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Everything Changes

The more messed up this world gets, the more God makes sense.

Faith + Purity + Prayer

Friday, April 28, 2006
I love the library.

My friend says, "It's sort of like shopping only everything is FREE." It has been a long time since I sat and watched a DVD that I borrowed from the library, but I wasn't feeling well tonight and decided to stay home and relax. Watching a movie was the perfect way to do just that.

The DVD was a Canadian film called Saint Ralph. Set in 1953 and 1954 in Hamilton, Ontario, Saint Ralph is about a 14-year-old Catholic schoolboy named Ralph Walker.
Ralph's father is dead, and his mother Emma is gravely ill. Told it will take a miracle to bring his mother out of her coma, Ralph is in search of one. When Father Hibbert cracks a joke about the cross-country team training for the Boston Marathon, Ralph misunderstands and takes him seriously. The priest tries to correct Ralph's misperception by saying, "Anyone on this team winning the Boston Marathon would be a miracle to match the loaves and fishes." That's all Ralph needs to hear. He figures if he can win Boston, he'll have the miracle necessary to wake his mother.
Ralph learned in Father Hibbert's religion class that there are three criteria to making a miracle: faith, purity and prayer.

And Ralph is determined to work on all three.

No, this is not a true story. And I'm not mentioning it so that you run out and rent this low budget Canadian film. In fact, I'm not even recommending it. It is probably not worth the cost of the rental.

But watching this movie did make me think about the combination of faith, purity and prayer.

Why does it seem like we can be strong in one of those areas, or perhaps even two. But often we fall short of seeing all three at the top of their game. Even the disciples ran into this problem:
Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, "Sit here while I go over there and pray." He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me."

Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will."

Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping!

Matthew 26:36-40

Sheesh! The Lord of heaven and earth, who is about to be crucified for the sins of the world, asks you to keep an eye out - and you can't even keep an eye OPEN!
"Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?" he asked Peter. "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak."

Matthew 26:40-42

Watch. And Pray. "Set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity." [1 Timothy 4:12]

The Power of ONE

Wednesday, April 26, 2006
I do beg you, my brothers [and sisters], by all that Christ means to you, to speak with ONE voice, and not allow yourselves to be split up into parties. All together you should be achieving a unity in thought and judgment.

1 Corinthians 1:10

I haven't been able to shake this verse since I read it last week.

Can you imagine the power behind that kind of ONEness?!

But there is a deeper side to this power - a more virtuous side to unity than we may have overlooked.
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace."

Ephesians 4:2-3

Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Colossians 3:13-14




[a.k.a. Forbearance.]



And above all; Love.

Seems that achieving unity requires much more than simply believing the same things about the Bible. Not to mention that obtaining unity releases God's commanded blessing:
How good and pleasant it is when brothers [and sisters] live together in unity! For THERE the Lord bestows his blessing!

Psalm 133:1,3

Wounded Healers

Saturday, April 22, 2006
The Christian community resembles a Wall Street exchange of works wherein the elite are honored and the ordinary ignored. Love is stifled, freedom shackled and self righteousness fastened. The institutional church has become a wounder of the healers rather than a healer of the wounded.

Brennan Manning - The Ragamuffin Gospel

Ten years ago my world crumbled around me. Men, who I assumed were Godly simply by their position, betrayed my transparent heart and kicked me to the side of the road. I figured I could trust them; be honest; tell all. After all, these men were "above me" in ministry. My bishops, so-to-speak. People I could be accountable to.

And some of them WERE good men. But the system wouldn't allow them to be a voice for me. It only enabled them to make decisions based on fear. Decisions that would ultimately silence me.

Eventually even I had to surrender defeat to the system and walk away from restoration. Men's restoration, that is. Because what I discovered was that God was in the midst of my brokenness - teaching me; healing me; restoring me. And perhaps even allowing me to be wounded in the process.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.

Romans 12:14

You cannot become a Healer until you have been broken. And to become broken you must be willing to let God throw you on the threshing floor, if necessary; naked, bruised and bleeding. And when He's done sifting you, THEN, and only then, will you be able to heal and strengthen others.
It is one thing to follow God's way of service if you are regarded as a hero, but quite another thing if the road marked out for you by God requires becoming a "doormat" under other people's feet.

Are you ready to be sacrificed like that? Are you ready to be less than a mere drop in the bucket - to be so totally insignificant that no one remembers you even if they think of those you served? Are you willing to give and be poured out until you are used up and exhausted - not seeking to be ministered to, but to minister?

My Utmost For His Highest

I think you are.

Broken and spilled out
And poured at your feet
In sweet abandon
Let me be spilled out
And used up for Thee

Bill & Gloria Gaither

Friday, April 21, 2006
"Spirit firm, unperturbed, ever blessed, relaxed..." [Psalm 112:8]


Tuesday, April 18, 2006
It was a close call, but I did it.

I almost passed by. In reality, I walked by twice; once on my way to the library to return some CDs; and a second time on my way to a nearby pizza place.

Their sign read HOMELESS AND HUNGRY, along with a scribbled plea asking for money so they could buy food, intended for those passing by.

The scene was reminiscent of something else:
on walking down the street in chinatown, we came across a homeless man. as we walked on past, his eyes met mine. more than anything, he had an overwhelming look of confusion in his eyes. a look of one who is lost and doesn't know what to do. no one else in our group even seemed to notice him.
But I noticed them today. A man and a woman, probably husband and wife. Sitting in the doorway of the Youth Employment Center. The pizza place was only two doors down, so I went in and purchased the last two slices of pepperoni pizza, along with two packages of cookies and some bottled water.

"Bless you guys" - I said. "Here is some pizza and cookies for you."
Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?
The King will reply, "I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me." [Matthew 25:37-40]

Do you not perceive it?

Monday, April 17, 2006

"...if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." [2 Corinthians 5:17]

There is something about spring, and the sense it brings - new beginnings; fresh starts; longer days; new life.

"See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you." [Isaiah 42:9]
"Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." [Jeremiah 29:11]
"Watch - and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told." [Habakkuk 1:5]

"See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up...

...do you not perceive it?" [Isaiah 43:19]

Resurrection Power

Friday, April 14, 2006
"...who, through the Spirit of holiness, was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord." [Romans 1:4]

"With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all." [Acts 4:33]

"I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead." [Philippians 3:10-11]

New Stock Photos Online - Click Here!">New Stock Photos Online - Click Here!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Zoom Zoom

Sunday, April 09, 2006

It was a beautiful spring day today, so I took some pics of my *new car! [Plus about 100 pics of other things around town.] When I got home tonight I decided to have some fun with one of the pics, and thought I'd post it on my blog.

I'm getting ready to upload a bunch of pics to my SXC, Flickr and Fotolog sites. Should be fun and I'll post the new links when the pics are online.

*2002 Ford Focus ZX3 with custom headlights

Cold Snap In Galilee

Wednesday, April 05, 2006
Jesus may have walked on ice, study says.

Jesus may indeed have walked on water - or, at least, a sheet of ice, according to new research.

A team of scientists at Florida State University argue Jesus may have walked on a rare patch of ice in the freshwater Sea of Galilee.

The scientists concluded that a rare combination of water conditions and a cold snap could have caused "springs ice" to form on the sea's surface.

"It is proposed that the unusual local freezing process might have provided an origin to the story that Christ walked on water," the researchers write in the Journal of Paleolimnology, released yesterday.

"This is only a probability, so we don't know for sure that it happened."
With all of the things that scientists could be researching and "discovering" it is interesting to me that they are still attempting to disprove the power of God.

Last night I had a late night chat on MSN with a Muslim friend. He, too, seems determined to prove that the Bible is not legitimate, that God does not have "partners" [i.e., Jesus and the Holy Spirit] and that Jesus is only a slave to God, not a Son.

Am I, as a Christian, commissioned to prove that Jesus is real? Or that the Bible is Truth? Gosh - I HOPE not! That would be exhausting!

The Bible DOES say that we should go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. [Mark 16:15] Why? Because faith comes from listening to this message of good news. [Romans 10:17]

But that DOESN'T mean we have to study theology for 4 years in a Bible College.

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. [1 Peter 3:15]

Or simply put:
Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you're living the way you are! [Message Version]
Tell people your story - how Jesus changed your life.

But be careful out there. You MAY experience a cold snap!


Sunday, April 02, 2006
I go to the coolest church.

For the past six weeks we have been meeting in small groups to explore the Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. Prior to our weekly discussions we watched short videos of Rick casually chatting about the various "purposes" we were created for. In each video he was wearing flowery looking Hawaiian shirts. So, to conclude the six week study we decided to have a Hawaiian party!

Our pastor actually trucked in a TON of sand and filled up one of the rooms in the church so the kids could play beach volleyball! We dressed in Hawaiian clothes, danced the hula, wore leis, did the limbo, had a sand castle building competition and ate Hawaiian pizza!

Churched rocked tonight.

*Update = PICS added!