Saturday, January 31, 2004

powerless

without power. unable to go. lacking energy.

unplugged? circuit broken? drained? exhausted? dry? burned out?

listless. dead. useless. broken.

cold. non-circulating. dark.

alone.

Thirsty. Hungry.

Desirous. Needful. Hopeful.

Patched. Filled. Connected. Corrected.

Moving. Living. Warm.

Bright. Bursting. Full.

Jesus!

The Giant returns

At the start of our ice-storm I posted an excerpt from Wilde's Selfish Giant. The first night we lost power, I was visited again by the spectre. . .

"I cannot understand why the Spring is so late in coming," said the Selfish Giant, as he sat at the window and looked out at his cold white garden; "I hope there will be a change in the weather."

But the Spring never came, nor the Summer. . . it was always Winter there, and the North Wind, and the Hail, and the Frost, and the Snow danced about through the trees.

One morning the Giant was lying awake in bed when he heard some lovely music. It sounded so sweet to his ears that he thought it must be the King's musicians passing by. It was really only a little linnet singing outside his window, but it was so long since he had heard a bird sing in his garden that it seemed to him to be the most beautiful music in the world. Then the Hail stopped dancing over his head, and the North Wind ceased roaring, and a delicious perfume came to him through the open casement. "I believe the Spring has come at last," said the Giant; and he jumped out of bed and looked out.

What did he see?

He saw a most wonderful sight. Through a little hole in the wall the children had crept in, and they were sitting in the branches of the trees. In every tree that he could see there was a little child. And the trees were so glad to have the children back again that they had covered themselves with blossoms, and were waving their arms gently above the children's heads. The birds were flying about and twittering with delight, and the flowers were looking up through the green grass and laughing. It was a lovely scene . . ."


Sitting brooding in the dark of our powerless situation, the cold growing as the night progressed, I was determined that we should all simply go to sleep as there was nothing to do in the cold and dark.

The children pulled out every other blanket and sheet they could find that night and piled them together in the living room floor. I sat at the kitchen table waiting for them to go to sleep. But the longer I sat, the angrier I got. They were playing, laughing, carrying on.

It was pitch black. One candle. One oil lamp. Cold. The gas stove gently hissing heat to the room, like one soft breath trying to warm a concert hall. Old Scrooge would have said that was too much.

I wanted to go to bed. The children were laughing, playing, frolicking.

The Selfish Giant sat at my kitchen table, in the cold and dark, listening to frost and hail knock the chimney pots down, wondering how long this would go on . . .

. . . while Spring-time blossomed in the living room . . .

We're back!

Our area was hit with the worst ice-storm since 1973 and we were without power for 6 days. The first night we stayed at home, but the fam was not able to take the colder temps. Night 2 was in a hotel. Nights 3 and 4 we stayed with some friends and last night we stayed with yet another. In the midst of this I has administering our study track for the pastors and missionaries who are part of our CIU family. Working 10 to 12 hours days with our students then making sure fam was fed and warm really took it out of me.

Needless to say, I've had some head-dibs and have not been able to get them posted, so they will appear as I am able to post them.

Monday, January 26, 2004

The Ice Storm

As I was driving home from cancelling our off-campus classes today, I remembered this passage from Oscar Wilde's "The Selfish Giant":

"The birds did not care to sing in it as there were no children, and the trees forgot to blossom. Once a beautiful flower put its head out from the grass, but when it saw the notice-board it was so sorry for the children that it slipped back into the ground again, and went off to sleep. The only people who were pleased were the Snow and the Frost. "Spring has forgotten this garden," they cried, "so we will live here all the year round." The Snow covered up the grass with her great white cloak, and the Frost painted all the trees silver. Then they invited the North Wind to stay with them, and he came. He was wrapped in furs, and he roared all day about the garden, and blew the chimney-pots down. "This is a delightful spot," he said, "we must ask the Hail on a visit." So the Hail came. Every day for three hours he rattled on the roof of the castle till he broke most of the slates, and then he ran round and round the garden as fast as he could go. He was dressed in grey, and his breath was like ice."

Saturday, January 24, 2004

"More Than Fine"

by Switchfoot

When I wake in the morning,
I want to blow into pieces.
I want more than just ok, more than just ok.
When I'm up with the sunrise
I want more than just blue skies.
I want more than just ok, more than just ok.

I'm not giving up, giving up, not giving up now.
I'm not giving up, giving up, not backing down.

More than fine, more than bent on getting by.
More than fine, more than just ok.

When I'm wet with the sunshine.
I want more than just a good time.
I want more than just ok, more than just ok.

I'm not giving up, giving up, not giving up now.
I'm not giving up, giving up, not selling out.

More than fine, more than bent on getting by.
More than fine, more than just ok.
More than fine, more than bent on getting by.
More than fine, more than just ok.

More than oceans away from the dawn.
More than oceans away from the dawn.
More than oceans away from who we are
More than oceans, more than oceans, yeah.

More than fine, more than bent on getting by.
More than fine, more than just ok.
More than fine, more than bent on getting by.
More than fine, more than just ok.

Monday, January 19, 2004

Walk this way

Once upon a time a cub asked mother bear, "Mother, which foot shall we put forward first?" She answered, "JUST WALK!"

Many are so careful about how to walk by faith that they never walk.

Andrew Murray mentions the feebleness and weakness of our walk when we should be experiencing fulness. Murray points out the reason for our feebleness: Jesus said, "Come to Me", fully meaning what He said elsewhere, "Abide with Me"; that is, come and stay. We should not walk to Jesus that we may walk away from Him. Jesus intends for us to come and stay.

The Vigil

"Waiting for flame in the eye of night,
I am the fuel for your fire.
Light calls ever unto light,
Make me a fleshen pyre.
Touch my lips with the altering coal,
Leave Your shining upon my soul,
Zion shall ever be my goal,
Zion the city of light."

I am up pre-rooster to be shepherd and host to our non-resident Seminary students. These nights I do not sleep so well due to my excitement that they are here--these full-time missionaries, pastors and lay people from around the world come for two weeks of Intensive courses, then back home they go.

About 12:00 a.m. my 9 year old daughter was asking me her usual round of philosophical questions . . . who acts the best: this color person or that? We talked about the importance of people in God's eyes and that God does not see color. I brought her around to consider what Person, rather than kind of people, we should look to as our model. She brightly replied, "Jesus!"

About 4:00 this a.m. I was awakened by that same daughter for child-hood reasons and as I drifted back off to sleep for one more hour, was impressed by how Jesus models my very ministry to me, as shepherd and host--Psalm 23 came to mind as my model for ministry, especially over the next two weeks. Shepherd, to those who need to know the way and find comfort in it; host, to receive spiritual nourishment and walk away on FIRE for God!

"So Lord, [please] move, or move me," as the song says.

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Piety and Possibility

"If you will here stop and ask yourself why you are not as pious as the primitive Christians were, your own heart will tell you that it is neither through ignorance nor inability, but because you never thouroughly intended it." --William Law (1686-1761)

God Help Us!

"If all things are possible with God, then all things are possible to him who believes in Him." --Corrie Ten Boom (1892-1983)

God Helps Us!

Saturday, January 17, 2004

Easter Wings
by George Herbert (1633)

Lord, who createdst man in wealth and store,
Though foolishly he lost the same,
Decaying more and more,
Till he became
Most poore:
With thee
O let me rise
As larks, harmoniously,
And sing this day thy victories:
Then shall the fall further the flight in me.


My tender age in sorrow did beginne
And still with sicknesses and shame.
Thou didst so punish sinne,
That I became
Most thinne.
With thee
Let me combine,
And feel thy victorie:
For, if I imp my wing on thine,
Affliction shall advance the flight in me.

I have been reading in the works of George Herbert, who penned a great work of poetry part of which was compiled in a book called "The Temple". This particular work contains two "pattern poems", one of which is pictured above. Unfortunately his poem "The Altar" does not show up well in this format. To view "The Altar" and short commentary, go here .

What impresses me so much about this poem is that Theology becomes right-brained. In truth I could say that "man was created in perfect in God's image; man fell into sin and death entered the world and death through sin; man was separated from God; God loved man so much He sent His Son to die in man's place that he would not have to die for his sin; because God's Son rose from the dead the one who places his faith and trust in Him is raised from death to life."

Yes, these words are true. But how could that truth be put before our eyes in a way that every person in every culture could understand?

Found within God's creation is this living expression called "butterfly". This is the image George Herbert caught and presented to us by careful choice and arrangement of words, to show us not by the weakness of language, but by a common image. Look at the poem again--see the butterfly?

This image is a living demonstration of the downward spiral of man into sin, being "Most poore"; but, "with Thee" man begins his rise from decay into LIFE!

If you turn the butterfly over, looking underneath, you will see the author, mirrored, being "thinne" in poverty; but, "with Thee" being carried ("imp"-ed) on the wings of the Lord, carried to victory!

What picture do the words of your theology make?

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