you really are unless you unplug from this system and hear his voice? I want to act in the power of the resurrection, but only he has those resources. I want to walk in His stream if only to know that I belong to Him. His ways are not our ways and His Kingdom is not the one easily seen. For those who have ears to hear, let them hear.

I want to hear today that distant voice.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Man, it was so good to have fight club again tonight. Its been a long, long while since we got together with lots of transitioning, injuries, scheduling conflicts etc. But back we were again. Rains, Canipe, Johnson, myself and a guest appearance from Joe Long. (Hey Joe, love the CD mix, and part. the intro.) Our topics ranged from 40 foot fires, potato guns, life insurance, things not to say to your wife, jelly donuts in our spinal columns, head injuries, emergent news, eschatology views, Israel as metaphor, home buying, group leading, world systems, music tastes and a ton of laughter. I love not being alone in what I do. Sometimes I feel that I don't do enough, that I should be accomplishing more, I should be more missional, more productive, more intentional etc. etc. These guys help me relax and just be myself. Think Kingdom, act Kingdom, love Kingdom and be Kingdom. Good friends are to be treasured, I appreciate these guys. They spur me on towards love and good deeds. I am never alone. Fight Club is back.