Thursday, October 27, 2005

Can you keep a secret?

Ok, its not a secret. November 17, 18 and most likely 19th, maybe even some 20th, a Midwest party is forming. Emerging church folk, simple church folk, house church folk, missional community folk, cool folk, semi-cool folk, partially pretty-cool folk etc. will be hanging out at Vineyard Central for the re-opening of St. Elizabeths (art party) on the 17th, then on the 18th it seems we're gonna do a common meal together and party into the night. There will be Kingdom conversations and topics being tossed around and knitted into souls within the framework of true community. I guarantee that there will be many like-minded Kingdom people there sharing hearts and minds over the elements. As folk come together, I imagine there will be opportunity for spill over parties on the 19th and 20th. Some is planned, some is spontaneous . . . all is of the Spirit.

For any out of towners that would consider making the pilgrimmage, feel free to contact me for free housing. I can arrange to have you stay at some saint's house and receive some Nati hospitality. As well, contact Rains at Vineyard Central.

It is good when Gods people come together. So many of us have chosen to do church in micro-communities, once in awhile its good to be in a corporate setting.

Oh yeah, Palmer is coming. We're going to ask God to move his hand and bring complete healing to his body. And when God moves, we're gonna sing new songs.

p.s. Your invited.


Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Jesus could not do miralces

Mark 6:5-6, "He could not do any miracles there, except lay hands on a few sick people and heal them. And he was amazed at their lack of faith." This is Jesus in the hood he grew up in, Nazareth. Jesus could not do miracles . . . errrr . . . what? Are there laws governing the miraculous that are unseen and at times unattainable to even Jesus? Are they not even laws, but part of God's wonder and mystery that can't be measured with laws? How was Jesus limited? Why was Jesus limited? What does this mean to my theology of healing? All questions I'm thinking about.

Last Thursday, Kevin Rains and I sat on his new "courtyard" deck (extreme sweetness i might add) and pondered many questions, but one being this ongoing battle for Palmer's healing. We analyzed and reflected and concluded that what we know is that its a fight, a spiritual battle and one that we are all too happy to keep showing up in. We are not tired, we don't fret. We're hopeful, we're expectant, we're vigilant, we're showing up in the fight in our own way both personally and corporately.

Went camping this weekend with Paul McGillivary and Glenn Johnson. Around the fire on Saturday night, we pondered more theologies of healing and God's sovereignty. We reflected and prayed within our hearts for Palmer. Then our conversation turned to the star ridden sky above us and we reflected on the infinite # of galaxies out there, on the existence of black holes and parallel universes, on string theory and the heavenly realm. All of this made me conceive of the vastness of Creator God and the perspective of my life here on earth. God is writing a REALLY big story, and it is so far beyond us. Prayer ought not be demands coming from our little worlds, but said in humility before the God of Creation and His throne where all reality streams from.

So, go and worship the God of wonder, vastness and mystery. Stand in holy perspective before Him. And if he calls you into a battle, go without fear. Grab your sword and go where the Enemy sleeps in the night unleashing Hell on his doorstep. We belong to an unshakeable Kingdom, let's live like it.


Sunday, October 23, 2005

Ouch, that hurt

Steelers 27 Bengals 13

They really beat us up pretty badly on our home field. We played very young and very inexperienced. The run defense is continually an area of concern. We're still in 1st place, but its obvious that we still have a lot of growing up to do. We are more talented than most, but aren't executing on the field. Did I mention that this loss hurt???

And worst part is that I have to buy Steelers-fan Canipe some Starbucks Jo now. I eat crow and he drinks coffee. Make it a venti coffee for Chad, I'll be the one eating humble pie . . . this time :) I feel bad for you Packer-backers coming into the the Jungle this week, we'll be looking to get back on track at your expense.

Who Dey!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Marriage as Rebellion

Tomorrow night I am marrying 2 good friends who have been participating in our house church for the past year. Last night was the rehearsal and I could sense the Holy Spirit in all of it. Nicki and I have walked with them through some pretty difficult times in their pre-marital counseling. They are the only Christ followers in their families, and both sets of parents have divorced during their engagement. How's that for wedding preparations?

But for these 2, they have chosen a different path. They have chosen the ways of Christ and the reality of His Kingdom on earth. So they talk about everything with brutal honesty, they forgive, they serve. They receive love from Christ and thus understand how to love one another. They live within the context of close Christian community and thus have support, love and accountability from others. This world sees marriage as a contract, we see it as an act of rebellion against our selfish nature and thus living and learnig what true union looks like. Its a spiritual union of souls to God and then to one another. I get so geeked about that, the ceremony and then the subsequent days of marriage are a way of sticking it to the enemy and our sinful nature. Marriage is an act of rebellion and its been one of the most redeeming experiences of my life. Outside of Jesus' Cross, it has been my savior. I get a few minutes in the middle of the ceremony to proclaim Kingdom, I"m looking forward to that.

I'm also looking to a fun reception and a date night with my wife. She got a new outfit for the occasion, and well, she just looks pretty hot! As I read the vows in the ceremony, in my heart, I am renewing my vows to Nicki. I couldn't be more happy to be 12 years into marriage and completely in love.

Love is the Jesus rebellion, learn it and live it at high volumes.


Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Enter the Mystery

"Blessed are you who give yourselves over to God, turn your backs on the world's 'sure thing', ignore what the world worships; The world's a huge stockpile of God-wonders and God-thoughts, Nothing and no one comes close to you! I start talking about you, telling you what I know, and quickly run out of words. Neither numbers nor words account for you."

"More and more people are seeing this: they enter the mystery, abandoning themselves to God."

"That's when God's Word entered my life, became part of my very being."

(Psalm 40 The Message)

Entering into the mystery of God is such a bigger idea than getting saved. When we reduce the Gospel to being only about going to heaven or hell, we suck the mystery and power and wonder out of our life in Christ. What I know is that river of God is not in heaven only, but also on earth. If I get quiet, practice solitude and begin to seek Him, I can hear its waters. Jesus came with the keys to the Kingdom and in some mysterious way, He was/is the Kingdom. Taking the time to commune with Him is about taking off your shoes and stepping into that river, the stream of his unadulterated Spirit. When you do, life comes into perspective. You begin to have God-thoughts. You begin to feel the things that are on the heart of the Father. I don't know about you, but I often see visions. Visions of the mystery, visions of God's desire and intent, visions of His missing children, visions of a battlefied, visions of the plans of the enemy, visions of answered prayer. Its a mystical place that I can't describe in scientific terms, nor do I care to. For me its my center, its home. Its the place where God becomes part of my very being. The notion of "getting saved" seems to be a pretty poor substitute for communing within the mystery of Christ. In the words of Eldrige, God is offering us a Sacred Romance. So then why do we settle for the prostitute? We trade the Holy for a whore. Friends, there's so much more if just take the time to remove our shoes and step into the river.

Stop and see the Kingdom around you today,

Monday, October 17, 2005

Its another Who Dey Monday!

In the midst of my soreness, let me just dwell on another Bengals win at the hands of the Tennessee Titans. The Bengals are now 5-1 and have possession of 1st place in the AFC North. But this is Steelers week. The Pittsburgh Squealers are coming into town on the Lord's Day this week and their many towel waving ya hoos. They have always played more physical than us and have given little to no respect to the rising of the Nati Bengals. Well, let the dead bury the dead. The rising takes another step this week.

""It's going to be a big week," said defensive lineman Bryan Robinson. The Steelers "have the mentality that we're nothing, and rightly so. We're just the Cincinnati Bengals. But I'm telling you, we've all decided enough is enough in here."



Saturday, October 15, 2005

We Ran for Palmer

It was really, really hard. I wasn't as well trained as I had been for my 1/2 marathon last May, but I did finish okay. Throughout the run, people came up to us and asked us about Palmer because we had signs pinned to our backs. It gave us a chance to tell his story and offer some prayers up for his peace and healing. My body is healing, but its going to be an uncomfortable couple of days.

I've got a lot on my mind that I hope to blog on this week. I'm sure you'll all be waiting in eager anticipation ;) Let me just take a moment and say thanks to all my loyal readers, you bring meaning to my life more than you know.


Tuesday, October 11, 2005

We'r running for Palmer

Come Saturday morning, Bean and I will run 13.1 miles in Indy because we've prepared ourselves to do so. But its more than that, you see, we're running for Palmer and we'll wear signs that say so. At each mile marker, as we drink some water and as much as our minds don't turn to mush, we will offer up simple prayers for the complete healing of our brother. We're running for Palmer, our pain will be in perspective.

Some days its cool to see the students "get" it. I've been trying to lay a foundation this quarter for the need of spiritual disciplines in our lives to give God space to work. Instead of relying on events, emotional highs and guilt ridden sermons, I am trying to shed light on the monastic way. Prayer, solitude, meditation, Scripture reflection, wholistic spirituality. For their quarter project, I gave them the option of writing a paper or trying a basic fast of something sacrificial. Some are trying a food fast, some are challenged with a media fast, but they have the option of sacrificing anything they depend on. One of the girls asked today if she could fast the need to look in a mirror for 24-48 hours. I found this to be an incredibly mature and introspective idea. A teenage girl wanting to deal with her vanity and need to be noticed or physically relevant. She wants to put her Christ following before her vanity. Friends, that's just good stuff. I look forward to reading her reflection of that experience. Teenage girls deal so much with body image and self-hatred because of their looks and their body types. I would love to see a revolution of Kingdom minded females who know they are more than what they look like and anchor their value in the fact that Abba is in love with them. I want to see my female students set free to be themselves and love who they are. Sometimes students "get" it and it makes my day.

Its a privelege to announce the Kingdom to those who have ears to hear. The Kingdom of God is pervasive reality, love it and live in it. Jesus did.


Thursday, October 06, 2005

having troubles breathing

Got some news this morning that has taken my breath away a bit. My family is good and healthy, its nothing like that, its work related. But its a huge blow to my purposes here at CCS. I'm mostly speechless and a bit petrified for my future. Its been a bad couple of weeks in my vocational employment, it just got worse.

On the flip side, there is light around the corner and its in the form of a great community weekend. My best friend since college, Kevin Grand, is coming down from Michigan to spend the weekend. We always laugh our guts out together. My daughter, Megan, has her 7th birthday sleepover party on Friday night which should be entertaining. Then on Saturday is our OCC Harvest Fiesta w/ hayride, pumpkin patch, cider donuts, chili dinner, fire w/ smores, outdoor movie, worship, communion and camping out in my backyard. Much, much, much conversation and I'm coming into this pretty needy. Can't wait to be with my community.

Then Sunday night the Bengals are on Primetime, ESPN. Will be our toughest game yet. 5-0 is within our grasp.

For now, I'm gonna try and just concentrate on my breathing. My future presently looks like a walk by faith, it won't be the 1st time.


Wednesday, October 05, 2005

blue wednesday

Listening to a Coldplay song presently and the lyric goes "we live in a beautiful world", but sometimes I wonder. I still have this ongoing conflict and it continues to weigh me down. I have gone out of my way to talk in person, but they are continually made unavailable to me. Bascially, they don't want to deal with it, so I'm supposed to move on until something small happens in the future and it becomes bigger than its supposed to be. I'm not comfortable with this, but I'm getting really angry and having lots of guilt around it. Don't try to fix me, I'm processing, blogging, I'll be fine.

If you haven't gone there yet, read Palmer's blog today. The last paragraph is a teaching that pierced my soul. His life brings perspective to mine. I so wish my brother didn't have to suffer. We live in a beautiful world? sometimes i wonder.


Saturday, October 01, 2005

heartbreaking homecoming game

first, let me just say to the students and former students that responded to my previous post, thank you. your words meant more to me than you know. You are the sole reason I am at CCS and I want you to see and experience the true Kingdom of God. Sometimes my role is to stand against the tyranny of religious influences, and in those times, you have my back. Thank you.

Last night was an absolute blast. We lost our homecoming game by an extra point in overtime. That was heartbreaking. However, the guys played their guts out, i was soooo proud of them. To those senior football players who read this blog, I have nothing but love for you, you left your heart on the field. I am still a bit heartbroken this morning with you, trying to get over it. At the same time, my chest is puffed out, I was so proud of my little brothers out there. I saw courage, I saw leadership and I saw warriors showing up in the fight. Good good stuff.

I'm chaperoning homecoming banquet tonight and I have asked my daughter Alison to be my date. Nicki already had the "talk" with her a few weeks ago (she's 8) which is more of an ongoing conversation about healthy sexuality. Tonight I am taking her on a date and showing her the way she deserves to be treated by any dude that takes her out in the future. That is, any guy who has the guts to look me in the eye and tell me their intentions :) I'm looking forward to a fun night w/ Ali, she loves being around the older students.

Oh yeah, got a free ticket to the Bengals game tommorrow vs. the Houston Texans w/ my brother-in-law. Can you say Who Dey again? A big win tommorrow will help me get over the heartbreak of friday night. Regardless, I should lose my voice by the end of the 1st quarter. Prediction: Bengals 31 Texans 17. I'm going to wake up and run 8-10 miles to start my Sunday, that should be good times too.

peace to your weekend,