Monday, April 28, 2008

Jogging Partners

No eloquent poems today.
Just a few words of thanks
for a weekend of friends coming together
to have some fun with an old video game
jogging together through teetering curtains and broken cardboard
all so we could invite some new friends to meet You
in childhood memories of sitting cross-legged
in their living rooms, floppy socks and all
an invitation take steps away from their own teetering brokenness
and land safely in a game with the ultimate expert
And thank You for a new jogging partner
who just didn't want mommy to have to jog alone

"Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their work:
If one falls down,
his friend can help him up.
But pity the man who falls
and has no one to help him up!" Eccl 4:9-10

"When I have a problem that just too big for me, I think I should call some friends. Because together we can do what I can't do by myself. Everything is just better with a friend alongside." Mark Beeson, Mario Party sermon April 26-27, 2008

Friday, April 25, 2008

Shots in the Arm

I scheduled Lauren's kindergarten immunizations
three shots in the arm, 1-2-3
a complex formula, tailor-made by men in lab coats
who just want to keep her safe so she can run and play
pain with a purpose she can't see to believe
and I take in the moment of a metaphor
One week, two messages, a scary moment, more bad news,
scripture tailor-made just to keep me safe so I can run and play
countless whispers from You spurring me on
as the radio sings "so sweetly broken, holy surrender"
and all I can do is smile
at how you find ways to speak to me
in this noisy, pain-filled,
crazy, beautiful world
where I can be sweetly broken
and still complete the race
even if I cross the finish line
on my knees
I know You'll be waiting
to help me up again

"At the cross You beckon me,
draw me gently to my knees
and I am lost for words
so lost in love
I'm sweetly broken
Holy surrender . . . " Jeremy Riddle, Sweety Broken song

"The question is not whether or not your time in prison will come, but rather 'Will I do my jail time in a way that is purposeful or purposeless?'" Rob Wegner, "Viral Attitudes" sermon 4/19-20/08

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NIV)

"God's desire is not always to make you happier, it's to make you holier . . . Come to the one who loves you most and loves you best . . . many of you are almost ready to give up because of the crisis that come your way that have almost nothing to do with your own actions . . . gardening, like life, is an act of faith . . . you put all you can into it, knowing the storms might come . . . all I can say tonight is don't give up. Never give up. The last page of the story hasn't been written." Dr. Bob Laurent, "Never Give Up" sermon 4/24/08

"Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we'd better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he's there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!" Hebrews 12:1-3 (Msg)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Renaissance Girl

a jam packed day and I met You in the pause button
as I marveled at what her future might hold
the many sides of her all in 12 hours
a princess party where she begged for curls like Lucy Pevensie
and I smiled at the beauty infused from a Lion's roar
the delicate tea cups to complement her dimples
and princess karaoke where she turned off the music
to sing her own version of "Memory"
and what a memory it was
then on to a football game with daddy
back to ball cap, t-shirt and jeans
to cheer for Daddy's favorite team
and remind Daddy that rain only makes things more fun
back home and barefoot to explore her own agenda
beyond princess parties with mom
and football games with dad
to swirl the minnows from the edge of the dock
and marvel at Your God-made river playground
and I can't help dream of all You have for her
when bedtime prayers become less like Disney wishes
and more like real conversations
when beauty becomes more about who she in You
than pink glitter and barbie accessories
when prince charming transforms from a man on a horse
to a man on the cross
when daddy's love of the game
becomes a metaphor for her ultimate coach and playbook
when backyard exploration only brings glory to the maker
For now, I will simply thank You
for this jack of all trades
renaissance girl
who might just grow into a proverbs woman

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised." Proverbs 31:30

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Backyard Banquet

my favorite spot for diving in Your word
returned with the spring like a soldier from war
slowly unfolding like the cherry tree blossoms by the porch
or the sun setting on the water, still leaving a trail of warmth
story after story of men risking their lives
all to tell the good news I get to read in the hammock
knit together like Your story to stretch and catch me in all the right places
to tell of the man I get to chat with under a canopy of sighing buds
once the veil was torn in two
to reassure of the Holy Spirit I can feel in the breeze
and read between the lines
in this time of backyard banquet peace
and it's just so . . .
deliciously You

"Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord." Acts 9:31

"If we are not careful, we can miss out on the amazing banquet God has set before us. If we settle for a weekly snack at church and never dig into God's word between Sundays, it costs us more than we realize. We need to get past all of our excuses and fears, belly up to the table, and partake of the good things God has set before us." Kevin G. Harney, Seismic Shifts

Sunday, April 13, 2008


when you're a child
laughter is like breathing
but if you're not careful
you can grow up too fast
on the growth chart of life's challenges
for a moment there, I lost my laugh
in the teeter totter of circumstance
like a hammock in the wind of momentum
but all it took was a reminder
of You from You
a reminder of the joy I had all along
And I just had to let it all go
let it all out
and laugh out loud
so loud it might be contagious

"We are not called to a deprived life. We are the chosen people, a royal preisthood!" Mark Beeson, "Viral Priorities" sermon April 12-13, 2008

"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. " 1 Peter 2 :9-10

"I consider that our present suffereings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us." Romans 8:18

"Joy is a choice! Joy is a natural disposition of God's heart, and he wants us to be surprised by joy every day of our lives. No matter what we face, if we make the right choices and follow God with our whole hearts, we can experience more joy than we ever imagined . . . The love of God pours of over our lives in such surplus that it cascades into the lives of others . . . Joy is based on a life-changing, hope-giving relationship with Jesus, not on the circumstances we face. Our situation might change from day to day, but Jesus is always present, loving, and faithful . . . People should be drawn to congregations because of the sheer overflow of love, celebration, and joy that cascades into the community. The church should be famous, even notorious, for the excessive and extravagant joy experienced everytime they gather." Kevin G. Harney, Seismic Shifts

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Bounce, Thunk

"Life is mostly froth and bubbles,
Only two things stand like stone,
Kindness in another's troubles,
Courage in your own." -Madame Chiang Kai-sheck

I've wasted a lot of time in froth and bubbles
floating and bouncing at the mercy of circumstance
Pollyanna wins where naivety grins
and optimism and ignorance are playmates
logic reasons to blame Your gift of free will
7 habits whispering proactive and circles of control
like the fragile irridescent sphere I've allowed myself to become
as a doormat lies to welcome the enemy
and I float on, wincing at each bounce,
masking the fear by merrily whistling a mustard seed tune of
what goes down must come up
but the attack is real
the shadows aren't just silhouettes
the lion waits, licking his lips
at the bank statement and ten years of cliff-hanging
and all it would take is a flick of a claw
a playful wave of his paw
so today I'm done with bubbles and froth
turn me to stone
Your rock of faith to be used in a sling shot
or placed in a wall to keep out the lion
or cage him in
because You didn't write history in bubbles
and I can't raise a family in froth
You said "It is finished"
so I'll stop daydreaming some dark sequel
where the villain returns
and celebrate the victory
of this bubble turned stone.

"You, un-aided, are not strong enough to take on the enemy . . . Maybe our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters got something we need to be more aware of, and that's what exorcism is all about. The Catholic church has kept that in front of our faces for decades, and I'm glad they have because one of the most important things Jesus can do in your life is to exorcise the enemy. That' what he came to do. What about in your home? What about in your life? . . . Are you trying to lead a supernatural life without the super? . . . You stand for God? You WILL be persecuted. . . There's an old Japanese proverb that says 'The Nail that sticks out gets hammered the hardest' . . . . You're going to stick out. You're a peculiar person . . . When you pray and nothing happens, before long, you start playing with these temptations . . . uncertainty: maybe it isn't God's will . . . condemnation: probably I don't deserve to be answered . . . haste: I've waited long enough, I guess God just wants me to be the answer . . . we are often so bad at waiting because waiting takes courage . . . But the best definition of courage is Love coming to the rescue." Dr. Bob Laurent, "A People of Courage" Sermon, April 10, 2008

"The time for judging this world has come, when Satan, the ruler of this world, will be cast out." Jesus, John 12:31 (NLV)

"So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet yes to God and he'll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field. Hit bottom, and cry your eyes out. The fun and games are over. Get serious, really serious. Get down on your knees before the Master; it's the only way you'll get on your feet." James 4:7-10 (Msg)

"Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:6-9 (NIV)

"No one ever drifts to greatness. Want to be a great musician? Methodical practice is required. Do you long for athletic prowess? You must train, and train methodically. Building a great marriage, a great family, a great friendship or a great career requires the ongoing discipline of methodical effort. Wesley had it right; the methodical practice of scriptural holiness is the way to maturity." Mark Beeson, "On the Record . . . " Post

"Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up. You're not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It's the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won't last forever. It won't be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does." 1 Peter 5:8-9 (Msg)

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Pop Goes The Calling

I remember sitting through a workshop entirely in Spanish
Red-faced, shaking in my cracked, plastic seat
praying the leader would never ask me a question
my classmates were smiling and nodding
and laughing at jokes I didn't understand
I grasped at any word I could find
like a pinata party where I'm diving for candy
but the only one in slow motion
Trabajo, doesn't that mean work?
llamo means name, right?
my head spinning like the child with the bat
Teaching in rural Texas meant students new to this country
and it's foreign tongue that didn't roll like their espanol
during my well-organized lessons, their faces would grimace
like when I tried their mama's tamales
and they chuckled at my watery eyes as I fanned my face
or they'd opt for daydreaming out the windows
and I didn't blame them
I loved them, dreamed of their statistically unlikely graduations
and knew the state test was coming
Thank You for that little yellow bat
that missed the pinata and smacked me in the forehead
their problem was a maestra with a pencil in her hair
and a passion without a clue
so I dove into their culture to meet them halfway
a hand-made curriculum with some unlikely materials
so unlikely they just might be effective
the other teachers raised their eyebrows
the principal was concerned
it was awkward, disconcerting, and gauche
like when they tried to teach me their latin steps
and my Caucasion hips would not cooperate
but with each stilted mambo
we began to connect, literature and language came alive
crashing into stories from their homes
like the colorful blankets woven by their abuelas
stitch by stitch
and the pattern of the tapestry reminded me of You
their test scores astounded the school, the state,
even their maestra who had finally found
a clue behind her grin
all this was just a glimpse of what You had in mind
just a pre-test for the real exam
of leveraging culture to bring people to You
Thank You for bringing me here
to a new culture
a new leader
a new calling
and a new lesson to prepare
Your kingdom curriculum
with some unlikely materials
so unlikely
they just might be effective

"We don't want to build an inspiration station where people come week after week, sit, soak, and leave being no different from when they walked in. The Bible tells us that this is like a person who looks in a mirror and does nothing about what they see. So what is this all about? Why leverage the culture? . . . So that all of these people, and thousands others just like them begin to take a step toward Jesus . . . Seeing God in culture is no different than seeing God in nature. In either instance, you can rush right through going from here to there and forget to pay attention to the beauty and truth that is all around." Tim Stevens, Pop Goes the Church

2 Peter 1:12 "Because the stakes are so high, even though you're up-to-date on all this truth and practice it inside and out, I'm not going to let up for a minute in calling you to attention before it. This is the post to which I've been assigned—keeping you alert with frequent reminders—and I'm sticking to it as long as I live."

Monday, April 07, 2008

The Presents of a Sore Throat

for five days it hurt to talk
carrying two golf balls in my neck
swallowing felt like fire
so I had to ration my words
and even through the cold chills
under seven blankets
and the lead bubble headaches
growing behind the eyes
that transfromed my simple walk
into slippery stumbling on the deck of a stormy ship
in the middle of the fire, the silence,
the cold, and the pounding thunder
Lauren moved the layers of fleece
to put her little hand on my head
and begin her own viral conversation . . .
"Dear Lord, Please help my mommy get better.
I need her to get better so she can play with me.
She's my favorite mommy in the whole world and a lot of fun.
You just have to make her better and get rid of her aches so we can play. Amen."
I peeked out through the smiling tears
uncovering more than my face
and discovering gifts from You
a child that knows it's as simple as a conversation with You
a cause to celebrate health and life from You
but namely a forced lesson
to hold my tongue
and learn to listen

"Even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise." Proverbs 17:28

"Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry." James 1:19

"Many people are an “ouch!” looking for a hurt. If you cry “ouch,” the hurt will show up. If you complain, you’ll receive more to complain about. It’s the Law of Attraction in action. As you complete these stages, as you leave complaining behind, as you are no longer an “ouch” looking for a hurt, your life will unfold for you like a beautiful spring flower." Will Bowen, A Complaint Free World (Buy a bracelet)

"Controlled words are a measure of our maturity . . . the tongue is small but has huge impact . . . learn how to listen . . . we increase whatever we praise." Dr. Bob Laurent, "Viral Conversations" sermon April 5-6, 2008