Friday, October 26, 2007

Flight lessons

"Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise.

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these sunken eyes and learn to see
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to be free.

Blackbird fly Blackbird fly
Into the light of the dark black night."

"Blackbird" by John Lennon and Paul McCartney

sometimes humanity outsings You
in the playlist in my head
when I feel like a broken-winged blackbird
in a field of pristine doves
gently cooing at eachother
in a muddled tongue that leaves me guessing
stutter stepping away from the aberration
with polite grace and beauty
allowing me to stay as a guest
as long as I acquiesce
their windy take off freedom
under the blanket of my grounded state
that fourth picture in a child's game
"Which one of these things does not belong?"
little cherub fingers pulled like magnets
a unanimous vote
and just as the cushiony treeline catches the sun
phhwump, they lift like a dancing ribbon
toward the clowds ablaze
with soupy solar oranges and pinks
and for a moment their silhouettes seem black like me
why does the sun set faster than it rises?
But that's where I sing until I find You
my light in the dark black night
as the lonely, lying metaphors
rise up and evaporate like steam
in the light and truth of You in the ink of my story
this is where you stretch my wings
toward the habit of praise
and I listen
as You teach me how to fly

"Everyone sees it. God's work is the talk of the town. Be glad, good people! Fly to God! Good-hearted people, make praise your habit." Psalm 64:9

Saturday, October 20, 2007

My Nightmare before Christmas

for many, church services come but twice a year
another endured holiday tradition
like bad fruitcake or fake smiles at the office parties
a mere spectacle to point out
like pretty frost on the windows
or a drive-through light show in one of those rich neighborhoods
where everyone battles to outdo the Joneses
armed with tangled bombs, inflated snowmen the size of tanks
and stapleguns poised and ready
tis the season for blind tradition
Lord, we don't want to be "that cool church"
we don't want them to ooh and ahh
over great singers, rockin' guitar solos in Christmas carols,
impressive speakers,and eye candy lighting effects,
we want them to meet You and fall into Your arms forever changed.
but as we plan the Christmas services this year
I keep having this nightmare
that they will come carrying pretty packages of pain
vibrant velvety ribbons around the weight of emptiness
with plastered on smiles that give their children hope
but only last until the parking lot
the frightening thought that they come will all that
and refuse to make the simple, no-receipt-required exchange
I hold my breath and pray against the tragedy
the horrific scene that they will leave
unchanged, unmoved, unaffected
by what You offer them
But this year will be different.
I will not brace myself for the inevitable
like sliding on black ice toward a tree
I will not let patterns of the past predict the future
like the ever-spinning tick-tick second hand
I will not let my tiny squeek of faith
interrupt Your grand announcement
I will not trust in car crashes, second hands, or my own fears
No more nightmares--
just You
the hero of the pageantry,
the calendar creator
and the giver of the one and only
perfect Christmas gift.

Ezekial 33:30-32
"As for you, son of man, your countrymen are talking together about you by the walls and at the doors of the houses, saying to each other, 'Come and hear the message that has come from the LORD.' My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to listen to your words, but they do not put them into practice. With their mouths they express devotion, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain. Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice."

Numbers 20:12
But the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, "Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them."

Psalm 56:3
When I am afraid, I will trust in you.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Catalyst '07

"The church is a lot like Noah's ark; it stinks sometimes, but we'd all drown if we got out." Shane Claiborne
a tap on the shoulder . . .
edgy speakers will no doubt offend
as for me I lean forward
and wait to be challenged
if I disagree
at least I feel alive again
reminded I stand for something
on a sandy common ground

"Do you really believe that if I leave the stage without praying that the world will be one way, but if I choose to close in prayer that the world will be another way?" Francis Chan
waving hands . . .
cold turkey cut off
for prayer as some sort of
shrink's couch venting session
of psychobabble practicality
instead of a privilege to listen
and trust and admit
I can't do it without You

"The hands and feet of the body of Christ have been amputated, and all we're left with is one big mouth . . . . . Stop praying 'God Bless Me'; start praying 'God help me to do what You are blessing' . . . We need a reformation like we had 500 years ago. The last one was about creeds. Now it's about deeds . . . Moses had a staff; what's in your hand?" Rick Warren
a reminder like a kiss on the forehead . . .
You took a dead piece of wood
and transformed it into a serpant
parted the sea
and renamed it 'The rod of God"
what is in my hand that can be used
to save others
demonstrate Your power
and guide people to freedom in You?
What's in my hand?

"A practical Atheist is someone who believes God exists but lives as if He does not . . . I somehow became a full -time pastor and a part -time follower of Christ . . . I was trying to please people more than I wanted to please God." Craig Groeschel
a punch in the gut . . .
thank you for disturbing me
it was getting a little too comfortable
and it's harder to hear You
next to the roaring yet refreshing fan
of complacency
and the thin candy-coating
stamped with "I can do it on my own"

"It's in the quiet crucible of our private suffering that our noblest dreams are born and God's greatest gifts are given . . . Jesus is more beautiful when we tell the truth . . . .Why do we choose a dehumanized existence? . . . We (the church) need to take them to a place they couldn't go without us becuase we have met God, and only we can take them there." Erwan McManus
a whisper
a getle urging to grow up
and out of my insecurities
to challenge the lying fangs
under the sheep skin of humility
to step through the hologram fears
at the sound
of a true and noble calling

"Good speakers, amazing arts elements, nice environments, and clever series don't change behaviors. Systems change behaviors . . . the people you lead are doing what you have led and rewarded them to do . . . If a new leader casts a vision and never addresses old systems, nothing changes." Andy Stanley
a farewell shout of instruction . . . .
what an experience
Thanks for these two days of
tapping on the shoulder
waving hands
kisses on the forehead
punches in the gut
whispers and shouts
all pulling me closer to You
the true Catalyst of calling

"If you preach, just preach God's Message, nothing else; if you help, just help, don't take over; if you teach, stick to your teaching; if you give encouraging guidance, be careful that you don't get bossy; if you're put in charge, don't manipulate; if you're called to give aid to people in distress, keep your eyes open and be quick to respond; if you work with the disadvantaged, don't let yourself get irritated with them or depressed by them. Keep a smile on your face. " Romans 12:6-8

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Take it Like a Man

why do feelings lie so much when you're a woman?
This weighing down of the mind
Sitting in an open cell
Drowning in 2 feet of water
Crushed under the weight of a feather
Lonely in a crowded room
Crying out when there’s so much to celebrate
Super trinity swoops in for the rescue
The holy spirit whispers “It’s okay”
Like a pat on the hand
Jesus whispers “come to me …”
Like a husband’s embrace
And You finally Pipe in with “SUCK IT UP!’
With exactly the slap in the face I needed

Dear Abba,
Help me to suck it up
Know the truth
And take it like a man ...
On a cross

"I wanted to throw up backstage,but then I asked myself 'What does the Bible say is true?' When you put yourself down, you put down your creator." Francis Chan

"Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong." 1 Corinthians 16:13