Monday, November 28, 2005

Who Dey Holiday weekend

Doc and I did some pre-game tailgating and then onto the Bengals game where they got their 8th victory of the season. Tonight, I'm a big Colts fan so as to get a game up on those Pittsburgh squealers. Next week is the game we have to have. My hope is that we find a way to stop the run (which we haven't all year) and that Pitt. has a short week to get ready for us. Nonetheless, it should be a better game than the last meeting and it has major implications for the off-season. Canipe, how bout double or nothing on that coffee?? :)

Had my best 10k run on Thanksgiving morning in downtown Cincy. I ran 10 min. miles which is the fastest I've ever run a 10k, felt very satisfying. Now its on to about 3 months of winter training til the next 10k in mid-March. I will be training this winter to run the 1/2 marathon at the Flying Pig in Cincy again in May. I'm too much of an extrovert to be a very good monk, running helps my aspirations to do better monking. It combines long times of prayer and reflection with my competitive nature. It also excuses me to do some serious holiday eating ;)

On a separate note, my Dad called me on Wednesday just to check in before the holidays. That is a BIG deal, I cannot recall any other time that my Dad has actually called me. Our relationship is distant but warm, mostly I've had little expectations which keeps me from being disappointed. But it really meant a lot to me that he called. This may not mean a lot to many of you out thre, but its quite a huge deal to me. I have longed my whole life to have an actual relationship with my earthly father, so when I get glimpses, even for a few minutes, I stop and cherish it.

SHC (student house church) continued on Sunday evening with a bit of discussion on community and denying our selfish natures in order to really experience the freedom that Christ brings. We got our leading from Galatians 5 and some thoughts from Bonhoeffer's "Life Together". Community is precious and deeply meaningful for those who give themselves to it.

Advent is upon us, I love this time of year. The drama of waiting for the Messiah to be born. The Incarnation of Jesus saved my life, I never tire of celebrating that.

Stop and notice the Kingdom amongst you today,

Sunday, November 20, 2005

A Weekend of Fullness

I am so tired, it was an amazing weekend. Here are some highlights:

1) Being with Keck when he tried Skyline Chili for the 1st time on a late Thursday night run.
2) Picking up Bishop and his son Jackson from the airport, watching the reality of our coldness hit their southern Florida skin.
3) Lunch at Andy's Mediterranean is always a good time and great chicken
4) Receiving unbelieveable generosity from my brother-in-law Rob in providing dinner for Friday for all of us
5) Seeing Keck and Rains with their faces scorched black as they torched art into industrial drums turning them into the coolest fire barrels in history
6) Friday's party was off the charts, 85% of my favortie people in the world at one place. So much laughter, so much great conversation, so much love. My head didn't hit the pillow until 3:30 a.m., that party could have lasted for a week.
7) Worship and Eucharist as a community on Saturday was oozing with authenticity and spiritual maturity.
8) Praying for Palmer was powerful, emotional, Spirit-driven and filled with life and hope. The manifestations of the Spirit were desperate, in all the right senses of the word. It is joy and not despair that is writing this story.
9) Craig Spink's U.S. wedding reception at the Underground on Saturday was maybe the coolest wedding celebration I've ever experienced.
10) Sharing body art with 3 of my closest bros is unspeakably meaningful to me. We have reminders that we're never alone.
11) Fish and chips with Joe and Julie Long was an unexpected treat. I wished I lived closer and saw more of them.
12) Ohio State beat Michigan!!!!
13) The Bengals never stopped the Colts offense and thus showed we are a playoff team, but not a "great" team yet.
14) Putting up our Christmas lights and beating the rest of the neighborhood to the punch. ha ha ha ha
15) The beginning of a student house church around a fire, under the stars and with some open honesty. We'll see what kind of story God wants to write.

Its Thanksgiving, a short work week and another 10K race. Gotta catch up on some sleep.

I am extremely thankful for all these blessings and love living in the ways of the Kingdom of God.


Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Party in the Nati

This weekend starts on Thursday and rolls through Sunday. Great friends, Great community, Great conversation, Great encouragement, Great worship, Great prayer, Great food, great, great, great. I'm really stoked.

So we will gather to pray for Palmer's body, that God would cleanse him of the cancer and bring complete healing to his body. The reason we ask is because God can and our prayer is that He will.

We don't fear death and we don't fear disappointment. Contentment has been our friend in all circumstances. We are people of hope, we are people of resurrection, we are people of the Story of God, we are His people.

There will be war when we pray for Palmer, and its one that we enter willingly. Our weapons are faith, truth, love and hope. We listen to the One who authors life and speaks Creation, and out of our listening we prophesy life over dead bones. We come expectant as the People of God, we don't know of another Story.

I have few words left to say, I want to see God's hand move.

Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy on us.

blessings on your weekend,

Monday, November 14, 2005

the deconstruction of fear

How much of our daily lives and choices are ruled by fear?
How much of what we try and accomplish is directed through fear?
How much of our planning and illusion of control is really just the fear of failure?
How much of our anxiety and stress is the bondage of fear?
How much of our sleeplessness is due to fear?
How much of our lack of progress in life is stunted by fear?
How much of our theology is rooted in fear?
How much is our lack of intimacy the result of fear?
How much of our unfulfilled dreams are the captive of fear?
How much of our unanswered prayers are because of fear?
Can fear and faith co-exist?
Is there a positive category for fear?
How much of fear is a flaming arrow of the enemy?
How much of me is still influenced by fear?
Wasn't it fear that kept the disciples huddled in the upper room on Easter morning?
Wasn't it the lack of fear that caused Mary to get up while it was still dark and cold that Easter morning?
Can fear be the fuel of Kingdom hope? (this is what Im presently experiencing)
There is a fear of God that is Holy Other, that is the fear that is fueling me and I'm open to His movement.

If your having the crippling kind of fear from the enemy, meet it straight on, put your hands on its throat, and strangle the life out of the demon in the name of Christ.
If your having the kind of fear of God that comes through consecration before Him, receive His Spirit and walk ahead with Hope.

In the name of Jesus, bring complete healing to Palmer's body.


weekend report

Sunday morning I got up and ran the Ribs Run for the Marvin Lewis foundation in downtown Cincy. My niece, Gabby, ran the 5k and came in 7th in the women's division (pretty good considering she's 14). My nephew, Cory, ran in the 10K with me and he got 14th overall (he's 15). I beat my previous 10k time which was cool, but I saw this as another training run for the big 10k which is thanksgiving morning at the Bengals stadium. Running continues to be an escape for me, energy for my lifestyle and time to pray and reflect.

We had our annual OCC thanksgiving meal and worship time on Sunday afternoon and it was as always . . . REALLY good food and lots of it. Afterwards, we spent some time in worship, reflection and prayer. It was a bit hard to focus when the the turkey hangover was tempting us all towards a holy nap. With the Bengals on a bye week, it was a pretty peaceful Sunday.

This weekend is gonna be huge. Thursday night art show for the re-opening of St. Elizabeth's in Norwood, arguably my favorite church structure in the universe. Some of my favorite peeps are coming in this weekend for conversation, kingdom community and lots of love. Kecks from Vermont, Henderson from Seattle, Bishop from Florida, maybe Hale from St. Louis. Then the usual suspects from the midwest posse, Rains, Creechs, Bean, Palmers, Johnsons, Longs, Allis, VC crew, Klinefelters etc. etc. Its a plethora of great minds and hearts involved in the emerging/simple church world. Saturday morning we will worship, pray and encourage one another. Saturday afternoon is the U.S. wedding reception for Spinks who got married in Brazil last month. Then there is an after-party for him at an Irish establishment in Covington on Saturday evening. I sold my Bengals ticket for this coming Sunday so I could free up some time for a new ministry I'm beginning. Ministry before Bengals I suppose. But make no mistake about it, I will be watching the game as we give the Colts their 1st loss (sorry Bean) :)

If any are interested, I will be fasting on Thursday and Friday in preparation for a time this weekend to lay hands on Palmer and ask God for a complete healing of his body. If you would like to join me in this fast do so in your own way and pray intentionally for Palmer this weekend. We will never give up the fight.

Stop and notice the Kingdom amongst you today,

Thursday, November 10, 2005


In my previous post, I spoke of war and rebellion. Let me clarify that I don't mean that in a political or physically violent way, but as a spiritual metaphor. If that language is too intense for some, just be assured I'm a pretty peace-loving kind of guy. But until we see w/ spiritual eyes and understand the war we are in, we will only be building man-made kingdoms. As for the CCS community, I will be an advocate for peace and authentic Christ following, I have no other agenda. The students are my concern and nothing else. If any of you have questions or concerns of my intentions, please come and we can talk it over.

I spent 5 days in Memphis, TN with 150 high school students for their missions trip. I haven't gone on one of these trips in 4 years for numerous reasons, but for this year I sensed God asking me to attend. I perceived through the Spirit that I would have the opportunity to come alongside students and do some prophetic prayer and helping them be released from strongholds and spiritual bondage. And well, that happened. Next on my agenda is to begin a student house church out of my home and invite students who have no faith community to come and be a part. I pray that a community of authenticity will be birthed and that students will build hope that Christ following is possible without programs and buildings.

I am both in a state of encouragement and concern today, its an interesting paradox.

Today, Jesus asks us to be an offering. I think I'm game for that.


Tuesday, November 01, 2005

feeling hopeful

Yesterday morning, my wife and I met with our public school resource for trying to get Zach help in his speech and social development. We met with the school asst. principal, pre-school teacher, speech therapist, school psychologist and occupational therapist. They have all done observations of Zach either in our home or at their school and gave us their reports and recomendations. I was pretty amazed at their level of personal attention, the 1st time in this process that we felt that. We walked away feeling like this was a team effort between them as educators and us as parents. Everybody in the room had concern for Zach and were committed to unlocking his intelligence. As an educator myself, I much prefer the paradigm of personal education to the sterile/impersonal medical field.

Zach qualified for special ed. IEP pre-school which means we don't pay anything. He will begin most likely on Monday, 4 days a week starting at one hour a day and working his way up to 2 1/2 hours per day. They will be personally helping him develop his speech and communication skills, as well as his ability to be in groups and submitt to adult imposed structures. The structure will be VERY new for him and will undoubtedly cause him some stress. But given the fact that we have time and now resources, we feel very hopeful.

If your the praying type, pray for Zach's transition to this structured enviorment. Pray that as he learns to communicate better, the world will be less limited to him and thus less stressful. That he gains confidence with new skills and that confidence unlocks the intelligence that is within him. We're looking long-term and believe in God's story for Zach.

You see, I spent over 20 years of my life with little to no relationship with my earthly father. Even now, it consists of about 2-3 phone calls a year. Growing up, there were multitudes of nights where I cried myself to sleep and would talk out loud to a God that I wasn't even sure existed. I would say that if I ever had a son someday, I would make things different. Being a father is very personal to me, its a cherished role. One of my life goals was to experience a father-son relationship first-hand. Growing up, I coveted my friend's relationships who had Dad at home. I threw myself (anger and all) into sports and found my whole identity there. But no matter how many home runs I hit, points I scored, or tackles I made, the game would end and I would go home alone. Nobody there to see me play, nobody to enjoy it with and I lost interest. At 18, I transferred that ambition to ministry success. While I hope it was helpful to the Kingdom, I found myself at 26 empty and feeling alone as well. That's when I had my ABBA experience, a resting in the arms of my heavenly Daddy.

Now I can rest in the fact that I have 3 amazing children, a community of faith that I journey with that has loved me over and over and a ministry to a multitude of other lost sheep that need the same direction/attention I needed in that awkward time known as the teenage years.

I don't understand of a life outside of the hope of a Kingdom come. God is good.