For where two or three are gathered…

March 10, 2009

“We few, we happy few, we band of brothers!” – William Shakespeare

“As Iron sharpens Iron, so one man sharpens another” – Jewish Proverb

I have few close friends so I try to cherish the ones I have been blessed with. Yesterday was a day that will cement in my mind and soul as a day that I grew closer to two men I call my friends.

“Faithful are the wounds of a friend” – Jewish Proverb

The following is not an account of wounds from a friend but it was an interesting experience to say the least. I got a call from my friend Petie yesterday afternoon, asking me if he could use my help for a couple of hours.

I gladly accepted and decided to meet up with him and another friend of ours, Josh. The favor was to help him go and pick up a hot tub for him to surprise his wife with for her birthday. Sounds simple and straight forward, cut and dry? Well that was not how the whole “adventure” turned out.

After a drive to Bellevue and filling the time with good conversation, we arrived and proceeded to examine where we were going to pick up this hot tub. To our surprise, the tub was about a third of a mile into this property described by Josh as, “Over the river and through the woods to Grandma’s house”, which was not far off because there was a creek, some woods, and wetland involved.

Well we got to the tub and found it in great shape. Petie tried unsuccessfully to bargain with the man selling the tub, but still ended up purchasing it for a reasonable price. This is the point in the story where it gets dirty, because we could not simply back up the truck to the tub, oh no we had to ROLL the tub through the woods and wetland to the truck, this took a little under an hour to accomplish.

We were dirty, cold, and using a lot of our upper body strength, which consequently for me is not very much (I told them, they called the weakest link). It was hard, but we had a blast joking about it and just getting through it as guys do, “grab it and growl”!

As crazy as this account sounds, it was fun. I am reminded of this passage in the Gospel of Matthew where Jesus is talking about how we as brothers in the faith are to handle situations together.

“Take this most seriously: A yes on earth is yes in heaven; a no on earth is no in heaven. What you say to one another is eternal. I mean this. When two of you get together on anything at all on earth and make a prayer of it, my Father in heaven goes into action. And when two or three of you are together because of me, you can be sure that I’ll be there.” Matt. 18:18-20.

I love that, “When two or three of you are together because of me, you can be sure that I’ll be there”. It felt that in what we were doing, helping a brother out in love and friendship asking nothing in return was a moment where Jesus was “sure to be there”.

I believe that we had fun and enjoyed this time of misadventure together, it was worship in some strange sense, and I felt God breathe into me. These guys mean more to me because of this. They are good men who I am proud to call my friends.


Carmel or Tariyaki Sauce

December 11, 2008

“Create in Me a Clean Heart Oh God”

– King David

“Some may trust in _(insert your trust here)__, and some in _(and here)__,

but we trust in the name of the LORD our God”

-Psalms 20:7

“Oh when I look to the shape of my heart,
It’s separated only by scars
That cut in and cut out
Oh and leave me without
Oh a heart that functions at all. “

-Noah and the Whale

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It was 6:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning and I was fuming with anger at the irresponsible and childish individuals who have been renting out my 555 sq. ft. house here in Puyallup. I was inside a refrigerator with a rag and razor blade scrapping out what I can only guess was either carmel or teriyaki sauce or a mixture of both (i hope it was and not something else, but i wouldn’t be surprised). It was disgusting and infuriating to be doing this, cleaning up the mess someone else has made of something that was mine. Consider that, I did all this while listening to worship music but worship was nowhere to be found.

It was not fair.

My heart was in a dark place and I was mad. Pissed off. Beyond words.

I chose to linger in that place of hatred and seething resentment and I enjoyed it. It felt good and it felt right. And why not? I was owed this! I could feel this way, I get a pass right?

I was wronged.

I was wrong.

My heart was far from Jesus and it hurt. How could I find my way back to Him? Does He feel the same way toward me that I felt toward these people who had been so irresponsible and selfish.

How can His love be that big?

He works in ways that blow me away.

I was at church the following Sunday and my good friend who is one of the Pastors there was preaching on desperation. Wow can you believe that? I love the ways of God. He taught on the point of desperation that was displayed in Jyris needing his daughter healed and the Woman Jesus encountered who was bleeding for twelve years and was healed by the touch of His garment. The service was AMAZING and spoke right to my heart where I was hurting. The teaching, coupled with the worship and the awesome and I believe “Mystical” sacrament of Communion helped heal my heart. Jesus was glorified in the service and I went to Him broken and in desperation. I would like to share with you this song that is so on point about the condition of the heart.

Bruised

Don’t build the castle
At your centre
Oh the heart can’t love
What it can’t remember
Be willing to be hurt
Oh be willing to be bruised
‘Cos a heart that doesn’t love
Is a heart that isn’t used

Oh turn your love to life
Let your love shine through
In everything you do
Let your love shine through

Oh I thought I felt my heart beating
Well I thought I’d never know that feeling
Oh I thought I felt my heart beating
Well I thought I’d never know that feeling

Well my heart was like a cave
Now light shines in it
Oh to fall in love is brave
Oh my heart was like a stone
That barely moved
Oh my heart was like a magnet
Oh for hearts like yours

Oh turn your love to life
Let your love shine through
In everything you do
Let your love shine through

-Noah and the Whale

Its breath-taking, the power of Jesus. He proclaimed in His home town of Nazerath what His mission on this earth was all about and is still about today. Thank you Jesus.

Isaiah 61:1

1 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…

As one of my favorite speakers, Steve Brown says… “You think about that. AMEN”


The Road

November 20, 2008

road_studs_2

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

-Robert Frost

I wonder after reading this which road I’m traveling down.
Am I going down the road paved and known or am I venturing into the dark mysterious wilderness where adventure and danger lurk?

Who will be my guide? Is it going to be safe? Where will I eat or sleep?

Wondering these things calls to my mind one of my favorite books called “The Road” by Cormack McCarthy. It’s a story about a man and his son on a road attempting to survive in a desolate and hopeless world. Throughout the story the man is teaching his son how to survive in this bleak world they find themselves in. It also becomes evident as the story progresses that the man is preparing the boy for his eminent demise.

The questions that linger between the lines in McCarthy’s story are; What will the boy do?, Where will he go?, and Who can he trust after his father is gone?

Oh how that story and the poem parallel my spiritual state. I feel that my father has taught me and prepared me for much and now I’m heading down a road in this dark world and I wonder is it safe to be on this road? I know he is limited with what he can teach me and my questions are the same as the boy in the story. The difference is that the father in my story has taught me that there is One who will guide me when he is gone, the One who has guided him all along.

I find my answer to the question if the road is safe or not in McCarthy’s book and that answer is no. In no way is it safe to be on the road but with the Father of my soul as my teacher, it is good to be on this road. He comforts and guides me just like my earthly father has but this Father knows me, all of me because He is my God.

The Father is my Shepherd, I shall not want.                                                                               

He makes me lay down in pastures of green.                                                                                  

Though I walk through the valley of the shadow or on “the road” of Death,                                   

I will fear no evil for the Father is with me.                                                                                  

He is with me.

AMEN.


Who will Pray for Obama?

November 6, 2008

“You’re the God of this city
You’re the King of these people
You’re the Lord of this nation
You Are.”

– Chris Tomlin

“Will Evangelicals rally behind and pray for Obama as they did around Bush?”

– Petie Kinder (a pastor at my church)

obamapray

I had a good time last night with my friends from church watching the results come in about who will be the next President of our great country. It was so cool to see my living room split down the middle in their support. We had two Obama supporters, two McCain supporters, and five people who didn’t care much either way, and if forced they would split down the middle in their support as well. It was an interesting night.

I like President-elect Barrack Obama. I think that he will be a good leader and a great example. I do not think he is above reproach, I believe as a passionate Christ follower that we need to embrace with open arms the man that God has placed in charge of our nation.

On a whole, Evangelicals are known for holding grudges politically and that’s wrong, its not what Jesus taught us to do. I would love to see the kind of passionate fever for soon to be President Obama that many Evangelical communities have displayed in the past when offering up prayers for President Bush. I don’t think it will happen. But I have faith in the Lord of this nation. God always has a select few that adhere to His words very seriously and follow Him intimately.

We must remember that God is in control and nothing happens that surprises Him. He will work this for good and glory will be brought to His name with President Bush in office or President Obama.

“America is like an Eagle, it needs a Right wing and a Left wing to fly”

– Unknown

Please friends and family don’t get caught up in this left wing and right wing diatribe. Put your trust in Him who is incorruptible, He knows what He is doing; every good and perfect thing comes from Him. So walk with your heads held high and proud to be in a nation that has elected its first African-American President. Please pray for soon to be President Obama with passion, sincerity, and out of familial obligation because he calls himself one of us, an imperfect follower of Jesus Christ, I will take him at his word. I would offer up a prayer now for our new President but I have come across a prayer that has captured in words how I feel.

“Heavenly Father, please protect our new president and his family. Give him compassion for the unborn and voiceless of this world. Give him strength to protect the innocent. Close his ears to evil. Give him discernment to be a good steward of the trust and treasury of our great land. Give him grace and your blessings. Let no evil or harm befall him. Keep him humble and dependent upon You. My you be glorified through our new president. Amen.”

“P.S. I voted for McCain. (this part is true for me too) ” – Joe Chambers


A Great Prayer

August 26, 2008

I am a Independent/(Slightly Conservative) Moderate. I know that is long but “Republican” or “Democrat” does not define me, and the labels “Conservative”, “Liberal”, and “Moderate” do me little justice as well. Sad to say, I think that I will end up voting for John McCain in November but I truely wish I could vote for Barack Obama. I am one of those stubborn Jesus followers who can’t get over the whole “life begins at conception” thing. From my days in High School I have had a deep  LOVE to follow politics and that may be an understatement. So as I watched the Democratic National Convention taking place in my lovely Home State of Colorado, I was attracted to what Donald Miller, author of “Blue Like Jazz” had to say at the close of the first day of the convention. Here is what he prayed:

“Father God,

This week, as the world looks on, help the leaders in this room create a civil dialogue about our future.

We need you, God, as individuals and also as a nation.

We need you to protect us from our enemies, but also from ourselves, because we are easily tempted toward apathy.

Give us a passion to advance opportunities for the least of these, for widows and orphans, for single moms and children whose fathers have left.

Give us the eyes to see them, and the ears to hear them, and hands willing to serve them.

Help us serve people, not just causes. And stand up to specific injustices rather than vague notions.

Give those in this room who have power, along with those who will meet next week, the courage to work together to finally provide health care to those who don’t have any, and a living wage so families can thrive rather than struggle.

Help us figure out how to pay teachers what they deserve and give children an equal opportunity to get a college education.

Help us figure out the balance between economic opportunity and corporate gluttony.

We have tried to solve these problems ourselves but they are still there. We need your help.

Father, will you restore our moral standing in the world.

A lot of people don’t like us but that’s because they don’t know the heart of the average American.

Will you give us favor and forgiveness, along with our allies around the world.

Help us be an example of humility and strength once again.

Lastly, father, unify us.

Even in our diversity help us see how much we have in common.

And unify us not just in our ideas and in our sentiments—but in our actions, as we look around and figure out something we can do to help create an America even greater than the one we have come to cherish.

God we know that you are good.

Thank you for blessing us in so many ways as Americans.

I make these requests in the name of your son, Jesus, who gave his own life against the forces of injustice.

Let Him be our example.

Amen.”

I love that prayer! I ENDORSE THAT PRAYER. I would vote for that prayer. I don’t know where I really stand on the whole political spectrum, I once did until recently when I started listening to people like Donald Miller, Shane Claiborne, Tony Campolo, and Dallas Willard. I have seen a new path toward making policy in our nation that is above “Democrat” or “Republican” and that is the way of my Savior who doesn’t endorse McCain or Obama. I see positions on both sides of the isle that attract me, not as an American Voter but as a Voter who follows and tries to live out the teachings of Jesus, the One and Only Son of the Most High God. I want our next President to follow as much of that prayer as possible, because that is where my heart is and I have a feeling that is where the heart of my God is as well.

DISCLAIMER: Could be wrong, seeking the Holy Spirit constantly for guidance. Just my opinion as a PASSIONATE follower of Jesus and politics.

Feel free to voice your thoughts, I would love to hear them.


Workplace strife, prayer,and submission

April 14, 2008

Ever had one of those weeks? I have but it has a good ending so let me tell you a little bit about it, it is almost exclusively work related. Last weekend was the start off when my boss just exploded at me with various expletives for a mistake that was small. That started it off and the rest of the week was chaos in the work environment, everyone was on edge. Then came Wednesday and Thursday when on top of my problems at work Ashley reveled to me that she too was encountering strife at work so we did the only thing we could, we took it to the Lord in prayer. By the way isn’t it so very awesome a privilege to have? Remember the hymn?

“What a friend we have in Jesus,

all are sins and grief’s to bare,

what a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer,

Oh what peace we often forfeit oh what needless pain we bare,

all because we do not carry everything to God in Prayer. “

Sometimes we over look that privilege like when it all started, I didn’t do the most obvious which was take it to God, then when both my wife and I had trouble at work on Wednesday and still we didn’t immediately take it to God in prayer. So there is lesson number one take it to God in prayer immediately, don’t wait until you get home or for the next day, just pray asap and take your burdens to God. I love what that the scripture says about this “Cast your care upon him for he cares for you”

Lesson number two was what I prayed in that prayer Thursday night, I prayed this “Lord you know our problems; we come to you for strength. Please help us be obedient and grant us the patience to submit to those you have place in authority above us, let our conduct glorify you Amen.” And yes because I said the word submit I will bring up the dreaded verse because I think that it is important. Paul says in Colossians “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church…In the same way husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife love himself.” I think this is important because God has called us to be servants and to obey, if we men as faithful Christ followers seek God in all we do the heart of our wives are designed to react positively if they are also seeking God faithfully. I think submission is key, it is mentioned throughout the New Testament because that is what Jesus’ ministry and life was all about submissive obedience to the will of the Father.

My challenge to you is this live out your faith, submit when its hard to do so, even when your boss is being offensive, you will as I did, find strength in God. Run to him, seek him out, ask him how you can be more obedient to his will.