Monday, February 26, 2007

Ordinary Retreat

Psalm 125:2 As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people both now and forevermore.

This weekend was our 3rd annual Ordinary Community Church family retreat and it just keeps getting better. As I've mentioned here, the past several weeks have been very difficult for me personally and I needed a break through, it came this weekend. Part of it is just having extended time with my church community. In the giving and receiving of love in these organic relationships just carries power. You feel surrounded and sheltered by love from one another as the whole community is sheltered by the love and Spirit of God.

We had 3 sessions and the topics were 1) Vulnerability - Being open to God and His Creation 2) Accountability - Being open to one another in community 3) Mission - Being open to our world.

Our times of worship and sharing in community were particularly powerful. We rarely have extended and secluded time for intimate, corporate worship and so we soak it up when we can. The Holy Spirit was present in power and there was a great depth in our sharing. OCC is in its 6th year and what I'm seeing now is the people taking complete ownership of what it means to live in christian community. Hardly perfect, but they see it as there's to mold and invest themselves into. It has changed their worldview and that takes time and journeying together. We have walked through a lot of darkness together, we're ready for a dawn, so let it come.

In the midst of this community, I also heard the voice of God in that still, small whisper. Saying words of affirmation that helped to bring some restoration to my own relationship with God. When this primary relationship is not in line, my whole life doesn't work, thus these past few weeks of struggle. I was filled with guilt and fear, God had nothing but words of love and affirmation. God is good.

Often retreats can lead to refreshing, this one did just that.


Monday, February 19, 2007


just finished reading my blog posts from last february, march and april. the pain of the loss of chad and palmer is still so fresh. but its different, it used to be a sharp pain that came and went, now its a deepened, dull pain that feels as if it will always be there. i admitt I am still angry that Chad and Mark weren't healed in this life. I'm sure and I know that there are reasons I can't see, but it bothers me. i hope i'm not being prideful, but I think God can handle it.

life has not been fun, been wallowing in an ongoing depression for several weeks. its something i've had since childhood, i go through seasons where i feel overwhelmed with pain and questions. i'm angry, i'm disallusioned, i'm sad, i'm discouraged and i'm tired. i wonder about a lot of things, things i won't blog about. i've been reading what henri nouwen calls a "suffocating loneliness" . . . that about sums it up.

there are bright and dark sides to wondering, i find myself in the latter category tonight.


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Feast of St. Patrick update

So far we have 11 states represented in communities that have RSVP'ed:
Ohio, Florida, California, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Minnesota, Maryland, Michigan, Vermont, Washington and Pennsylvania. Plenty of room for more if you like that sort of thing. Food, friends, community, teaching, networking, worship, prayer, reflection, Scriptures, conversation, spiritual gifts etc.

Its March 16-17 at St. Elizabeth's in Norwood, Ohio. Our main conversations will be led by Todd Hunter, Bob Ekblad and George Hunsberger. Check out for details and to RSVP. There's no cost, just asking for donations to cover meals and facility.


Monday, February 12, 2007

Stick Gods

Jeremiah 10
Listen to the Message that God is sending your way, House of Israel. Listen most carefully:

"Don't take the godless nations as your models. Don't be
impressed by their glamour and glitz, no matter how much
they're impressed.The religion of these peoples is nothing but
smoke.An idol is nothing but a tree chopped down, then shaped
by a woodsman's ax.They trim it with tinsel and balls, use
hammer and nails to keep it upright.It's like a scarecrow in a cabbage
patch—can't talk! Dead wood that has to be carried—can't
walk!Don't be impressed by such stuff. It's useless for either
good or evil."
6-9All this is nothing compared to you, O God.
You're wondrously great, famously great.Who can fail to be
impressed by you, King of the nations? It's your very nature
to be worshiped!Look far and wide among the elite of the nations.
The best they can come up with is nothing compared to
you.Stupidly, they line them up—a lineup of sticks, good for
nothing but making smoke.Gilded with silver foil from Tarshish,
covered with gold from Uphaz,Hung with violet and purple
fabrics— no matter how fancy the sticks, they're still sticks.
10But God is the real thing— the living God, the
eternal King.When he's angry, Earth shakes. Yes, and the
godless nations quake.
11-15"Tell them this, 'The stick gods
who made nothing, neither sky nor earth,Will come to nothing
on the earth and under the sky.'"But it is God whose power
made the earth, whose wisdom gave shape to the world,
who crafted the cosmos.He thunders, and rain pours down.
He sends the clouds soaring.He embellishes the storm with
lightnings, launches wind from his warehouse.Stick-god
worshipers looking mighty foolish, god-makers embarrassed by
their handmade gods!Their gods are frauds—dead sticks,
deadwood gods, tasteless jokes. When the
fires of judgment come, they'll be ashes.
16But the Portion-of-Jacob
is the real thing. He put the whole universe togetherAnd pays
special attention to Israel. His name?

Even though we have tasted of the Kingdom of God, we still yet choose stick gods. I don't understand it, but I do it.


Monday, February 05, 2007

The Feast of St. Patrick

March 16-17, 2007. St. Elizabeth's in Norwood, Ohio. You're Invited. Go here The Feast of St. Patrick

Check out the site for all the details and who is already coming. There is no cost, rather we are just asking for donations to cover our meals and utilities costs. But we do need your RSVP on the website for planning meals.

Every once in a while we like to have a gathering of like-minded Kingdom folk. March 16-17 is that kind of gathering. For starters, we are gathering to honor our brothers who last year in March passed on to Kingdom fullness . . . Chad Canipe and Mark Palmer. We're still not sure why we lost them, it still hurts, and its important for us to gather. Those 2 guys were immensely passionate about planting Kingdom communities, so we wanted to have a weekend centered around conversations about just that.

There will be a diverse set of people leading several different kinds of conversations. Some of the conversations will be in large contexts, some in small. There will be time to reflect and meditate and there will be time to worship and to pray.

In a world that often resembles war, it is important to gather to remind us that we are not alone. And because we are not alone we have access to power that is beyond us. That power is present as we gather and we will seek it together.

I am beyond stoked for this gathering and hope that many of our friends will be able to make it. Housing will be provided for all out of towners that we can handle.

Come one, come all. Come and be not alone.