Wednesday, April 19, 2006

my mind is on camping

Going camping here this weekend and I'm really looking forward to it. Just some time to kick back and relax with some friends. The pressures of these past couple months can subside as we sit around the fire and do generally nothing.

The air cast is off, I'm on 2 shoes. Life is looking up.


Saturday, April 15, 2006

a broken cup pours out

i didn't mean to, i just came to my computer to look up a Scripture before heading to bed, and then it began happening,

I am overwhelmed, with Spirit, with sorrow, with loss, with treachery, with evil, with pain, with sin, with brokennes . . . and then with unexplainable joy and unquenchable hope. my body is twitching with grief, my eyes are pouring out tears, my insides are all stirred up, my heart is in my throat . . . i weep and i weep and i weep. but what is coming out is not all sorrow, there's joy in these tears. alongside my pain is a hope that is welling up in me and i can hardly contain myself. i don't know what you believe about the tongues of the Spirit but they begin in my soul and i can't contain them.

i used to have this experience when weekly I would drive home from Seminary at Asbury in KY late on Thursday nights and when I would reach the lights of my city (the Nati) I would begin to weep in my car. I could feel the pain in the hearts of my neighbors and I longed to shepherd them back to the heart of Abba. i can feel and sense darkness, I can smell the stench of sin and when i see it in me, I am poured out.

this world is inexplicably connected to the world we can't see. i can feel Palmer's presence, i know Chad has visited me, they are not far away. their physical death's has blown up my sense of purpose in this world. what i thought was important, just doesn't seem so. rather, I see a Kingdom Coming, one that is rising up and coming down. the tides are coming in and warning us of their entrance. the Power of God is running through my body and is showing me that His Reign is upon us. humbled by His Presence, He is alive and He is coming. His life streams as a river from the Temple and everything it touches breeds hope.

He is Alive. Ring the bells, shout from the mountaintops, His promised hope is upon us. His Kingdom is being poured out. Friends, receive it. jump in the river and let it take you to the heart of the One who made you.

Life is here, hold nothing back, let it Reign. This Spirit of life is preparing us for more battle and more of the enemy's land. Our King is alive and He is returning. I swear singular allegiance to the King and I can see Him coming. His power is rolling out . . . roll on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on . . . til Kingdom comes in fullness.

"Early in the morning on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdelene came to the tomb and saw the stone was moved away from the entrance." (John 20:1) We will never give up, we are your people. We will never lose hope, elpida breathes in us. Resurrection is upon us.

always Darkness before the Dawn

The lyrics to U2's Yahweh have been stirring my soul during this season of hardship.

Yahweh, Yahweh
Always pain before a child is born
Yahweh, Yahweh
Still I’m waiting for the dawn

Still waiting for the dawn, the sun is coming up
The sun is coming up on the ocean
This love is like a drop in the ocean
This love is like a drop in the ocean

Yahweh, Yahweh
Always pain before a child is born
Yahweh, tell me now
Why the dark before the dawn?

Take this city
A city should be shining on a hill
Take this city
If it be your will
What no man can own, no man can take
Take this heart
Take this heart
Take this heart
And make it break

This is the last day of Lent. We are alone in the cold and darkness of our uppper room. The horrors we have seen, watching the One who brought such hope be beaten, stripped and crucified. Fear dominates our thoughts, confusion in our soul. Why did these things have to happen, and where do we go from here? What's the point? Darkness seems to be our only friend.

For some reason on that Sunday morning, Mary "got up" and went to the tomb. Did she expect anything? Was there yet a glimmer of some hope welling deep inside her? The dark and cold morning of that 1st Easter was ripe, it was a pregnant moment. Some hid, some gave up . . . but atleast one "got up" and kept hope alive. And what she found was that the darkness was swallowed up in Dawn of unquenchable Hope, that is Elpida. Now Life would rule.

I don't know why this pain and darkness has been around us this season. I don't like it, I don't approve of it, but I am just creation. I do know that our Story is one of hope and one of resurrection. I want to believe that this is a pregnant moment, waiting to give birth to unexpectant hope. I don't know why, but I do know what we're suppposed to do. We're supposed to get up. Because darkness always comes before a dawn. I don't know that if I get up today that I may find another stone, rolled away.

Regardless of our perceptions, Yahweh wins . . . Yahweh wins.

Have a blessed Easter.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Daddy-Daughter date

Ali and I had a Daddy-Daughter date for a bit last night. We went to St. Elizabeth's with 2 of OCC's house churches for Via Crucis "Immersion". The interactive and sometimes digital stations of the cross. OCC did station #1 and Student House Church did station #3, amazing jobs. The stations were moving. Art, technology and theology all coming together, a truly great idea. Ali loved the interaction with each station, causing her to reflect.

Afterwards, we did some hangin' with the OCC crowd at Skyline and then Ali and I went for dessert. Ali was bouncing in her seat with excitement (it may have been the mountain dew). We ordered dessert and gave us a chance to have a one on one. I expressed to her how proud her Mom and I are of the person she is becoming. How much we appreciate her help with Zach, how helpful she is to us around the house. I also took the opportunity to affirm her mind, her thinking, her care for others and her heart for God. It means a lot to pass on blessing to my children. I am very proud of Ali, and don't even get me started talking about her dominance on the soccer field . . . she's a beast!!

With my new work schedule, I cherish these opportunities. With the passing of Chad and Palmer, I cherish these moments even more. Life is too short to just earn money and be a consumer. Life is a gift and can be lived in the rythymn and flow of the Spirit of God. His Kingdom has come and is continuing to come all around us, if we take the time to stop and notice.


Monday, April 10, 2006

How am I doing?

Many people have been asking me this question lately because of all the loss that has surrounded us. And the answer is, "I'm really not sure".

Physically I am quite tired but taking time to rest. I also got back to working out today with what I can with the healing achilles. I was able to swim, lift and hit the abs which was all well-needed. Gonna try and make that a routine 5 days a week, it really prepares me for the rest of my day.

Emotionally it is up and down. The new job has me busy enough to not dwell on things. But it doesn't take much to trigger me and I am just overwhelmed with missing Palmer, particularly. I even find myself still wanting to pray for his healing. I think I have some stubborness issues.

Spiritually its a mixed bag. As I don't understand the reason for things and I don't have to happy with the results, God is God. Where else can I go? But simultaneously with all this crap has been unspeakable beauty. I've seen these trials galvenize community to happen at deeper levels and for "thin places" to be experienced with more regularity. Going to "via crucis" last night with the Student House Church (those not on Spring Break) was a great time of reflection. These students are really growing in their experience and knowledge of the Kingdom. They are maturing before my eyes and as well contributed a pretty sweet station #3 "Jesus falls the 1st time". They are hungry for more and it inspires me.

I don't want this week to pass me by. I want to remember and reflect on my Jesus who walked the path of suffering on behalf of his Creation. I am too weak to carry my own burdens so He continues to carry my cross. This has been a season of suffering, so I want to resonate with the suffering of Jesus this week. Come Sunday, God will lift our heads to the Resurrection. When Kingdom comes, our heads will be lifted forever. That will be a good day.


Friday, April 07, 2006

2 more deaths = 2 more funerals

My step-grandfather passed on Monday morning and I'll be officiating that funeral on Tuesday at the retirement home.

One of my wife's cousin's had a tragic death, possibly self-inflicted and we will attend that service in the morning.

Its been a long work-week, very busy and that has its pros and cons. My mind doesn't dwell on things, so that is good. But I've also had no time to commune with the Father and that leaves me feeling disconnected. I really need to plan my weeks better now because my workload has so increased that I need boundaries. I need time to decompress, recreate and connect with my family. My daughter, Megan, said this morning, "Daddy, we never get to see you anymore." That's not good and needs to change.

I need to find a rythymn to life and with the torn achilles, I think some of it has to do with time to exercise where I prayed and thought, now I don't have it. So this weekend I'm going to sign us up for the family YMCA and make time to commune w/ God in exercise i can do while rehabbing, and having a place to play with my kids. The weekend is looking up.


Monday, April 03, 2006

reflecting w/ peace

Like many of those around me in this spiritual community, I'm pretty worn out physically and emotionally. My niece passed before Christmas, my achilles tendon snapped at end of January, Chad Canipe passed 3 weeks ago, Mark Palmer passed a week ago and . . . my brother-in-law has been in the hospital for the past 5 days with extreme joint pain and unable to use his legs at all. Turns out he has rheumatoid arthritis and is seeking treatment, so I prayed for him on the phone before heading down to Palmer's wake on Saturday. Yesterday, I got a call from my Mom to come to my step-grandfather's bed in hospice. I spent most of Sunday in hospice reading Scriptures over him and praying blessings upon his journey as he labored in breath and didn't want to leave his wife of over 60 years. That is another funeral I will officiate this week. Friends, I'm very tired.

But . . . here's the thing. With all of the sorrow and the pain of the past few months, I'm having a hard time understanding how it can come directly alongside so much beauty. I have been as often in tears about the joy of living in intimate spiritual community that has the power of lasting covenant as I have been about loss. I have heard heroes of mine eulogized of lives lived with passion and Christlike leadership.

Palmer and Canipe were spiritual giants to me, I sat under their teaching as I received their friendship.

I have no words to describe the Elpida community, simply they are the realization of one of the deepest dreams in my heart.

I learned why Palmer loved LP as I made new friends with his spiritual family. I truly cherish these new found friendships and desire for them to flourish.

I love hangin' w/ the emerging generations of this movement, Erin, Emily, Katie, Megan and Zion in particular. I'm a big fan of the teenage years and these kids are really "getting" what we're all about.

There is nowhwere on earth where I would rather be than at our house of peace, that is the Brownhouse. Kevin and Tracy Rains do hospitality like artwork. I honor their gifts amongst us.

Ordinary Community is taking seriously what it means to follow Jesus, they are my home.

My wife is my rock, I couldn't hold up w/out her support and love for me. My children are my joy, may they be blessed today.

this turned into a stream of consciousness, i told you i was tired.