30 March 2013

Even the sun

Even the sun itself will bow
for no power on earth, or hell below
will stand in the presence of The Christ.
Victorious on the those sticks of wood
His blood was shed
and yet remains
ever a reminder of His great love.
But don't look for Him there.
The cross is empty, the tomb vacant.
All He claimed to be, proven.
Risen. Alive. Glorified.
When troubles come
and come they will
look to the empty cross.

You can hear me recite this poem below:



in the stillness with Sandy

in the secret place with Cheryl

 
and singing in the Sunday choir with Deidra

 

29 March 2013

His passion

As I sat quietly with My Lord in the early morning hours of Holy Thursday, I opened my journal to capture what my heart sensed He wanted to share:

Yes, it is the time of My passion and I thank you for carrying My fire even when you can not see or fully comprehend all that I have accomplished

Thank you that your walk through the world announces
"take Him seriously"

I Am mystery
I seem to Be beyond belief
but I Am
and I ache when trivialized
as if the mocking lashes strike gain today

You have chosen both the easiest and the most difficult way
as you follow Me and lift Me up

and I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself John 12:32 RSV
  

27 March 2013

less of me


This week we're looking at the chapter Giving in Brennan Manning's Furious Longing of God
The gospel is absurd and the life of Jesus is meaningless unless we believe that He lived, died, and rose again with but one purpose in mind: to make brand-new creations. Not to make people with better morals, but to create a community of prophets and professional lovers, men and women who would surrender to the mystery of the fire of the Spirit that burns within, who would live in ever greater fidelity to the omnipresent Word of God, who would enter into the center of it all, the very heart and mystery of Christ, into the center of the flame that consumes, purifies, and sets everything aglow with peace, joy, boldness, and extravagant, furious love. This, my friends, is what it really means to be a Christian. Our religion never begins with what we do for God. It always starts with what God has done for us, the great and wondrous things that God dreamed of and achieved for us in Christ Jesus.
mold me
in your image
in the heat of the flames
I am drawn to that mystery
the place of absorbtion
where who I am
melts into All You Are
more of You
all I need is more of You
and less of me
less of me
less

That’s why my cup is running over. This is the assigned moment for him to move into the center, while I slip off to the sidelines. John 3:30 The Message



Joining Sarah and Jason today at Jason's place

 

26 March 2013

Broken patience

what fruit bear I
on frosted morns
fingers stiff
ankles wailing
eyes weary 
of the white expanse
Spring seems no closer now 
than weeks before
do I snark
at calendar pages
accuse them of bright lies
as yet the cold drips in
icing my broken patience


 

Holy week rambling

This is called Holy Week
the time between Palm and Easter Sundays
a time of passion
wonder
awe

This is a week of sudden outbursts
gratitude, praise
tears

This is a week of choosing
to believe 
what is impossible
to believe

breath stopping sacrifice
reckless obedience
for you
for me
for all

I am uncertain
have I learned to receive
what I did not deserve
unmerited grace
mad rush of love
have I learned to give
in the same measure

poor in spirit
we are all 
the least of these

 

23 March 2013

Simple and honest

Here’s what I want you to do: 
find a quiet, secluded place 
so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. 
Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. 
The focus will shift from you to God, 
and you will begin to sense his grace. 
Continuing on in The Sermon on the Mount for this Lenten season

Joining in the Sunday praise with Deidra

 

22 March 2013

in the marketplace

It is important to keep a still place in the "marketplace."  
This still place is where God can dwell and speak to us.  
It also is the place from where we can speak in a healing way 
to all the people we meet in our busy days.  
Without that still space we start spinning.  
We become driven people, 
running all over the place without much direction.  
But with that stillness 
God can be our gentle guide 
in everything we think, say, or do.
Henri Nouwen

seeking the stillness with Sandy

 

Breaking Old Rhythms by Amena Brown

When I was asked to review Breaking Old Rhythms:Answering the Call of a Creative God I wasn't really sure what to expect.  I had no knowledge of the author Amena Brown but felt a pull to dive in.

The call to dive began to make sense as I started reading, for these are deep waters indeed; but what a joy to swim in!

Brown shares in a voice that vibrates with poetic rhythm slicing through to find the truth of life and love and God.  She writes:
We are like instruments in God’s orchestra. That means if we want to be a part of the symphony, we have to learn to follow God’s beat. We are like bones in a body—growing, stretching, discovering and sometimes breaking. God’s rhythm is surgical, breaking, healing and mending where we have grown crooked. We are like trees, extending our branches toward the light. God’s rhythm is the post he ties us to, to make sure we grow straight, with roots growing deep into the soil.
I found my own reading rhythm interrupted by the need to add highlighting to my Kindle version again and again, or to take time to type quotes into my Facebook status.

Yes, it is that good.

There are so many more passages I want to share with you, but instead I'll just urge you to grab this book for your own library.  You'll return to the words many times.

I received a complimentary copy of this book.  The opinions I have expressed are my own.


 

Trying to remember dreams

In the pre-dawn silence I walked along the water's edge, shoe's in my hand, feeling the soft lapping of the waves upon my feet. The cold was a welcome contrast against the heavy stillness of the air.  Time seemed frozen there, on the empty beach as I waited for the morning sun to rise.  My eyes had grown accustomed to the lack of light, so as slivers of orange and red and gold began to break above the surface of the water I squinted against the brightness.

Stepping a few paces back from the water, I sat in the sand, watching the colourful display unfold.  Another morning was beginning, like the day before, and the next, an endless progression of days that seemed to hold no meaning.

Things fall apart, the centre does not hold” I remembered reading somewhere, and the words fit the pattern of my thoughts, thoughts of a teenager indeed prone to over dramatizing, trying to fit my life into a poetry of sorts.

My eyes were dry and scratchy, the lack of rest cracking the corners.  One night?  Two?  More?  I couldn't remember the last time I felt the peace of sleep and so wanted to be overcome.

I had gone there alone to walk the shore, to wonder at the beauty, to find something I didn't know I was missing without knowing what that something was.  There is no treasure map to follow when you don't know what you're looking for.  My hands dug deep in the sand around where I sat, the grit of it caking under my fingernails, not chewed but picked at, leaving them sharp, short and uneven.  Sand sifted through hands that felt they could hold nothing and a heart that was learning not to try.

Then I spotted it, just an arms reach away, something catching the light in the sand.  A small piece of glass, worn smooth around the edges, a milky opaque green created by water, sand and time.  I placed it in the pocket of my jeans, rubbing it between my fingers and returned to walking the shoreline.

And all at once, there was the day, stretching out before me as I wondered, “what next?”

I was too young to have no purpose, no goals, nothing to aim at.  No course was set.  No wonder time seemed to stretch out endlessly, no scheduled separated the hours.

“I have nowhere to go and no one to be. Did I ever have a plan?”  At fourteen I paced the shoreline and tried to remember dreams.


Five Minute Friday 
joining Lisa-Jo for the word remember

 

20 March 2013

A slow melt

The calendar would tell me it is Spring.
The view outside my window 
speaks a different truth.
Temperatures well below normal 
call for down jackets, warm wools, fleece.
But in here, in this heart
there has been a slow melting
a drawing close to the flame
and no external storm can silence His invitation

My beloved speaks and says to me: “Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away; for lo, the winter is past,    the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land. The fig tree puts forth its figs, and the vines are in blossom; they give forth fragrance. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.  Song of Solomon 2:10-13

So shall I go
bravely, boldly
into a Spring not yet seen
but spirit known
and never alone
shall I inhale the sweetest blossoms



walking with Emily and others imperfect

 
and jamming with Bonnie about spring
 

Bold in love

In the chapter titled Bold Brennan Manning writes:
It is natural to feel fear and insecurity when confronted with the radical demands of the Christian commitment. But enveloped in the lived truth of God’s furious love, insecurity is swallowed up in the solidity of agape, and anguish and fear give way to hope and desire.
How much time have I wasted
worrying that I am not good enough
running from the truth
that indeed I can never be good enough
and He knows, has always known
and if I could but remember
it doesn't change an iota of His great love
I could run into surrender with full abandon
and greater joy
did His first disciples know this without knowing
when they dropped their nets and followed Him?
May my love grow wide and wild
reckless and complete.




continuing on with Sarah and Jason

 

19 March 2013

poured out

image found at http://www.pilgrimscribblings.com
Sunday morning I had to opportunity to share the message at a small church about three hours from home.  I spoke of consecration, of being "sold-out".

My life is not my own, but His
the fruit I bear, not for myself to nibble
but a meal to serve

as Oswald Chambers wrote:
We are here to submit to His will so that He may work through us what He wants. Once we realize this, He will make us broken bread and poured-out wine with which to feed and nourish others.
My life is being ·given as an offering to God [ poured out as a drink offering]
2 Timothy 4:6a Expanded

so what of these crumbs
the remains of me
scattering
upon the table
an altar
where all I was
drains, drips, pours
open hands can not hold
treasure or torture
grief, regrets released
wash away in that flood
broken bread
swept into the wind


joining Peter and the gang where we're letting go of grief


and hanging out at the pub

 

15 March 2013

Matching rhythm

We all have a rhythm we’re used to—
a tempo that goes beyond the kind of music we listen to. 
God gave each of us an internal rhythm. 
Put your hand over your heart, 
a hand over your wrist 
or two fingers on the side of your neck, 
and you’ll discover you have your own internal click—
a personal metronome 
that God thoughtfully put inside each of us.
Amena Brown
Breaking Old Rhythms: Answering the Call of a Creative God


looking for that still point
where my rhythm 
aligns with His heartbeat

in the quiet with Sandy


resting in Him with Cheryl


 

Stop running

Am I a writer of poetry attempting long forms
or am I a writer of broken prose 
that tends toward poetic expression?
I am choosing to waste no time 
attempting to categorize myself 
as anything more than a pen in His hand.
I have run from the gifts He has given.
I have run into the gifts.
I have banged my head and stubbed my toes
and bear the scars and bruises.
At times I would prefer to paint
or dance
or sing
but He gives as He chooses
to suit His will.
I have run into the gifts
I have run from the gifts
fingers tender from the keyboard
too many pens rattling in my purse
He knows who He has called
what I cannot do, He can.
In that, I find my rest.

Five Minute Friday 
hooking up to Lisa-Jo talking about rest
 

14 March 2013

The Connecting Church by Randy Frazee

The back cover of this updated book by Randy Frazee states:

The development of meaningful relationships, where every member carries a significant sense of belonging, is central to what it means to be the church. So why do many Christians feel disappointed and disillusioned with their efforts to experience authentic community?
First-century Christians knew what it meant to live in vital community with one another, relating with a depth and commitment that made ‘the body of Christ’ a perfect metaphor for the church. What would it take to reclaim that kind of love, joy, support, and dynamic spiritual growth?
I have long sensed the need for true connection between people. I have seen how our facades have kept us from each other and from God.  It seems to me that real relationships are impossible without getting down and dirty about who we really are.

Frazee discusses how we have become a society focused on individualism and that stands in opposition to functioning as a community.  I was struck and stung by the following:
What the church urgently needs is to reconnect to its core mission of making disciples. We need to get back to the basics: Why did God create the church? Why does church even exist? As a community of Jesus followers, we must learn to see that our corporate mandate is "to be Jesus" to each other and to the world. As the one body of Christ, we await the second coming of Jesus himself, but until that day we are called to represent his presence, his purposes, and fulfill his plans in the power of the Holy Spirit.
But Frazee does more than identify the problem, he points to a variety of approaches to a solution.  If your heart has been searching for community and if you have longed to see help for the broken church of Jesus, this is a great place to start!

I received a complimentary copy of this book.  The opinions I have expressed are my own.

 

13 March 2013

I want a real meal

Emily's post today shouted bold and quiet
the cry, the ache in my heart
I don't want to serve a Walmart Savior

I hunger for true communion
a lavish feast
I don't want a meal
of McJesus
a pre-packaged, heat it quick
microwave relationship with my Lord
I have no use
for a drive through window
I want to make my home
in Him
make a home
for Him

less of me and more of Him
none of me and all of Him
this is my prayer
this is the song my spirit sobs

counting myself among the broken redeemed with Emily

 

12 March 2013

saving daylight

days seem to grow long
light extended
by artifice
we the impatient
refusing to bow
to the whims of nature

supper dishes
have been washed
and dried
and sun still sparkles
on snow drifts

I count no victory
in driving back the night
I know too well
the deep dark of morning


hanging out at the pub tonight

 
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