Wednesday, December 30, 2009

So...

"I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.

Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first..."
- Revelation 2:2-5 (NIV)

I cannot sleep. The leading of the Lord has led me to this moment. Punk Monk Musings is a wrap.

I do not like what I have become. I have become caught up with self and have left my One True Love in the dust.

This Punk Monk must shed this skin through a lifestyle that seeks after humility, intentional solitude, and abiding. In the past I have made the claim of being called to the life of a contemplative. It is time to take that call seriously and to stop playing ego games.

Leaving this blog behind is more than symbolic. It is a relinquishment of attitudes, negative emotions, the idolatry of self.

This does not mean that I will leave blogging behind. In the days ahead I will be building a new site dedicated to the glory of the Lord as I go about the business of turning back along the path that I have traveled. I have 'lost' Him, and I want Him back.

For those who desire to continue the journey with me, I will provide a link for you. One way or the other, we are together in this, this journey toward the Holy, toward our Abba Father.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Have I run you off with my wild spell,
my season of ugly?
I stink.
It comes with the territory.
Have mercy on me...

Lean In...

I would slay the beast
who attempts to destroy
through preoccupation with self.
He dares to tempt me with
I am my own worst enemy.
You are the one.
In Jesus Name,
I cast you out once more...

One and the Same Thing

"What really interests me is whether God had any choice in the creation of the world."
- Albert Einstein

No. That's what love does, making what must be. He could not help Himself or deny the very nature of His being. You cannot love without having something to love, to save, to die for...

Monday, December 28, 2009

Thirst

It's a dangerous thing, this being alone. We are a thing to behold when we are together, bound in and by the Spirit, with love as our rear guard. Ya know?

Pity Party

I drank too much wine, ate too many chocolates.
Alone.
Again.

Psalm 57 (ESV)

Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me,
for in you my soul takes refuge;
in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge,
till the storms of destruction pass by.
I cry out to God Most High,
to God who fulfills his purpose for me.
He will send from heaven and save me;
he will put to shame him who tramples on me.
God will send out his steadfast love and his faithfulness!
My soul is in the midst of lions;
I lie down amid fiery beasts-
the children of man, whose teeth are spears and arrows,
whose tongues are sharp swords.
Be exalted, o God, above the heavens!
Let your glory be over all the earth!
They set a net for my steps;
my soul was bowed down.
They dug a pit in my way,
but they have fallen into it themselves.
My heart is steadfast, O God,
my heart is steadfast!
I will sing and make melody!
Awake, my glory!
Awake, O harp and lyre!
I will awake the dawn!
I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples,
I will sing praises to you among the nations.
For your steadfast love is great to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the clouds.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!
Let your glory be over all the earth!

Tomorrow I pick up the guitar again. 'Bout time.

Communion

These past weeks I have been battling my way back to Him, fighting tooth and nail.

I heard Him as Pedro offered the elements, the drone of his voice piercing eyes-closed darkness...the body of Christ, which was broken for you, once, twice, a hundred times.

He was there, He was there, with us, with me.

I can see Him. I'm coming.

The Days of Radical Hospitality


I've been asked to compile the most powerful experiences that I have had at the Sacred Space, a daunting task. Where do I begin?

Can it be found in the tears of a distraught young missionary or in the murder-bent street prophet seeking the way of escape? The strung out addict's need of lemonade and Kleenex, a hand held, sharing hopes and dreams for a future and a hope? Watching Dave's transformation and then having him slip through the fingers of this life? Giving my lunch to a diabetic paranoid schizophrenic to prevent coma? Michael...Michael. I thought you were going to take my life that day...and then God stopped you with the Gospel, His words of love to you. I watched the demon leave your eyes, at least for a moment.

Where do I begin?

I miss the days of radical hospitality. I am not called to the antiseptic. Once you've tasted the blood of the Cross, there's no going back. I was bred for war.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas 2009

I gave it away, all of it, in the spirit of Christmas humbug,
not being able to stand what this day had become
and in the giving, God gave it back one hundred fold,
through the love of his people for me,
for ME, I say in incredulousness
and my dad, the flesh and blood one, the atheist who sits
at the feet of Joyce Meyers,
expressed his joy for me for the very first time,
in my finding of this life,
this people. He peruses the daily for its name
in print, the place where his little girl dwells...

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Prayer Shawl

I will be wrapped
in her love while I pray,
or when I am cold,
or deceived by loneliness,
irrational with fear, doubt, or worry...
There is an alchemy where the cells
of her hands are intertwined with
each strand of wool.
She is with me,
a visitation of grace,
you, who are worth the price
of all those left behind,
for God knew you were coming,
Joy.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Home

I realized in a meeting last night I am still waiting to be escorted to the door, and that this is not going to happen.

God tells me that this is my forever place. I can let my roots go deep.

It is the place of for better or worse, gray hair, the walking stick, having my eyes closed gently and with love.

I'm so happy I could spit.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Green Eyed Monster

I've been one of those from time to time. Though not limited to the fairer sex, we are prone to being caught in its clutches regarding our relationships with one another. As a result, I have sworn off best friends. Let me explain. To declare another to be a best friend is to push relationships with others to a place of diminishment. While I do have relationships where I dare to go deeper, my feelings towards all does not differ. I will not love another less. I've been on the other side and do not desire to return the favor.

There are those who strive for my affections, usurping a place that only Abba should possess. I will not be an idol. I am your friend. And I love you. No more, no less, just the same. With all that I've got.

One Flesh

The Sacred Space is filled with worshipers this day. A young man kneels at the foot of the cross, the wingspan of his arms upraised while the name of the Savior crosses his lips. Angel-strains raise to the rafters, their instrument radiating that mountain-top glow that only Moses once knew as she bids her fairwell. She leaves behind the sloughing of her being in my hand and she may not realize it but she has taken a part of me away with her as well.

All this follows on the wings of Song of Solomon yearnings shared by an uncommon sisterhood behind close doors, their sorority as safe as a womb's warmth.

As I sit and meditate next to a young woman whose companionship I shared during a coffee mop up, I realize I had forgotten what it was to experience that sense of mission which goes hand in hand with hosting the encounter between God and man...radical hospitality, what it means to be Punk Monk.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Full Circle

It's just You and me again,
and that's alright.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Healing

Something happens to the traumatized mind...it is never quite the same again. I never thought it would take this long to heal and the process continues. I could not help but meditate on Elijah, who, despite his victory over the prophets of Baal, was never the same after the encounter. He ran from further conflict, the flight of his life. And not too far afterwards, despite the angelic provision, his lifework was handed over to another waiting in the wings, unbeknownst to him, waiting in the wings...

Today I praised with eyes welled with tears, for gratitude, that my time is not yet done. I almost ran a fortnight ago, but chose instead to follow. My mantle remains draped upon my own shoulders, the divine repast having done its work as preparation is made for one waiting in the wings.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Poustinia 2

As I have pondered my role at 24-7 over the past weeks, Abba has been kind to reveal to me the alteration of my ministry. Renovatians come seeking me, knowing I am there. Some come for prayer, others for companionship, counsel, or for a safe place to shed tears. My heart thrills in their presence. Hours slip by as minutes in the times we share together. They are loved as I am.

At the same time, the Sacred Space is no longer my poustinia. I come with every intent to lose myself in God which is thwarted time and again. Where is the place where God and I alone can dwell?

I know that God is always with me and is nothing more than a mind-shift away. But it is in what the ancient Celts call the thin-places that bridge the physical gap between God and man that I seek for, the place of pilgrimage where nothing dares to come in between myself and my Beloved.

At one time it was in the summits of the Blue Ridge where I met with Him on a regular basis. A body that is becoming increasingly uncooperative with age makes this difficult, not to mention the constraints of time and resources. My beautiful home harbors distractions that constantly pull me away from the contemplative life.

Perhaps the Sacred Space is where I must return, but under cover of anonymity, odd hours, ensconced behind curtain or door with no responsibility luring me away. One thing I have learned over these past months: for me the contemplative lifestyle is not an option. Destruction lies in wait as I leave the place of First Love.

"Deserts, silence, solitude.

For a soul that realizes the tremendous need of all three, opportunities present themselves in the midst of the congested trappings of all the world's immense cities. But how, really, can one achieve such solitude?

By standing still!

Stand still, and allow the strange, deadly, restlessness of our tragic age to fall away like the worn-out, dusty cloak that it is - a cloak that was once considered beautiful. The restlessness was considered the magic carpet to tomorrow, but now in reality we see it for what it is: a running away from oneself, a turning from that journey inward that all men must undertake to meet God dwelling within the depths of their souls.

Stand still, and look deep into the motivations of life.

Stand still, and lifting your heart and hands to God pray that the mighty wind of His Holy Spirit may clear all the cobwebs of fears, selfishness, greed, narrow-heartedness away from the soul: that His tongues of flame may descend to give courage to begin again."

- Celtic Daily Prayer

Deliver Me...

Lord, deliver me from
self-righteous people.
Deliver me from people
who think they know you
better than anyone else.
Who think that only they
can understand your ways.
Who think that only they
can interpret your word.
Who wail and gnash their teeth
over the sins of the world,
but fail to see their own.
Who urge others to meekness
and humility,
but fail to follow
their own advice.
Who expound at length
on charity
but fail to practice it.
Who preach mercy and
compassion,
but fail to show it.
Who insist that they alone
hold the key
that unlocks the door
to your kingdom.
Who insist that they alone
have found the sure path
by which to follow you.
Lord, deliver me from myself.
I, too, am one of these.
- Sue Garmon

My Own Worst Enemy

Abba has been leading me through a season of self-examination and purging from all things unnecessary. The flesh has been battling tooth and nail in order to retain possession. Some things have come easy: the inability to participate in entertainment that is not only unnecessary but displeasing to the One who dwells within me. But there is something that continues to stare back at me in the mirror which causes me to loath myself. At the same time, the Presence seems as distant as the faintest of stars flickering in the night sky billions of light years away...

How does the old saying go, hate the sin and not the sinner? Brother Manning reminded me in my reading last night that the unwillingness to forgive myself is just as much sin as anything else.

Crux 4

Self-righteousness
Self-absorbtion
Self-hatred

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Dry Spell

In the God desert...

Monday, December 7, 2009

What's Your Intent?

Some toes were stepped on...sorry, there was no intent to offend.

I once practiced a brand of Christianity that stomped on everyone else's said version. Now that I am Pentecostal, I have drawn fire from those who possess those left behind prejudices, intent on being right instead of ushering in Thy Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven. I now know what it feels like to be on the other side. It's a durned shame that there is bigotry within the Church of Jesus Christ that grieves the Father's heart and tramples on Sacred Text such as John 17.

I started this blog as a part of a recovery process, to help sort through my relationship with God as well as the course of my life and ministry. Its audience was made up of God, me, and a few close friends. If you are a regular reader, you have come to know me as a person of authenticity. That will never change. It is who I am. I am not here to jump through any one's hoops but God's.

For those who have become a part of my journey, you make my heart glad. Thank you for listening, for being there. For those who have not received what I have had to say with a right spirit, you are free to leave. I wish you well on your own journey of discovery. I hope you wish me well in mine. We are all here to learn. The revealed Word of God is the standard that I live by as best I can. I will not participate in conversation that does not come from a heart of love. This Punk Monk is not a clanging cymbal. Look it up.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Cure

Headed back to the Sacred Space tomorrow to delve into contemplation of my Lover as His Presence eludes me during Yuletide as it has these last several years.

As I said to my husband on our Christmas tree mountain trip, I am saddened by how the culture has dared to rob us of our remembrance of the Incarnation. As the Church, we must reject the gross materialism of our culture by refusing to celebrate in a way that has nothing to do with Jesus.

The only way to remove my joylessness, my inner humbug, was to give away all that would come to me under my tree. The cloud has lifted.

"Joy to the world,
the Lord is come..."

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Crux 3

Lack of solitude where only God can be found...

Monday, November 30, 2009

Sons of Blood

Two sons of light,
Abba's back-to-back gift,
recipients of their seeking
those things that only
a mother's heart
can bestow,
prayers of blood,
nightmare embraces,
for those who would be
warriors...

Crux 2

Selfishness
Substitutes
Service

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Crux of the Matter

I've finally been able to put my finger on it as I read the Psalms in my time with the Lord this night...my frustrations, the dissatisfaction.

I miss the poor and my ministry to them. Praying for them. Pouring out the Word of the Lord for them. Blessing them in the day-to-day. My responsibilities at the Sacred Space have taken a shift in another direction which has left me feeling hollow somehow. The interactions I once enjoyed are few and far between. Abba has not called me away but instead intends my work for the less than the least of these to shift to the lives that lie behind the Justice Project. Pouring out sweat for Pat was life-altering. I don't know exactly what this will look like down the road...something about taking others with me into the trenches.

Interesting aside: the root of the word 'crux'...yeah, it's all about the Cross.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Holy Backlash!

As we silently prayed with eyes closed during our church's grand debut at Eastland Mall, the silence was broken by the shutter release of the camera in the hands of the newspaper photographer in front of us. "Oh no!", I said to myself. Those who know me for any length of time know of my photo-phobia. Sure enough, my husband and I were emblazoned across the pages of the daily paper the next day. The cat was out of the bag...Mike and Karen have gone PENTECOSTAL!

This week my Mom let me know in no uncertain terms that she disapproves. I reminded her how I am respectful of her own brand of heretical Christianity. She needs to do the same. (I did it nicely, Pastor. I remembered to honor my father and mother.)

Yesterday our dyed-in-the-wool Baptist next door neighbor told Mike he saw us in the paper. "When did you go Pentecostal? " was the question. Not anything about the good work being done to usher in God's Kingdom on our own little scrap of earth. Just that elephant in the room thing.

It made me take a long hard look at myself in the past when I was my own brand of Pharisee, looking down my nasty nose in condemnation at what I didn't understand. And God, in His way, over the past year has taken me aside and said unto me in so many words, by the way, let me introduce you to the third Person of the Trinity...He's alive and working in and through the Church that would have him.

Instead of getting our underwear all in a bunch, we need to be meditating on what Jesus has to say to us through John 17. A whole lot more would be going on if we would only get over ourselves.

And yes, I unabashedly speak in tongues.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I Would Be Gideon

The foot soldier must become an officer. I will miss those foxhole days. It is time to set the strategy and lead the charge, brandishing trumpet and torch. Holy Spirit, go before me...
I can't do everything, but I can do anything through Christ who strengthens me.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Waiting

Is it lack of courage or the check of the Holy Spirit?

I can't do everything. As a son in the Lord counseled me, follow Jesus and only Jesus. Not anyone else.

Speak, Lord...

Monday, November 16, 2009

Uncharted Territory

As I mentioned in a previous posting regarding my life in ministry, I have always been hands-on. I love nothing more than to be in the thick of doing life with a group of women, teaching God's word, watching lives go through Holy Spirit metamorphosis.

While I am presently doing those things near and dear with my community life group, I have been called into areas of greater responsibility that will impact the future of our church which has left my knees-a-knockin'. I don't see myself as a committee-poobah. I have always thought that I was brought into this world to be a teacher of the Word, a discipler of women. I ache for the lack of opportunity to glean from the depths of Scripture that its truths might be communicated to those placed within my charge, resulting in lives that experience new found intimacy with God through Jesus Christ His Son and which are set apart for the furtherance of the Kingdom.

This morning upon waking I turned on the television and came upon a program as I perused the channels. Nothing much better to do when you are sick in bed and you can barely lift your head off the pillow. The speaker was teaching on obedience to God in ways that don't make sense ala Abraham being asked to sacrifice the son of promise. What to my eye does not make sense requires the stepping out in faith to what God asks of me during this new season of life, something that doesn't look like anything I have ever done before. As Mike and I shared about this today, we both came to the realization that we are walking a similar path. His home makeover responsibilities this past weekend took him into uncharted territory as well, a place of discomfort but which utilized his skills and experiences from the past. He would have much preferred being on his hands and knees, accomplishing each task given to him instead of being a pivot point.

So I ask, Abba, what is it that you want me to do? I have not sought any path these past months, but instead have waited for You to carry me along by the breath of Your Spirit. Am I on the intended course, for if I am, I await the supply of Your grace, Your wisdom, Your strength, Your faith, Your courage in the performance of the chosen tasks in the days to come. And don't let ANYTHING take me from You, my First Love, not ever again. Remove that which would dare come in between You and I.

Abba, I'm scared. Forgive my lack of faith which has frozen me into paralysis.

Go to Joshua 1, I hear, and believe.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Hello, you.

Flesh on Mercy

The Renovatus/24-7 Justice Project Crew put flesh on mercy as we performed the down-and-dirty, nitty-gritty home renovation for Sister Pat this weekend in the Reid Park neighborhood of West Charlotte. We're talking the hood now. Our 63 year old friend lost her prize son to a bullet under a street light some years ago.

I've never seen anything like it. I've never done anything like this before. In the past I let a weakened body keep me from my heart's desire. As I learn more and more about myself, I have come to realize that I am a dirty hands-on girl, preferring trench warfare over the desk job, acknowledging though that both are necessary. God didn't give me the life-experience to just have it roll around in my head, though getting it out is like pulling teeth at times. But I digress...

Two hours before reveal time all was in total chaos. One of the kitchen workman said to me, "Karen, it's going too slow." As my partners and I feverishly worked on our assignment we were unaware what God was doing throughout the site. We labored beyond the point of exhaustion, bleary-eyed and nauseated. Pat's arrival home signaled our having to be done.

I gasped at candle-lit wonder as we made our way to the other end of the house to join with our fellow teammates. As she walked over the threshold of her front door, Pat entered into a whole new world. Her cries of shock and surprise, her weak in the knees response gave glory to God, making all our efforts beyond worth it. For the remainder of the days that have been granted unto me, I will never forget this. Gratefulness best describes being allowed to participate in this grand experiment called the Church, being the expression of the love of God on this earth.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Sometimes I wish I could have a little piece of the hero...just a little piece.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

48 Hours of Love Friggin' Crazy

If this back that has never been one fit for even the simplest of tasks behaves itself, I will be headed to Reid Park tomorrow afternoon for hands-on love. I did not think there was a place for me in this season's home make-over project, but it seems that my decorating services have been requested. Gonna make Pat something beautiful...yeah, I think I can do that.

More to follow...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wisdom comes at a price...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Wise as Serpents, Gentle as Dove's Call

A wolf in sheep's clothing fleeces the flock once more, momma bear anger settling into my bone-weary psyche.

Another one to forgive, and then move on. Not so easy.

I don't like these street smarts that I have acquired through my tour of duty at 24-7. I know they are a necessity and a part of the call but my love walk has been affected.

Help me, Jesus, to see them through your eyes of mercy. Renew my heart for the unloveliest of the unlovely.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Fatherhood

The third Person of the Trinity communicated a phrase as the collective stopper was removed from so much pain bottled up, masked behind lying faces breathing I'm ok, and you?

"A spirit of grief..."

A middle-aged woman wept behind me with the choking sobs of a child. I could stand no longer, overwhelmed by my own grieving for the absent love of my earthly father. Our collective cry rattled the gates of heaven.

A line of godly men held Abba's broken in their arms, weeping tears for paternal failure on their behalf as well as their own, speaking words of validation and healing.

We are a broken race, as the enemy of our souls seeks the destruction of the beloved prize of God's creation.

Despite the deception, we have not been abandoned. A young Man of thirty three years in the prime of life opened his arms wide that he might catch us in his bloody embrace.

"Surely he took our infirmities
and carried our sorrow,
yet we considered him stricken by God,
smitten by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed..."
- Isaiah 53: 4-5

"The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion-
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair..."
- Isaiah 61:1-3

"Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd."
- Matthew 9:35-36

He leads us to the Waiting One, whose Fatherhood is not suspect despite deceptive words to the contrary. We must trust him enough to fling ourselves into the waiting arms of his sons and daughters through whom he loves with flesh and blood.

O, how we must love one another. He seeks our cure through our own.

Monday, November 2, 2009

A Day in the Life

I am at the urban monastery.

I just had to shush a couple of teenagers whom I may have to escort to the door, their misuse of the Surrender Station grating on my nerves. Not on my watch.

I've already had to tell a homeless couple that they could not bring their dog inside. Gave me a hard time and a story about their being here with him lots of times. Not.

A young man came in trying to sell me a fog machine, just so he could get some food and cigarettes...crack more than likely. Wonder which church he stole it from.

A regular who should know better asked if the church will help him pay his phone bill. The gatekeeper recommends finding work.

She loves you, more than you know, says the Lord...I haven't been this happy in a long time. Take that, father of lies.

Orange spice tea on the brown sofa, reading about Abraham's magnificent obsession. I want that.

Blaise Pascal's close encounter, inspiration for some body art. FIRE!

Bruce Hornsby, magnificent!

His throne, a cross and a crown made of thorns...be praised!

Angel-speak.

It feels good, right to be here. Would not be so without the prayers of my boss man. He found my daddy's ax. Coming to love him more and more with each passing day, each encounter. I have much to learn from his God-lover's heart, his constancy.

Dwell in the midst of us...wipe all the tears from our faces...you can have your way...

Abba met me here today...that's just the way it is.
I am Punk Monk, still.

Daddy's Hatchet 2

FOUND! Thank you, Jason!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

I Grieve

God, I miss her. I don't know why she's distanced herself from me...a part of me is missing.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Hild's Prayer...and Mine

My soul's desire is to study the Scriptures
and to learn the ways of God.
My soul's desire is to be freed from
all fear and sadness, and to share Christ's risen life.
My soul's desire is to imitate my King,
and to sing His purposes always.
My soul's desire is to enter the gates of heaven
and to gaze upon the light that shines forever.

Dear Lord, You alone know
what my soul truly desires,
and You alone
can satisfy those desires.

I have prepared a place for you,
says the Lord, a place that is for you,
and only you, to fill.
Approach My table,
asking first that you might serve.
Look even for the lowest tasks.
Then, the work of service done,
you may look for your own place at table.
But do not seek the most important seat
which may be reserved for someone else.
In the place of My appointing will be your joy.

Lord, show me the right seat;
find me the fitting task;
give me the willing heart.
May I be equal to Your hope of me.
If I am weak,
I ask that You send only what I can bear.
If I am strong,
may I shrink from no testing
that shall yield increase of strength
or win security for my spirit.

I trust in Thee, O Lord.
I say, 'Thou art my God.
My times are in Thy hand,
my times are in Thy hand.'

- Celtic Daily Prayer

"Hild (614-80 A.D.) founded the great double monastery at Whitby, and there she was sought out for her wise counsel by ordinary folk and rulers alike."

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Self's Death Knell

This punk monk is not at her post today. The Tempter of our souls has me in a headlock, attempting to dissuade me from following the path God has chosen. He dangles the carrot of a safe and simple life. Emotions are at fever pitch, ascending to new heights of anticipation and loveliness followed by rapid descents into a bottomless chasm. One minute I am Jacob wrestling, the next, Joseph in a dungeon. It is taking its toll. Today is a day for doing battle by wielding those resources that Abba has put at our disposal. Last night in His graciousness, timely messages from his heart were communicated to me circa 1:00AM through Holy Writ as well as pen strokes from saints of old.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him, endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary, and lose heart.
In your struggle against sin, you have not resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And you have forgotten, that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons:

"My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
because the Lord disciplines those he loves,
and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son."

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us, and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we might share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. Make level paths for your feet, so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed."
- Hebrews 12:1-13 (NIV)

"You are never safe in this life, my son; as long as you live, you will always need spiritual weapons. It is among your enemies that you spend your days; the attack may come from any quarter. If you fail to use the shield of patience on every side, it will not be long before you get wounded. Besides that, if you neglect to set your heart unwaveringly upon me, with the stark desire of enduring all for my sake, you will not be able bear the brunt of the assault and will fail to win the palm of victory I award to my blessed ones. You must therefore make your way like a man through all that besets you and strike hard at all that stands in your way; the man who wins through is rewarded with the Bread of Heaven, while the craven is left in the depths of misery.
If you try to find rest in this world, how will you ever reach that rest which is life everlasting? It is not long hours of rest you must be prepared for here, but for long hours of patient endurance. True peace must be sought not on earth, but in heaven; not in men, not in other forms of creation, but in God alone. For the love of God you ought to endure with gladness all that befalls you: toil and sorrow, temptations, afflictions, anxiety, want, weakness, injury and slander, rebuke, humiliation, shame, correction and scorn. All these things are aids to holiness; they test the man who has newly entered the service of Christ, and go to the making of his heavenly crown. For toil soon done I will give a reward that lasts for ever; for fleeting shame, glory without end.
Do you imagine you will always have spiritual comfort whenever you want it? That was never the way with my Saints; what they had was a world of trouble, trials innumerable, utter desolation. Yet, for all that, they held out patiently in all that befell them, trusting in God and not in themselves; they knew that they did not count these present sufferings as the measure of that glory which is to be revealed(Rm. 8:18), the prize they hoped to win. Are you asking to have here and now something that many people have only just managed to obtain after much toil and many a tear? Wait patiently for the Lord to help you; be brave, and let your heart take comfort(Ps.27:14). Do not lose courage, do not retreat; be steadfast in hazarding yourself, body and soul, for the glory of God. The reward I shall give you will surpass all measure, and in all your troubles I shall be at your side."
- Thomas `a Kempis

The Church has become soft as we worship at the alter of Me.

Monday, October 26, 2009

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/galleries/gallery/1019603.html?img=1

http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.charlotteobserver.com%2Fgalleries%2Fgallery%2F1019603.html%3Fimg%3D1&h=53a77067d1d62894637d7af9bfb16d04

Beginnings

'I am small and despised.'
'Yes, but have I not said, Do not despise the
day of small things!"?'
- Amy Carmichael
While at my post during our first worship service at Eastland Mall yesterday, I was approached by a young girl who asked if she could go to be with the children while her mother watched from the top of the staircase. As I led the way to the storefront around the corner, I realized that my failed attempt at conversation was due to a language barrier. Her Spanish was too quick for my high school basics. After we dropped off her daughter, I walked her to her workplace right across the hall from our entrance. She plied me with questions which I could not answer. One word was recognizable. No, we are not a Catholic church, but we are followers of the Lord Jesus Christ and that we would love to have her visit with us.
She represents our future as a church, what the floodgates are presently holding back. Gotta get those Spanish services fast tracked. They're waiting. The Kingdom of God is waiting. Jesus is waiting.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


If the enemy can't get you through subtle measures, he will try the full frontal assault.
Skylar's life almost ended today. Fire ants.

Just got the word from the vet. He's going to make it and come home today!


Thank you for your prayers.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Invitation

If you are a dreamer, come in,
If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,
A hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer...

If you're a pretender, come sit by my fire
For we have some flax-golden tales to spin.

Come in!
Come in!

- Shel Silverstein

Monday, October 19, 2009

Daddy's Hatchet


In the grand scheme of things, this is something of little import, but just the same, it holds great meaning for me as I am a sentimental sort. On my book shelf sits a broken piece of glass, a two inch screw painted teal, a small hunk of concrete, vestiges of the Sacred Space that serve as reminders of the place where God and man meet.

As a child, I preferred the tree-tops that touched the skies in my mind's eye to dolls and playing house. My mother would run after me with exasperation in a feeble attempt to woo me to femininity, her weapons a mascara wand, tweezers, and razor.

Daddy's hatchet better suited my hand. With it saplings fell, becoming creations of refuge from that real world which battered and bruised both body and soul.

Someone has removed it from its place in the Sacred Space. Whenever I would see it as I made the Surrender Station ready for the next person's Holy encounter, it would make my heart glad that this symbol of my childhood should be resting here. I am saddened to think that a simple theft is so much more, for a piece of me went with it out the door one dark night when someone dared to rob a prayer room.

Abba, use my Daddy's hatchet to set a robber free of those strangling tendrils that have a choke-hold on their heart. Then I won't be so sad.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Just One of the Fold

I've gotta get over this pastor-shyness...

I was wounded by one two churches ago. It was a betrayal of epic proportions that sent me on my downward slide. You entrust your life, your heart, your soul to the shepherd whom God has given you, only to find that they had not embraced their calling in a way that was honoring to God nor nurturing to His people.

I don't want to feel awkward, I really don't. I want to experience things the way they were meant to be.

Baa...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Michael


Well, I guess I'm ready...

Amidst the celebration of Christian celebrity, Michael sits in the overstuffed brown chair meant for two, alone and shaking with withdrawal from addiction as well as paranoid schizophrenia. He has been fed at his request for just a little morsel to fill him, taking the form of a reheated Egg McMuffin and hash browns washed down with coffee, lots of coffee.

At the end of the shift I glance over at him periodically; his head is in his hands. A home-cooked meal's preparation for my partner awaits fifteen miles from here upon completion of that dog-eat-dog southward bound commute on Independence Blvd. where people turn into animals beset on savagery as they make their own way home. I try to ignore the prompting of the Paraclete.

"Sister, are you busy?"

I seat myself before him on the ottoman.

"How long did Job suffer? Do you think it was a long time?"

We go into discussion broad and deep regarding what Holy Scripture has to say about suffering. Michael knows his Bible. Somewhere, sometime long ago someone taught him well; his Mama? Grandmother? Sunday school? Nevertheless his talk runs from one thing to the next, outdoing me at every turn. He bears news of the Prophet who has descended into madness on the streets. His ramblings begin to spiral downward and I slip in my request to pray for him...

White hands grasped by black ones.
Ebony eyes that bore into mine.
Abba's declaration that his life is precious,
planned before the foundation of the world.
Now flee the darkness.
Come into the light.
It's your choice.
Tears fall, one by one as his eyes
continue to look into mine,
trying to discern if the words could possibly be true.

As I get into Blue, he requests a ride which I cannot grant for safety's sake. His illness, his demons, have potential to transform what we have just experienced into violent madness once we have left behind the hallowed space of 24-7.

Countless lost sheep roam our streets living lives of desolation with no where to turn. There are no easy answers. It takes much more than offering a meal, a prayer, a roof. It takes an army living under the banner of Thy Kingdom come where too few are willing to enlist.

I have talked to Abba about taking my ministry to the streets, armed with sandwiches, a listening ear, arms, hands, words, hope, love. Talk of Father Damien of the Lepers that has been in the news as of late has haunted me.

"Not now. Your call is to those whom I am bringing to you one by one."
"But Lord, who will go?"
"None of your business."

Monday, October 5, 2009

Rembrandt's Return of the Prodigal Son - Part 2

"The true center of Rembrandt's painting is the hands of the father. On them all the light is concentrated; on them the eyes of the bystanders are focused; in them mercy becomes flesh; upon them forgiveness, reconciliation, and healing come together, and through them, not only the tired son, but also the worn out father find their rest. From the moment I first saw the poster on Simone's office door, I felt drawn to those hands. I did not fully understand why. But gradually over the years I have come to know those hands. They have held me from the hour of my conception, they welcomed me at my birth, held me close to my mother's breast, fed me, and kept me warm. They have protected me in times of danger and consoled me in times of grief. They have waved me good-bye and always welcomed me back. Those hands are God's hands. They are also the hands of my parents, teachers, friends, healers, and all those whom God has given me to remind me how safely I am held."
- Henri Nouwen, from The Return of the Prodigal Son

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Rembrandt's Return of the Prodigal Son - Part 1

"It seems that the hands that touch the back of the returning son are the instruments of the father's inner eye. The near-blind father sees far and wide. His seeing is an eternal seeing, a seeing that reaches out to all humanity. It is a seeing that understands the lostness of women and men of all times and places, that knows with immense compassion the suffering of those who have chosen to leave home, that cried oceans of tears as they got caught in anguish and agony. The heart of the father burns with an immense desire to bring his children home.
Oh, how much would he have liked to talk to them, to warn them against the many dangers they were facing, and to convince them that at home can be found everything that they search for elsewhere. How much would he have liked to pull them back with his fatherly authority and hold them close to himself so that they would not get hurt.
But his love is too great to do any of that. It cannot force, constrain, push, or pull. It offers the freedom to reject that love or to love in return. It is precisely the immensity of the divine love that is the source of the divine suffering. God, creator of heaven and earth, has chosen to be, first and foremost, a Father.
As Father, he wants his children to be free, free to love. That freedom includes the possibility of their leaving home, going to a "distant country," and losing everything. The Father's heart knows all the pain that will come from that choice, but his love makes him powerless to prevent it. As Father, he desires that those who stay at home enjoy his presence and experience his affection. But here again, he wants only to offer a love that can be freely received. He suffers beyond telling when his children honor him only with lip service, while their hearts are far from him. He knows their "deceitful tongues" and "disloyal hearts," but he cannot make them love him without losing his true fatherhood.
As Father, the only authority he claims for himself is the authority of compassion. That authority comes from letting the sins of his children pierce his heart. There is no lust, greed, anger, resentment, jealousy, or vengeance in his lost children that has not caused immense grief to his heart. The grief is so deep because the heart is so pure. From the deep inner place where love embraces all human grief, the Father reaches out to his children. The touch of the hands, radiating inner light, seeks only to heal.
Here is the God I want to believe in: a Father who, from the beginning of creation, has stretched out his arms in merciful blessing, never forcing himself on anyone, but always waiting; never letting his arms drop down in despair, but always hoping that his children will return so that he can speak words of love to them and let his tired arms rest on their shoulders. His only desire is to bless..."
- Henri Nouwen, from The Return of the Prodigal Son
You must read this book. It is perhaps the most beautiful book I have ever read. Seriously.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Friendship 101

A good friend just recently asked me what KR likes to do for fun.

I don't know how to answer that.

I have lived in relative isolation for so long that I do not know how to have fun with a friend.

That's gotta change.

My pastimes are spent doing things alone. There has been no one there to share things with. I gave up after being hurt one time too many. Now I'm sticking my big toe in to test the waters.

Be patient with me, friends. I'm taking baby steps.

From the Recovery Notebook 8

Step 1 towards forgiving your offenders: Pray for them.

You cannot hate the one for whom you are praying for very long.

"The same God that loves me loves him."
-Tow Truck's Mom

From the Recovery Notebook 7

Expectations: Human ones will always fail you.

"I expect that you will let me down..."

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

From the Recovery Notebook 6

Things that have gotten me into trouble:

Unforgiveness which degenerated into bitterness.
Having gotten caught up in the situations and circumstances of the here and now.
Preoccupation with self instead of with God.

Unbelief.

Holding on to these things for dear life resulted in a "I don't want to" spirit, which led to my becoming stuck in the sin nature.

The result?
A nervous breakdown.
No believer can deliberately live this way without there being ramifications.
Oh no.

For we have an adversary who waits in the wings for such moments,
that he might take us out.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

It Follows Me Everywhere

Last night as my husband romanced me out on the deck of the biker bar overlooking the John's River Gorge awash in sunset cobalt, purples and pinks, we met the reincarnation of Billy Mays, which was how he introduced himself in a drunken haze...


More to follow. After all, this is vacation...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

God said...

I must forgive them.

If I am going to step into what God is calling me to, it is unthinkable for me to not do so. To see them through Christ's eyes of grace, not through my unmerciful ones. After all, he died for them...yeah?

During the brief sabbatical that we are taking in the mountains for the rest of this week, I will be going about this difficult business.

Pray for me.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Healing Touch

His name is Tarlton. The variety of leprosy he suffers from is HIV. He graced the Sacred Space 10:00AM sharp this morning for the first time. He told me of his illness, his journey, his turn-around, his ministry to fellow sufferers. He thanked us for the Space. He shook my hand. We hugged. Blessing upon blessing. Somehow he made me whole in the touch, in the holy gestures that society forbids out of fear.

Abba made me laugh when I turned to my daily gospel reading during my quiet time this afternoon:

"A man with leporsy came to him and begged him on his knees, "If you are willing, you can make me clean."
Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man."
Mark 1:40-41

Friday, September 18, 2009

From the Recovery Notebook 5

The road to wellness would begin with the story of Mary and Martha found in Luke 10:38-42, from which a new theology needed to be developed in order to be set free. All those years I had mistakenly thought of myself as a Mary. Despite my grace-oriented background, I was locked in a Martha-style legalism, seeking to prove my worth through a works oriented lifestyle. Yes, the letter of the Law does kill.

I was to study this story, making it my own as I meditated and wrote about it in stream of consciousness fashion every day. This would reveal the answer to the question, "How do I change?"

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sometimes I feel left behind in the dust. What's with that?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

My Boys

From the Recovery Notebook 4

"How long is it going to take until I get well?" Me

"Until you give up having it your way. That's how long it takes." Tow Truck

From the Recovery Notebook 3

"Do you trust Me?"
He never stops asking.

From the Recovery Notebook 2

"My people have committed two sins:
They have forsaken me,
the spring of living water,
and have dug their own cisterns,
broken cisterns that cannot hold water."
Jeremiah 2:13

Is it any wonder, despite our being the people of God, that we are dying of thirst?

Monday, September 14, 2009

For D

"Is this not the fasting I have chosen:
To loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter-
when you see the naked, to clothe him,
and not to turn away from your flesh and blood?"
Isaiah 58:6-7

"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'
"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

"We pray for all Christians
entrusted with responsibility,
that they may be blessed with true friends,
and that they may faithfully witness
to the power of God and the love of Christ.

We pray for ourselves:
for the gift of friendship,
and of faithfulness,
and that we would be freed from selfishness.

We will journey with the kind-hearted Savior.
If we have fed the hungry from our own table
God will feed us with all good gifts."
- Celtic Daily Prayer

She falls under the world's classification of unlovely. Jesus begs to differ. She is one of the least of these. We should feel privileged in being chosen with taking her into our care. She is one of those angels that Abba tests our hearts with...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

From the Recovery Notebook

He has been given the nickname Tow Truck because he is in the business of pulling people out of the ditch so to speak. He is a very wise and godly counselor. He lives to be a part of leading people into a healing relationship with Jesus Christ. He saved my neck.

A friend's crisis led me to pull out the notebook I kept while under Tow Truck's care. As I read through the pages, I realized that what I found there no longer hurt me. There was a notation that said I must pass on what I would learn to those whom God would lead me to in the midst of their own personal crisis. From time to time I will be sharing those snippets that God used in the process of my own recovery.

The thing you're going through is otherwise known as "The Crisis of Sanctification." It's all about God and what he is doing. He shows you what you are without him. Despite what it feels and looks like on the surface, he is in the picture. His purpose for the crisis is to lead his people into holiness.

Disciple-Making

I found myself thrown from where I sat onto the floor before a sin-laden cross, my feet quickly stripped of their sandals as I knelt on holy ground. The Spirit expressed whatever was within me, something that has driven me to tears each time I have occupied the Sacred Space during this ten day intensive of prayer.

It is the ugly underbelly of the beautiful cityscape that occupies the center of the room. The homeless man who stands at North Caldwell each day with his sign, looking only for drug money. Dave's unclaimed body lying in the city morgue. The con who dares to ply his trade at houses of worship. The woman who begged me for money this afternoon in the Walmart parking lot. Pastors who do more damage to the flock than the devil. The new slave traders who sell addiction behind the Arboretum. Illegal aliens indentured through blackmail by South Charlotte fatcats.

I sit for awhile in the Surrender Station, calmed by Rob Bell's wisdom and the flickering candlelight, staring at the God-graffiti above my head. My friend rings the bell announcing her own personal encounter with the Holy. Her burden has become mine. As I drive away, my soul is overwhelmed with peace, knowing the part that Abba would have me play in this life-by-life rescue. Alot of ground has been covered and reclaimed on this long desert journey. The place where I am is surreal, as if I've stepped out of some bad dream. I am thankful for that which has brought me here despite the pain that comes with great loss, for in exchange He has gained a disciple.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Two Lambs

At my request, she reads Psalm 23 aloud to us, having to force her Bible open as if hands held it shut in resistance. Her voice quavers but nonetheless cuts the silence. It is beautiful. I would weep aloud if I didn't hold back on what I was feeling at that moment. Tales of woe and darkness are shared as I take her home, her life a miracle, a testimony to the saving power of the Savior expressed through a very different breed of Christian community. I help her out of Big Blue, negotiating a curb, a darkened walkway to her cheerfully lit front door. Despite cozy and secure surroundings, demonic oppression continually hounds her. Her mind is not a safe place...

Her enchanting laughter gives away her location as I round the corner in the Sacred Space last night. She has been busy crafting her insights from the revelation given to her regarding the fierceness of the love of God that pursues men and women whom He cannot bare to live without, forgetting at least for a little while the personal hell in which she lives...
* * * * * * *
I often wonder what Caleb felt as he walked with his nation that forty year journey through the wilderness wrought by their own hand of unbelief, his head held high, eyes undimmed, staff in hand, fueled by his faith in God and the love for his people. God did not reward his unwavering faith by whisking him away to that which was promised, but instead used him to help lead the way.
* * * * * * *
I once heard a message (ala Chuck Swindoll) that said a person had no right to pastor a church who did not possess the desire to shepherd his/her flock from a place of love and care. That teaching started a sequence of events which resulted in our leaving a church that followed the corporate model, where people were reduced to notches on a pastor's gunbelt and only what they were useful for.
* * * * * * *
Two lambs, flesh and blood with beating hearts, are why I carry staff and sling.

24-7, 1:00 AM

Abba broke my heart for our city in the middle of the night. Our church's move to Eastland is a divine-wrought strategy of the Most High in reaching a corner of blight that has all but been abandoned, forgotten. Who knows how many souls that have been hiding behind doors locked tight against gang infiltration and nightly helicopter fly-bys seeking their quarry (Is this not how they hunt wolves? Our city breeds it's own brand of wildlife.) crave the inhalation into their lungs of free air, living water for those dying from thirst, that can only be found in the liberation won by One who knew what is was to be hunted down like vermin and who was eradicated for the good of us all. Thankfully that was just the beginning of the story that we continue to slash our way through to this day, not for ourselves, but for those hiding in the corners from a beast that would take them with him if he had his way. He has had free reign too long in east Charlotte.

I painted the night not with pigment, but with red tears. Walking the room like some caged animal, I cryed out for those who have been waiting too long, for obstacles to be smashed, barriers to be torn down. Our doors will open, and they will stream in, where we will take them into the embrace of the One who seeks them individually and by droves.
An army has been mustered but is still in basic training. The call to duty will come fast. Are they ready to meet this many tentacled beast head on? I'm afraid not, for they have been over-sheltered from life's realities and bred for self-centeredness by well-meaning but misguided parents. But God, in world-war fashion, will get them up to speed quickly, arming them with slings and a few smooth stones.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Hero Worship

"...though the enemy may fight,
My Jesus has done all things right..."

Mama Bear

As I reared up on my haunches, roaring from a mouth agape with bone-crunching teeth, talons at the ready for battle against that which would harm my progeny, I bit my own cubs...

If I am going to wear the moniker, I must do it with precision and care.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Sly Dog

I am realizing that the devil
has thrown me
a couple of curves this week.
Tricky bastard.
But Love will conquer all.
I'm counting on it.
Abba, do your stuff.

My Need

As I seek Him it will come...

Anticipation

My first go-round in the prayer room for our ten day encounter with the Holy did not go as planned as this Punk Monk performed S.O.S. work for my overly-exhausted compadre during my time-slot. I am happy to say that I have received the boon of a second shot next week. I will be counting the days.

Yesterday I celebrated Shabbat in the shadow of a cloud-enshrouded Grandfather mountain, Bible in hand, cool breezes rustling its pages, the silence and majesty drawing me into the Presence of the Almighty. As sweet and memorable as the time was in the wilderness of the Blue Ridge, there is nothing like the guided deliberateness of a prayer week when I will join together with the body called Renovatus in seeking His will and His face as we prepare ourselves for destiny.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Monday, August 31, 2009

Battle Stations!

Sweat, and lots of it, has been expended as we have been preparing for ten days of non-stop prayer at Charlotte 24-7 that began today during the wee hours of the morning. Reworked on-ramps, scrubbing, dusting, artwork, laughter, nausea, and plain old-fashioned smelliness have all been a part of my past 48 hours, together with unsheathing my sword on behalf of a 'daughter' finding herself overwhelmed by the enemy in the midst of her personal battles. Last night's sleep was fitful; Abba had me praying for those locked alone in the prayer room, together with launching arrow prayers heavenward on behalf of my war-torn friend.

Today finds me tired, yet satisfied and filled with Joy. Bred for war, the engagement brings me to a heady place of exhilaration. Abba has amazing things up his sleeve that we will bear witness to in the days and weeks to come.

This will be a day of Sabbath rest as I enjoy the week off from staffing. My own personal encounter with the Sacred will be at midnight tonight. Tales and photographs will follow as I record the process of effacement between the divine and mortal.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I Need a Joseph

This morning, just before awakening, I had a dream the likes of which I have never experienced before. I have had some strange ones from time to time that make Mike roar with laughter, but this? My gut tells me that its message is one of great import.

Monday, August 24, 2009

John 13:12-17

Thank you for the privilege of unlocking the door.
Thank you for the privilege of turning on lights.
Thank you for the privilege of making coffee.
Thank you for the privilege of lighting candles.
Thank you for the privilege of straightening the mess.
Thank you for the privilege of wiping down tables.
Thank you for the privilege of toilet scrubbing.
Thank you for the privilege of replacing light bulbs.
Thank you for the privilege of vacuuming crumbs.
Thank you for the privilege of putting out the trash.
Thank you for the privilege of being there for those who come for prayer.
Thank you for the privilege of loving those whom others find unlovely.
Thank you for the privilege of washing feet...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

It Just Doesn't Fly

In light of what's been going on in the news: What do you do with Romans 1?

It reminds me of a visit that Mike and I had taken to Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's beautiful mountaintop home. Within a display case holding his personal effects was a Bible, with passages that he didn't care for carefully cut out.

He was left with nothing but feathery wisps of parchment and holes. Prophetic for our times to say the least.

May God have mercy on his Church whose flickering lights are going out one by one...

Unplug

Abba spoke loud and clear through Pastor Jonathan's timely message on rest in the wilderness. As of late I've been complaining to God about the lack of quality time with him due to the busyness. I fear the lure of losing my First Love. That is a place I hope to never return to. Sitting at the feet of Jesus every day has been critical to my mental health. My emotions have been on a downward spiral as well as experiencing frequent head aches. I don't want to know my blood pressure reading...

Unplug. Therein lies the solution.

"You have more than enough time for me if you just unplug. So why complain? It is within your power to change things."

Facebook has become an insidious addiction that robs me of well-being as I look for affirmation in the postings. My soul is being sucked dry as I seek what I will never find there. Enough of that. It's being relegated to its rightly place as a necessary-evil communication/ministry tool. I am exchanging the artificial for hands-on, flesh and blood relationships.

I've seen how video game addictions, television, and on-line social websites are being used as tools in the hands of the adversary for distracting the Church from what is was meant to be.

Jesus didn't die on the cross so that you can sit in front of your favorite form of electronic entertainment. We all have some repenting to do...

Saturday, August 22, 2009

I don't understand how anybody could be afraid of me, except the devil...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Grief Sightings

In my minds eye, I saw him this past Monday standing outside the prayer room smiling at me as he lit up a smoke.

Seeing his wide-eyed look of surprise as I open the door to start the day, followed by his gravelly laugh.

Complaining how the humidity is making his mane frizz while seated on the white sofa.

The fast approaching autumn will be hard as I will no longer be needing to make a pot of coffee for him just about every hour.

And all the while his earthly remains are still waiting at the city morgue. Where is his daughter?

Tears. I still cannot believe it...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

"Our undomesticated God calls us into the wild..."
- Jonathan Martin

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Answer

"If you, Lord, should mark iniquities,
Who could stand? Who could stand?"
- Psalm 130:3

Graceless

My anger is white hot. I don't take kindly to seeing people I love being hurt and taken advantage of. The Church of Jesus Christ is to be a place of refuge and safety, and yes, I know, a place of grace and mercy as well. But, once again, the serpent has invaded the garden...

How do I care about the well-being of such a one? Right now, I confess, I don't. How unlike my Savior! How do I turn off the warrior spirit within me that seeks to make this evil flee? But the children, oh God, the children; have mercy on them. They suffer my victimization that breeds scars of permanence.

I don't want him at my house. He will be here tonight, spinning, spinning, spinning his web of deceit.

God help us, protect us, guide us, control us, fill us...

Friday, August 14, 2009

One life at a time,
I'm living my dream...

Deliver Us From Evil

"In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
- John 16:33

"Every curse becomes a blessing
to the people of God's choosing.
He who spoke it shall perform it.
He shall bring on us the blessing,
though the enemy may fight.
My Jesus has done all things right.

In the dry and desert places
Jesus is our soul's oasis.
He will give us of his plenty,
fill the vessels once so empty,
pour His waters on the ground,
living waters gushing round.

See the land so black and barren;
God will make a watered garden:
fruitfulness where once
was parchedness,
light to break into the darkness,
upper springs and nether springs
in the field that Father's given.

Satan tries, but does not block it,
powers of hell could never stop it.
Darkness flees as light is given.
God establishes His heaven
in our hearts, and in this place
shows the radiance of His face."
- Celtic Daily Prayer