Saturday, December 17, 2011
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Sunday, September 11, 2011
Thursday, September 8, 2011
Sunday, August 28, 2011
-from My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
I just finished this fiction book that has fiercely reminded me of crucially important truths: we live each moment in a spiritual battle, the tongue holds the power of life and death, the importance of praying without ceasing and never forgetting that "the weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds."
Saturday, August 20, 2011
- Seeing toothless Terry and his wheelchair, and hearing he will soon be receiving his prostetic half-leg
- Seeing Lorie back with us
- Seeing some of the ones with new homes looking refreshed
- Finding out that Roy was in the hospital with congestive heart failure. Lord, please restore and heal him, and bring him back to us.
- MIA's - Jason, Donnie, all from Raymond's camp, Battle, Evelyn, Carl
Sunday, August 14, 2011
I found out this week my primary personality trigger is Passion. I was happy to find this out. Passionate expression is when I am most successful in getting my message across. I want to further His message? I know He doesn’t need assistance. He would prefer I do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with Him. When I do that with passion, His kingdom comes to the neighborhood. When Christ comes to the neighborhood things change. He wired me this way for a purpose. I must allow Him to shine His light upon me daily, that I might reflect it upon this broken neighborhood He has me in.
Monday, July 25, 2011
I enjoy running on trails. Lately I've discovered the wonderful levy tops that meander along the river. What a great way to enjoy the beauty of nature. One problem is that they don't get mowed down too often. When that happens there's always the potential of coming across a "snake in the grass". If the snake can be seen in advance, it can be avoided and does not cause much alarm. When you can't see it and actually step on one while running, pandemonium breaks out!
After an encounter like that, you become more focused on avoiding a repeat occurrence. To do that, your steps are a bit higher and there are several quick jumps left and right to avoid anything resembling a sneaky serpent (curved sticks, coated wire, rope, etc...)! The once enjoyable journey is now a fear focused frolic that expends tons of energy on needless things ~ SERPENTITUS!
Perhaps it's just me, but I realized how often I live life that way too! Instead of enjoying the beauty of The Creator along the journey I focus on the probability of being surprised by the Serpent.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Let these words be an encouragement for you today. After a miraculous exit from jail the night before, the apostles are back in the Temple court teaching again after being told not to...
Acts 5:29-42 (MSG)
Peter and the apostles answered, "It's necessary to obey God rather than men. The God of our ancestors raised up Jesus, the One you killed by hanging him on a cross. God set him on high at his side, Prince and Savior, to give Israel the gift of a changed life and sins forgiven. And we are witnesses to these things. The Holy Spirit, whom God gives to those who obey him, corroborates every detail."
When they heard that, they were furious and wanted to kill them on the spot. But one of the council members stood up, a Pharisee by the name of Gamaliel, a teacher of God's Law who was honored by everyone. He ordered the men taken out of the room for a short time, then said, "Fellow Israelites, be careful what you do to these men. Not long ago Theudas made something of a splash, claiming to be somebody, and got about four hundred men to join him. He was killed, his followers dispersed, and nothing came of it. A little later, at the time of the census, Judas the Galilean appeared and acquired a following. He also fizzled out and the people following him were scattered to the four winds. "So I am telling you: Hands off these men! Let them alone. If this program or this work is merely human, it will fall apart, but if it is of God, there is nothing you can do about it-and you better not be found fighting against God!"
That convinced them. They called the apostles back in. After giving them a thorough whipping, they warned them not to speak in Jesus' name and sent them off. The apostles went out of the High Council overjoyed because they had been given the honor of being dishonored on account of the Name. Every day they were in the Temple and homes, teaching and preaching Christ Jesus, not letting up for a minute.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Saturday, June 25, 2011
It doesn’t have to be
The blue iris, it could be
Weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
Small stones; just
Pay attention, then patch
A few words together and don’t try
To make them elaborate, this isn’t
A contest but the doorway
Into thanks, and a silence in which
Another voice may speak.
“A church that doesn’t provoke any crises, a gospel that doesn’t unsettle, a word of God that doesn’t get under anyone’s skin, a word of God that doesn’t touch the real sin of the society in which it is being proclaimed – what gospel is this?” - Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador
Sunday, June 12, 2011
I was reading in Paul’s first letter to the Christ followers at Thessalonica this morning. A couple of things jumped off the page at me. These followers were living out their faith with convictions of “steel”, which was put there by the Holy Spirit. I think that is very cool. I like the fact that God in us gives us that kind of strength and resolve to live our faith boldly in a society who for the most part does not get it. A conviction of steel would be difficult to break or destroy. It is very hard and does not give very much. With that, we can go boldly in the directions He leads us, knowing nothing is going to break us. I take comfort in that.
The second thing that I observed was the idea of the living message. In the first chapter, Paul tells these guys that he doesn’t even have to witness about this group anymore because they are living out their faith so powerfully that they have become the message (the gospel). They are the good news in their communities just by how they live their lives. The word is out. These guys are living out the love of Jesus daily, and that kind of living radiates outward from us, and spreads to others. What the others do with it is another topic. Our takeaway is to “be the message”.
So, how about it my brothers and sisters? How are we doing this day? Do we feel and believe with our convictions of steel? Are we running hard after Jesus? Do those around us sense and observe the living message in our lives?
Happy Sunday! Be the living message today, with your Holy Spirit created convictions of steel! Live Love Loud.
Monday, June 6, 2011
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Welcome them both, with open arms!
Since this injunction goes against all logic or reason, it is the most difficult to understand or master.
Let the tears you shed, over your misfortunes, cleanse thine eyes so that ye might see the truth. Realize that he who wrestles with you always strengthens your nerves and sharpens your skills. Your antagonist is always, in the end, your best helper.
Adversity is the rain in your life, cold, comfortless, and unfriendly. Yet from that season are born the lily, the rose, the date, and the pomegranate. Who can tell what great things you will bring forth after you have been parched by the heat of tribulation and drenched by the rains of affliction? Even the dessert blooms after a storm.
Adversity is also your greatest teacher. You will learn little from your victories but when you are pushed, tormented and defeated you will acquire great knowledge, for only then you will become acquainted with your true self since you are free, at last, from those who flatter thee. And who are your friends? When adversity engulfs you is the best time to count on them.
Remind thyself, in the darkest moments, that every failure is only a step toward success, every detection of what is false directs you toward what is true, every trial exhausts some tempting form of error, and every adversity will only hide, for a time, your path to peace and fulfillment.
- Og Mandino, The Greatest Salesman in the World
Thursday, May 12, 2011
Make Way Partners’ Field Coordinator, Matt McGowen, and an expert Romanian attorney stood at her side as she appeared in court today. I’ve spent a couple of hours on the phone with Matt today hearing live reports.
The first thing I want to tell you is that Matt is so encouraged by the progress that Iana is making with all the girls at House of Treasure. Matt said, “Although each girl feels the pressure of such a difficult time, the healing in the girls is evident. They are sharing in responsibilities around the house, meal preparation, and even encouraging one another.”
Esther (not her real name) is a shining star at House of Treasure. She survived a brutal attack last year, and suffered deeply from fear and low self esteem, but after so much time with us, Matt said, “Now she is confident and taking true leadership among the girls.”
With that kind of beautiful healing taking place at House of Treasure, it was painful to hear Matt’s first words as he reported from the courtroom, “It was a rough day.”
We arrived at 8 am only to be told, “Your hearing’s cancelled.”
Natasha’s mother dropped the charges. And while, at first, that seemed to be good news, chaos ensued as we learned it was simply a manipulative ploy staged by her attorney to get what she wanted.
Part of what incited Natasha’s mother was the fact that child protection services (cps) had been conducting an investigation into her fitness as a mother. She’d played a hand in Natasha’s trafficking. Natasha has younger siblings still living at home, and cps had been considering removing them from the home for their own protection.
One of the best tactics to draw attention from herself, was of course, to point the finger at Iana. During the weeks of investigation preceding the hearings, Natasha was supposed to be under the direct care and supervision of cps. However, they let her run wild, coming and going as she—or her mother—pleased.
Having unmonitored access to Natasha during the investigation, her mother orchestrated media events where they told many negative stories about cps. The media made a negative production regarding cps. The result: cps not only quit their investigation of Natasha’s mother, but actually testified to her credit.
Matt and Iana both read court documents revealing that Natasha had submitted testimony that she did not want to be returned to her mother, and that she did want to stay at House of Treasure, with Iana. But, the Judge wouldn’t allow the documents to be read in court, or for Matt and Iana to keep a copy. The judge deliberately withheld vital information.
Natasha has severe mental and emotional damage, possibly psychotic, from all of her abuse and trafficking, so Iana was not petitioning for Natasha to return to House of Treasure, but rather, for her—and the other girls’ protection—to be placed in a psychiatric hospital. Although Iana is a psychologist, the judge would not hear Iana’s testimony.
Natasha has turned extremely violent, which is not uncommon for young children who have suffered such extreme violence. While cps allowed her to run free, she went to the school where the other girls from House of Treasure attend, telling them, “My mother’s gypsy friends are going to show up at school and rape you all.” Again, the judged barred Iana’s testimony from the courtroom.
Matt said, “If I hadn’t seen it myself, I would never believe what I am about to tell you…”
The judge’s decision: since the charges against Iana were dropped and cps now gives a glowing report on Natasha’s mother, she gave Natasha back over to the mother.
Iana’s lawyer came prepared. He read directly from a Romanian book of law, sighting how the judgment was illegal under Romanian law, and sighting that due process—according to their own law—had not been followed.
The judge slammed down her gavel while hysterically screaming at Iana’s attorney, “Shut up and sit down. You cannot read that [Romanian book of law] in my courtroom!”
While neither Iana nor her attorney could speak, the judge allowed others to stand, testifying that Iana beat the girls and forced them to make child pornography movies. Iana was not allowed to testify about this, and when her attorney objected, the judge screamed at him to shut up and sit down.
Today is not only an injustice for a very sick and hurting child (Natasha) but also a huge gap through which Iana and the entire House of Treasure could fall.
As you can imagine, Iana is very discouraged. Matt is by her side, but they both need your prayers for wisdom, strength, and encouragement.
We face another hearing on Friday, and I will let you know as soon as I know anything at all.
In the meantime, we are not only praying, but also talking through lessons learned, strategies to take, and receiving much wise counsel from professionals.
We rest in the Arms of the Great Defender of children—our Father, our God—Who is moved by your prayers.
Love, your sister along the journey,
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Monday, May 9, 2011
John Harris is an evangelical Christian, educator, and international activist. He gives tours of charismatic Christianity in Palestine with the group Pentecostals and Charismatics for Peace and Justice, and works in Palestine each summer with Christian Peacemaker Teams.
Sunday, May 8, 2011
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
"When we meditate on how much God loves us instead of on how loving we are, we tend to love others selflessly out of a feeling of completion, while if we meditate on how much we love others in order to get them to love us back, we love others out of a sense of compulsion or need. The same is true for our righteousness. When we think about how good we are, we may no longer be good. Instead, we can think about how good God is, and how much we are loved by Him, and then just live in the overflow of those truths. It’s tricky, but one is a prison and the other is freedom."
..."The best thing I can do to love my friends is to think about and live within the truth that God loves me. This is the only way I can live and love without expecting a return on my investment. The real love will happen naturally once I understand my need is met. I don’t have to think about my motives at all."
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Friday, April 22, 2011
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
by Shane Claiborne Tuesday, April 12th, 2011
Shane Claiborne is a prominent author, speaker, activist, and founding member of the Simple Way. He is one of the compilers of Common Prayer, a new resource to unite people in prayer and action. Shane is also helping develop a network called Friends Without Borderswhich creates opportunities for folks to come together and work together for justice from around the world.
by Hugh Hollowell Wednesday, April 13th, 2011
Hugh Hollowell http://hughlh.com/articles is an activist, a speaker and a Mennonite minister. He is the founder and director of Love Wins Ministries http://lovewins.info/ where he pastors a congregation made up largely of people who are homeless.
Monday, April 18, 2011
"I have been doing some thinking about the book UnChristian in which non – Christians had the opportunity to share their views of Evangelical Christians. Not surprisingly they are not too impressed by us. In fact the huge majority of them see us in a very negative light. Specifically, they see us a being homo – phobic, pro – war, insensitive and extremely judgmental.
When I read these accusations towards us I could not help but think of what would happen if we were able to go back in time and do a similar research project on people’s views of Jesus. What would the “sinners” in Jesus’ day say about him? I think that they would be very positive about Jesus after all they were always hanging around him (see Luke 15: 1 - 2).
I believe that they would see him as being the opposite of how non – Christians view us Evangelicals today. They would see Jesus as being sympathetic and forgiving (not homo – phobic), merciful (not pro – war), empathetic (not insensitive) and very gracious (not judgmental).
Then I got thinking of what would happen if we surveyed these same people, the sinners, tax collectors, prostitutes and other so called “unclean” types found in the Gospels who hung out with Jesus and who loved him so much. What would they say if we asked them what they thought of the Pharisee’s? I think you know what they would say. They would probably use the exact same words that non – Christians today used in describing us – insensitive and extremely judgmental!
So my question now is this – who do we Evangelicals really emulate the most – Jesus or the Pharisees? Who do we best represent when it comes to what we say and how we behave towards the homosexual community – Pharisee’s or Jesus? Who do we most look like when we take a stand on issues like war, torture of suspected terrorists and tax cuts (that will negatively affect social programs to help the poor) – Pharisee’s or Jesus?
These are tough questions, questions that shine a spotlight right onto our hearts. It is our response to issues like these (and there are others) that the world watches and judges us on. Pharisee or Jesus? Take your pick. I hope I choose Jesus."
Blog entry written by Rev. Colin McCartney. He is the founder of UrbanPromise Toronto and author of two best selling books: The Beautiful Disappointment and Red Letter Revolution (Castle Quay Publishers). He is also a mentor to pastors and business people and is in high demand as a speaker.
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
So maybe if you’re a doctor or a plumber or a carpenter, you should lead the church. Maybe the church needs some of you who don’t write and speak and teach for a living to step up and put some action to our faith. I wonder what your churches would look like? Maybe you could meet in homes, appoint some elders, pray for each other, read the Bible to each other, and then just serve your communities and each other in love. Maybe you wouldn’t need a classroom at all. Go ahead, lead. You’re qualified. You’ll have a guide. You’ve graduated." ~ Donald Miller
Monday, April 4, 2011
Sunday, April 3, 2011
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
It is difficult to put into words what I experienced as I listened to and watched the stories being told. Rather than share from my point of view, I thought I'd pass on the advice given to me ~ "you just have to see it for yourself ~ it's sooooo good"!
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
His whole life on earth, from beginning to end, was destined solely to have followers and to make admirers impossible. Christ came into the world with the purpose of saving, not instructing it. At the same time - as is implied in His saving work - He came to be the Pattern, to leave footprints for the person who would join Him, who would become a follower. This is why Christ was born and lived and died in lowliness. It is absolutely impossible for anyone to sneak away from the Pattern with excuse and evasion on the basis that it, after all, possessed earthly and worldly advantages that He did not have. In that sense, to admire Christ is the false invention of a later age, aided by the presumption of "loftiness." No, there is absolutely nothing to admire in Jesus, unless you want to admire poverty, misery, and contempt.
What then, is the difference between an admirer and a follower? A follower is or strives to be what he admires. An admirer, however, keeps himself personally detached. He fails to see that what is admired involves a claim upon him, and thus he fails to be or strive to be what he admires. To want to admire instead of to follow Christ is not necessarily an invention by bad people. No, it is more an invention by those who spinelessly keep themselves detached, who keep themselves at a safe distance. Admirers are related to the admired only through the excitement of the imagination. To them He is like an actor on the stage except that, this being real life, the effect He produces is somewhat stronger. But for their part, admirers make the same demands that are made in the theater: to sit safe and calm.
Admirers are only too willing to serve Christ as long as proper caution is exercised, lest one personally come in contact with danger. They refuse to accept that Christ's life is a demand. In actual fact, they are offended by Him. His radical, bizarre character so offends them that when they honestly see Christ for who He is, they are no longer able to experience the tranquility they so much seek after. They know full well that to associate with Him too closely amounts to being up for examination. Even though He says nothing against them personally, they know that His life tacitly judges theirs. And Christ's life indeed makes it manifest, terrifyingly manifest, what dreadful untruth it is to admire the truth instead of following it. When there is no danger, when there is a dead calm, when everything is favorable to our Christianity, then it is all too easy to confuse an admirer with a follower. And this can happen very quietly. The admirer can be under the delusion that the position he takes is the true one, when all he is doing is playing it safe. Give heed, therefore, to the call of discipleship!
If you have any knowledge at all of human nature, who can doubt that Judas was an admirer of Christ! And we know that Christ at the beginning of his work had many admirers. Judas was precisely such an admirer and thus later became a traitor. It is not hard to imagine that those who only admire the truth will, when danger appears, become traitors. The admirer is infatuated with the false security of greatness; but if there is any inconvenience or trouble, he pulls back. Admiring the truth, instead of following it, is just as dubious a fire as the fire of erotic love, which at the turn of the hand can be changed into exactly the opposite, to hate, jealousy, and revenge...
...Now suppose that there is no longer any special danger, as it no doubt is in so many of our Christian countries, bound up with publicly confessing Christ. Suppose there is no longer need to journey in the night. The difference between following and admiring still remains. Forget about danger connected with confessing Christ and think rather of the real danger which is inescapably bound up with being a Christian. Does not the Way - Christ's requirement to die to the world and deny self - does this not contain enough danger?
The admirer never makes any true sacrifices. He always plays it safe. Though in word he is inexhaustible about how highly he prizes Christ, he renounces nothing, will not reconstruct his life, and will not let his life express what it is he supposedly admires.
Not so for the follower. No, no. The follower aspires with all his strength to be what he admires. And then, remarkably enough, even though he is living amongst a "Christian people," he incurs the same peril as he did when it was dangerous to openly confess Christ. And because of the follower's life, it will become evident who the admirers are, for the admirers will become agitated with him. Even these words will disturb many - but then they must likewise belong to the admirers.
Excerpt from Bread and Wine ~ Readings for Lent and Easter p 55-60
Monday, March 21, 2011
This is how we know God’s Spirit is active among us—when the kingdom of God is breaking free. Whenever hearts are awakening to God’s life and whenever transformation is happening, we know that the Spirit is bringing us God’s kingdom.
~ Excerpt from Our Daily Journey Mar 21, 2011
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Needs across the globe are endless, creating massive opportunity to bring hope to the broken and light in the darkest places. Do Something Now is a direct response to meet specific needs by opening the door as wide as we can, inviting everyone to join in the movement. And is now available online for anyone to give, from anywhere, at anytime.
So check out dosomethingnow.com. Five incredible causes, plus an opportunity to bring relief to Japan in these post quake/tsunami days. All of which have incredible needs that can be met easily as we each give a little to add to the 5 million already raised since 2007!
On our own, we each can make a difference, but together we are a force for good that exponentially surpasses what we can do alone. Small sacrifices can make a huge difference. Join the movement and invite others to follow.
Together we're a force for good. Follow your heart. Do Something Now.
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Basil of Caesarea, a fourth century bishop and monk, asked, “Are you not a robber, you who consider your own that which has been given you solely to distribute to others? This bread which you have set aside is the bread of the hungry; this garment you have locked away is the clothing of the naked; those shoes which you let rot are the shoes of him who is barefoot; those riches you have hoarded are the riches of the poor.”
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Monday, March 7, 2011
Sunday, March 6, 2011
~ Shane Claiborne
Friday, March 4, 2011
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
~ Donald Miller
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
re·flec·tion[ri-flek-shuhn] Show IPA
b. (in space) the replacement of each point on one side of a plane by the symmetric point on the other side of the plane.
Thanks for sharing the journey together!