November 21, 2009

slapdash #3:

Peter's first breath contains this to us:

"Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the pilgrims of the dispersion...[who are] elect according to the foreknowledge of God..."

the king james version uses the word "strangers" for pilgrims, which i find harsher and thus more appropriate. "elect" simply means "picked out, chosen."

to us, these ideas next to each other are risky and uncomfortable. "lets be honest," peter says, "you people have no home here. you feel the cold. you feel the distrust of the world. you feel an ache for the home you are told you have...

but do you know what?

you were picked out and this is part of it."

the world scorns you to your face. overwhelmed. scattered. questions. lusty for direction. when to make eye contact.

but this is all very intentional and calculated. you feel displaced because YOU ARE. and its no accident, so feel chosen because YOU ARE. you have to mix both, or despair will ensue. you have to mix both because God made it that way and fools are the only ones who think they know more than He would about the subject.

"the meek shall inherit the earth," the psalmist said. implied is the fact that it isnt theirs yet, and it wont be until it is given. they, these meek ones, live on hope and promises...dare i say faith?

we may be strangers, but our company is good
and our life more than food or cloth.
our eyes will adjust to the preoccupied distance they were meant to hold
like deep heaven.

November 17, 2009

slapdash #2

"But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. and above all things have fervent love for one another, for love will cover a multitude of sins. be hospitable to one another without grumbling." -1 peter 4:7-8

does the phrase "fervent love" smack any one else around but me?

the definition of fervent (greek): stretched out, intent, earnest, assiduous

the definition of fervent (english): having or showing great warmth or intensity of spirit, feeling, enthusiasm, etc.
-hot; burning; glowing.

what about the word "assiduous" up there-
english definition: constant, unremitting, working diligently at a task, persevering, industrious, attentive.

have i ever loved anything like that...other than myself?

these definitions kick my butt, though not on their own necessarily. i am shamed and challenged when these definitions are combined with thoughts of the people i know who love others FERVENTLY. these people that i think of may not even know how fervent their love is- but they are obsessed with it- intent on it- wondering always how the broken masses of flesh around them can be bettered- unburdened- cared for like gods.

when i was talking to ian about this, he brought up 2 peter 3:10, 12 where peter says that as the world ends, the very elements will "melt with a fervent heat." when i think of how busy the heat will be reducing all we know into ashes, i realize i have a long way to go if i want to love people like that- like jesus did.

fervent heat is what it will take to melt the world, both in its substance and its cold, awkward loneliness toward God. the earth will burn like the star it is- may our love do the same. may the space filled with struggle between each other as brothers and sisters, melt and recede until we forget the "multitude of sins" that we kept there.

November 9, 2009

slapdash #1

Apparently the tide came in like crazy yesterday.  I have to admit, I was a little depressed when I got out of my truck to survey my running terrain.  There were inlets and pools of water marooned on the mushy sand as far back as the dunes, which meant running on the beach was going to feel like running through a world made of porridge.  The tide had worked greedy fingers through every level part of the wide shore, leaving confused water trails very far from the wind blown, raging ocean with no promise of return.

There is a verse in Job 38 that I love in a very "tell me a story" way and I thought of it as I stared in disappointment at what was going to be a very rough workout.  In the verse, God is teaching Job about Himself by asking rhetorical questions about His greatness. He speaks of His control over the very borders of the ocean:
"Or who shut in the sea with doors...when I fixed My limit for it...and said, 'This far you may come, but no farther, and here your proud waves must stop.'"

It's as easy as attending a Sunday school class to discover God's history with the world and floods, and how He promised to never destroy it by deluge ever again.  He promises us He's got the ocean handled and we don't have to worry about it overflowing onto the whole oxygen breathing world's living space.   What once overtook, is now bound in and reigned by His decree and this fact is very comforting.  All of us who live here near the ocean are glad that it answers to His commands and that He is on our side... especially those who build houses next to the sea!  

But while I was doing my best to jog my way over a scarred and whimpering beach yesterday, I could feel the question of flood and boundary gnawing at my muscles.  No, the water will not go past His decree.  And for most of the year that decree is nicely placed in a predictable part of Morro strand with no sign of changing.  But when the water comes where we didn't expect it and wretchedly alters the path we're on, did it disobey or did He decree it?

Sometimes our nice, predictable, carefully coddled world feels more water and more wave than we prefer.  We hate it that we have to pick our way through a landscape made more difficult to traverse by what seems like a sudden mistake on the topography.  Why is this water here?  It's never been here except for today when I decided to drive a half hour to take a run on this beach!  Why is this struggle here?  I thought things would be one way and they are another.  

Let's simplify what goes on in our heads.  These surprising roadblocks that mush up our path force us into one of two modes of thinking: either God decreed this inconvenient and seemingly random change in the landscape, or the elements of the world are more powerful than Him and were able burst His established mode.

If the sea was able to break His bounds, then He really isn't in control and thus really isn't God like He says He is, and we might as well throw in the faith-towel now because He lied about the whole thing.

But if God did decree this temporary touch of water to land (I'm gonna go with this option), then the question becomes one of motive:  Is He is out to get us, or out to prove us.  Is He out to take us down or to strengthen our resolve.  Hopefully we know enough about God to trust despite circumstance that love love LOVE is His motive.  It is a fatherly, wise love that says, "I know you want an easier trail.  But here are some stronger legs you'll gain by a longer, sandier route."  And if we can get to the point where we believe that a harder life or path does not equal an unloved-by-God life or path, then we will have grown in our faith indeed.

I hope that you have tasted enough of God's character to know that If God is who He says He is, then as we show up to unexpected rough workouts and rough patches of life it is for us to choose to purely believe Him.  It is for us to choose to let go of our inner control-freak and tread joyfully, submissively and willingly over altered, difficult terrain.  This is possible only if we are absolutely convinced that this terrain is formed for us by a God who truly loves us.  It's simple and very radical, and in my opinion, just crazy enough to work.  

May the God who writes our days and forms out path freely change our reaction to change.

November 6, 2009

yarrow and note roper

my lovely roommate, mo, and her dad are geniuses with music and lovers of God. because of these simple facts, their worship song "You comfort me" has been selected for publication in Worship Leader Magazine and will come out on a cd called Song Discovery Vol. 81, which is pretty keen if you ask me. they share the cd with the likes of matt redman, evan wickham, etc.

mo and her dad (along with her sister and fellow artistic genius, colleen, who designed the cover for the ep) decided to use my yarrow painting as the main theme for the cover of the ep and the website, which is also pretty keen in my opinion :)

you can (and get ready here, because this is pretty schnazzy), not only go to mo and her dad's website and see the painting in action, but you can also buy the songs her and her dad wrote and recorded off itunes.

the website (because i'm not cool like robin and dont know how to imbed things slyly) is:

and on itunes type in "bare roots worship" and you'll find the ep they recorded in nashville.

i like the fact that God is so creative, that innocuous and random objects of life- a musical tone, a song, a yarrow painting- has the lofty hope of somehow spreading His love.