Saturday, March 28, 2009

I'll Know When It's Right...

As I sit here in my office on this Saturday Evening, I can hear the choir practicing in the sanctuary right outside my window. They are doing fantastic... there is just one or two little things that bother me.

Now, I am under no illusions about my singing abilities. I know I stink when it comes to vocal talent but... that doesn't mean I don't appreciate somebody who does it right, or can't tell when they do it wrong.

I wonder sometimes about how we appear to the world. From their perspective, they may think... I don't know how to do it, but I sure know that that's not the way!

Reminds me of a story I heard about a man who wrote a powerful tract entitled "Come to Jesus". It was widely used by churches and the man was touted as a great writer. One day, he was a little steamed up at the editor of a magazine who took issue with some of his theological stances and proceeded to write and mail this man a scathing epistle.

With no small amount of pride in his response, he showed it to one of his colleagues and eagerly awaited his response. When he finished, he really didn't know what to say. There was no doubt that the editor had been verbally 'sliced and diced'. The author looked at his friend and said, "I know it's good, but I haven't assigned a title to it yet. What do you think?"

His friend sadly smiled and said, "I think the appropriate title should be 'Go to the Devil by the Author of Come to Jesus'"

I hope fervently that my life is not such an oxymoronic representation of Christ. Our communities may not know The Way, but they are capable of recognizing it when it's done right... and when it's done wrong!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Few

The easy roads are crowded and the level roads are jammed;
The pleasant little rivers with the drifting folk are crammed.
But off yonder where it's rocky, where you get a better view,
You will find the ranks are thinning and the travelers are few.
But the steps that call for courage and the task that's hard to do,
In the end result in glory for the never-wavering few.

-- Author Unknown

I Used to Love the Nights

I discovered the following lines of verse in a book on Preachers and their Families that I came across in a bookstore. I 'captured' it with my iPhone and share it with you here. It was written by a man name Rob Morgan, and carried no title.

I used to love the nights, dear Lord,
The fading of the evening lights,
The quiet routine;
The bedtime prayers;
A tale or two; then nodding heads,
three weary kids in cozy beds;
The silent hours of healing rest,
I loved the evenings best.

I hate the evenings now, dear Lord,
A speeding car out in the night,
Dives and dens and worthless ends,
Flashing lights, unworthy friends,
An empty heart, a search for love,
When all he needs is found above.

I'm going to trust You through this night,
I'm going to walk by faith, not sight.
You slumber not, nor do you sleep,
Your watchful eye can always keep,
My children in your care.
To Him who tucks me into bed;
Please station angels around his head,
And guard my child where're he be,
And bring him back, dear Lord, to Thee.

Famous Words of Voltaire

~ Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.

~ Prejudices are what fools use for reasons.

~ It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong.

Far Nobler

Far nobler the sword that is nicked and worn;
Far fairer the flag that is grimy and torn
Than when to the battle fresh they were born.

He was tried and found true; he stood the test;
'Neath whirlwinds of doubt, when all the rest
Crouched down and submitted, he fought the best.

There are wounds on his breast that can never be healed;
There are gashes that bleed and may never be sealed,
But, wounded and gashed, he won the field.

And other may dream in their easy chairs;
And point their white hands to the scars he bears;
But the palm and the laurel are his -- not theirs!

-- Author Unknown

Wounded, But Not Slain

I'm wounded now, but I'm not slain,
I'm bruised and faint they say,
Just ley me lie and bleed a while,
I'll not be long this way.

My spirit's low and my eyes flow,
My heart is sad and sore,
But when my pen'ent tears are gone,
I'll stand and fight some more.

I'll bind these wounds, I'll dry these tears,
I'll close this bleeding vein,
I'll not lie here and weep and die,
I'll rise and fight again.

'Twas yesterday I bowed so low,
Was weak from tears and pain,
Today I'm strong, my fears are gone,
Today I fight again.

-- Author Unknown

A Sadness that no Longer Hurts...

"There are few easier hiding places than a sadness which no longer hurts or a burden that is no longer heavy. We find ourselves with an ideal excuse to remain weak and comfortable, ideal because it spares us from being condemned. Few would criticize us for not going forward, while they think that staying put is so hard."

The Omega Network (p. 74-75)
by Thomas Locke

Asking the Right Question

I find it interesting that Jacob wrestled all night with an angel, yet was the recipient of neither a blessing or a victory. It seems that the biggest problem he had was he was asking for the wrong thing!

Although his personal history would seem to indicate a preoccupation with 'blessings', a part of me would like to think that it should never have taken an all-nighter to figure out that he should be asking for something different.

As soon as he asked, "Tell me, I pray thee, thy name," Scripture records these words. "And he blessed him there." It seems that God is far more interested in blessing those who are wanting to know WHO HE IS more than WHAT HE CAN GIVE!

We can spend our whole lives begging God for things, becoming in nature what Paul rebuked some worshippers for one day. Thinking that we will get "for our much asking", rather than loving God and getting close to him, trusting that "no good thing will He withold" from us.

Reminds me of an old song that says:
More of you, more of You
I've had all, but what I need is just more of You
Of things I've had my fill, yet I hunger still
Empty and bare, Lord, hear my prayer
For more of You