Wednesday, January 25, 2012

When the voice is silent....

A wonderful word from my friend Claude May, "Remember, when the students are taking the test, the teacher is silent." Often our voices cry out for help from the Lord, but we forget that there are moments when the Lord is teaching us a lesson, attempting to gather in our trust and waiting spirits. We are quick to demand of the Lord, but sometimes the Lord is watching us. "Be patient in your suffering" Look for the Lord not just to fix your issue, but to teach you something.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Journey continues...

Been awhile since I have been on the blog! The last five months have culminated in huge changes for Anne and me! We are now living in St. George and serving a wonderful collection of saints at Shepherd of the Hills United Methodist Church. We are loving the area and the many new adventures find us celebrating a new chapter of faith and growth. Soon the blog will be connected to the church website and I will once again be using it to celebrate the unexpected moments when God's Spirit teaches and blesses! Looking forward to the next portion of the journey, so keep praying out there!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Self importance.....

Whenever I get full of myself, I simply recall the nice elderly couple who approached me with a camera in Honolulu one day. They wanted a picture, so I struck a pose for them and then the man said, "no, we want you to take a picture of us!"
Tom Selleck, actor

Lent is helping us to not make assumptions about ourselves or the Lord...

Monday, March 14, 2011


Lent has claimed a season of the calender and now my days are spent thinking of the actual faith journey. Not faith statements, faith ideas or faith moments, but the faith journey. Progress seems to take so much out of us, yet it also grants a awareness that life is a series of spiritually connected occurrences. I like the idea that faith is not a t shirt slogan, but moving with grace around the matters of the heart. Yes, Lent threatens our soul's equilibrium, but it also invites us to do more than gather information. We are a people who believe in a Spirit forged life, but so often our only reference to that life occurs when a song comes on that warms our heart or a picture recalls deep affection or brought us joy. Lent, for me is one of those times when I feel the heaviness of failure, but know it is not what completely defines me. Lent is the period that recalls lost love ones and my mortality, but also speaks of the price eternity costs and my security therein. Lent challenges me to see that I regularly think I have it so right, and still manage to uncover so much wrong! A time of repentance, a time of staring at the mirror, looking squarely into the darkness and waiting for the light to come. Don't be afraid of the dark, unless of course you never wish to get through to the light...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Some people make things happen, some watch things happen and some just ask what happened.

Casey Stengel

Monday, September 13, 2010

Thank you!!

Thank you to all who read Brian McLaren's "The Secret Message of Jesus'! A very nice gathering last night and I know we are a bit richer knowing the secret is not hidden from us, but simply waiting to be discovered!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010 II...

Well, I am preparing for the memorial of a very special man. He was a person who adored his family, a man who raised his kids well, who brought a wonderful sense of stability to those who surrounded him even though his life as a child knew no such stability at all. He never complained about his lot, chose to nor rewrite the terrible chapters of his life over, and he stayed true to the values and virtues which make peoples lives better. As I think about all the secret message aspects of Jesus' ministry, I am drawn to those who, as B Mc lifted up, make such a difference without having to get credit for their "good works". In their jobs, while on the road, compassionate at unexpected times; these mark a message in which faith is not "measured" but experienced. Not that measuring our faith is a bad thing! We should always measure our own discipleship with the anticipation of growing and glowing in the best of ways! What we really like to do, however, is measure others. And when the message is less concrete, less verbal, less obvious; then it is hard to measure the health and state of others. The secret message gives us the opportunity to feel the warmth of love found in discipleship, without having to always "show off". As I say goodbye to him with his family, I am awfully glad that he didn't take the shortcut of blaming the world, carrying anger and projecting his tough past out on others. He chose the better way, as Paul calls it, the most excellent way, and in doing so avoided skeletons in the closet as his model for behavior and instead chose love.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

only way to keep a secret.....

... is when someone is actually embarrassed by it!! Unless it is someone else!! Then it is straight to the National Enquirer!! What did you think of B Mc's paraphrasing of the four gospels on page 73? The vast scope of the task can make us tired just thinking about it! That is why all this ministry stuff is a team effort. Jesus asking people to step beyond their own tribal inclinations (how many times have we heard "we have to take care of things here at home first"?)and engage a much larger purpose seems hard. But as Mc. continues, the task is not one that is "hard" but one that requires passion. The mention of guitars always tickles my ears and the story of Master Crabb brought a smile to my face. A chance to learn led to a passion for music which brought the song to others. And all began with 5 chords and some advice... we don't always have to do spectacular things to live out the gospel... in fact, talk about a misdirection! "Our community must be big" or "we have to feed all the hungry" diminishes the impact of a single act of grace bestown upon another. When we don't share a word of encouragement, the gospel remains hidden. When we fail to help someone on this day, the gospel remains secret. We don't have to move mountains for the gospel to be proclaimed. Just walk the valley with eyes open and hands ready to be extended. Then the secret gets out.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where the is hatred, let me sow love
Where their is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
Where there is sadness, joy

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as console
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love;

For it is giving we receive, in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


or having one's soul scanned by the holy emotion detector! I have been doing some serious struggling with the kingdom of God and its manifestation. My heart is heavy because the power of Christlife is so far from so many, and that there is a painful reminder that those who do locate and live in that realm truly stand in a place of blessing. Why wouldn't EVERYONE want that??!! This chapter took me to the woodshed and reminded me that our God is a God of different ideals, and I love the line that if the Lord simply imposed His power upon the creation then it would look no different from all the other despots who rule with violence and fear. The secret, God is soooo powerful that He can allow his ministry and the vessels of its fruit to be "destroyed" because such things which proceed from eternity cannot truly be destroyed. Perseverence Michael! Resurrection Michael!! Those are the signs of the kingdom. And the sign of Christ as well. Victory is indeed his, but the message is not that Christ overcomes in the way we are used to fighting our battles, but that he overcomes with the power of love and strength as his weapons.

Have you seen the failures which sometimes thwart the coming of the Kingdom? Have you experienced a time when the people of the Kingdom "let you down"? When have you let down the Kingdom? How did you feel about that?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Signs!! And wondering.....

Demonstrating our faith has become a bit cliche for often it is a bumper stick that proclaims "God said it, I believe it (not not I act on it!)that settles it!" or "Believer on Board!". Our tendency is to wear our faith rather than to live our faith. Culture grants us many opportunities to stand in a position of salvation; it doesn't often give us the chance to live out our salvation. I love the world view discussion because our way of thinking was exceptionally foreign to the time of Christ. Miracles in this day and age are deemed as the hand form outside changing our circumstances when we need it rather than a moment of actually finding ourselves changed.

I remember my dad once making the statement that with his five children the way he treated them was "exactly the same." Well, being the one who only saw him for a few weeks a year, I would beg to differ! In his mind he could see everything as equal, but my experience of his presence and guidance etc was most certainly not. I think this is a huge gap which exists in our signs and wonders dialogue. We expect all things to be equal with god, our sense of cultural entitlement with regard to fairness is often compromised in this department when we see what is happening in the lives of others. If there is anywhere life is not fair, it is this one. "Lord, I know that I smoked heavily for 40 years, but make my lung cancer go away" pales when put into the context of a child born with cancer who only sees 5 years of life. The idea that the signs and wonders are not at our whims and desire but at the descretion of God is the main directive we must understand when working with this topic.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Shaped by a new faith.. or shaping our "faith"?

I must say, Dr. M is running this ex pentecostal around the block!! I so recall the experience of being born again as a moment when I said "Jesus is Lord" and that confession was supposed to signify a new start, wonderful grace and forgiveness. But the idea of literally starting over? Throwing away all I had learned and beginning again? Replacing all my assumptions about life and love and culture and ideals and... well.. you get the picture!! I actually love this; I think most folks would rather signify being born again as "changing majors" instead of going "back to kindergarten"! And perhaps that is our problem in encountering the message.
Jesus expecting to teach us, not just "save" us. Jesus longs for those who understand the work of transformation, not just a few more hands to "do the job". Does your experience of salvation look more like you just "changed majors" and you are still working with old assumptions, values, etc? Or have you the spirit of going back to kindergarten, learning anew, not trying to make faith fit into your life but rather becoming a person of faith?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Secret? Go figure....

Welcome to our late summer read! And I must say, the very idea of the title sends up some yellow (not red... seminary told bought the messianic secret of Mark, so I recognize the relevance to the idea of Messiah) flags for me! I have always understood Jesus' message as being one for the nations, one that is shouted from the rooftops, one that is so obvious people cannot deny it! Yet here we delve into, as McLaren tells us, "uncovering the truth that could change everything". And the first three chapters waste no time telling us the intention of our author; he is not impressed with the strain of faith which occupies our pews, and who can blame him? Passive, benign, often our faith is only an expression of a block placed upon the calender setting aside some sunday mornings for "fellowship". Our faith looks like oil and water; only when it gets shaken up by trial or tragedy does it find mixing, otherwise our "regular" life and our faith life are separated by calender and circumstance.
So in asking troubling questions, McLaren points us back to a core, a center, a presence where faith is more than just a collection of values and statements. Is your faith more than just statements and values? Think of one way in the last two weeks you have been motivated to do something not because you are "nice" or it is the "right" thing to do, but that you were motivated by discipleship.

I have a feeling our minds will be stretched, and I think we will painfully encounter a harsh reality about the message of Jesus; it is not secret, it is just often ignored, and at best, a message tailored to suit our whims and desires.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Summer musings...

I pray the summer has been most wonderful for all of you! I have been doing some summer reading, but the two books I am devouring right now are "Gulag: A History" by Anne Applebaum and "Cadillac Desert" by Marc Reisner. Two exceptional tomes with all kinds of history and intrigue fashioned therein. Gulag is a dark history whcih tells of the many trials and despair of those incarcerated in Russian camps in the early 20th century; the depth of sorrow and despair leaps from the pages, but I am struck by the power of the human spirit as well. Both are wonderful books and great reads, but save them for another time for our book read of "The Secret Message of Jesus" by Brian McLaren is about to commence! We will begin in August and gather at the end of the month to have a discussion... keep your eyes on the blog and I will be throwing out my two cents worth as well!!!